The NBA comes out strong with an eight game slate the night after football is officially over for the next seven or eight months, giving you plenty of options to consider for your fantasy lineups. Here are a few, at every position and every price point.
POINT GUARD TARGETS
- Russell Westbrook vs. ORL ($10,100) – Chris Paul is never a bad option either, but Westbrook has a great matchup, and the Thunder have had a couple of tough losses lately. After enduring that, if there’s a problem with Westbrook, it’ll be that he’s trying to do too much.
- Kyrie Irving vs. PHI ($8,700) – You never really know where the bulk scoring is going to come from on this team, which is what creates the uncertainty. But it is also the only reason you can get this kind of upside for less than $10,000. He has the skills to look like the best player on the floor at times, no matter who is on his team.
- Jarrett Jack vs. LAC ($6,700) – On paper, he doesn’t have the best matchup, but the thing is, he’s getting all the minutes, and more opportunities to contribute than you might expect for a veteran player who’s been around as long as Jack. But he is delivering, so there is no reason to expect it to change yet.
- Devin Harris vs. MIN ($3,100) – He’s in for a serious bump in minutes with Rondo out for at least a few games. He probably caps out at not many more than 20 fantasy points, but getting anything at all for $3,100 is a value.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
- Tyreke Evans vs. ATL ($7,900) – Evans could be asked to carry even more of the offensive load than usual if Davis is limited in any way, and he’s already plenty involved, so that could translate to a game where he starts with a solid based with his scoring, and let’s the way he fills in everything else on the stat sheet make him an elite option for the night.
- Monta Ellis @ MIN ($7,500) – Devis Harris might get some run, but Ellis is definitely going to be asked to handle the ball and little more on offense with Rondo out for a few days. He might take a shot or two less, but they will still need to rely on him for scoring, and any decrease would be more than offset by the increase in potential assists.
- Bradley Beal vs. CHA ($5,900) – He’s got plenty of off-days, but he has been playing better ever since returning from his injury, and the uptick culminated in a 26-point outing with five treys last time out. If he is getting that jumper to fall, he could be a deadly option at this price.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo @ TOR ($5,600) – I keep writing about him, and he keeps doing it. His matchup might not look great, but that’s mainly applicable to players who rely on scoring actual points in order to score fantasy points. And that’s not Giannis – 10 points, 10 rebounds, an assist, a steal and three blocks last time out – you can do that, you can do it against anyone.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
- LeBron James vs. PHI ($10,600) – Sure, why not? I mean, worst case, they beat Philly so bad he only gets you 35 or so fantasy points.
- Kevin Durant vs. ORL ($10,000) – Best case, he’s feeling it, it’s a close game, and he wins both his NBA team and your fantasy team a big game. (Feel free to swap the analysis for these top two options – it is the same for both of them).
- Chandler Parsons vs. MIN ($5,600) – Parsons can get his shot against this defense, and the Rondo trickle down effect might come into play here as well, as Ellis is pressed into a distributor role, which could mean more looks for the wingman.
- Khris Middleton @ TOR ($5,300) – He’s been remarkably consistent recently for a player still coming in with a cheap price tag – over 20 fantasy points in nine of ten, with 35+ point upside.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
- Blake Griffin @ BKN ($9,600) – This could be a game where the Clips are able to press the pace the whole way through, which is going to put Blake in positions trying to finish at full speed where the Nets just don’t have the athletes to slow him down.
- Zach Randolph @ PHO – Randolph has been a double-double machine for weeks now, and he can do more of the same against Phoenix’s front court. He’s got 35 rebounds in his last two. Right now, he’s the bad matchup, not the other way around.
- Tristan Thompson vs. PHI ($5,200) – He’s getting minutes even after his return to the bench, and, of course, there is a good chance this game is not close. Garbage time works for Thompson, who proved himself when pressed into service due to injury here and there, so you know the coaching staff will want to get him some time if an easy win provides them the opportunity.
- Nerlens Noel @ CLE ($5,200) – Noel has ten blocks and eight steals in his last three games. For most players, defensive stats are “gravy” but for a guy like Noel it means you can’t judge his matchup the way you do others at his position. He doesn’t need to score to be valuable, and when he does, well, it’s gravy.
- Nikola Vucevic @ OKC ($8,500) – Vucevic is the best player on his team, and they act like it. He creates his own opportunities, and his coaching staff and teammates seem dedicated to creating as many for him as they are capable of as well. Twelve or more rebounds in five of six, and at least 13 shot attempts in each of those as well. The chance is always there for him to lead you to a win.
- Marc Gasol @ PHO ($7,800) – He’s averaging 19-8, and he does other stuff too. It wasn’t long ago he was the best fantasy option in the league named Gasol, so you know the upside is there. And while Phoenix plays good D, they don’t have any single defender you would trust to get a stop once Gasol got the ball in position.
- Brook Lopez vs. LAC ($6,200) – Lopez is the kind of post player who can create problems for the Clippers if Brooklyn can control the pace enough to get him good scoring opportunities on the block. With Lopez’s size and technique, if not raw athleticism like a Jordan, if the Nets can get into their set offense, he can be more effective scoring and on the glass.
- Nikola Pekovic @ DAL ($5,300) – He’s getting 30 minutes a night since getting the nod to start again a few nights back. He’t not a central cog in their offense, but he is out there enough that opportunities are available for him to produce, evidenced by the 14-7 he is averaging over the past couple of weeks, solid value for $5,300.