I faded a stud again last night and it ended horribly. Russell Westbrook went nuts and somehow a collection of Pelicans spares stayed in a road game against the Thunder.
Props to the Pels, or shame on OKC? A little bit of both, I’m sure.
My main goal is to locate value and build the best squad possible, but fading the top stud has blown up in my face the past two nights. It’d normally be okay if the rest of my roster panned out, but Harden and Russ were just too good and my NBA DFS picks weren’t explosive enough elsewhere.
I did still have some solid plays. Stephen Curry (47) was a fine pivot in theory, Jahlil Okafor continued to be a strong value and Dragan Bender was again decent.
Overall, though, I missed the mark. Let’s see if I can get back on track for Friday’s big 10-game slate at FanDuel. Let’s dive into my favorite NBA DFS lineup:
PG: Jerryd Bayless – Minnesota Timberwolves ($4k)
Bayless is cheap and has been excellent in his last two games. Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones are all banged up. If that remains the case tonight, Bayless will probably start and have a massive role.
A date in Utah versus the Jazz isn’t ideal, but you have to get your value from somewhere on this slate and Bayless could end up playing the entire game.
PG: Shabazz Napier – Brooklyn Nets ($3.8k)
Spencer Dinwiddie has a thumb issue that could cause him to miss tonight’s game against the Knicks. Napier could slide into a bigger role if that’s the case and at this cheap price, he’s worth a roll of the dice.
Emmanuel Mudiay is also banged up, so Trey Burke ($3.7k) is an elite pivot here if he ends up drawing the start for the Knicks.
SG: James Harden – Houston Rockets ($14k)
Fine, I’ll play him.
Even against Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors, I just don’t see how Harden can be faded right now. He’s going to be 50% owned or way more in every format and if he gets 85-90 fantasy points like he’s clearly capable of, not rostering him will be a quick and sudden gaffe.
Fading Harden has it’s perks, though. There is a small argument for him not coming close to meeting value tonight, while studs like Giannis Antetokounmpo, KAT and Nikola Jokic could easily put up monster numbers.
Note: Chris Paul is questionable to play tonight. I think he returns this weekend, but if he does suit up against Toronto, I’d probably end up getting off of Harden.
But Harden is insane right now and I won’t be fading him tonight.
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr. – New York Knicks ($6k)
Allonzo Trier was the better Knicks guard in New York’s last game, but THJ still gets good run and has a nice role. He’s also facing the Nets, so at this bargain price we need to consider him.
Trier is in the discussion at $1k less and Eric Gordon is also potentially in play. I’ll be searching for a viable punt at the second SG slot all day, but for now Hardaway will do.
SF: Tobias Harris – Los Angeles Clippers ($7.9k)
Small forward is extremely top-heavy, but since I’m paying for Harden I shouldn’t feel the need to cram Kawhi Leonard or The Greek Freak into my NBA DFS lineup.
Harris will do, as he saves me some cash but could offer major upside with Danilo Gallinari (back) still on the shelf. That means more shots for Harris, who has topped 48+ fantasy points twice in his last three outings.
SF: Gary Harris – Denver Nuggets ($4.4k)
I also like the value I get with Will Barton at $5.1k, but Harris is back in Denver’s starting lineup and pushing for 30 minutes again. He may not play a full game against the Suns (and watch out for him being rested), but he’s simply too cheap to fade right now.
If Harris is out, Barton is a lock and a core play for me on this slate. If you can comfortably get to him without taking a big hit elsewhere, I’m all for that as well.
PF: Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic ($6.6k)
Gordon disappointed the last time I vouched for him, but he’s succeeded more often than not when I’ve used him this year. His floor isn’t always fun, but he’s got a pretty solid ceiling and is usually good for 30-40 fantasy points.
An up-tempo date with the Wizards looks good on paper and AG is too cheap in my mind. Blake Griffin is the top spend at PF tonight, but he’s not a must and after him you’ll likely be hunting for value.
PF: Bobby Portis – Chicago Bulls ($5.3k)
Portis is one of the better cheap plays at his position, as he’ll continue to get run with the Bulls banged up down low. Chicago does keep rolling Robin Lopez out there, but Portis can easily pop off in the second unit.
There isn’t a ton of value to fall in love with at PF, but if injuries allow it you can keep going back to Dragan Bender ($4.6k)
C: Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies ($8k)
I’ll wrap things up with Gasol, who faces a Kings defense that is quite bad and specifically struggles against centers. I also like Hassan Whiteside and Brook Lopez if you’re looking to save some extra cash, while the position is positively loaded if this is a spot you want to spend.
Nikola Jokic and Nikola Vucevic are the top two options tonight, but Gasol is back to wrecking in his last two games and has one of the best matchups on the board. Take the savings, but just make sure Memphis isn’t resting their aging center.
If you want a cheap option, Ante Zizic could again be looking at major run with Tristan Thompson out.
I’m starting this off with Harden slotted in as my stud and working from there. If you don’t want to pay up for Harden, you have your choice of elite pivots, as Giannis Antetokounmpo and anyone else you could want will save you about $3k or more.
That might actually be a great move, but fading Harden has not worked out for me much this year. I’m personally going to bite the bullet here and try to get balance around him.
Assuming I can actually use guys like Napier and Bayless, I just might be able to do that. It’s pretty sweet that I can roster Harden and still surround him with a core of Gasol, Harris and Gordon. Portis, Napier, Bayless, Harris and THJ are all solid options as values, too.
Usually I pay more attention to point spreads and Totals, but when you pay for Harden you need to just start locating value and running with it. Hopefully this lineup serves you well tonight. Either way, thanks for stopping by and I wish you luck!