These fantasy basketball picks bring the perfect combination of value and upside for your lineups tonight!
Kemba Walker took his time getting it going, but ended up crushing his salary last night against the Bucks. Jimmy Butler continued to put up monster numbers at a middling price tag, while James Harden continued his MVP pace. Jarrett Jack came back down to Earth a little bit, and Kris Humphries was non-existent in a foul-plagued effort. DeMarcus Cousins played angry en route to yet another 50 burger, and Ray McCallum’s garbage time points evaporated into thin air.
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 last night), and the intent is to maximize the number of roster spots where you have potential to hit 3X salary. While McCallum fell well short last 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. Let’s kick things off for today’s HUGE 10-game slate.
Any player not listed in “Studs” or “Duds” recap was an average play that came near paying off their salary.
Studs: DeMarcus Cousins (50.25), Kemba Walker (42.25), Jimmy Butler (47.50), James Harden (47.50)
Duds: Jarrett Jack (22.50), Ray McCallum (3.75), Kris Humphries (2.25)
Today’s Top Plays
Mike Conley ($13,350) vs San Antonio– Conley is a player who flies under the radar often, and tonight will likely be another one of those days. He has posted exactly 42 FP in both meetings with the Spurs this season, and his usage rate of 25.5% makes him a very viable option at PG tonight. This game only has a 194 point total, but Conley is a huge part of this Memphis offense. He makes for a great value play with upside.
Bradley Beal ($11,750) at Dallas– Beal has reverted to his 2014 playoff form in recent games, and is coming off of a huge performance against Houston last night where he posted 47.25 FP. Tonight he draws a matchup with offensive-minded Monta Ellis and the Mavericks. I anticipate the Mavericks will key on slowing down John Wall, which will open up opportunities for Beal to get going. On a site with 3-point bonuses, Beal is a tremendous value tonight in a game that Vegas has pegged as a close game with a high total (-4.5, 208.5).
Cory Joseph ($8,900) at Memphis – Memphis actually ranks at the top of the heap against opposing PG, but Joseph makes this list on value alone. He is seeing extended minutes with Tony Parker on the shelf, and with the return of Patty Mills, he should be well rested for stretches in this one. He isn’t going to post a 40 FP line, but he does have at least 25 FP in 5 of his last 6 contests. He is the best option if you’re looking to save money at PG tonight.
Danny Green ($11,850) vs Memphis - The Grizzles have one weakness on defense, and it is at the SG position, where they rank 26th in the NBA in FP allowed. Green has been very successful against Courtney Lee and company this season, averaging just over 1 FP/minute in two meetings. His price is higher than I would like, but there are limited options at the SG position, and Green’s usage rate of 19% is actually higher than Joseph’s (17.7) with Tony Parker sidelined. Green is a key part of the Spurs offense and will be utilized heavily tonight.
Kenneth Faried ($13,200) vs Los Angeles Lakers - The “Manimal” is in the midst of a torrid stretch where he has averaged 19/21, and tonight he draws a weak Lakers frontcourt that ranks in the bottom 5 in the NBA vs PF. It seems like Faried and Brian Shaw have hashed out their differences and he has earned every second of playing time. He is a monster on the glass when he gets going, and neither Ed Davis or Carlos Boozer can slow him down. He will be the most popular play today, and for good reason. Take advantage of this price tag while you can.
Draymond Green ($13,150) vs Philadelphia - Many DFSers will be avoiding the Warriors due to the enormous spread (17.5), but I believe Green is still a great value at this price. He contributes in every category, and is remarkably consistent outside of 1 dud game vs the Lakers. He doesn’t need to score to pay off his salary, and with the lack of depth in the Warriors frontcourt, he is all but locked in to big minutes. The 76ers are near the bottom of the league in defense, and Green has the skills to dominate in more ways than one.
Jonas Jerebko ($6,550) at Orlando– Jerebko has thrived in his new role since the departure of Josh Smith, and once again comes in as one of my favorite value plays on the night. He has 50.50 FP in 55 minutes of playing time over the past two games, and now draws a matchup against a soft Orlando frontcourt. He isn’t going to throw up 40 FP, but he is the best bet at any position to hit 3X salary in a great matchup vs Kyle O’Quinn and company.
Rodney Hood ($5,000) vs Minnesota - This play is 100% contingent on the status of Alec Burks, who is questionable for tonight’s game. If Burks plays, get Hood out of your lineups. However, if he sits again, Hood makes for the best minimum salary play at any position. He is still somewhat risky and inconsistent, but he only needs 15 FP to pay off salary, and he managed 29.50 last night against the Clippers. Minnesota is a mess on defense, and Hood is more than capable of an 8/6 line which would easily pay off this tag.
Andre Drummond ($15,750) at Orlando- This was an easy decision for me. The Magic are dead last in the NBA against opposing C, and Drummond has proven time and time again that he can be dominant down low. He is averaging 12.7/12.5, and is a near mortal lock for the double-double bonus tonight. If I’m paying up for a center tonight, it will be Drummond 100% of the time.
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!