You weren’t getting very far in daily fantasy basketball without Stephen Curry (68 fantasy points) and/or Joel Embiid (73) on Thursday night. The NBA returned in full force with a six-game slate and my NBA DFS picks did not include two of the best performers.
That was pretty disappointing, especially considering I paid up for Russell Westbrook and LeBron James. Neither were utter trash, but they didn’t even top 60 fantasy points, so I was behind the eight ball early on.
I did have a few solid picks, however. David Nwaba (39) was an elite value play, while D’Angelo Russell (31) and Lou Williams (40) both worked out. Carmelo Anthony (28) wasn’t a total disaster, either.
Kris Dunn (22) wasn’t what I’d hoped last night, while Frank Kaminsky (18) was another bust. Cristiano Felicio offered high hopes with his insertion into the starting lineup, but he logged just 12 minutes and gave way to a huge night with Bobby Portis getting most of Chicago’s center minutes.
It was not an ideal return to the NBA DFS scene, but Friday promises better results with a huge 11-game slate to work with. I always take a GPP stance, but tonight there should be enough value to really aim high. Let’s see what kind of lineup my favorite studs and value plays get me at FanDuel tonight:
PG: Dennis Smith Jr. – Dallas Mavericks ($7k)
I want a piece of the last game of the night, simply because the Lakers love to push the pace. DSJ hasn’t been amazing lately, but he’s found success as a scorer against L.A. (18.5 points per game) and I think in an up tempo setting he could be a fantastic play.
Point guard feels like a good spot to pay down tonight, but starting up top with Damian Lillard, it’s certainly a position with plenty of options. Kyrie Irving ($7.9k) is probably my favorite value, but DSJ helps me get the team I want and I think he has a shot at 40+ fantasy points tonight.
PG: Austin Rivers – Los Angeles Clippers ($5.6k)
The same could be the case for Rivers, who gets tons of run with the Clippers and has a dream date with a terrible Suns defense. Rivers has safely topped 31+ minutes in each of his last five contests and has also put up 24+ fantasy points in four of those five outings.
He hasn’t exploded in a while, but a showdown with the worst defense in the league should rectify that. Rivers is averaging over 25 fantasy points per game across two previous meetings with Phoenix and those games came with Blake Griffin still on the roster. I like his chances to pop off a bit tonight and crush this cheap price tag.
SG: DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors ($7.9k)
DMR likes playing the Bucks, as he’s put up 38+ fantasy points in both showdowns with Milwaukee this year and even poured in a career high 52 points against them earlier this year. I won’t demand a career effort again, but he plays his best ball at home and anytime you can get him under $8k I think you’re getting elite value.
DeRozan isn’t the stud he was last year, but he’s still good for 38+ fantasy points per game and has had success in this matchup. If he can get something somewhere in the middle of his first two meetings with Milwaukee, he’ll be well worth the price.
SG: Lou Williams – Los Angeles Clippers ($7k)
Using Sweet Lou may be contingent on Danilo Gallinari sitting out tonight. Gallo is actually the better value ($6.3k) if he suits up, but Williams is in for a massive role if he and/or Avery Bradley are out tonight. The Suns are obviously a cakewalk matchup, too, so it’s also arguable Williams is a fine play, regardless.
I want Gallo out to clinch this pick for me, but the Suns can’t defend and this figures to be a pretty fast-paced contest. Williams has been extremely safe for months now, so you’re looking at a floor of 28+ fantasy points and a ceiling of 40-50 fantasy points if he can get hot. I like Clippers options tonight, so naturally I’m banking on him firing away.
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks ($10.8k)
The Greek Freak is my chosen stud for tonight, as I think Milwaukee’s battle with Toronto could end up being one of the better games of the night. That, and Giannis offers a little more value than LeBron James and he also offers as much upside as anyone.
The only other studs I’d really consider are James Harden and Anthony Davis, but Giannis can match their ceilings and he saves you money. Even if he doesn’t go completely nuts, he has an awesome floor and is a solid bet to hit 45-50 fantasy points. He’s put up 45+ fantasy points per game across two meetings with Toronto, so I think he can get that and then some tonight.
SF: T.J. Warren – Phoenix Suns ($6k)
I am mildly interested in dropping way down to Trevor Ariza ($4.4k) in his first game back from injury. He can be shaky and his minutes aren’t a lock, but if you can get this guy at $4.4k and he gets even close to 30 minutes, it’s going to be hard to pass up.
For now, I’m not totally locked into that dive, so I’ll snatch up Warren, who is an equally tempting value. Phoenix is at full strength on the wing now and that could limit his upside, but he’s still a dangerous scorer and a date with the Clippers (21st against small forwards) offers some upside.
He’s safely topped 30 fantasy points against the Clippers this year, too, so I think he’s shaping up as one of the best value plays on Friday’s NBA DFS slate.
PF: Taj Gibson – Minnesota Timberwolves ($5.4k)
Power forward has two studs up top in LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin, but I see PF as a great spot to pay down tonight. I like the value I can get with Taj, who is always a threat to chase a double-double thanks to his elite court time.
Minnesota is still handing him huge minutes and he blew up in his last game with over 46 fantasy points. A date with the Rockets isn’t ideal on paper, but Minnesota is going to play hard in this one and Gibson will be needed at both ends. I don’t love his upside, but I think he’s got a fairly safe floor as long as this game stays relatively close.
PF: John Collins – Atlanta Hawks ($5.5k)
Collins is the other cheap big man I’m eyeing, as he should be locked into a prominent role with the Hawks trying to assess some of their young talent. The return of a healthy Ersan Ilyasoa could still complicate matters, but Collins feels like a threat to log anywhere from 22-30 minutes, either way.
He’s a talented young big that brings some nice upside to the table, so long as he can avoid foul trouble. Considering he logged 31 minutes and posted a double-double (31 fantasy points) despite not being able to do that in his last game against Detroit, I’m willing to take on some risk here.
C: Alex Len – Phoenix Suns ($4.5k)
Center is loaded tonight and like everyone else, I’ll be thinking of ways to safely cram Anthony Davis into my lineups. He should see a lot of Hassan Whiteside, though, so maybe this isn’t the matchup to go all in with him. In that same breath, Whiteside should get the green light for loads of run in this one.
I love a lot of centers tonight, as Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns are both under $10k and Myles Turner ($7k) offers strong value. Nobody offers more value and upside than Lensanity, though. He should again be looking at a monster role with Tyson Chandler doubtful to suit up tonight, while he went off for 46 fantasy points in his last outing.
That epic outing came against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz of all teams, so I’m not worried too much about tonight’s matchup against DeAndre Jordan.
Overall, there are a lot of options to look at on a huge 11-game slate. I do want to keep my roster as balanced as possible, but I think paying for at least one elite at SF is pretty necessary. I’d try to fit in more studs, but I actually love DMR and Sweet Lou tonight. Things could change and open up more based on injury news, but for now this looks like a solid GPP roster.
Let me know in the comments if you love/hate these picks or feel free to share your own. Regardless, I wish you luck in daily fantasy basketball contests tonight at FanDuel!