Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: December 23, 2015
My Tuesday picks were pretty helpful in terms of cash-game success, so here’s hoping that having more options Wednesday will make that even better. With 13 games on the NBA slate and only four teams off, almost every player in the league is an option. Let’s take a look at what the books think of Wednesday’s action.
Vegas lines and totals
New York Knicks @ Cleveland Cavaliers (-11.5) – total of 196
Boston Celtics @ Charlotte Hornets (-2.5) – total of 202
Houston Rockets @ Orlando Magic (-1.5) – total of 206.5
Memphis Grizzlies @ Washington Wizards (-1) – total of 202.5
Sacramento Kings @ Indiana Pacers (-7) – total of 212
Dallas Mavericks (-3.5) @ Brooklyn Nets – total of 198.5
San Antonio Spurs (-10.5) @ Minnesota Timberwolves – total of 196.5
Portland Trail Blazers @ New Orleans Pelicans (-8) – total of 202.5
Philadelphia 76ers @ Milwaukee Bucks (-10) – total of 194.5
Detroit Pistons @ Atlanta Hawks (-5.5) – total of 203
Denver Nuggets @ Phoenix Suns (-8.5) – total of 209
Utah Jazz @ Golden State Warriors (-14) – total of 208
Oklahoma City Thunder (-13) @ Los Angeles Lakers – total of 207
Kings-Pacers stands out with highest over/under of the night, while there are a few low spreads with blowout potential that could be avoided if necessary. Overall, Wednesday is looking to be a pretty balanced slate, which should show through in the picks below.
John Wall ($9,700) – The Grizzlies still play tough overall defense, but Mike Conley has slipped on that end and Memphis is a decent target for opposing PGs at this point. Not only does Wall have a decent matchup, but he should once again see an increased usage rate with Bradley Beal out, and he’s topped 50 fantasy points in five of his past seven games. Wall busted in Memphis last week, but he should be out for revenge Wednesday.
Reggie Jackson ($7,600) – Jackson didn’t have a great game in the first half of a back-to-back set Tuesday against the Heat, but a matchup against a struggling Jeff Teague and the Hawks should give him a chance to get back to his high-scoring ways. Jackson has alternated scoring about 60 points and about 30 over the past four games, with the two bad outings coming against the stingy Heat and Celtics. I’m not expecting 60 points on Wednesday, but Jackson should be in the low-to-mid 40s.
Tony Parker ($5,000) – I don’t find myself looking Tony Parker’s way that often, but he’s been extremely consistent recently and draws a nice matchup with the Timberwolves. San Antonio being on the road keeps the spread in this one below 15, which implies it could stay close into the fourth quarter before the Spurs pull away. Parker has a good chance to clear 30 fantasy points in this matchup, and he’s had at least 29.75 fantasy points in two of his past three.
Cheap risk option: After scoring 24.5 fantasy points after a recommendation in this spot Monday, Randy Foye ($3,500) returns as a great cheap option, especially if Danilo Gallinari remains sidelined. Foye has always had the ability to fill it up on offense, but he has struggled this season before a hot recent stretch. With three out of his last four games above 24.5 points, Foye has plenty of upside for a cheap GPP punt.
Tyreke Evans ($7,700) – Despite being listed as a shooting guard, Evans starts at the point for the Pelicans and logs around half his minutes at the 1. Damian Lillard‘s injury means Evans will get to feast on Tim Frazier for Wednesday’s game, and that has mismatch written all over it. Evans should have no trouble putting up at least 40 fantasy points, and it’s always nice to use a shooting guard who handles the ball at the point.
C.J. McCollum ($6,900) – McCollum’s ankle injury could keep him out of Wednesday’s contest, but the Blazers are calling him questionable and have already ruled Lillard out. That gives a shred of hope for McCollum to play, and his usage will likely be through the roof with Lillard hurt. He also draws a great matchup against the Pelicans backcourt, adding even more appeal to this pick, and he’s another 2 who plays a lot at the point.
Raymond Felton ($5,400) – Felton logged a triple-double last time Deron Williams missed a game, and the now-injured veteran is looking highly unlikely for a matchup against his former Nets teammates. Opposing point guards have killed the Nets this season, and Felton has a great chance at a 30-plus-point outing Wednesday. This makes 3-of-3 in terms of taking SGs who play the point.
Cheap risk option: Never one for consistency, Rodney Stuckey ($4,400) is the type of bench player who has potential to explode against a defense as indifferent as Sacramento’s. The Pacers have the highest team total of the night for games with single-digit spreads, and Stuckey has topped 25 fantasy points in three of his last four. The risk here is actually somewhat minimal.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($6,700) – The Greek Freak gets to feast on the 76ers defense for the holidays, and he should get back to his fantasy dominance in this one. Philadelphia bleeds fantasy points to opposing forwards and Antetokounmpo is the type of defensive presence that could cause the turnover-prone 76ers fits. I’d be shocked if he didn’t have at least two steals and two blocks Wednesday.
Tobias Harris ($6,500) – I said Tobias Harris was one of the NBA’s most consistent players the other night, and he proceeded to drop a dud on me. Such is life. Harris gets a matchup with an awful Houston wing defense Wednesday, and he should have no trouble reaching 30 fantasy points for the fourth time in six games. In fact, I have Harris projected to score in the upper 30s, and not far behind Antetokounmpo.
Matt Barnes ($5,700) – Matt Barnes just won’t let up against opponents who play small ball, and that’s about all the Wizards play anymore. Barnes is playing like a player who deserves to be priced in the $7,000s and while I’m not sure how long that will last, he’s obviously thriving and will be an excellent DFS play against the right teams until his price gets even higher. He should score just as much as the top two on this list for about $1,000 less.
Cheap risk option: While he’s been starting in place of Otto Porter, rookie Kelly Oubre ($3,700) hasn’t exactly lit up the box score. He’s taken just nine shots in 55 minutes of playing time over the past two games, but still has 38 fantasy points in those contests. If he got more looks he could possibly turn in a bigger game, but Oubre should be good for a floor near 20 points and some unknown upside beyond that.
Draymond Green ($9,000) – Green continues to roll and his price continues to rise, but he’s still easily outplaying his $9,000 tag. Green has four straight games with at least 46.25 fantasy points and has gone over 60 twice in that span and gone over 70 once. He’s a machine and Green is averaging over 20 points per game as well in that timeframe. Even in a game the Warriors could put to bed early, Green has the type of all-around potential to hit value and then some in three quarters, whether he puts the ball in the hoop or not.
Thaddeus Young ($6,800) – Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks are the NBA’s third-worst team at defending power forwards. The only teams that are worse are the Rockets and 76ers. Dallas allows the most points and second-most rebounds to opposing PFs, which makes a double-double a near certainty for Young, who has accomplished that feat seven times in his last 10 games.
David Lee ($4,300) – This pick hinges on the status of Amir Johnson, who missed Monday’s game due to injury. Lee dropped 28 fantasy points in 22 minutes despite a slow start to the game, and similar production should be expected if he draws his second straight start. The Celtics will want to showcase him for a trade.
Cheap risk option: Staying in Boston, Jonas Jerebko ($3,300) found his way into 25 minutes Monday and scored 26.25 fantasy points. The Hornets struggle to guard opposing big men, and it’s feasible that Jerebko finds himself in the 20-point range once again, which would easily pay off his price.
Greg Monroe ($7,100) – Like Antetokounmpo above, Monroe has an elite matchup with the 76ers, as Jahlil Okafor is far more talented on the offensive end than on defense. The big games against Philadelphia tend to come from big men, and Monroe has two 40-point outings in his past three. I expect him to make that three out of four Wednesday.
Marcin Gortat ($6,700) – Gortat led me to green, green pastures Monday night with his explosive 27-point, 16-rebound game against the Kings. While the matchup with Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies certainly isn’t anywhere near as ideal, Gortat’s recent play and extra involvement in the offense without Bradley Beal and likely Otto Porter make the floor pretty safe here. He’s unlikely to crack 40 fantasy points again, yet alone 60, but Gortat is a guy who may go a bit overlooked due to the matchup, and he shouldn’t.
Zaza Pachulia ($5,700) – Zaza Pachulia draws the Nets on Wednesday, a matchup he can exploit on the inside. Pachulia averages a double-double, while Brook Lopez is not known as even an average rebounder at the center position. Pachulia has played well on defense this year and if he can frustrate Lopez on that end of the court, he can definitely grab some easy defensive rebounds.
Cheap risk option: This guy just keeps popping up for me, but until Steven Adams ($4,000) truly costs me, I’ll continue riding him. The Lakers frontcourt probably couldn’t stop me—and I’m 5’7”—and Adams has hit value in three of his past four games. There’s always a little dud potential for Adams with Enes Kanter lurking, but his upside is a 12-rebound game that almost pays off his price even without any other stats.
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, stay locked to Twitter and follow me @christripodi, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes before the first game tips at 7 p.m. EST. I’ll also update this article as news breaks throughout the day if at all possible, but I will usually update via Twitter first.