If you want to take down a daily fantasy basketball GPP, you need to be willing to eat chalk in some spots and get really contrarian in others. On Thursday, a balanced roster was really the way to go.
Neither James Harden or Anthony Davis went nuts, so a lineup more in the middle with fewer risks would have worked out swimmingly. I still used Harden with CP3 out, but a lot of my other picks aligned with that logic and the majority of them panned out.
Guys like Lonzo Ball, Dewayne Dedmon, Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Ricky Rubio and Kyle Kuzma were all very strong plays. Even Justin Jackson (20 actual points) panned out at a really weak small forward position.
It was a solid night, but using Harden is what unfortunately kept this team from a big payday. Hopefully you pivoted away from Harden and found a way to a big win, regardless.
The good news is I was certainly on the right track as a whole last night and Trevor Ariza stood in as my only “bad” play. Considering how awful small forward was, though, I don’t feel like that was a big loss.
It’s onward and upward again heading into Friday, as you’ll have a whopping 10 games to work with. There are again a lot of injury details to sort through, so keep in mind that while this is my favorite GPP lineup at FanDuel at the time of this writing, things can change up until lineup lock. With that, let’s dive into tonight’s NBA DFS slate:
PG: George Hill – Cleveland Cavaliers ($4.7k)
I never feel great about using Hill, but he’s locked into great run right now due to all of Cleveland’s injuries. The Cavs are down Kyle Korver, Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance at the minimum and Hill logged 33 minutes in his last game.
Hill’s role and price had me interested even before I saw he gets the atrocious Suns. Whether this game stays close or not, he’s an elite value play on this slate and I don’t think I’ll be fading him.
PG: Terry Rozier – Boston Celtics ($7k)
There are a ton of point guards I like tonight, but Rozier might be my favorite value in the intermediate range. Some will take a shot on Stephen Curry in his return, others will pay up for Russell Westbrook and then Eric Bledsoe could also be very popular with The Greek Freak sidelined.
I’m fine with those tries, but I love the fact that Rozier’s price has dropped down and Kyrie Irving is still out. The role and upside remain there and now Rozier is more appropriately priced and also offers interesting value. His date with Portland isn’t ideal, but he could be a solid hammer in one of two late games.
SG: Nick Young – Golden State Warriors ($5k)
I can’t quite bring myself to trust Stephen Curry in his first game back, but I do want some exposure to this Warriors vs. Hawks hammer game. This could be a fun one given all of the injuries to Golden State and Swaggy P brings a lot of upside (and value) to the table.
Young will need to get hot as a scorer to pay off, but with Curry there to set him up and also draw away defensive attention, I think he’s a solid value play on this slate.
SG: Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards ($7.9k)
Beal is a calculated play tonight. Khris Middleton is just $200 more and is going to be insanely popular, but I’ll pivot off the chalk and use a guy that’s just as capable of blowing up. Beal was a turd the last time I vouched for him, but with John Wall still out, he still possesses a huge role and monster upside.
Tonight could be a great spot for Beal to float under the radar and ultimately go nuts. The Denver Nuggets comes to town without Gary Harris (knee), which means Beal should be able to roam free as a scorer and creator. I’m looking for a 50-burger out of him here, if not more.
SF: Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics ($6.6k)
Tatum is a solid option to pair with Rozier, as the Celtics are bogged down by injuries and need someone to score. Tatum has responded lately, logging 27+ minutes in five straight games and producing 19+ actual points in four of those games.
A showdown in Portland is far from ideal and will help to lower ownership, but I like the value and upside here.
The real play is fading King James. LeBron has been insane and I don’t suggest zero ownership across the board at all, but not using him opens up a ton of salary. His date with the Suns at home is tantalizing, but it could also lead to a blowout. I’m fine with using him and other Cavs options, but for this lineup I’ll see if I can survive fading him.
SF: Michael Beasley – New York Knicks ($5.7k)
The beauty of SF is there are a lot of solid value options. Nobody carries the 70+ fantasy points upside King James does, but if that game gets out of control, he might stop at 45-50 tonight. That has me looking at other small forward options and Beas is certainly one of my favorites.
The Knicks constantly jerk this guy around in terms of floor time, but he did log 34 minutes and put up 34.9 fantasy points in his last game. I’m going to go ahead and cross my fingers that role stays intact tonight, as New York hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves.
This could actually be a bit of a revenge game, as Beasley played for the T’Wolves earlier in his career. He’s shown explosive upside as a scorer in the past, so hopefully he shows up in this one.
PF: Jabari Parker – Milwaukee Bucks ($5.7k)
I’d prefer Parker to be a little cheaper, but it’s tough to scoff at this solid price now that you know The Greek Freak won’t be playing tonight. Parker took advantage of an early exit from Giannis last game and churned out 37.7 fantasy points in 30 minutes.
If I can bank on Jabari getting close to 30 minutes again in a favorable matchup with the Bulls, I’m all in here.
PF: Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers ($7.5k)
I really like Jeff Green at $3k cheaper tonight, but now that Kevin Love is closing in on 30 minutes of floor time, I have to take advantage of his cheap price tag. Love has the talent and role to absolutely crush in this matchup with the Suns and due to their lack of defense, I think it’s quite possible he could deliver a 40+ fantasy point outing in just three quarters.
I’m fine with using him and fading King James, as things are bound to level out eventually. If they do, that helps Love and hurts LeBron. Whether it starts tonight or not, Love looks like an elite play on this slate.
C: Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets ($9.5k)
My favorite play on this slate is shaping up to be Jokic, who could go low-owned due to a lot of solid center options and interest in studs like King James and Russ. I’ll gladly fade those guys and just pay for Joker, who comes in at a solid price.
Jokic has been on fire lately, putting up 49+ fantasy points in four of his last six games. He’s no LeBron or Russ in terms of high level consistency, but he actually has the same upside as them due to his scoring and ability to notch triple-doubles.
A matchup on the road with the Wizards isn’t amazing on paper, but Jokic fared just fine against them (29-9-5 line) when he faced them earlier this year. With Gary Harris out and Paul Millsap (illness) also potentially sidelined, I think he could be in for one of his coined blow-up outings.
The big play tonight on this massive slate is going to be fading Russ and LeBron. Both are studs you always want to use, but James is very restrictive in a salary cap setting and could easily be in a lopsided blowout. Westbrook’s game should stay close, but Miami defends well and tries to slow games down.
Logically, both of these guys could perform well below expectation and at least to me, feel like solid fades on a slate where I personally would prefer some extra spending money.
That gets me a very balanced roster and while I am taking a few risks here (Hill, Beas, etc), I’m getting some potential studs in Jokic, Love, Beal and Rozier. If that four-pack delivers like I think they can and my value picks pan out, this could be a team that contends for the top of tourneys.
Whether you love all my NBA DFS picks tonight or not, I hope I at least shed some insight on this slate. No matter what you do tonight, good luck in your FanDuel daily fantasy basketball contests!