Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-day $250,000 Fantasy Basketball contest for Monday's games. It's $25 to enter and first prize is $25,000. Starts Monday at tipoff. Enter now!
If you played FanDuel on Sunday, you are much braver than I am. The schedule -- Miami-Boston and New York-L.A. Lakers -- looked like a snoozer, and the final product didn't fail to disappoint. You were probably better off saving your money for Monday, when there is a much better slate of games on the way.
One of the first things I do when setting my lineup is try to find the best values of the night. Sometimes this is difficult, because you need the right combination factors to make a good value. You need a good matchup, yes, but you also want a good player unexpectedly stepping into a larger role than he has been in previously. That is the perfect combination for a FanDuel sleeper, and Monday gives us a couple of options. First off, we have noted block specialist John Henson, who is likely to remain the Bucks' starter at center with Zaza Pachulia dealing with a calf injury. Along the same line, you have Devin Harris stepping into the Mavericks' starting lineup against a woeful Timberwolves defense in Rajon Rondo's absence.
I made sure to add those two to my lineup to start off, and then went from there with some other good values. I added another "good value archetype" in DeMar DeRozan -- the slumping star due for a breakout -- and then slotted Timofey Mozgov in at center. Mozgov is another version of a good value, in that he is a useful role player facing a supreme matchup. I love his chances of having a big game against the 76ers, as you'll see below.
However, sometimes you identify a few too many good values and end up having to leave some on the board. That's what happened to me for Monday's lineup, with Mozgov at center leaving nearly $3,000 on the table. As much as I like Mozgov against the 76ers, there's little chance he outscores Nikola Vucevic, even against the tough Thunder.
Looking at my lineup, I'm a fan of what I've got going. I don't say that every night, but Monday, it is true. My value plays all have a good chance to live up to their potential and they allowed me to go with safe, dependable stars elsewhere. Maybe I am overconfident after a nice run of luck, but this lienup feels like a winner.
Philadelphia at Cleveland
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 414.77
If Kevin Love is going to get going, it has to come against the 76ers, right?
Charlotte at Washington
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 383.37
Al Jefferson's play is improving and his price hasn't caught up yet. He is averaging 35.9 FanDuel points per game over the last four.
L.A. Clippers at Brooklyn
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 397.1
If you are going to rely on Jarrett Jack -- and given his play and price tag, why wouldn't you? -- you need to keep an eye on Deron Williams' status. If he can't get through shootaround, roll with Jack with confidence.
Milwaukee at Toronto
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 390.05
With Zaza Pachulia dealing with a calf injury, I love John Henson for this one. He has 60.8 FanDuel points in his last two and his shot-blocking gives him a decent floor on most nights.
Atlanta at New Orleans
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 392.19
Anthony Davis is expected to return tonight, but the nature of his groin injury might make him a risk.
Orlando at Oklahoma City
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 405.8
The Magic are a mess right now, but nothing can slow Nikola Vucevic down. He is averaging 41.8 FanDuel points per game over the last six.
Minnesota at Dallas
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 408.16
I'm staying away from the Timberwolves' point guards, all of whom are in question. If Ricky Rubio and Mo Williams are out, Lorenzo Brown might be worth a look, but that's a big risk.
Memphis at Phoenix
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.65
Might not be a bad idea to stack the Grizzlies' starting frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, given the somewhat underwhelming options available at center.
My roster for Feb. 2 at FanDuel.com:
PG Jarrett Jack, Nets vs. L.A. Clippers($7,000)
PG Devin Harris, Mavericks vs. Minnesota($3,500)
SG Monta Ellis, Mavericks vs. Minnesota ($7,800)
SG DeMar DeRozan, Raptors vs. Milwaukee ($6,800)
SF Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves at Dallas ($6,900)
SF Robert Covington, 76ers at Cleveland($5,600)
PF Zach Randolph, Grizzlies at Phoenix ($8,600)
PF John Henson, Bucks at Toronto ($4,700)
C Nikola Vucevic, Magic at Oklahoma City ($9,000)
Timofey Mozgov, C, Cavaliers vs. Philadelphia ($5,200)
There are better options at the center position on any given night, but Mozgov has a great opportunity in front of him if you want to go cheap. He has at least 20 FanDuel points per game in each of the last four and is averaging 23.9 per game since joining the Cavaliers. If that's all you get from him, he's a decent return on a minimal investment, but you can realistically expect even more than that from him tonight. The 76ers attempt 33.6 shots within five feet of the rim per game, the third-highest mark in the league, so Mozgov should have plenty of opportunties for blocks here. Opposing centers are averaging 49.9 FanDuel points per-48 minutes against the 76ers, so Mozgov should be in line for a good showing.
Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies at Phoenix ($8,600)
Randolph doesn't put up the kind of huge individual efforts that guys like Blake Griffin or Anthony Davis do, but he's been just about the most reliable Fantasy option around since returning from injury in early January. He enters play Monday riding a 12-game double-double streak which includes a 27-point, 17-rebound dismantling of the Suns that saw him drop 50.4 FanDuel points. Randolph has a very high floor with how he is rebounding the ball right now, and should be able to keep it up against a very undersized Suns frontcourt.
Devin Harris, PG, Maverics vs. Minnesota ($3,500)
Given the nature of the Mavericks' offense, the point guard doesn't really dominate the ball. Even Rajon Rondo, one of the most ball-dominant point guards in the league, saw his assist numbers fall pretty hard after joining the team. Still, Harris makes for a nice gamble tonight, with Rondo sidelined by a head injury and the worst defense in the league on the schedule. Harris should see plenty of opportunities even next to Monta Ellis, and has 18.7 and 21.2 FanDuel points in each of his last two games. If you can get 20 points from him, that's more than enough to justify the minimal investment.
Overpay of the night
Tobias Harris, SF, Orlando at Oklahoma City ($5,800)
Harris' price has plumetted since his return from injury, but I'm still not touching him. The Magic are a mess right now and Harris' role and playing time have been inconsistent as a result. He is averaging just 17.1 FanDuel points per game since returning, and I'm not sure I would want him at any price against a Thunder defense that is still pretty good. It seems like the Magic will have a new coach before long and that should turn out to be a good thing for Harris, but I am staying away for the time being.
Want to get Chris' attention? Follow him on Twitter and ask all the questions your heart desires. You can also ask your questions in an email. Just shoot a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
@minutemandan: Would you drop Luol Deng for Donatas Motiejunas?
CT: If Motiejunas is center eligible in the format you play -- he isn't for CBSSports.com -- then this is a no-brainer. It probably doesn't take much though even if he isn't, however. Deng has been fine this season, but Motiejunas has been a good deal more than "fine" whenever Dwight Howard has missed time. He is averaging 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in the 16 games Dwight Howard has missed, while shooting 55.9 percent from the field and adding 0.8 3-pointers per game. He should be a focal point in the middle over the next few weeks, with Howard possibly out a month, so he should be your target.
CT: If Faried played for a different coach, I think this would be a much easier call. Faried is one of the most productive big men in the league on a per-minute basis, but he continues to find playing time hard to come by on a consistent basis. In January, he is averaging a season-high 30.5 minutes per game, and has turned that into 12.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Those are solid numbers, but they're probably not good enough to trump Dieng's ultimate upside. Dieng will have to fight for playing time himself now that Nikola Pekovic is back from injury, but he can be a top-12 center when he gets starter's minutes. With Pekovic's injury history, he'll get them again before long.