In tournaments it’s vital to find plays that contain both upside and the potential to be overlooked. Take two players that are priced at $8,100 and projected for similar output. If one is 33% drafted and the other is 5%, you want to take the 5% player every time. When he outscores the higher drafted player (which will happen often), you’re passing 27% of the field with that play. That’s a very good thing. Below are a few plays from tonight’s games that fit that mold.
Derrick Rose ($7,500) – Rose’s usage and fantasy production have soared since Jimmy Butler went down. It’s not just a change in role that has driven the increased output; his play has vastly improved as well. It’s easy to overlook that Rose had an orbital fracture during the preseason and said he was seeing double for months. He’s finally healthy and comparing his FG% in 2016 to 2015 shows how much of a difference seeing straight makes. Rose is also the type of player that tends to get up for big games against other top point guards. Tonight he gets John Wall and a Wizards team playing on the road in a back-to-back that is also their fifth game in seven nights. Look for Rose to use his speed to exploit a tired defense.
Deron Williams ($6,100) – Williams is a player that seems to go through spurts of good and bad play. I think it’s mostly due to how healthy and fresh he is. The best time to target him is amidst a good run and when he’s rested. He’s playing very well lately, has two days’ rest and is playing way up in pace against a Thunder team that he’s gashed for a 37.5 fp average in two games this season. You could say it’s the perfect storm for Deron. With Mike Conley and Reggie Jackson likely to draw most of the attention tonight, Deron is a great pivot.
D’Angelo Russell ($4,900) – Often times when a player is very heavily drafted and has a down game, it’s wise to target him in his next outing. The letdown is fresh on everyone’s mind and that drives ownership down. D’Angelo struggled in a subpar matchup against the Bucks. He also didn’t play in the 4th quarter due to a massive blowout. The matchup isn’t great tonight but it’s better than it appears on paper. The Grizzlies aren’t the same defense without Marc Gasol and Tony Allen who are both out tonight. D’Angelo’s price is simply too low for a starting point guard who should approach minutes in the mid-30s tonight.
Marcus Morris ($5,400) – Tobias Harris will be one of the heaviest owned players tonight. The Pistons are banged up and they face off against the 76ers. In 50/50s, I’m locking Harris in. In GPPs, the wise move is to pivot to the less sexy Marcus Morris. He’s a great play for all the same reasons as Tobias and is $600 cheaper. People aren’t going to want to play both, so they’ll gravitate to the shiny new toy in Tobias. The other huge advantage to playing Marcus is that if he has a great game, it’s very likely that Tobias has down game. They’re competing for the same statistics. Marcus is probably my favorite tournament play of the night.
LeBron James ($9,600) – With Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Kevin Durant all in action tonight, there’s a logjam at SF. I already mentioned how I expect most people to play Tobias Harris. Add in the fact that LeBron is coming off his worst game of the season and you have a recipe for very low ownership. LeBron is not one to string together bad games so I expect him to bounce back in a big way tonight. Don’t forget that he’s been absolutely rolling since Tyronn Lue took over as coach. We’re concerned with trends rather than one game. Spending up at SF will also create a different roster look that will help differentiate in tournaments.
Nerlens Noel ($6,500) – We saw Anthony Davis absolutely obliterate Detroit in the pick and roll on Sunday. One of the 76ers’ strengths is running the pick and roll with Ish Smith and Nerlens. T.J. McConnell is out tonight so I expect Ish’s minutes to be in the mid-30s. Nerlens has seen an uptick in minutes recently (ignore his game against Dallas where he was in foul trouble). These two should get in a nice groove tonight. Nerlens has also been playing at a very high level lately having toped 40 fp in two of his last three games. I expect him to keep rolling tonight.
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Marcin Gortat ($6,800) – The Bulls defense really began struggling about a month ago. When Jimmy Butler went down, the defense fell into an absolute tailspin. It certainly doesn’t help that their best defender in the frontcourt, Taj Gibson, is banged up as well. John Wall and Gortat will look to attack Pau Gasol repeatedly with the pick and roll. Pau will have no answer.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,800) – There’s no question that Towns’ recent production is turning heads. If this were a shorter slate with less options at center, I’d expect him to be heavily owned. Tonight, I think that most people will look to DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond. I love spending up $800 to get a player that has played as well as anyone in the league over the past month. The matchup isn’t ideal and he’s on the road, but I’d argue that Towns is matchup proof at this point. He’s that good. If you can get a player on the kind of tear he’s on at depressed ownership, you have to consider it.