Winning in tournaments requires getting not just good efforts from your roster, but some extra high point production. Sometimes this requires differentiation in roster and other times it’s just identifying the high-ceiling plays for the slate.

For our purposes, we’re going to focus on the high-ceiling plays by position, and salary tier (top end, mid tier and low end), for tonight’s games, a weekend starting, nine-game slate. These are plays that could go for about, on average, six times what their salary is. (Ex. $6,000 * 6 = 36DK points equals value.)

Let’s line em up! Ask any questions on Twitter @JasonWalker_72.

Guards

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard ($9,400) – There haven’t been many players that have been as fun to watch over the past week than Lillard, who has come back from injury with a 32% usage force that has been quite productive to roster. The Blazers are not good defensively, which keeps them in games and Lillard in play for a full evening’s minutes. This game against the Nets means he plays against Donald Sloan and Shane Larkin, is on the road and ripe to continue his hot run. While others are looking to James Harden or Russell Westbrook on this slate, I’m using Lillard, although I do also love Isaiah Thomas in a REVENGE game against the Suns, but I think people will be going to Thomas a lot tonight, more so than Lillard.

Khris Middleton ($6,800) – His cost has risen to the point where he’s not automatic, which makes him a nice tourney play against the Hawks in a 208 game total tonight. The Hawks have struggled defending wings and Middleton has been among the leaders in minutes per game, giving him plenty of opportunities to launch. He’s not a sezy name and people will probably roster his teammate, Giannis at SF instead, leaving his ownership lower owned.

Norris Cole ($4,200) – This will be a cathartic exercise for me as I have been extremely frustrated at Alvin Gentry’s use of the less-efficient, less-talented Cole over the likes of Ish Smith (since traded and flourishing in Philly) and now Jrue Holiday. Holiday is a true point guard with skills and not a 20-foot jump shot launching player who looks lost initiating an offense like Cole is. So, Jason, why put him in here? Well, Tyreke Evans is questionable and that means Alvin Gentry is going to have to play/start someone in his place, and it’s very clear that Cole is his choice over Holiday, so Cole will get plenty of minutes to make value at his 4.2K salary. There will be some spite rostering of Cole in my tourneys tonight and it will feel good.


Forwards

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics

Paul George ($8,800) – PG13 has a nice matchup with the Wizards and the perception is that he’s had a rough stretch. He’s had a 32.3 and a 38.3 over his last four game, but also a 51 and 40 as well.With Durant and LeBron on the slate in decent matchups themselves, George could get overlooked and he doesn’t have the competition for usage that those other two have. So a good matchup with public perception as down and still strong usage without much competition leads me to some PG13 tonight.

Dirk Nowitzki ($6,300) – He’s coming off a game where he didn’t play (rest) which works in his favor, perception-wise. He has a good matchup against the Bulls, who are coming off the front-end of a back to back and overtime. And he’s been playing very well, averaging over a DKPPM in his last few games and over the season as a whole. He gets overlooked somewhat because his 30MPG average doesn’t lend itself to 50 burgers, clearly, but he can pop 6-7x value quietly and that’s something worth having in the middle of your roster.

Mirza Teletovic ($4,800) – His salary has gone up here as he’s been backfilling the minutes that Alex Len has lost due to injury. Teletovic has a great matchup against the frontcourt of the Celtics and his production has been tremendous, scoring nearly 29DK PPG over his last four games, with an average of 23 minutes per game. Any uptick at all in a pacy game with a stretch frontcourt like the Celtics have, and Teletovic might see even more action, pushing him closer to 30-35 DK points for the night.


Centers

NBA: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets

Brook Lopez ($7,600) – With more people hopping on the Dwight Howard wagon or going further down the stack to roster Joakim Noah (if Gasol misses again) or even Greg Monroe, Lopez continues to be a 28.5% usage player that gets to the line often and may end up the top center of the night. His matchup against the Blazers, while not being as good as it was earlier in the season, is still a net positive, so he’ll get a bump there, too.

Zaza Pachulia ($6,300) – Zaza, like Dirk, sat the last game, and few people are in a rush to roster the steady Pachulia anyway. All he does is bang out 34-40 DK point games nightly, against any competition. He gets the Bulls tonight, who are tired from their overtime struggle against the 76ers last night.

Nikola Jokic ($4,100) – Not thrilled here, but with Jusef Nurkic getting hurt in the last game, we could see more minutes from Jokic, who has produced very well per minute this season. A DKPPM player, if Jokic gets up to 28 minutes, he’s likely over 6x already and the matchup against the Heat is pretty neutral these days. It’s not an exciting pick, but unless other injury news gets out, he’s the solid punt play in the middle tonight.