1/29 Marquee NBA Matchups – Oklahoma City at Miami, Chicago at San Antonio
With the Detroit Pistons-Atlanta Hawks contest postponed due to the bizarre weather, we are down to 10 NBA games tonight. Quite frankly, it’s a pretty weak night in terms of top teams squaring off, with the exception of the Thunder-Heat game. Add Bulls-Spurs to the ESPN mix in terms of great value plays, League Pass may not be as mandatory as it usually is on a Wednesday.
Let’s take a look at the nationally-televised games by position.
(All salaries and fantasy numbers are via DraftKings)
Oklahoma City at Miami -3.5 O/U 203
PG – Russell Westbrook is still sidelined, which means Reggie Jackson continues the starting point-guard duties. He’s been inconsistent to say the least. He put up 15 FPTS versus the 76ers and 12 against the Bucks, while posting 47 at the Spurs and 43.5 at the Rockets. While he doesn’t have a high correlation to fantasy defenses, Miami is second in FPTS allowed to PGs. At $6,100 with Chalmers back healthy, I’d look elsewhere.
SG – Thabo Sefolosha really shouldn’t be considered for any reason. Neither should Jeremy Lamb. He had 34.5 FPTS against the Celtics, but that was the game Durant sat out. He plays minutes in the mid 20s and relies too much on points to be a legit value play at $4,200.
SF – Kevin Durant is on an absolute terror having scored over 50 FPTS in his last seven games. But tonight he goes up against LeBron James. Despite some people thinking that LeBron is slacking defensively because it’s the regular season, Miami gives up the second-fewest FPTS to SFs (OKC is first). For $11,800, he’s not worth it and you can find better top-salary players.
PF – Here is your legit play. Miami is 12th in FPTS allowed to PFs and 21st to centers. But against Miami, whoever the better fantasy player is in terms of big men, usually has a particularly good performance. Miami is 27th in rebounding percentage and we know Kendrick Perkins won’t provide many stats. Serge Ibaka should get himself at least a double-double to go with a few assists, blocks and steals. Look for a 40-plus FPT performance.
C – Unless turnovers, fouls and confused looks give you points, don’t consider Kendrick Perkins. OK, that’s not completely fair since he’s had a few decent rebounding games, but he has a very low ceiling for the minutes and the few shot attempts he takes each game.
PG – After hovering just above a minimum salary when he returned from injury, Mario Chalmers is now at $5,000. Oklahoma City gives up the fourth-most FPTS to PGs and Dwyane Wade is a game-time decision. Regardless if Wade plays though, I wouldn’t put Chalmers into your lineup. He won’t get you more than 35 FPTS and he’s more likely to be in the upper 20s. I’d rather have someone with greater upside for $5,000.
SG – With Wade questionable, this obviously influences a lot of the Miami players. For most of the year Wade had been putting up legit numbers in his game-time decision contests. However, he’s $7,000 and has turned him performances of 21.5, 21 and 20.25 FPTS in his last three games, although he came off the bench in two of those. Even if Wade starts and gets 30-some minutes, I wouldn’t pay $7,000 for him. He’ll likely get you around 35 FPTS which isn’t a good target for that salary. There are many other players with higher ceilings for that price.
SF – LeBron James is the most consistent 45-50 FPTS you will find, but going against OKC (No. 1 in FPTS allowed to SFs), he’s not the greatest top-salary play. Technically, you could actually call LeBron the power forward, but he plays like a 3 the most. However, some are predicting that James will have a huge night. If Wade doesn’t play and given that LeBron might play all out tonight to outshine Durant’s ridiculous scoring run, this actually would have potential to be a value play. But I don’t buy that. LeBron isn’t going to take over a regular-season game, no matter who the opponent is. He saves those performances for the playoffs, like Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Boston Celtics in 2012.
PF – Assuming Shane Battier gets the start, he shouldn’t be considered. He’s had one game over 20 FPTS in his last 10. Even though he’s minimum salary, you won’t gain any ground. As for Michael Beasley at $3,200, he should only be considered if Wade doesn’t go. I still wouldn’t do it though given that Miami is playing a deep and inconsistent rotation.
C – Chris Bosh has been shooting lights out as of late. He’s 69-of-113 in his last seven games. Although, he’s still averaging close to his 6.7 rebounds during this stretch and hasn’t increased any of his other stats. OKC is 22nd in FPTS allowed to PFs, but third to centers. However, Bosh is a center that plays away from the basket unlike most centers in the West. Bosh should be around 35 FPTS tonight. He’s not a GPP play, but 50/50 is fine.
Chicago at San Antonio -8 O/U 188
PG – D.J. Augustin is finally up to $6,200, which is way more realistic for what he brings to the table. Still, going against the Spurs (24th in FPTS allowed to PGs – in top 10 for all other positions), he’s a great play. He’s taking 14.6 shots per game while dishing out 6.4 assists in his last 10 games. Those three factors are a good enough reason to play him. However, Kirk Hinrich is a game-time decision. Even if Hinrich does play, he could easily come off the bench given how well Augustin has played. Given the 9:35 ET start, this will be tough for daily fantasy players. Augustin is a great play if Hinrich doesn’t go, but he’s just a decent play if he does.
SG – Jimmy Butler is getting around 40 minutes per game (not including OTs), which should be an excellent sign for someone who is only $6,000. But as we are seeing more of this current Bulls lineup, Butler becoming more active on the defensive end and not as much offensively. Butler has only had three games over 27 FPTS in his last 10 and two of those involved OT. While usually forcing at least two steals a game, he’s an inconsistent scorer and is average-to-mediocre in terms of rebounds and assists. I wouldn’t advise him.
SF – For Mike Dunleavy to be a legit play, he needs to score. The Bulls have recently played several opponents who are weak in FPTS allowed to SFs, but there hasn’t been any correlation for him in that regard. Dunleavy’s $5,000 salary is also the highest he’s had all season. Dunleavy is actually a lot like Chalmers tonight for fantasy production – same salary, needs to score to get over 30 FPTS and has a limited ceiling. Even if the Spurs are missing, Leonard, Green and Ginobili, I wouldn’t play him.
PF – Carlos Boozer is someone that has high correlation to his opponents. Tonight, he faces Tim Duncan and the Spurs are ninth in FPTS allowed to PFs. However, the Spurs have allowed the 22nd most to PFs in the last 15 games since Jeff Ayres at 6’9″ has guarded some of the PFs while sliding Duncan over to defend the 5. Boozer might be overplayed since he put up 51.5 FPTS against Minnesota, but Noah didn’t play and Nikola Pekovic went down six minutes into the game. Even though Noah is 50/50 on playing tonight with the flu, I’d stay away altogether. Duncan would more likely defend Boozer and Ayres would take Taj Gibson. I’ve gotten some great value out of Gibson this year, but at $5,800 and with the potential of Noah playing, he’ll be tough to start. If you’re on a site like DraftKings that allows you to switch your lineup after the first games have started, then pencil this one in and have a plan B if Noah plays.
C – Apparently Noah does feel better, but he’s still essentially a game-time decision. His salary has dropped slightly to $7,700. I’m not a huge fan of playing people who are getting over the flu, especially high-salary players. There’s risk for limited minutes and the chances of him going off are decreased.
PG – Tony Parker hasn’t done a lot in his last three games, but this is your chance to buy low at $6,900. San Antonio is missing three of its primary players and Parker will likely need to be more aggressive tonight. Chicago is also 17th in FPTS allowed to PGs in the last 15 games, which is the worst ranking at any position for the Bulls. Hinrich is a better defender than Augustin, but I’d expect Augustin to get more minutes even if Hinrich does suit up.
SG – This spot should go to Cory Joseph again, however Butler will likely be guarding him. Since Joseph is still minimum salary at most places and was already getting solid minutes before the Ginobili injury, Joseph will easily surpass his expected salary. At the same time, I don’t think he’s the greatest play though with Butler on him.
SF – Gregg Popovich has made my head spin constantly with his constant starting-lineup changes. But with Leonard, Green and Ginobili out, I think it’s safe to say Marco Belinelli will start at SF and have a slight bump in minutes. He’s also going against his former team in the Chicago Bulls and Mike Dunleavy will be guarding him. I like Belinelli in this matchup from an offensive perspective. He’s $4,000 on DraftKings.
PF – Tim Duncan – If Noah plays, I’d expect him to guard Duncan and therefore don’t like this play for $7,700. If Noah doesn’t, then this is just a mediocre play. The Bulls play at a slow pace, are second in points allowed and 9th in rebounding. I don’t see major upside to Duncan at $7,700. However, Boris Diaw at $3,800 is a no-brainer start here. He’s getting around 30 minutes per game, is becoming a significant factor in the offense (23-of-40 in last three games) and contributes moderately in the other areas.
C – Jeff Ayres really hasn’t done much of anything fantasy wise in Tiago Splitter’s absence. Nothing to consider here.
There you have it. Good luck tonight and enjoy the games.
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