NBA scheduling is really annoying. After a massive 12-game slate on Wednesday, we drop all the way down to a puny 2-game daily fantasy basketball slate tonight. That should eliminate the possibility of cash games and put most everyone on even footing.
Just two games means only four teams are in action and everyone will be eyeing the same studs and value plays. That forces us to find logical spots to differentiate, that will both give us an edge in ownership, as well as in points.
That’s not easy to do on such a small slate (if it was, we’d all be rich), but we see a few spots that could help produce a winner at FanDuel tonight. Let’s dive in:
PG: Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers ($7k)
Damian Lillard is on fire and is going to be highly owned after wrecking in two straight games. I want him as much as everyone else, but his season averages are similar to Stephen Curry’s and there’s a decent chance Ball can come close to matching him in a fast-paced showdown.
Ball hasn’t popped off as a scorer in some time, so I think he’s due to come around a bit in that department. Either way, he racks up rebounds, assists, blocks and steals as good as anyone, so he comes in with a really nice floor. I just don’t think pairing Steph and Dame is the winning path tonight, so dropping from one to Ball makes a lot of sense.
PG: Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors ($9.5k)
If I trusted Dejounte Murray’s minutes at all, he’d be the guy we’re diving for at $4.6k instead of Lonzo Ball. That isn’t really the case, however, so I’m left picking between Curry and Lillard as my top point guard option.
There is a decent chance Dame is higher owned when it’s all said and done, as he has the better matchup and has been a bit more explosive as of late. These guys are basically the same NBA DFS player, though, so I’ll just save the $300 and hope Curry comes in at a lower ownership. If so, I could get a big tourney edge if Ball pays off.
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Los Angeles Lakers ($5k)
KCP can be a frustrating guy to roster, as he can be a very erratic scorer. He still has a solid role with the Lakers, though, and has upside in an up tempo matchup with Portland. He’s going to be needed to help slow down Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, so I like his value here tonight.
Shooting guard has two viable options up top, but we need to think long and hard about fading both McCollum and Klay Thompson. Both tend to do little else beyond scoring and both should face quality defenders tonight.
SG: Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors ($6.8k)
I don’t hate the idea of dropping down to Danny Green ($5k) or Jordan Clarkson ($3.9k) to open things up elsewhere, but those guys can spare us to no end. Clarkson’s run is just all over the place, while Green is the type of player who can log 40 minutes and produce 5 fantasy points.
I’m not down for that slow of a burn on this slate, so I’ll bank on the Dubs showing up in a big game against the Spurs. Thompson could be part of that, tough matchup aside.
SF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors ($9.9k)
Small forward is probably the worst position on this small slate, so we need to pay up for KD and not think twice. We could fade and use a pairing like Rudy Gay and Brandon Ingram, but how is feeling good about that? Durant might be 90% owned on this slate and something tells me we won’t survive not using him.
SF: Evan Turner – Portland Trail Blazers ($4.9k)
Turner never excites me, as he’s a bench player who tends to be erratic. That being said, he’s actually locked into a really stable role and he’s a guy who gets his hands on a lot of stats. A really nice matchup with a bad Lakers defense bodes well for him, while a blowout would hand him more run than usual.
PF: Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers ($4.6k)
Everyone wants the top options at every spot, but it’s just not something that is feasible on this tiny slate. That means we have to pick and choose or fade the top options at a position or two. We certainly will do that with at least one PF spot and going down to Kuzma feels like the answer to that.
Kuzma continues to get a ton of run as a consistent scorer with the second unit and his role makes him safe in the event of a blowout loss, too. He has been shooting the ball extremely well and has grown into a fairly steady DFS performer. We can expect 20+ fantasy points here and hope for 30+.
PF: Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers ($4.7k)
I obviously would prefer the upside of guys like LaMarcus Aldridge and Draymond Green, but this isn’t an ideal matchup for either side and I don’t know if I want to pay up to see those guys get me 22-26 fantasy points. Instead, we can use Randle, who has inconsistent run but has been pretty explosive in limited duty.
Randle is also going to be blowout proof, as he operates off the bench. He could pay off if the Lakers hang tight and if they don’t, he might end up being the top value play of the entire slate.
C: Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers ($7.4k)
I’m mildly concerned about fatigue for Blazers, as they lost an intense OT battle with the Jazz last night. That could have them tired and perhaps some will be rested. Even so, I don’t see a way around Nurkic, as center is trash on this short two-game slate.
The only other guys we can seriously look at are Brook Lopez and Pau Gasol, and neither has reliable playing time. Nurkic crushed it last night (45 fantasy points) and feels necessary when building out our teams tonight.