These fantasy basketball picks help you find the best plays on New Years Eve!
Last night was an unpredictable mess of land mines in the world of DFS in the NBA. Andre Drummond (55.50), Mike Conley (50.75), and Draymond Green (42.00) took care of their share of the action, while Kenneth Faried (16.25), Rodney Hood (8.25), Bradley Beal (18.75), and Jonas Jerebko (12.75) fell short. My lineup that included all of these players finished with 254.50 FP, which was good for 34/250 in the $3.30 Rose Ruckus. Today’s action is split into one slate that begins at 1 P.M. Eastern that includes all games, then is followed up with a 7 P.M. slate of four games.
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. Let’s kick things off for today’s strange split slate.
Today’s Top Plays
Brandon Knight ($12,950) at Cleveland– Vegas currently has this game pegged as a -4.5 spread in the Cavaliers’ favor with a total of 203.5. These numbers indicate to me that LeBron James may not play once again (he sat out last night), and Milwaukee will keep this one close. Knight sports a 28.7% usage rate with Jabari Parker sidelined, and the offense goes as he goes. He is averaging almost exactly 1 FP/minute (32.2/32.3 per game), and draws a solid matchup tonight against the offensive-minded Kyrie Irving. Knight has 40+ FP upside, and comes in at a tremendous discount.
Cory Joseph ($8,900) vs New Orleans– Joseph continues to be locked in to minutes with Tony Parker sidelined, and he has been more than adequate. He has posted at least 28 FP in four straight games, and draws the Pelicans and Jrue Holiday tonight, who currently rank 21st against opposing PG. Once again, he isn’t going to post gaudy numbers, but he is a starting PG at under 9K. He’s an auto-play at this price tag, and makes for one of the safest plays on the board.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ($8,100) at Los Angeles Clippers – Hardaway has taken on a bigger role in the Knicks offense due to all the key injuries, and tonight should be no exception. The Clippers are the 22nd-ranked team against opposing SG this season, and he provides you with some upside at a discounted rate. Carmelo Anthony is listed as “probable” after sitting out the second half against Portland, and if he doesn’t suit up, Hardaway will get an even bigger bump.
Jared Dudley ($9,100) at Cleveland - Dudley is a SF, but multi-position eligibility allows you to slot him in at SG. He has been a great cheap option, having reached 30+ FP in 4 of his last six games. If LeBron James sits out once again, his matchup with a depleted Cavaliers team that featured the likes of James Jones and Mike Miller last night becomes even more appealing.
Kevin Durant ($17,650) vs Phoenix - Welcome back….again! I feel like I’m in the “Twilight Zone” writing about Durant’s return at a reduced price tag again, but here we are. All Durant did in his last appearance was be the first player in NBA history to score 30 points in less than 20 minutes of play. I don’t need to elaborate on what “The Servant” can do. If he wasn’t healthy, I can’t imagine the Thunder bringing him back. Even if he sees reduced minutes, he could shatter value against the Suns in a fast-paced game. As long as he is playing, the reigning MVP will be on my roster.
Marvin Williams ($8,400) at Houston - With Al Jefferson sidelined for at least 4 weeks, many DFSers are looking toward Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo for value. I’ll stick with the known commodity in Williams. He was an excellent source of value during his time with the Jazz, and he is coming into his own in Charlotte. He posted 36.25 FP in 36 minutes of play against the Bucks, and while I don’t expect a repeat performance, I do expect him to hit the 3X salary plateau against the Rockets tonight.
Tristan Thompson ($8,800) vs Milwaukee– Thompson is a PF, but has been starting at C with Anderson Varejao now out for the season. He is thriving in his new role, with 18/11 and 18/13 lines in his first two starts down low. The Bucks have been abysmal against opposing Centers, ranking 27th in the NBA in FP allowed. Thompson is not only a value play, but has huge potential in this matchup.
Blake Griffin ($17,550) vs New York - Griffin has been nothing short of tremendous this season, averaging 22.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. The Knicks are a mess right now, and the Clippers will likely run them out of the building tonight. The best thing about Griffin is that he isn’t your prototypical big man, and he gets involved in the offense in many ways. Even if this one gets out of hand, you can expect Blake was a big reason why. He could easily challenge DeMarcus Cousins for highest scoring big man on the night, and he comes in at a discount of nearly 3K.
Cole Aldrich ($7,750) at Los Angeles Clippers- Aldrich has come out of nowhere to post back-to-back great performances. He has 30 points and 26 rebounds in just 58 minutes of play during that span, which is good for 80.75 FP. While I don’t expect him to grab 19 rebounds again, I think a double-double is certainly a possibility. He is still priced like a bench player, and should continue to see big minutes with all the injuries in the Knicks frontcourt.
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!