Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: January 18, 2015
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day everybody! With that we are rewarded with a big day slate as well as some night games to go along with it. The primary GPP tournaments on the sites are set for the 2:00pm EST through the end of the night slate, so that leaves us with nine games that I will be breaking down today. The great part about this is that it opens up so many options of times to play. There is an all-day slate, the 2pm and on slate, strictly early slates and strictly night slates. I’m not a huge fan of the big slates, so I’ll likely play more of the just day and just night slates, but to stay true to my normal, I am writing up what DK and FD use as their primary big GPP slates. So, let’s break this nine game slate down. (Note: the only game not included from this slate/write up is the Sixers/Knicks game.)
Vegas lines and totals
Utah (+3) @ Charlotte — 188.5
Portland (+4.5) @ Washington — 210.5
New Orleans (+4) @ Memphis — 195.5
Chicago (+3) @ Detroit — 202.5
Orlando (+8) @ Atlanta — 201
Brooklyn (+11.5) @ Toronto — 197.5
Golden State (+3) @ Cleveland — 207.5
Boston (-1.5) @ Dallas — 203
Houston (+5) @ LA Clippers — 209
As I write this we are still awaiting the numbers on a couple of big games, but we have more than I expected. I know I will likely be steering mostly or completely clear of that lowly projected Jazz/Hornets game, and the Nets/Raptors game definitely smells like a blowout, but I’m not totally fading it. The Blazers/Wizards, Warriors/Cavs and Rockets/Clippers games all stick out to me a bit as the ones I’ll want to be sure to have stakes in, but several others can’t be ignored just because they’re not as sexy of games. Let’s pick out some of the top plays and values for tonight.
Let me just start by saying, good freaking luck with the PG position tonight. There’s about 10 that I would love to roster tonight, but likely will only own about 4-5 of them, because I only play 3-4 lineups per night, and it’s hard to be sure which are the right ones. The matchup seems tough for Stephen Curry, but since when do we worry about who Curry is going up against outside of if it’s a blowout game or not? I’ll list a couple here that I like a lot, but know that all of them that I will have ranked at the bottom of this piece are guys I like tonight, so don’t be afraid to use your own gut calls.
Kyle Lowry – Lowry may not get looked at as the other top dollar options in DFS, but there’s no doubt that he belongs right up there with the best of the best at the position. Despite his price being up there, but not yet at the super-elite level, K-Low has above value at this price tag in seven straight games. Tonight Lowry will be a huge mismatch for the Nets putrid defensive guards, Sloan and Larkin. Lowry may sit half of the fourth due to the game being ugly, but he’ll still net you fantasy points (FPs) without spending $9.5K+ here.
Kyrie Irving – I told you the other day that I am probably going to keep writing up Irving until he’s bumped up to at least $8K, and I am staying true to that even tonight against a tough opponent like Golden State. This game should be fast paced and high scoring and in these cases, I want the top scorers from each team. I’ll own some Curry tonight for sure, but at this price I am probably going to own a lot more of Kyrie and live/die by it, especially in GPPs (big tournaments).
Donald Sloan – He’s been inconsistent in his few starts, but the assist numbers have been great, and while he’s not reliable for a big showing, at his price he is definitely worth a cheap value flier. Sloan has 21 assists over the last two games, and tough game or not, you have to think he should hit around or above his value spot of 22 FPs.
Cheap risk option: Three PGs from the same game or not, Cory Joseph is currently the only PG at that $4K and under range that I see hitting value tonight, if any. While it’s unlikely he matches his big game he had against the Magic on Thursday night, CoJo has been seeing decent minutes in the backup PG role and in a game that could get ugly as the game goes on, he could see additional minutes and production.
Jimmy Butler – I’m not jumping off the Butler bridge just because he finally had a major let down game after an incredible run. It’s not that rare for a player who scored 50+ points (and 49 minutes) the night prior to have a bad game the next night. After two nights off, the Butler is back to serving up DFS goodness against the Pistons who he has averaged 53 FPs against in two matchups this season. I just prefer him plus the savings over Harden today.
Evan Fournier – With Victor Oladipo out, Fournier should again see a ton of playing time (mid-to-upper 30s), and likely a bump in usage, or at minimum shot attempts, as well. The Magic only had one game last week due to their trip to London, so they should be nice and fresh for this one. Fournier’s price has dropped enough that he doesn’t have to have a huge game to beat value, but he has a vaulted ceiling compared to most wings in this price range.
Cheap risk option: Allen Crabbe and Gary Neal are the top cheapies for me tonight, but neither is overly sexy. Crabbe has to hit the shots he gets to meet value in his low-20 minutes of PT, Neal has been playing mid-20 minutes due to Bradley Beal remaining on a minutes cap, but we don’t know when that cap will be lifted. Tread lightly here, but know they’ll both have a fair shot at hitting value for cheap punt options.
Jae Crowder – The man has been on a DFS kill-spree and I’m not thinking Chandler Parsons and the Mavs are going to be the ones to stop it, especially with Crowder seeing this as a revenge game to the team who traded him away just over a year ago. Look for Crowder to show what Mark Cuban what he gave up on for a failed Rajon Rondo rental. I have Jae projected at 35 FPs tonight, and I am leaning towards going mid-level or punting at SF tonight rather than to pay up for LeBron James or the other highest priced options.
Tobias Harris – Another guy who benefits greatly from the absence of Victor Oladipo. Harris has shown flashes of the guy we loved as a sure thing cash-play last season in two of the last three games, and with Vic out, Tobias should see the same upticks as Fournier as the team will need both of their scoring to stay in this one. I have Harris projected at 30 FPs which is just a nudge above value at his price.
Cheap risk option: If we get word that Aaron Gordon is 100%, I really like him as a value play. Before the injury he suffered in London that held him to just seven minutes in that game, Gordon had put up 20, 22 and 29 FPs in the three previous games, seeing an obvious uptick in playing time and usage. Stanley Johnson is the other cheap play that entices me here. Johnson has hit value for this price point in six of the last seven games.
Draymond Green – I know there are some red flags here, but I just love the position flexibility of Green in basically any matchup, especially one that will be pretty high scoring and intense from start to finish. Draymond has the capability of puting up huge DFS numbers even if he doesn’t score a lot. When these teams squared off on Christmas day, Dray went off for 22 points, 15 boards, seven assists and two blocks for 56 FPs.
Kevin Love – I’m not typically a big DFS fan of Love, so this is a little out of my comfort-zone, but all of the advanced analytical numbers that I look at are telling me Love is a great value at his price tonight. I then see that he did manage 43.5 FPs the last time these teams played, and he does seem an odd matchup for the Warriors with his mostly outside offensive game despite their plethora of versatile depth. I’m projecting Love at a conservative 36 FPs which is still four above value at his price.
Cheap risk option: I wouldn’t play in this rain puddle tonight, but if I had to choose a cheap risk play here, I guess I would go with a true punt like Mike Scott. The other guys like Bobby Portis and Patrick Patterson will get most of the talk in this discussion, but neither are any more sure to put up 20 FPs than Scott who is a decent bit cheaper, too. Portis you don’t even have a bit of a clue what kind of PT he will see, although it SHOULD be at least 15 minutes, it likely won’t be, again.
Andre Drummond – Yes, I know I shouldn’t write him up because every time that I do he either breaks even with value or falls short, but this is just too good of a spot for him that even I shouldn’t be able to jinx it. The Bulls struggle against centers and with Noah out, they really have zero answers for Drum in the paint. He should put up a monster double-double tonight, and in two games against Chicago this season he’s averaged 63 FPs. Yeah.
Jonas Valanciunas – I really struggled choosing who to use for this other spot, but I gave the edge to the guy who saves you about $1K more than the other few that I was looking at here. JV is playing 30 minutes a night now, and Brooklyn allows opposing centers to do work, including Jonas who had 42 FPs against them a little over a week ago. There’s a lot of good center options tonight, just like point guard, so go with your gut.
Cheap risk option: Cole Aldrich is for sure the guy if DeAndre sits, but I am thinking he returns tonight. Jeff Withey is certainly in play if Favors is out, but really I would just pay up at center tonight, too many good options up there. If you need a true punt, go with Aron Baynes and hope he has one of his 15-20 FP nights which he has had five of the last seven games.
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.
As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 2 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.