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A lot has been written about Heat center Hassan Whiteside in this space recently, but there really isn't any other story as compelling or worthwhile for discussion at this point. He has taken the league by storm, posting numbers we haven't seen in a long time while emerging as a full-time member of the Heat's rotation.
His FanDuel price has continued to rise meteorically along with his production, and it has reached a new high Friday at $8,000. That's a lot to drop on a center, as he is the sixth-most expensive option at that position tonight when there are 12 games going on. And yet, with how well he has played lately, it's hard to turn him down at any price, as he has provided at least 32 FanDuel points in each game since returning from an ankle injury six games ago.
And yet, I am going to take a risk and go away from Whiteside tonight. He is playing like a $9,000 or more player, and it wouldn't shock me if he dropped another 35 or more FanDuel points, but he is also due for a stinker at some point. As dominant has he has been, nobody can keep this kind of play up all season long, and if any team can slow him down, it's the crafty, veteran Spurs. They rank among the league's five best at clearing the defensive glass, and much of Whiteside's value comes from the fact that he can dominate the offensive boards like few others in today's NBA.
The truth is, there's a very good chance Whiteside continues his run of dominance. At this point, nothing he does would surprise me, because he is playing at a level few players in the league have been able to match this season. However, with 12 games on the schedule and some other centers -- notably Marc Gasol against the Timberwolves, Andre Drummond against the Nuggets, and Nikola Vucevic against the Lakers -- facing softer matchups, this might be the night to turn your back on Whiteside. He has been 30-40 percent owned in tournaments lately, which makes it awfully hard to stand out from the pack, no matter how dominant he is. Of course, with how he uses any perceived slight to motivate himself, it might just be fuel on the fire.
New York at Brooklyn
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 390.9
If you want to use Carmelo Anthony -- one of the rare good small forwards in today's NBA -- tonight might be your only chance this weekend. The Knicks play again tomorrow night, and it seems unlikely he will play both halves of the back-to-back.
Cleveland at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.2
The Cavs are on the second night of a back-to-back, so I would stay away from Kevin Love and his balky back against a tough matchup.
LA Lakers at Orlando
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 407.7
The Magic changed coaches since their last game, but it seems unlikely that an interim coach would change the rotation too drastically. You have to like Nikola Vucevic going against this frontline.
LA Clippers at Toronto
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 384.4
DeAndre Jordan's production has tailed off on the second night of back-to-backs this season, but the Raptors' frontcourt hasn't exactly been stout this season. I would stay away, but it's not a bad play.
Golden State at Atlanta
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 383.8
This is strength vs. strength vs. strength vs. strength, as two of the league's top teams on both sides of the ball face off. The Warriors have allowed the fifth-fewest 3-pointers on the third-lowest percentage in the league, so Kyle Korver has a tough test ahead of him.
Philadelphia at Boston
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 406.9
Jared Sullinger might have trouble getting to games on time, but his production has been really solid the last two games, as he has 70.2 FanDuel points combined.
Denver at Detroit
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 204.1
If you wanted to stack the Pistons' big men against the messy Nuggets' front court, I wouldn't blame you. Jusuf Nurkic might be a better play against a team that attempts so many shots at the rim, but he has a lot of risk due to potential for foul trouble.
Milwaukee at Houston
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 383.1
I've written plenty about why you should trust Donatas Motiejunas, so I won't belabor the point anymore. However, you have to like that he has scored at least 23.2 FanDuel points in each of his last six games, giving him a high floor for someone so reasonably priced.
New Orleans at Oklahoma City
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 386.7
If you can get both Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis in your lineup, just pray for a replay of Wednesday's game, when they combined for 96.8 FanDuel points. Expect Davis to bounce back from a relatively quiet game the last time he faced the Thunder.
Utah at Phoenix
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.01
Derrick Favors dominated the Suns' undersized frontcourt for a career-high 32 points in their last meeting.
Miami at San Antonio
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 376.7
Hassan Whiteside's meteoric rise has taken his price all the way to $8,000 tonight. I won't be using him, but it's hard to rationalize it, since he has provided at least 36.7 FanDuel points in five of six games since returning from injury.
My roster for Feb. 6 at FanDuel.com:
PG D.J. Augustin, Pistons vs. Denver ($7,200)
PG Mike Conley, Grizzlies at Minnesota($6,500)
SG Eric Gordon, Pelicans at Oklahoma City($6,100)
SG Victor Oladipo, Magic vs. L.A. Lakers ($6,900)
SF Khris Middleton, Bucks at Houston ($6,400)
SF Joe Ingles, Jazz at Phoenix($4,100)
PF Zach Randolph, Grizzles at Minnesota($8,700)
PF Ed Davis, Lakers at Orlando($5,300)
C Andre Drummond, Pistons vs. Denver ($8,400)
Ed Davis, PF, Lakers at Orlando($5,300)
Davis has long been a player who could put up good Fantasy numbers if he just got the playing time. That playing time has come and gone at times with the Lakers, but he has managed to be a very productive player lately nonethelesss, scoring at least 19 FanDuel points in seven of eight games since Jan. 19. He has played 25 or fewer minutes in six of those eight games, which makes his production even more impressive. With Jordan Hill likely out tonight with a hip injury, he could see extensive playing time, and had 35.5 FanDuel points in 33 minutes in the team's last one. He seems like a lock for double-digit rebounds if he gets more than 25 minutes tonight.
Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies at Minnesota($6,500)
Conley is exactly the kind of buy-low candidate I like to jump on in FanDuel. It would be kind to say he has been underwhelming lately, As he has just 13 assists over his last seven games combined, but we're still talking about someone who has been good for 30 FanDuel points on average for the season. This is the kind of matchup that could get Conley going, and though Ricky Rubio can be a tough man defender, Conley averaged 31.8 FanDuel points per game in four matchups against the Wolves last season. If he can't find his way tonight, it might be time to give up on Conley until he proves himself, but I like the idea of buying low on him tonight.
Andre Drummond, C, Pistons vs. Denver($8,400)
Drummond hasn't been quite what we expected this season, but that doesn't mean he is without value. He is still arguably the best rebounder in the league, especially on the offensive side of the glass. The Nuggets do a pretty good job on the glass overall, and they held him to just 11 points and nine rebounds in their last matchup, however that was early in the season when he was still trying to get his bearings in the new offense. Drummond is averaging 38.1 FanDuel points per game, and though he might not be rolling like Hassan Whiteside is, he's got a better matchup tonight.
Overpay of the night
Ricky Rubio, PG, Timberwolves vs. Memphis ($6,500)
Rubio's return to action has been a great storyline this week, and he has supplied plenty of highlight reel plays in each of his first two games. That might be enough to keep his profile high, but you don't get extra FanDuel points for each Vine loop his passes garner, so all we care about is the final numbers on the box score. Rubio had 16.6 FanDuel points in the first game back, followed by 25.1 in his second, so he is definitely trending in the right direction. However, he hasn't scored enough to meet a $6,500 price tag, and he is still facing a minutes restriction as he works his way back to full strength. With an incredibly tough matchup on the way tonight against Memphis, I would still steer clear.
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CT: This is a lot to take in. You're certainly swinging for the fences with this move, no matter which side you're on. The Gasol/Bosh side seems a bit safer to me, though there are obvious reasons to be concerned about the health of Gasol and Lopez in the short and long-term. With Whiteside and Augustin, you're buying high on two of the league's hottest properties, but I'm not sure they've really got much downside at this point anyways. The Gasol/Bosh side wins out based on my Week 15 trade value chart, but that changes a bit if you don't have room for all three centers. I think the Augustin/Whiteside pairing might have enough upside to make that side win out, but it seems fair overall to me either way.
CT: In the wake of Jacque Vaughn's firing, Fantasy owners are surely hoping that their preferred Magic player will see a boost in value. However, getting rid of Vaughn doesn't change the fundamental redundancy of the roster. O'Quinn has proven he can be a fantastic Fantasy option when he gets minutes, a rare big man who can fill up every part of the box score. However, the Magic are invested heavily in Channing Frye and Nikola Vucevic, and Tobias Harris still gets some of his playing time at power forward, so there just aren't enough minutes available on most nights. Gordon only complicates things further, because he has to contend with Harris for small forward minutes and is even further down the hierarchy at power forward. Hopefully a new coach will stop playing guys like Willie Green and Ben Gordon so much, but until we see what that new coach wants, I wouldn't make any changes to my roster based on this move.
Waiver Wire flier
Cody Zeller, F, Hornets
Forward has reached the point where any player who shows a pulse at the position is going to garner a ton of attention on the waiver wire. Zeller has lottery pedigree, but I'm not sure his recent play is enough to justify his ownership jumping from 21 to 44 percent, as it has over the last week in CBSSports.com leagues. Zeller has posted some solid rebounding numbers, but he is still struggling to make much of an impact otherwise, scoring in double figures just once in the last four games. He has seen his role grow in that time, as he is averaging 33 minutes per game with 30-plus each, and his assist numbers especially impress. However, this seems like a rare hot streak, buoyed by one massive 21-8-3-2-3 line against a Nuggets team that is largely disinterested at this point. with how shallow forward is, it might be worth taking a flier on Zeller to see if he can start to live up to his lottery-level talent, but it's hard to trust him as a starting-caliber player.