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We don't have a great set of matchups on the way tonight, with a bunch of games that have the potential to be pretty ugly on the slate. Shots could be at a premium in a number of games, and that gave me some trouble as I tried to set my FanDuel lineup tonight.
Take the Pelicans-Cavaliers game, for example. This is a star-studded game that looks fun on paper, but both of these teams have been pretty deliberate in their pace through the first two weeks, with the Cavaliers ranking an especially shocking 28th in pace through five games. So, while visions of LeBron James and Anthony Davis lobs might dance in your head as you set your lineup, this might actually end up being a methodical game, based on how these teams are going.
Short schedules present specific difficulties when setting your lineup, because you just don't have as much flexibility as you might on other nights. This is especially a problem at a position like shooting guard, where there aren't many options to begin with. I was all set to slide Iman Shumpert into my lineup at the two, but he is classified as a small forward for FanDuel, which threw a wrench in my plans.
Ultimately, I ended up passing on Shumpert and instead built my team around two-thirds of the Cavaliers' Big 3. I tried this strategy Friday with LeBron and Kyrie Irving, but Irving struggled and ended up costing me some cash. Hopefully it isn't Love's turn to let me down, but I don't think he will, simply because his rebounding tends to be a pretty reliable commodity. Hopefully the ball starts swinging around more and he can pick up more assists, since he uncharacteristically has just five in the last four games.
Ultimately, my lineup is going to live or die with those Cavs, but there is plenty of room for upside elsewhere. Specifically, Aaron Brooks could be a steal if the Bulls continue to play it safe with Derrick Rose's ankles. In fact, my lineup may hinge on Rose's availability, because both Brooks and Jimmy Butler have higher upside with Rose sitting out.
The Bulls are going to take every precaution possible with Rose, and you might be able to profit off that, if you guess right.
My roster for Nov. 10 at FanDuel.com:
PG Donald Sloan, Pacers vs. Utah ($5,700)
PG Aaron Brooks, Bulls vs. Detroit ($4,900)
SG Jimmy Butler, Bulls vs. Detroit ($7,100)
SG Alec Burks, Jazz at Indiana ($5,300)
SF LeBron James, Cavalers vs. New Orleans ($10,400)
SF Solomon Hill, Pacers vs. Utah ($5,100)
PF Kevin Love, Cavaliers vs. New Orleans ($8,800)
PF Greg Monroe, Pistons at Chicago ($7,200)
C Omer Asik, Pelicans at Cleveland ($5,400)
Solomon Hill, SF, Pacers vs. Utah ($5,100)
Hill is the ninth most expensive small forward for the night, a product mostly of the shallow pool we're dealing with thanks to the schedule. Small forward simply isn't a great position overall, but Hill might end up helping that depth a bit this season. We identified him as a possible sleeper following Paul George's injury, and he has now scored in double figures in each of the last five games. He is averaging 15.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game in that stretch, good for 25.2 FanDuel Fantasy points, which would be good for seventh among small forwards tonight. If C.J. Miles' migraine issues keep him out again tonight, Hill could be an absolute steal.
Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz at Indiana ($7,200)
Hayward is being asked to do less than he was a year ago, with his field-goal attempts down from 13.4 to 12.4 through seven games, but his scoring is up to 18.0 per game, thanks to an expected increase in efficiency. Hayward is still contributing solid rebound and assist numbers and should be able to outperform a surprisingly low price tag even against a tough matchup. He is $600 less than Josh Smith despite averaging more FanDuel Fantasy points per game so far. He is the best bang for the buck option among the small forward crop.
Ryan Anderson, PF, Pelicans at Cleveland ($5,900)
Anderson is getting the chances so far, despite coming off the bench in each game, so you shouldn't be concerned about his slow shooting start. Anderson is enough of a known quantity that we should be able to dismiss a five-game slump as little more than bad luck. With 13.8 field-goal attempts per game, you can probably count on closer to 17 points per game, and his rebounding hasn't been as bad as the per-game numbers might look. He is actually averaging 7.8 rebounds per-36 minutes, his best total since 2011-12. The Cavaliers are allowing their opponents to shoot 38.1 percent from three-point range this season, so Anderson should have plenty of room and lots of opportunities to fire away tonight.
Overpay of the night
Josh Smith, SF, Pistons at Chicago ($5,500)
As noted with both Hill and Hayward, there are better values out there than Smith, who has somehow been even worse than expected this season. There are only four small forwards who will cost you more than $6,000, so you might be tempted to go for a relative sure thing with Smith, but the upside might not be worth it. Especially against a Bulls defense that is going to goad Smith into the kind of jumpers that tend to derail his game. He averaged just 11.7 points per game on 31.8 percent shooting against the Bulls last season.
CT: First thing's first: Anthony isn't going to keep shooting 38.2 percent from the field. Now that we have the obvious part of the answer out of the way, I still think I would move Anthony for someone like Aldridge. In Head-to-Head scoring, Anthony edged out Aldridge 41.1 to 39.6 Fantasy points per game a year ago, but that was with Anthony racking up huge rebounding numbers and firing up a high volume of 3-pointers to pump up his scoring a bit. The Knicks are playing at an even slower offensive pace this season and are shying away from 3-pointers, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Anthony's scoring is down, even if we assume his shooting will improve. At this point, I would give the edge to Aldridge, and think it's a fine trade to make if you are wary of Anthony's fit in the new offense.