These fantasy basketball picks will help dominate Friday’s HUGE slate of NBA games!
Thursday was yet another small slate of game that were easy to avoid. Looking back on Wednesday, I noticed a few things. Kevin Durant (36.75) is really struggling from the field, and is just 11/36 in his last 2 games. Kemba Walker (40.50) is singlehandedly willing the Hornets to wins each night. He is a near must-play right now, averaging over 30 points and 5 rebounds per game during a 4-game winning streak. Mo Williams (50) is thriving in the starting role for Minnesota, with 40/18/7 in his last two games, although his opportunity will likely be short lived with Ricky Rubio‘s return on the horizon. The Jusuf Nurkic (21.50) train that I was on all week took a massive detour after Timofey Mozgov was shipped to Cleveland for a pair of 1st round picks. He still makes for a solid play, but won’t be under the radar like he was when I wrote him up on Monday. It looks like JJ Hickson may be a huge benefactor as well. Jared Sullinger (14) fell off the wagon Wednesday, as he took just 7 shots and scored 2 points. Patrick Beverley (16.25) threw up a dud against an old Knicks frontcourt, and Arron Afflalo (25.75) was solid against his former team.
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
Jeff Teague ($15,950) at Detroit – Teague has emerged as the most consistent option in the Hawks offense, which would have seemed far-fetched earlier this season. He has 44 or more FP in 5 of his last 6 games, and now draws a matchup with Brandon Jennings, who we all know is one of the worst 1-on-1 defenders in the league at the PG position. This game has a 203 point total, and his usage rate has been given a small bump (25.4 for the season to 26.2) during his impressive stretch. Teague should be among the top scorers at PG tonight, and he comes in at a significant discount.
Elfrid Payton ($10,100) at Los Angeles Lakers – I keep looking at the Lakers’ numbers vs PG and wondering how they possibly maintain their 30th ranking day after day. The answer is simple: They don’t have a single PG who is even a decent defender. Until something changes, I’m going to continue to attack their biggest weakness, and tonight Payton gets the nod. He is beginning to blossom as an NBA PG, averaging 8.3 points, 7.6 assists, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 steals over his last 3 games. He isn’t much of a scorer, but his peripheral stats are incredibly solid since Victor Oladipo has returned to his natural SG position. I expect him to have a nice game tonight in a game with a 201.5 point total.
Jarrett Jack ($11,700) vs Philadelphia – The Deron Williams situation has found some clarity for once, as he will be sidelined indefinitely with a fractured rib. Jack sat out practice last night for “rest”, and Lionel Hollins said he would like to keep his minutes down near the low 30’s. In a matchup with the 76ers, 30 minutes off of a day of rest should be more than enough for Jack to reach value. Michael Carter-Williams is an average defender at best, and I like Jack to continue his solid play.
Andrew Wiggins ($12,350) at Milwaukee - Wiggins is easily the frontrunner for ROY, and for good reason. He has scored at least 20 real points in 7 of his last 8 games, and has become the focal point of the Timberwolves offense. A matchup with Milwaukee inspires even more confidence in Wiggins, as I anticipate he will have a solid game against anyone Jason Kidd throws at him. He has a usage rate of 24.4% and has played at least 37 minutes in 7 of 8 games. He is the ultimate cash game play right now, and has some significant upside for GPPs.
Draymond Green ($15,800) vs Cleveland - Draymond has emerged as the ideal cash game play at SF this season, averaging 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. He has 60 FP upside, and has reached that number twice already this season. His price is beginning to creep up, but tonight he will be matched up with a Cavs defense that ranks 18th against PF. I don’t believe I’m being too forward by saying that Kevin Love is an awful defender, and while Timofey Mozgov is an upgrade for the Cavs, he still isn’t a great rim protector. I’m utilizing Green in all formats tonight.
Nikola Mirotic ($7,450) at Washington - Mirotic is coming off of an awful performance against the Jazz, scoring just 4.25 FP in 22 minutes of court time. For this reason, I believe many DFSers will shy away. Mike Dunleavy has been ruled OUT for tonight’s contest once again, and I would anticipate that Mirotic will see big minutes even if he doesn’t draw the start. Washington ranks in the top 10 against each position except SF (25th), and I like Mirotic to stretch the floor and have a nice bounce-back game at a cheap price.
Greg Monroe ($13,600) vs Atlanta – While I’m not completely sold on his role in the offense, it is hard to ignore what Monroe has been doing since the departure of Josh Smith. He has 4 straight double-doubles, capped off by a 27/18/6 performance against the Mavericks last time out. The Hawks rank 8th against PF this season, but I’m not completely buying the numbers. Monroe is a great GPP option tonight.
Lavoy Allen ($6,550) vs Boston - This play is completely contingent on the status of Roy Hibbert, who is currently listed as “Questionable” for tonight’s clash with the Celtics. Allen posted a 12/9/3 line against Golden State with Hibbert sitting out the second half, and draws a great matchup tonight if Hibbert can’t go. The Celtics rank 22nd against opposing C and 30th against PF. Let me reiterate again, don’t play Allen if Hibbert goes. He makes for a GPP-only play in that case.
JJ Hickson ($8,100) at Sacramento - While everyone is chomping at the bit for Jusuf Nurkic tonight, I’ll be swerving onto Hickson. He has back-to-back double-doubles and should see some time against the Kings second unit tonight while Nurkic has the tall task of dealing with DeMarcus Cousins all night. He has played 62 minutes in the last 2 games compared to 44 for Nurkic. Take advantage of the masses flocking to Nurkic.
Some other plays that I think have a great opportunity to return value for you this evening are: Nikola Vucevic ($14,550) at Los Angeles Lakers, Rudy Gobert ($9,950) at Oklahoma City, Joe Ingles ($5,800) at Oklahoma City, and Kevin Durant ($18,650) vs Utah.
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!