Following a big slate on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we have a small four game slate tonight. Even though there are only four games, we have several elite players to choose from. Let’s jump right into it and go over some of tonight’s targets.
Ricky Rubio ($6,900) – If you want to pay up for Westbrook tonight, I don’t blame you and to be honest I’ll have some shares. However, I also like Rubio’s spot tonight in a great matchup. The Pelicans surrender 50.2 fantasy points per game to point guards and give up the fourth most points per game to opposing teams. They have allowed +1.3 points above expectation to opposing point guards, per Fantasy Labs. Rubio is a very volatile play, which is why I’d recommend him only in tournaments. However, he does offer plenty of upside and is always a threat to post a triple-double. In this matchup, Rubio should be able to post a solid stat line and pay off his salary.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook $10,700, Brandon Knight ($7,200)
Jrue Holiday ($6,000) – Opposite of Ricky Rubio is Jrue Holiday who also has a favorable matchup. The Timberwolves surrender the fifth most fantasy points per game (52.3) and have allowed +1.4 points above expectation to opposing point guards, per Fantasy Labs. This should be a paced up game as both teams play somewhat fast. The Pelicans have the third highest implied point total at 104 points. The only concern is if Tyreke Evans returns, which could cut back on Holiday’s usage and also the fact they are on the second game of a back-to-back which could limit his minutes a bit. That being said, Holiday is averaging 35 fantasy points in just 29.9 minutes per game in his last eight games. On such a short slate, the risk is worth the reward.
Other Options – Emmanuel Mudiay $5,400, George Hill $5,300 (if he plays)
Dwyane Wade ($6,700) – The shooting guard position isn’t that appealing tonight, but if I’m paying up for anyone it would be Wade. He’s been dealing with shoulder pain, but has played through it and is listed as probable for tonight’s game. Barring any setbacks, I expect him to be on the court. This is Miami’s first home game since January 8th and Wade plays better in American Airlines Arena. He averages 33.6 fantasy points per game at home compared to 30.4 on the road. He’s been handling the ball more recently since Goran Dragic is out, which creates more assists and scoring opportunities. Wade offers one of the highest ceilings of all shooting guards this evening and faces off against the Bucks who have surrendered the fourth most fantasy points per game to shooting guards in their last 10 games (46.5).
Other Options – Tyreke Evans $7,800 (if he plays), Andrew Wiggins $6,900
Tyler Johnson ($5,100) – Johnson’s price has gone up significantly, but it’s still reasonable enough to where he can pay it off. In the last four games, Johnson is averaging 31.75 minutes, 25.8 fantasy points, 13 points, 4.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game. He’s received more playing time due injuries in the Heat backcourt and is making good use of it. Tonight the Heat will be without Beno Udrih (neck) and Goran Dragic (knee), so I’m fully expecting another night with heavy minutes for Johnson. He should have no problem paying off his salary in this contest.
Other Options – Monta Ellis $6,500, Will Barton $6,100, Devin Booker $4,800
Kevin Durant ($9,900) – Durant has topped 40 fantasy points in nine of his last 10 games, including three 50+ fantasy point games. He faces the Nuggets who allow the eighth most points per game to teams and struggle defensively. He is averaging 43.8 fantasy points per game in two games against Denver this season. The Thunder has the highest implied point total of the slate and this game has the highest over/under of the night at 213 points. I’ve said it before and I say it again, any time I can roster Durant under $10,000 I more than likely will, especially in this spot. The only concern to have is a potential blowout. However, Durant should still do enough damage in the time he’s on the court.
Other Options – Paul George $9,200, Danilo Gallinari $7,100, Giannis Antetokounmpo $7,000
Shabazz Muhammad ($4,400) – Am I excited about this play? Not at all, but the cheap options at small forward this evening are limited. Which leaves him as one of the more appealing value plays at this position. Muhammad is averaging 26.3 minutes and 20.28 fantasy points per game in his last 10 games. He has topped 19 fantasy points in all but two games during that span and has scored as high as 28.75 fantasy points in a single game. The only two games he scored fewer than 19 points, he played 16 minutes in each of those games. As long as he receives his 20+ minutes, he should have no trouble paying off his salary. I’d be more inclined in paying for any of the four small forwards listed above, but if you’re trying to save some money at this position, Muhammad might be your best bet.
Other Options – Luol Deng $4,500
Chris Bosh ($7,600) – Bosh has a great matchup against the Bucks who allow the third most fantasy points per game (50) and have allowed 2.3 points above expectation to opposing power forwards, per Fantasy Labs. Opposing power forwards average 23 points and 10.7 rebounds per game against the Bucks. Another plus is that Bosh is reasonably priced if you consider his recent production. He has topped 37 fantasy points in six of his last nine games, including a 50-plus fantasy point game. In that span, he has three double-doubles. Bosh offers a steady floor and a good amount of upside. He’s in play in all formats tonight.
Other Options – Anthony Davis $10,000
Serge Ibaka ($5,900) – Ibaka has put together three consecutive solid performances from a fantasy stand point. In his last three games, he is averaging 34.4 fantasy points per game. He’s been more active on the offensive side of the ball as he has attempted 13 or more shots in each of those games. He’s also made 14 three pointers in January after only making 20 through December. Tonight he faces a Nuggets team that surrenders the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards. In two games this season, Ibaka is averaging 36.5 fantasy points per game against the Nuggets. Based on his recent performances and his history against the Nuggets this season, he should be able to pay off his salary and some tonight.
Other Options – Kenneth Faried $5,800 (GPP only), Markieff Morris $4,800
Hassan Whiteside ($7,500) – Whiteside has posted four consecutive double-doubles and even has a triple-double mixed in there. In his last four games, he is averaging 43.6 fantasy points, 13.25 points, 12.5 rebounds, one steal, and 5.5 blocks per game. Tonight he faces a Bucks team that has surrendered the fourth most fantasy points per game to centers in the last 10 games (57.7). Centers are averaging 19.1 points, 14.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game against the Bucks. Milwaukee likes to drive the ball often which should create plenty of block opportunities for Whiteside. He offers plenty of upside and is all but guaranteed a double-double.
Other Options – Karl-Anthony Towns $6,800
Nikola Jokic ($4,800) – Jokic could draw another start tonight if Jusuf Nurkic sits this game out with a knee and ankle injury. Jokic got the start on Sunday against the Pacers and scored 33 fantasy points in 24 minutes. In his last 10 games, he is averaging 1.12 fantasy points per minute and has exceeded value 60 percent of the time by an average of 2.04 points. The Thunders have allowed 1.5 points above expectation to opposing centers, per Fantasy Labs. Jokic should play 20-plus minutes tonight in a paced up high scoring game, so there should be no reason why he doesn’t pay off his salary.
Other Options – Gorgui Dieng $4,100