Thursday night was a classic example of when you don’t always need to pay for the top studs. Russell Westbrook was a bust and pretty much every Oklahoma City Thunder option failed in the face of an awesome matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.
That negatively impacted my NBA DFS picks, as I didn’t see a way around Russ or Melo with PG-13 sitting out last night. That backfired, as Chris Paul and Lonzo Ball wrecked at the point guard position and Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were far better values than the likes of Russ or James Harden.
It wasn’t a total loss if you picked and choosed options off my my NBA DFS lineup, though. Bradley Beal was still the right pivot off of Harden (46 fantasy points), Markieff Morris (36) was a fantastic value pick at power forward and T.J. Warren (34) wasn’t terrible. He didn’t meet his price expectations, but he also didn’t completely crater your team.
Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams still both topped 27 fantasy points, while Russ wasn’t a total disaster (46). Still, the Thunder failing in an easy matchup (they actually lost the game) sent this team down the ranks.
Friday offers up a nice 8-game slate and a chance to turn things around. Remember, my daily fantasy basketball lineup doesn’t have to be submitted as it stands. This is just a combination of my favorite studs and a mixture of value picks I like. I like the team I’m assembling here, but sometimes just taking a few of the picks and combining them with your own research is the way to go.
Regardless, it’s onward and upward. Let’s see what team I come away with tonight at FanDuel:
PG: Quinn Cook – Golden State Warriors ($3.5k)
This is a GPP team, so I’m always game for some risks. I actually used Cook the other day when news broke that he’d be starting. He logged 22 minutes and got 15 fantasy points. He did that on the road against a solid Hornets defense that ranks 5th against point guards, too.
Cook has a lot to prove, but he’s the bare minimum and he’s garnered a lot of praise in the past. With the Dubs trying to limit Shaun Livingston, he could again see 20+ minutes. Draymond Green’s return could limit his court time potentially, but no Curry opens things up, while Patrick McCaw has also already been ruled out for this game. I want two studs tonight, so one major dive like this could help me get the team I want.
Like usual, if you don’t love this deep dive, just go elsewhere and see how your roster aligns with the rest of my picks. If you use Cook, just make sure you don’t confuse him with Charles Cooke of the Pelicans.
PG: Rajon Rondo – New Orleans Pelicans ($6.1k)
Rondo has been a staple in these FanDuel lineups for me, as he’s always a threat due to his versatility. Rondo carries double-double upside every single night and on Friday he’ll be at home against the Kings. Rondo’s time in Sacramento didn’t end well, so much like Boogie, he could be out for blood in this one.
The price has risen, but hopefully that helps make Rondo contrarian in a solid spot (Kings rank just 17th versus point guards).
SG: Buddy Hield – Sacramento Kings ($4.8k)
Hield’s minutes are constantly yanked around, but I’m not sure I can turn down a shot at true revenge tonight. Hield heads back to New Orleans, where he’ll take on the team that drafted him a year ago and then traded him to Sac-town.
Revenge is the driving force for me here, but Hield is also a good price and has logged 25+ minutes in each of his last two games (both over 34 fantasy points). He has every incentive to come in ablaze and I wouldn’t be shocked if he does.
Hield is risky, to be sure, but I don’t love the shooting guard position tonight. Victor Oladipo is just so pricey and a lot of the best SG options either have tough matchups or feel inflated. I’d rather dive down tonight and it starts with Buddy.
SG: J.J. Barea – Dallas Mavericks ($4.8k)
Dennis Smith Jr. is banged up and has been hit with a questionable tag ahead of tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Should DSJ sit out tonight, the versatile Barea would be in for a huge role. I like him whether he starts or not, even in the face of a difficult road matchup.
Barea is a salary saver but I’m only really interested in using him if Smith sits this one out. If Barea isn’t in play, I might get right back on E’Twaun Moore, who should hang onto a sweet role (35+ minutes) with Anthony Davis probably out again tonight.
SF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors ($11.1k)
Durant answered the call with Stephen Curry out last game, producing 66 fantasy points. His ownership could still be contained due to the presence of both LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but of the three, he’s the clear value.
A date with the Pistons in Detroit isn’t amazing in theory, but the Pistons actually rank 26th against small forwards. KD dropped 44 fantasy points on them earlier this year and that was with Curry on hand. Durant will again do a lot of the heavy lifting on offense and feels like a must on this slate.
SF: JaKarr Sampson – Sacramento Kings ($4.2k)
Sampson started in his last outing and logged 32 minutes with a ridiculous 16 rebounds. He could start again tonight with the Kings under-manned down low. I like the matchup if The Brow is out again tonight, although 16 rebounds isn’t sustainable.
The idea here is Sampson is getting 30+ minutes and could luck his way into some peripherals. Hopefully he can score a bit more than last time, too. To be clear, I’m not expecting the world here, but he’s in for a solid role again.
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs ($8.2k)
Anthony Davis is in play if he randomly suits up, but with him seemingly out again, PF looks like garbage. You can opt to double-punt, but I think I’ll use Ridge in what could be his last chance to dominate. Kawhi Leonard is set to return on Saturday, after all.
Aaron Gordon is also an option, but I don’t think I can stomach $9.2k for him. I’ll drop $1k and use Ridge, who has a lower ceiling but a way better floor usually. His matchup with the Celtics isn’t ideal, but he’s at home and has proven to be fairly matchup proof this year.
PF: Domantas Sabonis – Indiana Pacers ($4.8k)
Sabonis is a nice price and could be in for a big load tonight if top center Myles Turner (calf) can’t suit up.
Sabonis fared quite well (38 fantasy points) the last time he faced the Cavs and he’ll be at home in what should be a fast-paced, high-scoring showdown. Just make sure Turner is out before committing to him.
C: DeMarcus Cousins – New Orleans Pelicans ($12k)
Boogie is at home against his former team without The Brow on hand? Yeah, I have to use him.
I don’t love the spike in price, but when you go off for 78 fantasy points, that’ll happen. There are some nice pivots at center (Nikola Vucevic makes sense again), but if Anthony Davis (questionable) remains out, I can’t fade Boogie.
Cousins feels like a must for cash games and is probably necessary for GPPs, too. I do think it’ll be quite contrarian to shift off of him, but that’s not something I’m excited about doing. Had Vucevic not dropped an absurd 63 fantasy points in his last game, fading Boogie in his last game would have been a huge gaffe.