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What’s up my peeps? After giving us a hefty week of post-Thanksgiving action, the NBA has left us with a four-game slate to snack on this fine Saturday night. Granted, it’s not ideal, however, as we saw last week, it could be worse. There isn’t a ton of pending injury news out there, so you can expect today’s chalk to be very heavy, even for a four-game slate. That means you need to win the “ownership game” if you want to sneak by your opponents in GPPs. Given the expected levels of ownership on the chalky plays, you’ll only need to make one or two pivots in order to come up with a unique lineup. Translation? Don’t try to get too cute by abandoning the reliable chalky plays. Instead, take some chances on fading some of the less than reliable chalk. As always, remember that this is a GPP article so don’t get freaked out if you don’t see some of the more popular players listed below.
Position by Position
1. Russell Westbrook (HOU)
2. Ricky Rubio (PHO)
3. Ben Simmons (PHI)
4. Malcolm Brogdon (IND)
5. DeAnthony Melton (MEM)
1. James Harden (HOU)
2. Devin Booker (PHO)
3. Donovan Mitchell (UTA)
4. R.J. Barrett (NYK)
5. Jeremy Lamb (IND)
1. Kelly Oubre Jr (PHO)
2. Bojan Bogdanovic (UTA)
3. Tobias Harris (PHI)
4. TJ Warren (IND)
5. Danuel House (HOU)
1. Domantas Sabonis (IND)
2. Julius Randle (NYK)
3. P.J. Tucker (HOU)
4. Jaron Jackson Jr (MEM)
5. + Kevin Love (CLE)
1. Jonas Valanciunas (MEM)
2. Mitchell Robinson (NYK)
3. Kyle O’Quinn (PHI)
4. Miles Turner (IND)
5. Tristan Thompson (CLE)
Top Stud (over $8K on FD): James Harden (followed by Ben Simmons)
Top Stud (over $8K on DK): James Harden (followed by Ben Simmons)
Top Value (under $5K on FD): Matisse Thybulle (followed by Furkan Korkmaz)
Top Value (under $5K on DK): Kyle O’Quinn (followed by Matisse Thybulle)
– If you’re taking the “studs and scrubs” approach James Harden (HOU), Clint Capela (HOU), Ben Simmons (PHI) and Russell Westbrook (HOU) have the highest ceilings on the slate (in that order).
– If you’re looking to construct a low owned lineup, here are a few recommendations that will buck the current roster construction trends for this slate:
-On Fanduel, my most common core seems to be James Harden (HOU), Al Horford (PHI), Frank Kaminsky (PHO) and Rudy Gobert (UTA). On DraftKings, I’m getting a lot of Harden, Horford, Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic (UTA). If you fill in both of those cores with three or four Philadelphia 76ers value plays, you’ll have the same lineup as the vast majority of DFS’ers tonight. Remember that when trying to diversify your lineups in tournaments.
-Fade some of the not so reliable 76ers value plays. Today’s most frequently asked question will be, “How many 76ers is too many?”. I’ll admit, rostering guys like Kyle O’Quinn (PHI), James Ennis (PHI), Furkan Korkmaz (PHI) and Matisse Thybulle (PHI) allow you to fill out the rest of your lineup with some pretty tasty beefcake options. That being said, these guys aren’t exactly the most reliable options in the world. Besides, even if one or two of them as a great game, the chances that they all succeed tonight aren’t exceptionally high. They have an awesome matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there’s only so much “fantasy goodness” to go around. Sticking with the more reliable 76ers (i.e., Simmons, Harris and Horford) might be a smart move.
-Makes them risky moves at the center position. Rudy Gobert (UTA) and Clint Capela (HOU) will be the highest owned center options tonight, and for good reason. They sit as the top two projected scores at the position tonight, so having exposure to them in cash games is a great idea. On the flipside, taking a chance on someone like Jonas Valanciunas (MEM) or Mitchell Robinson (NYK) could go a long way in tournaments. Valanciunas put up 53.4 fantasy points against Utah a few games ago, while Robinson has posted 34.3 and 35.9 fantasy points in his last two outings. This is by no means a guarantee at continued success, however, at least you know the potential for upside exists.
-Spend up at small forward. Truth be told, there isn’t a lot to spend up for at small forward today. This will give others even more comfort in choosing Philadelphia 76ers value plays to fill those spots. Don’t sleep on guys like Kelly Oubre Jr (PHO) or Bojan Bogdanovic (UTA) at a very shallow position.
-Sacrifice using James Harden (HOU). Hey, it’s a scary thought and not one that I am incredibly comfortable executing, however, Harden will be the most coveted stud on the slate. Perhaps a pivot to someone like Donovan Mitchell (UTA) or Devin Booker (PHO) could give you a unique lineup and save you some salary in the process. You could use that salary to upgrade from the previously mentioned “not so reliable 76ers value plays”. In the end, you might find yourself going with a more balanced approach, which is always a viable strategy in tournaments.