With regular season football over and my only fantasy plays left to make residing in the daily realm, I’ve started to allocate more of my time to daily fantasy basketball. If you haven’t played it yet, I really recommend getting out there on your favorite site (mine is FanDuel) and trying it out. I promise you, it is a lot of fun, especially if you enjoy basketball. Since I’ll be spending a lot of my time researching and trying to dig out plays for myself in daily fantasy games, I figured I would share my findings. Each day, I’ll try to give out some of my favorite plays at each position (FanDuel prices) along with any important news and notes.
Notable News and Notes:
The most important news of the day, for me, is the impending return of Miami Heat center Chris Bosh. The big man practiced in full on Sunday, and it is expected for him to make his return tonight against the Magic. In Bosh’s absence, Dwayne Wade has been a fantastic source of fantasy value with a ridiculous 38.5 usage rate, but that stands to come way down now. With Bosh back and the total on tonight’s game being the lowest on the slate (189.5), I’m probably staying away from all Heat players.
Speaking of totals, the highest total of the night belongs to the Kings at Nets affair in Brooklyn at 205. It is also the game with the smallest spread at just 2, so Vegas things the game will be both high scoring and close. That should yield fantasy goodness for a lot of players, and I will look to get as big a piece of it as I can with a small slate of games on tap tonight.
Kemba Walker vs MIL, $8,300
Kemba has one of the biggest home/road splits in the league, averaging 35.51 fantasy points at home and just 28.83 fantasy points on the road. Playing against a Milwaukee team that struggles to defend opposing point guards (6th worst over the last 3 weeks) and coming off a monster 56.1 point effort in his last game (at home) against Orlando, Walker is my top play at the point tonight.
Jarrett Jack vs SAC, $5,600
Jack has been playing 36.5 minutes per game since the return of Deron Williams, who is only averaging 20.5 minutes per game over that time. He has outplayed the overpaid veteran in every way, and I don’t see the minutes changing anytime soon. Jack only needs about 25 fantasy points tonight to reach his value to me, and he has done that easily in each of his last 4 games (about 36 ppg). Considering the spread and total on this game, I think Jack is a must play.
Elfrid Payton at MIA, $4,800
Payton has struggled mightily to score as a rookie and has been wildly inconsistent, but should be in the starting lineup again tonight, which gives him a lot of upside for his price. He only needs 22 fantasy points to reach his value and he has upside for a lot more as he has shown the potential to stuff the stat sheet. I love Walker and Jack tonight, so Payton may end up being just a tournament play for me, but if you want to load up on studs at other positions, he makes for a nice play.
Jimmy Butler at IND, $9,300
The Marquette product is about as consistent as they come this season and with shooting guard being on the weak side tonight, he makes for a quality cash game play. The matchup isn’t great with the Pacers, but Butler has already produced a 45.7 fantasy point game against them this year (albeit minus Derrick Rose), and is $2,300 cheaper than James Harden who is also in a tough matchup and coming off of a disappointing 32.9 point performance.
Joe Johnson vs SAC, $6,600
Johnson is my top SG play of the night. His price tag means he only needs about 30 fantasy points to reach his value, and he’s done that 5 out of the last 6 games. The Kings are also second worst in the league at defending two guards over the last 3 weeks. Considering the price and the expected outcome, Johnson will be 100% owned for me tonight.
Jamal Crawford at UTA, $5,600
My biggest fear with Clippers tonight is that the spread is now up to 12 points, meaning that there is a very real chance of a blowout. That will probably keep me away from guys like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but I think Crawford’s minutes are pretty set regardless of the game’s outcome. His $5,600 price tag means he only needs about 25 fantasy points to reach his value, something he’s done in his last 5 games. If you can’t afford to pay up for Butler, Crawford should make for a nice option.
Rudy Gay at BRK, $8,600
The small forward options tonight are absolutely terrible, which makes paying up for Gay a lot more palatable for me tonight. He’ll need about 39 fantasy points tonight to reach his value, which is far from a lock, but considering all the scoring expected in the game, I think he makes for a fairly safe play amongst a bad group.
Jared Dudley/Khris Middleton at CHA, $4,800
I like both of the Milwaukee SF choices tonight in different contests. They only need to score about 22 points to reach value tonight, and Dudley has done that in 4 of the last 5 games, making him the preferred cash game option. We’ve seen Middleton to have stat-sheet stuffing potential over his career, but has had problems getting consistent minutes this year under Jason Kidd. With injuries to Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova, I think he could see a ton of time at the 4 again, making him a nice tournament play.
Rodney Hood at LAC, $3,500
This play is not for the faint of heart, but Hood will draw his second consecutive start at shooting guard for the Jazz with Alec Burks out for the matchup with the Clippers. He saw 29 minutes in his last start and missed some time in that game with an ankle injury, making me believe his minutes should be north of 30 tonight. Don’t expect him to set the world on fire, but he’s minimum price and only needs about 16 points to reach value. The Clips are bottom 5 in the league at defending shooting guards over the last 3 weeks, so I don’t think Hood will kill your team tonight if you want to just punt the position.
Derrick Favors at LAC, $7,400
After dominating the Sixers to the tune of 51.5 fantasy points, Favors gets another awesome matchup tonight against a Clippers team giving up the 4th most points to opposing power forwards the last 3 weeks. His injury and some tough matchups over the past couple of weeks has kept his price down, and he should definitely be able to get the 33 points he needs to reach value, even with the blowout potential of the game. Favors is my top PF of the night.
David West vs CHI, $6,800
West is a consistent producer at power forward and will have a good matchup tonight against a Bulls team that gives up the 5th most points to opponents at the position. He’ll need about 31 points to reach his value tonight and has done that 4 out of the last 6 games. There is not much upside here, so I would keep West to cash games only, but I don’t think he finishes pretty close to that number.
Khris Humphries at HOU, $4,900
Humphries is playing more minutes right now than starter Nene, and has been a tremendous value for his price the last two games. Houston is very strong defensively, but struggle the most with power forwards, making Humphries a quality salary saving option.
Marvin Williams vs MIL, $3,900
Williams is playing more minutes than starting power forward Cody Zeller, and has been a consistent source of cheap fantasy output. Over the last 6 games, he has averaged 20 fantasy points, and only needs 18 tonight to reach his value. Since we expect a strong game from Kemba tonight at home, Williams may get a couple more open looks from deep.
DeMarcus Cousins at BRK, $10,700
On the small slate of games tonight, you’re either paying up for center or playing my value play (which I’ll get to). Boogie is the best center in fantasy and should get plenty of looks in a tightly contested, high scoring game. He’s averaging 50 fantasy points a game since returning from injury in 33 minutes a contest. He’s one of the safest plays out there tonight.
Dwight Howard vs WAS, $9,300
Howard stands a decent chance of outproducing his price against a Wizards team in the bottom 10 at defending opposing centers this year. I would still prefer Cousins, but Dwight will probably have very low ownership, making him a nice contrarian play.
Zaza Pachulia at CHA, $4,800
As I mentioned earlier, both Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova are out tonight for the Bucks, meaning Pachulia should get the start and about 30 minutes at center. He has broken the 30 point mark in each of his last 2 games, and only needs about 22 points tonight to reach his value, making him the best value play at center tonight.
Thanks for reading and good luck tonight!