We had a pretty good feeling that you’d need DeMarcus Cousins to win last night and that was most certainly the case. The writing was on the wall for Boogie, who was returning home to take on the Kings and wasn’t going to have Anthony Davis with him.
Boogie’s return to Sacramento led to insanely high ownership and also produced a ridiculous 79-point fantasy line. Luckily we rostered him and Giannis Antetokoumpo, who continued to go nuts with 59 fantasy points of his own.
Some of our value picks didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, though. Malcolm Delaney (17 fantasy points) was the most annoying spare, while we had to adjust on the fly with Bulls forward Paul Zipser being ruled out for Thursday’s action. We did get some nice work from Jameer Nelson (32), Lauri Markkanen (27.9) and Zach Randolph (29), however.
Austin Rivers (20) gets a mulligan considering he got hurt last night and he and Delaney together limited our upside. We still found a way to cash with this lineup, so hopefully that was the same case for our loyal readers.
Things open up a little more to close out the week with Friday’s slate, which features a bit more star power on a solid 7-game slate. Let’s see which studs we need and which value picks make sense for tonight’s daily fantasy basketball FanDuel lineup:
PG: Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors ($9.5k)
All eyes will be on Russell Westbrook after his breakout game (66 fantasy points), but I think he’ll be down closer to 50 tonight. He has two stars on his team now, which takes away some of the volume he had a year ago.
Instead of soaking up a ton of our salary on Russ, we can save a whopping $2k and use Chef Curry. He’ll be at home in a high-paced showdown with the Wizards, who he wrecked last year. This is a good matchup for him and he’s been cooking with gas, topping his season high in fantasy points in every game so far this year.
He’s somewhere in the 45-50 fantasy point range but if he’s on, he could end up matching Russ. Either way, he gives us an elite option and saves us a ton of salary cap to be used elsewhere.
PG: Malcolm Delaney – Atlanta Hawks ($4k)
I’m not in love with point guard beyond the top three guys tonight. You can make a case for Kyle Lowry or Lonzo Ball at palatable price points, but I really don’t mind diving at the second PG slot. Delaney has been a bit of a sack despite getting heavy run, but a big game could be just around the corner.
We’re not vouching for some offensive explosion, though. Delaney will get run because Dennis Schroder is likely still out with an ankle issue and if he’s on the floor for 30+ minutes per game at $4k, we absolutely need to consider him. I also have mild interest in Ramon Sessions, Spencer Dinwiddie and Dejounte Murray if we’re looking to save but want a higher floor.
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr. – New York Knicks ($4.6k)
THJ has been abysmal but I’m open to trying him one last time. If he can’t get something going against the Brooklyn Nets, this may be the last time I use him this year. The Knicks are off to a sluggish start and he’s been dealing with an ankle issue, but literally everyone scores on the Nets these days.
The role, price and upside all work in our favor here, plus shooting guard is awfully weak after the first few options. This might be the position to punt tonight.
SG: Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves ($6.5k)
Jimmy Butler could be back tonight, but if he’s not, Wiggins may be a must. He ripped off 27 actual points in his first meeting with OKC and he could do something similar again. His price has simply dropped too low, so if Butler is out again, he feels like a must.
SF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors ($10.1k)
Small forward is utter garbage tonight, so I feel like we at least need to use KD. Durant actually lasted just two minutes in his lone showdown with the Wiz last time and this is his hometown team, so provided he doesn’t crumble to the ground again, I expect him to have a good game.
Durant is coming in at a mild discount when we look at the prices of some of the other studs and he’s about as safe as it gets (40+ fantasy points in every game this year). He also has loads of upside and really has yet to fully erupt this season, so that elite upside is always just dangling in front of us. Due to the nice price, his safety/upside and a lack of SF options, Durant is a must for me tonight in all formats.
SF: Shabazz Muhammad – Minnesota Timberwolves ($3.5k)
Small forward does open up slightly if Jimmy Butler (illness) is back, but I still am going to have some trust issues with him and Paul George potentially cancelling each other out. Butler being out certainly allows for PG-13 to have a big game, but I prefer KD’s reliability. That has us punting the other SF spot and if Jimmy sits, that means Shabazz Muhammad is in our crosshairs.
Bazz hasn’t been amazing in two straight starts, but he’s ridiculously cheap for a guy who could get about 30 minutes of run and hoist some shots. He’s a good offensive player, so as long as he’s on the floor he’s giving us a great chance to land a killer value. I don’t mind PG-13 here and a nice intermediate range guy could be Brandon Ingram ($5.6k), who has really been showing his upside as a scorer lately.
PF: Carmelo Anthony – Oklahoma City Thunder ($8k)
Melo has been rock solid to start the year, as we haven’t seen him notch fewer than 34 fantasy points in any game. He’s locked into a strong role and can also always pitch in a good rebounding effort as OKC’s power forward. He has a solid matchup against the Wolves tonight and put up a solid 35 fantasy points the last time he faced them.
I don’t love that Anthony’s price climbed a bit, but he’s much safer than any options below him and is a discount compared to some inflated prices at the top of the position. We can also consider Paul Millsap ($6.6k) at an awesome price, but he has just been too disappointing lately to have much confidence in.
PF: Frank Kaminsky – Charlotte Hornets ($5.4k)
We probably have to start considering the real possibility that Frank the Tank is busting out in his third NBA season. Kaminsky has been awesome to start the year and has rattled off 18+ actual points in three consecutive games.
Leave it to me to vouch for The Tank when he finally turns up lame, but the logic is there for a discounted Kaminsky to pay off. Kaminsky is at home tonight and will be mostly matched up with defensive sieve Ryan Anderson. That’s a plus, while Houston as a whole doesn’t defend the perimeter very well. I wouldn’t at all be shocked to see Kaminsky again crush value tonight.
C: Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets ($8.4k)
I really like Karl-Anthony Towns tonight, but he has yet to fully blow up and he technically has a tough matchup against Steven Adams tonight. He feels safe (about 40-45 fantasy points), but I like the discount we get with Jokic, who again showed his upside in his third game of the year. The Joker has had a slow overall start to this season, but he can do everything at a high level and takes on a bad Hawks team tonight.
For perspective, Atlanta allowed Robin Lopez to put up a 16-8-4-2 line on Thursday night. Just imagine what the far more talented Jokic can do.
Tonight’s main core is Curry, KD and Jokic. I think you can reshape your roster as needed, but I like starting with those three guys. I think the value compared to over-paying for Russ, Harden or KAT is going to be huge and the rest will depend on how our value picks shape out. Be sure to check up on injury and rotation news, as guys like Delaney, Monk and Shabazz could all lose their place here if things change.