Isaiah Thomas ($7800) – The Celtics backcourt is getting a little crowded with the return of Marcus Smart, but this spot is too good to ignore for IT2. The Bulls have struggled all year at stopping point guards, and IT2 has one of the best matchups on the day. He has seen his minutes dip a little bit, but he has still managed to put up 40 or more fantasy points in 6 of his last 9. Thomas has back-to-back games of 20 points, 4 rebounds, and at least 7 assists. The total is 207 and the spread is only 2 points. In a spot this good, we can definitely look in his direction again today.
Kemba Walker ($8100) – IT2 is a solid cash game play that probably lacks upside with all the other guard options on his team healthy. The guy who could put up a monster score today is Kemba Walker. Nic Batum and Cody Zeller have already been ruled out. There is a good chance Jeremy Lamb misses this one too. That leaves a lot of shots and usage open for someone to soak up. Kemba is the one guy on that Charlotte team capable of picking up the slack here. He have already seen him go nuts for some huge games this season, including an 80 fantasy point effort two games back. There is no telling how the Hornets will do with so many injury questions, but if the game does stay close, Kemba is likely to be the reason for it.
Elfrid Payton ($6200) – Payton is very feast or famine, but the signs are all pointing in his direction here. Provided Victor Oladipo misses this game, Payton should be able to put up some really nice numbers. He played over 40 minutes last game with no Dipo and his minutes have risen every game since he returned from injury a week ago. He should see 35-40 minutes again here if Dipo is out and his skill set will have no trouble paying off the salary if that is the case. Payton racks up assists and grabs a lot of rebounds for a point guard. He is not a great scorer, but he can get you 10-15 points and some steals to go along with the other stats. Charlotte is not an easy matchup for a PG, but the discounted price and the huge minutes should be enough to overcome the tough matchup here.
Ty Lawson ($4200) – If you need to save some money, Ty Lawson looks like a really solid way to do that here. Patrick Beverley is likely out and so is Jason Terry. That will help solidify the minutes for Lawson if they do not play. We saw Lawson get a start last game and return 27 fantasy points in over 30 minutes of action. He had 22 fantasy points in 30 minutes two games ago against the Lakers too. With the increased court time, he will get enough done to return solid value for you at only $4200. I would not expect a 40 point explosion, but he can definitely do enough to pay off the price tag.
James Harden ($10000) – It is never a bad idea to take Harden when you can afford him. He is easily the best shooting guard option on any slate he plays. He is fresh off a monster triple double on his way to an 80 point output. He faces a fast paced Milwaukee team that should be in his favor. This should be a high scoring game as well, which benefits a volume shot taker and high usage guy like Harden. Throw in the fact we will likely not see Dwight Howard in this one, and you can see why Harden is in a great spot to go big and put up a monster score.
Khris Middleton ($7000) – As good as Harden is offensively, he is that bad or worse on defense. Middleton is still too cheap for his current role. He is averaging 35-40 minutes a game and has put up just shy of 40 points over his last 12 contests. He has bumped his scoring up to nearly 20 a game and has been adding around 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game to those point totals. This game should feature a huge total and the rim protection for the Rockets is much weaker with Howard likely sidelined. Middleton has been consistently putting up 35-40 fantasy points per game for almost three weeks now, so the price, production, and matchup are all favorable for that to continue.
Joseph Young ($3500) – If you need a value play to make something fit, I think Joseph Young deserves a long look. The Former Oregon Duck is instant offense for this Pacers team off the bench. Young has back-to-back games of 25+ fantasy points, which is a nice return for his $3500 price tag. With Stuckey and starter George Hill hurt, Monta Ellis has slid over to play some point guard. That has opened up minutes and shots for Young who is making the best of his opportunity. He is still only playing about 20 minutes and is not a lock for 25+ fantasy points, but he will be low owned and does have the ability to continue to put up 6X or better and allow you to spend elsewhere in tournaments.
Carmelo Anthony ($8300) – I’m not sure Melo has a ton of upside at this price, but I really like the safety he can provide for a cash game. In his last seven games, he has only been under 40 fantasy points one time. He has 3 games of 50+ during that stretch which is a return of 6X or better on his salary. He faces a Clippers team that has struggle to guard wing players for years. The total is high for a Knicks game at 203 and the close spread likely means full run for both team’s starters today. Melo can score and has been rebounding and sharing the ball lately. A motivated team player Melo can really rack up fantasy points. He is still the #1 scoring option on the team, but with the other things he know does, the price is too cheap.
Giannis Antetkounmpo ($7200) – The Alphabet has alternated some great games with some sub par efforts, which makes him more of a tournament play for me. He is in a great spot to be a huge upside tournament play here today though. The Rockets play a fast pace, which is the kind of game Giannis thrives in. He is coming off a sub par game in a blowout win over a slow paced Miami team, but he did have four straight games with double doubles where he averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, and added a few assists and defensive stats to his line. He averaged nearly 45 fantasy points over those last four as well, so at his current price of only $7K, you can see why his potential upside in this high paced matchup is exciting to fantasy owners.
Tobias Harris ($6300) – Harris has been another guy who benefits greatly from Oladipo being out. His returns have been more erratic though, so that screams tournament only for me. Harris has put up a few games of 36+ fantasy points in his recent starts. He has also alternated them with some dudes. Nic Batum is out here so are two or three other key pieces for the Hornets. They may be forced to go undersized or match Harris up with like a PJ Hairston due to their injury situation. It seems he should have a soft matchup and increased playing time as long as Dipo is out. All those factors point to another upside ceiling game for him here and the price is friendly enough to roll him out there.
Aaron Gordon ($4400) – Keeping with the same theme here for the Magic, we also have Gordon to consider. The second year man has been starting over Channing Frye the last few games and has looked solid. His minutes have increased to the 35-30 range now and his production has come up. He has gone over 5X value in 7 of his last 10, so he is a consistent option for cash game play. He has also flashed upside for his meager price, which makes him a guy to look at in tournaments. With Dipo out, Elf plays the PG spot, Fournier and Harris are solidified in the SG and SF roles and Gordon benefits the most by slipping into the PF spot. Dipo takes some minutes away from all these guys as they rotate that core in and out of most games when he is healthy. These guys are short handed and play a Charlotte team that is even more short handed, so we should see some outperformances from a lot of cheap options in this game.
Clint Capela ($5600) – The high end of the list is not too enticing today, but the injury news has made it easy to pinpoint a few guys here. One at the top of the list is Clint Capela of the Rockets. With Motiejunas out and Howard sitting, Capela should not only start, but see huge minutes at the center spot. He is no longer dirt cheap, but he have already seen him put up 30-40 fantasy points on multiple occasions this year with or without Howard. Milwaukee plays a fast tempo lately and the big men are not known as lock down defenders. Capela should have a real good chance for a double double here in what may be an absolutely break neck speed game with a ton of scoring. He should see 30 minutes of court time or more in this one and that should translate into 30-35 fantasy points for around a 6X return.
Terrence Jones ($4700) – With Howard out and Capela sliding over to center, Jones should see a ton of court time at the PF spot without sharing minutes with Capela. He is $1000 cheaper, so he may even be the better upside play and the safer option for cash. He has been playing 20-25 minutes lately and putting up 25 fantasy points. Earlier in the season he was seeing closer to 30 minutes and still produced about a point per minute then. He should be in the 30 minute range again here in what is expected to be a paced up game. Throw in the solid defensive matchup against a weak defender in Jabari Parker who is really more of a small forward and things look good for Terrence Jones to produce today. @9 fantasy points would be a 6X return for him, and his numbers look very likely to be in that range here with the added playing time and hot pace expected.
Brandon Bass ($4100) – Larry Nance Jr. is likely still out here. Julius Randle is still not seeing 30+ minutes a game despite that injury as he and Bass basically split floor time. Randle is a solid option at $5K, which makes Bass a great option at under $4K and seeing the same number of minutes. The matchup is not ideal against the Spurs, but anyone seeing huge minutes at a paltry price is worth considering. The Spurs D scares me off of him in cash, but he is one of the better cheap options to use for tournaments if you need to save money to spend up on some studs elsewhere.
Pau Gasol ($8400) – Pau draws a very favorable matchup in a high total game against a weak Celtics frontcourt that has struggled to guard centers. With Joakim Noah out, Pau has seen more minutes in recent starts and has been asked to do more. His rebounding numbers are way up and his scoring is elevated as well. $8400 is not cheap, but Pau has flashed 6X or better in half of his recent starts. He already has games of 46 and 47 this year against the Celtics and those numbers could climb here with the extra minutes he is playing.
Nikola Vucevic ($7500) – The Magic big man has averaged 39 fantasy points over his last 5 games. He has picked up his production across the board and is seeing more minutes as well. He gets a great matchup here against Spencer Hawes who is filling in for the injured Cody Zeller after Zeller was injured while filling in for Big Al Jefferson. Vucevic has been just under 20 points and pulling down just under 10 boards per game recently. This should remain a close game throughout, which will not only give him extra minutes, but sets him up for extra scoring and rebounding work too.
Spencer Hawes ($3100) – I am not really sure what to expect from Hawes in terms of production, but I am willing to roll him out today. Zeller was hurt and is now out for this game, which means we will see a ton of Hawes and Kaminsky as the two healthy bigs left. Hawes has the ability to step outside and hit shots while also racking up some rebounds. I think he will see more court time than Kaminsky and for a cheaper price tag too. At $3100, we do not need a ton of production from him. With the minutes profile guaranteed to go up, he makes for an excellent salary saver on the day.
Boban Marjanovich ($3200) – Boban is very large man if you do not know who he is. He has also been an elite per minute producer when on the floor. The only real issue is the amount of floor time he does see. Boban has been earning more minutes with his recent play. In only 21 minutes of action, he put up 35 fantasy points last night with 17 points and 13 boards. There is a good chance this game against the Lakers turns ugly for the Spurs, which would mean we see Boban get more time and steal some center minutes from a resting Duncan in this rotation. At his cheap price, he went for 11X value yesterday. He may not do that again here, but 6-7X is not hard for him to get if he plays near 20 minutes at the level of production we have seen from him in recent opportunities.