My cash lineups JUST squeaked into the money last night, which I think I deserve after two nights this week where I finished fractional points under the cash line. Tonight we have a seven-game slate on FD (eight on DraftKings, since FanDuel inexplicably has excluded the first game at 7 PM. We do have an extra half hour to build (which also means an extra half hour in FTA+ chat), and you can follow me along on twitter @jac3600. Good luck!
Damian Lillard, POR ($10,000)
Russell Westbrook’s price tag is just too high right now to justify the usage hits he’s taking with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in town. Lillard is a bit pricey himself, but right now he’s more of the focal point on the offense and gets to take on a Nets team that is a boon for fantasy production. Portland and Brooklyn are both top five pace teams and the Nets rank last in overall team defensive efficiency and 25th against PGs. I have no problem paying this price tonight with Westbrook and Giannis (more on this later) overpriced.
Other options – Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving
Mid-tier options – Kemba Walker, Ricky Rubio, Goran Dragic
Darren Collison, IND ($5700)
Chicago has played pretty well defensively this season but they’ve been a funnel defense, preferring to protect the interior while leaving the backcourt pretty wide open. Kris Dunn is a good individual defender but Jerian Grant is not, and that’s who Collison would be matched up with most of the game. Chicago is 23rd in PG defense and allows the fourth most APG. Collison’s minutes have been fluctuating a bit, but his price has dropped to a comfortable spot.
Other options – Mike James, Jerian Grant, Patty Mills, Cory Joseph
C.J. McCollum, POR ($7300)
If you don’t pay all the way up for Lillard, I’d make sure to have McCollum in there for cash lineups. Portland is favored by nine points which isn’t ideal, but Lillard and McCollum soak up so much of the usage that if there is a blowout, they’re likely the reason behind it. SG is the Nets’ best defensive position, but they’re still below average (18th). This price is too good to pass up.
Other options – Victor Oladipo, Devin Booker, D’Angelo Russell
Marcus Smart, BOS ($5900)
Smart played 35 minutes off the bench in replacement of the missing Celtics, and now Jayson Tatum may sit this one out as well (Al Horford is already ruled out for the second straight game with a concussion). With Horford off the court last year, Smart had a 22% UR and 32% AR and his price is remaining static on FD. Charlotte ranks 25th against SGs this far this year, but the return of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist tonight should help their team overall.
Other options – Lou Williams (should benefit big time from Clippers injuries), Justin Holiday, Donovan Mitchell, Rodney Hood
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11,800)
Giannis laps the SF field from a raw scoring perspective, but he’s so expensive that I can’t call him a cash lock against the slow-paced, defensive-minded Spurs. I certainly don’t argue the case at all (and may do it myself) with Giannis’ 33% UR and 31% AR (plus his defensive skills). The Spurs are seventh in overall team defense but they do rank 17th against the SF position (which makes sense with Kawhi Leonard out).
UPDATE – Eric Bledsoe will make his Bucks debut and start tonight. While a player like Giannis is unlikely to be supremely affected, this is enough that the unknown aspect makes his price tag a bit scary.
Other options – Paul George
Mid-tier options – Evan Fournier, TJ Warren
Wesley Johnson, LAC ($4600)
Wes is not the best per-minute contributor, but he should play major minutes with Gallinari and Beverley ruled out and Austin Rivers questionable. Johnson’s defense will be needed to combat Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and he’s cheap enough the fill out the second SF position on a semi-short slate.
Other options – Jaylen Brown, DeMarre Carroll, Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless
Blake Griffin, LAC ($8400)
Griffin’s matchup is terrible against the Thunder, but they’re on the second night of a b2b and Griffin’s already high rates should increase even more with his teammates out. Griff is averaging 1.19 FPPM with his teammates on the court while maintaining a 26.2% true usage rate, and these numbers are expected to go up in a what should be a close game.
Other options – Aaron Gordon, LaMarcus Aldridge
Mid-tier options – Carmelo Anthony
Marquese Chriss, PHX ($3,800)
You can’t guarantee any more than 24-26 minutes from Chriss, but his price tag makes that minutes inconsistency OK. The Suns are not an efficient team, but tonight they have the third highest implied total against the Magic who are playing much faster this year. Orlando also ranks 24th in defensive efficiency against PFs, and Chriss’ blocking upside gives him that added boost on FD. There’s very little risk at this price tag.
Other options – Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis, Derrick Favors, Domantas Sabonis, Ed Davis
Nikola Vucevic, ORL ($8400)
Andre Drummond WOULD have been the easy choice here (darn you FanDuel), but Vuc strikes me as the consolation price this evening. Phoenix does rank 10th in defensive efficiency against opposing centers but a lot of that has to do with Tyson Chandler who is likely to miss another game tonight. In addition, Phoenix ranks 23rd in overall defensive efficiency and Orlando’s implied total of 114 points is the second highest on the slate.
Other options – Rudy Gobert, Jusuf Nurkic
Mid-tier options – DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard
Alex Len, PHX ($4400)
Yeah, yeah, I know. Len was an absolute nightmare if you rostered him on Wednesday night, as he combined for four fouls and three turnovers while only attempting three field goals in the game. He is a fouling machine so you have to assume that risk if you decide to take the plunge, but Len is simply too cheap for the upside he offers. His RR since the beginning of 2015 is a shade over 21% and he’s averaged 1.03 FPPM since then. Be afraid, but don’t just shun this pick because of last game.
Other options – Steven Adams, Pau Gasol, Robin Lopez, Aron Baynes