My last stop on the NBA DFS trail was Saturday and it ended with a thud before it could even begin. I thought Kevin Love would be an interesting pivot off of Nikola Vucevic in GPPs and he was scratched right after lineups locked on FanDuel. I watched him burn a hole in a pretty good tourney team, while Vucevic had probably his best overall game of his entire career.
Fading Vucevic was my first mistake, but I actually picked some awesome value plays. Lance Thomas was a total whiff, but Dejounte Murray and Brandon Paul both topped 29 fantasy points and Ed Davis and Davis Bertans were at least somewhat serviceable. That all helped me stack LeBron James (68), James Harden (69) and Russell Westbrook (54) and had Love played and posted his usual production, I would have at least placed.
That was my third straight night of getting a team over 300+ fantasy points, only to see the linep fail to cash. That means there have been some wild nights lately and I don’t expect that to end tonight with another long list of studs hitting the court on Monday. James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook (among others) will be on the hardwood to start the new week and it will be interesting to see how this slate unfolds.
There is not a lot of killer value on this slate, so it’s possible you may have to take dives you really don’t want to or fade studs you love. For instance, one strategy may be to fade Kevin Durant and dive at SF just to open up salary elsewhere. It could be a contrarian move, but with KD now priced at $11.7k, it might be the play to make:
PG: Rajon Rondo – New Orleans Pelicans ($5.6k)
Assuming Rondo doesn’t randomly sit this game out, he feels like a must. There is not a lot of value on hand tonight and for his triple-double upside, he offers killer value at this price.
Rondo doesn’t have an amazing matchup against Chris Paul, but his game against the Rockets has a high Total. It’s a game you’ll want some exposure to and Rondo allows you to do it fairly cheaply. Just make sure he’s playing before you lock him in.
PG: Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics ($8.3k) Russell Westbrook is the top PG on the board, but he’s pretty pricey and has been erratic in terms of meeting value lately. I think I’d rather spend elsewhere and just take the value I get with Irving at a nice $8.3k price. Irving has a better matchup against the Bulls, who rank 30th in defensive efficiency and are just 23rd against the point guard position.
Update: Irving is out with a thigh bruise. That puts all Celtics options on the table, including Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart. I already vouched for Jaylen Brown earlier today but I also like Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. Horfy is questionable, though, and if he’s out Aron Baynes is a fun punt at center.
SG: Jrue Holiday – New Orleans Pelicans ($6.8k)
Jrue has to contend with The Brow and Boogie for touches, but that hasn’t stopped him from going on a tear lately. He’s been red hot with 27+ points in 3 of his last 4 games and gets a solid matchup against Houston tonight. The Rockets actually rank 5th in defensive efficiency, but they play so fast that their opponents still put up points.
Holiday comes in at a good price and will be low-owned due to the presence of three very tempting SG options ahead of him, so I like the potential value I can get here in a game with an explosive 228 Total.
Malik Monk ($3.5k) is an elite value pick if both Jeremy Lamb and Nicolas Batum (questionable) are out tonight.
Update: Monk is probably off the table with Lamb starting. I’m not sure how much I’d trust him since he’s banged up and facing a stingy OKC defense, however.
SG: C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers ($6.8k)
McCollum has been a real turd for me this year and I can’t seem to get on the right side of him. That being said, he’s involved in a potentially explosive showdown with the Dubs. Both of these teams are down a key player, so I’m expecting a fast-paced shootout with very little defense.
McCollum could be in for a big scoring night and he’s had great success in this matchup in the past. My only hope is he produces enough peripherals to smash this price tag.
SF: Josh Richardson – Miami Heat ($4.6k)
J-Rich is painful to roster at times, but due to his strong minutes, he’s a solid GPP try. I can’t imagine many will be on him, as he’s on the road against a solid Memphis defense (7th vs. SF) and he really doesn’t pan out that often.
None of that sounds encouraging, I know. However, Richardson has actually shown well lately on offense (12+ real life points in 5 of his last 6 games) and he has also logged 30+ minutes in each contest during that stretch. When the run is there, guys like Richardson are worth a shot and I’m taking that risk at a solid price point tonight.
SF: Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics ($5.5k)
Brown is logging around 30 minutes per game these days and if Marcus Morris is out again tonight, he feels like a must. The price is pretty good for a guy who has a versatile skill-set, while a date with Chicago’s poor defense (21st versus SF) also looks appealing.
PF: Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans ($10.6k)
The Brow is the best dollar for dollar stud on tonight’s slate. In-game injury, random late scratch or potential blowout aside, he’s my top stud due to a cheap price and a pretty good chance of him going low-owned. It will be interesting to see if more expensive studs drive his ownership up, but with 6 studs priced at $9k or more, I have to think his ownership doesn’t end up being too high.
Either way, the Rockets really don’t have anyone that can stop The Brow, as evidenced by his last game against them last year (33 points, 16 rebounds). Davis has scored at least 26 points in his last three meetings with the Rockets and I think he gets ignored a bit due to recent injury issues. Just make sure he’s playing with tonight being his second game of a back-to-back set.
Update: Brow was listed as questionable later in the day. Since he played last night, there’s a good chance he sits. If so, Boogie is the top stud tonight with Durant being a close second.
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu – Portland Trail Blazers ($5.3k)
AFA is very much in play tonight, as the Dubs love to go small and Portland pretty much has to with Jusuf Nurkic banged up. AFA was going to be an option, regardless, as he’s back to 30+ minutes and will be needed for his defense on both Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
This isn’t the best matchup, but Aminu is cheap and is in a game with a large Total. He should be pretty active and if he can add some point with his defensive stats, he has a chance to destroy this price tag.
C: Steven Adams – Oklahoma City Thunder ($6.5k)
Center isn’t a great position tonight, as DeMarcus Cousins ($12k) is the would-be top option, but he’s not really worth that price tag with a healthy Anthony Davis on the court. Marc Gasol ($8.3k) is probably my favorite stud here, but I’m not sure he’s necessary.
Adams is my top center play, dollar for dollar. His matchup against Dwight Howard isn’t ideal, but the guy has been smashing and has reached value in tougher matchups against Marc Gasol and Rudy Gobert. I like the value here and if Paul George sits again, his upside is through the roof.
Update: I still love Adams at this price, but the Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis news puts both Al Horford and DeMarcus Cousins in play as elite center options. Aron Baynes is also a fine punt if Horford is out.