Welcome back everybody. After a week of no NBA DFS, we hop right back into it tonight with a three game slate to kick off the second half of the season. This is not the greatest set of games we have here. One has a low total, one has a high spread, and the third is really the only one with a close spread and respectable total as far as targets go. That is the matchup between the Clippers and Spurs which looks like the best spot to target on paper. Let’s take a look at which guys make the most sense for this return to NBA DFS.
Chris Paul ($9000) – John Wall is priced $600 above Paul today and the two are likely to be the top scorers at the position. Paul is in the game with the higher total, so that is another checkmark in his favor. With Blake Griffin out, he has been asked to do more scoring and also setting up his teammates. San Antonio is solid defensively, but PG is one position they do struggle with. Paul had 48 fantasy points against them earlier this year to be a good value pick. I would think something like that is his probable upside today as well. There is some risk using him and Wall today, but if I had to choose between them I would definitely prefer Paul.
Kyrie Irving ($8000) – My favorite play on the day at PG is going to be Kyrie Irving. Irving is coming off of back-to-back 50+ fantasy point games before the break. He also has one of the softer matchups on the day against the Chicago Bulls point guard defense. Cleveland is expected to be the highest scoring team on the day and Kyrie has been a big part of their offensive push. At $8000, the price is too good to ignore on him. He saves you over $1000 off the top two options and may even wind up being the top scoring PG on the day.
Derrick Rose ($7300) – I know $7300 is not really value, but the value is drying up fast. It looks like Trey Burke is back, so him and Neto will probably split time again and neither makes a ton of sense. Tony Parker is cheap at $4800, but he is dealing with an ankle injury and may not see full minutes. If he was to miss the game, Patty Mills would make sense as value, but that is not looking likely. That really only leaves us with Rose who is actually in a pretty good spot. Cleveland has been scoring and giving up a lot of points since Lue took over. Kyrie is a weak defender and Derrick Rose has a huge usage rate when Jimmy Butler is out. $6800 is a fair price for him in this situation, so while he is not cheap, he is the best value option to save a few bucks.
Rodney Hood ($6300) – Hood is probably the best of a weak bunch of shooting guards we have for the Thursday slate. He is in an up tempo game vs. the Washington Wizards. The Wizards have one of the worst wing defenses in the NBA, so Hood should have a good chance to produce a nice stat line. He has been consistently in the 26-32 point range which would be 5-6X value based off his price. I do not expect a huge upside game, but he seems to be the safest bet of the options we do have.
Small Slate Stars
J.J. Redick ($4900) – I do not love the matchup Redick has here against the Spurs, but it’s hard to argue against a guy who has 20+ real life points in 3 of his last 4 and is only $4800. With Blake out, JJ has been asked to do more of the scoring. He plays a ton of minutes and always gets his shots up. He is the cheapest option among a fringe group that includes Jamal Crawford, E’twaun Moore, and JR Smith. With all of them projecting to score about the same, I will be looking to save a few hundred bucks by dropping down to J.J.
LeBron James ($9800) – LeBron had back-to-back games of just shy of 60 fantasy points before the break. He is enjoying the new freedom he has under his new coach. He has averaged 27 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 defensive stats over the last four games which has translated into an average of 53 fantasy points. The Bulls really have no one to even attempt to check LeBron tonight with Jimmy Butler out. He will see some combination of Tony Snell, Dunleavy, and McDermott trying to guard him. He is pricey at almost $10K, but he is also one of my favorite value plays as he should easily get to 50ish fantasy points.
Kawhi Leonard ($7500) – My favorite combination of price and upside today belongs to Kawhi Leonard. After a run of sub par games, he has reeled off about 45 fantasy points in each of the last 3. His matchup today is the closest spread with one of the higher totals, so he is in a great spot to see his full allotment of minutes. The Clippers are horrendous at guarding wing players, and Duncan and Parker are both less than 100% with Ginobili likely out. That means the Spurs will rely on Leonard to provide some scoring punch in a great matchup for him to do so. The Price is also depressed at only $7500, so I think he is a guy that you want to have some exposure to in any format.
Doug McDermott ($3300) – The man affectionately known as McBuckets is finally getting a chance to play. He has seen his minutes rise to 25 in three straight games followed by 31 and 36 in his last two. He is not scorching the nets, but he has averaged about 19 fantasy points over those last five as well. If McDermott is going to continue to see 30-35 minutes as he did in the last two, then a price tag of $3300 makes him an interesting guy for potential upside. We all know he can score from his college days, we have just been waiting for him to have the opportunity to do so.
LaMarcus Aldridge ($6900) – This is a pretty solid price point for Aldridge and that makes him very interesting. He has between 36 and 52 fantasy points in 7 of his last 8 games. At his price today, that is a consistent 5-7.5X return. The game is expected to stay close and the Clippers have no solid PF option to guard him with Blake still on the shelf. Aldridge has really picked up his scoring lately as he is averaging 25 real life points over the last 8 games. I expect him to see close to his ceiling for minutes and that should also give him close to his ceiling for points. If he continues to grab a bunch of boards and add in some other stats, I can easily see him getting 35-45 fantasy points and having a really solid day.
Derrick Favors ($7000) – I actually think Favors is a more consistent option with a safer floor than Aldridge is. While Favors lacks upside, he does tend to put up the same solid score night in and night out. Favors plays a Washington team that should pace up his Utah squad. He has been scoring and rebounding well since his return with only one game under 30 fantasy points in his last 7 and 5X or better in five of those games. Aldridge has more potential for upside, but Favors is a solid option as a second forward with Aldridge for cash game play. We just have not seen the 40-50 point GPP upside I would like before I use him there.
Bobby Portis ($4400) – Portis is up to playing 24 minutes a game on average. With Mirotic hurt, Noah out, and Pau’s name being thrown about in trade talks, we could even see him get more minutes tonight. He’s been throwing up pedestrian numbers of 8 points and 6 rebounds in his last 4, but that is good enough for 22-23 fantasy points and a nice 5X return as a a floor.
DeAndre Jordan ($7600) – DeAndre and Pau Gasol are the two guys at the top. Pau is likely to be the one more people gravitate towards, but I would rather have DeAndre in his matchup. Cleveland has been really tough on centers all year. I know people will argue that no Jimmy Butler means more Pau Gasol and that is a very valid point, but for a savings of $1100, I like DeAndre’s upside more. Tim Duncan will be back, but he has not been playing a full game lately. Maybe Boban sees a few minutes, but Jordan will also get to match up with Aldridge and West for parts of this game. He has averaged 15 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game over his last six. It has been enough for 47 fantasy points per game, which would be a great return for his $7600 price in what is expected to be the best game to target for fantasy.
Tim Duncan ($5000) – At this price, I love Duncan in tournaments today. His minutes may be down, but he is too cheap for a guy who can double double with a few blocks. If he goes 12, 10, and 2 it would put him right around the 30 fantasy point mark. At 30 fantasy points, he would return 6X on his salary and be a great play. The game should stay close and the Spurs may need him to contain DeAndre Jordan. If he sees 25 or more minutes he should continue to score between 25-40 fantasy points. The ceiling of 8X would be very nice if he just repeats those games from a few weeks back.