I love this slate tonight and am ready to make some easy money. It’s a seven-gamer, much better than the five games or less we have had often over the past few days. We have a lot of cheap options today, but some stand out to me as really good cheap chalk and they aren't exactly the most obvious. I don't expect any of them to be super low owned, but we don't really care about that in cash. These are the kind of cheap options that can go for 30-35 and match what guys $2,000 more expensive can do. Guys like…
I love this slate tonight and am ready to make some easy money. It’s a seven-gamer, much better than the five games or less we have had often over the past few days. We have a lot of cheap options today, but some stand out to me as really good cheap chalk and they aren't exactly the most obvious. I don't expect any of them to be super low owned, but we don't really care about that in cash. These are the kind of cheap options that can go for 30-35 and match what guys $2,000 more expensive can do. Guys like Shabazz Napier, Wayne Selden, Michael Beasley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and even Richaun Holmes. These are quality punts. Hell, they are just quality players in general when they get their chance to play minutes. They are priced like bench warming scrubs because that has been the minutes they had played. Due to injuries, all of them are going to play bigger roles today and roles we normally see them produce in. I think this is a huge stars and scrubs roster construction kind of day. When the punts are guys who can get you 30-35 instead of hoping for 25, you know scores are going to be absurd; that’s why I prefer using a lot of these guys and then fitting in the studs alongside them. I usually start my lineup builds with my favorite values and the superstars I want to play. From there, you tend to fill in the blanks and make upgrades or sacrifices where you have to to make it fit in salary wise. When you do that today, you can make three stud lineups pretty easily with the cheap guys on DK still being able to get you 27-32 pretty easily. Five of them together is a nice 150 point floor, and you can use three-man combos with guys like Westbrook, George, Embiid, Aldridge or Giannis as your other three. Harden is a tad pricey than all the rest of these guys, but a Harden-Aldridge-Jahlil Okafor Combo cost about the same as Westy, PG13 and Embiid plus fits with a group of the value guys today. At most, you may end up with one guy in the mid-price range on DK today, and maybe two at most on FanDuel, but the roster construction seems to be stars and scrubs today as the scrubs are guys that are scrub in name only. The minutes they project for and their production per minute are actually better than some starters priced thousands of dollars ahead of them.
TOP PROJECTED SCORES
- Rockets – 122
- 76ers – 119
- Spurs – 117.25
- Thunder – 113.5
*Bucks, Nets, Pelicans, Lakers are all around 112
BIGGEST PACE BUMP
- Magic: +5.9
- Cavs: +5
- Rockets: +4.8
- Pistons: +4.1
HIGHEST PROJECTION OVER AVERAGE
- Rockets: +10 (This is a huge number, one of the biggest on the season)
- Spurs: +5
- Magic: +4
- Bulls: +4
- 76ers: +3.5
- Cavs: +3
FAVORITE CASH PLAYS
Russell Westbrook – In terms of raw points, Westbrook is #1. On DK, you have Harden PG eligible too and a guy like D’Angelo Russell as well, but on FanDuel, the only guy that can even come close is Ben Simmons, and he now has both Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid back to share the offensive load. OKC is a road favorite, so hopefully, the Magic can keep this respectably close. Westbrook may not be shooting well, but he’s still doing all the other little things. He is scoring enough around the rim to add to his big rebound and assist totals nightly. We don't even talk about him, because he’s so good he has spoiled us, but the guy put up three straight triple-doubles with 50, 60 and 70 DK points in those games, playing 36 minutes a night. He’s priced thousands of dollars below James Harden too, which is enough of a discount to have me interested.
Rajon Rondo – That 50 point game was kind of a best case scenario for him in his first game back, but he dropped a respectable 30 in the second contest too. If the matchup was not juicy and a high total, I would probably fade him at this price point, but the truth is he played over 40 minutes last game. The Lakers are already without Ball, and Josh Hart picked up a knock in that game. That leaves Rondo with even less competition for minutes, and he could end up playing 40 minutes again here. He’s not a GPP guy at these prices for me, but the floor should be high and the minutes should remain pretty elevated as well, so that brings a high degree of safety with it in a high total game.
Tomas Satoransky – I like guys like this in cash. I think his floor is around 30, which would not kill you if he plays bad. He’s flashed ceiling games into the 40's in two of the last three, and that means he has 6-7X upside to outperform. He likely settles somewhere in the middle, which is a solid 5.5-6X return given the soft matchup with Cleveland. Solid floor and upside with safe minutes in a good spot. Yep, that will work.
Shabazz Napier – So if you read the write up yesterday, we talked about how Napier is a solid value, and the price remains cheap. You have the Nets currently without Dinwiddie, LaVert and Crabbe. Three guys who were cemented as major pieces of the depth on the perimeter. With them out, minutes galore open up. Napier has run the second unit and even played point alongside D’Angelo Russell on the floor recently. He’s not a huge upside guy, but he’s good enough to be able to get you that 25-35 we need at the price.
James Harden – CP3 returned but only played about half the game. Harden still dropped 70+ fantasy points and had a 45 usage rate. Listen, I understand the price is expensive. There is a case to be made other guys are a better point per dollar given the huge price tag on Harden, but Harden is still the guy likeliest to put up the highest score today. There is enough value to fit him in on lineups today if you choose. Houston also draws the highest total, the huge projection over value and one of the biggest bumps in pace, so this is about as good a set up for upside as you can ask for and Harden’s upside is unmatched due to his usage.
D’Angelo Russell – He’s coming off a bad game in a brutal matchup where he didn't even play the minutes he normally does and still put up about 40 DK points. We’ve seen him playing in the 50's more often lately. The Nets backcourt is thin, with Dinwiddie, LaVert and Crabbe al injured. Russell is the best scorer and playmaker they have healthy, and now the log jam of other options is lessened. He’s 33% cheaper than Harden and often playing into the 50's. If he does that here, you would need Harden to be in the upper 70's or 80's to be 33% more productive than D-Russ. Raw points, he’s not in the same league, but if you need to save to fit in other pieces you like, he’s a good avenue to get it done.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Great value on KCP today. Josh Hart left the last game after playing just 17 minutes. He’s listed as questionable today. Kuzma has been out, and of course no Lebron either, so KCP could find himself playing 30 minutes tonight. He’s still reasonably priced, and that game does have a massive 230+ total. KCP lacks upside since he’s pretty much scoring dependant, but he can knock down shots, and with increased minutes comes increased opportunities to do so at a very cheap price.
Wayne Selden – I am a big fan of Selden here today at his price. Chicago is slightly paced up here and projected for four points over average. Chad Hutchinson went down with an injury, and Selden is the guy stepping into that role and those minutes. Defensively he is not as good, but he produces better for fantasy than Hutchinson did. Selden is cheap with an increased role in a good matchup here today. Very interesting play and a great salary saver.
Mikail Bridges – He’s dirt cheap and consistently playing around 30 minutes lately. There is not much upside here, and he does have games where he does nothing, but he also can get us 6-7X at his price. I prefer him as a FanDuel play, and he’s behind Selden for me in terms of cheap SG options anyway. Still, he has multiple position eligibility on DK, and if you want to fit Harden, you likely need some of these sub $4K guys to do it. As far as sub $4K guys go, he’s one of a few with upside and safe minutes to rely on tonight.
Paul George – PG13 has been ballin out lately. Over the last six games, he is averaging 37 minutes, 30 points, 8+ rebounds, 5 assists and 3 defensive stats. That’s been good for 55-60 fantasy points. His last three games are 64, 55, 65 DK points. I know the price is up to $10K, but he’s earned it with his solid and consistent play. George lacks the upside of his fellow $10K brethren, but his floor is as safe and consistent as that of any of his peers.
Cedi Osman – I am not the biggest Cedi Osman fan, but he’s producing too well to ignore him. He averages 31 minutes a game on the year but has seen 33, 38, 39 in the last three games. Not surprisingly, he’s been over value in all three with 34 or more DK points and even into the 40's. He’s only $5,200 today, so we are looking at a guy going 7-8X and playing more minutes than usual. The Cavs are still thin in the frontcourt, even with Nance back. Osman should continue to play above his minutes average as long as games stay close enough to warrant him doing so. He has contributed in various ways too, so whether it’s points, rebounds, assists or defensive stats, he can get you to value. I like guys with high minutes and multiple avenues of production in cash, especially when they remain relatively cheap.
Darius Miller – So the big thing I am waiting on here is whether or not Julius Randle plays, but with AD and Mirotic already out, Darius Miller has seen his playing time go up. He can rebound, and he can knock down shots, so he does have some upside. He’s also dirt cheap and playing minutes, which gives him safety for cash. If Randle plays, he’s still a viable punt option, but probably more of a guy I include on New Orleans game stack for salary relief and low ownership. If Randle is out, we could see 28-30 minutes out of him at sub $4K. He has shown he can get us value and a little upside for this cheap if he sees that much court time.
Michael Beasley – Beasley has offensive skills, so when he is in the game, they do get him the ball and try to let him do his thing. If Kuzma remains out, with LeBron already out and the backcourt already thin, he could find himself starting at PF alongside Brandon Ingram again. Either way, he should see big minutes, provided Kuzma (Who did not practice yesterday) remains on the bench. If so, Beasley is way too cheap for what he can and likely will produce in a high total, fast-paced game like the one vs. the 76ers today.
LaMarcus Aldridge – LMA has had a decent season, but not much in terms of upside. When DeMar DeRozan is out though, he’s become the go-to scorer and the upside is now there. Without DeRozan, he is averaging 27/10 on 20 field goal attempts. With DeRozan, that drops to 20/8 on 15 attempts in about the same minutes. That’s about an extra 10 fantasy points and the difference between being a guy who misses or barely makes value and being a guy who crushed it. Without DeRozan, LMA is crushing it, and I expect that to continue in a good spot against a very soft Phoenix interior.
Kenneth Faried – The price is rising but still a tad below where his production says it should be. This is pretty easy. He’s basically a smaller version of Clint Capela but producing the type of lines Capela did. He might not have the ceiling, but his floor is not far below. His price is $1,000-$2,000 below where Capela was though, which makes him a guy likely to play 30-35 minutes, put up 30-40 fantasy points and be right around where we need him to be at his price.
Richaun Holmes – One of those weak interior players is Richaun Holmes, but he’s a good option at his price. When Holmes sees 25+ minutes, he’s going 6X or better this year. With Ayton likely remaining out, he played that last game and produced at that level last game. He may even see more minutes here, but I’ll gladly take the 25-30 minutes and 27ish fantasy points or more that go with it at is low $4K price point.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – RHJ had a monster game yesterday as expected at a cheap price. There is a little-known advantage in situations like this. The sites put out tomorrow’s pricing during games tonight. RHJ is one of those guys whose role expanded due to both injuries and him getting healthy. We know now that he’s going to play more minutes. They didn't know that when they priced him though. He should be super popular tonight, because this is a productive guy who is likely to play 28-30 minutes and he’s priced like the guy at the end of the bench barely seeing 20. Take the easy points where you can and use the savings to fit in the studs.
Joel Embiid – Embiid took a one-game break for rest and is ready to come back and smash the weak Lakers frontcourt tonight. Huge total game with the 76ers being paced up and projected over value. Embiid is a stud. I debated him against Vucevic tonight, and ultimately Embiid has the higher floor and ceiling, and the slightly higher price is not enough to push me off of him. He’s my #1 and center is one of the positions where we don't have extreme value tonight (at least on FD), so he’ll be a popular spend up.
Jahlil Okafor – Not only are AD and Mirotic out, but Julius Randle is questionable too. Not that it matters about Randle, as Okafor has been crushing it even with Randle playing alongside him. His price is no longer basement bargain, but even at this range, there is still upside. He plays in a game with a high total on a team with a decent projection and a fast pace expected. The Rockets also have a very weak interior with Tucker/Faried as their duo. Say what you want about Okafor’s hustle and defense in the past, but he looks like a different guy since being given his second chance here due to injuries. One thing no one has ever questioned is his ability to score, and now when you have a soft matchup too, this just makes so much sense that he continues to crush. He’s $6,100 on DK, and I can tell you, he’s on a lot of my Harden teams. You could get 110-125 points combined from them tonight with Okafor going for 40+ and Harden for 70. Linking them together in GPPs makes sense, and so does playing them in cash together. I think both guys see minutes regardless, as Harden plays in blowouts and Okafor may have to due to lack of other options if Randle can't go.