I continue to get hosed by elite NBA DFS players, as LeBron James got a whopping 28 fantasy points last night. James went to Twitter to vent about his poor play and I couldn’t agree more:
Man was I garbage tonight! ????!!!! Thank God for teammates. Appreciate it fellas ✊???#StriveForGreatness?
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 19, 2018
Yes, LeBron. Poop emoji. Very poop emoji.
It’s not like 28 is a crippling score on its own, but when you pay $12.5k for a guy against the freaking Orlando Magic, you have certain expectations.
James didn’t deliver, but at least my logic wasn’t awful. Stacking the Cavs game honestly wasn’t a bad idea in the end, either. The game ended up being really close, but simply wasn’t as explosive as I’d hoped.
On the bright side, Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Gordon, Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Love were all solid enough. T.J. McConnell and Jaylen Brown weren’t amazing, but they weren’t back-breaking, either.
Overall, it was not a great night for NBA DFS, however.
That being said, Friday offers a chance to turn things around, as DFS gamers get a solid 7-game schedule to work with. Let’s dive in to see what mixture of studs and value picks could form a GPP winner at FanDuel:
PG: Spencer Dinwiddie – Brooklyn Nets ($6k)
The return of D’Angelo Russell could keep Dinwiddie’s ownership low tonight, while Miami tends to prevent point guards from going nuts. Both facts are noted, but Dinwiddie excels at the Barclays Center (10+ fantasy points per game, compared to on the road) and is averaging over 30 fantasy points per game across two games against the Heat this year.
Point guard is pretty top-heavy tonight, so I need some value somewhere. I feel a lot better about Dinwiddie than using likely sack daddies like Ricky Rubio, Jarrett Jack and/or Darren Collison.
PG: Goran Dragic – Miami Heat ($7.5k)
The Dragon is yet another DFS option that rarely works for me, but I’m going to eat the potential chalk here and use a solid player against a bad Nets defense. Brooklyn tends to keep games closer at home, as mentioned, and they also stink against point guards (29th).
Dragic can be quite hit or miss and only mustered 28 fantasy points the last time he faced the Nets, but the upside is too obvious here. That, and point guard is not loaded with must-have options.
I think Kyle Lowry could be a very interesting pivot with a seemingly terrible matchup at home, but sometimes the obvious play really is the best play. Let’s hope that’s the case with Dragic in a terrific spot tonight.
SG: Victor Oladipo – Indiana Pacers ($9.3k)
There are not many guys that could be called studs on this slate, so I will treat Dipo as such. He has failed to deliver based on salary expectations in 4 of his last 6 games, but he can be a beast and he’ll be facing the Lakers (21st against shooting guards).
Oladipo is due to explode and the Lakers tend to play fast. That should mean plenty of chances for him to rack up stats, while his peripheral game has been rather strong all year. He’s not cheap, but he’s the main guy I want to spend cash on at FD tonight.
SG: Gary Harris – Denver Nuggets ($7.1k)
FanDuel is really forcing our hand tonight, as shooting guard is easily the deepest position on the table. It’s no shock that all the best options are $7.1k or higher, while most are over $8k. I don’t think they’re all in play quite as much as FD suggests, while pivoting from a likely popular Will Barton ($7.7k) to Harris could be a GPP-winning move.
I actually like Barton more in theory (Jamal Murray is expected to sit out again), but Harris is an explosive scorer and is getting just as much run. He’s also responsible for creating a bit more than usual, while the $600 extra in salary cap space could prove to be useful.
I don’t love the price here, but Harris is unlikely to be highly owned with so many more attractive SG options. Let everyone else spend up at this second SG spot. I think Harris is a good bet to get 35-40 fantasy points against a terrible Suns defense (dead last against SG).
If I paid up at both SG spots, my other pick would be DeMare DeRozan. I love the value at $8.4k, as he’s at home and the Spurs don’t have Kawhi on hand to stop him.
SF: Otto Porter – Washington Wizards ($6.2k)
Washington just got housed last night and nobody from D.C. will be easy to trust, but I have to think they put forth a greater effort in Detroit. I like Porter to, at least, as the Pistons rank just 22nd against small forwards and he’s destroyed them (46 fantasy points per game) across two meetings this year.
Porter has been struggling a bit lately, but unless he randomly gets benched, he’s still looking at 30+ minutes with a positive matchup in front of him. SF is the worst position on the board tonight, so I can see the urge to dive.
However, as shaky as Porter can be, he’s got a ton of upside. There’s a chance he’s pretty contrarian tonight, so I’ll swing for the fences and hope he delivers one of his classic 45-50 fantasy point gems.
SF: Josh Richardson – Miami Heat ($6k)
As I said, small forward doesn’t look like much fun tonight. Kawhi Leonard is down for the count and T.J. Warren ($6.7k) is the only other guy close to $7k. Again, if you want to drop down to guys like Kyle Anderson or lower, I don’t blame you. However, the lower you go, you’re losing safety and probably upside, as well.
I like J-Rich plenty here, as he faces a bad Nets team that doesn’t play much defense. Brooklyn is at their best at home, but that actually plays into Miami’s favor this game to stay close. Richardson has showcased a solid floor lately, too, as he’s put up 23+ fantasy points in 11 consecutive games.
Obviously I want the higher end of that and I think I can get it with a relatively positive matchup (Nets rank 17th vs. SFs) in Brooklyn tonight. Only aiding Richardson, too, is the absence of both Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson due to injury.
PF: Larry Nance Jr. – Los Angeles Lakers ($4.9k)
Nance is one of two NBA DFS picks where I’m going to need to hear about injury news before locking my lineup in. I like his price and potential role, however, as Kyle Kuzma is iffy to suit up against the Indiana Pacers. In an up-tempo game with solid run against a weak defense (14th against PF), I like Nance’s upside.
If you want to take a super deep dive, monitor the Spurs and consider Davis Bertans ($3.5k). If either LaMarcus Aldridge or Pau Gasol sit out tonight, he’d be an elite value play.
PF: Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks ($9.4k)
Up top at PF, I have to think LaMarcus Aldridge is the highest owned (and best) option. He is not cheap and doesn’t have an amazing individual matchup versus Serge Ibaka, but he basically is San Antonio’s offense with Kawhi Leonard sidelined again.
I’m certainly down for using Ridge, but I think Zinger could be an elite pivot off of what should be a popular play. He’s more expensive, he’s on the road and he’s facing a tough Jazz defense that gets stud defensive center Rudy Gobert back tonight. All of that should work against Porzingis, but if I can get a guy with his upside at low ownership, it’s worth the risk in GPPs.
C: Deyonta Davis – Memphis Grizzlies ($3.5k)
Marc Gasol is questionable for the second straight game due to an illness and I really hope he sits out tonight. That’d likely hand Davis a second straight start. He wasn’t amazing in his first pro start, but he did log 24 minutes and would have a fun matchup against the Kings (27th against centers) at home.
There isn’t much safety here, but honestly, I hate the center position tonight. Andre Drummond and Nikola Jokic are both inflated ($10k+) right now and Hassan Whiteside’s run has been all over the place. He’s probably the guy to roll with if you spend here, but $8.7k might be a bit steep for a guy that seems to give a sorry effort all too often.
If Gasol (and Brandon Wright) don’t play, I’ll eat the chalk and hope Davis is better in his second start. It’s really the only deep dive that will be necessary on this slate if I’m able to do it.