Winning in sports requires quite a few different things, but teams never win big without a few adjustments.
The same goes for daily fantasy sports.
So, I am making my first adjustment to this article to provide the best information each day.
The changes are subtle and start with the “Bargains” section. Now, instead of a mixture of plays, I will do my best to highlight one potentially valuable player and one “punt” option at each position. Both should help you round out your lineups, depending on exactly what you are looking for.
The second change is in the “Lottery Tickets” section. Going forward, I am going to attempt to highlight one player from each position I like in tournament formats. That should be friendlier for anyone who is trying to build tournament lineups but finds themselves stuck between a few players.
As in the NBA, I will look day-by-day to make adjustments to better present the information in this column. The goal here is to provide my favorite plays in an easy-to-read, efficient manner. So, these probably will not be the last changes you see.
Some news and notes before we get started:
- The Miami Heat have traded Mario Chalmers and James Ennis to the Memphis Grizzlies for Beno Udrih and Jarnell Stokes. You weren’t starting any of these guys anyways, but for tonight’s game, Goran Dragic could potentially see even more minutes.
- Kobe Bryant is slated to play in the Lakers’ back-to-back on Tuesday/Wednesday. You have to assume the team limits his minutes on one of the games, so be weary if you want to play Kobe.
- Brad Beal (shoulder) is questionable against the Thunder. For what it’s worth, he reportedly thinks he will play. Gary Neal and Ramon Sessions are the most interesting to me if he’s out.
- Marcus Smart (toe) is out for Tuesday’s game against the Bucks. Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner are my favorite plays in his absence.
- Dwyane Wade missed the Heat’s shootaround with an illness, but is expected to play against the Lakers. I love the matchup and price, but you have to be cautious with Wade no matter the situation. Tyler Johnson is extremely interesting if Wade sits.
- Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) will miss Tuesday’s game against the Celtics. That means a bump for Greivis Vasquez, Jerryd Bayless, and Tyler Ennis.
- J. R. Smith (knee) is questionable against the Jazz, though, I am not interested in anyone that may start for him if he sits out.
- DeMarre Carroll (foot) is questionable against the Knicks. I’d stay away from this situation if he’s out.
Remember to check the news up until tip-off:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Greivis Vasquez, PG, MIL ($3,700): Vasquez is my top punt play at the point guard slot tonight, and he should serve as a solid second guard to create space for more studs. He had an abysmal game against the Nets, going 0-10 from the field, but if he plays 28-30 minutes, he has shown the ability to put up a variety of stats to produce value.
Derrick Favors, PF, UTA ($7,100): Favors has come out on fire to start the season, only getting slowed by a bout with the flu. Aside from the two games he was affected (vs. Portland and at Denver), his lowest DraftKings total was 37 points. Take advantage while his price is still at its low point.
Hassan Whiteside, C, MIA ($7,600): You could talk me into pretty much any player against the Lakers, but a per-minute producer like Whiteside is a no-brainer. He put up a ludicrous 49 DraftKings points against Toronto in only 25 minutes, so if he sees a full workload against the Lakers, he could be one of the top plays of the night.
Three more studs to consider: Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC ($10,800) – John Wall, PG, WAS ($9,000) – Kevin Durant, SF, OKC ($9,700)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players & Punt Plays
Kyle Lowry, PG, TOR ($7,800): Lowry is still underpriced despite having a solid start to the season. Don’t be scared by his duds against the Thunder and Magic; he gets Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic versus the Knicks.
J.J. Barea, PG, DAL ($3,700): If you don’t like Vasquez as a punt play, consider J.J. Barea. The Pelicans play fast, and Barea will match up with the likes of Ish Smith and Toney Douglas.
Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA ($6,400): The price and matchup are too good for Wade, who is quietly averaging close to 19 points and four assists per game. He would be a core play, but he is reportedly dealing with an illness that gives me a pause due to his tendency to rest throughout the season.
Jeremy Lamb, SG, CHA ($4,200): Lamb is a solid punt option at the shallow shooting guard slot, averaging 21 DraftKings points so far this season. If you’re willing to overlook his dud against the Spurs, give him some consideration.
Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA ($6,500): After a slow start to the season, Hayward looks like he’s turning it around with two-straight 30 DraftKings point games. The matchup with LeBron James isn’t the best, but he’s still a pretty good value considering his price and role.
Luol Deng, SF, MIA ($4,100): As far as punt options at the small forward position, there aren’t many pretty ones. Deng falls under the “not pretty” category, but he is going against the worst defense in the NBA, and is priced to sell.
Greg Monroe, PF, MIL ($8,400): I love Monroe for tonight’s slate, and he’d be an elite play if Derrick Favors wasn’t such a great value. A matchup with Boston’s frontcourt is tasty, and Monroe should dominate as the centerpiece of the Bucks offense.
Kris Humphries, PF, WAS ($3,400): Humphries isn’t an exciting play, but I expect the Thunder-Wizards tilt to be fast-paced, and at $3,400, it’s tough to find a better option to punt the position.
Steven Adams, C, OKC ($3,700): Adams is my top punt at the center slot, even though he’s not even the most fantasy-friendly big on his own roster. Still, he’s put up at least 19 DraftKings points in three straight, and has seen his price drop.
Rudy Gobert, C, UTA ($7,000): I like Gobert in this spot for many of the same reasons I like Favors. With Kevin Love being the focal point of the Cavaliers’ offense right now, Gobert should have plenty of opportunities to send back shots.
LOTTERY TICKETS – Five Tournament Plays
Goran Dragic, PG, MIA ($5,600): I am interested in every point guard against the Lakers, and Dragic is priced favorably. He’ll move to a cash play if Wade is out tonight.
Evan Turner, SG, BOS ($4,600): Turner with the ball in his hand is a fantasy dynamo. He should find the ball more often with Marcus Smart out.
Carmelo Anthony, SF, NY ($8,400): With DeMarre Carroll looking doubtful, one massive barrier to Anthony having a big scoring night has fallen. If he gets hot, he’s tournament gold.
Julius Randle, PF, LAL ($6,600): Randle’s price is high, but so is his upside. I am not sure Chris Bosh is quick enough to cover him at this stage, and Hassan Whiteside is a better block artist than he is rim-protector.
Jonas Valanciunas, C, TOR ($6,200): If you’re looking for a mid-priced center with elite upside, you’ll probably find yourself on Valanciunas every time. The matchup with the Knicks is pretty good, despite the presence of Robin Lopez.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Andrew Wiggins, SG, MIN ($6,100): Wiggins has been hot, but I am staying away against a slow-paced team on the second night of a back-to-back.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF, NY ($5,700): Porzingis is a five category stud, but his price is too high for a guy who hasn’t established himself offensively yet. He’s a fine tournament option, though, there are others I like more tonight for that format.
Karl-Anthony Towns, C, MIN ($7,400): See: Wiggins, Andrew. Plus, I’d rather Whiteside for $200 more.