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With every team off Thursday for the holiday, we've got a rare chance to see 13 NBA games Wednesday night. Nights with 10 to 12 games are pretty commonplace, but we haven't had a night with 13 games yet, and won't get another until the first week of January.
With such a bounty ahead of us, I figured I would get an early start on the Thanksgiving holiday by gorging myself on basketball. With so many players to choose from, I am putting together two lineups for tonight's games, with two very different aims.
My first is perhaps the ultimate stars-and-scrubs lineup. With Jmes Harden, Stephen Curry and LeBron James, I am hoping to start off with a 150-point base and work my way up. From that point on, I still need about 120 points from the rest of my lineup to get to a comfortable place, and I think this combination can get the job done. Tyson Chandler has been as solid as they come among the sub-elite tier of centers, and Arron Afflalo and Gerald Green are both playing in what could be the highest-scoring game of the night.
The key for this roster will be the performances of D.J. Augustin, Kevin Seraphin and A'mare Stoudemire, who could all be looking at larger-than-usual roles Wednesday thanks to injuries ahead of them in the box score. With a stars-and-scrubs lineup, you need to find relatively safe choices among your bargains, and players inheriting larger roles thanks to injury is one way to get there.
The second lineup is a bit more standard, with the costs spread out fairly evenly. This is a roster with a high floor, at the very least, but it will definitely need some things to go right in order to get close to the top of a tournament.
Joe Johnson torching the 76ers and Marc Gasol continuing his tremendous recent play against the league's worst defense would go a long way, however Goran Dragic is the key to this one. His place this season has been so disappointing, that his price has dropped well below where he started, but that doesn't mean his talent level has disappeared. His role has been inconsistent recently, but a dreadful Nuggets defense could get him going.
I prefer the high-upside, high-risk play of the stars-and-scrubs lineup, but setting multiple lineups is a nice way to mitigate risk, especially on a night with so many options.
My rosters for Nov. 26 at FanDuel.com:
Stars and Scrubs
PG Stephen Curry, Warriors at Orlando ($9,900)
PG D.J. Augustin, Pistons vs. L.A. Clippers ($4,000)
SG James Harden, Rockets vs. Sacramento ($10,300)
SG Arron Afflalo, Nuggets at Phoenix ($5,200)
SF LeBron James, Cavaliers vs. Washington ($10,600)
SF Gerald Green, Suns vs. Denver ($4,900)
PF A'mare Stoudemire, Knicks at Dallas ($5,200)
PF Kevin Seraphin, Wizards at Cleveland ($3,500)
C Tyson Chandler, Mavericks vs. New York ($6,200)
PG Goran Dragic, Suns vs. Denver ($6,600)
PG Mike Conley, Grizzles at L.A. Lakers ($7,000)
SG Joe Johnson, Nets at Philadelphia ($6,400)
SG Bradley Beal, Wizards at Cleveland ($7,700)
SF Nicolas Batum, Trail Blazers at Charlotte ($6,600)
SF Gerald Green, Suns vs. Denver ($4,900)
PF Markieff Morris, Suns vs. Denver ($6,800)
PF Luis Scola, Pacers at San Antonio ($5,200)
C Marc Gasol, Grizzles at L.A. Lakers ($8,500)
D.J. Augustin, PG, Pistons vs. L.A. Clippers ($4,000)
I always though the idea Augustin would push Brandon Jennings for playing time this season was laughable. Augustin can be a fine backup, but he's spent most of his career being significantly less effective than Jennings, who has rarely set the world on fire himself. Still, Augustin is not without merits, as he has shown by averaging 10.0 points per game despite playing just 21.5 minutes. He can get to the free-throw line with ease and is a better 3-point shooter than he has shown so far. With Jennings dealing with a sprained left thumb, Augustin could play big minutes tonight against a subpar Clippers defense that fouls a ton and has had trouble defending the pick and roll.
Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies at L.A. Lakers ($7,700)
I don't have Randolph in any of my lineups tonight, but that's not because I don't like his value. I had trouble fitting him in with either, but he makes for a very good choice if you can manage it. The Lakers allow the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing power forwards, and they are averaging 34.2 per-36 against them overall. Randolph shoulf feast on this shorthanded frontcourt.
Gerald Green, SF, Suns vs. Denver ($4,900)
The Suns have so many over lapping parts, it can be impossible to predict who will play big minutes on any given night. However, Green is a streaky shooter who can force his way onto the floor when he gets hot, and he should have a good chance to tonight. The Nuggets allow the third-most FanDuel points per game to opposing small forwards, and this should be exactly the kind of fast-paced game Green thrives in.
Overpay of the night
Kevin Love, PF, Cavaliers vs. Washington ($8,400)
Love is still talented enough to put up huge games, but the transition into his role as a third option has come with plenty of bumps in the road. His numbers are down across the board, and the effect is even more drastic if you isolate his last five games: Love is averaging just 14.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in that span. At this price, you probably need close to 40 FanDuel points from Love tonight, but he hasn't even reached 35 since Nov. 14 against Boston. Until he can figure it out, Love should be avoided in daily formats.
Want to get Chris' attention? Follow him on Twitter and ask all the questions your heart desires.
CT: In a H2H points league, this is probably a fair trade, though I still think the side getting Anthony comes out on top. However, in a category-based league, it's an absolute steal for the Anthony side, even with his struggles and injuries. Knight has probably been the best player in this trade so far, but you have to like Anthony more long-term, and I'm not sure Noah closes the gap on Chandler on his own. The assists from Noah are tremendously valuable, but let's not forget he's got injury concerns of his own, and is currently operating on a minutes limit.
Tom in Thailand asks: I'm a huge Suns fan and currently have none on my team. I'm in a head to head category league with 12 teams. With the imminent return of Russell Westbrook and Goran Dragic having a slow start would a straight up trade of Reggie Jackson for Dragic be worth it? Sort of a buy low/sell high deal.
CT: We expected Dragic to take a step back this season, but this is astounding. He is struggled with his shot from long range, is barely getting to the free-throw line, and is posting his lowest assist rate ever, by a comfortable margin. The Suns' decision to add Isaiah Thomas appears to have derailed Dragic, but I still think this would be a smart trade to make. I think Jackson will be a solid starting option even with Westbrook back, but his upside isn't as high as Dragic's, assuming Westbrook plays 80 percent of the Thunder's games moving forward.
Waiver wire fliers
Timofey Mozgov, C, Nuggets (52 percent owned)
This Nuggets' roster has never really fit the style of play coach Brian Shaw would prefer to play, but if anyone could fit it, it is the lumbering Mozgov. Mozgov is a skilled big man who can be posted against the right matchups, and gives the team some semblance of an advantage in the middle. Of course, playing the offense through him negates much of the rest of the roster's skills, but Mozgov can put up solid numbers when Shaw chooses to feature him. He is averaging 11.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game over the last five, and is at least worth owning as a third center in leagues where you start two, especially because it is clear nobody else in Denver is pushing him for playing time.