For those of you keeping score, my DraftKings winning streak is now up to nine straight wins and my FanDuel losing streak has hit seven (thanks to an untimely Jon Leuer injury). Tonight the streak will be on hold since I won’t be playing cash games with only three games on the slate (and I encourage you to do the same), but we’ll pick it up again on Tuesday! Even if you do play cash games tonight, we are here to help at FTA (play Anthony “The Brow” Davis), and you can read the rest of my article by clicking the green button below. While you’re here, give our FTA+ premium service a try free for three days and gain access to our daily NBA cheatsheet with the top values available, as well as live chat with our analyst team and community. If you like what you see (we think you will), it’s only $0.50 per day for a monthly subscription. You can also follow me on twitter @jac3600.
Brow Time on a Short Slate | FanDuel Daily NBA 1/9
Russell Westbrook is the top play by far but is almost double the price of the next highest priced player on FD. Of the two studs, I actually think The Brow holds better value tonight, but you can’t go wrong with a triple-double machine and his insane 42.7% usage rate. The Bulls PG defense has been horrendous since Rajon Rondo fell out of the rotation as well.
If dropping down to the mid-tier, Derrick Rose and Jrue Holiday are the best options. The Pelicans and Knicks rank 26th and 19th against PGs, respectively, and the Knicks are dead last in overall defensive efficiency over the last seven games. Deron Williams is another good play against the Timberwolves who rank 27th against PGs, but J.J. Barea’s return muddies the minutes a little bit.
The best cheap option at the position is Michael Carter-Williams. He only played 16 minutes last game but OKC ranks 7th in pace and allows the 8th most FPPG to opposing PGs.
Man, the SG position is terrible tonight. Dwyane Wade is the “top” play despite dealing with multiple maladies. OKC ranks third against SGs but I imagine we’ll see Andre Roberson guarding Jimmy Butler and not Wade. Victor Oladipo is the best value, however, as he is still under 6k on FD. The matchup is neutral against SGs but Oladipo should safely be looking at 33-35 minutes in a competitive game.
Zach LaVine is another option. Dallas ranks 29th in pace and tenth against SGs, but LaVine has averaged a shade under 39 minutes per game in December and January. All games are expected to be close so there’s not much blowout risk anywhere. The trio of New Orleans guards (Evans, Hield, Moore) are all viable at cheap prices as well, as is Courtney Lee who has averaged 35.5 MPG since returning from injury.
Jimmy Butler’s rates have increased across the board with Rajon Rondo out of the rotation but his price has adjusted as a result, and $9600 is a bit rich for me (although every top play is viable on days like this). Butler will likely get Andre Roberson assigned to him defensively which introduces enough downside for me to mostly pass.
Carmelo Anthony looks like a much more sensible play at $7900 but keep in mind he’s battling a shoulder injury and the Knicks are playing their fourth game in six days (another reason the Brow is such a good play tonight). Melo does get a very nice matchup against the Pelicans who rank 19th against SFs. Andrew Wiggins is the best complement to Melo as he’s still underpriced on FD at $6400 and Dallas ranks 22nd in overall defense despite slowing down the pace of the game immensely.
Two SFs on a three-game slate is rather cruel, but you can conceivably punt one of the spots with Andre Roberson (low per-minute guy but a lot of minutes) and Doug McDermott (high per-minute guy, but volatile minutes). McDermott would be a preferred target if Wade were out.
UPDATE – Jimmy Butler is a GTD with an illness. If he’s out, McDermott is a must play and so is Dwayne Wade who sees his usage balloon from 24.5% to 38.6% with Butler off the floor. Nikola Mirotic would also get a significant boost as well, and Denzel Valentine is a candidate for minutes if he plays.
Anthony Davis is one guy I want to lock in on most of my teams tonight (and he’s who I think you should build around if you decide to play cash). The Knicks allow the most FPPG to opposing centers (where Brow gets most of his minutes) and also allow the fourth most blocks per game. On 12/30, the Knicks were “brow-beaten” (get it?) by Davis to the tune of 23 points and 18 boards, and he was about 3-4 minutes below his seasonal mark in that game. Davis ranks fifth in the league in PER.
Davis has to be coupled with a cheap play to counter his price tag. Gorgui Dieng doesn’t have much ceiling but has by far the safest floor due to his easy access to 35 minutes. Dirk Nowitzki is a lot more volatile with Dallas managing his minutes, but he played 30 last game which is more than enough to pay off his $5200 price tag and he is a much better fantasy producer. Nikola Mirotic would see a nice boost in minutes and usage if Jimmy Butler were to be ruled out.
Finally, Kristaps Porzingis should be very low owned (or as low owned as he can be on a three-game slate) with people likely coupling the Brow with a cheap player. KP is seeing his rates balloon as the balance of power shifts to him on the Knicks, and New Orleans allows the fourth most FPPG to opposing PFs.
Donatas Motiejunas is an option as a pure punt as he played 20 minutes last game in his debut for the Pelicans.
Karl-Anthony Towns is the obvious top choice at center, but it’s tough to roster him with Davis and Westbrook being higher priorities (it’ll be easier if Bulls values open up). Dallas ranks 13th in defensive efficiency against centers but they rank dead last in rebounding rate by a pretty wide margin and Towns (like him Minnesota teammates) is locked into heavy minutes.
After Towns, the dropoff is huge as Steven Adams is the next highest-priced center at $5900. That’s a bit expensive for him but he should be tasked into heavy minutes against Chicago who plays very big (and may play bigger if Butler sits). I’m more prone to look Joakim Noah’s way even though his minutes are all over the place (29, 33, 31, 20, 21 last five games). He may not hit 25 minutes again as New Orleans tends to play small, but they do rank 24th against centers and 29th in rebounding rate.
A similar value to Noah is Andrew Bogut who is even cheaper. Minnesota ranks well against opposing bigs and is elite in rebounding rate, but those facts should ensure Bogut gets more minutes to try and counter the Twin Towers of Dieng and Towns.