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Fortunately, we don't have to keep an eye on the weather report tonight, because none of the six games are in the area of the blizzard that forced the postponement of two games Monday. That screwed up my lineup -- and could be a factor Wednesday as well -- so let's just appreciate a normal night while we can.
We've hit that point in the season where injuries are starting to take their toll. With the All-Star break still a few weeks away, these players' bodies are breaking down. It's a long season, and most of these teams haven't had more than a few nights off in a row, so we've seen a number of injuries affect rosters in the last few days. While you never want to see players go down, that is the best way to find bargains in Fantasy.
With Brandon Jennings and Kobe Bryant down for the season, the Pistons and Lakers have huge holes to fill. I'm taking advantage of D.J. Augustin tonight, and probably for as long as it takes for his price to climb over $7,000, where it will probably belong moving forward. I'm also willing to rely on Jodie Meeks tonight, as his price has tumbled all the way back to $4,000 after a pretty tough cold snap. The Pistons don't really have a reliable backup point guard, so Meeks is likely to take on that role, as he did when he dished out four assists Sunday. He ended the game with just 15.4 FanDuel points, but could be in line for a nice boost once his shot starts to fall.
Injuries are the worst part about sports, but we can't cry over spilled milk in the Fantasy world. Identifying those places you can take advantage of before they become obvious is the best way to get ahead of the game, especially in daily, where the prices don't fluctuate as quickly as player values tend to in real life.
Toronto at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 392.86
I initially had George Hill in my lineup for this one, because the Raptors' defense has fallen apart over the last few months. I like the way he is playing since returning from injury.
Cleveland at Detroit
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 407.25
The Cavaliers' defense has improved greatly recently, but they have still struggled a bit against big men. DeAndre Jordan had 19-12 on eight field-goal attempts last week, so don't be afraid of Andre Drummond here.
Milwaukee at Miami
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 383.35
I tried to avoid going with Hassan Whiteside, if only because every other person you play against tomorrow is going to have him in there. Still, he fit so well in my lineup, I had to see if he can keep this going.
Memphis at Dallas
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.33
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph both had great games against the Mavericks last week, and both should be solid choices tonight. I'm rolling with Randolph.
Chicago at Golden State
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 396.9
It will be interesting to see how the Bulls' offense does against this Warriors' defense. They might match up well against them, actually.
Washington at L.A. Lakers
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 397.3
The Lakers are a mess, and the Wizards just kill Fantasy value, so I'm staying far away tonight.
My roster for Jan. 27 at FanDuel.com:
PG D.J. Augustin, Pistons vs. Cleveland ($6,000)
PG Mike Conley, Grizzles at Dallas ($7,300)
SG Jodie Meeks, Pistons vs. Cleveland ($5,100)
SG Jordan Clarkson, Lakers vs. Washington ($3,500)
SF LeBron James, Cavaliers at Detroit ($11,000)
SF Paul Pierce, Wizards at L.A. Lakers($5,100)
PF Greg Monroe, Pistons vs. Cleveland ($8,600)
PF Zach Randolph, Grizzles at Dallas ($8,500)
C Hassan Whiteside, Heat vs. Milwaukee ($6,000)
D.J. Augustin, PG, Pistons vs. Cleveland ($6,000)
There was some talk early in the season -- misguidedly, in my opinion -- Augustin would push Brandon Jennings for playing time. Augustin looked very good for the Bulls last season, and was one of the first additions to the Pistons' roster when Stan Van Gundy took over as the President of Basketball Operations, so there was an assumption that he would go with Augustin over the frustrating but more talented Jennings. That never came to fruition, but Augustin is getting that chance now anyways, as a result of Jennings' rupture Achilles. Van Gundy's offense is Fantastic for point guards, and though the Cavaliers' defense looks much improved over the last few games, Augustin should have no problems living up to this value right now; he had 49.8 FanDuel points in his first game as the starter.
Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies at Dallas($8,600)
Randolph has been about as consistent as they come of late, racking up at least 35.9 FanDuel points in seven of eight since returning from an injury. That includes a solid 37-point outing against the Mavericks last week that saw him rack up 15 rebounds in 40 minutes of action. Randolph is a rebounding machine, and the Mavericks are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, ranking 21st in offensive rebound percentage and 29th on defense. Randolph's rebounding gives him a very high floor in a scoring format that rewards 1.2 points for every board, so expect him to feast tonight.
Jordan Clarkson, PG, Lakers vs. Washington($3,500)
As you'll see next, I'm pretty much staying away from the Lakers at all costs at this point. Byron Scott can't decide which of his veterans he hates less, and playing time and shots have been inconsistent as a result. However, Clarkson is the closest thing the franchise has to a future at this point, and he is going to find playing time plentiful at this point. He has played 29 and 28 minutes in each of the first two games after Bryant's season-ending injury, and has a chance to contribute for your team as their starting point guard. His production has given little reason to feel confident, but if you're looking for the bargain-basement value at a position that doesn't have a lot of good options anyways, Clarkson is your guy.
Overpay of the night
Jordan Hill, C, Lakers vs. Washington ($5,500)
As the most expensive player on the roster, Hill is just standing in for the rest of the guys here. He is an avatar for the Lakers' overall woes, though he also has very little value on his own anyways, with fewer than 20 points in each game since Bryant's injury. Until (unless?) Scott can settle on a consistent rotation and hierarchy offensively, I'm not sure I want to tough anyone on thise team. We've seen Scott shuffle his rotation without much warning, and that's a dangerous thing for Daily Fantasy. Hill, Ed Davis, Carlos Boozer, Nick Young Jeremy Lin... They could all be productive on any given night, but how can you trust any of them individually?
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CT: As much as I like the growth Zeller has showed this season, this is probably the best move to make. He was a clear fourth in your center hierarchy, and isn't too high up on the pecking order of his own team. He fits Brad Stevens' offense well, but isn't guaranteed enough minutes and touches to fully take advantage of that. I'm not terribly high on Roberts' Fantasy value -- he's averaged 4.0 assists per game in 45 starts over the last two seasons -- but you've got a better chance of value from him at this point, probably by way of a trade.
CT: Lopez can be a very useful option in category-based leagues, and Nurkic has hit a wall since joining the starting lineup, so I would pull the trigger on this. However, this tweeter also mentioned that he is deep at the center position, with Ruby Gobert, Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis and Jonas Valanciunas, so might not even use Lopez as a starter consistently. Lance Stephenson is available here, and that's the way I would go if I was making that decision. Stephenson's been a massive disappointment, but the Hornets might need a lot from him with the news of Kemba Walker's surgery coming out. If the decision is between someone you might not even start or Stephenson, go for the upside and hope Stephenson can find the form that made him so electrifying last season.
Waiver wire flier
Lance Stephenson, G, Hornets
The fit with Stephenson and Walker has been an awkward one from day one, since both players need the ball in their hands and neither is a particularly confident spot-up shooter. The Hornets have made no secret of their desire to move Stephenson via trade, and it seems likely that we'll see him moved before long. However, if I'm looking for a buy-low opportunity, Stephenson is it. The fit issues can be solved later, but Stephenson could step into a big role with Walker sidelined up to six weeks with surgery. You're still getting 6.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game from Stephenson this season, so if he can just figure out how to get his shot fixed, you could get a steal for the second half, no matter where he is playing. Oh yeah, and don't drop Walker until we're sure how long he is out for. Meniscus procedures are tough to gauge, because timelines vary so widely. Derrick Rose missed most of last season with his, while Metta World Peace was back on the floor within a few weeks of his own procedure. Until we know for sure what the plan of action is, don't just dump Walker. However slim, there is a chance he will be back sooner thann you think, and that's worth waiting on.