The options might be limited with only two NBA games on the slate tonight, but there is still plenty of daily fantasy action for you to get your fill – so here’s one opinion on how to maximize your fantasy output given so few choices on the board.
POINT GUARD TARGETS
- Damion Lillard vs. DAL ($8,000) – Lillard had been dealing with a minor abdomen strain, but looked like everything was back in working order Tuesday night, when he went for 27/7/6 with a block and a steal, and five made three-pointers. Dallas has struggled defending quick guards so far this season, and perhaps more importantly, is pretty good defending big men. And that could mean Lillard is relied upon to have one of his higher-scoring games, rather than working more as a distributor. Count yourself lucky an option this good is even on the board with only two games going on.
- Tony Parker @ HOU ($7,000) – With the next option on the board costing you only $5,200, Parker is the closest thing to a stud available after Lillard. But, he is going up against Houston, with their dominant rim-defenders and one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the NBA in Patrick Beverley (who returned to action Tuesday after dealing with a hamstring issue). If you’re going to spend on PG tonight, you might as well cough up that extra $1,000 for Lillard.
- Patrick Beverley vs. SA ($4,700) – The upside is limited with so many other great options on this team, but he has been consistently seeing 30 minutes/night out there, even in his first action back on Tuesday, and you can be comfortable expecting something in the vicinity of 20 fantasy points from him, at a significant savings compared to the top two options.
- Steve Blake vs. DAL ($3,000) – He’s not the starter, but he is consistently getting 20+ minutes a night, which is more than you can say for most minimum-salary options. He is a threat from long-range, and has been averaging almost five dimes a night, so a simply 8-12 point game would mean 20+ fantasy points for you, great for someone this cheap.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
- James Harden vs. SA ($11,200) – In Beverley’s first game back on Tuesday, Harden still had ten assists. This is another way of saying that he has the ball in his hands ALL THE TIME. He is going to make a run at fantasy MVP this year, contending with the likes of LeBron and Anthony Davis for your salary dollars – almost a no-brainer on a night like this one.
- Wesley Matthews vs. DAL ($6,300) – Matthews has been getting up almost 15 shots per game and much like I said in my analysis of Lillard above, this could be a matchup where Portland relies on their two guards to get them the offense they need, as Dallas is one of the few teams out there with the length to really disrupt the production of their big men.
- Manu Ginobli @ HOU ($4,700) – The upside is there, but the consistency is not. He’s banged up, he’s not featured in their offense from night-to-night because Pop never knows how many minutes he’ll be able to handle, and who knows – tonight could be a night he can only handle 20 or so. You can get that for less.
- Danny Green @ HOU ($4,000) – $700 less, to be exact. Green has been getting more minutes than Ginobli already, and with Marco Belinelli suffering a groin strain last night, it’s easy to imagine Green getting 30+ minutes in this one. And with his size for this spot, he’s able to grab more boards than you’d expect, and you know he is always a threat from downtown. No doubt he’s a solid value play for tonight’s action.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
- Trevor Ariza vs. SA ($7,500) – Actually the most expensive SF on the board tonight, Ariza might be a reason you decide to spend up on other positions. He’s a good value some nights, but there is a reason the Spurs are a bad matchup for bigger swing players, and you can read a little more about him in a minute.
- Chandler Parsons @ POR ($6,900) – I see the logic. Don’t spend up on the most expensive guy in a bad matchup, and grab the second most expensive instead. He’s coming off a big night, for sure, but the Celtics rolled out a lineup that featured Rondo, Bradley and Marcus Smart all on the court together for big chunks of the second half, which lends itself well towards a bigger swing like Parsons being able to get his.
- Kawhi Leonard @ HOU ($5,000) – In case you were wondering, he is the reason San Antonio is a bad matchup for other SFs. And he’s back. And Tuesday, he got up to speed with 30 minutes out on the court, up from 24 in his first game back in action. The Spurs are always hard to predict – which guy is going to go off in which game? It’s hard to know. But as far as $5,000 buys go in this kind of game, the sky is the limit for how much Leonard could help you if everything breaks right.
- Kostas Papanikolaou vs. SA ($4,300) – Terrence Jones will be out again tonight, and while that doesn’t elevate Papanikolaou to the starting lineup, it did mean 37 minutes for him on Tuesday night. Even with the extra minutes, he’s not a scorer, but he could rack up enough rebounds and assists to be useful at this price.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
- LaMarcus Aldridge vs. DAL ($8,800) – Look, Aldridge is awesome. But I can’t really push Lillard on you because Dallas has the length to disrupt bigs, and then also tell you Aldridge is the play to make. He probably won’t hurt you, but maybe tonight just isn’t the night to spend on bigs.
- Tim Duncan @ HOU ($7,700) & Dirk Nowitski @ POR ($7,500) – See above.
- Boris Diaw @ HOU ($4,700) – Tiago Splitter is likely going to sit tonight after being removed from the last game the Spurs played with a sore calf. Splitter doesn’t play a lot, but you know Pop doesn’t like piling the minute on his vets, so any extra minutes to go around could fall to players like Kawhi, and like Diaw. Don’t expect a ton of points, but the value could still be there compared to the other options at this price level with only two games going on, especially if he racks up another 35 minutes or so.
- Brandan Wright @ POR ($4,200) – He’s just hardly ever out there. You’re going to see his score sitting idly there, not budging, for long stretches of time, and it’s going to drive you crazy. But at the end of the day, he’ll probably get you 15 points. Whether or not you’re happy with that will make your decision for you.
- Dwight Howard vs. SA ($8,700) – He costs $3,000 more than the next option, and it’s for a good reason – he’s really, really good. And he looks it, unlike large stretches of the past few seasons. He’s a rebounding and blocks monster – he WILL get those for you – with the potential to also drop 30. He’s consistently good and occasionally great. Don’t let the experts talking about your roto league fool you – we don’t care about FT% here.
- Tyson Chandler @ POR ($5,700) – He’s a different sort of stud than Howard – the scoring potential just isn’t there. But he’s got a decent matchup – at least not one that’s too far to the negative side – and he’s scored between 24 and 32 points in every game he’s played in so far. That’s the good kind of consistent.
- Chris Kaman vs. DAL ($3,300) -For when you just cannot fit anyone else into your lineup. The potential is there for 20+ minutes, and 20+ fantasy points, but not much more on either count. But the minutes are there, which you can’t say about anyone any lower than him on the list. Good luck.