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If you're a fan of things like "star power" or "talent," tonight probably isn't the night for you in the NBA. Of the eight teams set to play tonight, only three have a chance at a playoff spot, and there are probably only four All-Stars between them. This isn't a great night for the casual fan, that's for sure.
However, for hardcore fans -- or us Daily Fantasy folks -- this could end up being one of the more fun nights of the week. There are no $10,000 players available in FanDuel tonight, and one of the $9,500 players will probably sit out on the second night of a back-to-back. If you play tonight, you're going to have to go with guys you probably haven't thought about much, which can be part of the fun.
There are enough value plays out there that I was able to scrape together a lineup I like, but this is a good night to throw multiple entries into a big tournament and see what sticks. There are plenty of point guards in the $5,000 range to pick from, for instance, and if you can't decide on one or two, just pick a bunch of them and go with different lineups.
These games probably won't be much fun to watch on their own, so this will be a great way to supplement your viewing. Or just skip the games, set a lineup and go out for a nice dinner. You probably won't miss much.
Milwaukee at Orlando
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 400.41
Strangely, this is the game I like the most for tonight's schedule. The Bucks have given up 100-plus points in three of the last four games.
New York at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 395.0
With Carmelo Anthony a risk to sit out on a back to back, there will be plenty of shots to go around for the Knicks. Can you trust any of them against this defense?
Denver at Memphis
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 395.44
You would think this might be a bad matchup for young Jusuf Nurkic, but he had a double-double with five blocks -- and no personal fouls -- in 23 minutes in their last matchup.
Chicago at LA Lakers
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 409.56
The Bulls are on the first night of a back-to-back, so it wouldn't be a surprise if their starters didn't last long.
My roster for Jan. 29 at FanDuel.com:
PG Elfrid Payton, Magic vs. Milwaukee($6,000)
PG Jerryd Bayless, Bucks at Orlando($4,200)
SG Victor Oladipo, Magic vs. Milwaukee ($7,000)
SG Jordan Clarkson, Lakers vs. Chicago ($3,700)
SF Wilson Chandler, Nuggets at Memphis ($5,900)
SF Khris Middleton, Bucks at Orlando($5,500)
PF Pau Gasol, Bulls at L.A. Lakers ($9,500)
PF Zach Randolph, Grizzles vs. Denver ($8,600)
C NIkola Vucevic, Magic vs. Milwaukee ($9,100)
Jerryd Bayless, PG, Bucks at Orlando($4,200)
Jason Kidd's flexibility is his greatest asset as a coach, but don't tell Fantasy owners that. He has wrung great value out of a weird roster full of misshapen pieces, but that hasn't made for a great Fantasy situation this season. That doesn't mean the Bucks are barren of Fantasy appeal, especially in daily formats. Bayless has seen a boost in value recently as Kidd has handed him more playmaking duties, and that has led to a boost in his short-term value; he is averaging 24.9 FanDuel points per game over his past four as a result.
Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies vs. Denver($8,600)
Randolph is coming off his worst game in weeks, and he still had 22 points and 10 rebounds. He's absolutely red hot right now, and is easily the safest pick at the power forward position tonight. The Nuggets don't have the size to match up with him, and he averaged 21.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in four games last season.
Aaron Brooks, PG, Bulls at L.A. Lakers ($4,100)
Brooks is like a riskier version of Bayless. If you can only have one, default to Bayless, who has been much more productive lately. However, if you wanted to double-down on cheap point guards on a night where there aren't a ton of great options overall, Brooks is a solid gamble. He's averaging 18.0 FanDuel points per game over the last five, but has a chance for more with the Bulls going against the lowly Lakers on the first night of a back-to-back. If Derrick Rose gets a few extra minutes of rest, Brooks could see a big boost against this defense.
Overpay of the night
Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks at Indiana ($9,600)
The last time the Knicks had a back-to-back set, Anthony sat out the second night, which has to worry you tonight. If you're setting your lineup later in the afternoon, you should have a good idea if he will be playing, but otherwise, you have to stay away. He has been extremely productive since returning from injury, averaging 41.9 FanDuel points per game, so he could be worth this price if he takes the floor. However, as the most expensive player in the game, you can't take that risk.
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 email@example.com.
@FailureDisciple: 1. My keeper league has an injured reserve team. Players can only be retrieved on the 28th of the month. 2. I put Ricky Rubio on IR. Should I retrieve him now or wait a month?
CT: If the Timberwolves could just give us some kind of timetable for Rubio's return, this would be so much easier. Even with the extensive nature of this particular injury, it seems almost impossible that he won't be back within four weeks. He's already begun taking part in contact drills, and a full practice is likely to next and final step before he gets back on the floor. The uncertainty is frustrating, but wouldn't you rather have Rubio active now rather than take the cautious route and potentially miss out on 20-plus days of double-doubles and steals.
@09Qball: @rickIs Kemba Walker worth stashing if dropped?
CT: The answer to this question depends on two questions, and you
can't pick Kemba up if the answer to each isn't "yes."
1. Do you have the roster space?
2. Do you have a good chance to make the playoffs?
If you don't have four guards you feel confident starting on a weekly basis, there's no way you can justify having Walker on your team. And, even if you do, there's not much point in having him if you are still fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot. Having Walker at the expense of someone who could help you over the next month and a half -- like Nick Young or Wayne Ellington -- doesn't make much sense if you won't be playing for anything in Week 21. Given the nature and timing of his injury, I would say there are very few instances in which adding Walker is the right move, but if you have a couple of streaming spots, go for it.