Written by: Robert Rotty – Staff Writing Intern (@GrandstandRotty)
This is an odd slate for a Tuesday during the NBA season. There are only 2 games on the slate that have a Vegas total over 210 points, mainly because of the large number of defensive-minded and slow-paced teams playing tonight. There’s also a lack of high-priced players tonight, with only 3 players on both DraftKings and FanDuel that have a salary over $8,500. This makes game selection crucial. All things considered, the 3 main games to target are Minnesota Timberwolves at Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat at Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings at Denver Nuggets. This doesn’t mean to stay away from players in other games altogether, but limit your exposure to 1, possibly 2 players max from any other given team.
| Building Blocks
Almost every one of my rosters, if not all of them, are going to start off with these 3 guys: T.J. McConnell, Goran Dragic, and DeMarcus Cousins.
T.J. McConnell is simply too cheap. With Sergio Rodriguez out for the 76ers, they really have no one else to run point for them. He played 36 minutes against the Denver Nuggets on December 30th when Rodriguez first sat, and I’d look for similar minutes for him tonight. The Timberwolves also allow the 19th most fantasy points per game to point guards, making this a decent matchup for McConnell.
Goran Dragic has been incredible this year. And with Justice Winslow, Hassan Whiteside, and Dion Waiters expected to miss tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Dragic should be able to eat tonight. Dragic has seen a near 34% usage with all 3 of those guys off the court, and the Suns have given up the 26th most fantasy points per game tonight. Sign me up.
DeMarcus Cousins shouldn’t need an explanation. The guy is a freak. With the Kings and Nuggets game sitting at the highest over/under of the night at 216, Boogie is an elite play. He’s the most expensive guy on the slate tonight, but with the limited high-price options it shouldn’t be hard to fit him into your lineups. I like Boogie even more tonight (if that’s possible) if Rudy Gay sits. When Gay is out, Boogie’s usage jumps towards nearly 44%. That’s Russel Westbrook numbers. Lock Boogie into your lineups and feel great about it, as he should be the highest scoring fantasy player tonight with ease.
| Taking Advantage of Injuries
Tonight, it’s about exploiting the injury situations to find the guys that will see increased minutes and usage.
In Miami, we know Whiteside, Winslow, and most likely Waiters are going to be out tonight. So besides Dragic, we can look at both Josh Richardson and James Johnson. Both of these guys have seen a ton of minutes lately, and the Suns aren’t just bad against point guards. They really don’t guard anybody at any position. I think both of them are elite play tonight, and will be using 1, if not both of them together in my lineups with Dragic. James Johnson is questionable, however, and did miss shoot-around this morning due to an illness. If he misses, I expect Derrick Williams to draw the start. He would be a great value option for tonight is that’s the case.
For the 76ers, it sounds like Jahlil Okafor is available to play tonight. This kind of puts a hamper on Joel Embiid. I think Embiid is a phenomenal talent, but with Okafor in he’s been seeing a lot of time at power forward, not center. This limits his ability to snag rebounds, and ultimately hurts his game. He’s definitely still playable tonight, but I will be limiting my exposure to him in tournaments only. If anything, it makes me like Karl-Anthony Towns a little bit more tonight. I think pairing KAT with the 3 guys mentioned above is a great tournament strategy, especially if we can get more value from Derrick Williams.
| Other Notes on Tonight’s Games
These are seemingly random, but are other notes that I have on games tonight that should be considered when building your rosters tonight.
I wouldn’t pay for John Wall tonight, He is on the 2nd game of a back-to-back where he just expended all of his energy against James Harden. I expect his minutes to be limited, and he’s got a good chance at not reaching value at his expensive price tag.
Jeff Teague is questionable tonight and Rodney Stuckey has already been ruled out for The Indiana Pacers. If Teague is out, Aaron Brooks should draw the start against a Detroit Pistons team that gives up the 23rd most fantasy points per game to point guards. Again, another great value play for tonight’s slate. On the opposite side, I like taking either Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Tobias Harris when going outside of the 3 main targeted games. KCP has averaged 37 minutes the last five games, and Harris has seen a huge increasing in his fantasy output since going to the bench.