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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: January 26, 2015

After a big nine-game slate yesterday, we are given a bit of a breather toni… wait, what? There’s another eight games tonight? Wow, this new scheduling is a whole different world than we ever had in previous seasons. Actually, there are no truly small slates this week, with the least games being on Thursday with six. On the bright side, there are no double-digit game nights either, it just stays in that six to nine zone which I am fine with, but I definitely prefer the four to six game slates myself.

Today we’ll be breaking down this beefy eight-game slate that has a lot of matchups that make you say “cha-ching!” And I say that without even looking at the Vegas numbers yet, but I literally see six of the eight games that I already know I want to exploit in a big way. So, needless to say, choosing which guys to write-up today is not going to be an easy task, but as always I will trust the numbers and analysis to play in my/our favor. Let’s check out the Vegas numbers now.

Vegas lines and totals

LA Clippers (PK) @ Indiana — Projected game total of 208.5
Phoenix (+3) @ Philadelphia — 204.5
Washington (+7.5) @ Toronto — 206.5
Miami (-4.5) @ Brooklyn — 189
Oklahoma City (-6.5) @ New York — 209.5
Orlando (+5) @ Milwaukee — 195.5
Sacramento (+2.5) @ Portland — 215.5
Dallas (-7.5) @ LA Lakers — 201.5

The Clippers/Pacers, Thunder/Knicks and Kings/Blazers games stand out the most for sure. The Kings are always a team you like to look at in DFS, because they score a lot and also allow a lot of scoring, tonight is no different. The only fear is that the Kings could be exhausted playing their third game in four nights and having went into double-OT last night, but even if it lets us down some, it should hit around 200. The Suns will be without their guy Brandon Knight, so that will open up value options and should make that game with Philly pretty competitive, definite edge to the Sixers — that feels weird to say. Let’s now move on to the top plays and cheap value options at each position before I will close with positional rankings to help you while building lineups tonight that will hopefully lead you to ending the night in the green.

POINT GUARD

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Damian Lillard Inserting Dame into your lineup against the Kings, automatic. The Kings are extra giving to opposing point guards (PGs) and Dame also averages eight more fantasy points (FPs) at home than on the road. So, all signs point to a big night from one of the league’s best young players. Truth is, there’s a lot of sexy options at point guard tonight, and I’ll likely try and get a couple in my lineups. Russell Westbrook and Kyle Lowry are the other two higher priced options that I really like tonight.

Ish Smith The kid could probably run for mayor in Philly and win right now, he’s been such a positive addition since the Sixers re-acquired him via trade in December. While the Sixers still aren’t winning a lot of games, they’ve won a few and been a lot more competitive. Tonight they get the luxury of playing a battered and bruised Suns team that has lost 15 of their last 17 games. Brandon Knight will be out, so Ish will have an even bigger offensive edge than normal against Phoenix. Look for Smith to push around a 40 FP night.

Cheap risk option: Jose Calderon is still sitting there pretty cheap due to his inconsistency, but he’s at least getting playing time (PT) in the low-30s most nights. While Russell Westbrook will absolutely annihilate him on offense, Westy can give up decent fantasy nights defensively. In fact, somehow Calderon put up 31.5 FPs the last time these teams played. I wouldn’t expect a repeat of that but around 20 with a nudge more upside is surely possible. Also, now with the news that Bradley Beal will be out tonight, Ramon Sessions becomes a value option playing 25ish minutes and needing just 20 FPs for value.

SHOOTING GUARD

Archie Goodwin He’s going to likely be pretty highly owned tonight, to the point that you’d maybe consider fading him in a contrarian GPP (big tournament) lineup. Actually, no, even that would be crazy probably, but hell, crazy takes down big tourneys sometimes. Anyways, for cash-games, all the Goodwin, please. With Knight out Goodwin should start again and see a ton of minutes for the third straight game, and this is also a good matchup anyways, add in his price and, yeah. He put up 30 and 38 FPs in the last two games despite much tougher matchups. In 150 minutes this season with neither Knight nor Bledsoe on the floor, Goodwin has averaged 0.98 FP per minute. He’s played 39 and 41 minutes the last two games.

DeMar DeRozan The man has been hotter than Kelly Kapowski lately, and despite his fairly high price, I think he for sure hits value in this game against the Wizards who have shown no ability of stopping opposing wings, so whether DDR is at SG or SF, he should have a nice offensive advantage. In three games against the Wizards this season he has averaged 44 FPs, including 50 in their last meeting recently, and this time it’s at home where DeMar is 4 fantasy points per game (FPPG) better on the year. I do also like C.J. McCollum against the Kings plenty, but edge to DeRozan if you can afford the jump in salary.

Cheap risk option: Despite the injury to Roberson, Dion Waiters will likely stay coming off the bench, but he could see a few extra minutes in there while Roberson is out. Waiters though is a low ceiling guy even if playing 30+ minutes, I’d rather pay a few hundy more for Goodwin.

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant The Durantula will be ready to put on a show at Madison Square Garden as he always tends to do. In 2012-13, Durant averaged 70 FPs in two games at MSG, 2013-14 he put up 59 FPs in one game there and last season in just 27 minutes he managed 51 FPs according to StatMuse. So, yeah, he’s in play tonight.

Chandler Parsons Parsons is on fire right now, and while there’s always fear of a let down, a game against the Lakers is not where I’m showing any concerns. The important thing is that after some extra shooting work with Dirk, it appears Parsons has found his shooting stroke, and has averaged 17 FGA over the last three games. I don’t think Chandler has any problems going for 30+ FPs tonight at a nice mid-tier price.

Joe Johnson If you need to go a little bit cheaper, Joe Johnson has been doing a lot better since Jarrett Jack got injured and he began playing more of a point-forward role. Not counting the total bust game he had against Cleveland, Joe has went for 39, 23 and 25.5 FPs in the last three games. I feel like you can get a cheap 25 FPs from Johnson tonight at home against the Heat.

Cheap risk option: Not a fan of any of the cheapies at this spot tonight, but if I was going to roll with a pure punt SF, I’d go full punt with Kyle Singler. Singler is expected to start at SG for the injured Roberson tonight, and while he hasn’t been great, Kyle has been improved in his last few games since receiving a tad more of a role. In 21, 23 and 21 minutes, Singler delivered 17, 18 and 12 FPs. Yeah, nothing to rave about, but with a handful more minutes now, I could see him getting to 20 FPs at basically minimum price. The floor is obviously super-low here.

POWER FORWARD

DeMarcus Cousins It’s not even close. Cousins has been the best DFS play in the NBA this season, and right now he’s on a complete monstrous run, leaving nothing but wreckage behind. Cousins had 48 points in the game Saturday night, and followed that up with 56 points in a 2OT game last night against the Hornets. So, am I at all concerned about Cousins in the second of a back-to-back after a 2OT game and third game in four nights? Yeah, a little, but he’s averaging over 60 FPPG over the last six games. $11K or not, he’s been amazing and the Blazers frontcourt is not capable of stopping such a beast, even a tired one. You may think about fading him in a GPP contrarian lineup, but he should be money in cash games.

Markieff Morris Cheif Kieff is back, and with Leuer still out, there should be a good chunk of minutes for Morris to play tonight since the Suns seem to not like playing Len and Chandler together, despite how well the two played together the last couple games. The price you can get Morris at, his 25ish minutes of PT, and the promising matchup, set him up to have a really good chance at beating value tonight.

Cheap risk option: Patrick Patterson is the cheap play at PF that stands out more than the others to me. He’s seeing court time in the mid-20s nightly and has been filling out the stat sheet pretty well of late. In his last six games he’s put up 19.5, 30, 22.5, 20, 7.5 and 27 FPs. Anything over 19 FPs is hitting value for his price tag, so Pat Pat has been money in the bank as far as cheap/punt plays go.

CENTER

Myles Turner With Ian Mahinmi likely out again, the emergence of Myles Turner continues tonight. Myles should be in line to play right around 30 minutes again which he has finished above value in each of the past four games, averaging 36.75 FPPG. In those four games that Mahinmi has been out or missed the majority of, Turner has been playing at a 23% usage rate and averaged 1.23 FPPM. There’s plenty of value at our disposal tonight to be able to build really strong studs-n-duds lineups, because the “duds” tonight are going to play more like studs. Look for tonight to be really high scoring in DFS.

Alex Len This spot isn’t even fair tonight. I hate that you can only roster two centers per lineup, because there’s just too many good value options to choose from, four of which all sit at the same price taking away that potential tie-breaker. Turner, Len, Tyson Chandler and Willie Cauley-Stein are all priced the same, and each of them has a good matchup and upside on their price. As you’ll see in my positional ranks shortly, I rank them Turner, Len, Chandler, WCS, but I will definitely be mixing them all in tonight, as well as the next guy I am going to mention.

Cheap risk option: It looks like Zaza Pachulia is likely to miss tonight’s game meaning we will probably get another start from the big Tunisian, Salah Mejri, who also has a good — and maybe the best of the bunch — matchup. Also working in his favor is that Mejri is the cheapest of all the value centers. Salah has played 25+ minutes in two of the last three games and he put up 30 FPs in each of those contests. With the top-dollar options looking so tempting tonight and us needing cheap plays to fit a couple of those studs in, plays like Mejri are golden.

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) Damian Lillard
2) Ish Smith
3) Russell Westbrook
4) Kyle Lowry
5) Michael Carter-Williams
6) Chris Paul
7) Jose Calderon
8) Ramon Sessions

SG
1) Archie Goodwin
2) DeMar DeRozan
3) C.J. McCollum
4) Garrett Temple
5) Khris Middleton
6) Dwyane Wade
7) Dion Waiters

SF
1) Kevin Durant
2) Chandler Parsons
3) Giannis Antetokounmpo
4) Joe Johnson
5) Carmelo Anthony
6) Paul George
7) Omri Casspi
8) Aaron Gordon

PF
1) DeMarcus Cousins
2) Markieff Morris
3) Nerlens Noel
4) Serge Ibaka
5) Thaddeus Young
6) Patrick Patterson
7) Jordan Hill

C
1) Myles Turner
2) Salah Mejri
3) Alex Len
4) Tyson Chandler
5) Willie Cauley-Stein
6) Brook Lopez

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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