We have a very interesting ten-game slate tonight, with only two players over 10k and some solid mid-tier options. As a result, cash play might look a little different tonight (unless people get ruled out later, which as we know is a distinct possibility). I’ll be on chat nice and early tonight helping you guys wade through the madness, and you can follow me on twitter @jac3600.
Damian Lillard, POR ($8700)
Lillard is considered probable for this evening and has a terrific matchup against Atlanta. The bumbling Hawks rank 13th in pace, 27th in overall team defense, and 29th against PGs, and the Blazers are only favored by seven even though they’re at home. Lillard has averaged almost four most FD PPG at home rather than on the road in his career, and he ranks 11th in the NBA with a 28.8% usage rate.
Other options – John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker
Mid-tier options – Kris Dunn, Kyle Lowry, Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic
Ish Smith, DET ($6100)
This pick will be a bit better if Andre Drummond sits again, but Ish has seen his dramatic rate rise since Reggie Jackson went down, and he’s a good target priced under the average roster cost. Joel Embiid guarding the paint is imposing, but Philly ranks second in pace and 22nd against opposing PGs, and Ish is easily good for 30 minutes.
Other options – Dennis Smith, JJ Barea, Tyler Johnson, Tyler Ennis, Mario Chalmers
Tyreke Evans, MEM ($8400)
Tyreke is currently an active target of mine despite the fact that Washington ranks eighth in overall team defense and third against guards. Mike Conley is out once again and it looks as though Andrew Harrison will join him on the sidelines as well. Tyreke should get all the minutes he can handle tonight and he’s posted a 33% UR and 34% AR the last ten games (with only two games under 30 FD points). He’s underpriced even in a difficult matchup.
Other options – DeMar DeRozan
Mid-tier options – Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Khris Middleton
Nicolas Batum, CHA ($6000)
There are no real punts at the SG position as of yet, so we’ll go with a fairly underpriced Batum. His rates have been scaled back this year but he has a matchup tonight that completely suits his game. The Lakers rank first in pace and 25th against opposing SGs, and they’ve turned the ball over the second most in the league which could aid Batum’s defensive prowess. With only a couple of real studs to spend on, it’s fine to hit the mid-tier in cash for most spots.
Other options – Avery Bradley, Kent Bazemore, Justin Holiday, Andrew Wiggins, Rodney Hood, Bryn Forbes, Kobi Simmons
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11,000)
Giannis is the highest-priced option on the slate and is an easy spend if you want him (since you don’t have to work in two studs). Despite the hits to his assist rate (thanks to Eric Bledsoe), Giannis’ usage, PER, and rebound rates have held strong, and he recently put up 47.3 FD points against this same Raptors squad (which is right at his value threshold). Giannis is not a lock, but he’s easily attainable if you want the highest floor on the slate.
Other options – Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard
Mid-tier options – Otto Porter, Harrison Barnes
Robert Covington, PHI ($6000)
Like the SG spot, there are no definite punts, so the mid-tier is where to find the best per-dollar value right now. Covington’s usage and rebounding rates take a hit with Embiid in the lineup, but he’s too cheap even with a fully healthy Sixers squad. Covington is a lock for minutes in the mid-30s unless it’s a blowout, and his defensive skills really play well to FD’s scoring system. The last time he faced Detroit, Covington rocked them for 49.1 FD points in 38 minutes.
Other options – Brandon Ingram, Taurean Prince, Courtney Lee, Joe Ingles, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Kristaps Porzingis, NY ($8800)
At first glance, it seems like Aldridge is the easy play with a cookie of a matchup against the Suns, but I’m wary of Spurs as 12-point favorites at home (seems like a key game to manage their minutes). Knowing that, I’ll lean KP as the top play, even though I’m not looking his way in cash as of now. KP still ranks seventh in the league in usage rate, and is playing heavy minutes despite his declaration that he’s “tired”. In a slow matchup against the Spurs, Porzingis looks like a solid GPP option, and is cash viable if you have the excess funds.
Other options – LaMarcus Aldridge, Ben Simmons
Mid-tier options – Dario Saric, Michael Beasley
Kyle Kuzma, LAL ($6000)
The Lakers rookie remains way underpriced on FD at 6k, and has a terrific matchup against the Hornets who rank 23rd against PFs and allow the third highest 3PT%. Kuzma’s value is soaring right now with his TS% through the roof, and his quad injury is seemingly behind him. He makes a very sensible cash play tonight, even with the Lakers getting healthier.
Other options – Tobias Harris, Derrick Favors, Al Farouq Aminu, John Henson, Frank Kaminsky, Marvin Williams
Joel Embiid, PHI ($10,500)
Embiid is a great play if Drummond is in, and an elite option if he’s out. He’s been prone to sitting more random games lately as he’s somewhat banged up, but Embiid’s rates are insane right now (32% UR, 18% RR, 19% AR over the last ten games). Despite the fact that they have the top rebounder in the league, Detroit only ranks 17th in rebounding rate and 18th against opposing centers. Embiid is well worth his price tag, but there are other options at center as well.
Other options – Andre Drummond, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol
Mid-tier options – Hassan Whiteside, Jusuf Nurkic, Al Horford
Pau Gasol, SA ($5500)
OK, so I’m breaking my own rule a bit here, but Pau is so cheap that he could easily deliver value even if he only gets 25 minutes. Phoenix ranks third in pace (Spurs are 28th) and 29th in overall team defense, and Pau has a unique 21% assist rate for the center position. I think he’s cheap enough that he’s cash viable, but I’ll most likely have my exposure in GPPs, and will pay for Embiid or Howard in cash.
Other options – Tyson Chander, Alex Len, Enes Kanter, Mason Plumlee, Jonas Valanciunas