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I scored just 224.3 FanDuel points with Friday's lineup, my worst showing in two weeks, and that didn't come as much of a surprise. In the aftermath of a normal trade deadline, it can take a few days to sort through everything; Thursday's deadline was no normal trade deadline. 37 players switched places, including a bevy of starting point guards, arguably the most important players in today's NBA.
With a full weekend of games, we still don't quite know what we can and cannot rely on. The fact that a trio of massive injuries hit Chris Bosh, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant only threw more confusion on top of things, and those injuries will impact Monday's games heavily. The Heat will play their second game without Bosh, while the Pelicans will have to sort out life without both Davis and Ryan Anderson for at least the next few weeks.
All of that is to say that it's hard to know exactly what to expect tonight. This is an imperfect science at best, but I generally like to build my lineup around a few relative sure things. With so much still in flux, however, this feels like a night when you just throw things at the wall and see what sticks. There are a few players I feel confident in, sure, not as much as usual. In one iteration of my lineup, I had $1,900 left over, and had to take Isaiah Canaan out; I have no idea if that will work out for me.
Tonight is a good night to throw out a couple of different lineups in a big tournament and see if you can hit big on something. There are a lot of high variance options out right now, so the smartest approach might be to hedge your bets and see if you can get lucky.
Philadelphia at Miami
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 393.3
Miami started running in their first game with Goran Dragic, and they probably won't stop tonight. Hassan Whiteside should absolutely dominate this one, and might be a must-play outside of tournament games.
Minnesota at Houston
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 400.0
This one could be the FanDuel game of the night, given how fast both teams tend to play. There should be plenty of points to go around.
Toronto at New Orleans
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.6
Alexis Ajinca is averaging 29.4 FanDuel points per-36 minutes in his six starts this season, and the Pelicans will be without both Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson tonight against a team that struggles to defend the rim.
Brooklyn at Denver
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 402.0
I still see no reason to trust the Nuggets at this point. Maybe if their rotation settles down in the next week following their trades.
Boston at Phoenix
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 398.0
Isaiah Thomas lighting his former team up seems like too obvious a storyline, but I can't help but buy in.
San Antonio at Utah
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 380.0
Gordon Hayward is averaging just 27.1 FanDuel points per game against the Spurs this season, which makes the usually reliable SF a tough call.
Memphis at LA Clippers
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 377.8
You almost prefer DeAndre Jordan going against a good defensive team, because that just means more rebounds available.
My roster for Feb. 23 at FanDuel.com:
PG Isaiah Thomas, Celtics at Phoenix($6,000)
PG Tony Parker, Spurs at Utah($5,400)
SG Eric Bledsoe, Suns vs. Boston($8,400)
SG Jamal Crawford, Clippers vs. Memphis ($5,600)
SF Khris Middleton, Bucks at Chicago($6,600)
SF Robert Covington, 76ers at Miami($6,600)
PF Derrick Favors, Jazz vs. San Antonio($7,300)
PF Josh Smith, Rockets vs. Minnesotai>($6,300)
C Hassan Whiteside, Heat vs. Philadelphia ($7,800)
Jamal Crawford, SG, Clippers vs. Memphis ($5,600)
When Blake Griffin went down following elbow surgery, the assumption was that Spencer Hawes would be the big winner from a Fantasy perspective. However, Hawes has mostly fallen flat, while Crawford has stepped in and given the Clippers a big offensive boost. He has scored 20-plus points in six straight games, and is averaging 31.9 FanDuel points in five games without Griffin, including 30-plus in three straight. Memphis is a tough matchup, obviously, but you have to like Crawford in spite of that; he just had 30-point FanDuel games against the Rockets and Spurs in consecutive games. Given his reliance on tough jumpers, Crawford has a tendency to go cold, but you have to like him at this price, given his recent play.
Isaiah Thomas, PG, Celtics at Phoenix ($6,000)
Thomas was worked in slowly Sunday against the Lakers, but you know Thomas is going to want to play a big role against the second team that gave up on him in the span of about six months. Thomas, who averages 23.9 FanDuel points per game, put up 28.3 per game in three matchups against his former-former team, Sacramento. This game features two of the three-fastest teams in the league in terms of pace, which should suit Thomas very well. Expect his breakout to begin tonight.
Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz vs. Boston ($7,300)
The big winner of the trade deadline in Utah was Rudy Gobert, who no longer has to split time with Enes Kanter at center. However, Favors should also see a boost in his playing time and production, as many of the touches that went to Kanter will go Favors' way. He has developed into a very solid offensive player this season, and put up 34.8 FanDuel points in the first post-Kanter game, a good start. Add in that Favors is averaging 34.1 FanDuel points in two games against the Spurs, and I needed Favors in my lineup tonight.
Overpay of the night
Brandon Knight, PG, Suns vs. Boston ($7,300)
As you'll see later, I believe strongly in Knight's ability to turn into a useful Fantasy player in Phoenix, once he finds a comfort level. However, he was worked in slowly in his first game, playing just 25 minutes, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he is below 30 minutes yet again tonight. This is a fantastic Fantasy matchup overall, but I'm not sure I trust Knight to take advantage of it just yet. Knight was averaging just under 1.0 Fantasy points per minute in Milwaukee, a rate we should expect to drop at least a litte in Phoenix; I am staying away from Knight until he settles into his eventual role.
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CT: I like this move. Covington has been a great surprise this season, while Love has been a major disappointment, but that doesn't mean Love hasn't been better. And, as much hype as there is around Canaan right now, he is by no means a sure thing at this point. You added him for little cost on waivers last week, and flipping him for value right away seems like a very smart bit of asset management. Pull the trigger.
CT: There are two problems with this move; one specifically, and one generally. In general, you're overreacting to the results of just one night of action. Yes, Brandon Knight is moving into a worse situation than the one he was in prior to last Thursday's trade, as he now has to split ballhandling duties with Eric Bledsoe. However, it's not like Bledsoe is a ball-dominant guard; in fact, he averaged just 5.1 minutes with the ball in his hands prior to the trade, well below the norm for most point guards. Knight will see a dip, but the rise in pace in Phoenix could make up for most of what he loses in usage. And, more specifically, you are overreacting wildly to one night of action. Yes, Williams was phenomenal in his first game with the Hornets, and could be a very solid Fantasy option for the next three weeks or so. However, he's also just not nearly as good of a player as Knight is, and is going to lose his role as soon as Kemba Walker returns from injury, which would make whatever edge Williams has with his playoff schedule moot. Don't do it.