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My lineup for tonight's schedule, which features 10 games for the second day in a row, is a marriage of two plans.
On the one hand, I'm going star-heavy, with three players who cost more than $8,500 in my backcourt. However, I'm also trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of a few really promising matchups. Finding the right balance is key, and I think I managed that with this lineup.
Looking over the schedule, I immediately eyed two games that I wanted to target over all others, and another I would prefer to avoid, if at all possible. The way it worked out is that all but one of my players tonight came from these three games, including the Rockets-Grizzlies matchup I initially wanted to steer clear of.
These are two of the best defensive teams in the league, and this should be a low-scoring affair as a result. However, I want Donatas Motiejunas in my lineup as long as Dwight Howard is out and his price is good, which made it tough to pass on him even against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. And then, by the time my lineup had been built, I had a huge hole at shooting guard, and found that James Harden fit in perfectly.
Otherwise, I picked on the Lakers, as usual. Kris Humphries is a bit of a shot in the dark, but against this matchup, and with Nene still dealing with an injury, it could pay off at a low cost. And John Wall seems like an obvious choice, coming off a massive performance against the Heat.
And the Timberwolves-76ers game should be highlighted for everyone playing tonight. It's a fantastic combination of two rosters full of low-cost players in what should be the highest-scoring game of the night; these are two of the worst defenses in the league, and they are also among the five fastest. I usually avoid Michael Carter-Williams, but you'll read later why I had to have him tonight.
My roster for Dec. 3 at FanDuel.com:
PG John Wall, Wizards vs. L.A. Lakers ($9,000)
PG Michael Carter-Williams, 76ers at Minnesota ($8,600)
SG James Harden, Rockets vs. Memphis ($10,600)
SG Joe Johnson, Nets vs. San Antonio ($6,000)
SF Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves vs. Philadelphia ($5,000)
SF K.J. McDaniels, 76ers at Minnesota ($4,700)
PF Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets vs. Memphis ($5,600)
PF Kris Humphries, Wizards vs. L.A. Lakers ($4,100)
C Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves vs. Philadelphia ($6,400)
Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Rockets vs. Memphis ($5,600)
Dwight Howard is officially doubtful for this game, which means Motiejunas is going to get a big role yet again. This is an incredibly tough matchup, and I would usually avoid it, but Motiejunas has been so productive of late, I had to get him in my lineup. Opposing centers and power forwards are averaging just 28.5 FanDuel points per-36 minutes against the Grizzlies, so it might be tough for Motiejunas to get to the 30-point mark. However, Motiejunas is averaging 27.7 FanDuel points over the last five, and should still manage to provide a solid return on investment tonight.
Shabazz Muhammad, SG, Timberwolves vs. Philadelphia ($5,000)
Muhammad has been pressed into duty for the Timberwolves earlier than they might have expected, after hardly seeing the floor during his rookie season. However, he has also forced the issue with his play, which has been eye-opening of late. He's got an unorthodox playing style, but it has worked for him, as he is averaging 10.1 points per game in just 16.5 minutes for the season. His role has grown recently, with 27 and 30 minutes played in each of his last two games, and he should have another good night ahead of him against the lowly Sixers.
Michael Carter-Williams, PG, 76ers at Minnesota ($8,600)
I have, generally, been anti-MCW this season. I'm just not a huge fan of his game, and I don't think he is good enough to overcome the team's overall lack of talent on his own. However, with Tony Wroten out tonight and Alexey Shved at risk of sitting out as well, Carter-Williams is the only option the team realistically has at point guard tonight, and he could be in for an even bigger role than normal. Against a team like the Timberwolves, which has struggled mightily on defense, Carter-Williams should be in line for a big statistical night in what should be an affair with little defense.
Overpay of the night
Al Jefferson, C, Hornets vs. Chicago ($8,500)
To justify an $8,500 price tag, you need a player with a high ceiling, yes, but also one who is likely not to bust. Ideally, you want 40-plus points from a high-price player like this, but you really can't live with less than 35, at this price. It's asking a lot, but that's what happens when you spend 15 percent of your budget on one player, and Jefferson may not be the type of guy you want to do that with anymore. He has 32 or fewer FanDuel points in three of his last four, and his production has taken a big hit as a result of the team's overall struggles. There are safer options at the center position.
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CT: Ilyasova is the better option right now, given the more consistent role he has played through the season. However, McRoberts has topped 20 minutes in each of his last three games, and should be good for 25-plus moving forward, assuming he can avoid any setbacks with his toe. Ilyasova has been a solid scoring option for the Bucks, but he hasn't found huge minutes yet, which makes it tough to expect him to keep this up. McRoberts might not score as much, he's a better player pretty much across the board, and is the choice here.
@conradburry: What do you think of dropping Fournier to get Motiejunas in my standard pts league?
CT: Motiejunas will still find the floor when Dwight Howard comes back, but his value as a Fantasy starter is tied entirely to Howard's knee. As long as Howard remains sidelined with a right knee strain, Motiejunas should be a solid option, as he is averaging 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists since Howard last played. Motiejunas' skill set is more valuable, but Fournier's role is more of a sure thing. With Howard making improvements every day, Motiejunas' short-term value could run out at any time, so keep Fournier around.
Waiver wire fliers
K.J. McDaniels, F, 76ers (69 percent owned)
The 76ers play at the second-fastest pace in the league and have little in the way of established talent, so we'll always been on the lookout for the next Fantasy breakout to come out of there, and McDaniels is the one we've been waiting on. He was tabbed in the offseason as the guy, and has shown flashes of it, at times through the first quarter of his first NBA season. Playing time has been a bit tough to come by at teams, but his overwhelming talent -- at least, relative to the rest of this league -- is starting to shine through. He is averaging 28.6 minutes per game over the last six, and has responded with 13.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks, along with solid shooting all-around. If McDaniels is available in your category-based format, scoop him up now.