It was a solid night to start the week, with mega profits on all three sites. Tonight we’ll look to keep it going with a seven-game main slate, and there’s a chance this article will be rendered useless soon as a lot of moving parts (injury-wise) are happening tonight. FTA+ offers state-of-the-art projection systems and live chat all day at some of the best rates around the industry, so what are you waiting for? Give us a free trial now, and make sure to follow me on twitter @jac3600.
FANDUEL TOP POINT GUARD
Russell Westbrook, OKC ($11,900)
Westbrook is priced up there on FD, but you’re paying for someone who has triple-doubled in three straight and is averaging one on the season still. Orlando has really started to dip defensively, as they’ve fallen to 23rd in overall defensive efficiency and 25th against opposing PGs. OKC has the second highest implied total on the slate as of now (although I’m sure the late games with no spreads yet will pass them), and the five-point spread should ensure 36+ minutes for Westy. If you’re wary of Harden with Chris Paul back, Westbrook is the top spend (and wait till you see his price on DK).
Other options – Ben Simmons
Mid-tier options – Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn, Eric Bledsoe, Tomas Satoransky
FANDUEL TOP SHOOTING GUARD
James Harden, HOU ($13,900)
I’ll be honest – at this moment I’m not sure how I feel about Harden. Chris Paul’s return didn’t derail him at all last game, as the Beard put up another 40-point game en route to 69 FDP. That doesn’t mean Paul won’t get more minutes and usage today, which could make it difficult for Harden to pay off his full tag. I’m still OK with paying up given Houston has the highest implied total by almost ten points right now, and New Orleans plays at the sixth highest pace while ranking 23rd against guards. It’s just hard to justify the price tag when Westbrook is 2k less.
Other options – Bradley Beal, D’Angelo Russell, Devin Booker
Mid-tier options – Zack LaVine, Khris Middleton
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID GUARDS
Harden is a better value on DK, but he’s also easier to pass up here as Westbrook is a core cash play for me at only $10,600. At this price tag, he only needs about 52 points to hit value and his DK AVERAGE is five points higher than that. Throw in the double- and triple-double bonuses and Westbrook should be at least $1000 more. Bradley Beal ($9200) is also a much better value on DK facing off against a Cleveland squad that ranks last in defensive efficiency and has been last against guards the entire year. Beal is playable in all formats. Keep an eye on Julius Randle’s status again, as Jrue Holiday ($8600) would be vastly underpriced for a role that didn’t include Randle, Davis, Mirotic, and Moore. As of now, Randle looks like he’s trending towards playing (which is good, because we want him today). Another name to keep an eye on DK is Jimmy Butler, whose $6900 price tag is too cheap if he plays with no restrictions. Rajon Rondo is priced in the mid-tier at $6700, but he’s averaged 39 minutes per game along with means of 12/5/12. He’s not a super value, but a solid cash floor play.
Shabazz Napier ($5100/$4900) looks to be matchup-proof in his new “Dinwiddie role” with the Nets, as he was super efficient in 26 minutes against the Celtics yesterday. He looks safely locked into minutes between 26 and 28, and the Bulls rank 22nd against PGs while (more importantly) allowing the second most bench points in the league. Lost in the whole Harden/Chris Paul usage saga is Eric Gordon ($5500/$5000) who still played 36 minutes despite sharing the floor with both Paul and Harden. With Clint Capela out, Houston has preferred to run much smaller lineups, and Gordon should continue seeing heavy run. The matchup is great for him, and he’s especially valuable on DK where he gets 3PM bonuses. A fun punt option to keep in mind tonight is Luke Kennard ($3700/$3500). Reggie Bullock is doubtful for tonight which should give Kennard minutes in the upper 20s even if he doesn’t start. Milwaukee ranks first in overall team defense but they’ve also allowed the most 3PA in the league. Kennard has very quietly averaged 0.83 FPPM this season.
Other options – Reggie Jackson, Derrick White, Bryn Forbes, Elie Okobo, Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wayne Selden
FANDUEL TOP SMALL FORWARD
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11,400)
This is an interesting matchup for Giannis as Detroit ranks 12th in rebounding rate but also really struggles to defend the interior. Giannis was technically held in check last game against the Pistons as he only posted 44.1 FD points with just eight rebounds. However, Milwaukee blew out Detroit in that game and Giannis only logged 26 minutes. He’s averaging 1.85 FPPM over his last ten games, and transcends any matchup. I’d rather spend elsewhere in cash, though.
Other options – Paul George
Mid-tier options – Otto Porter, Trevor Ariza, Brandon Ingram
FANDUEL TOP POWER FORWARD
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA ($8800)
DeMar DeRozan is already ruled out for this game, an Aldridge has posted a 29% UR in DDR’s absence this season. The Spurs have been running the offense through him lately as he’s taken 20 or more shots in four of his last five games, and he gets a date with Phoenix who ranks 27th in overall team defense and 29th in rebounding rate. They also allow the fourth most blocks per 48 minutes, and Aldridge has room for value at this price tag. He’s someone I’m looking to prioritize tonight.
Other options – Blake Griffin, Julius Randle
Mid-tier options – Kenneth Faried, Lauri Markkanen, Aaron Gordon, Kyle Kuzma
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID FORWARDS
On FanDuel, Aldridge ranks ahead of Julius Randle where they’re priced the same, but Randle is $900 cheaper on DraftKings and is the clear better value. Randle has a 31% UR, 16% RR, and 19% AR without Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic on the court, and he’ll take on a Houston team whose biggest player is Kenneth Faried at 6’8″ (and I think that’s being generous). Houston is getting decimated on the boards without Capela, and Randle should have a monster game. He’s a lock for me on DK. Kyle Kuzma ($6800) is a much better value on FD at $6400, but he’s also fine on DK as long as he returns to play tonight. Kuzma is the go-to player on offense without LeBron, and Rondo’s return helps him space the floor better. Philly also ranks 26th against opposing PFs. Giannis ($10,700) is also a better value on DK than he is on FD, but I’s much prefer Westbrook for $100 less. Kenneth Faried ($6300) is aggressively priced on FD, but he’s still too cheap on DK and can be rostered in all formats.
Rudy Gay ($6000/$5900) has to be the first name considered here as he’ll once again take on a major role with DeRozan out. Gay sees an incredible 7% usage boost with DeRozan off the court and the matchup can’t get much better against the Suns. It bears mentioning that Gay did lose time to the blowout against Washington last game and this game could go the same way, but I think Gay is priced cheaply enough where you can roster him safely. He’s a better value on FD. Richaun Holmes ($5000/$4700) is a name you’re going to hear a lot in chat tonight. DeAndre Ayton is already out for tonight which leaves a ton of upside for Holmes. He didn’t start last game, but logged 26 minutes off the bench and that was enough for him to go nuts with over 40 FPS. The matchup is average against the Spurs who are 16th against PFs, and Holmes averages 1.20 FPPM. He’s a player you want to heavily target, especially if he starts. With E’Twaun Moore sitting for “rest” (trade block), Darius Miller and Solomon Hill are usable as punts, but I’d restrict that use to FD where you can drop them if they bust. They gain a little more upside if Julius Randle misses another game.
Other options – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Cedi Osman, Wilson Chandler, Davis Bertans, Larry Nance, Jeff Green, Ed Davis
FANDUEL TOP CENTER
Joel Embiid, PHI ($11,600)
Center is AWFUL on FanDuel tonight. The top options are all either overpriced or in bad matchups (or both). Embiid’s aggressive price tag is not something I want for cash, but he’s the only top play that has a good matchup. More on him in the DK section, where he’s a value.
Other options – Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond
Mid-tier options – Steven Adams, Jahlil Okafor, Jarrett Allen (even these guys are overpriced)
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID CENTERS
OK, we can breathe a little easier on DK where the position is a little less aggressively priced. Embiid ($10,200) is more than usable in all formats here as he faces the Lakers who are fourth in pace, 17th in rebounding rate, and 23rd against centers. As long as he has no restrictions, Embiid should feast. The next best center options are the guys mentioned in the PF section (Randle, Faried, Aldridge), but I’ll also throw a line to Andre Drummond here. The matchup against Milwaukee is terrible for Drummond as the Bucks rank third in rebounding rate, and Brook Lopez is notorious for disrupting stay-at-home centers like Drummond when he drags them around the perimeter. All that said, Drummond’s price tag is super friendly on DK at $8500, and I like him in GPPs.
On FD right now, my plan is to simply punt with Pau Gasol at the minimum price. Gasol only played nine minutes last game but he got 22 against the Pelicans the night before and destroyed his value threshold with 31.9 FD points. I’m willing to embrace this risk and call him my dropped player, and there are outs for him to succeed against a soft Phoenix interior. He’s also playable in GPPs on DK at $3100. Jarrett Allen ($6800/$5600) is also a player you can roster in cash, although he’s a FAR better value on DK. He’s been losing some time to a red hot Ed Davis, but Allen is averaging 1.08 FPPM and the Bulls rank 27th against centers and 28th in rebounding rate. A final value play to mention is the polarizing Ivica Zubac ($5600/$5800). He went ballistic agains Phoenix for 24 points and 16 boards in 34 minutes, but who knows if he’ll play that much again. He SHOULD, considering he’s the only one athletic enough to slow Embiid down, but there’s also major foul risk there even if he does. I do like Zubac a lot in GPPs as I think the matchup will scare people off, and Zubac is averaging 1.18 FPPM this year.
Other options – JaVale McGee, Ante Zizic, Brook LopezFantasy Basketball