Happy New Year! 2018 ended profitably for me, since I chose Harden over Anthony Davis as my big cash spend (sorry to everyone who tilted over him last night – of course he pulled that at the worst time). Today I’m tryout out a new format, which will incorporate both FanDuel and DraftKings picks and strategies. Let me know your feedback in FTA+ chat or on twitter @jac3600, and good luck tonight!
FANDUEL TOP POINT GUARD
Damian Lillard, POR ($9200)
If Joel Embiid sits again, Ben Simmons will assume this top spot, but for now I love Lillard. He’s playing massive minutes lately (37.6 MPG in December) and will take his top-15 usage to Sacramento against a Kings team that ranks second in pace, 27th in overall team defense, and 20th against PGs. This game features a 1.5-point spread and a 231 O/U (second highest on the slate), so there’s almost no chance Lillard doesn’t get his full run. He’s a fantastic play in all formats.
Other options – Ben Simmons, DeAaron Fox
Mid-tier options – Eric Bledsoe
DraftKings top/midtier PGs – Lillard and Simmons are even better values on DK where they’re both under 9k. They can both be used in all formats, especially Simmons depending on Embiid’s status. Eric Bledsoe is far too cheap on DK at $6200, and rates as a top value against Detroit who ranks 27th against PGs and 26th against isolation-type plays.
FANDUEL TOP SHOOTING GUARD
Buddy Hield, SAC ($6900)
Again, if Embiid sits you have to consider Jimmy Butler in all formats, but as of now I like Hield in the game format mentioned above. It’s not the greatest matchup as Portland ranks seventh in isolation and 11th against SGs, but Hield has a 27% usage rate over the last ten games and has played 34+ minutes in six of his last nine games. At a mid-tier tag, there’s still room for a lot of value.
Other options – Jimmy Butler
Mid-tier options – Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell (if Rubio sits), Lou Williams
DraftKings top/mid SGs – Hield is a top option here too, and Eric Bledsoe (mentioned above) can also be used at SG due to multi-positional eligibility.
Fred VanVleet ($5500 on both sites) ranks as the best cheap guard on both sites despite a matchup with the slow and defensive-minded Jazz. Utah has still struggled with the PG position, ranking 18th against them on the season, and VanVleet has been consistently getting 33-35 minutes with Kyle Lowry on the shelf. He’s a fine play in cash but doesn’t offer much GPP upside at his price tag. Additional PG values on FD include Emmanuel Mudiay (if he plays) and Patrick Beverley (usable as a punt). Also, CJ McCollum is dirt cheap on FD at $6100.
On DK, Jimmy Butler’s price tag is super friendly at $6900, and Bogdan Bogdanovic ($5700) has SG/SF eligibility). He should play 30 minutes off the bench and Portland ranks 28th in defensive efficiency against SFs. Malcolm Brogdon ($5600) is also in play.
FANDUEL TOP SMALL FORWARD
Kawhi Leonard, TOR ($10,000)
There is no need to spend $2400 more on Giannis with Kawhi priced so much cheaper. With Kyle Lowry out he’s seen his usage rate climb to 32% while his assist rate has ballooned to 17%. The matchup is not great against Detroit who ranks 11th against SFs and eighth in rebounding rate, but Kawhi is still not priced for the massive rate increase he gets. He’s an even better value on DK at $8900, and I would look to prioritize him over there at the moment.
Other options – Giannis Antetokounmpo
Mid-tier options – Danilo Gallinari
FANDUEL TOP POWER FORWARD
Tobias Harris, LAC ($7400)
We’ve gotten pretty far into this article without mentioning the game environment of PHI/LAC, but it’s really the best one with a three-point spread and a 233 O/U. Tobias should be the centerpiece of the offense and Philly still ranks 21st against opposing PFs despite trading away the soft Dario Saric. Tobias is locked into 36-38 minutes per game and consistently has a 25% usage rate this season.
Other options – Blake Griffin
Mid-tier options – Montrezl Harrell, Pascal Siakam
DraftKings top/mid SF/PFs – DK could look a little different than FanDuel at the top end, as Kawhi Leonard ($8900) and Blake Griffin ($8500) are both immensely underpriced. They’re usable in all formats there despite less-than-stellar matchups. Tobias Harris is also usable there, and the aforementioned Buddy Hield and Jimmy Butler both have SF eligibility.
Luke Kornet ($3800 FD/$4600 DK) is currently the lock of the day on the low end, especially on FD where he’s basically free. Kornet has started the last two games, played 33 and 28 minutes, and crushed value in both games. He should start again this evening, and Enes Kanter is questionable which could open up even more minutes/usage. Denver is tough defensively but they rank 16th against PFs. Additional FD values include Kevin Knox, Noah Vonleh, and Al-Farouq Aminu. On DK, the values are basically the same, with a pretty cheap Juancho Hernangomez added to the mix at $5200. The Knicks are 29th in overall team defense and dead last against opposing PFs.
FANDUEL TOP CENTER
Nikola Jokic, DEN ($9900)
It’s TOUGH to not put Embiid here, but his knee issue is enough to tilt the scale a tiny bit in Jokic’s favor, especially since he’s $1100 cheaper. The Knicks are 29th in overall team defense, 22nd against centers, and 24th in rebounding rate. There is blowout risk as Denver is a 14-point favorite, but Jokic has a 28% usage rate and 36% assist rate over his last ten games. These are numbers you just can’t get from the center position.
Other options – Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, Rudy Gobert, Jusuf Nurkic
Mid-tier options – Willie Cauley-Stein
DraftKings top/mid C’s – DK features the same two guys at the top. The difference here is that I’ll easily play Embiid over Jokic there where he’s only $400 more, and playing in a close game rather than one with big blowout risk. The Clippers are 26th against centers and ninth in pace. If Embiid gets full run, he could easily be the top scorer of the night. Jusuf Nurkic is also considerably cheaper on DK at $7500 and can be played in all formats since you can roster two centers.
There is nothing at all on the cheap end of the center pool. The only option on FD is Mike Muscala at $3600 if Embiid sits, as Muscala played 25 minutes off the bench last game and he can be thrown out if he busts. On DK, Luke Kornet has C eligibility and can be used there, but I strongly recommend paying up for one of Embiid/Jokic in cash on all sites, especially on DK where you get double-double bonuses. If you’re feeling a little frisky, you can try Boban Marjanovic in GPPs as his size will be needed against Embiid, but the foul risk (and also minutes risk) is extreme.Fantasy Basketball