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The extended All-Star break was nice, but it has had an accordion-life effect on the second half of the season. With so many games to squeeze in after the break, it seems like every night has a full schedule, which is a good thing for daily Fantasy players.
Friday's schedule features 12 games, two days after a 13-game slate Wednesday, but there aren't a ton of great matchups. Wednesday featured a ton of high-scoring, competitive games, which led to some massive individual outings, but tonight's schedule doesn't look quite as conducive to that; eight of the 12 games have one team favored by five or more points.
You'll never get anywhere chasing blowouts, but those guys in Vegas know what they're doing when they set those lines. Things are especially dodgy with the later games, as four of the six games starting after 8 p.m. feature a line of seven or more points. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because early exits by stars could lead to good value, but it just makes the night more unpredictable, which is never a good thing.
This seems like a good night to break out multiple lineups to take advantage of the unpredictability. Maybe put Anthony Davis and Stephen Curry in one lineup and then fade them in another -- either they go off and you win big, or they have early nights and you benefit from everyone else's lineups failing.
On a night with a lot of uncertainty, hedging is your best bet.
Toronto at Charlotte
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.3
Kyle Lowry hasn't played since last Friday because the Raptors have opted to give the struggling guard time off to rest. That time off could pay dividends, but I wouldn't touch him at this point.
Chicago at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 385.7
The Pacers have had good luck missing other teams' best players lately, but Tom Thibodeau doesn't exactly seem like the type to play the rest game on the second night of a back-to-back.
Sacramento at Orlando
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 405.0
This is the game with the most Fantasy potential for tonight, and DeMarcus Cousins makes for a Fantastic play against a pretty soft Magic frontcourt.
Utah at Philadelphia
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 393.5
The 76ers' drives to the basket often end in wild misses and blocks, which could mean great things for Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, though neither is a bargain anymore.
Miami at Washington
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 373.6
This one could be played at a plodding pace, and the Wizards' proclivity for settling for mid-range jumpers could lead to a deflated block total for Hassan Whiteside, who is creeping back up to $9,000 all of a sudden.
Cleveland at Atlanta
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 388.2
Paul Millsap has completely silenced Kevin Love, who is averaging just 11.0 points per game in three matchups with the Hawks. At $8,000-plus, I don't like this matchup for Love.
Phoenix at Brooklyn
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 398.2
These two teams haven't played since early November, and could have five different starters tonight than last time. One of those new starters, Brandon Knight, has seven assists in each of his last two games, and could be figuring things out, but I'm still not trusting him at his price..
LA Lakers at Memphis
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 392.5
The only question here is whether the Lakers can keep things close enough for Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley to get to the 30-minute mark.
Boston at New Orleans
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 392.5
Boston's soft frontcourt should allow Alexis Ajinca to continue providing solid value.
Denver at San Antonio
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 395.0
Ty Lawson has fewer than 30 FanDuel points in five of seven games since the All-Star break, and has 42.8 total in two games against the Spurs this season.
Dallas at Golden State
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 385.7
Al-Farouq Aminu had 29.4 FanDuel points the last time these two teams faced off, and that was with Chandler Parsons healthy. Aminu is one of my favorite low-cost guys tonight, because the Warriors' pace and high turnover rate could work out very nicely for someone with such active hands on defense.
My roster for March 6 at FanDuel.com:
PG Reggie Jackson, Pistons at Houston ($6,400)
PG Mike Conley, Grizzlies vs. L.A. Lakers ($6,300)
SG Victor Oladipo, Magic vs. Sacramento ($7,200)
SG Tony Snell, Bulls at Indiana ($3,800)
SF Draymond Green, Warriors vs. Dallas ($8,300)
SF Al-Farouq Aminu, Mavericks at Golden State ($4,600)
PF Anthony Davis, Pelicans vs. Boston ($11,200)
PF Nikola Mirotic, Bulls at Indiana ($4,500)
C Joakim Noah, Bulls at Indiana ($7,200)
Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans vs. Boston ($11,200)
I wasn't sure what to expect from Davis in his first game back from a shoulder injury, but he didn't hold anything back Wednesday in dropping 78.6 FanDuel points against the Pistons. And now he gets to go up against one of my favorite big-men matchups, in a Celtics team that is so desperate for frontcourt help they nearly signed JaVale McGee on Thursday. Davis already had 56.8 FanDuel points in his previous matchup with the Celtics this season, and now gets to take on a shorthanded frontcourt that has featured Jonas Jerebko at center in recent games. Davis carries a hefty price tonight, and there is only one power forward within $2,900 of him, but if you want a sure thing, Davis is about as close as you can come with this matchup.
Draymond Green, PF, Warriors vs. Dallas ($8,300)
If you thought Green might take a step back in the second half of the season -- and I did -- his play has really been a pleasant surprise so far. He is averaging 34.4 FanDuel points per game since the All-Star break, and is really showing no signs of slowing down. He has done well in two games against the Mavericks so far this season, averaging 32.1 FanDuel points in two games, despite shooting just 42.9 percent from the field and missing six of his eight 3-point attempts. He has upped his rebound average to 9.0 against the Mavericks, and has a good chance to chase a triple-double against a team that has consistently ranked among the worst in the league on the boards all season long. Green is pricey, but his all-around excellence gives him a solid floor, even if his shot isn't falling.
Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic vs. Sacramento ($7,200)
The Kings' decision to hire George Karl and supercharge the offensive pace hasn't just been a boon for their players; it has also made them an even more attractive opponent for Fantasy players. The Kings are allowing the second-most FanDuel points per game over the last three weeks, including the most to opposing shooting guards. Oladipo has stepped his game up since the All-Star break, averaging 32.1 FanDuel points per game, and should be able to keep that up in a game that should feature plenty of points.
Overpay of the night
Pau Gasol, PF, Bulls at Indiana ($9,500)
Amazingly, Gasol has actually been better on the second night of back-to-backs than on all other games, averaging a robust 40.3 FanDuel points in 15 games that would more than justify the price of admission here. However, his game has dipped just a bit since the All-Star break, as Gasol entered play Thursday averaging 35.3 FanDuel points, with as many games below 30 as above. Tom Thibodeau seems to be making more of an effort to conserve Gasol as the season goes on, which is a good sign for his long-term health, if not for his appeal in daily Fantasy. Gasol is the only player between Anthony Davis, at $11,200, and Zach Randolph, at $8,300, which means he's in a tier of his own tonight. Is he really that much better than the Zach Randolphs and Greg Monroes of the world?
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CT: Durant remains without a timetable, but he was going through shooting drills Thursday and appears to be making progress. If he returns within the next week, this is a huge steal for you, especially given Jackson's high-volume production since landing in Detroit. It's tough to give up Drummond, and Williams is starting to show more life, but you would arguably be getting the two best players in this deal. The risk is in Durant not returning in time for the Fantasy playoffs and torpedoing your season, so it just depends on how risk averse you are. I think I would pull the trigger, but I understand being hesitant.
CT: Carroll's an awfully nice player to have on your team, because it seems like you never have to worry about him. He doesn't get too high or too low, and you pretty much know he's going to fill up the box score efficiently for you every night. However, the Hawks are 10 1/2 games up in the Eastern Conference with 22 games left, so they might not have too much to play for down the stretch. Mike Budenholzer is a disciple of Gregg Popovich, and has already begun resting his starters strategically. The fact that Carroll may miss three or four games down the stretch kind of negates his advantage as the safe play, which allows Lin's upside to take over. Byron Scott's ever-changing rotations are finally starting to feature Lin more, and he is averaging 15.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game over the last five. At this point, Lin's the better option, just like he was early in the season.
Waiver Wire flier
Alexis Ajinca, F, Pelicans
Initially, it seemed like Ajinca's Fantasy relevance would last only as long as Anthony Davis' shoulder injury, however Wednesday's game gives at least some reason to reconsider that. With Davis back, Ajinca still logged 23 minutes and a double-double, his second in a row. He has scored in double figures in six straight games, and is averaging 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 blocks per game in just 23.1 minutes in that span. With Ryan Anderson still out with a knee injury, it doesn't seem like Ajinca is going anywhere, and it appears as if Monty Williams is comfortable playing him and Davis together, as most of Ajinca's minutes came with Davis on the floor Wednesday. If he keeps getting 20-plus minutes a night, Ajinca looks like a decent option in category-based formats.