NBA Daily Fantasy 3/2: Breaking Down Each Matchup
With only five games for Monday’s NBA action without most of the top players in the game, setting a lineup can be tricky. How do you spend salary? Which of the low-salary guys have the best upside and ceiling?
There are also some injury and sickness situations to consider. Goran Dragic is questionable with back spasms against his former team in the Phoenix Suns, the status of Kevin Martin (illness), J.J. Redick (knee, Matt Barnes (ham Nikola Pekovic (ankle) may miss tonight’s contest.
Let’s break it down each matchup to help you get organized.
(all salaries via FanDuel)
Toronto (-9) at Philadelphia (192)
In case you missed it, the Raptors elected to rest Kyle Lowry on Saturday, and they plan to rest him the rest of the week. The starting lineup as a result was Greivis Vasquez, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas. Granted this is against the 76ers, but I particularly like Vasquez ($4,100) and Johnson ($4,000). Vasquez at PG gets a bump in both usage percentage and minutes. Meanwhile, Johnson’s per-36 numbers are outstanding, and he received 33 minutes last game. DeRozan is a fine option at $6,400 as well given the weakness of SG tonight.
As for the 76ers, Robert Covington is questionable with an elbow contusion he suffered last game. If Covington can’t go, predicting the 76ers starting lineup is obviously a mystery. Last game they went with Isaiah Cannan, Jason Richardson, Covington, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Nerlens Noel. My guess is that it’ll be Hollis Thompson replacing Covington, but even so, predicting the minutes is a very difficult task. The 76ers did just waive JaVale McGee (ugh) and Henry Sims’ minutes have significantly declined, so we should easily see 35 minutes for Noel. Give the weakness of PF (a rare sight), riding Noel’s hot streak isn’t a bad idea.
Phoenix at Miami (-1.5) (206)
Brandon Knight is dealing with a hip issue, but he is probable to play tonight. Despite the Heat being a worse team at FPTS allowed at PG now that Dragic is on the team and Miami is trying to run more (Mario Chalmers may start for him anyways), there are too many other great plays at PG tonight to warrant playing him. Knight is also overpriced in his new role at Phoenix. Alex Len makes an interesting GPP play at $5,100 given his increased minutes. Eric Bledsoe is overpriced after his 62.1 FPTS outing versus the Thunder. Punting with P.J. Tucker at $5,100 is fine as a fill-in play given his increased consistency. Markieff Morris usually has his once in a while explosive games against teams that give up a ton of FPTS per game at PF. Miami is ranked No. 5, so I would avoid Morris despite a weak PF night.
Dragic is questionable, so he must really be hurting since this would be one of the more obvious revenge games. If he can’t go, Chalmers would be the likely replacement. The two weakest positions the Suns are at in terms of FPTS allowed are SF and C. This means Luol Deng (could see increased scoring and usage without Dragic) and Hassan Whiteside (just on a terror). Furthermore, Chris Andersen is questionable, so we could see another 35 minutes for Whiteside. If Chalmers does get the start and Dragic sits, Mario should get 35-plus minutes, especially since he got 35 off the bench last night. At $5,100, that’s certainly a fine play.
Golden State (-6) at Brooklyn (209.5)
The Warriors are at full strength. This line is only -6 since Golden State is on the second of a back-to-back. The Nets are also playing better as of late. The Nets are average-to-mediocre at FPTS allowed for all positions. Therefore, everyone on the Warriors is reasonably priced. I’d rather play Chris Paul than Steph Curry (more on this later), Klay Thompson is a solid GPP play given the weakness of SG and Draymond Green is certainly a good play at SF since the Nets are playing small as of late. I don’t think anyone else is really in play or needs to be.
The main person who has benefited as of late on the Nets is Joe Johnson since he’s technically playing power forward. Essentially, his rebounds are up substantially, which has eliminated his duds. At $6,400, he’s definitely a good play. It’s only a matter of time before he has one of his games where he catches fire and racks up 40 FPTS. Deron Williams at $6,200 is a fine play, and it’s probably better for GPPs. It’s not necessary to punt elsewhere or pay up for Brook Lopez.
LA Clippers (-5) at Minnesota (206.5)
We are still waiting to hear more on J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes. Either way, Chris Paul is a superb play at PG. The Timberwolves are one of the worst teams at FPTS allowed to PGs, and Paul’s usage percentage has increased with Blake Griffin out. If Redick and Barnes are out, it might go up even more. DeAndre Jordan is also someone who has benefited substantially without Blake Griffin in the mix, and he should be used as well. When Redick missed a handful of games at the end of January, Austin Rivers was the one getting the start and saw a bump in minutes. Rivers is minimum salary and given the matchup against the Timberwolves, he can certainly be used. In the two games Barnes missed, which was back in November, Reggie Bullock got the start, but he’s on Phoenix now. We’ll wait and see what the Clippers do and who is all playing, but those are the three guys to keep an eye on for now.
Meanwhile, Minnesota has a bit of an injury situation themselves. Martin (illness) and Pekovic (ankle) are questionable. Given that Minnesota’s overall roster and injuries have gone through massive turmoil this season, we really don’t know what Flip Saunders will do. Ideally, it would be the usual Ricky Rubio, Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng and Pekovic. If Martin can’t go, look for Gary Neal to get the start. If Pekovic can’t go, Kevin Garnett would probably start since Anthony Bennett is still injured. Wiggins and Dieng intrigue me the most. Rubio has a bad matchup against Paul. SF is weak tonight, and Wiggins would get a nice bump without Martin taking away a lot of shots. Dieng would also get a huge bump in usage percentage and rebounding without PekoviC. The other guys I worry about from a minutes perspective.
New Orleans at Dallas (-7.5) (197.5)
It should be another night of Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Quincy Pondexter, Dante Cunningham and Omer Asik in the starting lineup. Asik has quietly really benefited with Davis and Ryan Anderson out, and he is an excellent play tonight at C if you aren’t going to pony up for DeAndre. Dallas’ defense is really struggling without Tyson Chandler. On that note, Cunningham is only $4,100 at PF, he’s gotten a serious bump in minutes as of late, he’s posting almost 30 FPTS a game as a result and Dallas really struggles at PF FPTS allowed. Those are your best options. Given some of the options at PG tonight, I wouldn’t pay $8,400 for Tyreke as a 7.5-point underdog with that low of an O/U.
Dallas has been playing around with a few different lineups with Chandler and Chandler Parsons out. Last game they went with Rajon Rondo, J.J. Barea, Monta Ellis, Richard Jefferson and Dirk Nowitzki. Truthfully, all of this seems risky. Rick Carlisle has been messing with different players’ minutes and there is no continuity. Plus, no one has exceeded salary through all this. Best to just stay away from the Mavericks despite being a 7.5-point favorite.View all posts by Nick Juskewycz