With a massive 11-game slate on tap tonight, I thought the best approach today would be to highlight some of my favorite plays across all price ranges. These recommendations are probably best suited for tournaments on FanDuel tonight, as there is certainly some volatility baked into them, but for the price, you are going to have a tough time beating the upside. Let’s dive in.
D’Angelo Russell ($9,100) – You are the definition of a perfect tournament play when your last four games range between 10.7 points and 56.7 points. That remains the same tonight, but the matchup and game environment couldn’t be much better for Russell. As only the fifth most expensive shooting guard, Russell steps into a high-paced game where the Nets have the second-highest implied total on the slate as both teams play in the top 13 of pace on the season.
Would you believe me if I told you that Russell’s usage is the highest for a point guard and third highest overall on this slate? As of today, Russell’s usage is equal to Lebron’s season number, higher than Giannis, and is second only to Harden over the last two weeks across the entire league. With Spencer Dinwiddie out of his way sue to injury, Russell has been option A, B, and C for the nets and I predict the Wizards putting up very little resistance tonight.
Myles Turner ($7,300) and Kyle O’Quinn ($3,900) – If you take a peek at the season-long numbers for centers against the Dallas Mavericks, they look pretty average. 14th in defensive efficiency, 17th in real plus-minus against the position, and 15th in FD points allowed per game. But what that doesn’t factor in is the recent trade of DeAndre Jordan and what that has done to the interior defense for the Mavs. Over the last two weeks, no team has a worse defensive rating than the Mavericks, per NBA.com. On the season, the Mavericks still rank 14th overall, so they have seen a massive drop in defensive ability in the weeks since the trade deadline.
With Domantas Sabonis likely to miss this game, front-court minutes should be plentiful for Turner and O’Quinn. It’s tough to lock in one of these guys at your center position when you only have one spot available on FanDuel, but if you need salary relief or are looking to get contrarian, there aren’t too many under-the-radar better matchups for centers than the Pacers see tonight.
Klay Thompson ($7,200) – This price is now simply too cheap with the news that DeMarcus Cousins will not play tonight. At $7,200 Klay is just the 11th most expensive SG on the evening – and this for a player who has scored less than 31 FD points one time in his last 10 games and is suiting up for a team with the sixth highest implied total on the board.
Typically, we think of the Heat as a tough defensive matchup, and with good reason. On the season, the Heat rank 7th in the NBA in defensive rating and 2nd in defensive efficiency. Drilling down, however, we see opportunity for Thompson in his individual matchup. The Heat rank only 25th in defensive efficiency against shooting guards on the season and Dion Waiters being inserted into the starting lineup has certainly not helped matters. Waiters is the ranked 66th in SG real plus-minus on the season. In fact, the recent roster shuffling has had an overall impact on the team defense. As mentioned above, the Heat are 7th in defensive rating on the season, but looking at just the last 10 days that number plummets to 29th in the league. Playing with Justice Winslow tonight should provide a lift to the team defense, but that’s why this makes Klay the perfect tournament option. A great individual matchup plus some increased usage coming his way due to Cousins resting could lead to a fun night in Miami
Joakim Noah ($5,700) – In the nightly game of who is actually available to play in the Grizzlies’ front-court, tonight’s winners look to be Jonas Valanciunas, Noah, and Chandler Parsons. Now, Parsons can land himself a supermodel with the best of ’em, but I wouldn’t want him on a basketball floor for more than about 10 minutes a night (and that’s only if you are a team like the Grizzlies who are trying to lose). With Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ivan Rabb likely out, Noah and J-Val should get all the minutes they can handle. Valanciunas, based on the past few games, is now priced higher than Jusuf Nurkic, Clint Capela, and Al Horford. Think about that for a minute. I would much rather take a shot on Noah at a price point less than Cody Zeller and Dewayne Dedmon.
The Grizzlies and their slow pace typically don’t equate to fantasy goodness, but they are expected to receive an eight point bump tonight against the Bulls. In addition, the Bulls are the worst team in the league for defensive efficiency against the center position. Noah has shown 30-minute upside in two of his last six games, and if he is forced into action for that long tonight, we could be looking at 6x-7x value based on his 1.14 fantasy points per minutes this season. It’s not easy to scroll past all the stud centers on this slate to get to Noah, but he unlocks the key guards and forwards for tonight.