It was another winning night at FTA last night, so let’s keep it going today! This will be my last NBA article of the year (unless there is a slow MLB day between now and the end of the year), so make sure you join us in chat and check out our constantly updating projections to finish out the NBA season. Tonight is a fun five-game slate, and we’ll be waiting on the Bulls news to really be able to finalize things. LeBron is also expected to rest tonight, and we’re going to have to watch the Warriors situation as well. For now, I’m assuming the same Bulls players out that missed yesterday. Make sure to follow me on twitter @jac3600.
FANDUEL TOP POINT GUARD
Damian Lillard, POR ($11,000)
Lillard’s price has peaked, but now he’s going to absorb the extra usage from Jusuf Nurkic as well as C.J. McCollum. With those two off the court, Lillard is posting an incredible 41.2% usage rate while averaging 1.62 FPPM. There is blowout risk as they play the lowly Bulls who may be missing some key players, but Portland is jockeying for position in a crowded Western Conference, and the Bulls now rank last in overall defensive efficiency. If all the Bulls players are out again, though, you’re going double cheap at the position and spending elsewhere.
Other options – Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry
Mid-tier options – Rajon Rondo, Tomas Satoransky, Darren Collison
FANDUEL TOP SHOOTING GUARD
Bradley Beal, WAS ($10,000)
You are spending as little as possible at SG in cash, but Beal is wonderful in GPPs. One would think the immense minutes will start getting cut down, but it just hasn’t happened yet, as Beal played 36 minutes against the Lakers last night. Since John Wall went down, Beal has averaged 39.6 MPG, 22 SPG, and a 30.9% UR. Throw in a matchup against the Suns who rank 29th in overall team defense and there’s no telling what he can do. Remember back in December, Beal dropped a 41-11-15 line on these guys.
Other options – Devin Booker
Mid-tier options – Klay Thompson, Delon Wright (only if no Conley)
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID GUARDS
DraftKings has done a good job tonight pricing Lillard ($10,300) and Westbrook ($10,500) close enough to each other where you’re going to really debate which one you want. At first glance it seems like you ALWAYS would choose Westbrook in this scenario, but I actually think Lillard is the better play tonight given the matchup and immense opportunity. With Westbrook’s difficult draw against Indiana’s third ranked defense and a pace downgrade, I think Lillard outscores him outright. Devin Booker ($9200) is priced up on FD at $10,700, but he’s still well within play on DK. He exploded on the Jazz last game for 59 real points, proving he’s literally the ONLY option for this Suns offense right now. Washington ranks 27th in overall team defense and has allowed the most PPG in the second half.
Provided Dunn, LaVine, and Porter all sit again, the Bulls are really all you need for the values on this slate. Shaq Harrison ($4800/$4900), Ryan Arcidiacono ($3600/$4100) and Wayne Selden ($3600/$3600) would all play minutes in the mid- to upper-30s for a thinned out Bulls squad, rendering any matchup issues irrelevant. They were cash locks yesterday, and would project to be again. Antonio Blakeney ($3500/$3600) is a high usage (26%) option off the bench who is an adequate GPP pivot off the first three. The most intriguing option apart from the Bulls values is Rajon Rondo ($6500/$6000). His minutes have been up and down as the Lakers have entered tank mode, but LeBron James’ absence tonight should solidify him into the mid-30s tonight, even in a tough matchup against the Jazz. Rondo’s usage rate is 41% without LeBron this year.
Other options – DeAnthony Melton, Wesley Matthews, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Brandon Sampson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
FANDUEL TOP SMALL FORWARD
Paul George, OKC ($10,400)
George’s rates and production are back up, and he’s averaged 50 FD PPG in six of his last seven games with only one dud thrown in there. Indiana has dropped in defensive rankings on the wing (18th over the last ten games), and George posted a 36-6-5 line on these Pacers last time. His price is down for some reason, so you can easily take advantage at a thin position.
Other options – Kevin Durant
Mid-tier options – Jabari Parker, Bojan Bogdanovic
FANDUEL TOP POWER FORWARD
Lauri Markkanen, CHI ($7400)
Markkanen did not return after halftime last night with an illness, so we’ll have to watch for his status tonight as well. If he does play with no limitations and the others don’t, Markkanen should see the high rates he was enjoying last night, and Portland ranks 21st against opposing PFs. Not having Nurkic in the interior is really going to hurt them as well.
Other options – None
Mid-tier options – Bobby Portis, Kyle Kuzma, Damontas Sabonis, Thaddeus Young
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID FORWARDS
Paul George ($9900) continues to be under 10k on DK which is ridiculous. He’s playable in all formats. I’m also mildly intrigued by Kevin Durant’s continually dropping price which is now at $8700. He’s a fair value right now with Golden State fully healthy, but he’d take a huge jump forward if any of his Warrior teammates were to sit (as Steve Kerr hinted this week). Keep in mind it could be Durant himself who sits, so the same reasoning would apply to his teammates.
First I’ll point out that Wayne Selden and Shaq Harrison are both F eligible on DK which makes roster construction a heck of a lot easier. Lance Stephenson ($3900/$3700) is another very usable F punt on this slate. With Reggie Bullock and Josh Hart out for the Lakers, Stephenson has played 25 minutes off the bench in back to back games and posted a 22% UR and 19% AR in those two games. Bullock or Hart may be back, but usage monster LeBron looks like he’s sitting which should benefit Lance even more. Utah is a brutal matchup as they rank second in overall team defense and second in bench points allowed, but Lance is sub 4k on both sites. Troy Brown is still off the radar on DK, but FD refuses to raise his price off the minimum $3500 which makes him a building block there. Washington stupidly played Trevor Ariza with a doubtful tag last night, and he reinjured his groin as a result. Brown should once again start and play at least 28 minutes, and he faces a brutal Suns defense.
Other options – Mikal Bridges, Moe Harkless, Jerami Grant, Richaun Holmes, Josh Jackson
FANDUEL TOP CENTER
Enes Kanter, POR ($6500)
This is crazy. Kanter has gone from basic fantasy irrelevance to being the top ranked per dollar center of the day, despite the fact that FD has tried to price him up with the Nurkic news. Even if you conservatively give Kanter only 25 minutes, he’s at 1.26 FPPM this year and actually ranks second on the team in usage rate with the current roster (behind Lillard). The kicker? He’s facing a Bulls team that now allows the most FPPG to opposing centers. Definitely a viable GPP fade, but this is a cash play I don’t think you can pass on.
Other options – DeMarcus Cousins, Jonas Valanciunas
Mid-tier options – Myles Turner, Thomas Bryant
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID CENTERS
Rudy Gobert ($8200) is in play on DK where he’s not on FD ($10,000) despite blowout risk against the Lakers. L.A. is 27th against opposing centers and 20th in rebounding rate, and Utah is still fighting for the best spot in that crowded West playoff race. Jonas Valanciunas ($7700) has a tough matchup against DeMarcus Cousins (plus blowout risk) but he’s finally getting minutes and is averaging 1.41 FPPM since coming to Memphis. DeAndre Ayton ($6800) is also a unique play on DK against the Wizards who rank last in rebounding rate (although Thomas Bryant helps that). Ayton has been playing regular minutes regardless as the Suns develop him, and he has a 22% UR and 17% RR in his rookie season.
Kanter is a lock on DK ($5000) where they haven’t nearly adjusted for his upcoming boost post-Nurkic. Make sure he’s in either your C or UTIL spot. Robin Lopez ($5200/$4900) is another play that can be used on both sites, especially on FD if you’re uncomfortable with Kanter’s price tag there. Amazingly, he’s averaging over a fantasy point per minute in the second half this year (1.03), and Kanter defending him can’t get much better of a matchup instead of Nurkic. Thomas Bryant busted yesterday, but there’s still room for value in his price tag on DK ($6000) in a great matchup against the Suns.
Other options – Steven Adams, Cristiano FelicioFantasy Basketball