Fantasy Basketball

Friday’s DFS NBA Plays 1/17

Source: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America
Source: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America

12 game nights always get a little tricky and that will surely be the case tonight in the NBA. There’s no reason to think that we won’t have another very high scoring night, so we will have to be on point here. There are some interesting injury situations that will impact the value of some players, but we’ll know before lineups lock. Here are the players I’m looking at for tonight’s NBA action.

Point Guard

Kyle Lowry has been pretty lights out recently and has another matchup that he should be able to take advantage of tonight. When the Raptors face off against the Timberwolves tonight, Lowry will be going up against the 10th worst defense against point guards in their last ten. Lowry has made at least three shots from deep in his last four games, which is probably why he is averaging 41 fantasy points per game during that time. I guess averaging 5 rebounds and 8 assists per game would help too.

Darren Collison was a guy I keyed on Wednesday and it worked out great as he went for 13/4/10 against the Mavericks. Tonight, I’m rolling him out again against the Knicks who are playing on a back-to-back. Collison should be able to win the battle against Raymond Felton. He has put up at least 29 fantasy points in 7 straight games, a theme that we can expect as long as CP3 is out.

John Wall should be considered if you have the money to spend at guard tonight. The last time the Wizards played the Bulls, Wall scored 43 fantasy points. Wall has put up at least 14 shots in 9 of his last 10 games, so the opportunities will be there against a team that just gave up 57.5 fantasy points to Jameer Nelson (in 54 minutes). Those numbers against Nelson are shocking considering his skills and the fact he averaged over 1 fantasy point per minute. Wall has a three-game streak of 43 fantasy points or more.

Shooting Guard

When the 76ers are playing, you have to use at least one player from the opposing team and tonight that’s Dwyane Wade. Wade had an off night against the Wizards last game, but then again just about everyone did. The Heat should bounce back in this one and put up a lot of points. Wade has put up at least 32 fantasy points in 8 of his last 10 games, which isn’t ground breaking, but makes him a great cash game play tonight.

Kyrie Irving is a big GPP player for me tonight, but I can’t roll him out in cash games. He has high risk on a night like tonight because he is priced at $8,000 and there are so many solid options at that price as well that are more consistent. He could easily put up 23-30 fantasy points like he has done in each of his last 3 games, but he has the upside against Ty Lawson and the Nuggets to go for 50+. Against the Jazz four games ago, Iring went for 55 fantasy points. Also, nine games ago, he put up 64 fantasy points against the Hawks. So, if you’re feeling a GPP option tonight this could be your guy.

Small Forward

I’m all about being cautious with new players on new teams, but I think it’s about time we hop back aboard the Luol Deng train. He’s getting the minutes (38.5 in his last two) and putting up the fantasy points (42 in his last two). He is severely underpriced tonight against the Nuggets and even though he could be covered up by Andre Iguodala,, the value is too much. At this point, I’m going to roll with Deng as long as he is priced at $6,100 just about every day of the week.

James Johnson and Courtney Lee are viable options at the small forward position as long as Tony Allen remains out. Which one to pick? Is “I have no idea?” an acceptable answer? I’ve picked the wrong one in their last two games, but I will say this. Because Lee is more of a shooter, he poses more risk because of a cold night resulting in what happened last game. Johnson relies on doing it all, so he should be safer even with bench minutes. Mike Conley told reporters that he thinks James Johnson is a huge spark off the bench and that he can really play. We saw that in his last game when he went for 46.5 fantasy points.

Wes Johnson isn’t a bad pick tonight as he is priced at $4,500 on Draftkings, but if you go with one of J.Johnson or Lee then you probably don’t have to roll with Wes tonight. The Celtics rank as the 4th worst defense against small forwards and Wes has played well in his last two averaging 35.75. Wes Johnson isn’t a big scorer, but he’s hot right now and will likely get 35+ minutes with Nick Young suspended for this game.

Power Forward

At the price of $6,500, Anderson Varejao should be owned 100% tonight against the Nuggets. The last time these two played, Varejao went for 18/13/3/2/3 and 49 fantasy points. He is rebounding great right now averaging 13 a game in his last five, so I know he’s going to own the Nuggets’ big men. Right now, I’ve written about 3 players from the Cavs in this game. This is nothing to be alarmed about as the total is 213 and the Nuggets are “just” 6-7 point favorites.

Blake Griffin is one high-priced player I don’t mind spending on tonight. The Knicks are going to be thin with their bigs with Amar’e and Kenyon Martin both likely out for the game. This should allow Griffin to own the paint. I would guess that Bargnani plays on Griffin most the game with DeAndre Jordan getting covered up by the better defensive player, Tyson Chandler. It’s hard not to like Griffin with the way he is playing lately, averaging 50 fantasy points per game in his last four.


I just said that the Knicks are thin down low tonight, so that means I love Tyson Chandler as a mid-range option tonight. The Knicks played last night, but the nice part is that Chandler only played 26 minutes. In those 26 minutes, he played very well scoring 13 while rebounding 9. If he can get that kind of production in 30-34 minutes tonight then he’ll surely reach value for his $4,400 price.

Al Jefferson is on a tear right now and finds himself with a monster matchup against the Magic. He has gone for 38+ in each of his last three games, going for 45+ in his last two. His offensive skills have shown scoring 79 real points in his last three games. He is averaging nine rebounds per game during that stretch, and I think tonight he has a real possibility of going for 25/15 against a Magic team that gave up 26 and 19 to Joakim Noah. Those Noah numbers are in 49 minutes, but after regulation he had almost 50 fantasy points, so those high minutes don’t scare me.


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