Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: January 31, 2016
After a high-scoring Saturday where even scores in the 300s missed cashing in some 50/50s, Sunday brings us six more games, a few of which project to be friendly for DFS purposes. Vegas is expecting a high-scoring slate in real life, and I’m expecting a good amount of DFS points to be scored as well. As usual, the afternoon matinee will not be included in this writeup.
Vegas lines and totals
Boston (-4.5) @ Orlando – total of 204.5
Atlanta @ Miami (-1) – total of 192
Phoenix @ Dallas (-11) – total of 201.5
Golden State (-10.5) @ New York – total of 216.5
Minnesota @ Portland (-7) – total of 209.5
Charlotte (-4.5) @ L.A. Lakers – total of 202
Warriors-Knicks has easily the high over/under of the night, and with Golden State playing on the road on the second night of a back-to-back after collapsing late against the 76ers, this game projects as one that seems unlikely to be over after three quarters, boding well for all its fantasy options. The only game that really projects as an avoid is Hawks-Heat, but even that game has a couple solid plays as well. Let’s take a look at who those plays are and more for Sunday’s six-gamer.
Stephen Curry – The Knicks aren’t what I’d call a bad defensive team, but their main weak spot is at the point. Even if perennial liability Jose Calderon misses his third straight game Sunday, Curry should have no trouble with Langston Galloway who, while he defends better than Calderon, still isn’t a player an NBA team wants starting long-term. He’s been great as a fill-in, but Curry could very well lead a scoring explosion after Golden State’s awful fourth quarter Saturday.
Damian Lillard – If you don’t want to pay all the way up for Curry after two “down” games—both in tough matchups, by the way—then Lillard is not a bad alternative. Dame plays much better at home this season than on the road, Portland is the second-highest scoring projected team of the night and Minnesota is generous against opposing point guards. That’s a recipe for some nice Sunday success.
Cheap risk option: Devin Harris has never been a fast healer, and J.J. Barea has taken advantage in his past three games, averaging 15 points and four assists per game in 26 minutes. With Deron Williams struggling at the moment, Barea is picking up extra minutes on that end as well, making him a great cheap GPP plug. There’s always an outside chance Williams goes down in-game too, which would make Barea a potential GPP winner.
Dwyane Wade – Despite the relatively low total on the Hawks-Heat game, Wade has been playing out of his mind lately and gets a favorable matchup with Kyle Korver. Averaging 26.3 points, 6.7 assists and five boards a game in his past three contests, Wade should fill up the stat sheet once again for Miami.
Langston Galloway – As long as Jose Calderon stays out of the lineup and his price stays in the value range, Galloway will be a nice DFS option. Golden State hasn’t been too generous to the PG position, so Galloway is far from a must-play option, but he’s one of the better values available on the slate in a high-paced game and should meet value.
Cheap risk option: Fresh off signing a 10-day contract with Phoenix, Jordan McRae played 25 minutes in his NBA debut with 12 points and four rebounds. He also filled up stat sheets in the D-League and another healthy minute total could certainly lead to McRae crushing his new price and being a nice GPP punt.
Chandler Parsons – Parsons continues to play outstanding basketball, with 17-plus points in six straight games and averages of 24.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per tilt. The Suns don’t scare anybody, even as P.J. Tucker is a good individual defender, and Parsons should have no problem getting his. He should have his best game since Jan. 24 against Houston, when he scored 31 points with six boards.
Harrison Barnes – Fresh off his game-winning three-pointer in Philly, Barnes has turned in solid fantasy performances in four of his past five games, with the lone dud coming against the Spurs, which can be easily thrown out for evaluation purposes. Golden State has a good shot at scoring a lot of points Sunday in a game that is far from a guaranteed blowout, meaning there will be plenty to go around amongst the starters. Barnes has a good matchup and a reasonable price to boot.
Cheap risk option: After making a recovery from injury that was barely short of remarkable, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had an effective debut with 13 points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes in Portland, and it doesn’t look like he’ll have any restrictions moving forward. With his price severely depressed thanks to his previous status as a player out for the season, MKG is a good guy to ride until it rises, especially against the Lakers.
Chris Bosh – Both Heat stars have good matchups Sunday despite only having a team total of 93 points, which I’m expecting them to exceed on the backs of Wade and Bosh. Bosh’s rebounding hasn’t exactly spiked without Hassan Whiteside, but the Hawks as a team struggle on the boards, so Bosh should be able to exceed his season average of 7.6 boards and post another 20-point night, which would be his fourth in the last five.
Julius Randle – The Hornets have given it up to opposing power forwards of late, and Marvin Williams isn’t a banger who can defend Randle at his bully-ball game in the post. Averaging a double-double over his past seven with 13.4 points and 11.3 boards, that production alone would pay off his price. Add in a nice matchup and the fact that the Lakers aren’t projected to be blown out. and Randle is a very nice option assuming he remains the starter, which is likely.
Cheap risk option: Sticking with the theme of using the Heat on Sunday, Amar’e Stoudemire should draw another start assuming Hassan Whiteside remains sidelined. Stoudemire has actually been more active on the boards than Bosh, who continues to stay on the perimeter, so perhaps Amar’e will be more equipped to take advantage of Atlanta’s weakness on the glass. His injury history and inability to play a ton of minutes adds risk to this pick, but Stoudemire can also be considered as a cheap value in cash games with all the elite plays at other positions.
Karl-Anthony Towns – Towns continues to show his superstar potential, averaging over 25 points per game and adding 12 rebounds in his last three games. This explosion has come against the Cavs, Thunder and Jazz, three of the best center defenses in the NBA. I used him in GPPs on Friday as a contrarian option, but he should be a popular play against the Blazers. While Portland has stiffened up inside lately with Mason Plumlee playing better, Towns shouldn’t have much of a problem keeping his roll going with Gorgui Dieng next to him in the starting lineup.
Gorgui Dieng – Speaking of Dieng, he probably gets the better matchup of he and Towns and has also been destroying his price thanks to consistent minutes in his past two games, both starts. He’s scored 20.5 points and grabbed 12 rebounds per game in 33 minutes, and his per-36 numbers will tell you that production, while not sustainable from a scoring angle, isn’t exactly that far out of line with expectations. In a good matchup, I’m expecting another double-double from Dieng, but his scoring will probably be closer to the low teens.
Cheap risk option: Honestly, there isn’t much to see here Sunday. I’m not really willing to go cheaper than Andrew Bogut against the Knicks, even in GPPs, especially with Dieng being so affordable. The best bottom-barrel option is probably Marresse Speights—assuming Festus Ezeli doesn’t play—but the game would need to be a blowout for him to legitimately see enough minutes to be a good punt, something I’m not sure will happen.
CASH GAME RANKS
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, 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 6 p.m., so follow me on Twitter @christripodi for last-minute updates and suggestions.