Tonight’s NBA schedule brings us eight games to dissect, but there’s one that stands out above the rest in terms of intrigue.
The Golden State Warriors – yes, those 18-0, world champion Golden State Warriors – travel to Utah to take on the slow paced, defensive-minded Utah Jazz. It’s a fascinating clash of styles that’ll be crucial to fantasy lineups tonight.
I can’t fade Stephen Curry – especially when he’s gone out of his way to show out on the road – but I think there are better options than his supporting cast, at least in cash games. I don’t particularly like any of the Jazz in cash, either, but I might take a flier or two in tournaments.
I have more to say down below, but first, today’s news and notes:
- Luol Deng (hamstring) is out for the Heat tonight and Chris Bosh (illness) is a game-time decision. I have thoughts on Deng’s replacements down below, but I’d simply stay away from Bosh tonight. Hassan Whiteside is the only Heat big I’m interested in.
- Gary Harris (concussion) is out for the Nuggets and Kenneth Faried will play. That means Randy Foye and Will Barton have their stock up, and Darrell Arthur becomes unusable.
- Thabo Sefolosha will start for Kent Bazemore, with the latter moving to the bench. I won’t be using either player.
- Harrison Barnes (ankle) is out for the Warriors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Andre Iguodala will get huge minutes. The Warriors are confident enough to play anyone on their roster, so some scrubs will probably see extended time. I don’t know how much this helps Iguodala out in terms of production.
- DeMarcus Cousins (back) is a game-time decision for the Kings. He’s one of my favorite plays if he gives it a go, but Kosta Koufos enters the fray as a viable center option if he doesn’t.
Remember to check the news up until tip:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Randy Foye, PG, DEN ($3,000): There are plenty of values today, but I’m locking in Foye for a few reasons. One, he plays point guard, which is one of the most profitable positions when there’s value. Two, he’s minimum price, so his lower floor isn’t as much of a concern. The matchup with Milwaukee is a bonus.
James Harden, SG, HOU ($10,300): Taking Harden on a back-to-back is a bit risky given his sky-high usage-rate and the toll that such a workload can take on a player in a no-rest scenario, but he’s one of the studs I like the most on tonight’s slate. Detroit has been horrific against shooting guards, and Harden is doing so much right now that he’s one of the safest fantasy plays in the game.
Three more studs to consider: Stephen Curry, PG, GS ($10,800) – Blake Griffin, PF, LAC ($9,100) – Andre Drummond, C, DET ($8,900)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players Who Look To Have Favorable Pricing
Jerryd Bayless, PG, MIL ($4,900): Bayless is the new starter in Milwaukee, and his price hasn’t yet caught up to the workload that it looks like he’ll be receiving on a daily basis. The Nuggets are an uptempo team that isn’t good defensively, so there’s potential for a big game from Bayless as a value play.
Jeff Teague, PG, ATL ($6,500): Teague is solid, and there’s upside here in a matchup with the Thunder, who like to push the pace and aren’t great defensively. For cash games, Teague looks like a great mid-tier play with the potential for more.
O.J. Mayo, SG, MIL ($4,000): Joining Bayless as a new starter in the Bucks’ backcourt is Mayo, who played 40+ minutes last night. Expect that to regress, but at his price point, 30 minutes is all he should need with this matchup against Denver.
Gerald Green, SG, MIA ($4,000): Green has put up games of 25 and 30 DraftKings points in Luol Deng’s absence, so with Deng out again tonight we can look Green’s way again. He’s known as a streaky player, so there’s risk, but if you want to use him, he’s been a value.
Marcus Morris, SF, DET ($5,700): Morris receives 35+ minutes nightly, so his floor is typically very high. A matchup with the Rockets gives him a higher ceiling, making him a nice play at small forward in the mid-tier price range.
Justise Winslow, SF, MIA ($4,000): If you want to save a little coin at small forward, Winslow is a good play at only $4K. His offense isn’t developed yet, but he should see a full workload tonight with Luol Deng out, so there are worse options as a punt.
Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL ($6,400): Nowitzki has quietly been very good for fantasy this season, and a matchup with the Kings should continue that trend. I don’t like this pick as much if DeMarcus Cousins plays, because he could simply tire out the entire Mavericks’ frontcourt, but if he sits I’ll be playing some Dirk.
Clint Capela, C, HOU ($5,100): Capela is the new starter at power forward for the Rockets, making him a solid value at center at only $5.1K. He’s hit at least 30 DraftKings points in three of his last four games, with the lone exception being a game where he played eight minutes.
Hassan Whiteside, C, MIA ($8,000): If Chris Bosh misses tonight Whiteside is an elite play at center. The Celtics don’t have a body capable of slowing him down on the boards, and he always has the potential to put up a handful of blocks. An increase in offensive usage would simply be the icing.
LOTTERY TICKETS – High Risk, High Reward Plays
Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC ($10,600): Westbrook isn’t high risk necessarily, but I’m recommending him here because he could be a potentially under-owned asset in tournaments with Stephen Curry only $200 more.
Wesley Matthews, SG, DAL ($4,400): With so many good values at shooting guard, Matthews may be an overlooked tournament play. He gets a terrible Kings defense and is playing over 30 minutes per contest now.
Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA ($6,600): A matchup with Golden State is enough for people to pass on Hayward, so he becomes a good tournament option. His price is still affordable, and his ceiling is high due to his ability to contribute in every category.
DeMarcus Cousins, PF, SAC ($10,600): If he plays, Cousins is my favorite tournament pick of the day. He should be under-owned coming off of injury, but could absolutely tear apart the Mavericks’ frontcourt. Remember to check the news.
Tim Duncan, C, SA ($6,000): Duncan is always a tournament consideration, because when he plays a full game he usually puts up huge lines. That could be the case against Chicago.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Draymond Green, PF, GS ($7,700): Green goes to Utah to play Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. He still contributes enough in a variety of categories to be viable, but I can’t bring myself to use him in cash games.
Dwight Howard, C, HOU ($7,200): Howard will play the second night of a back-to-back tonight, but I don’t want any part of him in this scenario.