Buckle up for a 10-game slate that features quite a few interesting matchups for daily fantasy today.
We have a pair of games over the 210 total points mark in Vegas, including a heated rivalry in Clippers-Warriors. That game has a massive total of 218 total points, and should be a bonanza for fantasy, assuming the Warriors don’t crush as they have been all season long.
The other 210 game is Raptors-Thunder, which checks in with a total of 211. The Raptors are playing a more up-tempo pace so far this year, and the Thunder love to push the ball with the electric Russell Westbrook. Even though the Raptors just played last night, this could be a close matchup with a ton of scoring from both sides.
We have a lengthy column full of potential plays today, so let’s hit the news and notes before we dive in:
- Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) is doubtful for tonight. His potential replacement, Jerryd Bayless, is one of my building blocks for tonight’s games.
- Avery Bradley (hand) is questionable tonight; though Brad Stevens has come out and said he think he will play. He’s a game-time decision, but I would monitor his status up until tip.
- J.R. Smith (knee) looks like he is going to be out, but I’m not touching Matthew Dellavadova. He is fine for DraftKings, though, I like plenty of other options ahead of him.
- Robert Covington is getting shut down for two more weeks with his MCL strain. Looks like the team played him too soon, which opens the door for the likes of Jerami Grant and Hollis Thompson.
- Jarrett Jack is dealing with a hamstring issue, though, it’s been reported he is probably for tonight’s game. I’d stay away.
- Ian Mahinmi (back) is questionable tonight against the Celtics. I like Jordan Hill as a cheap option for cash games if Mahinmi is out, but Myles Turner is definitely the better tournament play.
- Jabari Parker (knee) is back tonight. I wouldn’t play him until we get a sense of his workload.
- Marc Gasol left last night’s game with neck spasms. It’s unclear if his absence was simply precautionary or part of a deeper problem, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
As always, make sure to check the news up until tip-off; your lineup will thank you.
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Jerryd Bayless, PG, MIL ($3,800): Bayless has enjoyed a solid open to the season as the Bucks 6th man and now he is in line to start against a terrible 76ers team with Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) doubtful. The price is too good for his projected usage, and he is going to be a fixture in almost everyone’s cash lineups.
Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC ($10,500): When Westbrook is playing this well, it’s tough not to play him in cash games. So far this season, his lowest DraftKings output is 42.75 points in a mere 25 minutes against Denver. His floor is unbelievably high, and his ceiling is probably greater than any player going in the NBA today.
Evan Fournier, SF, ORL ($4,400): I don’t believe that Fournier is going to keep up his current pace of over 31 DraftKings points per game. Still, he is playing out of his mind right now while seeing a tremendous amount of minutes (35+ last three games). The price is too good not to plug Fournier in as a value guy at small forward.
Three more studs to consider: Stephen Curry, PG, GS ($10,100) – James Harden, SG, HOU ($10,000) – Paul George, SF, IND ($8,000)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players Who Look To Have Favorable Pricing
T.J. McConnell, PG, PHI ($3,300): It looks like the 76ers are prepared to give McConnell a bigger workload as their main distributor (even if off-the-bench), and the price is low enough where he makes for an interesting punt play.
Jerian Grant, PG, NY ($3,600): Grant’s upside is limited while he plays behind Jose Calderon, but the rookie has put up 20 DraftKings points in every game except for one thus far. For his price, 20 DraftKings points is just fine if you need a cheap guard.
Marcus Thornton, SG, HOU ($3,500): Thornton should probably be in the “lottery ticket” section, but there is no way I can put him there given his recent workload. With Terrence Jones out, the Rockets have decided to play small ball, which has Thornton playing well over 30 minutes per game. Jones missed shootaround this morning and may not play again tonight, and if that is the case, Thornton is a nice punt option at shooting guard.
Klay Thompson, SG, GS ($7,000): Thompson’s back looks fine—he has connected on over half his shots the past two games—but his main problem is that the Warriors keep annihilating the competition, limiting his workload. Golden State is capable of demolishing anyone, but the matchup with the Clippers looks to be more competitive, and this could be Thompson’s best game of the young season.
Rudy Gay, SF, SAC ($7,600): People flocked to Gay last night despite the bad matchup with the Grizzlies, and he performed at only a moderate level. I expect a much better showing tonight against a mediocre Suns team, and there might not be a higher usage guy at small forward than Gay when DeMarcus Cousins sits.
Jerami Grant, SF, PHI ($3,700): Robert Covington (knee) is out for another two weeks, so the 76ers wing mix-and-match is open for business. My favorite of the bunch is Grant, who can contribute in multiple categories for his bargain of a price tag.
Kevin Love, PF, CLE ($7,600): Love is still priced favorably despite clearly being the focal point of the Cavaliers attack at this juncture of the season. I expect him to do the heavy lifting against a Knicks squad that has struggled on the interior.
Markieff Morris, PF, PHX ($6,200): After an abysmal first game of the season, Morris has reeled off three straight 30 DraftKings point games. He could see a dose of Willie Cauley-Stein here, but I am not sure even the talented defensive rookie can slow down Morris from chucking up shots until he gets his points.
Tyson Chandler, C, PHX ($5,800): No Boogie means Chandler has license to gobble up all the rebounds he can handle. I love the matchup against Kosta Koufos, and love even more that Markieff Morris will draw other bigs out to the perimeter to Chandler’s benefit.
Kosta Koufos, C, SAC ($4,000): Koufos is a low-ceiling, high-floor play with DeMarcus Cousins out. If you need a punt play at center, look his way.
LOTTERY TICKETS – High Risk, High Reward Plays
Monta Ellis, SG, IND ($5,900): Avery Bradley, one of the better wing defenders in the league, is questionable to play in this game, so there is a good chance that Ellis can finally get going against either Isaiah Thomas or Evan Turner. His price has slipped so far that there is a ton of value for when he finally finds his footing this season.
Blake Griffin, PF, LAC ($9,600): Griffin has started out this season as an MVP candidate, and will get his first major test against Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors. Normally, there is nothing risky about playing a superstar like Griffin, but given his price tag and negative matchup, he’s definitely a contrarian play.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, SA ($7,200): The Wizards want to play small-ball, which could lead to Aldridge having free run of things in the paint. I normally don’t like playing Spurs in daily fantasy, but if you want a tournament play, Aldridge is priced just right.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Chris Paul, PG, LAC ($9,400): Paul is awesome, but his good games have come against only the Sacramento Kings so far this season and things don’t get better tonight. There are better options to build around.
Damian Lillard, PG, POR ($9,000): Lillard heads to Salt Lake City, where the Jazz played suffocating defense last season. I love Dame over the long-term – not tonight, though.
Derrick Favors, PF, UTA ($7,300): Favors has a good matchup, so if he were healthy I would have no trepidation about playing him. He was dealing with the dreaded “flu-like” symptoms, so I’ll stay away despite the tempting price/matchup/production trio being present.
Portland Trail Blazers PF/C’s: See Lillard, Damian. Favors might be out/limited for the Jazz, but Rudy Gobert is still very tall and very good.