My daily fantasy basketball lineup did not cash at FanDuel last night, but that does not mean it wasn’t a solid squad. I entered yesterday’s team into a single entry GPP and it scored a very strong 333 fantasy points. Sadly, that wasn’t good enough to cash on a night where I missed the cut by precisely three points.
The good news is centering my lineup around DeMarcus Cousins (78 fantasy points!) and Kevin Durant (66!) was the right way to start. The bad news is Rajon Rondo, Jamal Murray and Klay Thompson were all merely average. All three finished with 27+ fantasy points, but none of them topped 30.
My other value picks were fine enough, with Wilson Chandler (14.8) being the only true failure. Taj Gibson was a gem (43.8!) and hopefully you mixed and matched pieces to put together a better roster.
In hindsight, Nikola Vucevic (63!) was the better center value and with savings of $3k, using him would have really opened up your salary cap. I only had eyes for Boogie, though, and it’s hard to complain given the huge fantasy outing he had.
Sometimes strong NBA DFS teams don’t make the cut, but it’s nice when the logic at least pans out with the top plays.
Hopefully I can take that momentum and use it to piece together a winner on Thursday night. You get just four games to work with on this slate and a slew of studs, so you’re certainly going to have to take some harsh stands. Let’s see what my favorite FanDuel lineup looks like for tonight:
PG: Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder ($11.5k)
Westbrook has some pretty rough road splits this year, but he’s been red hot lately and is facing the Nets. The analysis could end there, but the point guard position just looks bad tonight. Chris Paul on the road against a tough Utah defense is your next best bet, while trusting Lonzo Ball feels like a fool’s errand.
Even if Russ doesn’t go nuts, he’s still besting the other PG options tonight. He’s probably going to be necessary to take down any GPP and given his matchup, recent form and upside, he’s my favorite play on the board.
PG: Tyler Ulis – Phoenix Suns ($4.9k)
Ricky Rubio is just $100 more, but he’s been terrible and gets CP3 defense tonight. I’m down for Ulis, who has been starting and gets a beatable matchup against the Wizards. Washington is just 12th against point guards and they’re still without John Wall, after all.
Mike James ($4.4k) is also in play, but both of these guys could end up getting a ton of run with Devin Booker (groin) sidelined. For now I’ll roll with Ulis, as he’s the starter and has actually been passable with 22+ fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 games.
SG: Alec Burks – Utah Jazz ($5k)
I also am interested in Troy Daniels at $3.7k if he starts (and if I feel I need him), but if Rodney Hood is out again tonight, I don’t mind dipping my toe in the Alec Burks waters. He was a bust last time out, so maybe that gets people off of him a bit. He’s still a great price and will have a solid matchup at home against a fast-paced Rockets team.
SG: Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards ($8.6k)
With my luck, the second I get back on Beal he’ll do nothing in a dream matchup against the Suns. I fear this, only because I had used Beal in his four previous games without John Wall, only to see a very passive and under-performing option.
That changed in Beal’s last game and I can only assume (hope?) he’ll keep it going against a bad Suns defense tonight. In theory, the only real risk is a blowout, but Beal looks like an elite pivot off of James Harden. Harden not only is on the road against a tough Jazz defense, but Beal may match him and costs $3k less.
SF: Josh Jackson – Phoenix Suns ($4.6k)
If you want more than one stud tonight, you’re going to need to find value. Jackson should be a popular value pick, as Devin Booker’s groin injury opens up a lot of minutes and shots. Jackson is still a little rough around the edges, but he knows how to score and may end up seeing a ton of floor time.
A date with the Wizards isn’t necessarily ideal, but Jackson is cheap and should bring upside to the table with Booker out. He also makes sense as a cheaper option below several SF options that are really just as shaky. I’m looking at you, Trevor Ariza.
SF: Brandon Ingram – Los Angeles Lakers ($6.8k)
There are several small forward options worth targeting tonight, but I only have the salary to land Ingram and I actually love him against Philly. Ingram poured in 26 points (47.7 fantasy points) the last time he faced the Sixers and this should be a fast-paced matchup with the potential to actually be competitive.
Lonzo Ball should be useless in this matchup, so I expect Ingram to do a lot of the heavy lifting on offense. He’s really turned into a reliable scorer lately with 17+ actual points in 7 of his last 9 contests, too, so I’m comfortable with him in this spot.
Paul George is out for tonight, but T.J. Warren is in for a huge workload with Devin Booker sidelined, while Otto Porter and Robert Covington are also in play.
PF: Markieff Morris – Washington Wizards ($4.8k)
Kieff revenge night has arrived! Morris returns to Phoenix to play his former team and after disappointing against them last year, perhaps he puts in a little extra effort. Morris has been pretty spare lately, but three games ago he dropped 23 points on the Pistons. His minutes have been shaky, but he’ll have incentive to play well and it’s no secret the Suns don’t play any defense.
Power forward is pretty weak tonight, so I’m not sure you’re getting much stability beyond Ben Simmons. At least at one PF spot, I’m dropping down and I think Kieff is a good option to do that with.
PF: Carmelo Anthony – Oklahoma City Thunder ($6.8k)
Paul George being ruled out really opens things up tonight. Maybe you can take a stab at a cheap OKC player, but I’ll just go to the next man up, which would be Melo. PG-13 not suiting up could help keep tonight’s tilt with the Nets stay close, which only adds to Melo’s appeal.
Anthony has been very shaky lately, but with more shots coming his way in a dream matchup, he feels like a must. This news has me comfortably fading Ben Simmons tonight, even though I love him against the Lakers.
C: Steven Adams – Oklahoma City Thunder ($6.9k)
Ditto for Adams, who honestly had been wrecking even with PG-13 on the court lately. Adams has a cakewalk matchup and will now be tasked with more rebounding and scoring. The Thunder were already making a concerted effort to get him going, so I’d be shocked if he didn’t return value in such a favorable setting.
Joel Embiid is the top center on the board tonight, but I can’t see myself going that far up when Adams could be in for a monster outing. That’s going to get me off of the other centers, too, but Rudy Gobert could be a fun contrarian play and Tyson Chandler ($5.3k) could be the value pick at the position.