We have a short, three-game slate tonight, including a pair of traditionally tough defensive matchups. Finding value on this schedule has proven to be difficult, though, a few absences from tonight’s lineups could change that in a hurry.
There isn’t a ton to go over before we dive into tonight’s quick slate, so I’ll make this short and sweet. Today’s news and notes:
- Chris Paul (groin) and J.J. Redick (back) are “not probable” according to coach Doc Rivers. Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford project to take their spots respectively.
- DeMarcus Cousins threw an elbow at Al Horford yesterday, and that could end up getting him suspended for tonight’s contest. If he plays, he’s an elite option tonight, if he doesn’t, I have thoughts on his replacement below.
- O.J. Mayo (hamstring) and Jabari Parker (foot) will play tonight, with Parker reportedly starting for the Bucks. I wouldn’t roster either player, and it probably hurts the value of other Bucks more than it helps.
- Mo Williams (thigh) is questionable, and if he misses, Matthew Dellavedova would be a worthwhile value play
Make sure to check the news up until tip:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Austin Rivers, SG, LAC ($3,900): Looking for value on Thursday? Good luck. A bit of value always creeps up right before the tip, but as of right now the clear-cut value play is Rivers, who should start at point guard once again for the ailing Chris Paul. Nothing about his matchup with Stephen Curry is enticing, but Rivers’ opportunity in a fast-paced matchup gives him value with upside.
Greg Monroe, C, MIL ($7,600): Monroe is taking on a tough defense in the Cavaliers, but he’s one of the studs with a clearly undervalued price. Since his floor is incredibly high, I am looking to take the safety of the Bucks’ top option on this short slate.
If DeMarcus Cousins is ruled out:
Kosta Koufos, C, SAC ($3,700): There is speculation that DeMarcus Cousins may be suspended for tonight’s game against the Heat. If so, Koufos vaults himself to the top value play of the night, even in a less-than-stellar matchup against the monster that is Hassan Whiteside.
More studs to consider: Stephen Curry, PG, GS ($10,800) – LeBron James, SF, CLE ($10,100) – Blake Griffin, PF, LAC ($9,600)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players and Punt Plays
Michael Carter-Williams, PG, MIL ($6,000): Carter-Williams is my second-ranked point guard based on value tonight, which tells you all you need to know about the pool of players on this short slate. He had a dud his last time out, but he contributes across the board and will save you $2,700 as a pivot from Rajon Rondo.
Jamal Crawford, SG, LAC ($4,600): Expect nothing close to the 58 DraftKings points he scored in his last time out, but if J.J. Redick sits, Crawford is my go-to shooting guard tonight. His shot attempts will be there, and the Clippers need him if they want to win this game.
Harrison Barnes, SF, GS ($5,200): Barnes is a fairly safe pick at small forward if you don’t want to go with LeBron James. He should see a lot of Paul Pierce’s defense in this game, which paves the way for a big performance at a cheap price.
Draymond Green, PF, GS ($7,400): Green is another player who is under priced given his contributions. He has been challenging triple-double status nearly every game as of late, and he should continue to do so against a short-handed Clippers squad.
Kevin Love, PF, CLE ($8,000): The theme here: don’t pay down at power forward tonight. There are a plenty of good, underpriced options, and Love is one of them. Between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe, there are a myriad of matchups for Love to exploit in this one.
Timofey Mozgov, C, CLE ($4,000): It isn’t a sexy pick, but Mozgov is the punt play if you want to save every dollar you can. Obviously, I’d rather have Koufos for $300 cheaper if Cousins is ruled out, but Mozgov shouldn’t kill your lineup if you need to save some coin.
LOTTERY TICKETS – 5 Tournaments Options
Goran Dragic, PG, MIA ($5,200): On this slate, Dragic becomes valuable even though he’s been bad to start the season. A matchup with the Kings could bring the good out of any guard, making him a decent tournament dart throw.
J.R. Smith, SG, CLE ($4,200): You could probably play Smith in cash too, given the slate, but he is better suited for tournaments. His price-to-upside ratio is excellent, and he’s a nice pivot from Crawford.
Paul Pierce, SF, LAC ($3,400): Pierce will start for the Clippers tonight, and that makes him worth a flier. I prefer him in tournaments because his floor is quite low, but the upside is clearly there if his shots are falling.
Chris Bosh, PF, MIA ($7,300): If Cousins is out, Bosh should be free to roam the court, and that makes him a solid play on a short slate. I will have a hard time playing him in cash because of Draymond Green only being $100 more.
Andrew Bogut, C, GS ($5,000): Bogut has put up good numbers in his last two games, and could be called on to shut down DeAndre Jordan in this one. His minutes are never guaranteed, making him a tournament-only option.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Rajon Rondo, PG, SAC ($8,700): He got a triple-double yesterday, but the matchup with the slow-paced Heat is not ideal for Rondo’s style of play.
Khris Middleton, SG, MIL ($5,600): Middleton simply has not been worth rostering as of late, and a matchup with the Cavaliers doesn’t inspire confidence for me to deploy him.