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Confession time: I'm stuck in an awful slump right now. Though I've come away in the money each of the last two weeks, I've had an abysmal record the last few weeks.
I don't know if it was a hangover from the Christmas holiday, but it was an ugly few weeks. I've been doing better of late, however, and I'm looking to keep that up tonight with 11 games on the schedule.
The last few nights have been interesting on FanDuel, because of some strange scheduling quirks. We had just two games Tuesday and three Thursday, with a massive 13-game Wednesday sandwiched between them. And I'll say this much; though the margin for error is much lower on those nights with fewer choices, I prefer the bigger pools. There's something much more satisfying about hitting on the right collective of nine players when you have so many to choose from.
You have more leeway when you miss on a night like Thursday; with so few players to choose from, you're bound to hit on a dud or two. These are the nights to jump in the big tournaments, I think, because random luck seems to play less of a factor than when there are literally thousands of lineup combinations to choose from.
This is my first year doing daily Fantasy, so I'm still figuring out how I want to attack things every day. If you've got a preferred strategy for Tournaments vs. 50/50 or Head-to-Head, let me know in the comments. With any luck, I can keep turning things around tonight.
If you want to play along, I created a little 15-person league for tonight with a $5 entry fee. Come test out your chops and take me down.
Boston at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 391.01
With Roy Hibbert leaving the Pacers' last game with an injury, this might be a chance to go super-cheap on Lavoy Allen, but you'll need to confirm Hibbert is out. And, frankly, there are too many cheap centers to really justify this anyways.
Philadelphia at Brooklyn
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 409.1
The Nets are so tough to pin down, but this is a good night to take a chance. Jarrett Jack should be in line for a heavy minute load with Deron Williams suffering a fractured rib.
Atlanta at Detroit
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 393.38
The two hottest teams in the Eastern Conference clash. No team rebounds their own misses less often than the Hawks, and they are a hair below average in defensive rebounding percentage too. He's not a bargain anymore, but Drummond could dominate the boards yet again tonight.
Memphis at New Orleans
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 385.72
The Grizzlies held Anthony Davis to just 14 points and eight rebounds in their lone matchup earlier this season, and he didn't do much stat-sheet stuffing otherwise. Is Marc Gasol "The Brow Stopper?"
Utah at Oklahoma City
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 382.71
As good as Russell Westbrook was early in the season, that's how bad he's been lately. Can you rely on him at this point?
Minnesota at Milwaukee
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 401.52
The Timberwolves struggle to slow down point guards without Ricky Rubio around, and Brandon Knight is the one constant amid an ever-changing Bucks rotation. Zaza Pachulia is also a good value at this price.
Denver at Sacramento
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 404.31
This could be the highest scoring game of the night, if these two teams' recent history is any indication. The Kings get their shots blocked as much as anyone, so I'm still buying into Jusuf Nurkic
Cleveland at Golden State
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 390.41
At various points while building my team, I had both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in, and would have liked to have either tonight.
Orlando at LA Lakers
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 405.51
As always, the Lakers are fertile ground for Fantasy. Nikola Vucevic is a very good choice, if you want to spend on a center.
My FanDuel.com roster for Jan. 9:
PG Jarrett Jack, Nets vs. Philadelphia ($5,900)
PG Elfrid Payton, Magic at L.A. Lakers ($5,300)
SG Victor Oladipo, Magic at L.A. Lakers ($6,600)
SG Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks vs. Minnesota ($6,200)
SF Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves at Milwaukee ($6,400)
SF C.J. Miles, Pacers vs. Boston ($5,300)
PF Serge Ibaka, Thunder vs. Utah ($7,100)
PF David West, Pacers vs. Boston ($6,400)
C DeMarcus Cousins, Kings vs. Denver ($10,700)
Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic L.A. Lakers ($5,300)
At $5,300, you need between 20 and 25 FanDuel points from Payton tonight. He has at least 24.1 in five of the last six games, and heads into a game against a Lakers defense that can't slow anyone down. The Lakers allow the most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards, at just a bit more than one per minute; Payton averages 31.2 minutes per game over the last five, and has been the Magic's primary playmaker of late, while filling up the box score overall. Payton still can't shoot a lick -- 4 for 15 over his last two games, but does more than enough otherwise to still be worth your time.
Jarret Jack, PG, Nets vs. Philadelphia ($5,900)
With Deron Williams dealing with a fractured rib, Jack is about to get all of the minutes he can handle. He isn't a terrific player, but you can't deny what he does when he gets the minutes; Jack is averaging 15.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in 13 games with at least 30 minutes played this season. He had 58.6 FanDuel points over the last two games, with Williams playing just four total minutes, which is about the pace you need him to maintain tonight at this price. Against the 76ers, that should be an easy task.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Nuggets Sacramento ($5,000)
I expected more from Nurkic on Wednesday in his first career start. He mostly managed to avoid foul trouble, but played just 22 minutes against a tough matchup in Orlando center Nikola Vucevic. He has an even tougher test tonight with DeMarcus Cousins on the way, but there is reason for optimism. Nurkic has at least two blocks in each of the last two games, and is averaging 1.9 per game in just 17.9 minutes over the last 10; he's a good shot blocker, in other words. The Kings have been blocked more than any other team in the league now after the Thunder turned away 13 of their shots Wednesday, so Nurkic should be in line for a fine showing.
Overpay of the night
Bradley Beal, SG, Wizards vs. Chicago ($6,300)
Even when healthy, Beal has to be considered one of the biggest disappointments in the league so far, and he certainly isn't trending upwards. Beal has fewer than 20 FanDuel points in four of the last five games, and is averaging just 25.4 per game overall. It isn't out of the question that he can live up to this price tonight -- he had 29.1 FanDuel points against the Bulls a few weeks ago, after all -- but his overall track record and a tough matchup makes me want to stay away from him. He just doesn't do enough beyond shooting on most nights to justify the cost.
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CT: Chris Kaman got the start in the team's last game, but has mostly been playing limited minutes this season. He's an effective option on a per-minute basis, but I'd be surprised if he's getting more than 22 to 24 minutes on a nightly basis moving forward. Robinson has played more this season, but Leonard is closer to a natural center, an important quality, given LaMarcus Aldridge's reticence to slide over to the five. Leonard also just looks like the more productive player, especially now that he's stepping beyond the 3-point line. You need to be in a very deep league -- try 20 teams -- but Leonard could be an intriguing option if he carves out a consistent role. Right now, however, it's tough to recommend either player.
CT: Kaman's probably limited in playing time, like I said, so he can be taken right out. He'll be productive, but it's tough to rely on him when he is getting so few minutes. Allen is really only listed because Roy Hibbert suffered an ankle injury Wednesday; he had just 18 points and 15 rebounds in four games prior to Hibbert's injury. Unless we hear differently sometime soon, Hibbert is considered day-to-day at this point. So that leaves Hickson, who I advocated picking up yesterday. Nothing has happened to change my opinion since, so Hickson is the guy, both in the short-term and long-term. Nurkic will be the starter, but Brian Shaw trusts Hickson, which will count for a lot.
Waiver wire flier
Jarrett Jack, G, Nets
Nets coach Lionel Hollins admitted he needed to reduce Jack's minutes, which shouldn't make prospective Fantasy owners particularly thrilled. However, Deron Williams was diagnosed with a fractured rib Thursday, so it might be tough to keep Jack out of the lineup as much as Hollins might want. Jack is already owned in 77 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, so he isn't available in many leagues, but even that number is too low at this point. Jack is averaging 15.3 points and 5.3 assists per game in 10 starts on the season, and might even be able to improve on those numbers moving forward, since a bunch of his starts came with Williams hanging around as a reserve. With little competition for minutes, Jack is going to have every opportunity to run this team now.