Tuesday offers a light three-game daily fantasy basketball slate, which should have everyone focusing on GPP lineups. Whether that steers you clear of cash games completely is up to you, but considering how easy it is to get these slates wrong, tournaments seem like the way to go.
No matter what type of NBA DFS contest you play, there doesn’t seem to be a way around rostering James Harden. He’s an absurd $12.5k on FanDuel, but he’s far and away the top stud on a slate that carries banged up stars into the night.
Two lineups could be in order tonight, though. Harden is a must in cash games and most tournaments, but with Kyrie Irving possibly back, it stands to reason that stacking your DFS roster and hoping for an average Harden outing could be a solid direction to go.
Believe me, I’m well aware Harden is the chalkiest play there ever was tonight. However, if he’s going to be over 60% owned in GPPs and he fails to deliver, we could get an insane edge on the field. I’ll be rostering Harden in 99% of FanDuel games tonight, but let’s go over a fun lineup that doesn’t include the most expensive player on the board:
PG: Yogi Ferrell – Dallas Mavericks ($4.3k)
My gut instinct here is Spencer Dinwiddie and with D’Angelo Russell out, he’s a must for cash games and most tourneys. However, for this specific GPP lineup, there are some guys I want to fit in and Yogi might be necessary to help make that happen.
The good news is depending on where you differentiate your own lineup, you could also consider Dinwiddie for $1.5k more, or guys like Patty Mills and DeJounte Murray in the same price range. I actually love Ferrell, though. San Antonio only ranks 17th against shooting guards this year and Ferrell has been starting with Dallas running out smaller lineups.
Ferrell isn’t the most reliable DFS option, but he starts and looks locked into a roughly 30-minute role. Considering how any other point guard you try in this price range is going to be hit or miss, trying Ferrell makes plenty of sense.
PG: Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics ($8.5k)
The main reason I want Ferrell is so I can get Kyrie, who faces a bad Nets defense that ranks 27th against point guards. Irving suffered a mild facial fracture and missed a game, but he’s set to wear a mask and should be active tonight.
Obviously if Irving is out or limited, we can’t use him. If he’s playing, though, we need to take advantage of this matchup and use him as one of our studs to make up for not rostering Harden. It’s not crazy to think he could notch 50+ fantasy points if this game stays close.
SG: Eric Gordon – Houston Rockets ($6.3k)
Toronto ranks just 24th versus shooting guards, so I can see the interest in Harden. However, Harden runs the point and has the more difficult matchup with Kyle Lowry likely guarding him. I’m not sure the Raptors stifle him, but it could help keep him from going nuts.
Either way, Gordon is a fine drop down, as he’s at home and in the same system with what looks to be a better matchup. Gordon has also been quite reliable with Chris Paul sidelined, as he’s churned out 27+ fantasy points in four of his last six games. He hasn’t dipped below 21 fantasy points all year, either, so while he doesn’t always have an amazing ceiling, his huge role actually gives him an outstanding floor.
SG: DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors ($8.1k)
Harden could go crazy again tonight, but if he doesn’t, there’s a chance his production ends up being very similar to DMR’s. DeRozan is in a solid spot against the Rockets, who rank just 19th against opposing shooting guards. DMR retains a huge role, as well, and has been pretty solid lately with 31+ fantasy points in each of his last five games.
DMR hasn’t been the same scorer he was last year, but he’s really not that far off. If he can throw down as a scorer tonight and chip in a few extra peripherals, he could blow away this price tag and make fading Harden the right call.
SF: Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics ($6.2k)
We are without a doubt going to want to target Celtics options tonight, which is something you’ll want to do anytime the atrocious Brooklyn defense hits the court. The Nets run fast and don’t defend well, which naturally is a fun combination for opposing NBA DFS options.
The matchup and tempo favor Brown, but he’s also a decent price and a highly versatile player. That, and small forward is utter trash tonight.
SF: DeMarre Carroll – Brooklyn Nets ($6.2k)
Harrison Barnes would in theory by a solid play tonight, but the Mavs tend to run small and that’d put him on LaMarcus Aldridge at both ends of the floor. That’s not ideal, so unless we catch wind of Dallas running out a bigger lineup and putting Barnes at the three, I don’t have a ton of interest.
I suspect DeMarre Carroll will put up similar production, anyways, while he faces a Boston defense that is great overall, but ranks just 18th against small forwards. That’s a fine matchup on paper, while Carroll has been pretty steady with 24+ fantasy points in 5 of his last 6 games. Trevor Ariza could be just as good and is $500 less, but I feel better about Carroll on this slate.
PF: Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics ($5.1k)
The pricing difference between Tatum and Marcus Morris is not big and from my experience, the rook is already the way more reliable NBA DFS option.
Tatum has a versatile skill-set and attacks the basket, while Morris tends to settle for long jumpers. Either could work out swimmingly against a bad Nets defense, but I prefer the safety and upside Tatum provides.
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs ($8.7k)
Ridge is pricey, but power forward is a wasteland tonight. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is too pricey at $7.5k, while we’re taking too deep of dives with the likes of Serge Ibaka, Ryan Anderson and Marcus Morris. Ridge should be the top scoring PF on this slate and he faces a weak Dallas defense that ranks 22nd against his position.
Spurs options are risky due to a potential blowout, but this game is on the road and Vegas doesn’t love that narrative (-6 spread). We can double down on some Spurs options tonight.
C: Pau Gasol – San Antonio Spurs ($6.6k)
I don’t love the price we’re paying for Gasol, but he starts and can log up to 30 minutes in any given contest. He also went off in his last game (47 fantasy points) and faces a Dallas defense that ranks 23rd against opposing centers.
Gasol isn’t the most reliable option on most slates, but with three games handed to us, I don’t mind using a middle of the road option. Al Horford ($7.8k) is probably too pricey for my liking and the same can probably be said for Clint Capela at $7.5k. I don’t know if I can trust Jonas Valanciunas, either, as his run is all over the place and the Rockets like to roll out smaller lineups at times.
Again, I’m not advocating a complete fade of Harden. He’s easily the best player on the board and needs to be in your cash lineups and most tourney entries. That being said, he sometimes doesn’t deliver those gaudy lines we expect and if he doesn’t tonight, you’ll want a lineup or two without him. Hedge your bets on a small slate with a lineup that resembles the one we just built here at The Sports Geek.