These fantasy basketball picks will help you navigate an ugly slate of games!
Pau Gasol (62.50) took advantage of Jimmy Butler’s absence to post a monster line and anchor many lineups around the industry. Rudy Gobert (42.50) was the popular choice down low, and he did not disappoint, as he crushed his salary. Jeff Teague (36.25) had yet another solid game against Portland, and Mike Conley (17.75) struggled along with the rest of the Grizzlies. Wesley Matthews (28.50) turned it on late, and Tayshaun Prince (3.25) finally played like an old man once again. Tonight’s slate is an ugly one, but I’m going to help you find some values. Don’t forget that lineups lock at 6 P.M. Eastern tonight!!
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
Brandon Knight ($13,550) at New York – Knight has quietly been having a great season, averaging 18.1/14.4/5.1 which is good for 32.7 FP per game in 32.3 minutes. He has 50 FP upside, and should find himself in a great spot to reach 3X salary tonight against a Knicks team that has been destroyed by PG at times this season. This game only has a 191.5 point total, so I don’t want too much exposure, but Knight fits as the perfect blend of salary cap savings and upside.
Donald Sloan ($8,900) at Los Angeles Lakers – George Hill has already been ruled out for this one, and C.J. Watson’s status is uncertain at this point. If both sit out, Sloan is a must-play at this price tag against the 30th ranked defense in the NBA against PG. Sloan got the start against Milwaukee last time out, posting a 10/8/6 line that was good for 31.25 FP. He isn’t a tremendous talent, but on a short slate, he is the obvious value play.
C.J. Miles ($9,700) at Los Angeles Lakers – Another Pacer in a great matchup is Miles. Wesley Johnson is actually an above average defender, but there are very limited options at SG tonight, and you can utilize Miles at the 2 due to DraftDay’s multi-position eligibility. He has 45.25 and 36.25 FP in his last two games, and although he is dependent on scoring to pay off salary, he has taken 30 shots in his last two games. The opportunities will be there for Miles to have a nice night.
J.R. Smith ($11,050) vs Milwaukee - Another benefactor of opportunity is Smith. Carmelo Anthony has been struggling with injury, and the list just grows from there for the Knicks. There are limited options in this terrible offense right now, and Smith posted 39.50 FP in his expanded role against Detroit. Look for him to take close to 20 shots once again tonight.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,600) at New York - Call me crazy, but I think “The Alphabet” has a huge game against the Knicks tonight. He is long, clogs up passing lanes, blocks shots in the lane, and is a nightmare matchup for any defender. The Knicks don’t possess a defender who is capable of stopping him from attacking tonight. This price tag is a steal for a player that I anticipate will easily reach 30 FP tonight. His production has been inconsistent, but he has played at least 30 minutes in 3 straight games. Fire him up at a very thin position tonight.
Andre Drummond ($16,300) vs Sacramento - I’m excited to see Drummond match up with DeMarcus Cousins tonight. While I would prefer to roster DMC, you can have Drummond at a discount of $2,400 with similar upside. Cousins is the best Center in the NBA, and this will be a great measuring stick for Drummond after his solid performances the past few weeks. He has at least 20 rebounds in 4 of his last 7 games. He is a great swerve from DMC tonight, especially in GPPs.
David West ($11,500) at Los Angeles Lakers – West is the ultimate cash game play, especially given the matchup against the Lakers’ 23rd ranked defense vs PF. He rarely has a huge game, but is the model of consistency, scoring at least 25 FP in 11 of his last 12 games. He is a solid defender, and should have plenty of rebound opportunities against a weak Lakers frontcourt. His upside is limited, but he just makes a ton of sense in cash games.
Danny Granger ($7,300) vs Brooklyn - Let me say this first off, I am not a huge fan of Danny Granger’s tonight, but in order to fit the rest of my roster, I’m slotting him in as the best sub-$8,000 play at SF. He should safely see around 25 minutes, and the Heat are coming off of another blowout loss. They are still desperate for offense, and Granger is more than capable of having a 20+ FP night in a matchup against a weak defensive Nets squad.
Mason Plumlee ($10,400) at Miami - Despite the return of Brook Lopez, I’m still looking to Plumlee down low against the Heat, who rank 29th in the NBA against C. Plumlee has been a consistent FP/minute player since his emergence earlier this month, and I like him to continue the trend tonight. Both players look to be in a great spot, and you can easily swap out one for the other with just a $250 difference in salary. Plumlee is likely to see more minutes, but monitor the news throughout the day for any changes.
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!