It’s a shorter NBA slate tonight with 5 games. Let’s take a look at who you should be considering for your lineups.
Russell Westbrook ($10400) – Westbrook is the one PG I will be looking to pay up for. On a small slate you really can not hope to win if you miss on a huge performance and Westy is one of the few guys capable of putting up one of those insanely high numbers. Chicago is not a good team when it comes to slowing down the point of attack. Derrick Rose will not be able to guard Westbrook. I wonder if the Bulls will use Jimmy Butler on him and leave Snell to guard Durant. Either way, Westbrook rebounds, pushes the pace, and does a lot of damage in transition. Westbrook is putting up near triple doubles on a nightly basis, so his overall contributions can help him get to value in any match up.
Ricky Rubio ($7300) – There are not a lot of options here and Rubio is one of the better ones towards the top end. I do want to temper expectations though as the first three games he played were against some of the higher paced teams in the league and none are really known for their defense. Still Rubio is a threat for a triple double nearly every night. He also is one of the guys who always ends up towards the top of the steals category every season he is healthy. Between the steals, points, rebounds, and assists he is able to create a nice floor for himself every night. I like his floor more than his ceiling in a slower paced game, so that is where he makes more sense to use.
Jeremy Lin ($4500) – There are not a lot of cheap options that make a ton of sense for upside, but one guy who could make value and be a solid play is Linn. He has seen his minutes dip a tad, but he is still averaging over 22 minutes a game and producing over a fantasy point per minute. He is averaging 23 which is over 5 points per thousand of cost. Dallas backcourt has not been stopping anyone lately either, so Linn should be able to have room to penetrate and make things happen. He need a little over 20 to make a decent play and 21 points has been his low for the season, so the floor is there.
Jimmy Butler ($7700) – Butler is the only shooting guard worth paying up for on this slate. He is averaging just shy of forty points per game and gets a paced up matchup against a team that has struggled guarding the perimeter. The only other high end option on this slate is Dwayne Wade who is dealing with migranes. Wade left the last game early because of them and that has to be a concern unless we hear otherwise. If you choose to pay up at the position, Butler really is the only option.
Dion Waiters ($3300) – Waiters is playing 26 minutes a game in a high paced offense. He is only $3300 and has been reaching good value for his price. Unless you get an injury there is no big tournament upside to using him, but if you want to fit Westbrook in and get more exposure to this game, then a minimum priced Waiters is your path.
Alec Burks ($4600) – Burks played a season high 32 minutes last night and put up almost 30 fantasy points. He is still priced like a bench player, but he is playing starters minutes now with 27-32 a game. Denver is a fast paced team that has a very porous defense. Burks is a good scoring who should be able to take advantage of that and have a good upside game. A guy seeing more minutes, in a paced up game with a bench player’s price makes a lot of sense to include on your rosters.
Kevin Durant ($9200) – If you have the cash to spend after filling in your value plays, Durant is the safest 30+ fantasy points at the position and likely also has the highest ceiling. The drawback is he also has the highest price by a wide margin. While he will likely be the highest scorer at the position, the real question is whether he will be the highest scorer by a wide enough margin to make him a must play and I will take the field in that bet. That’s why he makes sense for cash, but feels more like a fade in tournaments.
Nic Batum ($6800) – Batum is averaging over 30 minutes and 33 fantasy points per game. That is excellent value for a guy who is only $6800. He plays in a paced up game against a bad defensive Dallas team which gives him a big chance for upside. BAtum is scoring more in his new role and is also still adding a lot of rebounds and a few assists to his stat lines. His price is still reasonable and that makes this a great sot to consider rolling him out.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($5600) – The biggest price jump here belongs to Aminu, but it still is not an unreasonable jump based on his recent production. He is playing about 32 minutes per game right now for a team that likes to push the pace and play fast. Aminu has not exploded in any of these early games, but he has averaged just shy of 30 with a range of 24-32 over his first five games. That kind of consistent warranted the price bump, but still makes him a decent option in cash on a short slate if you need to save.
Derrick Favors ($7200) – Favors almost missed the Wednesday game with an illness, but was able to play and put up a nice statline. He should be good to go again here in a much juicier match up against a bad defensive Denver team that plays at a fast pace. In his first three games, Favors had averaged about 31 minutes and scored over 40 fantasy points. Even in the last game when he was under the weather, he still managed 31 points in about 24 minutes of action. As long as favors is feeling well, he should be good to go here at a fair price in a great match up.
Zach Randolph ($6500) – Randolph had a slow start to the season, but this is a perfect situation to use him. He had his best game last time out when Gasol got hurt and the offense ran through him. Since he had been underperforming, his price also dropped again down to a season low of $6500. A guy at a discount who is playing better and seeing more touches with one of the main usage guys likely out is almost an automatic play for me here. Throw in the fact that Portland is bad on defense and plays at a hot pace and you can see why this is such an easy play to make.
Marvin Williams ($5000) – Williams is averaging about 28 fantasy points in 32 minutes of action per game. Both of those numbers were surprisingly high for a guy that was priced in the $4K range. His price jumped up to $5K here and his recent production certainly warrants it. He has scored double digit points in three of his first four and has double digit rebounds in three of his first four too. The match up is solid against Dallas and he still makes sense to roll out in any format at only $5000.
Hassan Whiteside ($7400) – After a bad first start, people were writing him off already. Since that time, Whiteside has played an average of 33 minutes and scored an average of 46 fantasy points. He has a decent match up with another well priced play in Karl Anthony-Towns in a paced up game. Both guys are really in play here at the prices, but I like Whiteside a lot more. Whiteside has been dominating the boards with 29 in his last two games to go along with 6 blocks. Those two stats added to his points make him one of the best Centers to consider on this slate. At $7400, he is not too hard to fit into your roster either.
Mason Plumlee ($4900) – This is going to be one of the best value plays on the night, especially if Myers Leonard is out. Plumlee played 32 minutes with Leonard getting hurt on Wednesday and put up 42 fantasy points. While I would not exactly call for a repeat, I think 25 is a very safe assumed floor if he does see 30+ minutes again as would be expected. For only $4000, he is almost a lock for over 6 points per thousand and could wind up in the 8 or 9 point per range. It’s too hard to pass up the top scoring player on a slate, but it’s equally as tough to cash if you miss the best value guys. Plumlee has a strong cash to be the top one we have on this slate for the price and increased role.