Wednesday feels like a nice spot to go studless in daily fantasy basketball. There are undeniably many routes to consider on a loaded 11-game slate, but in the end, it may make more sense to opt for the balanced path.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and a slew of elite options head a jam-packed night of NBA DFS action, but the matchups for some of the studs are less than ideal. The Greek Freak himself will be tasked with dealing with a tough Pistons defense, while the twin towers in New Orleans (Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins) will take on a problematic Raptors defense that has the size and toughness to go to war.
I’m not saying we flat out can’t use these guys, but due to their prices, it might make sense to look for alternative options. You’re going to have to bite the bullet somewhere when it comes to cash games, but for GPPs, we can gamble on a few of these studs not meeting expectations.
PG: Mario Chalmers – Memphis Grizzlies ($3.6k)
FanDuel’s pricing continues to back us into a corner, but one spot where we can save tonight potentially is point guard with Chalmers. Mike Conley has been dealing with a sore Achilles and is questionable to suit up. If he’s out, Chalmers would be in for a huge role as the starting point guard.
Chalmers starting and getting around 30 minutes would make him an uber chalk play across all formats and we can’t fade him at this price. Just make sure Conley is out before you lock him into your lineup.
PG: Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers ($7.3k)
I could still go in a number of directions at the point guard spot, as Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, Ricky Rubio, Dennis Schroder and even Eric Bledsoe all have some appeal. I don’t mind capping the night with Ball, though, as the talented rookie brings a versatile skill-set up against the Sixers.
Philly ranks just 16th against opposing point guards, while the ongoing feud between Ball and Joel Embiid could spark a big game from the young point guard.
SG: Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz ($6.2k)
Mitchell has a huge load now despite being a rookie and with some extra offensive touches available due to Rudy Gobert’s injury, his production should only get more stable. Mitchell is on the road and can be erratic, but he’s also a decent price for how explosive he can be. The Knicks don’t defend the shooting guard spot very well (16th in the league), so there is a chance at some serious upside in this one.
Fine pivots include Andrew Wiggins ($6.2k) and Kris Dunn ($6.1k), who is slated to start with Justin Holiday out tonight.
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Los Angeles Lakers ($4.7k)
Rule number one in NBA DFS is you can’t use every player. That means we often need to pick our spots and take some stands. Shooting guard absolutely has a string of solid options up top, but there also isn’t anybody we necessarily need to pay for.
I think paying down at both SG spots makes a lot of sense and KCP faces a Philly defense that ranks 27th against the position.
SF: Jimmy Butler – Minnesota Timberwolves ($7.6k)
There are two elite small forwards on this slate, but they’re ridiculously expensive. Given the way two guys beneath them have been playing, I think fading them could be quite profitable. Butler starts that narrative off, as he’s finding a groove within Minnesota’s offense and has topped 40+ fantasy points in two straight outings.
Butler will be at home and does face a tough Spurs defense, but with no Kawhi Leonard to drape him, I’m not concerned. Butler should get his and he’s continued to have solid peripherals, so I suspect he crushes this price tag tonight.
SF: Paul George – Oklahoma City Thunder ($9k)
Is there a changing of the guard in OKC? There might be, as PG-13 has sounded off for 42 and 37 actual points in his last two contests. I don’t know if that sticks and George’s price is steep, but if he can keep this up, we’d be foolish to pay more than $2k extra to upgrade over him.
The matchup is certainly there, as PG-13 will be at home against a bad Bulls team that ranks just 24th against small forwards. Everything looks good for George in this spot, while both LeBron James and Giannis are way more expensive and have more difficult matchups.
PF: Dario Saric – Philadelphia 76ers ($4.5k)
There is only so much viable value available to us tonight, but Saric is probably my third and final dive I’m really interest in. Overall, Chalmers leads the way, KCP feels necessary at a weak position and Saric closes things up due to a nice role in the starting unit.
As long as he stays in that starting five with Markelle Fultz out, Saric has a shot at crushing this price tag. He’s seeing close to 30 minutes most nights and can rebound and shoot the lights out. In a plus matchup with a weak Lakers defense, he could be one of the best value picks on the board.
PF: Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks ($9.3k)
I’ll admit I’m not fully decided on my main PF play tonight. I’m not scared of Utah in this matchup, though. Ridge is appealing at $8.3k and he wrecked Minnesota early this year, but the Spurs could be tired after playing Dallas last night. I also don’t love the idea of paying so much cash for The Brow, who didn’t fare that well against Toronto’s interior defense last time around.
All rounds could lead to the Unicorn, who has monster usage and seems to pay off almost every time out. We’re basically getting Anthony Davis at a discount, albeit Zinger isn’t quite as elite most nights. Still, with no Rudy Gobert to worry about and this game at the Madison Square Garden, I don’t mind penciling in Porzingis as my main stud.
C: Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies ($7.5k)
Gasol hasn’t been elite lately (which is why his price has dropped), but he hasn’t been useless, either. The talented big man has at least eclipsed the 30+ fantasy point threshold in every game but one this year and the only time he did so, he still registered 27 fantasy points.
The point here is Gasol does have some upside, but he’s also a great price and has a fantastic floor. The potential absence of Mike Conley hypothetically puts a bigger scoring load on his shoulders tonight, while a date with the Pacers (23rd at stopping centers) looks favorable.