Written by: Christopher Dagostino – Staff Writing Intern (@Mighty_Dag)
Tonight features a six game slate with totals all over 203. There should be a variety of fantasy goodness to be had with a number of superstars in play. Only one game features a double digit spread (ORL at LAC) so we can look for the starters of most teams to receive their normal allotment of minutes. It is going to be tough to acquire the higher price studs without a ton of value and sharp pricing on DraftKings, but I will try to highlight a few value avenues. Let’s get into it.
New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers
Spread: NY -1.5
The Knicks are one and half point favorites traveling to Philadelphia to take on the Seventy Sixers. I can not recommend Derrick Rose for anything more then be a deep shot GPP play even against a Sixers team that allows the 5th most points to point guards especially with the switch to TJ McConnell who has played quality defense. McConnell on the other side represents one of the best value plays even as his price has risen if spending down on a guard spot. Carmelo Anthony receives a tougher matchup against Robert Covington but remains a decent option nightly. Both Porzingis and Anthony are battling injuries and are best left for GPP targets. Joel Embiid should feast tonight on a Knicks front court allowing the 2nd most points to centers. He remains a better play on FanDuel based off pricing. Robert Covington contributes across the board and can have a big night if his shot is falling which very well could be the case if Carmelo does not bring intensity to the defensive end.
Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves
Spread: Hou -3.5
Plenty of fantasy goodness here with two teams that have limited benches who play their starters massive minutes. James Harden remains an elite play especially if value opens up on DraftKings and is a building block on FanDuel. Zach LaVine is doubtful tonight with a hip injury which puts Shabazz Muhammad and Nemanjca Bjelica into play. These are value plays recommended only for DraftKings for roster flexibility, but both players produce well in fantasy points per minute when giving minutes and will have an opportunity to smash at near minimum price tags. With LaVine out, Andrew Wiggins has a thirty-seven percent usage rate with LaVine off the floor while Houston ranks 22nd versus small forwards, making Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns both elite plays. Montrezell Harell is an elite option on FanDuel at 4,800 where he has produced 28+ fantasy points in 4 out of his last seven and has only dipped below 20 fps once. He will need to play a plethora of minutes against KAT and Deing.
Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards
Spread: BOS -6.5
Another game with a high projected pace and close spread, we confidently can target starters on these teams. Isaiah Thomas has seen his price rise to near season highs, so I am not really enticed with him and think there is better options at the position. Namely, John Wall has seen his price decrease on DraftKings and is my favorite play tonight. He contributes across the board and is averaging career high usage and shooting percentage. Bradley Beal is a strong option as well in a shallow shooting guard position facing a Boston team without it’s best defender Avery Bradley. Markeiff Morris is always a volatile option but is in a really good spot up against an undersized Boston front court that can not match his athleticism. Keep in mind he receives the least minutes of any Wizards starters. Marcin Gortat is a great cash game target continuing the theme of targeting Boston’s front court that gave up 23 rebounds last night to Jonas Valanciunas. On the Boston Side, Marcus Smart has averaged 36+ fps over his last three games since entering the starting lineup, his price has risen, which should lower his ownership and is my favorite target on this Celtics team.
Memphis Grizzles at Oklahoma City Thunder
Spread: OKC -5
This game is featured on ESPN tonight but also owns the lowest over/under of the slate. These teams met recently where Russell Westbrook was ejected in the third quarter without recording an assist. It is always a scary proposition to fade Westbrook, but tonight seems like a night to do so with plenty of other studs in better spots. Westbrook will have to deal with Mike Conley and the strong defensive unit of the Grizzles that will surely limit his upside with the slow pace the Grizzles play at. On the other side, Mike Conley will be leaned on to provide some offensive punch, who has averaged 35+ fps in four of his last five and will face Westbrook defense who conserves some energy on that side of the ball. He is a cash game target with tournament upside. Marc Gasol went off for 49 fantasy points last game against OKC and is priced at $6,800 on DraftKings, with plenty of room for upside. Overall, there are better spots to target tonight.
Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Clippers
Spread: LAC -10.5
This game features the highest spread of the night, but is not a stay away because of the narrow concentration of fantasy production on the Clipper side. If this game is going to blow out, Chris Paul and Deandre Jordan will be the ones doing the damage. Chris Paul is at similar price points to other stars and can be seen as being very low owned tonight. He has averaged over 48 fantasy points since coming back from injury. I see Paul and Jordan as elite tournament targets against a Magic team allowing the 5th most fantasy points to point guards and 6th most to centers. Reddick is always worth a shot as a low cost shooting guard in GPP’s as he has not been under 25 fantasy points in his last four. Elfrid Payton and Serge Ibaka are game time decisions for the Magic. There absence would thrust Aaron Gordon into all the minutes he can handle and would be a nice value play, although this game will very much blowout if Ibaka and Payton cannot suit up.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Portland Trail Blazers
Spread: CLE -5
The Cavaliers will travel to Portland to take on a Blazers team that blew out the lowly Lakers last night. This game features a lot of star power in intriguing matchups. Both Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard are both weak defenders and remain strong plays against each other. Lillard particlary is intriguing as a player who scores a majority of his points in the pick and roll slated to face one of the worst pick and roll defenders in Kyrie Irving. He runs 40% of his plays in the pick and roll and scores 1.05 points per possession which is higher then anyone in the NBA. LeBron James and Kevin Love are always strong targets in good matchups in games projected to stay close. Tristian Thompson has rebounding upside against a weak Portland front court but offers very little scoring upside.