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A funny thing happened this week in New York City, as residents were seemingly disappointed that a promised blizzard of historic proportions passed the city over and instead dumped its contents some 100 miles to the east. The city overprepared for the blizzard and citizens ended up inconvenienced for a day or two for what ended up being a light dusting.
Frustration was aimed at the meteorologists who projected the superstorm for getting the forecast "wrong." "Nobody is allowed to be as wrong as often as meteorologists without reprecussions," was the gist of the criticism. Of course, this type of thinking belies an ignorance of the way weather forecasts work in general; they identify the most likely potential outcomes based on a variety of factors, and make predictions based on them.
After watching the Pistons fall apart in a matchup against the 76ers this week, I can relate to the meteorologists smarting from their big swing and miss. Sometimes, for all our supposed knowledge and the expectations we derive from that knowledge, the real world likes to smack us in the face and remind us of how much we simply cannot know.
We do the best we can with the knowledge we have, and try to learn more every day while doing it. Ultimately, however, none of us can see into the future and know that D.J. Augustin would fail to hit to hit a single shot against a team that ranks among the league's worst on defense. It is important to remind yourself after a losss like Wednesday's that the process by which you build your lineup has to be more important than the results, because that is what is going to win out in the long run.
Maybe Mario Chalmers falls on his face and Donatas Motiejunas somehow finds himself stymied by the Celtics' frontcourt tonight; neither is such a good player that those outcomes can't be possible. However, if you go into the night armed with the best information you can get, you ultimately can't be upset if the wind blows the other way unexpectedly.
Minnesota at Philadelphia
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 415.52
These are the two teams that allow the most FanDuel points per game in the league, so it will be interesting to see what the final score looks like. A lot of value plays on these rosters.
Portland at Atlanta
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 389.56
I still can't bring myself to trust LaMarcus Aldridge, though it's hard to doubt him after seeing his play in the first two games since coming back from injury.
Toronto at Brooklyn
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 397.05
Mason Plumlee could get plenty of shots at the rim in this one.
Sacramento at Cleveland
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 409.55
DeMarcus Cousins will be a good test for the newly improved Cavaliers defense. Big men have still managed to find success against them over the last week or so.
LA Clippers at New Orleans
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 393.53
With Anthony Davis' availbility in question, there could be a lot of value to be found on this roster. I could see an argument for Dante Cunningham as a really deep sleeper, and Alexis Ajinca has had moments with Davis out.
Dallas at Miami
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.95
With Dwyane Wade out and Luol Deng in question, the Heat could be in desperate need for help on the wings. There might be value to be found here.
Golden State at Utah
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 391.03
Gordon Hayward is usually a steady, dependable option, but he averages just 14.5 points and 2.0 assists per game against the Warriors this season.
Chicago at Phoenix
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 400.21
The Suns tend to get into track meets, so it will be interesting to see if the Bulls can find success in transition. Jimmy Butler could start to bounce back here.
My roster for Jan. 30 at FanDuel.com:
PG Stephen Curry, Warriors at Utah ($9,800)
PG Mario Chalmers, Heat vs. Dallas ($5,400)
SG James Harden, Rockets at Boston ($11,200)
SG Eric Gordon, Pelicans vs. L.A. Clippers ($5,700)
SF Trevor Ariza, Rockets at Boston ($5,200)
SF Joe Ingles, Jazz vs. Golden State ($4,300)
PF Jared Sullinger, Celtics vs. Houston ($6,700)
PF Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets at Boston ($5,400)
C Hassan Whiteside, Heat vs. Dallas ($6,200)
Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Rockets at Boston ($5,400)
Dwight Howard missed 11 games from late November to mid-December, and Motiejunas filled in admirably in the middle for the Rockets. He averaged 14.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, turning in a 25.1 FanDuel-point-per-game average that would make him a great value at this price. And of course, he showed he could be worth even more than that on occasion, most notably when he posted two 20-point games in a four-night stretch in late November. Smith and Jones could also see a boost, but I would expect Motiejunas to be the best option as a Howard replacement, especially against a Boston frontcourt that allows the eighth-most FanDuel points in the league to opposing centers.
Mario Chalmers, PG, Heat vs. Dallas ($5,400)
The numbers aren't quite as stark as they used to be, but Chalmers still fares much better as a starter than he did when he was coming off the bench. That holds especially true when he has gotten the opportunity to start at shooting guard in Dwyane Wade's stead, a role he will be filling tonight. In a seven-game stretch without Wade in November, Chalmers averaged 33.5 FanDuel points per game, numbers that would make him worth $1,500 more than he is going for tonight. With Wade hinting that this injury could keep him out beyond the All-Star break, Chalmers just might be a must-start option over the next few weeks no matter the matchup.
Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat vs. Dallas ($6,200)
Speaking of Miami's matchup, this is one that should definitely benefit Whiteside. Whiteside has been a force since returning from an ankle injury, with 30 points and 29 rebounds in the last two games, and he could extend his double-double streak to three games Friday night against the Mavericks. Tyson Chandler is going to be a tough matchup for any young center, but the Mavericks are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league overall, ranking just 28th in the league in defensive rebounding percentage, and 19th on the offensive glass. Whether you believe Whiteside is as good as he has looked over the last few weeks, you have to like this matchup for him.
Overpay of the night
Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans vs. L.A. Clippers ($11,500)
In Anthony Davis' three NBA seasons, there has been little reason to doubt his abilities, as he has grown into one of the most productive and feared players in the league. The only doubts surrounded his ability to stay healthy because various injuries have nagged him through his first few seasons. He has so far avoided the injury bug this season, but his luck ran out Wednesday when he fell awkwardly and suffered an adductor strain that could keep him out for a few days. He tried to play through the injury Wednesday and could continue to do so, but he was clearly limited by the injury, scoring just once in eight minutes, while attempting just two shots. Davis is skilled enough to remain effective even if he isn't 100-percent healthy, but you can't invest in the most expensive player in the game with any doubts surrounding his availability and effectiveness.
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CT: Based on my trade value chart for Week 14, this one works out to be a win for you, but I'm not sure it should really be viewed as such. Yes, the value of the three players might equal the one player in Westbrook, but you also have to consider the value of the players you have to drop in order to make room for all three. At this point, Parker is probably a replacement-level player at the guard position; he's not an elite scorer, he doesn't rack up big assist numbers and he barely contributes anything in steals or 3-pointers. He adds seven points by the trade chart, but in all likelihood, you're going to end up dropping someone similar to him anyways, so I'm not sure what he adds. Noah is obviously more valuable, though there are similar concerns about just how valuable he is relative to the kinds of centers you might be able to find on waivers. He's certainly more valuable, but it's fair to wonder how much; he is averaging just 6.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game over the last 10. I would pass on this deal, and instead look for one where you get just two players of much more considerable quality in return.
@JordanJones33: Would you trade D.J. Augustin for Darren Collison?
CT: As much as I like Augustin and think he can thrive in Stan Van Gundy's offense, this is absolutely the right move to make. You're selling high on Augustin and getting a player back who might not be any worse than him even if Augustin hits his peak. Collison has been remarkably consistent this season, and is just the much safer option here.
Waiver Wire flier
Terrence Jones, F, Rockets
If Dwight Howard was healthy, I'm not sure I would be interested in Jones at all in a standard 12-team Fantasy league. The presence of Josh Smith and emergence of Motiejunas would likely make Jones irrelevant, assuming the Rockets also had Dwight Howard soaking up 35 minutes per game in the middle. However, with Howard's knee a real concern, I would definitely take a flier on Jones, who had top-50 overall potential before nerve issues in his legs -- and Motiejunas' development -- made him seemingly expendable. That might not be the case anymore, and he has a rare ability to fill up the box score that could make him very valuable even as the Rockets' third big man.