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Coaching changes, trades, and injuries are the events that shake up the Fantasy landscape the most, and it's often hard to figure out how the effects will be felt until after the fact. But Fantasy players in both yearly and daily formats can't afford to look at things that way; we always have to be forward thinking, and that can involved taking some risks.
If you took a risk on Spencer Hawes Sunday in the wake of Blake Griffin's injury, or Tobias Harris over the Magic's last two games following the ouster of coach Jacque Vaughn, you probably came away from last weekend very happy. We still have just a one-game sample size for the Clippers without Griffin, while the Magic have played just two without Vaughn on the bench, so we are still very much working in the realm of the unknown.
For my lineup tonight, I feel a lot better about betting on the Clippers than the Magic, specifically with regards to Hawes. He is a dirt-cheap option at center who theoretically fills a big hole for the Clippers left by Griffinl. Hawes was a consistent and reliable option last season when he got the minutes, and has shown signs of life of late, as you'll read later. On the other hand, I came into the season afraid to trust the Magic -- they have too much positional overlap on their roster outside of the one and five spots -- and I'm not ready to change my position on that based on two games under an interim coach.
That doesn't mean you should stay away from Harris -- he is peaking right now and could be a great play at $6,100. I've just been burnt a bit too many times by him specifically and the Magic more generally to trust him until we have more of a track record to go on. If he posts another big stat line tonight, I'll be closer to being convinced, and might just end up feeling like I missed a golden opportunity. There's always that risk..
San Antonio at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 381.9
If you're looking to go cheap at point guard, you have to love the way George Hill is playing latel, with 25-plus FanDuel points in three of four games.
Golden State at Philadelphia
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 400.1
One of two games with massive blowout potential, but it also features two of the league's fastest teams, so there will be plenty of points to go around.
Orlando at Washington
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 388.6
Tobias Harris' play in the first game of the post-Jacque Vaughn era was very promising, and it might make sense to keep rolling with him at a relatively cheap price.
New York at Miami
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 379.6
The biggest problem with this gamme is that it features to two slowest teams in the league going at it. I still like Chris Bosh going a pretty weak frontcourt, especially if Hassan Whiteside is still sidelined.
Brooklyn at Milwaukee
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.8
Giannis Antetokounmpo's game seems to be developing at a rapid pace of late, especially when he gets to play power forward. The Nets might not have anyone who can stay in front of him.
Atlanta at Minnesota
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 397.0
This might have the most blowout potential of the night, but it could mean good things for someone like Gorgui Gieng for the Wolves.
L.A. Clippers at Dallas
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 385.2
The Clippers are going through a trying time right now, finishing up a long road trip and fighting through some tough injuries. We might see Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes' short-term value jump as a result.
Oklahoma City at Denver
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 398.2
There are a couple of things going against the Thunder's stars tonight, starting with the fact that this game has a lot of blowout potential with how poorly the Nuggets have played recently. Add in that it is the second night of a back-to-back, and I definitely wouldn't want to have both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in a stars-and-scrubs lineup. Pick one.
My roster for Feb. 9 at FanDuel.com:
PG Jeff Teague, Hawks at Minnesota($7,700)
PG John Wall, Wizards vs. Orlando($9,000)
SG Eric Gordon, Pelicans vs. Utah($6,000)
SG Elijah Millsap, Jazz at New Orleans ($3,600)
SF Kevin Durant, Thunder at Denver($10,700)
SF Robert Covington, 76ers vs. Golden State ($6,500)
PF Chris Bosh, Heat vs. New York($7,700)
PF Ryan Anderson, Pelicans vs. Utah($5,300)
C Spencer Hawes, Clippers at Dallas ($3,500)
Spencer Hawes, C, Clippers at Dallas($3,500)
Hawes has had trouble fitting in this season, but he proved last season he can be an extremely useful Fantasy option when he gets the opportunity. He averaged 29.1 FanDuel points per game last season, and immediately logged 35 minutes in his first game as a starter Sunday, post-Griffin injury. He didn't do much with it, but has been showing signs of life lately, shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from 3-point range over the last 10 games, so he just might be finding his way at the right time. It wouldn't surprise me to see Hawes settle in between $5,000 and $6,000 in the next few weeks, so he could be an absolute steal for the next few games until his price catches up.
DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers at Dallas($8,300)
And here's the other side of the coin. Jordan can make up for Hawes' rebounding woes and then some all on his own, and he's got a great opportunity to make a big Fantasy impact tonight against the Mavericks, though you'll have to pay a steep price for it at a position where there are a good number of cheap options. Jordan is the third most expensive center on the board tonight, but he hasn't topped the 30-FanDuel-point mark in his last three games, which could make you want to stay away. However, the Mavericks are one of the league's worst rebounding teams, ranking 20th and 30th in offensive and defensive rebounding percentages, respectively. Tyson Chandler is still a very formidable foe, but Jordan had 13 points and 15 rebounds the last time he faced Dallas, and ended up with 36 FanDuel points in the process. You have to like the matchup here, especially if Hawes' presence on the perimeter can get Jordan more involved in the offense.
Elijah Millsap, SG, Jazz at New Orleans($3,600)
Millsap doesn't have much Fantasy value in long-term leagues, but he might just be a perfect roll of the dice for daily players. The Jazz will likely be without Joe Ingles again tonight, which means Millsap could see a significant role yet again. He wasn't great against the Kings Saturday, but he did rack up 36 minutes of playing time, enough to get to 21.9 FanDuel points. If he can just repeat that tonight against a pretty mediocre Pelicans defense that could be without Anthony Davis, he would be a great play at this price.
Overpay of the night
Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder at Denver ($11,200)
Westbrook is in a pretty ridiculous hot streak right now, as he is averaging more than 50 FanDuel points per game over the last 10. That inclludes a ridiculous 80.3 FanDuel point night Friday against the Pelicans, which came when Kevin Durant was active. That is the key here, because Westbrook's value probably won't be as sustainably high when Durant is healthy and taking shots away from Westbrook. He had that 48-point outburst with Durant healthy, but has failed to reach 40 FanDuel points in two of his last three with Durant healthy otherwise. This is a fantastic matchup for Westbrook, but he might not be worth being the most expensive player in the game on the second night of a back to back, assuming Durant is active again.
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CT: With how Whiteside has played over the last few weeks, there is no question this is the right move to make. And even if he settles in as a 12-10-3 guy -- which might be his floor at this point -- that would make him a very solid starting Fantasy center next year and beyond. However, I might be of the opinion that shooting guard and small forward are harder positions to fill than center at this point, so Evans doesn't lose too much to Whiteside in the positional scarcity column. Still, Whiteside has fewer obstacles to a significant role, since Evans' upside is considerably lower when Jrue Holiday is healthy, so it might make more sense to role the dice on Whiteside right now. There is risk here, but the Heat don't really have any players who might take playing time from Whiteside in the next year.
@jcg21: Would you drop Ryan Anderson for Hawes?
CT: Anderson's jump shot has been strangely askew this season, and is shooting just 35.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent on 3-pointers over the last five games. However, he is still putting up 15.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.2 3-pointers in that span, production that makes him a solid starting option at the weakened forward position this season. Hawes is going to step into a larger role in the coming weeks, however I'm not sure I would make a roster-altering move to snatch him up until we know just how long Griffin's surgery will keep him sidelined. Hawes proved last season he can be a very useful Fantasy option in all formats, thanks to his unique passing and shooting ability, two things the Clippers have increasingly relied on Griffin to provide in their offense this season. Hawes should probably be owned in well more than half of CBSSports.com leagues within the next week, but I'm not sure I would drop Anderson for him.