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The key to getting Russell Westbrook or Anthony Davis into your lineup is finding the right mix of values to put around them so you can rack up a high score -- or at least have a chance at it in a GPP tournament. On Tuesday, I thought I had the right combination to put around an Davis/James Harden combination, and I wasn't far off. I got 136 points from my three cheapest players and could have been in the money if Harden and Khris Middleton hadn't busted out.
The superstar players are going to provide solid value nearly every night, which is what makes them so valuable, even beyond their relatively high ceilings. Any player can randomly go off for a huge Fantasy game -- heck, Reggie Jackson had 20 assists last night -- but the big names are supposed to bring you safety.
I bet wrong on the first half of my stars-and-scrubs lineup on Tuesday, but Wednesday should be different. Davis was going against one of the league's best defenses and Harden had a tough individual matchup on the opposite end, one Victor Oladipo ended up winning handily -- he's becoming a star, by the way. Tuesday night's schedule didn't leave me feeling great anyway, but that isn't how I feel about Wednesday, as there are plenty of value plays on the board.
If you are going with multiple stars, you need to make sure they are the right ones. I've been skeptical about using Russell Westbrook at his price, but the loss of Serge Ibaka will leave him with an even heavier offensive load -- Westbrook averages 36 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per-36 minutes with Ibaka and Kevin Durant off the floor, and should get plenty of opportunties to rack up numbers in what is certain to be a fast-paced game.
Ibaka's injury is just one of several that should leave holes in various teams' rotations big enough for some value plays to shine. Take advantage of them and build a winner.
Brooklyn at Cleveland
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 394.3
A well-rested Kevin Love could be a solid play, but you'll need to make sure he's in the lineup after two games off. It wouldn't be terribly surprising if LeBron James got the night off if Love is available.
Detroit at Philadelphia
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 404.9
If Greg Monroe's knee keeps him out again, Anthony Tolliver should see a solid role yet again, and Andre Drummond will have the potential for another big rebounding game.
Portland at Miami
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 379.3
Losing Chris Bosh has left the Heat thin up front, so LaMarcus Aldridge could spend long stretches guarded by Luol Deng. He had 36.4 FanDuel points in just 33 minutes the last time these two met up.
Minnesota at Toronto
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 401.9
Justin Hamilton has been tremendous for the Timberwolves over the last four games, and it's more than a little confusing. Given his track record, it's tough to trust him as his price climbs near $6,000.
Indiana at Chicago
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 386.0
With Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson participating in practice Tuesday, Chicago's rotation could look a lot different than it has in weeks.
San Antonio at Milwaukee
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 382.0
Both teams are coming off supremely disappointing performances on Tuesday, and the Spurs are always a risk to rest starters on back-to-backs, so keep an eye out. I like Marco Belinelli at his price either way.
Boston at Oklahoma City
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 394.0
These teams rank 10th and first in pace since the All-Star game, respectively, so expect plenty of possessions in this one.
Orlando at Dallas
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 395.6
If you want to go expensive at center -- tough, with so many good values available -- this is a great matchup for Nikola Vucevic to rack up big rebounding numbers.
L.A. Clippers at Sacramento
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 399.8
There are going to be a ton of possessions in this one, which means there could be enough assists for both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to go around. If Rudy Gay's knee continues to sideline him, Ben McLemore could take advantage of the Clippers' porous perimeter defense.
Atlanta at Golden State
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 384.1
The marquee matchup of the night, except both teams will be missing their All-Star shooting guards.
Washington at Utah
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 371.0
I am not touching this one. The Jazz absolutely kill Fantasy value right now and this should be a low-scoring affair between two teams with much better defenses than offenses.
My roster for March 18 at FanDuel.com:
PG Russell Westbrook, Thunder vs.
PG Dennis Schroder, Warriors vs. Atlanta ($5,400)
SG DeMar DeRozan, Raptors vs. Minnesota ($7,300)
SG Danny Green, Spurs at Milwaukee ($5,500)
SF Matt Barnes, Clippers at Sacramento ($5,200)
SF Justin Holiday, Warriors vs. Atlanta ($3,800)
PF LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers at Miami ($9,400)
PF Brandon Bass, Celtics at Oklahoma City ($5,600)
C Steven Adams, Thunder vs. Boston ($4,600)
Enes Kanter, C, Thunder vs. Boston ($6,500)
I don't have Kanter in my lineup, but only because his teammate's price fit with my plan better. However, I love what Kanter has a chance to do against this Celtics' frontcourt. He has 82.2 FanDuel points in two games without Ibaka in the lineup and might be a must-start option if his salary fits into your plan. The Celtics are allowing the eighth-most FanDuel points per minute to opposing centers on the season, according to RotoGrinders.com, and Kanter is sure to play a huge part in the OKC offense on Wednesday.
Dennis Schroder, PG, Hawks at Golden State ($5,400)
It's no secret that I love the way Schroder is playing right now, even when he is stuck in something of a shooting slump, shooting just 38.9 percent from the field since the All-Star break. For FanDuel purposes, that doesn't really matter, especially since he is still getting plenty of minutes for the Hawks in spite of that. With Kyle Korver out with a broken nose, Schroder has a good chance to get big minutes and that should lead to good things even against the league's best defense. The Warriors will be playing without Klay Thompson, one of their best perimeter defenders, and Schroder had 20.5 FanDuel points in just 18 minutes the last times these two teams met. He might not have the most efficient line, but Schroder should be good for solid production in this one.
Justin Holiday, SF, Warriors vs. Atlanta ($3,800)
Holiday has been a very nice find for the Warriors off the scrap heap this season, providing solid wing defense and just enough 3-point shooting to be passable on offense. He hasn't received many chances to prove himself in a big role, but did drop 31.1 FanDuel points in his only start of the season earlier this month, and has the kind of defensive potential that could make him a useful FanDuel play if he gets the minutes. With Thompson out, he is expected to start Wednesday and is averaging 23.3 FanDuel points per game in five contests where he has played at least 20 minutes. This should be a fast-paced game, and if he just gets 20 points, that's a big win for you at this price.
Overpay of the night
Nikola Mirotic, SF, Bulls vs. Indiana ($6,700)
Mirotic should still get plenty of minutes Wednesday, so I'm not jumping off the bandwagon yet -- that will come in the next few days, when Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler return. However, the Pacers are a very tough matchup for an inexperienced, young big man who sometimes plays out of control. He shot just 3 of 13 in the matchup between these two teams 10 days ago, with five personal fouls and three turnovers on his line. He finished the night with just 20.6 FanDuel points in 31 minutes and could see fewer minutes this time around if Gibson is back in the rotation. As good as Mirotic has been over the last few weeks, there are too many red flags around him for me to use him Wednesday, especially with my stars-and-scrubs lineup. He exists in that middle class that is difficult to go with unless they are absolute sure-things.
CT: Gibson practiced Tuesday and appears close to a return to the court, but I think I would still take Adams here. Various injuries have limited Gibson's impact for the Bulls, and he was averaging just 8.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in February prior to his ankle injury. Gibson is the better option than Adams in a vacuum, but we have to consider the contexts both players will be playing in for the next few weeks. On the one hand, you have Gibson fighting through whatever lingering issues might exist with the ankle -- not to mention a torn ligament in his left hand -- while playing in the deepest frontcourt in the league. On the other you have Adams logging as many minutes as he can handle with Ibaka out of commission. I mean "as many minutes as he can handle literally," as Adams logged 30 and 33 minutes in his last two games with Ibaka out before fouling out in both. He racked up 29 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks in those games and should ride big minutes to Fantasy relevance for the final month of the season.
CT: If Green was getting consistent minutes or hitting shots, there might be some reason to think about this one. Actually, no there wouldn't. Butler should be back by the end of the week based on reports out of practice Tuesday, and there's no question he will be more productive than Green moving forward, even with concerns about aggravating the injury given his quick return. Even if Green reverted to last season's production, Butler's upside is too high to even make this a question.
Waiver wire flier
Justin Hamilton, C, Timberwolves
I have no idea what is happening here. This is the same Hamilton who couldn't find the floor for a Heat team that was: 1. Desperate for size, and 2. Emphasized shooting above all. He might be one of the only players actually helped by Flip Saunder's de-emphasis on 3-point shooting, however, as he has brought his game closer to the basket with great results so far. Hamilton is taking more than half of his shots within three feet of the rim with the Wolves and this has done great things for his efficiency. With Nikola Pekovic's ankle continuing to cause him problems, Hamilton could see plenty of minutes, especially if Pekovic is eventually shut down -- which seems inevitable. I have no idea if Hamilton can keep up his current level of production -- 14.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.1 combined blocks and steals over the last four games -- but if you need help at center he is probably worth the flier..