Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: February 10, 2016
Eighty percent of the NBA is in action Wednesday night, and most of these teams will be playing their last game for a week. This means last-minute bedlam could be on the way with some teams giving players a headstart on their All-Star break rest, so keep an eye on starting lineups and follow me on Twitter @christripodi for updates before lock. Now, for the Vegas lines.
Vegas lines and totals
San Antonio (-8) @ Orlando – total of 203
Sacramento (-4.5) @ Philadelphia – total of 216.5
Charlotte @ Indiana (-4) – total of 200
Denver @ Detroit (-5.5) – total of 208
Memphis (-3.5) @ Brooklyn – total of 197.5
L.A. Clippers @ Boston (-1) – total of 209
L.A. Lakers @ Cleveland (-15.5) – total of 209
Utah @ New Orleans (-2.5) – total of 194.5
Atlanta (-2.5) @ Chicago – total of 203
Toronto (-6.5) @ Minnesota – total of 207
Golden State (-16) @ Phoenix – total of 220
Houston @ Portland (-4.5) – total of 213
Warriors-Suns has the highest projection, but it’s possible that game is over before the fourth quarter even begins. That leaves Kings-76ers and Rockets-Blazers as the top two contested lines on the night, with Clippers-Celtics coming in a close third. The blowout potential will keep me off most high-priced Cavs (with one definite exception) and Warriors, while every other game is likely to see its starters play a full complement of minutes. Let’s take a look at Wednesday’s top plays.
Damian Lillard – The Rockets continue to get roasted by opposing point guards, and Damian Lillard is next in line. The Blazers have a projected 109-point total and Lillard always plays better at home, making him quite possibly the play of the night, not just the PG position. Anything less than 50 fantasy points Wednesday would be a disappointment.
Kyrie Irving – The one exception to fading high-priced Cavs and Warriors as alluded to above, Irving is finally on the heater everybody has been waiting for since his return from injury. With 61 points in his past two games and a matchup with the Lakers on tap, Irving may not need 35 minutes to post a fantasy line in the 40s on Wednesday. The upside may be slightly limited, but he’s still in play in cash due to his price if you don’t like paying for Lillard.
Cheap risk option: Manu Ginobili‘s injury has opened up minutes in both the backcourt and on the wing in San Antonio, and Patty Mills has been one of the beneficiaries. In three games without Manu, Mills is averaging 12.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 threes per game while taking 9.7 shots, almost 2.5 more per game than his season average. More shots equals more production, and Mills is a good bet to hit value off the bench as a cheap GPP flier.
Rodney Hood – Hood has been amazing lately if you throw out an eight-point dud against Denver. He’s scored at least 19 points in seven of his past eight games and has missed value just once, in the aforementioned game with the Nuggets. Bryce Dejean-Jones doesn’t stand much of a chance of slowing Hood down Wednesday, and he’s easily the top SG value on the night.
J.R. Smith – I’ve been talking up Smith often in my recent write-ups, and he continues to stay hot for the Cavs. Blowout fears are reduced here since Smith doesn’t need a monster night to pay off his price like the Big Three wuold, and a matchup with the Lakers backcourt is more than enough reason to throw him in your lineups. I wouldn’t play him over Hood anywhere, though, except to be contrarian in a GPP, as their prices are similar
Cheap risk option: The Blazers are probably just showcasing him for a trade, but that doesn’t make Gerald Henderson any less of an option Wednesday against the Rockets. In fact, it only means his minutes are a bit safer even with Allen Crabbe back in the lineup, and Henderson is averaging 14 points per game and 5.3 rebounds in his last four. The potential return of Noah Vonleh to the starting lineup could have repercussions up and down the entire roster, but Henderson saw a whopping 35 minutes in Monday’s overtime win over the Grizzlies and should be good for at least 25 on Wednesday.
Rudy Gay – Rudy Gay can be a very frustrating player to own in DFS, as he isn’t always the most consistent. Almost every wing is consistent against the 76ers though, which puts Gay squarely on the radar Wednesday night. Sacramento is projected to score 110 points, and DeMarcus Cousins can’t score all of them, which means there should be enough shots for Gay to score 20-plus points with a solid rebounding total and a handful of assists, steals and threes.
Marcus Morris – With Stanley Johnson starting at SG and no longer threatening his minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the shelf, Morris has rediscovered his consistency. He has eight straight double-digit scoring games, yet his price remains in the value spectrum thanks to the lack of a true breakout performance. At the time of this writing, there isn’t much cheap value available yet, and starting Morris is a nice way to get a near guarantee of 25 fantasy points for a good price.
Cheap risk option: Another beneficiary of Ginobili’s injury, Jonathan Simmons has seen either 23 or 24 minutes in each of his past three games, hitting value at near-minimum price in all three. Kyle Anderson‘s absence Wednesday can only serve to add a few minutes to his line, making him a solid punt with the potential to hit 6-7x his price.
LaMarcus Aldridge – If you don’t want to pay up for Cousins or can’t afford to, Aldridge certainly isn’t a bad consolation prize. I actually have him projected as a better dollar-for-dollar play than Cousins, as Aldridge has crushed value in five straight games and gets a nice matchup against the Magic. LMA is averaging 28.8 points per game in his last five games, and a repeat of that would pay off his price tag almost on its own. As long as Tim Duncan remains out, which is likely, Aldridge is a great option.
Anthony Tolliver – With Ersan Ilyasova doubtful for Wednesday’s game against the Nuggets, Tolliver should draw the start and is a candidate of 30-35 minutes with Detroit’s bench looking thin. Stan Van Gundy’s bench is already short on most nights, but missing two starters should stretch it even further and force Tolliver into heavy run. In a good matchup with a near-minimum salary, Tolliver is a great play to open up money for the rest of your lineup.
Cheap risk option: The cheap PFs don’t impress me much Wednesday, but Jason Smith seems to impress Scott Skiles more than anybody else on the planet. He’s almost minimum price and has two 20-fantasy point performances in his past four games, and he wouldn’t have totally killed you in the other two if the rest of your lineup hit hard. There’s always risk in starting a Skiles bench player, but if Aaron Gordon gets roasted by Aldridge, there could be more minutes for Smith than expected. It’s not exciting, but points are points.
Pau Gasol – Gasol is one of the best rebounders in the NBA, and the Hawks struggle badly on the boards. While Jimmy Butler‘s absence benefits Derrick Rose more than it does Gasol, a few extra touches certainly won’t hurt the big man, who should flirt with a 20-10 double-double with his typical ancillary stats boosting his fantasy point total into the mid-high 40s.
Jahlil Okafor – Okafor is finally back in the 30-minute range over his past two games, and he’s responded with 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks per game in those two. A matchup with the Kings is very juicy for Big Jah, and he should enjoy a nice night against one of the few NBA frontcourts as bad defensively as his own team’s.
Cheap risk option: Most will avoid him after his 10-minute bust Tuesday, and in terms of long-run eV, that’s probably the right move. But Tyler Zeller remains a part of Brad Stevens’ chaotic big-man rotations, which means he could easily double those minutes tonight and pay off his value. This pick certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but there’s some upside left at his price. It also happens that center is a disaster at the bottom. For the most part, I’m staying away.
CASH GAME RANKS
This isn’t necessarily an order of who will score the most fantasy 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.
As always, I’ll do my best to update this article as news breaks throughout the day if at possible and before the first game starts at 7 p.m., so follow me on Twitter @christripodi for last-minute updates and suggestions.