To Westbrook or not to Westbrook? That really is the question around NBA daily fantasy these days.
The case for Westbrook is rather straightforward: he’s a usage-rate warrior with a floor of around 45-50 DraftKings points. His upside? Somewhere around 80 DraftKings points, maybe higher.
The case against Westbrook is rather compelling tonight. He’s $1,900 more than James Harden, there are other viable point-guard options, he’s on the second night of a back-to-back and he’ll set up shop in the Grindhouse of Memphis.
I won’t tell you not to play him, and he’s definitely going to be under consideration for my lineups as I continue to build them throughout the day. I’m just not sure I’ll be able to pull the trigger given his mammoth salary. But, if you’re dead set on slotting him into your lineup, hopefully I can help you find some extra value.
Today’s news and notes:
- Kobe Bryant (back) is out tonight. Nick Young is the guy I like the most as a beneficiary, but everyone on the Lakers sees a bump with the Black Mamba sidelined.
- Roy Hibbert (nose) says he will play tonight, but there are better center options I’m looking at.
- George Hill (illness) and Rodney Stuckey (ankle) are both out tonight. Monta Ellis’s value is pointing straight up.
- Manu Ginobili (thigh) is questionable tonight, though I would only consider him in tournament formats.
- Markieff Morris (knee) is questionable against the Lakers, and T.J. Warren is my favorite play if he were to miss this game.
Make sure to check the news up until tip:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Eric Bledsoe, SG, PHX ($8,400): This slate has a nice combination of higher-priced studs and upper-tier value plays, and Bledsoe is one of the latter that can produce like the former. He’s hit 48 DraftKings points in his last three games, and gets the Lakers tonight, who are putrid against point guards.
Monta Ellis, SG, IND ($5,800): Originally I had Ellis as a tournament play, but with George Hill and Rodney Stuckey being ruled out for tonight’s game, Ellis should move into the core of my lineups. His price is still affordable, and the Bulls are simply not great at defense, so he has the potential to rack up some huge numbers as the Pacers primary ball handler.
Marc Gasol, C, MEM ($7,000): Gasol is still under-priced, and his elite upside makes him my favorite center play tonight. There’s 40+ DraftKings points in potential here, but realistically all you need is 35 for him to be a great piece.
More studs to consider: Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC ($12,200) – James Harden, SG, HOU ($10,300) – Paul George, SF, IND ($9,200)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players and Punt Plays
Marcus Smart, PG, BOS ($4,500): Smart had a career-night in yesterday’s game, so this is a bit of point chasing. Still, he’s the cheapest option that I feel comfortable rolling with, and he gets a good matchup against Ty Lawson and the fast-paced Rockets.
Brandon Knight, PG, PHX ($7,000): Knight has been good so far this season as a complement to Bledsoe, and he gets the same tasty Lakers matchup. He posted only 12 points in a lopsided win against the Nuggets, but I expect him back around his 32 DraftKings point average this time around.
Nick Young, SG, LAL ($3,500): Kobe Bryant (back) is out, so Young becomes an intriguing punt play in his absence. He won’t start – that “honor” should go to Metta World Peace – but he’ll see plenty of minutes off the bench in this uptempo game, armed with his license to shoot.
P.J. Tucker, SF, PHX ($3,400): Unless you’re getting Kawhi Leonard or Paul George, I don’t advise paying much for a small forward tonight. Tucker is one of the options I like, considering he’s only $400 above the minimum salary and playing a bad team that misses a lot of shots. There’s potential for a nice rebounding game for Tucker here to supplement his mediocre offense.
Jeff Green, SF, MEM ($3,500): Green has been playing much better over the Grizzlies’ last two games, putting up over 20 DraftKings points in each contest. That makes him worth a look as a punt play at small forward, and there’s potential for even more scoring as he gets a Thunder squad that likes to push the pace.
Pau Gasol, PF, CHI ($7,400): Gasol’s workload is more of a concern now than ever – his recent production is not. With 40 DraftKings points in three straight and a matchup against a soft Pacers interior, I love Gasol at this reasonable price.
Jared Sullinger, PF, BOS ($5,800): Sullinger has quietly established himself as one of the Celtics’ best players once again, hitting 30 DraftKings points in five-of-six contests and scoring 29.75 DraftKings points in the game he failed to reach that mark. If you want to pay down a bit at power forward, you could do worse.
Steven Adams, C, OKC ($3,800): I will more-than-likely be playing Marc Gasol in every lineup, but Adams is a fine punt option. Logic says that the Thunder would prefer Adams attempting to slow down Gasol over Enes Kanter, so there could be a bit of a minutes boost here.
LOTTERY TICKETS – 5 Tournaments Options
Lou Williams, PG, LAL ($4,600): Williams has shot horrifically this season, but there should be plenty of shots to go around in Kobe Bryant’s absence from the lineup. Expect Williams to absorb some of those, and he always has the potential to go off.
Jimmy Butler, SG, CHI ($7,800): I expect the majority of people to pay just a bit more for Eric Bledsoe or pay way up to grab James Harden, so Butler could make for a nice tournament play due to low ownership.
T.J. Warren, SF, PHX ($3,800): Warren looked good against the Nuggets, and could see extended time if Markieff Morris (knee) is ruled out. Plus, you know, he gets the Lakers.
Nerlens Noel, PF, PHI ($6,800): Noel’s price is sweet, and he’ll be challenged in the paint by Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia. He could have a massive game; I’m just worried about his wrists potentially bothering him.
Dwight Howard, C, HOU ($7,400): I prefer Marc Gasol here, but Howard has a nice set-up for a huge game. He’s been excellent in the games he’s played this season, and the Celtics don’t have anyone that can match up with him.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Robert Covington, SF, PHI ($4,700): Covington is back, and was sneaky productive last season, but I’ll pass until I think he’s healthy.
Zach Randolph, PF, MEM ($6,300): Randolph should see a lot of Serge Ibaka in this game, and while I don’t typically avoid Ibaka, there are probably better options out there.