Well, I’m home early from work getting ready to be buried under two feet of snow, so what’s better than cuddling up with a little DFS research? We have a whopping 11 games on the docket tonight, with three players over 12k (and you’ll need one of them). That means we need to be searching for the right values, and the Cavs seems to offer the best ones as of right now. Read on, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter @jac3600. We’ll also all be in chat tonight workin’ hard for you!
Russell Westbrook, OKC ($12,000)
Westbrook is the cheapest of the three studs, but he’s also third on the cash priority list for me. He certainly has the capability to be the highest scorer on the night, but OKC should be able to easily handle the Hawks despite only being six-point favorites. Atlanta is ninth in pace, 21st in overall team defense, and 24th against PGs, and Westy has triple-double upside every night. Just keep in mind that OKC is on a b2b, and this is a game that’s winnable without Westbrook’s full help. I prefer LeBron or Davis in cash, but no argument if you want Westbrook.
Other options – Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry
Mid-tier options – Lonzo Ball, Jeff Teague, Kris Dunn, Dennis Smith
Tyler Dorsey, ATL ($3800)
Dennis Schroder will return tonight, but Dorsey is listed as the starter alongside him with Kent Bazemore done for the year. Dorsey didn’t do much with his 27 minutes last game against the Bulls but it’s fair to expect he’ll get the same allotment of court time, with upside for even more as the tanking Hawks give their young guys a little more run. Dorsey should avoid guarding Russell Westbrook, and doesn’t need to do much to hit value at only $3800.
Other options – JJ Barea, Tomas Satoransky, Emmanuel Mudiay, George Hill, DJ Augustin
Bradley Beal, WAS ($8400)
I don’t see how you fade Beal tonight, even with the onus being on one 12k+ player. Minnesota has fallen all the way to 24th in overall team defense without Jimmy Butler, and they rank 29th against SGs since the ASG. Beal’s price is down, and he’s rocked a 29% UR and 28% AR without John Wall. This game has a four-point spread and a solid 218 O/U. There are many ways to build this evening, but Beal needs to be in your plans at a discounted price tag.
Other options – Victor Oladipo, Jrue Holiday, Devin Booker, DeMar DeRozan, Lou Williams
Mid-tier options – Nicolas Batum, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Gary Harris, Will Barton, Zack LaVine, Andrew Wiggins
Gary Harris/Will Barton, DEN ($6500/$6500)
As you can see from the lists above, shooting guard is incredibly deep tonight, which means you need to allocate more funds than usual there. Harris and Barton aren’t punts but I like either one as a SG2 to complement Beal. They get to face the Lakers who rank first in pace and 22nd against opposing SGs. The Lakers also allow the highest 3PT% in the league, which is nice for Harris’ skillset. This game is fantasy gold with a two-point spread and a whopping 232 O/U (highest of the night, although there are THREE games with an O/U of 230 or higher). You’ll want some exposure to all of them.
Other options – JJ Redick, JR Smith, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Korver, Jamal Crawford
LeBron James, CLE ($12,500)
It seems like LeBron against the Suns is an unfadeable play, but there’s a real argument to be had about playing him vs. Anthony Davis. The PF position is much deeper than SF tonight, which gives LeBron the slight edge for me as the #1 overall play. He’s playing almost 39 minutes per game over the last ten as the Cavs are fighting for seeding, and the Suns rank third in pace, last in overall team defense, and 26th against SFs while allowing the most assists and the third most TOs per game. This game has an eight-point spread and a 230 O/U, and LeBron is the most direct path to glory in an elite environment.
Other options – Paul George
Mid-tier options – Otto Porter, TJ Warren, Harrison Barnes
Nemanja Bjelica, MIN ($5800)
Bjelica’s price tag is starting to creep up a bit, but it’s still about 12% below the average roster cost, which is too cheap for someone who has played 45, 40, and 40 minutes over the last three. Washington is a neutral defense overall (14th), but they rank 28th against opposing SFs. This game doesn’t have the upside of the three best games on the slate, but it’s still a nice one to get exposure to.
Other options – Josh Jackson, Michael Beasley, Mario Hezonja, Allen Crabbe, Rudy Gay, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Anthony Davis, NO ($12,900)
Like I said, right now I prefer LeBron based on positional need (there are a lot more cheaper options at PF than at SF), but you’d be foolish to argue that playing Anthony Davis is a bad idea (even though he’s as sturdy as daisy). Davis just added to his accolades the other night with a ten-block triple double (against Utah, no less!) and continues to post insane rates sans Cousins. This game has a five-point spread and a 231 O/U, and the Hornets rank 23rd in defensive efficiency against PFs.
Other options – Ben Simmons, LaMarcus Aldridge, Julius Randle
Mid-tier options – Larry Nance, Kyle Kuzma, Paul Millsap, Bobby Portis
Jeff Green, CLE ($3800)
Jeff Green busted in his chalky start the other night, but you have to consider using him again. He should start against Phoenix and is under 4k, and the Suns rank 28th against PFs on top of all their other defensive struggles. Green only needs about 20 points to get to value, and if he can’t that against the Suns, well…
Other options – Carmelo Anthony, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, John Collins, Serge Ibaka, Taj Gibson, Frank Kaminsky, Marvin Williams
Joel Embiid, PHI ($9800)
Embiid vs. Towns is a tough choice up top. Embiid’s rates are better overall, but Towns’ grow exponentially without Jimmy Butler on the court. The other thing that makes it difficult is the fact that you can easily project Towns’ minutes to get near 40, while you have to cap Embiid at 33-34. Ultimately I’ll take the $200 discount here, and Indiana ranks 25th against opposing centers and 19th in rebounding rate. Both options are elite tournament plays, and are cash viable if enough punts open up.
Other options – Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan
Mid-tier options – Steven Adams (left injured yesterday), Brook Lopez, Myles Turner
Marcin Gortat, WAS ($3700)
I think you have to pay up at least into the mid-tier for cash at the center position tonight, but Gortat is someone I can see using in a huge GPP in an effort to get two of the 12k studs. He’s been very bad lately, but his price is almost down to the minimum and you have to figure he may see a couple of extra minutes in an attempt to slow down KAT. Gortat has a usable 17% UR, 17% RR, and 11% AR even for his limited minutes, and he has a nice ceiling even though it comes with virtually no floor.
Other options – Kyle O’Quinn, Jarrett Allen, Nerlens Noel, Mike MuscalaFantasy Basketball