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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: February 1, 2016

Does that say February 1st? Are we already seriously through the first month of 2016? That’s ridiculous. Anyways, tonight we’re looking at a big nine-game NBA DFS slate, and in this article I will be covering it from top to bottom to help provide you with the info needed to help you end the night in the green. First, we’ll look over the Vegas numbers for the nine games, and briefly discuss which games we should be targeting heavier and which we should probably shy away from. Then, I will be pointing out a few of the top plays, as well as one or two cheap value options to consider at each position. Lastly, I will give my personal positional rankings that should help give you a sense of the best ways to construct your lineups tonight. It’s a big slate, so let’s get right to the grind.

Vegas lines and totals

Cleveland (-5) @ Indiana — projected Vegas total of 210
Detroit (-6) @ Brooklyn — 203
Dallas (+7) @ Atlanta — 200
Memphis (+1) @ New Orleans — 201
Washington (+9.5) @ Oklahoma City — 222(!!)
Orlando (+16) @ San Antonio — 201
Chicago (+3.5) @ Utah — 193.5
Toronto (-5.5) @ Denver — 207.5
Milwaukee (+4) @ Sacramento — 214

I don’t think I need to tell you which game stands above the rest, that Wizards/Thunder total is a thing of beauty for DFS purposes. It’s a mega-total and includes three elite players in the matchup, so of course pairing up Westbrook and Durant is a good thought if you can make the rest of the lineup work well. It would be even tougher to make a lineup constructed around a Westbrook and Cousins base, both sitting at prices above $11K. All this talk and we haven’t even mentioned LeBron and George squaring off for the second time. The two games that I will mostly be steering clear of tonight are the Magic/Spurs and Bulls/Jazz games, one due to blowout concerns certainty and the other due to just a lack of overall scoring.

POINT GUARD

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Russell Westbrook I’d spit out reasoning here, but you already know the dominance of this stud. The only question is, do you want to pay up $11K for it. I think he’ll hit value, but if you’re not comfortable with the team you construct around him, then don’t force it for cash games. With nine games though, it’s very possible to build a solid lineup around a guy at the highest price point.

Kyle Lowry I like John Wall as well, but personally in cash lineups, I am going with my man Sweet-n-Low for a little bit cheaper and in a better matchup. The game total for this game is nice, and the Nuggets have been very giving to point guards for DFS all season long. Put their badness and Lowry’s goodness together and we’ve got the perfect mixture for another 40+ fantasy points (FPs) showing for K-Low.

Jeff Teague If I decide to save some money at PG tonight, I am looking to the player who has recently found his pulse and begun to come back to life, Jeff Teague. His price is super cheap considering how good of a player he actually is, and from the looks of it the nagging injury he complained about earlier in the month must be feeling better. In the last three games he’s played 26, 31 and 31 minutes and put up 36, 25 and 30 FPs, the last two being fairly tough matchups, too. I like Teague to play near 30mins again and exploit the Mavericks PG duo of Deron Williams and J.J. Barea for around 30 FPs.

Cheap risk option: There’s definitely value to be had at PG tonight, but you just have to hit on the right one. The two who stand out to me most are, J.J. Barea who has put up 24+ FPs in three straight with Devin Harris sidelined, and Cory Joseph who has put up 20+ FPs in four straight (an average of 23.5 FPPG). CoJo has the matchup edge there, but also don’t forget Shane Larkin who is a bit riskier but has managed 22, 24 and 31 in three of the last four, he’s def got the lowest floor of the three though.

SHOOTING GUARD

Khris Middleton While I do like DeMar DeRozan here tonight in cash lineups, I give the edge to Middleton against a Sacramento team that just loves to give up points, and he’s about a grand cheaper on your DFS wallet. I just love what Khris does in terms of fantasy, not only does he light up the scoring column, he’s averaging 5.3 assists over the last six games (and that includes a total anomaly where he had zero last game against Miami), and he also gets plenty of steals. I have him projected at a conservative 34 FPs tonight, but he always has 40+ upside with matchups like this.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope I was torn on who to used here between KCP and Rodney Hood, but the matchup is and game totals leaned me slightly to Pope. He plays mid-30 minutes a night, and while he’s not the number one or two option on offense, KCP always gets his looks and has hit on 45.8% of those shots over the last seven games. He’s averaged over 27 FPPG in those seven games, and this game shapes up for him to continue that warm streak as he’s averaged 27 FPs in two games against Brooklyn already this season, and those were before the Nets got desperate enough to put Ellington as their starting SG.

Cheap risk option: Plain and simply put, if Tyreke Evans sits again, you have to feel that rostering Bryce Dejean-Jones is a very strong play. Who is he? We don’t know, but the past two games he has started at SG and played 35 and 36 minutes, while posting 26.5 and 23 FP nights. Wayne Ellington is the other option here who also somehow starts for an NBA team. Ellington has played 30+ minutes in three straight games, going for 25, 22.5, 17 and 25 FPs in the last four games. There’s definitely downside here, but he’s playing 30 minutes and super cheap, so if you want to fit two superstars in your lineups tonight, you have to take some chances like these.

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant He’s the Durantula. He’s going up against a team that can’t stop good scoring small forwards. He’s third in the league in scoring, and tonight’s projected game total for this one is 222. Get it? Good.

Gordon Hayward I mean, my God the mid-tier small forwards are a tight bunch tonight. I won’t lie to you and say that any of them are the obvious choice. Seriously all of Hayward, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Gay and Chandler Parsons are all solid plays and none of them have bad matchups. While the game has the lowest totals, my consistency and other analytical charts point to Hayward as the top guy here, but I’ll no doubt be hedging and rostering about all of them here and there. Each of them is projected from 31 to 38 FPs on my grid tonight, pick your poison.

Cheap risk option: Stanley Johnson is my value guy at this spot tonight. He’s seen a nice uptick in playing time over the last three games and in those he’s produced 20, 28 and 29 FPs. Getting 30 minutes of PT and double digit shots from a guy this cheap is a really nice upside asset to take advantage of. So many in GPPs will have one of that mid-tier group mentioned above, that you may get the drop on them from the value bin if you go with Stanley J instead.

POWER FORWARD

DeMarcus Cousins The top DFS scorer on the season is back in play tonight, and he’s going up against a Bucks team that ranks dead last in FPs allowed per game to opposing power forwards. Yeah… Remember though, Boogie has a sprained ankle and is listed as questionable tonight, so this is obviously pending that update. If the guy plays though, he’ll be difficult to fade unless you fear the always devastating early game re-injury. For that reason, I prefer Boogie as a GPP play, and would steer more towards Westbrook and Durant in cash games.

Kevin Love The guy doesn’t play much defense, but Love can still score, knock down treys and rebound with the best of them. Over the last three games Kevin has put up 51, 43 and 44 FPs, scoring over 20 points in each of those games. The Cavs have definitely made getting him looks more of an objective since Lue took over as head coach, and his DFS pricing hasn’t picked up on it yet. Tonight he faces Indiana where he’ll likely see defense from rookie Myles Turner and Jordan Hill, so he should be able to have an advantage on the perimeter. Love put up 56 FPs the last time these teams faced off this season.

Cheap risk option: I’m not fond of any of these options really. Patrick Patterson you at least know will play 20+ minutes, and has a good matchup for his outside the paint style of offensive game. He should be able to hit close to 20 FPs. I’d love to tell you that Bobby Portis will surely see 15+ minutes and should deliver better than one fantasy point per minute, but the Bulls haven’t shown that they will give him that kind of playing time yet, even with Noah and Mirotic out. Most of his minutes in the last game came in garbage time, so there’s no telling what he’ll get tonight.

CENTER

Brook Lopez The guy has been an offensive baller all season for the Nets and has had no issues putting up nice games against Pistons’ big, Andre Drummond. BroLo has averaged 43 FPs in two games against Detroit this season and the Nets have been relying on Lopez even more of late. He’s put up 53+ FPs in three of the last four games, and while I have him projected at just 45 FPs, going for 50+ isn’t at all out of the equation.

Zaza PachuliaIf I don’t spend up for Lopez or Drummond tonight, I am probably going to look at Zaza, who returned to the Mavs lineup on Saturday night and went right back to his old double-doubling ways with 16 points and 12 boards. Pachulia will face his old team (Hawks) for the second time this season, and last time he put up 36 FPs, and while he’s been much better at home than on the road this season, he should still be able to hit around 30 FPs which is definitely above value for his price.

Cheap risk option: There’s a few options in the value bin tonight at center. The first is Jusuf Nurkic who is slowly having his minutes increased each game, and should play right about 20 minutes tonight where he should get you 15-20 FPs. Next, we have Aron Baynes who is still priced really cheaply considering his recent FP game log: 28, 10, 25, 19, 30, 14, 25. Lastly, but never least, Twitter favorite, Boban Marjanovic. Boban relies pretty heavily on garbage time and there should be some of that tonight at home against Orlando, but he’s far from safe either way. If he gets 15ish minutes, he should produce at least 15 FPs against the Magic backups. After the Warriors failed to blowout the Sixers though, anything is possible.

Cash game rankings:

This isn’t necessarily an order of who will score the most DraftKings points. Rather, the rankings are aimed to find the best price, value and production combo to help you win cash games, also taking into account potential ownership levels for each player.

PG
1) Russell Westbrook
2) Kyle Lowry
3) John Wall
4) Reggie Jackson
5) Jeff Teague
6) Jrue Holiday (moves down if Tyreke plays)
7) Cory Joseph
8) George Hill
9) J.J. Barea

SG
1) Khris Middleton
2) DeMar DeRozan
3) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
4) Wayne Ellington
5) Jimmy Butler
6) Bryce Dejean-Jones (only if Tyreke is out)
7) Rodney Hood
8) Gary Harris

SF
1) Kevin Durant
2) Gordon Hayward
3) Giannis Antetokounmpo
4) Danilo Gallinari
5) Stanley Johnson
6) Rudy Gay
7) Chandler Parsons

PF
1) DeMarcus Cousins (if he plays)
2) Kevin Love
3) Paul Millsap
4) Derrick Favors
5) Jordan Hill (played 35+ mins last game w/ Mahinmi out, he’s out again)
6) Thaddeus Young
7) Dirk Nowitzki

C
1) Brook Lopez
2) Andre Drummond
3) Zaza Pachulia
4) Rudy Gobert
5) Myles Turner
6) Aron Baynes
7) Willie Cauley-Stein
8) Nikola Jokic
9) Al Horford

As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 7 p.m. EST. I’ll do my best to update this article as news breaks throughout the day, but the best way to get the latest is always to follow me on Twitter @BigZack44, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes.

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