HE’S ON FIRE: KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS
The NBA has a nine-game slate Friday night, more than enough to leave you with some big decisions to make as you put together your fantasy lineups. Here are a few names to consider, at every position and from every price range.
John Wall vs. IND ($10,400) – He is routinely playing almost 40 minutes a night, and is working on a run of three games in his last four with 55 or more fantasy points. Tonight he is facing an Indiana team that lacks the perimeter defenders to keep him from getting to his spots. You might see a bigger assist night than scoring night against this defense, but one way or another, I think the production will be there.
Goran Dragic @ BKN ($7,900) – He has a great matchup against Brooklyn tonight, in that not only do they not really defend, they also play a very up-tempo style. This may force Miami out of their usual grind-it-out routine every now and then and create a bit more volume for all the Heat players than is reflected in their price. A little built-in value never hurts, especially for a player who is almost always at 30+ fantasy points and has actually been at 40+ in three of four. For me, this makes him an option in any format contest, particularly with Dion Waiters slated to miss the game, which should positively impact Dragic’s usage.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,800), Stephen Curry ($9,500)
Darren Collison vs. ATL ($5,400) – With Ty Lawson (leg) listed as questionable with a real chance to miss tonight’s game, Collison should be in line for more minutes and heavier usage while he is out there. Lawson only played 14 minutes on Wednesday and Collison ended up playing 38 and getting up 21 shot attempts while he was out there, his most of the season.
Other Options – Malcolm Brogdon ($5,000), Brandon Jennings ($4,700)
Jimmy Butler @ PHO ($9,000) – His status is not 100% determined yet, and neither is that of Dwyane Wade, but it at least looks possible right now that Butler plays (he’s questionable) and his backcourt mate does not. And even if Wade does play, Butler is an immediate fantasy consideration whenever he is healthy, especially in a plus matchup like this one against the Suns.
Klay Thompson @ MEM ($6,200) – The Warriors are never easy to predict, but Klay Thompson is hot enough right now that he has to be considered an upside play at this price, even if you wouldn’t trust him in a cash lineup. He has 26 or more points in four of the last five, and he’s drilled 21-of-42 threes over that stretch, good for a nice even 50% shooting mark from behind the arc. Even the Warriors want to continue feeding that kind of hot hand.
Other Options – Bradley Beal ($7,400)
Wayne Ellington @ BKN ($4,200) – With Dion Waiters officially ruled out for tonight, Ellington should get the first crack at a big increase in playing time for the Heat, in a nice matchup with Brooklyn. With Waiters out on Wednesday, he ended up recording 17 points and a pair of rebounds in 28 minutes of playing time.
Other Options – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,000)
Kevin Durant @ MEM ($9,400) – Against a Memphis team that does everything in their power to slow the game down, Durant is the most obvious one-on-one matchup who could still shred the Grizzlies’ defense even if they manage to turn it into a slugfest that diminishes everyone’s fantasy upside. The Warriors have lost two straight to this squad so far this year, and should show up firing on all cylinders tonight.
Andrew Wiggins vs. NO ($7,200) – With LaVine out, Wiggins is being asked to do a bit more on offense, good timing for a player who was just beginning to look like he was willing to play with more aggressiveness. He has 27 and 31 points in his last two, going 11-for-12 from the line and averaging 21 shot attempts per night.
Other Options – Kawhi Leonard ($8,200), Paul George ($8,000)
Brandon Ingram @ MIL ($4,400) – After coming off the bench last week against Boston, but logging 33 minutes, he then took over the starting job from Luol Deng and has two games in the starting lineup under his belt. He is averaging 31 minutes a night over these last three, up from his season average of just 27.5, and he has also attempted double-digit shots in all three contests. He has gone 7-for-13 from three point range, providing a spark from the outside that the Lakers can definitely use.
Other Options – Otto Porter ($6,600), P.J. Tucker ($4,400)
DeMarcus Cousins vs. ATL ($10,700) – He missed Wednesday’s win over the Celtics after picking up his 15th and 16th technical fouls of the season, which resulted in an automatic one-game suspension. Prior to Monday, he had been on a tear, going for 64 or more fantasy points in four out of five games. His ability to score almost at will from a half-court set, combined with a double-digit rebounding average, makes him a consideration in any format contest. He even has three games with nine or more assists in just the last couple of weeks, making him and Anthony Davis the two highest upside options of the night.
Carmelo Anthony vs. DEN ($7,700) – Going up against his former team in the Garden, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Carmelo try to exert himself on the offensive end. He can definitely still score, going for 26 and 28 in his last two, despite Kristaps Porzingis ($6,900) being back and looking to be at full speed.
Other Options – Paul Millsap ($7,600)
JaMychal Green vs. GS ($5,100) – I think Green is a great option in tournaments because his floor is typically in the mid-twenties, which won’t necessarily kill you, and he has 40+ fantasy point potential. And that is especially true in a good matchup with the Warriors. Golden State will force the pace and make Memphis pick up their tempo, thereby increasing opportunities for everyone on the Grizzlies. Green can thrive in that type of game flow, finishing out plays outside of the normal set half-court offense. His upside is particularly enticing if Zach Randolph (questionable) is forced to miss another game with his foot injury.
Other Options – Julius Randle ($5,100), T.J. Warren ($4,800)
Anthony Davis @ MIN ($10,100) – He has been under 50 fantasy points twice in his last five games, which is a killer at this price and enough to make you not want to consider him in your cash game lineups. However, his upside is real, and on a night when Harden, Westbrook and a bunch of other top guards are all out of action, you might need to consider him.
Karl-Anthony Towns vs. NO ($10,000) – Center is a position where you really want to spend some of your budget tonight because of the strength of a number of the options here, including the two “other options” below. You could choose to start your teams in a number of ways and still end up relying on your big man for great production. Towns has been over 51 DKFP in seven of his last eight games, and I don’t see the Pelicans slowing him down tonight.
Other Options – Nikola Jokic ($9,200), Hassan Whiteside ($8,500)
Dwight Howard @ SAC ($6,700) – At this point in his career, Howard is a vet who can put up his numbers even if (when) Cousins is going off for the Kings on the other side. He hasn’t been a big scorer this year, but it’s been enough – twice in his last three games, he has a double-double with only 11 points and 13 rebounds. His rebounding has given him a fantastic floor this season, making him a very solid cash game play with some upside (as evidence by his 24-point, 23-rebound effort against Houston last week).
Other Options – Guillermo Hernangomez ($5,200), Greg Monroe ($5,100)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.