We have a huge 11 game slate for Friday night and a lot of ways to go. We have some big totals, some big spreads and a lot of quality options to consider. Here are some that stand out at each position.
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Russell Westbrook ($12300) – When Kevin Durant is out, I play Russ Westbrook. It’s just my preference. Now I now there are other ways to build lineups without him and $12300 is expensive, but let’s look at it with an eye towards value. He is averaging 62 fantasy points in his last six games. He has gone for at least 67 in 3 of the last 4. He is a walking triple double threat every night and he even had a slow start last time out on his way to a rebound and two assists shy of a triple double. You can make teams without him, but a solid 60 point game is the norm for Russ, not the exception and reaching 72 for 6 times value is not that hard for him to do.
Isaiah Thomas ($7300) – IT2 gets no respect, but he should with his 40+ fantasy point per game average over his last 4. Boston is one of the highest paced teams in the league and the ball is always in IT2′s hands. This guy can put up fantasy points in bunches quickly and for some reason always seems overlooked. I agree that $7300 is getting a tad pricey, but 6 times value is about 43 points and he is averaging right around there. Brooklyn does not have a great defense, so there is little doubt IT2 should have another quality start coming in this one.
Patty Mills ($3500) – Mills went straight Ham against Denver the other night for 30 fantasy points. While that’s not a ridiculous number, it is when you consider his cost. He gets an even better matchup here against the Pelicans who stink at stopping guards this year, so he could be another guy in for a large upside game against them. He still doesn’t play a huge number of minutes, but he scores when he is in the game. This one should feature a hot pace and be a Spurs victory. If they get a big lead, that is actually when Mills sees more floor time and would have an easier chance to pay off his price tag.
Jeremy Lin ($4100) – Jeremy Lin has always been a better fantasy player than a real life basketball player. While I am not a fan of his game, I am a fan of his fantasy production. Lin need about 24 points to make value and lately has been seeing closer to 30 minutes than the 20 he was playing earlier in the year. If that holds up, he makes for a great cheap option against a Philly team that has been letting everyone go off against them. He also may see more minutes if the Hornets get up early, so he also has that going for him.
James Harden ($10400) – Is HArden back now? Are we done with this silly Khloe Kardashian ruined him talk? Harden is still one of the most explosive scorers we have in the league. I like the fact that the Rockets are putting the ball in his hands more often and letting him do what he does. Ty Lawson is a great player, but he is not a great fit with Houston. When Harden is the trigger man in that offense, good things happen. He goes to the hole, he gets fouled, he sets up teammates, and that leads to Rockets wins. He had 80 in the last game, so you really have to consider him in play on any and every slate with that kind of a ceiling.
Jimmy Butler ($7900) – This is not the ideal matchup for Butler against the Warriors, but he is still a tad too cheap. Derek rose is out and when we saw that last season, Butler was a legit MVP candidate early in the season. He picks up the usage, shots, and assists as well as a few extra minutes when Rose is down. He is an across the board contributor and has thrown up over 40 fantasy points in two of his last three. He is starting to assert himself on the offensive end and will need to do that here to keep the Bulls within striking distance of the defending champs.
Jamal Crawford ($5000) – Crawford is still too cheap for his role with JJ Reddick out. Crawford is a scorer who gets to run the second unit and also play some with the starters. His scoring is his meal ticket, but he gets a few other stats to go along with it. He was a great play when he was under $5K, but I still like him here even though he has seen a little bit of a price rise. He makes for a solid salary saver at SG and has 50 point upside as we saw last game.
Rodney Hood ($4900) – Rodney Hood always goes underowned. He is under $5K and puts up 25-30 fantasy points when he sees over 30 minutes. Lately he has become a bigger part of the rotation and lately he has seen over 35 minutes. Hence lately he has put up 25-30 fantasy points. It’s not a hard game here guys. Look for the value, fit in the studs with upside, collect your money and repeat. Hood is one of the guys who has allowed you to do that lately and until the price rises, I will look to keep rolling him out there.
Nicolas Batum ($7000)- Batum had one bad game after the Paris attacks (He is French). Not saying that was the excuse, but it may have been on his mind. The three games besides that in his last 4, he has gone for 40+ in each of them. He has started to score more again, which has been the way his fantasy lines have risen. Batum is putting up over 20 and chipping in the other stats he is known for chipping in regularly. If he continues to score, he will not remain in that $7K range for long. He is also playing north of 35 minutes, so it’
s no stretch to think he can keep the production up if the minutes stay up there.
Danilo Gallinari and Al-Farouq Aminu ($6300/$6200) – I put these two guys in here together, because I could not decide between them. Both guys are playing well and putting up 30+ fantasy points regularly. Both see a lot of minutes and play on somewhat bad teams with fast paces. Both guys are solid cash game plays and can be used in tournaments. As you can see there is little to differentiate them. If I had to choose one over the other, I would probably go Gallo just based on his opponents pace, but even Aminu has a high paced game with the Clipper’s so as you can see the factors are all so close. Both guys are a tad underpriced for me and I can not argue with anyway who rolls one or both of them today.
Jeff Green ($3900) – Green is under $4K. Green is now starting and seeing 30+ minutes. Green is putting up 30+ points in those starts. Based on simple math, a guy who is under $4K need 24 points to keep you on pace for a 300 score. A guy at $4K who is averaging 30 points since his promotion can get you on pace for over 300. Over 300 puts you in a great spot to have a huge GPP cash. If you are going to go cheap at SF today, there is no reason to look past Jeff Green. He has been erratic in his career, but Memphis needs scoring and Green is a scorer. I will be rolling him out with confidence in a lot of lineups tonight.
Thaddeus Young ($6400) – I do not like the options at the top of the price scale at PF today, ut the middle range has a lot of good options. Thad Young may be the best one we have seen lately. He is playing about 34 minutes with over 20 real life points and just shy of 10 rebounds per game in his last three. He has really picked up his play of late and is still a little too cheap. He has 130+ fantasy points in those three games, which equates to an average of about 43 per. At around $6K, that is 7 times value on the day. Not too often can you get that from a guy over $4K, so Thad is definitely in play today and one of the better options in a paced up game.
Kenneth Faried ($6000) – Faried had a few back issues that have bothered him, but he seems to be good to go here. His price has dropped, but the Nuggets still need him to play a lot of minutes. They have a front court with lots of injuries and the Matchup here for him makes a lot of sense. The total on this game is huge and the pace implies it will go up and down. Faried excels in the open floor, so this is the type of game where he could end up with 20 points and 10 boards at a square price. The injury issue is my only concern. If he plays big minutes, he will easily put up big numbers.
Ryan Anderson ($6300) – This hinges on Anthony Davis still being out. As of now, that is a strong likelihood. Anderson is a solid rebounder and an excellent scorer when given minutes. He can shoot, go to the whole and even create for teammates while doing it. He is a legit double double threat and gets you some 3 point bonuses as well. $6300 for a guy who sees huge minutes with no Davis is a steal. If Davis is in though, take Ryan Anderson off your lists.
Andre Drummond ($9900) – Drummond has made it up to elite level territory and some are balking at the price tag, but let me make the case for you here. Drummond is basically a lock for a double double. He has had one in every game. The thing is, it’s not just a regular double double, it’s a guy getting about 20 points and 15 rebounds a game. He has gone 20/20 three times already this year and has been a few points or rebounds short of it on five other occasions. Minnesota plays at a hot pace too, so this could easily be one of the higher scoring games with him playing closer to his ceiling numbers. He will likely be low owned as people will flock to guys like Harden for a few hundred more, but Drummond is every bit the fantasy superstar at this point. While he may have a lower ceiling, he also has a safer floor as we saw Harden go for low twenties on a few nights already. A guy with 25/20 upside who is averaging about 20/15 deserves to be priced like a superstar, whether people see him that way or not.
Al Jefferson ($6000) – Some may see this as a bold call, but is it really? Big Al is $6K. So he needs about 35 points to make value. Philly is horrendous on defense and Okafor is a liability as others have pointed out already. Big Al has seen his minutes and his touches go up recently. He was a high usage rate guy last year and he finally looks healthy and ready to get back to that level of production. His last three games have been the second, third, and fifth most shot attempts he has taken all season. They are getting him the ball more and he has rewarded the team with some of his best numbers to date. In a soft matchup, at a low price, with increased opportunity I have a hard time staying away from him today. When you look at the numbers, it’s not really such a bold call after all.
Clint Capela ($4700) – Capela has a floor of 20ish and a ceiling in the low 30s when Dwight Howard is out. This is the back end of a back-to-back and Dwight Howard is likely going to sit. Capela is not a huge upside guy that can go for 40-45 points, but if you need to save at center, he can get you 25-30 which is great value for his price tag.