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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: February 11, 2015

The final slate before the NBA All-Star break, and let’s face it, Chris, Ricky and I could use the break ourselves. We’ve had content all but I believe two days since the season began, but that’s the dedication we have for you, our valued readers. You guys can just the next six days off from the DFS grind and return feeling fresh as ever next week, or you can do like I will do and play a little more NHL and PGA DFS to hold me over. Our hockey and golf DFS writers are truly great. I know very little about the NHL outside of following my local team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, yet I still win more than I lose just strictly going off of their suggested plays/stacks. Golf I just know the big names, but Chris Garosi does an incredible job breaking down the players each week, and I have cashed three of the four times I have played (small stakes) going off of his content alone. So, enjoy the time off, or branch out of your comfort zone and let our guys lead you to some green in NHL and PGA.

Tonight we have ourselves what until this year was the typical Thursday slate, just two games. The Brightside is, the two games we have on tap feature four really fun, exciting teams. Another plus is that both games start at 8:00pm EST, so there won’t be that in-between area where we’re not sure who may play or sit for the second game leaving little to no replacement options. We will know everything before both games start and then we can just kick back, relax and watch the games. I am always concerned about pre-All-Star let downs, but you really can’t think about that because you never know which players will be the ones who already have mentally checked out. You know the feeling you get on Friday at work when you know you’re on vacation the next week? Yeah, nobody gives a damn about work on the pre-vacation Friday. Let’s hope since most of the active teams are constructed of mostly young players who aren’t as likely to look beyond tonight’s game.

OK, this is always tough, because with only four teams active, most DFS lineups will be pretty damn similar. So, it’s all about finding the gems who won’t be as highly owned who hit above value that will set you above the pack. With this few of options, I’ll probably go more of the balanced lineup approach tonight, although I’m sure I’ll have at least one ‘studs-n-duds’ GPP lineup. There’s just so few quality cheap options to use tonight to make that style work. The balanced attack though makes you choose just one of Westbrook, Durant, Wall or Anthony Davis though, which is not a fun task. So many will be on the former two that I will probably go contrarian and roster more Brow. Sounds like a death wish, huh? That’s the contrarian GPP style in a nutshell though, you zig when others zag and hope the majority got it wrong, leaving you with the advantage.

Vegas lines and totals

Washington (+1.5) @ Milwaukee — projected Vegas game total of 211
New Orleans (+11.5) @ Oklahoma City — 220.5

Of the four teams, only the Pelicans played in a game last night. So, yeah, there’s a little concern for them between the second half of a back-to-back and being the game before vacation, but that’s what will have them lesser owned tonight than players from the other three teams. Big time game totals for both games, the night before the break I would be surprised to see a game hit 220, but then again OKC can light it up. Let’s face it, it’s a two game slate, there’s no fading a team/game and you could stack any of them really due to the totals, but surely you’d stack Pels/OKC over the other. Stacking Wiz/Bucks would be a fine contrarian play though in GPPs. Now, let’s go into the top plays on the slate.

POINT GUARD

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Russell Westbrook The top DFS point guard on the year, a bottom-five defense against point guards, but one huge price tag on a night with not many viable cheap options to build a strong roster around him. Winning DFS scores should be fairly low tonight, so any given strategy could be the winning one. Getting 10 fantasy points (FPs) from a minimum priced player could actually be considered ‘good’ tonight, if you choose the right bigger pieces. Russ is my highest projected player on the slate, but point guard is easily the deepest position.

Jrue Holiday We’ve been celebrating this Holiday for a month now and with Tyreke done for the year, it should keep up, although he was off the first half last night, he finished strongly against Utah to wind up with 45 FPs. While Westbrook will hit 50 FPs, Jrue should safely get you over 30 (with definite upside) for a lot less money. There’s better positions to pay up at tonight.

Norris Cole If you want to go even cheaper at PG and spend up elsewhere, Cole is the guy. Norris has had only one true dud in his last ten games, but other than that he’s been over 20 FPs and half of those over 30. If he has one of those 30+ nights at his price, that’s a huge boost on a slate like this. Bryce Dejean-Jones’ second 10-day contract expired last night, so he is no longer with the team. He was starting and playing near 20 minutes a night, so those minutes will likely be distributed amongst the Pelican guards like Jrue, Norris, Gee and Douglas, so they all get slight upticks.

Cheap risk option:  As mentioned above, some extra guard minutes will be up for grabs tonight, and after playing 21 minutes and putting up 17 FPs last night, Toney Douglas seems like a pretty decent punt option at the minimum price point. If Douglas gets over 20 minutes, he could land you near or potentially above 20 FPs. As with anybody priced this low, there’s always a rock bottom floor, thus the risk. Another to look at is Cameron Payne who has went for 19, 15, 11 and 23 FPs in the last four contests.

SHOOTING GUARD

Khris Middleton Most will go with Bradley Beal tonight coming off his big game on Tuesday night, but I am sticking with Middleton here. You can never be sure how many minutes Beal will play, but Khris will definitely get minutes in the high-30s, and he has a nice advantage over the Wizards wing defenders. I like Middz to put up around 35 FPs tonight.

Dion Waiters There’s not much to choose from at SG tonight, so if you don’t go with one of the two I just mentioned, I’d save and hope that Waiters serves up a solid fantasy night. He’s been pretty inconsistent, but the matchup against New Orleans is a good one, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t put up 20+ FPs.

Cheap risk option: If O.J. Mayo draws another start, he is the punt option of choice here tonight, but even starting last game he only played 18 minutes and failed to connect on either of his two field goal attempts, amounting 9.75 FPs. If he starts, I’d project him at about 14 FPs due to the uncertainty of playing time. If he isn’t named the starter again, I wouldn’t venture beyond Garrett Temple, who has been in a funk the last three games but is still seeing 30 minutes a night. He has mid-20s upside.

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant Love KD tonight and every night, but much like PG, there’s actually solid cheaper options at SF that are still real solid. I will absolutely have shares of KD tonight, but if I go with a balanced GPP lineup and roster only one stud, KD wouldn’t be my top choice due to the SF depth.

Giannis Antetokounmpo A few grand cheaper but similar upside on his best nights, I really like Giannis in the middle-tier price range. I have him projected at 36 FPs, but I think against the Wizards, he has upside to go 40+ potentially if he doesn’t mail it in.

Cheap risk option: Jared Dudley is the cheapest guy I’d go with in balanced lineups. He’s put up 25+ FPs in two of the last three and should at minimum get you 18, tonight that’s acceptable. The true punt play is Dante Cunningham who starts and play 30 minutes for the Pelicans right now. He’s near minimum price and has put up 12, 16 and 14 FPs the last three (as I write this he’s up to just 11.25 FPs in the late 4th against Utah, but it’s not easy to get stats in the paint against the defensive Jazz towers).

POWER FORWARD

Anthony Davis Yuck. That’s what you think when you see the options we have to choose from tonight at power forward. Davis had a rough game with foul trouble last night, and most will choose to pay up for KD and/or Westbrook, so AD will be very under-owned in tournaments, making him a nice play in my book and he’s a little cheaper. I have Brow projected at 48 FPs tonight. I prefer to go with him in GPPs due to ownership as I mentioned and that the next options are so much worse than that at the SG and SF spots.

Ryan Anderson Ugh… I’m not a fan of Anderson, Serge Ibaka or Jabari Parker on normal nights, so it pains me to have to use one of them if I go away from Davis. Anderson we know can shoot the rock and I’d rather hope he has a nice shooting night than to rely on Serge throwing a block party or Jabari actually making some shots. I have him projected at 26 FPs, Serge 24 and Parker 19.

Cheap risk option: Nene Hilario, let’s face it, there’s no other options and even he is a piss poor one. Go Davis or pick one of the iffy guys above.

CENTER

Greg Monroe I prefer him narrowly over Gortat in tier one at center tonight. I will both pay up at center in some spots tonight and go the cheaper route in others. Monroe had a huge game off the bench on Tuesday, and maybe that motivation will carry over for one more game. He’s averaged 31 FPs in two games against Washington this season. I’d be hoping for mid-30s, but 31 is probably a safer bet.

Enes Kanter In GPP lineups, I’m definitely going with Kanter over Steven Adams due to the upside, in cash games I am splitting it pretty evenly. Have both projected at 24 FPs, but Kanter has the potential to go for 30+, Adams best case is 24. Kanter can definitely rack up boards against the likes of Omer Asik in the paint, if he’s given over 20 minutes. That’s why Adams is safer in cash, he gets much more consistent playing time.

Cheap risk option: Omer Asik averaging 18 FPs over his last six games, and Miles Plumlee averaging 16 over the last three games, the last one he randomly got the start in, but it didn’t change his minutes played. Both are respectable punt options for this slate.

Cash game rankings

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.

PG
1) Russell Westbrook
2) Jrue Holiday
3) Norris Cole
4) John Wall
5) Toney Douglas
6) Michael Carter-Williams
7) Jerryd Bayless

SG
1) Khris Middleton
2) Dion Waiters
3) Bradley Beal
4) Garrett Temple
5) O.J. Mayo

SF
1) Kevin Durant
2) Giannis Antetokounmpo
3) Otto Porter
4) Jared Dudley
5) Dante Cunningham

PF
1) Anthony Davis
2) Anthony Davis
3) Ryan Anderson
4) Serge Ibaka
5) Jabari Parker

C
1) Greg Monroe
2) Marcin Gortat
3) Steven Adams
4) Enes Kanter
5) Miles Plumlee
6) Omer Asik

As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 8 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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