Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: January 13, 2016
Looks like I jinxed Carmelo Anthony last night, as the Knicks star was well on his way to another huge game before bowing out just after halftime with an ankle injury. I’m sure my lineups weren’t the only ones crushed by that injury, but Wednesday is another day and it’s one with 10 games on tap, so let’s take a look at the Vegas lines in hopes of choosing players who will make it through the game.
Vegas lines and totals
Atlanta (-3) @ Charlotte – total of 204.5
Milwaukee @ Washington (-5.5) – total of 206.5
New York (-5) @ Brooklyn – total of 192.5
Indiana @ Boston (-2) – total of 202.5
Dallas @ Oklahoma City (-10) – total of 211.5
Minnesota @ Houston (-9) – total of 205.5
Golden State (-9) @ Denver – total of 211
New Orleans @ Sacramento (-8) – total of 214.5
Utah @ Portland (-2.5) – total of 192
Miami @ L.A. Clippers (-5) – total of 197
The early games are full of juicy lines, minus the cross-NYC battle at Barclays Center, which could be a bit ugly if Anthony remains out. It’s a bit of a backwards twist, as two of the three late games aren’t projected as the highest-scoring of the night, although Anthony Davis‘ status could again turn the tides when it comes to Pelicans-Kings, which does have a hefty total. On to Wednesday’s top plays.
Stephen Curry – Draymond Green is likely to sit Wednesday and Thursday to rest his beat-up body, which benefits guys like Curry and Klay Thompson. It doesn’t hurt the cause that Curry looks fully healthy and gets a great matchup against Emmanuel Mudiay—assuming he starts over Jameer Nelson—and the Nuggets. Curry is an easy play at the top of the PG position Wednesday.
Chris Paul – Paul’s price has steadily risen with Blake Griffin out, but it still isn’t high enough to reflect his recent performance. The Heat are a good defensive team, but Paul has been carrying the Clippers, who are still projected to top 100 points in this game. If you don’t trust Curry for some reason, Paul is a good GPP pivot that can allow you to spend $1,5000 elsewhere.
Injury play: Jrue Holiday – This is status quo from last night. Holiday was a very popular play in cash games, but his minutes total disappointed even with Davis out of the lineup. On the second night of a back-to-back in a game where the Pelicans are road underdogs, it makes sense that Holiday will get more minutes than somebody like Norris Cole, but it’s not a given. I’m fading him (again) until we have more word on Davis, if that comes before lock or comes when a late swap is possible.
Cheap risk option: After putting in easily his best game of the season Tuesday night, Jerian Grant is absolutely on the DFS radar Wednesday against the porous Nets. Grant finished down the stretch with Anthony injured and Kristaps Porzingis fouling out, dropping 16 points and eight assists and even hitting a few tough jump shots. He may not see 23 minutes again, but the possibility certainly exists, and it won’t cost much to find out.
Klay Thompson – I mentioned that Green’s injury benefits Thompson as well, and the Splash Bros. should have a top-notch night in the backcourt against Denver. Thompson has slowed a bit over his past two games, but that’s also no coincidence with Curry looking 100 percent from his shin problems. With Green out, it should be the Curry and Thompson show for Golden State on Wednesday.
Wesley Matthews – Cheap guards are not in abundance Wednesday, putting Wesley Matthews in play against a Thunder defense that is struggling against opposing shooting guards lately. Matthews has scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games and hit value in four his last five, making him a safe low-priced option, albeit one with rather limited upside.
Injury play: Tyreke Evans – Anthony Davis is once again questionable, leaving Evans as a tempting daily option against the Kings if Davis sits. Like Tuesday night, I’m not totally off Evans if Davis plays, but there are others I’d prefer in that scenario. Rajon Rondo has a tendency to get beat by elite point guards, but I wouldn’t quite put Evans in that stratosphere yet, or ever.
Cheap risk option: He’s been unbelievably inconsistent this year, but Ben McLemore has seen at least 25 minutes in two straight and even had a 16-point night against the Lakers. The Pelicans just lost to the Lakers themselves, so they aren’t exactly good, and the bottom of the SG position is trash Wednesday. McLemore could be a viable punt if you’re desperate.
Otto Porter – Porter has been consistent since returning from injury, outside of one dud against the Heat. The Bucks don’t play defense like the Heat, and in fact they play terrible defense on small forwards despite having Giannis Antetokounmpo. Porter has been a lock for 30 points lately, but should find his way into the mid-30s on Wednesday.
Rudy Gay – Gay has gotten back on track with Omri Casspi out of the lineup, and while Casspi is probable to return Wednesday, Gay has a good chance to maintain his current form against the Pelicans. He’s scored at least 23 points in two of his past three games, and the other was an 18-point, six-assist performance.
Injury play: Derrick Williams – I’m nearly convinced Carmelo Anthony will sit Wednesday, which would make Derrick Williams easily the top play of the night at SF, assuming he draws the start. He’s been playing over Lance Thomas lately as Derek Fisher shortens his rotation and uses Thomas more at PF, and Williams has two games in his last four with at least 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench. That’s a good baseline for what he can do in a start against the lowly Nets.
Cheap risk option: Another bench scorer rolling of late is Shabazz Muhammad in Minnesota. He’s scored at least 20 points in three of his last five games, and at least 16 in four of those. Muhammad is finally seeing consistent run off the bench, and Sam Mitchell is unlikely to flip the script while he’s playing like this.
DeMarcus Cousins – Cousins has scored 29 points or more in five straight games, all but one of which was a double-double. That alone nearly pays off his price tag, and that’s before you consider the trickle of assists, steals, blocks and three-pointers he’s bound to pitch in against a Pelicans team that could be without Anthony Davis. Even if Davis plays, it won’t matter much, and Cousins is the top star of the night.
Paul Millsap – Millsap is always an underappreciated real-life player, but fantasy owners sure understand his value. A matchup with Marvin Williams and the Hornets projects as an easy one for Millsap, who should put up another well-rounded stat line in this one.
Injury play: Ryan Anderson – Another night, another Ryan Anderson plug as an injury play. Although he’s been slightly disappointing, Anderson still carries massive upside if he can get his shot straight, as he’s connected on less than 40 percent from the field in consecutive starts. If Anthony Davis sits, there’s no reason Anderson can’t come through against a Kings defense that’s giving up by far the most fantasy points per game to power forwards over the past three weeks.
Cheap risk option: After scoring in double figures in consecutive games and posting solid fantasy lines, Mike Scott deserves your DFS attention. Atlanta faces Charlotte, who struggles to defend big men, and Scott has seen about 20 minutes off the bench in the past two games. Sure, one of those games was against the 76ers and the other was a blowout of the Bulls, but players who build momentum have a tendency to keep it even when circumstances change. And anyway, this is why we call it a “risk option,” right?
Dwight Howard – Make sure Howard is playing after logging heavy minutes Tuesday night, but if he does, he’s been an animal with six straight double-doubles and no less than 16 points in any of those games. Like Cousins, those numbers alone nearly hit value, and he’s averaging over a block and a steal per game during that stretch. If you can fit him, Cousins and Curry in a lineup, which is possible with all the cheap plays available, it could pay off big.
Marreese Speights – Speaking of cheap plays, Marreese Speights is likely to start in the almost-certain event Draymond Green sits. Speights averages over a fantasy point per minute and, while his sky-high usage rate off the bench is due to drop playing with the starters, Speights should still do work on the glass and get his share of opportunities to reach double-digits in scoring. As with Curry and Thompson, the matchup with the Nuggets helps his case, too.
Injury play: Omer Asik – Asik has been there to grab all the rebounds without Anthony Davis, as Ryan Anderson tends to stay on the perimeter and leave Asik as the only guy in the paint. He’s turned in back-to-back double-digit rebounding games, and another should be in store at near-minimum price if Davis stays sidelined.
Cheap risk option: The trickle-down from Davis’ injury continues, and as Tuesday proved, both Asik and Alexis Ajinca can be productive in the same game. The Kings aren’t any less giving to big men than the Lakers, and Cousins’ at-times-apathetic defense combined with his tendency to drift to the perimeter this season provides both a good matchup and less risk of foul trouble for the pair. Ajinca’s per-minute numbers are great, and he’s likely to see at least 20 of them.
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) Stephen Curry
2) Jrue Holiday (if Anthony Davis sits)
3) Chris Paul
4) Deron Williams
5) Damian Lillard
6) John Wall
7) Jose Calderon
8) Isaiah Thomas
9) Rajon Rondo
10) Michael Carter-Williams
11) Russell Westbrook
1) Derrick Williams (if Anthony sits)
2) Otto Porter
3) Rudy Gay
4) Danilo Gallinari
5) Giannis Antetokounmpo
6) Omri Casspi
7) Jared Dudley
8) Trevor Ariza
9) Kent Bazemore
10) Nicolas Batum
11) Kevin Durant
1) DeMarcus Cousins
2) Paul Millsap
3) Ryan Anderson (if Davis sits)
4) Kristaps Porzingis (if Anthony sits)
5) Drew Gooden (if Marcin Gortat sits)
6) Dirk Nowitzki
7) Kenneth Faried
8) Cody Zeller
As always, I’ll do my best to update this article as news breaks throughout the day if at possible, but I will be at Barclays Center tonight and unable to update game-time locks, so keep an eye on Rotoworld and other news sources for late injury news based on what we have here.