Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: February 9, 2016
Just three days remain until the NBA’s All-Star break begins, which will be a nice opportunity for those in the DFS world to take a little break from over-analyzing every slate with a fine-toothed comb. Tuesday gives us a solid five-game slate, which is just enough to diversify your lineups but not too much where random variance comes into play to destroy GPP hopes and dreams with a random outburst. As usual, Vegas has an opinion of what will happen, so let’s use that as a launching pad.
Vegas lines and totals
San Antonio (-7.5) @ Miami – total of 193.5
Washington @ New York (-1) – total of 207
Boston (-4) @ Milwaukee – total of 208
Utah @ Dallas (-2) – total of 185
Houston @ Golden State (-14.5) – total of 230
It may be a five-game night but from a DFS perspective, there are really only three games to choose from. Rockets-Warriors is the obvious choice, but it also has some blowout potential. Meanwhile, Wizards-Knicks and Celtics-Bucks project to be high-scoring as well and much closer, which always provides the potential for overtime and generally guarantees a full workload for starters. Jazz-Mavericks is an absolute no-no with one of the lower totals you’ll see, and Spurs-Heat looks like another slugfest that isn’t terribly appealing for fantasy. With these lines in mind, let’s see who Tuesday’s top plays are.
Stephen Curry – It’s going to be nearly impossible to fade Curry on Tuesday, as he gets a great matchup with the Rockets in a game the Warriors are projected to score a lot of points in. Patrick Beverley‘s defense has fallen off this season, possibly due to his constant nagging injuries, and Curry should be able to take advantage regardless of the reasoning. He’s essentially matchup-proof, and I’m not taking the risk of keeping him off any of my teams.
John Wall – I know how out of the box it is to say the top two PGs on the board are the top plays, but besides scoring the most points, both Curry and Wall provide the best dollar-for-dollar value on the board as well. Wall has a favorable matchup against Jose Calderon and the Knicks, and New York defends every other spot on the court pretty well as a whole. That means a lot will be placed on Wall’s shoulders, and he should deliver like he has ever since the Wizards re-embraced their small-ball approach.
Cheap risk option: After coming through with a nice night Saturday, Raul Neto should have another opportunity for minutes in the high 30s with Trey Burke already ruled out of Tuesday’s game against the Mavericks. Neto isn’t the best per-minute producer and Dallas has been solid against PGs all year, but the sheer minutes total Neto is looking at makes him a viable punt.
Avery Bradley – Shooting guard is a great position to save Tuesday night, as it’s easy to fade James Harden in favor of his Golden State opponents and Klay Thompson has fallen into a mini-slump with Curry and Draymond Green doing the heavy lifting. Bradley gets a great matchup against the Bucks, who have struggled against opposing 2-guards all year, and he is coming off a 25-point game that followed a buzzer-beater against the Cavs. Bradley can be a bit up and down, but the scoring should at least be there Tuesday and he has some nice momentum heading into this game.
Arron Afflalo – Speaking of up-and-down, scoring-reliant players, Afflalo is in a similar spot to Bradley. The Wizards have been bad against SGs this season and actually improved defensively with Garrett Temple starting for Bradley Beal. Beal is back in the starting lineup, though, and Afflalo has been playing well lately. He should be able to beat his price somewhat easily in a good matchup with Carmelo Anthony deferring more than ever.
Cheap risk option: This is a bit of cheating since he isn’t that cheap anymore, but Evan Turner is scorching of late and his price still hasn’t caught up. He’ll have a down game a la Jeff Green during his recent hot streak, as is the case with all bench players, but it’s hard not to ride a guy averaging 14.5 points, eight rebounds and six assists in his past four games. If you want to go a little deeper, try Danny Green despite a tough matchup against Dwyane Wade and Miami. His explosions tend to come out of nowhere, and I’m not really willing to go much lower into the dregs of the shooting guard spot.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – The Greek Freak is the top option at SF on Tuesday, but you’re going to need to fade Curry or Wall to get him in your lineup without multiple punts. While I’m generally unwilling to do that in cash games, it’s nothing against Antetokounmpo, who gets a nice matchup against a beat-up Jae Crowder and the Celtics. He’s alternated big games with duds over his past seven, and he is due for a big one Tuesday. I don’t usually love that particular logic, but the matchup lines up nicely for him compared to the rest of the guards and forwards against the Celtics.
Harrison Barnes – There were a few options for the No. 2 slot, as both Carmelo Anthony and Otto Porter are good plays themselves. I went a little cheaper here since my goal is to play both Curry and Wall, and Barnes isn’t too far behind the top three on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Barnes hasn’t quite hit his groove since returning from injury, but a matchup against the Rockets’ brutal SF defense should keep him from totally busting. With the amount of points Golden State is projected to score, there should be enough to go around for Barnes to hit the low-to-mid-20s in fantasy points and return value.
Cheap risk option: For this slate, Corey Brewer is pretty cheap relative to the rest of the field. He’s been very hit or miss, but that’s not always a bad thing when looking at things from a GPP perspective. It just means his highs destroy his price, while his lows destroy your team. Brewer loves transition basketball, and Tuesday’s matchup with the Warriors should be played at a racehorse pace.
Draymond Green – Power forward is a tough spot to fill Tuesday night, but it’s not because of a lack of options. Green is a great play against Houston, whose PF defense has gotten stingier since the start of the season but is still very vulnerable to big nights. I don’t hate the idea of fading Wall and going with both Curry and Green to grab the top two Warriors on the slate, and Green has averaged 9.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 11.5 assists in two games so far this season against the Rockets. He’s only attempted 15 shots in those games, however, and he’ll need to get more involved as a scorer to exceed his price Tuesday.
Kristaps Porzingis – If you can’t afford Green and have enough money to spend a little at PF, Porzingis demands your attention. Like most young players, he’s performed much better in his cozy home confines this season, and a matchup against Jared Dudley isn’t one that will cause many problems for Porzingis. He’s busted out of his multi-week slump with consecutive double-doubles, averaging 19 points and 11.5 rebounds in those contests. Just like the PG position, the top dollar-for-dollar plays rest at the top of the PF spot.
Cheap risk option: I’m not very interested in much at the very bottom of the PF barrel, but Amir Johnson is coming off a nice game with eight points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in just 19 minutes of action. Tyler Zeller‘s re-emergence into the rotation has squeezed Johnson as much as anybody, but if he can push for 25 minutes in a good matchup against the Bucks, he could provide a very nice return on his price.
Greg Monroe – With a nice matchup against the ever-shuffling Boston frontcourt, Monroe is the premier center play Tuesday night. The problem once again is fitting him in with a couple high-priced stars, but he should be the Bucks’ go-to guy on offense as Milwaukee tries to attack the Celtics in the post. Monroe should push for 20 points and a double-double in this one.
Andrew Bogut – I don’t recommend or play Bogut that often, but he tends to come through when I do. There is some worry of foul trouble with Dwight Howard on the docket, but Howard has been settling for turnaround hook shots while backing opponents down of late rather than attacking the basket from a triple-threat position anyway. Bogut has scored a grand total of four points in his past four games, but he is still averaging almost 20 fantasy points per game on the back of eight boards and four assists. His minutes should trend up into the high 20s if he keeps the fouls down, as I don’t think Steve Kerr wants Marreese Speights dealing with Howard too often.
Cheap risk option: Speaking of Speights, he’s a great cheap GPP punt at near-minimum price. He’s returned value in each of his past six games and has only played over 12 minutes twice in that span. If Bogut does draw a few early fouls, increased run for Speights could lead to a good night from a player you’re only using to fit in the higher-priced guys. Tyler Zeller is in a similar boat to Speights as far as returning value in limited minutes, but his price is on the rise thanks to a bit more upside. If you’re feeling frisky, you could always play both and really spend your money elsewhere.
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 8 p.m., so follow me on Twitter @christripodi for last-minute updates and suggestions.