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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: October 29, 2015

If you read this article for the Wednesday night slate, you were likely treated to 45-point performances from Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, James Harden and Danilo Gallinari on your way to some solid return on investment on a 14-game night. Thursday brings us a small three-game slate, and a rather unexciting one at that, if Vegas has anything to say about it.

Vegas lines and totals

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Memphis Grizzlies (-2.5) @ Indiana Pacers – total of 188
Atlanta Hawks (-3.5) @ New York Knicks – total of 197
Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Clippers (-11) – total of 210.5

As you can see, just one of these three games has an advantageous over/under of at least 200 points, and it’s a potential blowout as the Mavericks travel to L.A. to face the Clippers, possibly without the services of Deron Williams, who is once again dealing with a lower body injury. With that in mind, it’s easier to look at that game without the blowout factor, and even muted fourth-quarter minutes for stars will likely come after a fine performance. Let’s take a look at the Thursday slate, after a quick reminder of the DraftKings scoring system.

Point = +1 PT
Made 3pt. shot = +0.5 PTs
Rebound = +1.25 PTs
Assist = +1.5 PTs
Steal = +2 PTs
Block = +2 PTs
Turnover = -0.5 PTs
Double-Double = +1.5PTs (MAX 1 PER PLAYER: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals)
Triple-Double = +3PTs (MAX 1 PER PLAYER: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals)

Now, for the top options and values at each position:


Chris Paul ($9,600) – Paul is an absolute must-play on the Thursday slate as one of the top stars available in the highest-scoring game of the night. It helps his case that Williams may miss the game, leaving the Mavericks with a potential starting backcourt of J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton. Fade Paul at your own risk.

Raymond Felton ($3,000) – Felton was mentioned in Wednesday’s column as a “cheap risk option,” and he came through in a big way with 33 fantasy points, reaching the rare point-per-$100 mark. Expecting another performance like that would be crazy from anybody who has watched Felton play over the past few years, but at minimum price with Williams possibly sitting, he should be a lineup lock.

J.J. Barea ($3,300) – Barea may move into the starting lineup Thursday and even if he doesn’t, he’ll likely find his way into 25 minutes or so, giving him a good shot at a 20-point night. At his near-minimum price, he should provide decent enough value regardless of Williams’ status, but give him a bump if the starter misses the game.

Cheap risk option: Jerian Grant ($3,600) – Grant looked good as part of the Knicks’ bench mob in their blowout win over the Bucks in Milwaukee, scoring 10 points with five assists and three steals in 24 minutes. He may not see the same playing time if the Knicks and Hawks find themselves locked in a close game like the spread implies, which adds the risk to this pick, but he has the kind of talent to put up 25 points even in a reserve role if he gets at least 20 minutes.


J.J. Redick ($5,100) – Shooting guard is a barren wasteland Thursday night, as Redick is the second highest-priced option on the slate. Monta Ellis is an easy fade in Memphis as he adjusts to playing with the ball-dominant Paul George, and Redick could be one beneficiary of the Clippers putting up 110-115 points.

Kyle Korver ($4,900) – Opening night aside, the Knicks have been decimated by three-point shooting over the past few seasons, and with Sasha Vujacic likely starting at the two, Korver has a huge advantage in this game. The sharpshooter was just 1-for-5 from beyond the arc Tuesday night, but he doesn’t usually stay cold for very long.

Sasha Vujacic ($3,000) – Vujacic hasn’t been a fantasy option in years, but he looked comfortable playing in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense Wednesday night and should push for 30 minutes again. His combination of price and workload makes him an easy value play if you pay up at other positions and can’t afford Redick or Korver, which is the optimal strategy on this slate.

Cheap risk option: Kent Bazemore ($3,300)Thabo Sefolosha will miss Thursday’s matchup with the Knicks, giving Bazemore a shot at redemption after a miserable opener where he didn’t score and turned the ball over four times. Bazemore has put up some nice lines in the past, but he’s also very prone to the occasional dud.


Carmelo Anthony ($8,700) – Paul George, like Monta Ellis above, is in a tough spot against a Grizzlies team that will be hungry to prove their blowout loss against the Cavs was a fluke. That leaves Anthony as the only healthy option priced above $5,000 at the position in a non-terrible spot. He hasn’t shot the ball well over his past few outings, but the Hawks’ defense at small forward is set to take a hit this season with DeMarre Carroll in Toronto. Kent Bazemore has little chance of keeping ‘Melo from getting his Thursday night, and the Knicks will need Anthony to be himself if they want a shot at a win.

Paul Pierce ($4,000) – If you thought shooting guard was bad, check out small forward. Pierce played behind Lance Stephenson on Wednesday but still saw 24 minutes, and that will likely be his workload this season regardless of where he starts the game. As long as he isn’t rested for any reason Thursday, Pierce should at least hit value, which is more than you can say for the rest of the small forwards.

Cheap risk option: Derrick Williams ($3,200)Justin Anderson was Wednesday’s “cheap risk option” and responded by playing just three minutes. Williams is coming off a shocking 24-point, seven-rebound performance Wednesday night, and that kind of upside is impossible to find on a short slate at his price point. Inconsistency has been Williams’ staple since entering the NBA, however, and it could be a long way down from Wednesday’s heights for the 2011 No. 2 overall pick.


Dirk Nowitzki ($6,000) – Dollar for dollar, Nowitzki is my favorite play at power forward Thursday night. He plays in the marquee matchup of the night and Blake Griffin is not known for his defensive prowess. If Deron Williams sits, Nowitzki will be the only regular Mavericks starter besides Zaza Pachulia not injured or on a minutes limit, and Pachulia isn’t much of a threat to his shots.

Blake Griffin ($9,500) – Like Chris Paul above, Griffin is a star on a short slate playing in what projects to be an uptempo game. The Mavericks defended power forwards well last season, but their post defense took a hit when Tyson Chandler split for Phoenix, leaving them to sign Pachulia. It’s tempting to play Griffin and Paul on this slate but if you have to leave one out of your lineup, which is likely to be the case unless you want to punt multiple spots, it should be Griffin.

Paul Millsap ($7,800) – Part of the reason Griffin is an easier fade than Paul is because, as is often the case, power forward is the deepest position on the slate. Kristaps Porzingis is a 20-year-old rookie who will likely be no match for the veteran Millsap, and saving $1,700 here will help build a decent lineup around Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.

Cheap risk option: Kyle O’Quinn ($3,700) – I’ve always had a soft spot for O’Quinn’s game in fantasy basketball, and as a Knicks fan I was probably way too excited when they signed O’Quinn this offseason. The tough matchup with Millsap may create more playing time for the defensive-minded O’Quinn, who always has the potential to post a well-rounded line even with limited playing time.


DeAndre Jordan ($7,700) – The Clippers play host to the team Jordan spurned in the offseason to return to Lob City, and his matchup with Zaza Pachulia seems unlikely to go well for the team he briefly committed to this offseason. Considering the matchups, I’m envisioning a lot of Chris Paul-to-Jordan alley-oop action Thursday night, which is another reason I’m likely to fade Griffin in the end.

Zaza Pachulia ($5,100) – Pachulia double-doubled in 25 minutes Wednesday and even added some rare defensive stats, and his matchup with DeAndre Jordan isn’t as tough as it may seem to the casual eye. Jordan is a great shot blocker and help defender, but his on-ball defense isn’t elite and Pachulia has a nice offensive skill set. If you’d rather pay for Griffin instead of Jordan, Pachulia isn’t a bad center option on a short slate.

Al Horford ($7,600) – Horford is a very bland play Thursday night in a matchup against the defensive-minded Robin Lopez, but he’s worth a mention here as he should be able to eclipse 30 fantasy points in his typical consistent fashion. He’s not really worth the price tag compared to the other available options, though.

Cheap risk option: Ian Mahinmi ($3,900) – With Myles Turner “available” Wednesday night but not stepping foot on the court, Mahinmi laid claim to the starting center job in Indiana. He draws a tough Thursday matchup against the Grizzlies’ imposing frontcourt, which provides the risk in this pick, and Mahinmi also isn’t a player who’s likely to push for 30 points on any given night. He’s more of a punt play than upside tournament shot.

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.

1) Chris Paul
2) Raymond Felton
3) J.J. Barea

1) J.J. Redick
2) Kyle Korver
3) Sasha Vujacic
4) Kent Bazemore

1) Carmelo Anthony
2) Paul Pierce

1) Dirk Nowitzki
2) Blake Griffin
3) Paul Millsap
4) Kyle O’Quinn

1) DeAndre Jordan
2) Zaza Pachulia
3) Al Horford

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 @christripodi, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes.

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