With James Harden being the focal point of many lineups tonight, I thought I’d share my opinions on how to differentiate yourself in tournaments…
Marco Belinelli (SA) $3.8K on FD/$3.6K on DK: You probably already know by now that Chris Paul will be out for several weeks with a hamstring injury. Your knee-jerk reaction should be to get James Harden into your lineups. Getting Harden into your lineups is one thing. Making him fit is something else. You’ll hear lots of chatter about value plays from Toronto, but if you want to roster Harden in tournaments and separate yourself from the crowd you’ll need some low owned value plays. Belinelli and the San Antonio Spurs take on Harden and the Houston Rockets tonight (ranked 21st in defensive efficiency against shooting guards and 22nd in overall defensive efficiency). Even though he comes off the bench, Belinelli has been instrumental in San Antonio’s recent success. He’s also been productive from a fantasy standpoint with 23.8, 27.0, 26.0 and 31.0 fantasy points in his last four games. That’s not bad for a guy that’s close to minimum salary. Some of those numbers have been on the heels of unsustainable field-goal percentage, but there’s enough time to jump on the Belinelli bandwagon before the wheels fall off.
JJ. Barea (DAL) $5.0K on FD/$4.7K on DK: Dennis Smith Jr is unlikely to play during the Mavericks current road trip, so Barea should yet again see some extra run tonight. He’s another guy that’s an important piece of the second unit and can produce when called upon. Jalen Brunson isn’t very good, so Barea will need to pick up his slack in the Dallas backcourt. He’s coming off a 31.6 fantasy point effort against the Los Angeles Clippers and could see extra run if tonight’s matchup against the Golden State Warriors gets out of hand (GSW R -11.5 favorites). The over/under is a hefty 226.5, so expect Barea to put up fantasy friendly numbers no matter what.
Ricky Rubio (UTA) $5.9K on FD/$5.4K on DK: If you watched yesterday’s live stream with Jeff and DC, you heard Jeff explain why he loved Ricky Rubio against the Portland Trail Blazers. It was simply an example of a player’s salary being too low for his potential ceiling. Rubio went on to put up 39.4 Fanduel points. Tonight, for whatever reason, his salary went down on DraftKings, so the same rules apply tonight when he takes on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder have a more than formidable defensive unit and sit atop the rankings when it comes to league defensive efficiency (99.9). When you take a closer look, you’ll see that their defensive efficiency against point guards has been declining over the past month. One month ago, the Thunder allowed 40.3 fantasy points per game to point guards (5th lowest in the league), however, over the past two weeks they’ve allowed 44.2 fantasy points per game (16th lowest in the league). It might not seem like a big deal, but this could be the start of a trend that you want to take advantage of early. Once everyone notices a trend, it’s too late.
Kelly Oubre, Jr. (PHO) $4.8K on FD/$4.6K on DK: Oubre doesn’t have to wait very long before exacting revenge on his former team, as he and the Phoenix Suns take on the Washington Wizards tonight. I don’t know how much revenge he has in his heart, but even if he doesn’t have any, the matchup suits him perfectly. Phoenix will be playing up in pace against a Wizards defense that ranks 21st in defensive efficiency against small forwards and 28th in overall defensive efficiency. Oubre, Jr played 26 minutes against Boston in his season debut and should continue to see ample minutes off the bench.
Derrick Jones, Jr. (MIA) $5.2K on FD/$4.7K on DK: Jones Jr. has been flying under the radar, up until now. Due to various injuries on the team, the Miami Heat have called upon him to step up and he hasn’t disappointed. Over his past six games, he’s averaging 25.2 minutes per game and putting up 32.5 fantasy points per contest. Goran Dragic will be sidelined indefinitely after undergoing a procedure, and Justise Winslow continues to battle an ankle injury, so Jones Jr. will continue to have an opportunity to prove his value to the team.
Deandre Ayton (PHO) $7.4K on FD/$7.2K on DK: Ayton recently claimed he hit the “rookie wall”, but given his recent production, he went right through it like the Kool-Aid man. He has seven double-doubles in his last 10 games and will carry that momentum into tonight’s matchup against the Washington Wizards (ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency against centers and 28th in overall defensive efficiency). The Wizards are ranked 30th in rebound rate, so another double-double should be on the horizon.
Clint Capela (HOU) $9.0K on FD/$7.8K on DK: If you can’t convince yourself to fade James Harden in tournaments, you should at least consider pairing him with someone else who benefits from Chris Paul’s injury. Capela sees a boost in production with Paul off the court (1.2 fantasy points per minute) and should benefit from the good old-fashioned pick and roll between himself and Harden. The matchup against San Antonio is much more imposing on paper than it is in real life so don’t be scared.
With James Harden being the focal point of many lineups tonight, I thought I’d share my opinions on how to differentiate yourself in tournaments.
1. Fade James Harden. I know, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Don’t get me wrong. I love James Harden tonight. There’s an excellent chance he puts up 80 fantasy points, but even if he does you’ll still need to find a way to beat the other 80% of the field. Perhaps a pivot to Russell Westbrook or Joel Embiid would be enough to give you a different lineup, considering those are the guys next in line with regards to having the highest ceiling on the slate. Even if you’re not comfortable with the full-on fade, you should at least consider lowering your exposure to some degree.
2. Fit Harden in with alternate value plays. As I said above, most lineups that contain Harden will also contain a number of value plays from the Toronto Raptors. Surrounding Harden with value plays from the other teams on the slate would be an excellent way to differentiate your lineup.
3. Go with a game stack. If you’re going to fade Harden (gulp), taking on a game stack would be a great idea. Taking multiple players from a game like the Phoenix at Washington matchup (Washington favored by -5.0, over under 231.5) will allow you to differentiate your squad while rostering guys that could help each other rack up fantasy points in a highly contested matchup.
4. Pair Harden with a good correlation play. If you were kind enough to read the segment on Clint Capela, you already know what I’m talking about. Not only does Capela receive a boost with Chris Paul out, but he and Harden also correlate well the of the pick and roll.