We have reached the point of the season where guys are sitting out to rest up for the playoffs. If a team is locked into a playoff spot, you need to be mindful of how they will manage resting their stars. There are already rumblings that the Spurs will sit some guys tonight after the beat down the Warriors gave them yesterday. Missing out on a cheap fill-in option that is in line to play 30+ minutes could be the thing that kills your roster tonight. With that said, let’s check out the top options on the slate tonight (but seriously DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE LITTLE GUYS!)
J.J. Barea – Mavericks v. Grizzlies ($6500) – You know that it is a strange day, when the top option is likely JJ Barea, but the case for him is strong. Deron Williams remains out and Barea has averaged over 30 minutes per game over the last 8 without Deron. The Mavericks are still fighting for one of those last two playoff spots in the West, so they need to keep letting starters play big minutes in order to win games. Barea has really stepped up his scoring, which has helped his overall fantasy success. He has 20+ real life points in each of the last four games and has coupled the scoring with just under 10 assists, a few rebounds, 3-pointers, and defensive stats in order to round out his line. The Grizzlies do play a slower style, so the matchup is not ideal from a pace standpoint. However, Barea has averaged over 40+ DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) in his last five contests.
Reggie Jackson – Pistons v. Wizards – ($6100) – The Pistons have been very balanced lately, so no one is really putting up huge numbers. With Jackson’s DK salary dipping, the 30-36 DKFP he has consistently put up over his last 4 is more than enough to return value. The Pistons are still fighting with a group of four other teams all within 2 games of each other for playoff seeding. They want to win, and that should mean a decent number of minutes and a motivated Jackson. If Wall does sit out like many assume he will, that only makes the path to a big score easier for Jackson.
Tim Frazier – Pelicans v. Lakers – ($5000) – Frazier draws one of the top matchups all season against a weak Lakers defense. Frazier is up to playing 30+ minutes a game now, which has lead to DKFP totals of 28, 36, 50, 39, and 38 in his last five games. Sure the price has jumped up to $5K, but that would still be a floor of around a 6X return with 10X upside off his best recent performance. In a matchup this good, I love Frazier as a cheap option for today.
Pablo Prigioni – Clippers v. Jazz ($3000) – No I have not lost my mind if that’s what you were thinking. The Clippers are sitting Chris Paul, JJ Reddick, Blake, and DeAndre today. Austin Rivers is also banged up. If Rivers does not go, we are left with only two guys who can handle the ball- Jamal Crawford and Prigioni. I’m not expecting him to go for 40 DKFP like Crawford and Rivers did the last time the starters all sat, but Prigioni can play 30 minutes and get us 20-25 DKFP for minimum price. However, if Rivers plays, Prigioni is off the board for me, but without Rivers the opportunity alone makes him an intriguing cheap salary saver.
DeMar DeRozan – Raptors v. Pacers – ($7400) – I do not feel like paying up at shooting guard today, but if I do it will be for Demar DeRozan. In three games against Indy this year, he is averaging 40 DKFP. He has also put up 40+ DKFP in 3 of his last 4 games, so he is returning right around 6X value. Toronto is basically locked into the 2 seed right now with no chance of being caught and little chance of catching Cleveland in front of them. Playing time has been in the mid 30s range up until now, so I’m going to be cautiously optimistic that remains the same here.
Jamal Crawford – Clippers v. Jazz – ($4500) – This price is way too cheap for the role we envision him having today. Paul and Reddick are sitting and Jamal Crawford gets to be the main man again. I know he has been taking it easy and playing a few less minutes the last few games, but if Paul, Reddick, and Rivers are out then he becomes a must play. Unless Doc Rivers comes out and says he will see limited minutes, I can not see building teams without using a cheap Crawford tonight.
Evan Fournier – Magic v. Heat – ($4200) – I know the Heat are a solid defensive unit and I know Fournier has seen a few less minutes in the recent games, but he is still playing around 30 minutes, which means the $4200 price tag is very low. Fournier is very scoring dependent, as most shooting guards are. He might add in 2 or 3 assists or rebounds per game, but 75% of his nightly fantasy scores come from actual points scored. That is good for us here as scoring 20 points would basically be enough to reach value if he adds in a few other stats. He has basically done that in three of the last four anyway, so that makes him a solid option for me at a very discounted price.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Bucks v. Celtics – ($9700) – Giannis is one of the few guys I do want to pay up for today. He is rounding back into the guy we were taking over players like Durant and Lebron a month or so ago. He faces a Boston team that shuts down opposing backcourts, so if Middleton and Bayless are going to struggle, Giannis should be the guy doing the damage. He has averaged 57 DKFP over his last 3 games on the back of averages of 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists. He is a legit triple double threat playing in a paced up game with a good matchup. There is enough value to afford the studs you want today, and Giannis is one of those guys for me.
Derrick Williams – Knicks v. 76ers – ($4600) – Williams has slid into the starting small forward role with Carmelo Anthony sliding to the four in the absence of Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks get a great matchup against a putrid 76ers defense here and Williams has safe minutes regardless of the game flow now. He has been between 21-32 DFKP in 5 of his last 6 games. He is averaging right around 25 DFKP in those contests with about 30 minutes of court time. Everyone plays closer to their ceiling against the 76ers. William’s ceiling games are in the high 30s to low 40s range which would be a 7-10X return at his price today.
Justin Anderson – Mavericks v. Grizzlies – ($3600) – I debated Justin vs. Kyle Anderson for the spot here and ultimately I just trust Justin a little bit more. Even with all the Spurs sitting, Kyle should see the same 23-28 minutes that Justin Anderson does. Neither guy has a huge ceiling, so the question really comes down to who is safer. Justin Anderson has consistently put up about 18-28 DKFP in each of the last 7 games. He is seeing a consistent 22-28 minutes of action and that would be a 6Xish return with upside here. I guess Kyle makes some sense in tourney’s with the whole Spurs starting five likely to sit, but we have seen him throw up clunkers more often, so I prefer Justin overall.
Jabari Parker – Bucks v. Celtics – ($5900) – Remember when Kidd had Jabari on a minutes limit earlier in the year? Well that is no longer the case as he has played 39 minutes per game on average over the last six. That includes three straight at 40+ minutes. Anyone this cheap, playing that much deserves a look. He has a good matchup against a soft interior defense of the Celtics. They have allowed big men to have solid games all year. Parker is averaging over 36 DKFP per game in his last five games. With the uptick in pace, his huge minutes, and a soft matchup, I love him for both value and upside today.
Julius Randle – Lakers v. Pelicans – ($6000) – A lot of what we just said about Parker goes for Julius Randle as well with the exception of the minutes. He has a soft matchup in a paced up game against a weak Pelicans interior defense. Randle is one of the few bright spots the Lakers have on this team. Lou Williams is out and Kobe Bryant may sit as well. If so, they will need scoring and Randle has provided it all year when Kobe sits. He has been around 36 or more DKFP in 7 of his last 10 while playing about 30 minutes per game. He had a three game stretch of 41, 46, and 56 DFKP when he was playing over 30 minutes per last week and I am looking for him to repeat that here in a good spot.
Thomas Robinson – Nets v. Hornets – ($5500) – Watching what T-Rob has done over the past week with the playing time he has received makes you wonder why he has not seen more minutes this year. He has averaged 38 DKFP in a tad under 28 minutes in the last five games and has looked great. He has five straight double-doubles and has been on a few winning lineups this past week. His price has jumped up to $5500, but his 38 DKFP average is still about 7X at that price. That is a solid return that can help you in both cash and tournaments.
David West – Spurs v. Nuggets – ($3700) – When the Spurs sit the regular starters, David West tends to see 25-30 minutes and put up around 25-30 DKFP. Well the Spurs are going to sit the regular starters again today, so it’s time to fire up West. He can do a little rebounding, some scoring, and contribute in the assist and defensive categories, especially when he gets court time. This guy is a former all-star and while he can not do this everyday, he can still perform when needed. I like the safety of 25 DKFP for him with the potential for an upside game. That makes him viable in any game type as a top salary saving option on the day.
Nikola Vucevic – Magic v. Heat – ($7100) – I really like Whiteside in this game as well, but can not justify paying almost $9K for him when I can have Vucevic for much cheaper. Vucevic has safer minutes as well, which makes him the play for tournaments and cash games. In four games since returning from injury, he has gone for 35, 37, 48, and 43 DKFP. That is good enough for a 5X-7X return on his price tag. He had seen a few more minutes in the last two games as his court time is creeping up closer to the 30 minute range. I think he can continue to rebound and score for us in this matchup. $7100 is a tad too cheap for his skill set, so it is tough to justify swerving to a more expensive Whiteside.
Cole Aldrich – Clipers v. Jazz ($3500) – I know the matchup is not ideal against the slow paced, defensive minded Jazz team, but the price is right. Aldrich is only $3500 and likely to see a ton of minutes with no DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffen today. He has given us at least 25 DKFP in every game where he played 20+ minutes with only one exception this year. He will probably see at least 25-30 minutes today and his scores when he plays those minutes have ranged from a low of 26 DFFP to a high in the low 40’s. For $3500, I would be fine with that floor and ecstatic with that ceiling. I do not expect a ceiling type game against a tough Jazz defense, but 14 points and 8 rebounds would be more than enough to make me happy.
Boban Marjanovic – Spurs v. Nuggets – ($3000) – I have never been a huge fan of Boban, due to the fact he can not really run up and down the floor, but this guy can rack up points and rebounds in limited minutes. With the whole team sitting out today, he might even see closer to his season high in minutes. Boban played over 20 minutes twice last week for the first time all season. He had 20+ DKFP in each of those games. After sitting the whole game yesterday v. the Warriors, he should be rested and able to give us 20-25 minutes tonight. I would look for 20-25 DKFP out of him and that would be a floor of 6X with upside of 8X+.