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If we've beat the Russell Westbrook topic to death, it's only because it is difficult to talk about much else. Depending on who you listen to, you either can't possibly win without Westbrook in your lineup or you can't afford the insane price he has on him.
Naturally, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Westbrook still has a higher ceiling and floor than anyone in the game. When you can drop 39.3 FanDuel points and ruin someone's lineup, you know expectations are high. Westbrook has come back to Earth a bit lately, with three straight games under 60 FanDuel points since his price reached a record-high $13,300 on March 11.
However, that doesn't mean he hasn't been worth his price. Ideally, you are looking to spend right around $200 per FanDuel point when setting a lineup -- if you spend all $60,000, that will put you at 300 points -- a great place to be. Westbrook hasn't quite reached that mark, but he's not far off, given the price.
Westbrook has 55 and 56.2 points in his last two games, good for around $235 per point based on his current price. That isn't optimal, but you have to take into account the fact that he's a pretty safe bet to hit that mark, having done so in six of his last eight games. That isn't the case for some of the other elite players. DeMarcus Cousins has failed to hit $235 per point in five of eight, falling well short in three of them.
Westbrook's price seems ludicrous and choosing him brings a host of issues when it comes to rounding out the rest of your lineup. That's why I have been shying away. However, even at this level, few players can match him on a dollar-to-dollar basis. There's no reason to think Dallas will be able to slow him down, so you're not crazy if you throw him out there.
Toronto at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 386.1
The Raptors' front line hasn't been great on defense, but the Pacers might not have the personnel to take advantage, with David West and Roy Hibbert slumping.
Portland at Washington
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 378.1
I'll still take Arron Afflalo at his price and hope the process wins out and he turns all those minutes and shots into something big.
Philadelphia at Boston
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 404.1
There could be a lot of blocks and steals in this one, between two teams that like to shoot at the rim and play at a fast pace.
Denver at Memphis
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 390.7
The Nuggets have done very well lately, but this is an exceptionally tough matchup. Beno Udrih could be a fine low-end play if Mike Conley remains out.
Brooklyn at Minnesota
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 403.7
Based on Sunday, the Timberwolves might not have any healthy bodies available. You'll want to steer clear if you can't set your lineup later in the day.
Cleveland at Miami
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 382.8
LeBron James has taken it easy on his former mates, averaging only 39.6 FanDuel points per game in two previous matchups. However, he might not be a great play on the second night of a back-to-back, so keep an eye on the Cavs' lineup to see if he rests.
Oklahoma City at Dallas
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 390.5
If Serge Ibaka has to sit out again, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams could have huge games against the league's worst rebounding team.
Charlotte at Utah
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 377.1
This should be one of the lower scoring games of the evening, with two of the league's best defenses facing off. I wouldn't touch a gimpy Al Jefferson against this defense even if he plays.
Atlanta at Sacramento
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 399.6
The Hawks handled the Kings easily last week, but DeMarcus Cousins still had 38.8 FanDuel points despite shooting 3 of 9 from the field.
L.A. Lakers at Golden State
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 396.8
Even with the potential for a blowout, Stephen Curry might be a must-start tonight. He is averaging 48.2 FanDuel points in just 31.3 minutes per game against the Lakers.
My roster for March 16 at FanDuel.com:
PG Stephen Curry, Warriors vs. L.A.
PG Rajon Rondo, Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City ($5,700)
SG Ben McLemore, Kings vs. Atlanta ($4,300)
SG Arron Afflalo, Trail Blazers at Washington ($4,300)
SF LeBron James, Cavaliers at Miami ($10,900)
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets at Utah ($6,300)
PF Nerlens Noel, 76ers at Boston ($7,500)
PF Thomas Robinson, 76ers at Boston ($4,500)
C Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves vs. Brooklyn ($6,200)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Hornets at Utah ($6,300)
This is a very tough matchup, but I love the way Kidd-Gilchrist is playing right now. The good news is, he is someone who doesn't really need to score to be an effective play for FanDuel. For evidence, check his 31.4 FanDuel-point game on March 13, during which he shot just 5 of 17 from the field. He has been a rebounding machine since the All-Star break, averaging 8.7 per game, and there should be plenty of opportunities for boards to go around in this one with two of the stingiest defenses in the league squaring off. He had 34.2 FanDuel points the last time he faced the Jazz, so I'm going to keep on rolling with MKG.
Gorgui Dieng, C, Timberwolvesvs. Brooklyn ($6,200)
With Nikola Pekovic's ankle starting to bother him -- as Zach Harper said in a recent podcast, "It's that time of the year" -- Dieng might just be a must-play for daily Fantasy until his price starts to climb. Dieng averages 29.7 FanDuel points per game as a starter this season and was routinely priced in the $7,000 range as a result. We'll see if Pekovic's latest issue keeps him out as long as his last, but as long as he is hobbled, Dieng is going to get plenty of opportunities to produce for you, and should have no trouble taking advantage.
Rajon Rondo, PG, Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City ($5,700)
This isn't one I feel great about, but Rondo's price has fallen enough that I'm willing to take a chance on him. If you can get 25 FanDuel points out of him, you'll come away from tonight feeling OK about the pick, and he has reached that point threshold in three of his last six games -- with games of 23.3 and 24.3 thrown in as well. His fit in Dallas is awkward, to say the least, but he does enough things well between defense and rebounding that you can justify the risk. It helps that opposing point guards are averaging the second-most FanDuel points per minute against the Thunder since the All-Star break, in larger part thanks to Russell Westbrook's high turnover rate.
Overpay of the night
Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets at Memphis ($6,800)
It's been great to see Faried unleashed again under interim coach Melvin Hunt, who has the Nuggets playing fast and loose yet again. Faried has played big minutes consistently under Hunt, and is averaging 35.5 FanDuel points per game over the last seven. However, Faried has always predictably struggled against the Grizzlies, averaging just 23.7 FanDuel points per game against them, his ninth-lowest total against any team. He has just 46 FanDuel points in 51 minutes against them this season, so I'm expecting his momentum to slow down just a tad, as he struggles with the size and length of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. I look forward to getting Faried back in my lineup in a few days, but not in this one.
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CT: Given the uncertainty George has expressed about coming back and making a big impact in recent days, I don't have any problem parting ways with him at this point. You were never going to get 100 percent of George this season anyway, and now that his projected return date has come and gone, there's no guarantee you'll get anything from him. Even if you don't trust Shved -- and I'm not sure I do -- he's likely to give you more than George from this point on.
CT: While Canaan has a more assured role, I'm not convinced he's going to be better than Clarkson moving forward. Canaan is going to rain in 3-pointers and should provide decent scoring, but Clarkson brings a lot more to the table. Canaan is clearly not comfortable running an offense yet, which means we're still going to see a heavy dose of Ish Smith in Philadelphia. In Los Angeles, there will still be plenty of room for Clarkson in the rotation even if Lin moves into the starting lineup. Lin is averaging nearly 28 minutes per game since the All-Star break off the bench. Clarkson has played 101 minutes alongside Lin since the All-Star break and is averaging 17.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per 36 minutes during that time, so don't expect him to take too much of a back seat. Clarkson has been arguably the only real bright spot for the Lakers this season, so let's hope they don't spoil it.