2019 did not get off to the profitable start I was hoping for, but we get a super fun nine-game slate to make up for it tonight. Thanks for all the feedback I received on the new article format – we’re going to keep it this way for awhile as it was mostly favorable. We have a slew of injuries to wade through this evening, so make sure to follow me on twitter @jac3600 and join us in FTA+ chat this evening!
FANDUEL TOP POINT GUARD
Ben Simmons, PHI ($9500)
You’ll have to track the Joel Embiid news again tonight, which was a pain yesterday. There’s no indication that Embiid will sit after playing full minutes yesterday and dropping a 28-19 game, but they could always opt to rest him on a b2b since this should be a very winnable game without him (again, this is based on nothing but my own take as the moment). Even if Embiid plays, Simmons is an excellent option against the Suns who rank 26th in overall team defense and allow the most assists per 48 minutes. If Embiid were to sit, Simmons would very much be a cash play, but right now there are more than enough guard values to help you spend elsewhere.
Other options – Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Mike Conley
Mid-tier options – Trae Young, Spencer Dinwiddie
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID PGs
On the high end, Simmons still rates as the top option at $8900, although Westbrook’s price is a little more palatable at $11,700 on DK than it is on FD ($12,000). Devin Booker also has PG eligibility on DK and looks like a solid value at $8300. Value is still the name of the game at this position on both sites as of now.
FANDUEL TOP SHOOTING GUARD
Bradley Beal, WAS ($9800)
Beal is a lock on DK (see below) since his price still isn’t correct, but you at least have to consider whether or not $9800 is too much on FD. As of right now Beal is still one of my top priorities considering the fact that he’s played 44, 37, and 37 minutes in the last three games without John Wall and hoisted up 79 shots while also posting a 35.6% usage rate. These numbers should continue with Wall out for the year, and now we get a matchup with the Hawks who rank first in pace and allow by far the most FPPG to opposing guards. There are very few options with Beal’s floor tonight.
Other options – Devin Booker, Jimmy Butler
Mid-tier options – D’Angelo Russell, Luka Doncic, Zack LaVine
The two sites are incredibly contrasting on value pricing at the PG position tonight. Tomas Satoransky’s price has become more than appropriate on FD at $6200 but he’s still flat-out priced wrongly on DK at $4600 and represents a lock there. The Hawks have allowed an incredible 52.2 FPPG to opposing PGs this season, and Sato is playing minutes in the mid-30s as the Wizards’ new starting PG. The other value play that is site dependent is Lonzo Ball. At $6500 on FD, he represents the top value at only $300 more than Satoransky, as his assist rate has been at 32% without LeBron and Rondo. I’m far less interested on DK at $7200. Tyus Jones is another one that’s caught in limbo with his price tag ($6300 FD/$5600 DK). With Teague and Rose both doubtful, Jones should see massive minutes again, but it bears mentioning that Boston is second in overall team defense. In the same game, Josh Okogie ($3900 FD/$3700) looks like he should have to play at least 35 minutes tonight with Robert Covington currently listed doubtful as well. He’s not a great per-minute producer, but this price tag helps you fit Anthony Davis with ease.
Other values – Dennis Smith, JJ Barea, Tony Parker, TJ McConnell, Malik Monk, Josh Hart
UPDATE – Kyrie Irving is OUT, which vaults Terry Rozier near the top of the value list on all sites.
FANDUEL TOP SMALL FORWARD
Paul George, OKC ($10,000)
PG has shown he’s more than able to not only coexist with Russell Westbrook, but also put up elite fantasy numbers alongside him as well. PG is still 18th in the NBA in usage rate even though Westbrook is second, and he’s averaged over 50 FanDuel PPG in the month of December. The Lakers play at the third highest pace and rank 15th against SFs (a number that looks worse without LeBron on the court). He’s definitely cash viable, but not if he costs you AD/Embiid/Beal.
Other options – None
Mid-tier options – TJ Warren, Brandon Ingram, Trevor Ariza, Otto Porter
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID SFs
George’s price tag is far more friendly on DK at $9200, and you have to give him a lot more consideration for cash over there. Ben Simmons is also SF eligible on DK which gives you unique assist upside from the position, especially if Embiid happens to sit. In the mid-tier, Kyle Kuzma is an amazing value at $7500. He’s got a 27% UR, 11% RR, and 16% AR with LeBron and Rondo out, and he’s played over 40 minutes in every game they’ve missed so far. He’s the epitome of a cash play. Jimmy Butler also has a nice price on DK.
FANDUEL TOP POWER FORWARD
Anthony Davis, NO ($12,700)
Yes, folks, I get it. AD did some serious soul-crushing on New Years’ Eve with his mystery illness that only seemed to crop up two minutes after his game locked. I implore you all, though – forget it happened. We’ve been harping on “centers vs Nets” all season long, and now they have to contend with the best one in the business, and it’s really not close. The Nets have allowed 15% more scoring and 16% more rebounding to opposing centers than the rest of the league and also allow the second most blocks per 48 minutes. Davis’ FLOOR is over 60 points for the season, and this is the type of matchup where we could see him get to 80-90 without breaking a sweat. I can’t fade him.
Other options – John Collins
Mid-tier options – Kyle Kuzma (see above), Aaron Gordon, Lauri Markkanen, Jayson Tatum
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID PFs
There’s nothing really different in the DK section other than the fact that Julius Randle ($8000) is also PF eligible here. With Nikola Mirotic remaining out, Randle has been starring even alongside the mighty AD, and he gets the friendly matchup with the Nets described above. He’s more than cash viable, but Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma come first for me.
Dario Saric ($3700 FD/$4400) is someone to consider as a cash punt. The absence of Robert Covington doesn’t affect him directly since their positional are pretty different, but Covington has averaged almost 38 MPG with the Timberwolves and that time has to go somewhere. Saric is more valuable on FD where he’s not only cheaper, but his price can be thrown out if he doesn’t get the expected boosts. He’s a “meh” value on DK. On the flip side, DeMarre Carroll ($4000) looks like an amazing punt on DK with both Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ruled out tonight. The Pelicans rank second in pace and dead last against opposing SFs, and Carroll has a 19% usage rate and 11% rebounding rate in this scenario. He should easily surpass 30 minutes as well.
Other options – Nicolas Batum, Jonathan Isaac, Gordon Hayward, Jeff Green, Joe Harris, Jaren Jackson, Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson, Ed Davis, Rodions Kurucs
FANDUEL TOP CENTER
Joel Embiid, PHI ($11,000)
As I said, I’ve seen no indication that Embiid is even a candidate to sit tonight, but my radar is at least on to watch for it in a game they can easily win without him. If Embiid is confirmed in, he’s the second best overall option on the slate after Davis, and you can roll him out in any format. He should smoke the Suns interior that ranks dead last against centers and has allowed the most points and blocks per 48 minutes to the position (and they’re also 27th in rebounding rate). Embiid has already put up over 60 FD points against the Suns in their first meeting this year.
Other options – Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Vucevic, Marc Gasol, Julius Randle
Mid-tier options – DeAndre Ayton, Steven Adams, DeAndre Jordan, Thomas Bryant
DRAFTKINGS TOP CENTERS
Embiid’s price tag on DK is even more friendly at $10,600, and there’s enough value that he’s attainable even alongside AD (I’d at least explore it). Karl-Anthony Towns should not be under 10k with the rates he has lately, and neither should Nikola Vucevic. Towns’ matchup is tough, but Vuc’s can’t get much better against the Bulls who allow the most rebounds per 48 minutes to opposing centers. Randle, Gasol, and Ayton also have very nice tags on DK.
Willy Hernangomez is where we’ll start on the cheap end. He’s a lock on DK at $3800, as he’s expected to start and has averaged 1.21 FPPM in his career. Even if he only plays 22-24 minutes, that’s more than enough time to hit value at near-minimum tags. FanDuel has annoyingly priced him up to $5400 where it’s tougher to justify, but he’s still the best sub-6k play at C on that site. Similarly, Thomas Bryant has seen his price tag rise all the way to $6600 on FD where he’s a non-play, but $4700 on DK is great against the Hawks who are first in pace, 23rd against centers, and 20th in rebounding rate. He’s very much a top value in all formats there, and he also has PF eligibility so you can load up on bigs. Bryant has played 30 and 36 minutes the last two games.
Other options – Jarrett Allen, JaVale McGee, Al Horford, Mike Muscala (if Embiid sits)Fantasy Basketball