These fantasy basketball picks help you find values to compliment top plays!
Kevin Durant (50.25) led the way once again, as my Friday lineup returned 289.75 FP, which fell short of cashing in GPPs, but was good enough to win a majority of cash games. John Henson (31.75) had a great night, along with Mason Plumlee (34.75) and Brandon Knight (39.75). The biggest letdown was Giannis Antetuokounmpo (16.75). My lineup had great balance outside of “The Alphabet”, but missing out on huge games from Draymond Green (60.75) and Stephen Curry (63.25) hurt my chances of a big score in a GPP. We have a nice 8-game slate coming up tonight, and I can’t wait to get at it. With the late news regarding Jimmy Butler coming out, you’ll likely need to decide between Wesley Matthews and Manu Ginobili tonight, while paying down at the second spot.
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 (like Ray McCallum), and the intent is to maximize the number of roster spots where you have potential to hit 3X salary. While McCallum fell well short that night, others reached the level of value we are looking to achieve. For instance, Kemba Walker’s price tag of $14,550 last night needed just over 43 FP to hit 3x value. Walker managed 42.75 FP, which was right about what he needed to reach that plateau. He was a better play than James Harden last night, despite the fact that Harden scored more points, because of his higher return on salary. Keep in mind that these plays are based not only on matchup alone, but on salary as well.
Today’s Top Plays
Mike Conley ($14,250) at Denver – Conley is coming off two straight huge performances (50.75, 45.50) and now draws another great matchup against Ty Lawson and the Nuggets. Zach Randolph is “Questionable” once again, and Conley’s upside takes a hit if he goes, but it looks like the Grizzlies are taking it easy with their big man. This game has a 203 point total, and Conley thrives in an uptempo game. An added bonus is that Conley has hit 17 3-pointers in his last 5 games, which opens the door for even more bonuses.
Jeff Teague ($13,750) at Portland – Teague has been a player that gave me chills every time his name was mentioned, but he has been on fire lately with 45.75, 50, and 48.75 FP in his last 3 games. A 202 point total and a matchup against offensive-minded Damian Lillard put Teague squarely onto my radar. His confidence is through the roof, and he is a big reason for the Hawks ascent to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Wesley Matthews ($12,700) vs Atlanta – One of the most underrated scorers in the NBA, Wesley Matthews has been deadly from the arc, and his 101 made 3-pointers leads the NBA and is 8 more than sharpshooter Stephen Curry. His peripheral stats are minimal, but he has at least 32.25 FP in four straight games. A site that offers 3-point bonuses like DraftDay is an ideal place to roster Matthews. Even more good news: The Hawks rank 28th in the NBA against opposing SG.
Manu Ginobili ($11,250) vs Washington - This is another matchup that looks tough on paper, but I like Manu to exploit this one. The Spurs have been decimated with injuries, but Manu has been consistent when the Spurs have needed him. He is fresh off of a 26/7/3 line against the Pelicans, and the Spurs will look to him as the primary ball-handler when he is on the court. He is averaging 25.1 FP in 25.3 minutes per game, and has been efficient when on the court. Look for Manu to approach double-digit assists in tonight’s heavyweight battle.
Danny Granger ($7,350) at Houston - Granger has finally looked like his old self over the past week, averaging 17.6/3.3 in just over 28 minutes of game time. The Heat are desperate for another scoring option, and they will continue to lean on Granger as long as they can. Granger was an All-Star before his career went south due to injuries. I’m hoping that this is a sign of things to come for the young stud. His price is affordable, and he only needs around 22 FP to hit value.
Tayshaun Prince ($5,900) at Denver - I know this one sounds ridiculous, but Prince has filled in admirably with Zach Randolph sidelined. At the ripe old age of 34, Prince has averaged just over 22 FP in each of his last 4 games. His upside is limited, but he is also very near minimum salary.
Kenneth Faried ($13,650) – If you haven’t seen what the “Manimal” has done over the past week or so, you are truly missing out. Aside from a subpar performance against the Lakers where Brian Shaw told the media after the game that Faried had asked to play limited minutes (thanks, Brian), he has been a man among boys down low. He has games of 20/14, 26/25, 17/19, and 18/19. When this kid is locked in, he is a monster on the glass. The Grizzles are a great defensive team….but not against PF. Faried is in play even if Z-Bo suits up. He is more than capable of shattering salary once again.
Pau Gasol ($16,100) vs Boston - I had originally written up Jimmy Butler, but while I was in the process of making my way down the list, he and Mike Dunleavy were both ruled OUT for tonight. Enter Gasol, the player who may be having the best under-the-radar season of any big man. Despite lesser production over the past week or so, Gasol is still averaging 17/11 this season, and the Bulls will rely on him heavily with Butler out tonight. As you know, Boston is a sieve down low, ranked 25th or worse against both PF and C. Gasol could end up being the highest scoring player on the night.
Rudy Gobert ($8,400) at Minnesota - The Utah Jazz will be a mess tonight, with Enes Kanter, Rodney Hood, and Alec Burks all OUT with injuries. Gobert played great when given extended minutes in Derrick Favors’ absence, and will be relied on once again tonight against a Timberwolves team that is in the bottom 10 against PF and C. He will be a popular play tonight, so don’t miss the train in your cash games.
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!