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Tonight's a big one. Wednesday's are usually one of the biggest days of the week for FanDuel, and we've got some lost time to make up for after the All-Star break.
Tonight's big tournament features $400,000 in guaranteed prizes, including a $50,000 grand prize for the winner; that's twice as much as Monday's grand prize, so tonight is definitely one you want to get into. And, with 12 games and some juicy matchups on the way, it's a good night to enter multiple lineups, just to increase your odds of hitting.
Ultimately, if you are playing in these big tournaments over the course of the season, you want to be putting multiple lineups in on a regular basis. No matter how much you like your lineup on any given night, your chances of hitting on it are fairly low on any given night. You only need to hit once to make it count, but you want to increase your odds whenever you can, and tonight is a good opportunity.
The league has been hit hard by major injuries lately, and many teams' rotations remain in flux, so there are plenty of good values out there. Let's see if we can snag some.
Miami at Orlando
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 388.2
The key matchup is between the two starting centers, and I don't mind having either one in my lineup tonight.
Dallas at Atlanta
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.0
You hopefully haven't been relying on Rajon Rondo lately, but you almost certainly can't tonight after his blowup with Rick Carlisle on the sidelines Tuesday.
New York at Boston
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 394.3
The Celtics' frontcourt has been fertile ground for opposing big men, so I like Jason Smith's chances of bouncing back here.
Charlotte at Chicago
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.6
The Hornets have the best defense in the league since Jan. 1, and the Bulls could be reeling in the wake of Derrick Rose's injury, so this could be a rough one.
LA Clippers at Houston
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.5
The Rockets' pace has exploded lately, as they lead the league over the last 10 games. Chris Paul is averaging 44.4 FanDuel points per game since Blake Griffin's injury, and could keep rolling.
Philadelphia at Milwaukee
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 396.8
You have to like Giannis Antetokounmpo's chances to fill up the box score in a game that should feature a solid pace and plenty of turnovers from the Sixers.
Washington at Minnesota
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 392.8
The Timberwolves have been an improved defensive team since Ricky Rubio's return. They are still just 24th in defensive rating over the last eight games, but that represents a roughly five point per 100 possessions improvement, so they aren't quite the pushover they have been.
Brooklyn at New Orleans
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 391.5
Let's see if Jarrett Jack's return can derail Deron Williams' mini-resurgence. He has 40-plus FanDuel points in each of the last two, and Jack is expected to be limited off the bench in his return from a hamstring injury.
Phoenix at Denver
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 403.6
The one downside for this game from Phoenix's side is the Nuggets haven't been competitive at all. Still, this should be a fast-paced game, so Eric Bledsoe and the Suns could get their numbers in three quarters even if it is a blowout.
Memphis at Sacramento
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 390.5
The Kings are second in the league in pace since George Karl took over, averaging 105.9 possessions in their two games so far. They are also 25th in defensive rating. You do the math.
San Antonio at Portland
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 384.2
LaMarcus Aldridge is still averaging 24.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game since suffering a torn ligament in his left thumb, but shot just 5 for 16 while dealing with a right thumb strain Friday. As the most expensive PF in the game tonight, I'm wary of relying on someone with two bum thumbs.
My roster for Feb. 25 at FanDuel.com:
PG Chris Paul, Clippers at Houston ($10,000)
PG Aaron Brooks, Bulls vs. Charlotte ($3,500)
SG Jimmy Butler, Bulls vs. Charlotte ($8,700)
SG Victor Oladipo, Magic vs. Miami ($6,900)
SF Robert Covington, 76ers at Milwaukee ($6,400)
SF Danilo Gallinari, Nuggets vs. Phoenix ($4,000)
PF Nerlens Noel, 76ers at Milwaukee ($6,700)
PF Jason Smith, Knicks at Boston ($4,900)
C Nikola Vucevic, Magic vs. Miami ($8,600)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Bucks vs. Philadelphia ($6,400)
Antetokounmpo is in a bit of a slump of late, but is still averaging 24.3 FanDuel points per game over the last four. If that's his floor, he is a pretty safe call at this time, though you obviously want and expect more from him if you are putting him in your lineup. He hasn't put up good numbers against the 76ers this season, though he also hasn't faced them since he started finding his footing in late-January. He is averaging 32.5 FanDuel points per game over the last 10 overall, including 2.4 combined steals and blocks per game. The 76ers lead the league in turnovers, and their opponents rank ninth in total blocks and first in steals on the season, so Antetokounmpo has a great chance to make a defensive impact for you tonight, and his price has fallen just enough in the last few days to make him a bargain.
Aaron Brooks, PG, Bulls vs. Charlotte ($3,500)
You'll read more about Brooks later, thought that talk is more about his potential long-term value in the event of a season-ending prognosis for Derrick Rose. For now, our focus is on his value for tonight, and it is really hard to argue against relying on him tonight. There are plenty of solid point guards at a reasonable price, but none carry as low of a price as Brooks; $3500 is the lowest FanDuel goes, in fact. Brooks hasn't exactly been reliable in Rose's absence this season, but he has had some very nice showings in games Rose has missed, including a 26-point, eight-assist effort in November. He averages just 19.9 FanDuel points per game with Rose out, but has put up 50.6 points over the course of two games with 30-plus minutes played. With Rose out, the Bulls might need a lot from Brooks, so why not roll the dice?
Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando vs. Miami ($8,600)
With Hassan Whiteside in town, these aren't the same old undersized Heat as in year's past. However, you have to love Vucevic's track record against them regardless of who he is matching up with personally. The Heat had Whiteside available in their last matchup with the Magic, and Vucevic still dropped 43.3 FanDuel points on them, thanks to a 26-point showing with nine rebounds and three assists. Whiteside played just 18 minutes in that game and the two rarely saw each other, so this will be Vucevic's first time really being tested against Miami. As good as Whiteside has been, I will still bet on Vucevic figuring him out; he just had 37.1 FanDuel points against Anthony Davis and Omer Asik, so I think he will handle himself just fine.
Overpay of the night
Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets vs. Phoenix ($8,200)
At the point guard position, you don't really want to take risks. Now that doesn't mean you can't go for a low-cost, high-upside player who might bust on any given night, because that isn't actually a risk. You are allocating your resources wisely and hoping to hit it big. If you go with one of the high-priced guys, however, you really need to know you can rely on the player. Lawson simply isn't someone you can rely on right now, especially not as the fourth-most expensive (healthy) option at the position. It's not that Phoenix is a bad matchup for him; in fact, this game should be a track meet, which serves Lawson well on most nights. However, he has landed firmly on his coach's bad side lately, and hasn't topped 30 FanDuel points in either game since his benching last Friday. It is entirely possible Lawson goes off tonight, but I'm not trusting him until his coach does.
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@[everyone]: [General hysteria about Derrick Rose's injury.]
CT: It's always tough to talk about the Fantasy impact of injuries, especially when it happens to someone like Rose, who has already been through so much to get back through two previous knee surgeries. We can't simply ignore it, but as I write this, there really isn't anything to say. Rose tore the same meniscus in his right knee as last season, and the Bulls have yet to announce which type of surgery he will undergo. If they opt for a full repair of the menicus, Rose's season is undoubtedly done; but that isn't a certainty at this point. If he opts to have the meniscus debrided, as Kemba Walker did, he could have a similar timetable of six weeks, which would effectively end his Fantasy season. There are outliers like Metta World Peace, who returned from a debridement procedure after just 12 days, but that seems to be an unrealistic expectation for anyone but him. The most likely scenario is Rose is out for the season, but I don't want to say anything concrete until we know for sure. Aaron Brooks is worth a look in all leagues, but I would wait to drop Rose until we are absolutely sure what his prognosis will be. Who knows, maybe we'll get a miracle; with how many injuries we've seen recently, it would be a welcome change.
Waiver Wire flier
Aaron Brooks, G, Bulls
Brooks has proven he can be a useful Fantasy option in the past, most recently with the Nuggets a year ago, when he averaged 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 12 late-season starts. He has been used much more as a scorer than a facilitator with the Bulls, but that is probably more a result of his role, as he has seen plenty of time next to Rose on the season. The two have shared the court for 199 of Brooks' 1,135 minutes, and Brooks has just 11 assists in that time; that works out to less than two per-36 minutes. With Rose off the floor, Brooks averages 5.5 assists per-36, while adding 19.2 points on a 54.0 True Shooting percentage. The Bulls will probably move some of the playmaking load onto Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol's shoulders, but Brooks should definitely see a much larger role moving forward. If Rose is out for the season, there's no reason Brooks couldn't emulate D.J. Augustin's success in filling in for Rose last season.