This is a very tricky slate for daily fantasy NBA tonight. We only have one game with a high total over 210. The Warriors are favored by 17 points in that one, so the blowout risk is a major concern. We have a ton of games that fall in the 195-206 range with much closer spreads which look like better games to target for fantasy purposes. Injuries are playing a major role early as some nice value options have popped up at every position. It’s as important to nail the right value guys as it is to have the right studs, so make sure you follow the injury news and try to figure out who has the most upside for your cash and tournament rosters.Here are some guys that stand out today to take a look at:
Kyle Lowry ($7900) – Lowry has his first sub par game of the season last time out against OKC at pretty high ownership. It was the tail end of a back to back and he was coming off a fantasy game where he put up just shy of 60. Lowry is averaging just over 18 points, with about 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and a block per game. That’s how you fill up a stat sheet. Orlando has struggled to guard the PG position so far this year, which makes this a solid spot to look to target Lowry. The total here is over 200 with the Raptors being favored, so it makes a lot of sense to expect a big game from Lowry at a friendly price under $8000.
Isaiah Thomas ($6800) – IT2 had a monster game last time out. He put up over 40 fantasy points for the second time this season. The reason he is such a good start had a lot to do with the increased minutes. Marcus Smart was sidelined with a toe injury, which allowed Thomas to play 35 minutes instead of his usual 28. Thomas had been averaging over 30 fantasy points, so the uptick in minutes allowed him to step up his production. Thomas is instant offense and has the ability to push the pace and get to the rim almost at will. If Smart is out again here, the $6800 price tag is a little low for a guy who has such a high usage rate and sees a ton of court time.
T.J. McConnell ($4000) – The best salary saving option at the position today is the Sixers TJ McConnell. McConnell is not a big scorer and likely will not reach double digits in the points department. He will however grab a bunch of rebounds and dish out a ton of assists as he did in the last two games. McConnell’s role has increased and he has rewarded the coaching staff’s faith with back to back 12 assists games where he is averaging 8 rebounds as well in just shy of 30 minutes. At a price of only $4K, he does not even need to do that much in order to return value. He has been well above the value mark in both of those starts and even with the price increase, he is still in line to outperform again here today.
James Harden ($10000) – The only guy worth paying up for at the shooting guard spot today is James Harden. Harden faces a high paced Sacramento team in what could turn into a track meet. Harden plays just shy of 40 minutes and has a 40 point floor that he consistently reaches. His usage rate of 31% is one of the highest in the league for any player and it is no wonder why he has a safe floor despite the sky high price. Sacramento has never been known as a defensive team. They are content to play games in the 110s. Harden is one of the best scorers we have in the league, so he makes a lot of sense to use when the game is going to be wide open as we expect this one to be here.
Marcus Thornton ($4000) – The reason it is so tough to pay up for anyone but Harden today is the fact that we have guys like Marcus Thornton at $4000 who have been fantasy gold in recent games. Thornton has been inserted into the Rockets lineup to help space the floor and he has produced some solid games for a very cheap price. He has played 30+ minutes over the last three games and averaged over 26 points in the process. At a price of only $4000, that is great value from a cheap option that allows you to spend up elsewhere. Thornton strives in the fast paced up and down kind of game that is expected here. He should be able to meet or exceed his recent totals and that would make him a must use if he does.
Nik Stauskas ($4100) – Stauskas has seen his minutes increase and his production has come along with it. He is another guy that is too cheap for the role he now plays. Stauskas is now up above the 30 minute mark and has seen his fantasy scores climb into the high 20s. He does not have elite 40 point upside, but a high 20s score at only $4100 is plenty useful in cash or tournaments. Guys like Stauskas and Thornton also have the added luxury of being cheap enough to allow you to fit in some of the high priced studs to go along with them and that is where the added bonus of using them really lies.
Paul George ($8100) – Paul George missing last season was a big blow to the Pacers. He was on the verge of becoming one of the top 10 players in the NBA before that injury. From the looks of his early season production, he might be ready to stake claim to that lofty staus again. George has scored 50 fantasy points twice, and just shy of 40 in two other contests. That means in four out of the first five games he has returned 5 points per thousand dollars of cost or more. George can score, he can rebound, he gets a few assists and some defensive stats as well. This guy can honestly do it all on a basketball court. He is playing over 34 minutes a game, so his health is not a concern. As long as he keeps producing at this level, he is someone you have to consider every time he steps out on the floor.
Carmelo Anthony ($8400) – I am not a huge fan of Carmelo Anthony, but I do think he can outperform his averages in this one. The bucks are not as good defensively as they were last year and I think Melo will be looking for his offense in this one. Melo is a better fantasy player than a real life player in my opinion. His selfish nature on the court does not make hi a great teammate, but it does make him a great option in daily fantasy. Melo has no conscious and will shoot as often as he can. That is exactly the kind of guy who can put up a huge fantasy number for you when he is on. I think his price of $8400 is a little bit too cheap and this could be one of those spots where he hangs up a 50 fantasy point game and looks like a hero.
Evan Fournier ($5200) – You have not been able to win any big money in tournaments lately if you did not roster Fournier. He has averaged over 40 minutes in the last four contests and put up just shy of 40 fantasy points on average. His price has jumped, but even at $5200, his recent production is 7 points per thousand of cost or more. The production is not flukey either as he has averaged over 20 shots, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in these recent games. The minutes and production are elite, especially for a guy who you can have for right around $5K. His upside is not as huge with the price increase, but seven points per thousand of cost still keeps you ahead of pace to score 300 and there is no way you can ignore what he has done over the last week.
Greg Monroe ($8100) – I am not thrilled with the high end options at PF today. A lot of them are in games that may turn into blow outs and some of them are just too expensive and not playing well enough to justify the price. Monroe is one of the few exceptions to that statement. His game against the Knicks should stay relatively close and Monroe has been right around the 40 fantasy point mark in most of his early starts with the Bucks. He is one of the few guys on that roster who plays a ton of minutes. He is right around 35 a game so far in the early going. The Knicks do not have a lot of talented big men, and Monroe is someone who the Bucks are running their offense through. We have seen his floor in the high 30s lately and he also has the upside of a 50 point game already. His price has recent due to how well he has played, but it’s still not too high to scare me away in what looks like a good match up for him on paper.
Nerlens Noel ($7000) – Nerlens Noel has looked pretty solid recently for a struggling 76ers team. He also seems to really like playing with TJ McConnell. Noel has double digit rebounds in 3 of his last 4. He is not a polished offense weapon, but he is an active big man who runs the floor and finishes well around the rim. He is a walking double double threat on a nightly basis and has proven it recently. What really makes him an interesting option for fantasy is hid defensive abilities. Noel always seems to block a few shots and grab a few steals with his long arm and athleticism. When you add those defensive stats to his points and rebounds, he has been returning nice scores lately. He is a young guy that Philly wants to get some experience for, so he also has safe minutes. He will play 30+ whether the game stays close or turns into a blow out. That safety in minutes does not scare me away from him here, despite the fact his team is a 15 point dog in this one. I still think he is pretty cheap and definitely someone you can loo to roll out.
Julius Randle ($6400) – We may have some value guys open up later today that are dirt cheap, but as of now I will not go lower than Randle. Randle has seen a little bit of a price jump, but his play has warranted it. He had one bad game, but in the other three this year he has averaged over 30 minutes and almost 40 fantasy points per game in the process. Randle’s one really big game was boosted by a large number of steals and his season high in rebounds so I’m looking for him to match that 50 point ceiling anytime soon. He is a solid bet to get 30+ fantasy points based off his recent numbers though, and that would be useful at his price of $6400.
Andre Drummond ($8900) – Drummond has been an absolute monster to start the season. He is currently averaging just over 20 points and just shy of 20 rebounds per game. He has scored at least 18 in every game this season and already has games of 19, 20, and 29 rebounds. Phoenix has played at a pretty high pace for the last few years now and despite the addition of Tyson Chandler, I still think Drummond is going to be able to put up some nice numbers here. A 20 point 15 rebound effort is not even asking a lot of him based on his recent production and I think he could even do better than that here. Drummond has been the best center in the league so far this season and his Boogie Cousins like stat lines are nice when you factor in his $100+ discounted price.
Hassan Whiteside ($7500) – Whiteside had two monster games with 15 rebounds a few blocks and double digit points going into Thursday’s contest. His price has increased, but the production had warranted it. The Heat were up big in the fourth last night, so Whiteside was sat for a little bit late in the game. That means he should be rested and ready to play bigger minutes tonight in a great match up. The Pacers are weak at the center position. Myles Turner, Ian Mahini, and Jordan Hill have combined to allow some big fantasy production to the center position so far this year. Whiteside has the ability to dominate with big rebound totals and some defensive stats as well. If you can not afford to pay up forDrummond, Whiteside has been producing some big scores too and makes a nice swerve off the top option.
Dewayne Dedmon ($3000) – The minimum priced special today at the center position is Dedmon. Nikola Vucevic is likely out again here, which means we should see 25+ minutes from Dedmon. It’s not like this guy is going to get you 30-40 fantasy points, but at $3K we really only need him to get about 20 for us. He was averaging about 15 points a game when he was backing up and playing 12 minutes. He popped a 22 fantasy point performance last game in 26 while not even playing well. If he has a decent game here with the expected 25+ minutes, he could end up near 25 points and be one of the best value plays on the day.