Wednesday was the definition of a mixed bag for my daily fantasy basketball picks. Marc Gasol was a fantastic pick (71 fantasy points!) but of course he was over shadowed by Joel Embiid dropping over 90 fantasy points on the hapless Lakers.
That made our top play of the night look small by comparison, but chances are if you used Gasol a lot, you did fine. Unfortunately Mario Chalmers was just “meh” and that led a string of players who didn’t impress. Jimmy Butler actually topped 30 fantasy points by the end of the night, but it was a remarkably slow burn to get him there.
Paul George was a disgrace (17 fantasy points) after crushing over the two previous contests. Lonzo Ball was a turd (12 fantasy points), as well. I personally pivoted off of him to use Kemba Walker (38), who I did touch on in Lonzo’s blurb.
Donovan Mitchell was solid enough, while KCP and Dario Saric were serviceable. Zinger was a bust at his price, but 38 fantasy points was hardly a death sentence. Ball probably kept you from cashing with this specific lineup, but hopefully you used Gasol in other spots and had some success.
Thursday night promotes a super small two-game NBA DFS slate at FanDuel. The pickings are slim and we’re going to need to take harsh stands. James Harden is a must usually, but there are just two games and not much value to be had. He’s a staggering $12.5k, too, so while he’s always in play, we’ll try to make a winning GPP team without him tonight:
PG: Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics ($8.3k)
I’d love to save money at the point, but Mike James isn’t starting and is getting volatile court time. Tyler Ulis is capped around 25 minutes, too, so for me, I’m paying up at both point guard spots. With Chris Paul reportedly locked into a 20-minute cap, I don’t see him as a viable option.
All roads lead to a pairing of Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry. Neither has a great matchup by the numbers, but this is the game projected to be somewhat close on tonight’s NBA DFS slate. Irving has been quite reliable, producing 32+ fantasy points in every game but one this year.
PG: Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors ($9.7k)
Curry is probable to return from a one-game absence, which was brought on by a thigh injury that isn’t believed to be serious. He will be on the road against the NBA’s top defense, but I can’t get scared off due to a lack of options elsewhere.
Curry tends to be fairly matchup proof, and he’s been even more stable than Irving with 33+ fantasy points in every game he’s suited up in this season.
SG: Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors ($6.8k)
Eric Gordon loses some appeal with the return of Chris Paul, while Marcus Smart is inefficient and the only other realistic option beyond the top three shooting guards. James Harden takes the cake here, but if you’re worried about a blowout (and we should be), he isn’t worth the fuss.
Harden is probably the top play on this slate, but with CP3 back, it’s arguable he also loses some appeal even if this game stays close. That has me dropping to the two next best SG options and that process starts with Thompson.
Thompson is always in play when he’s priced under $7k and I like him even though he’s got a tough matchup on the road. The Dubs aren’t a team to be scared off of due to individual matchups, as they pass the ball around like crazy. Thompson will gets his looks and in what should be a close contest, has a shot at exceeding value.
SG: Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns ($7.6k)
I never feel great about Devin Booker just because I’ve been burned by him so many times. He and his Suns are also at risk of getting housed by the Rockets tonight. That being said, he’s been great lately, having produced 40+ fantasy points in three of his last four games.
Booker can be quite scoring dependent, but he shoulders a huge offensive workload and has tons of upside. He also has a fine matchup by the numbers, as Houston ranks just 23rd against shooting guards.
SF: Trevor Ariza – Houston Rockets ($6k)
I always want Kevin Durant when he’s on a slate, but he hasn’t been a must-own guy this year. His floor is fantastic, but his ceiling is not what we’ve come to expect. On the road against a tough defense, I’m not sure now is the time to take a stand and force KD into our lineups.
That has me dropping down at small forward, as the next best guy is T.J. Warren ($7.2k) and his volatility gets me off of him. Ariza isn’t any safer, but he’s a better price and could be in a groove with a season-high 20 points coming in his last outing.
The return of CP3 should lead to more open looks, as well. Ariza gets a bad Suns defense, which ranks just 15th at stopping small forwards.
SF: Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics ($6.2k)
I want most of my exposure to the Warriors vs. Celtics game, which carries a solid -7.5 spread. This game might be lower scoring than we’d prefer, but it should still be exciting and pretty competitive. Brown should be part of that, as he is an aggressive player and logs around 30 minutes each night.
Golden State is not a good matchup for Brown or most of the Celtics (6th best defense in the league), but at some point both teams will go small. Brown attacks and defends well, so we’re potentially getting solid value at this nice price tag. He doesn’t have an amazing ceiling, but with 26+ fantasy points in 8 of his last 9 games, he’s one of the safer options on the board.
PF: Ryan Anderson – Houston Rockets ($4.6k)
Rando is in play tonight, as he gets a nice matchup against a bad Suns defense and is a nice price. He can be erratic, but he excels on the road (14.6 points per game) compared to at home (7.3!).We need to save some salary in somes spots tonight no matter what type of lineup we want, so diving down to Anderson in this slot makes sense.
PF: Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics ($5.6k)
The way this showdown with the Dubs sets up, Tatum is looking at a huge workload. That’s already the case with 30+ minutes in each of his last four games where he was healthy, but if the Dubs push the pace, he could kill his perceived value.
Tatum always has the chance to do that due to his versatile skill-set and willingness to attack the basket. He can get his hands on all kinds of stats and tonight feels like an elite value play. Marcus Morris is $600 cheaper and certainly in play, but Tatum is more aggressive and plays more.
Fading Draymond Green is never ideal, but I don’t think we need him tonight. He’s a solid bet to get 35-40 fantasy points, but I like the odds of Rando and Tatum coming close to that mark, as well.
C: Alex Len – Phoenix Suns ($4.8k)
Normally I’d be fine with Al Horford or Clint Capela on a small slate, but they both feel inflated in terms of pricing given the other options we’re going to want.
Tyson Chandler is out tonight, too, which could allow for Len to start and get solid run:
Suns C Tyson Chandler won’t play tonight against the Rockets or tomorrow against the Lakers due to an illness.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 16, 2017
Greg Monroe is slated to debut for the Suns after being acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he’s expected to be limited. With Chandler out and Moose hopefully a non-factor, Lensanity could return nice value.