Daily Dish: Wednesday's Fantasy lineup advice
Even with 11 games on the Wednesday NBA schedule, our Chris Towers has his eyes set on just a few in his latest edition of the Daily Dish.
Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-day $400,000 Fantasy Basketball contest for Wednesday's games. It's $25 to enter and first prize is $40,000. Starts Wednesday at tipoff. Enter now!
Some nights, it is tough to find good matchups to pick from. Take Tuesday night's schedule. We had six games on the slate, a good-enough number, but it wasn't exactly overflowing with good Fantasy games. The Wizards weren't at full strength against the Lakers, the Bulls had to battle the Warriors and the Mavericks squared off against the always-tough Grizzlies, to name just a few of the "meh" matchups.
You won't have that issue Wednesday night. There are 11 games to choose from and a number of them are overflowing with good Fantasy choices. That is usually the case on nights where 11 games are being played, but especially tonight, with matchups like Denver-New Orleans, Boston-Minnsota and Sacramento-Toronto pitting subpar defenses against each other in what should be high-scoring games.
It should come as no surprise my lineup leans heavily on those matchups. However, the matchup of the night for our purposes might be the Pistons-76ers one. This game might not be close at all, but the way these rosters are built, that's actually OK. Andre Drummond isn't a huge minutes guy anyway, so he does most of his damage quickly. The Pistons also don't really have a reliable point guard behind D.J. Augustin, so he should see plenty of minutes even on the second night of a back-to-back. I also have two 76ers in my lineup, and though that's always a risk, I like the way Robert Covington and Jerami Grant are playing right now enough to take that chance.
Part of the fun of Daily Fantasy is being able to maintain interest in a number of different games that you might not otherwise care about while flipping around on League Pass. However, tonight, I'm all-in on just a few games, which should tighten my focus. Whether it works out for me is another story entirely.
Portland at Cleveland
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 398.03
The Cavaliers' offense has been much-improved recently, and the Blazers have been great all season long, but it still feels like this could be a very high-scoring game. Neither team matches up very well defensively.
Detroit at Philadelphia
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 419.26
On the second night of a back-to-back against the lowly 76ers, there is some room for concern here. However, it's not like the Pistons really have a reliable back up to D.J. Augustin at this point.
Sacramento at Toronto
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 403.37
DeMarcus Cousins is unstoppable at this point, and the Raptors seem particularly ill-equipped to slow him down. He's a great choice, as always.
Brooklyn at Atlanta
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 395.28
The Nets are averaging the seventh-most FanDuel points per game over the last 10 games, so I like any of the Hawks' three $8K players tonight.
Dallas at Houston
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 395.46
If Dwight Howard is forced to sit out, Donatas Motiejunas has shown he can be a reliable option for Daily Fantasy.
Boston at Minnesota
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 414.7
One of several games with huge Fantasy upside tonight, especially with how many low-cost choices there are between these two teams.
Denver at New Orleans
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 404.09
Eric Gordon has fallen off a bit recently, but he still has 19-plus FanDuel points in seven straight. I still think he makes for a nice pairing with Tyreke Evans, though Evans' price has skyrocketed after a pair of 12-assist games.
Oklahoma City at New York
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 396.46
Kevin Durant's toe injury is not considered a serious issue, but keep an eye on his status before you pencil him in.
Charlotte at San Antonio
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.6
Brian Roberts' price is still low enough that he could worth a flier, but he isn't a big numbers guy anyways.
L.A. Clippers at Utah
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 391.15
Dante Exum's first two games as a starter were promising, but it was a bit of fool's gold, with how much hinged on him hitting a bunch of 3-pointers. His gamwe is still very much a work in progress.
Washington at Phoenix
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 388.14
If the Suns can dictate the pace, there's a lot of potential here, but the Wizards have a tendency to kill all that is good in Fantasy.
My roster for Jan. 28 at FanDuel.com:
PG D.J. Augustin, Pistons at
PG Greivis Vasquez, Raptors vs. Sacramento ($4,700)
SG Tyreke Evans, Pelicans vs. Denver ($8,200)
SG Eric Gordon, Pelicans vs. Denver ($5,600)
SF LeBron James, Cavaliers vs. Portland ($11,000)
SF Robert Covington, 76ers vs. Detroit($5,500)
PF Thaddeus Young, Timberwolves, vs. Boston ($6,800)
PF Jerami Grant, 76ers vs. Detroit ($3,600)
C Andre Drummond, Pistons at Philadelphia ($8,400)
Greivis Vasquez, PG, Raptors vs. Sacramento ($4,700)
Vasquez hasn't lit the world on fire since stepping into the starting lineup, though he did drop 28.1 FanDuel points in Sunday's game against the Pistons. Still, the price is low enough here that you could probably be happy with 20 points as a floor, which he has reached in each of the last two games. Against a Sacramento defense that has completely fallen apart since their decision to switch coaches -- and play at a much faster pace -- Vasquez has a good chance to keep his solid play up in the starting lineup.
Thaddeus Young, PF, Timberwolves vs. Boston($6,800)
Though I think Young is probably best suited to playing as a power forward, he has fared very well since sliding to the three in the starting lineup a few days ago. Young has scored 81.8 FanDuel points in two games next to Gorgui Dieng and Nikola Pekovic in the frontcourt, and it makes some sense why that would be the case. Pekovic is a strong offensive player, but the Timberwolves don't have much spacing offensively with he and Gorgui Dieng on the floor together. Young is going to have to shoot often from the perimeter so teams can't just pack the paint. That might not be great for his efficiency, but a scoring format like FanDuel values volume over everything else, so it should be a win, especially against Boston's subpar defense.
Jerami Grant, PF, 76ers vs. Detroit($3,600)
When you're looking for your lottery picks on any given night, you want to look for a relatively high-floor player. You want someone who is going to get minutes while filling in for a starter, and you want someone whose skillset is conducive to productive Fantasy nights, even when things aren't going so well. This is where Grant comes in. He had 21.4 FanDuel points Monday night in just 26 minutes of action, thanks largely to his four blocks and 10 points. He doesn't do much else, but this springy forward had carved out a role in the 76ers' rotation thanks to his shooting and rim protection. He has at least 14.9 FanDuel points in four of the last five games, so you probably won't get a total dud out of him. And, if he can combine his shot-blocking ability with one of his random double-digit scoring nights, you could get a solid night out of Grant, especially against a team that takes the second-most shots at the rim in the league.
Overpay of the night
Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns vs. Washington ($8,800)
The Wizards are playing on the second night of a back to back, but if the first half is against the Lakers, does it really count? The Wizards have been the stingiest team in the league from a Fantasy perspective, allowing the fewest FanDuel points per game, and that has held true against both point guards (25th in points allowed) and shooting guards (26th). Bledsoe shot just 6 of 15 from the field the last time he faced the Wizards, though he still ended up with 34.3 FanDuel points, a decent number. Still, at nearly $9,000, you need to know you're going to get at least 35 points from Bledsoe, and it took a herculean effort on the boards to get to that point last time around. I tend to avoid the Wizards' defense in Daily Fantasy, as a result.
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CT: I think Conley is the most valuable piece in this trade, especially with questions about Rondo's long-term future given his impending free agency. Conley is just 27 and is has reached a nice peak, where he should stay for the next few seasons. Johnson is the unattractive side of that trade, but he actually compares pretty favorably to Beal at this point in their respective careers. Sure, they are trending in opposite directions, but Beal's development feels somewhat stalled, so I'm not sure his upside is enough to overcome the gap Conley has in his one. Go with Conley and Johnson here.
CT: If you just put what they have done up against each other this season, Love and Covington come out ahead in five of nine categories, however Batum and Green have bigger leads where they are leading. They have more than twice as many assists and blocks as Love and Covington, nearly a steal per game more, and are basically even on turnovers. Green and Batum are the better combination based solely on the numbers, however, you do have to factor in a few other factors. Green's numbers are falling off a bit in recent weeks, while Covington is trending upwards. Throw in the fact that Batum is dealing with a wrist injury that currently has him out of the lineup and could impede his ability to shoot, it's a much tougher call than it might seem at first. I might prefer Love and Covington long term, because I also think Love's shooting is going to improve and bring his game with it in the second half of the season.
Dante Exum, G, Jazz
Even after a few underwhelming months to open his career, Exum's tantalizing talents are obvious. He has exceptional size and athleticism, and has shown just enough playmaking ability to make you think he can one day run an NBA offense. Of course, we also have to remember that he's still just 19 years old, and had little experience playing against high-level competition before getting to the NBA. The Jazz have moved him into the starting lineup lately, but haven't really asked all that much out of him, as he is averaging just 9.0 points on 7.0 field-goal attempts per game, with jsut 3.7 assists in 30.0 minutes. Exum is worth an add for his upside alone, especially because Trey Burke continues to struggle with his shot enough that they might be content to just left Exum develop moving forward. However, don't go adding him expecting it to pay off immediately. You're taking a flier on his upside, not whatever his production might be for the next few weeks.
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