Small five game slate here on Wednesday. We could have the potential for some ugly…
Small five game slate here on Wednesday. We could have the potential for some ugly games, tons of value, and likely a stars and scrubs approach tonight. On DK I have been playing with a lot of two center rosters early today. On FanDuel we don’t have that luxury and the lineups have been more stars and scrubs with one high end and one low end option at most positions. It’s not that I like certain players prices more on one site or the other, but the different roster requirements today kind of force you to lean a little differently. One thing I had no trouble doing today as filling out my guard spots. I wish I had more of them, because a lot of the best value is likely to be at one of the guard spots and the spend ups I like most happen to be there too. On FanDuel you are likely to see Paul George highly owned almost by default, with him and Durant towering over the field in terms of projected production. Linking them with a cheap value SF seems like the best path, but on DK I have spent up elsewhere and punted SF. The lineups have some of the same key pieces, but the flexibility and requirements make the strategy particularly interesting today on both.
Let’s move on to the big news items of the day so everyone is caught up on what we need to know for the slate. Lebron James played 34 minutes last night, the Lakers are out of the playoff hunt, and he’s been banged up with some bumps and bruises. No official announcement yet, but just the fact he’s listed as questionable makes me think it’s more likely doubtful that he plays both ends of a meaningless back-to-back. Demarcus Cousins is back for the Warriors and that is problematic too. IT’s a dreadful matchup against the slow-paced Memphis Grizzlies who are surprisingly tough at home. It’s also a usage killer for the rest of the studs who have tended to see bumps when he sits out.
The Chicago Bulls are the walking wounded. Currently Otto Porter is on the shelf and Dunn and Lavine are questionable and missed the game last night. Lauri Markkanen sat out the second half last night with an illness, so his status looks likely to be up in the air all day. Lavine may play as he sat last night, but Dunn is likely to sit. We saw bumps for tons of guys in the second half last night as the Bulls played Ryan Arcidiacono, Shaq Harrison, Wayne Selden and a rookie named Brandon Sampson significant minutes. Robin Lopez played minutes and you saw a few other guys get some run, but those are the main ones to look at. Even Lavine plays, his usage should be through the roof, so he would be an interesting play and would hurt some of these other guys. If he sits again though, this one could get really ugly really fast. Same guys for Markkanen, who I honestly have no idea if he will play or not. If he does, he’ll likely be high usage and a decent guy to consider as well.
I assume if you haven’t been living under a rock you guys have seen the gruesome injury to Jusuf Nurkic the other night. If you haven’t and are squeamish, it’s basically the same type of thing that happened to Gordon Hayward. Point of this being he’s not going to be on the court anymore for the Blazers and that means minutes, rebounds, and usage for whoever is. Enes Kanter is likely to be the biggest beneficiary, but guys like Zach Collins and maybe even more of Al-Farouq Aminu will also be in the mix. With CJ McCollum out already, the Blazers are now desperately in need of scoring. Lillard has picked up his game admirably, but one man cannot be the leading offensive weapon and also pick up the slack for the second and third best offensive weapons. Lillard’s production has gone up and may even remain high, but how much more of a bump can you really expect? Someone or more likely someone(s) are going to have to help pick up the slack too. Guys like Seth Curry and Moe Harkless are the ones I trust most based on recent games.
Top Projected Totals
- Wizards – 116.5
- Jazz – 116
- Suns – 114.5
- Warriors – 113.75
- Trailblazers – 112.75
Biggest Pace Bumps
- Pacers – +5.2
- Grizzlies – +4.5
- Jazz – +3
Highest Projection Over Average
- Suns – +8
- Jazz – +5
- Wizards – +2.5
- Grizzlies – +0.5
- Others all project for under average
Top Cash Plays
Russell Westbrook – Not a great spot by any stretch as the Pacers are a good defensive team and play at a slower pace, but Westbrook is a stat stuffer. He’s a walking triple double threat and with so much value you can easily fit him in if you want him today. He’s not the only high-end PG to look for, but he’s the one with the higher ceiling.
Damian Lillard – You used to get a much better discount on him vs. Westbrook, but that Lillard wasn’t without #2 and #3 options Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum. The matchup is pretty good considering Chicago’s who le starting five is either out or questionable to play. Over the last four games Lillard is averaging 38 minutes with 30 points and 12 assists per night. His usage rate is near 30, he’s averaging 20 field goal attempts and 8 free throws a game, plus he’s averaged five 3-pointers, 4+ rebounds and about 1.5 steals. His worst game in the last 5 was 50 DK points and three of the last four he went for 60+ and he did all of this with Nurkic playing. Without him, he may have to do even more of the scoring.
Seth Curry – You can spend up and go double expensive at PG today on either site, but we have a lot of really good value in the cheap range. Curry has benefitted from no McCollum with a big jump in both minutes and production. His price has risen, but not by a lot and he’s producing well over minimum standards. What I really like is that if the Bulls do play their B team and the game gets out of hand, Curry likely plays more late in the game anyway. Either way he is safe, but there’s also a scenario where he has a huge ceiling.
Shaq Harrison – Another guy I like regardless. Lavine may play, but Porter is out and Dunn likely will be, so while some of the Bulls value from last night may not be there again, Shaq is a piece that will. He’s just too cheap for the new role he has playing over 30 minutes and getting shots. He’s no superstar, but he’s been easily making value and the price hasn’t taken off yet.
Ryan Arcidiacono – If and only if Lavine and Dunn miss, Ryan Arcidiacono is in play too. He has a lower ceiling and floor than Shaq, so he’s not even my favorite Bull. Still I don’t think he’ll miss value at his price if he’s going to see 25-35 minutes with the Bulls so banged up.
Devin Booker – Booker and Beal are both guys I looked hard at as spend ups, but ultimately, I think Booker has the higher floor and ceiling. I love Beal and the matchup for both against each other is a good place to be. My reasoning for Booker is that he is literally the entire team right now. He had 59 of the teams 92 last game. He took 34 of their 76 shot attempts. This matchup is also much better than the last one as the Wizards give up more points and play faster than the Jazz do. So many reasons to keep using him today as the usage is just insane. He is priced right by Beal too and while you can make an argument for Beal in GPPs due to ownership, I just can’t ignore the massive opportunity Booker is seeing right now.
Delon Wright – This one hinges on Mike Conley. It does appear more likely Conley sits again and if so, Delon Wright should smash again. Wright had 49 DK points in 35 minutes of action without Conley last game. I won’t guarantee a repeat of the near 50 fantasy points, but we know he has the ability to do that. He’ll also have the opportunity as he saw 35 minutes without Conley this last game.
Kentavious Caldwell Pope – Lebron sitting out is the bigger news of the day, but Reggie Bullock has been out too and that has opened up minutes for KCP. He’s produced well while playing 30+ the last few games and should continue to do so. If Lebron sits, that opens up more usage for everyone, so he could even exceed his recent solid totals.
Tyler Dorsey – So Dorsey is a great value play tonight assuming Conley sits. Conley sat out last game and three games back. When he did, Dorsey played 39 and 43 minutes, finishing with 49 and 40 DK points. The game Conley played sandwiched in between Dorsey played just over half the game and scored barely 20 fantasy points. His viability hinges on Conley. If Conley plays, I’m not on him. If Conley sits, I’m all in as he has been smashing value in that situation.
Paul George – I prefer George to Durant in terms of raw points scored. I guess it’s a revenge game, but I think he wanted out of Indy anyway, so not much animosity there. PG13 is a guy I like less than Westbrook or Lillard, but in terms of positional scarcity on FD, I think you want either him or Durant who both tower over everyone else in terms of projections today. I’m not going to argue with anyone who drops down to Durant if you need to fit something in, but I project PG13 higher and with the Warriors all healthy, I’m not looking for upside from them.
Kevin Durant – See Above.
Moe Harkless – On DK I have Harkless as a guy I am very interested in. He’s been playing well and barely reaching value lately, but he gets a boost due to both the soft matchup and the fact Nurkic is out. Not only will he and everyone else see usage bumps, but Harkless also could see a bump in rebounding. He’s $4300 on DK, but $5400 on FD and DK is where I’d rather use him if you decide to go this route.
Bruno Caboclo – He’s $100 more on DK than Harkless and I prefer Harkless. On FD though he’s almost $1000 less and I prefer to use him there as my SF#2. He’s played 40, 29, 25, and 35 minutes the last 4 games and went for 8X and 10X in two of them. He’s a little volatile and more of a GPP play, but he’s also a good guy to use on FD where you can drop a bad game from him for cheap and his god games could be straight smash spots.
Lance Stephenson – Lance is playing more minutes and if Lebron is out that may even increase too. Remember Bullock is already out too, and the injury list is piling up for the Lakers. Lance doesn’t always see minutes, but he’s entertaining and produces in limited minutes when he does. He’s also sub $4K on both sites and has been paying off that salary already. Throw in the potential minutes and usage boost without Lebron and he’s a really interesting play today.
Kyle Kuzma – Arguably the weakest position on FD today and for me Kuzma is lock button here. He’s about the best scorer left if Lebron sits as I expect. Even with Lebron in he has been playing better and producing well. His price is up, but not overly expensive and his minutes and usage should be ceiling today without Lebron.
Thad Young – I don’t really love Young for upside, but he’s a solid safe play who always sees minutes. He’s on a team paced up today too, which could lead to more production for him, especially in the rebounding category. Listen, on DK, play Kuzma and move on. Use a SF in your F spot and call it a day. On FD we need to pick a second guy and the options are not great. Jerami Grant, Al Farouq-Aminu, Derrick Favors, any of the Washington guys. None of that is inspiring to me and Young makes the list almost by default because of it.
Maybe guys like Zach Collins or Ivan Rabb if you really just want to punt it. I don’t think on FD that is a bad strategy to just plug in a near min priced Zach Collins, and if he benefits from no Nurkic great. If not, you didn’t waste much of your cap on your probable drop guy at a real weak position.
JaVale McGee – So most of the season he has averaged 21 minutes a night with about 27 fantasy points. Lately he’s routinely playing over 30 minutes, which means a 50% increase in playing time. If you jack up the production 50% too, that means a 30+ minute JaVale McGee projects for 40ish. The last few games he’s dropped 50s and 70s on DK, so he’s even outperformed those expectations. His price is jacked up, but you have to factor in the role he has now, not the guy he was earlier in the year.
Jonas Valanciunas – I like Cousins too on the other side of this game, but JV has seen more minutes lately and he gets the pace bump. He just has the better opportunity too as the Warriors have plenty of options and the Grizzlies do not. Plus, if Conley is out, they may need to lean on him even more.
Enes Kanter – Kanter is going to be somewhat chalky today. The sites did price him up, so he’s not a dirt-cheap bargain. He’s still not expensive though, which means he is in play. My biggest fear is that he may not get all the Nurkic minutes. I doubt we see 35-40 from Kanter. Even if he gets us near 30 minutes though, his high rebound rate and ability to score inside do project for over value today, especially on DK where just $5K is the price tag. On FanDuel with only one center and a $6500 price it is easier to avoid him there. On DK he’s in my C or Util spot on every lineup I made for cash so far. The price and his opportunity should pay that tag off easily.