Our second NBA Sunday is here, with the “main” slate being only three games this time around.
As I said last week – and probably will each week going forward – this column focuses on the later games, as those are the more popular of the slate. In this particular piece, I didn’t have one recommendation for the early games, so before we get into news and notes, here are some of my favorite plays at each position for the early games:
PG: Mo Williams (CLE), George Hill (IND)
SG: Monta Ellis (IND), Langston Galloway (NY)
SF: Carmelo Anthony (NY), Paul George (IND)
PF: Kevin Love (CLE), Kristaps Porzingis (NY), Julius Randle (LAL)
C: Timofey Mozgov (CLE), Roy Hibbert (LAL), Ian Mahinimi (IND)
Today’s news and notes:
- LeBron James (thigh) didn’t practice on Saturday and is questionable for Sunday. James is a player who should sit early and often in an effort to keep him fresh for the playoffs, so make sure to double-check this if you want him in your lineup.
- J.R. Smith (knee) should be back today. I’m not sure how much I like him in cash, but he’s always a decent tournament dart throw.
- C.J. Miles (ankle) could return Sunday. He’s another tournament-only guy for me if he plays. Rodney Stuckey (ankle) has already been ruled out for this contest, though, so there could be a shot at more minutes there.
- DeMarre Carroll is battling plantar fasciitis and is questionable to play against Miami. I don’t particularly like him in this spot anyway.
- Expect Gerald Green to be inactive despite getting released from the hospital Saturday.
- Steven Adams (back) is a game-time decision against the Suns. If he sits, Enes Kanter is a must-play at center.
Check the news up until tip of each game, and your lineup will be happy:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC ($10,800): Westbrook’s price continues to climb, but he still has the highest floor due to his ridiculous variety of contributions. The matchup with the Suns could be very fast paced, so I don’t mind spending the extra money here in cash games.
Kevin Durant, SF, OKC ($9,600): Durant’s price is correcting itself, but it’s not quite there yet. If you want exposure to the Phoenix-OKC game at the elite level, Durant offers up a chance to do so at a steep discount from Westbrook’s monster salary. Recently, KD has been back to the way we knew him before his foot injury, dropping 50 DraftKings points in two straight.
Chris Bosh, PF, MIA ($7,000): Bosh is probably going to be in every one of my lineups given his price today. He’s topped 35 DraftKings points in three straight, and that’s all he would need to make for a nice value in cash games. A matchup with Luis Scola only makes his pricing that much sweeter.
Four more studs to consider: Damian Lillard, PG, POR ($8,600) — Eric Bledsoe, SG, PHX ($7,800) – Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA ($6,700) – Andre Drummond, C, DET ($8,900)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players Who Look To Have Favorable Pricing
Brandon Knight, PG, PHX ($7,300): Knight is back at point guard on DraftKings for no apparent reason, but he still makes for a solid play. He sees most of his time at shooting guard alongside Eric Bledsoe, and the Thunder have been allowing a ton of fantasy points to opposing SGs.
C.J. McCollum, SG, POR ($6,400): I wasn’t in on McCollum at the start of the season, but he’s proved me very, very wrong. His price is trending backwards even though he’s hit 34 DraftKings points in three straight.
Marcus Morris, SF, DET ($6,200): It’s tough to fade Marcus Morris when he’s playing all the minutes he can handle. As a versatile forward who is a perfect fit for the Pistons’ system, he should continue to get the volume needed to be a safe fantasy play.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, POR ($6,100): Aminu has been one of my favorite players to use at small forward, and his price isn’t too hefty yet. His lowest DraftKings points total this season came in the opener with 24, so I would consider him a fairly safe play for cash.
Ed Davis, PF, POR ($4,400): Davis is a nice punt option at power forward, even though I don’t see the need to punt on this slate. Still, if you decide to go that route, Davis should provide around 20 DraftKings points for his price.
Jonas Valanciunas, C, TOR ($6,300): Outside of Andre Drummond, I’m not too excited about the center position today. Valanciunas has a matchup with Hassan Whiteside, but he’s not an elite defender, and the Heat like to slow the game down. That should help the big guy from Toronto out at little bit here.
LOTTERY TICKETS – High Risk, High Reward Plays
Kyle Lowry, PG, TOR ($8,000): Lowry has put up two duds in a row after starting the season lights-out. I like him in tournaments because most people will be paying up for either Westbrook or Lillard.
DeMar DeRozan, SG, TOR ($7,400): I’ll rarely play DeRozan in cash, but tournaments are a different story. The Heat are good defensively, and I get the feeling that more people will be on Wade for tourneys, so I don’t mind DeRozan tonight.
Enes Kanter, C, OKC ($5,200): If Steven Adams sits, Kanter is a no-brainer cash and tournament play. If Adams plays, I still like Kanter in tournaments due to his excellent per-minute production and ability to put up big stat lines off the bench.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Serge Ibaka, PF, OKC ($6,600): I don’t hate Ibaka as a play, but I can’t see myself paying for him with Chris Bosh sitting only $400 above him in salary.
Markieff Morris, PF, PHX ($6,000): Morris needs about 30 DraftKings points for solid value, and that has been his ceiling so far this season. There’s some upside here, but he’ll need to show me something before I trust him this season.
Tyson Chandler, C, PHX ($5,700): I’m higher on Chandler than a lot of people, but a fast-paced game spells disaster for older bigs. I’ll look elsewhere on Sunday.