These fantasy basketball picks will help cure your Monday blues!
Evan Turner (15.75) reverted to his old ways with a complete dud on Saturday night, proving once again that he is a GPP-only play on anything by a small slate. James Harden (44.50) posted a solid 30/5/3 line against the Jazz, and just as I was afraid of, Jarrett Jack (19.25) wore down on his way to a subpar outing. Donatas Motiejunas (34.25) continued his stranglehold on the starting job with a double-double, and “Sweet Lou” Williams (28.50) had another great game off the bench. Tonight’s slate is home to just 4 games, but that shouldn’t hold you back from playing, as there are some players in great spots to succeed. Let’s kick things off starting in the backcourt.
These plays are intended to help you gain a solid return on salary (at least 2.5X, with the ideal level being 3x or higher) with each player you roster. Sometimes I will highlight a minimum salary player, and the intent is to maximize the number of roster spots where you have potential to hit 3X salary. Keep in mind that a minimum-priced player on DraftDay is even more valuable than a minimum-salary player elsewhere, due to the large gap in pricing with a $100,000 cap.
Today’s Top Plays
Jrue Holiday ($14,650) at Boston – Holiday has thrived in his new offensive role, posting 43.25 and 44.25 FP in two games since Tyreke Evans has been moved to the bench. The offense flows much smoother with Holiday and Anthony Davis running the show and Evans running the second unit. His price tag is more than fair given the matchup with a Boston team that is the 10th-worst against PG over the past 3 weeks. Holiday makes sense as the top option when you factor in salary.
Avery Bradley ($8,950) vs New Orleans – Another player who is thriving in a new role is Bradley, who has seen an uptick in minutes and production since Jeff Green has been “removed” from the lineup. Bradley has at least 24.25 FP in each of his last three games, and has played 34+ minutes in each contest. He is PG and SG eligible due to DraftDay’s multi-positional eligibility, and I’ll be slotting him in to every lineup on tonight’s short slate.
Lou Williams ($8,500) vs Detroit– The Toronto/Detroit game has the highest total on the night at 208, and Kyle Lowry is priced out of consideration for me outside of tournaments. Enter “Sweet Lou” once again. He has been remarkably consistent, with at least 24 FP in 5 of his last six games, with the outlier being a tough matchup against Wesley Matthews and the Trailblazers. He makes for a great value play tonight assuming that DeMar DeRozan is still out, but Dwane Casey has indicated that DDR isn’t quite ready for a return.
Marcus Smart ($7,450) vs New Orleans - Going cheap at guard is the way to go for tonight’s small slate. All of the top tier options are at PF and C, and I’m doing whatever I can to roster these players. In order to do that, you have to find value in the backcourt, and Smart has averaged 30 minutes over his past two games. He isn’t incredibly productive, but should approach 3X value tonight against the Pelicans in a fast-paced game.
Jimmy Butler ($15,600) vs Orlando - Early indications are that Derrick Rose will sit out once again, and inserting Butler into your lineups when Rose sits has been a winning proposition for quite some time. He is a minutes monster, averaging 39.8 MPG, and he can do it all, averaging 21/6.3/3.4 this season. If Rose is out, this one is simple. Play Butler and move on.
Donatas Motiejunas ($9,550) at Brooklyn - Motiejunas is my favorite value play at SF/PF tonight. Since taking over the starting job, he has posted 35 and 34.25 FP, and now draws a great matchup against a Nets team that is the 21st against PF over the past 3 weeks. His price is fair, and I expect him to approach 30 FP once again. With Houston on its 4th game in 6 nights, they may take it easy on Dwight Howard again, leaving more offensive load on the shoulders of Motiejunas and company.
Anthony Davis ($19,200) at Boston – The best player on the planet now draws the best matchup on the planet. The Celtics are dead last against PF on the season, and haven’t improved recently, still sitting at 28th against them over the past 3 weeks. Davis is averaging 46.5 FP in just 36 minutes of court time per game. If you can afford him, get him in tonight. If he posts one of his patented 60 FP games tonight (he already has 10 on the season), you’re behind the 8-ball quickly if you don’t have him. He is the top option tonight.
Pau Gasol ($18,050) vs Orlando - Assuming Derrick Rose sits tonight, Gasol makes for an elite option. He has a usage rate of 24.9% with Rose on the bench this season, and is coming off of an other-worldy 46/18 game against the Bucks that was good for 72 FP. While that sort of performance is unlikely to happen again, the Orlando Magic are allowing the most points in the NBA to opposing Centers, are 22nd against PF and Gasol is on fire. Pairing him with “The Brow” will likely be a popular move tonight.
Nikola Vucevic ($15,450) at Chicago - When Tobias Harris sits out, Vucevic becomes a near must-play down low. Harris looks to be on the wrong side of “Questionable” tonight, and “Vucci Mane” has a usage rate of 29.8% with him on the bench. He posted a huge 34/16 against Portland without Tobias, and the Magic will rely on him heavily if Haris sits. The Bulls are surprisingly 29th in the NBA against Centers, and Vuc is more than capable of shouldering the load.
You can find me on Twitter @BigItaly42 and I’d love to help you out with any questions you have about determining salary, finding value, or any lineup construction tips!