We have a really tricky nine game slate this evening with a ton of injury concerns for some of the league’s biggest stars. Lebron is likely out, Wade is definitely out, Demarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis are both more likely to sit then play, Guys like Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Nic Batum, Dwight Howard, JJ Reddick, and Mo Williams are all aalso uncertain. Every one of these options opens up a few different option plays and upgrades that you need to consider. At the end of the article today we decided to add a new section with some thoughts on who you can pivot to if certain guys wind up out. As we see everyday with DFS NBA, the late breaking news can really help your teams. When Lebron news broke and you were able to swerve to Kyrie you had a big advantage over those who set and forget. If you gave everyone perfect knowledge and information two or three hours before line ups lock then Kyrie would have been 40-60% owned like he may be tonight. Due to the late breaking situation and people not wanting to blow up rosters they had, he went off at 20% in some spots when he was clearly a money play. In fact I wish I would have changed him on to more teams. I had him on 3 of my 10 in the Slam Dunk on DK. He was 22% owned so I was on him more than the field, but still less then I would have been if I could have figured out who to switch out and move around for him to fit. Keep that in mind when a great play pops up late. Very few have the time, knowledge, and patience to make those switches. Sometimes you get a really optimal play at a much lower ownership then he should be. Even if you got burned switching to Westbrook a few days sooner on late Durant being out announcements. That night it did not work, but the concept is the same. It was the right play to make and making it will prove to be the right move over the long haul if it backfires every now and again.
Wednesday was not a great evening, but it was not horrible either. We had some large GPP fields and every once in awhile I will say screw Bankroll Management and take my shots. With the Jan Jams on Wednesday it was one of those nights. I threw a few entries together for the $100 tourney and then entered them in the $2 tourney as well. Manged to break even on the $2 entries and lose some money on the $100 ones. It’s no surprise the lower level was a softer spot and a few more entries cashed and cashed higher, which is something seen often. I had two Slam Dunk entries that bubbled thanks in large part to DJ Augustin and a few others that were in the top 30-40% with Harden weighing them down. This was my best finish in the Slam Dunk, and these others were the ones that just missed but cashed in the mini Here, Here, and Here. We had a few others that stunk so we won’t bother going into them. (Thanks for nothing Wilson Chandler quarters 2-4). We hit on FD in our 50/50s and snuck into the money on GPPs with this one. And on Aces we just did not have enough to get where we ultimately wanted to be. the saltellites. The Augustin/Chandler double was too much to make up for even with a huge Kyrie game. It’s back to the cash grind and some smaller GPP action today. Time to rebuild the bankroll hit from missing on some of those Slam Dunk rosters. I Still advocate playing 8-10 of your bankroll tops nightly with 80-90% of that in cash games (50/50s mostly if you are a newer player), but sometimes you need to throw a few extra bucks in and take your shots at that big score too, just don’t do it all the time or it becomes gambling, not Grinding.
Let’s take a look at what the sheets are spitting out tonight:
Right off the bat if you are playing cash games today the first name you should be clicking is Kyrie Irving. It’s not points chasing and it’s not the time to be cute and defiant here. There’s no Lebron James again tonight most likely and therefore he’s a must start. His Usage rate with no Lebron is bonkers and he takes as many shots as he wants. He is showing up as the best value across the board at PG and when that happens you just go with it.
Now on two point guard sites and places where you want to go another route for a GPP, there’s a few other interesting options. I really like Jarrett Jack and what he has done lately for the price. That game has some blow out risk, but Jack gets minutes no matter what right now with no Deron Williams. When building rosters I like for guys who can get me 5X value on FD, 6X on DK, and 7X on Fantasy Aces to pay themselves off. Jack has exceeded those values on all three sites over the course of the last week. As far as upside and floors go he has been the most consistent outperformer at the position over that time span. I also think he flies under the radar because of the total and spread on that game and the tougher match up. He is an excellent play tonight and I will definitely have some exposure.
The third guy is another one I love especially on DK and that is Mario Chalmers. His price on FD is a little high and on Aces it’s about just right, but on DK he is cheap. With Wade already ruled out he is in line for a nice game and with him disappointing last time that happened I think some people will steer clear with a bad taste in their mouths. That would be a big mistake. He played 40 and 34 minutes in the last two and put up over 30 DK points in each. That would be over 6X value today and make him a GPP wining type of play. I think he is cash game safe as well, because he will see the minutes, get a bump in usage, a bump in pace, and a bump in shots. All those things give me confidence in him reaching value. You can pair him with Kyrie for the cost savings and still fill out a very good roster knowing you probably get value plus a little extra from the PG spot tonight.
SG is very well priced today across the board. There’s a bunch of higher end options I will be using and they all depend on the site. I play across three sites most nights, so if I want exposure to a guy who is better priced somewhere that is where I will use him. Tonight at SG feels like one of those nights.
On Aces, I really like Klay Thompson. His price has not caught up to his recent performance yet. He is showing as head and shoulders the best 2 guard option tonight off his projections. He also has the highest number on FD and I would look to squeeze him in there too. He is not a bad play on DK either, but there’s other cheaper options who I like on an Average point per $ scale a bit more and I am already paying up for Kyrie. You can make a Klay and Kyrie roster if you want but you wind up punting here and there if you are ok with that. For a GPP I like it, but not both of them for cash.
Another high end option in play across all three sites is Tyreke Evans. With no Brow expected tonight, it should be a heavy dose of Tyreke. He disappointed in a plum spot when everyone was on him with no Brow last week, but I think tonight is a whole different story and he has been a stud since that mishap. He should see high usage in a high paced game with him as the leading man. I also like his running mate Eric Gordon in this spot as well. Both make for good plays on FD and DK, although I would not use Gordon on Aces.
Site dependant I really like Jamal Crawford if JJ Reddick is out on FD and DK. I also think Avery Bradley is in play on DK, and Evan Turner is not horribly priced on FD. All of them are cost saving options at the moment for me.
I rarely do this, but I think it’s criminal how underpriced this guy is, so for me tonight the man I will have on a ton of rosters in Joe Ingles. Minutes do not always equal money, but they do if the guy hustles his ass off like Ingles does. He is not a stat sheet stuffer, but he can fill it up pretty nicely. He’s playing 30+ minutes a game and getting ⅘ rebounds, ⅚ assists and a few steals to go along with an increased number of shots and points lately.He is very safe for cash and has GPP upside if for no other reason then his insanely low price still. He is bare min on Aces, $4100 on DK, and only 43 on FD.If he goes 4 boards, 1 steal, 5 assists, and 8 points he makes value for you all over. You basically need .66 FP per minute of floor time from him and he’s been getting closer to .9 over the last few games. Multiple that by a conservative 30 minutes and he gets you 27 points and that’s 6X times value on FD, 6.5X on DK, and 8X on Aces. Remember those are his averages over the last three games. He can underperform that and still reach his value threshold tonight. He has enough safety to use in cash and enough upside wth a price that low to be a GPP play.. I like my GPP punts to be able to get me 30 fantasy points. If they can do that they will match more expensive options and allow me to squeeze in a second stud or two or three nice mid to upper tier options while still keeping within striking distance of winning a big tourney. Ingles fits the mold tonight and will be a lynch pin in many of my rosters.
The other SFs to me all have warts. I will lean to Tyreke Evans on Aces since he is a Forward there. I will be looking at Gordon Hayward on FD and DK since he is showing with nice projections against a team who struggles against wing players lately. Andrew Wiggins seems a bit too pricey for me with Martin back. Trevor Ariza is a decent option on FD and Matt Barnes has some merit on DK. Other then that I would be hoping some late news makes a nice value play or two pop up, since I am kind of in no man’s land here today.
Now this is where I will be differing from many others tonight. I hate the top two priced guys here. Pau Gasol would be an excellent play any other time he was not playing the tail end of a back to back after traveling in the wee hours of the morning after playing 43 minutes in a double OT game the night before. There’s no Butler today either so his usage even goes up. I know Thibs plays his guys big minutes, but that would just be cruel to see it today. I expect a little more Mirotic and Taj tonight, and less performance from a tired Pau. LaMarcus Aldridge is another guy fresh off a few HUGE games. I like the Hawks on defense and just think he is to priced up. If you had to choose who to pay for today do you take him or Kyrie? It’s tough to squeeze two of the priced up studs, so I would shy away from him today. Both of those guys are going to see a high ownership, so if you can find another way here you will have a large lead on a big portion of the field.
To me that other way is going to be Paul Millsap. This is the kind of game he usually steps up. I’m expecting it to be close and hard fought and he tends to rise to the challenge against some of the games best. His projections are nice, his price is a discount off of LMA and Pau and he will be very under owned as he always is.
I know I have been riding both of these guys hard lately, but Jared Sullinger and Thad Young are both in play. Both are solid contributors in rebound category and both are now a bigger part of their team’s offense. Neither price has moved up much, if at all so both remain good value options in the mid tier.
With no Howard tonight and against a Celtics front line that gives up huge fantasy games to bigs I think you can look at Donatas Motiejunas. He has been playing well lately and with the probable uptick in rebounds and put back points expected he should be in line for a good day. His upside is limited but I think he is a safe cash game play for those who need the savings. At worst he is not going to kill you in a 50/50 if you have solid value throughout your roster and needed to come down to make it fit.
The elite value here is showing up as the man I choose last time in Gorgui Dieng. He stays low owned cause people see Pekovic and Young are there, but He plays a little four with Pek and Young at the three sometimes. Pek is also playing less than 2 quarters at C, so he see’s the bulk of the rest of that time at the 5 spot as well. He has massive upside with his Blocks, Steals, and Rebounds and the Sixers are dreadful against bigs. Every big is playing well against them and I think it’s Gorgui’s turn tonight. I don’t think that game is high scoring, but his fantasy points are not directly ties to his real life points. He can and should be a nice option at low ownership for a solid game today.
Another big I really like is Al Horford. His price is a little high in spots, but when he plays in a close game like tonight should be he gets extra minutes. His per minute production is elite so extra minutes for him really does equal money for those who roster him. Chris Kaman defense is not going to scare me away, so he should be in line for a nice night too.
The cheap option today is Timofey Mozgov. With no Lebron everyone has to do a little more. With Love questionable too, Tristan would slot in at the four and both of them would see added minutes. Mozgov has put up some nice games recently and his price is still low all over. He is not a plug and play, but I am not mad if he is the guy I need to make something fit.
Things to Watch
1- Lebron out. If so then Kyrie is an auto play. JR, Mozgov both get a slight bump as well, especially if Love is out too.
2- Anthony Davis out. If brow is out then Gordon and Tyreke get bumps and Anjica may be interesting punt. I will not be rolling Ryan anderson like many others as I think Blake Griffin is more than capable enough to guard him on the perimeter. Also hurts Blake’s dwindling rebounds as he is being pulled away from the basket.
3- Cousins out. If he does not play it is simple. Gay and Collison get ticks up and Jason Thompson deserves a second look.
4- Wade out. Chalmers is a direct beneficiary, but I guess Bosh should see an uptick in usage as well. Low total and high Bosh price still scare me though.
5- Howard out. Beard is probably the second best guy to pay up for as his usage and path to the basket are easy to see in that case. Against a weak Celtics interior that gives up a ton of boards you have to look at Motiejunas and Josh Smith as well.
Those are a few of the major ones to keep an eye on. Reddick ticks up Crawford, Mo Williams would help Lavine, and I’m not sure who Jimmy Butler really helps except for the usage rates of the other guys. All of these things are worth monitoring and thinking about a last minute switch plan if news comes down late.