Ah, NBA…It is the DFS sport we love to hate and hate to love! In this article I am going to roll with my traditional format of listing my three favorites at each position. Since listing the top three most expensive guys at each position helps no one, I will break it into general salary tiers – a high, medium and low-tier player at each position as well as including a “punt” if you decide to take that particular route. The pricing tiers, for now, will be broken up into the following, give or take: High ($8800+), Mid ($7200-$8700), Low ($6000-$7200) and punts/value will be $6000 and below. Again, these tiers will be a little fluid depending on the player pool on that particular night. If you want to see anything added, tiers changed, or have any other suggestions, don’t hesitate to let me know – after all, this article is for YOU! Please note, these are NOT the only guys I like nor are they the only guys I may be playing – they’re just my top plays within the tier. Depending on the slate, I may play two high-tier guys at a particular position or two low-tier guys. If I make any changes, I will make them in red and put the time I made the change/update so check back before lock. I don’t expect that to happen often, but you know NBA…news is always breaking! As always, be sure to pay attention close to lock to make sure these guys are playing and be sure to make our NBA Matchups tool a staple in your research!
*Cash game foundation plays at the bottom*
The Fanduel Rankings
****Going to do my article a little differently tonight since it is a very small five-game slate. I am just going to list my favorite plays in order by position. These aren’t necessarily the guys I think will score the most at the position, but just simply my favorite plays ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (matchup, opportunity, price, value, etc)****
- Lillard (if in)
Notes: This position hinges on some major news today. Dame played 38 minutes last night so having just come off injury, I am unsure if he play on a B2B. If he does, is in a good spot against Fox defense. Trae missed last night’s game with flu-like symptoms. If it truly is the flu, I don’t expect him to play tonight which would have a ripple effect on the entire slate as it did last night. If he plays, firing him up is risky as we are unsure of how he is after being sick so it may be too risky of a play for you. It is definitely more of a GPP play. One tier down may be a little safer with just as much upside in Curry and Fox. Curry gets a watered down Philly team that has taken a step back defensively without Simmons and Embiid. Philly has been a top-5 defensive team all season but over the past month, they have played the 15th best defense, a big decrease for them. This can allow Golden State to stay in this one and allow Curry to thrive. He looked great last game with a usage rate of 29% and I expect that to carry over here and possibly be even higher going forward. His ceiling may be a little lower than it usually is because he still very well may be limited but even in 30 minutes he can go for 40+ which I will take for his salary. Sexton has been on fire and the matchup with Denver may scare people but believe it or not, Denver has actually been the 3rd worst defensively rated team over the last month. They aren’t allowing a TON of points because of the pace of which they play, but in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions, they leave a lot to be desired lately. Sexton is still seeing heavy volume and while it may not be sustainable, his price is still low enough where we can be okay with that 35 point game rather than the 50+ he’s had his last two (against great defenses, nonetheless). If Sexton is too risky for you, you can go Jamal Murray for a little cheaper. His floor is a little better, but he doesn’t have the ceiling that Sexton has shown lately.
- McCollum (*see below)
- McRae Pivots*
Notes: So, right off the bat I am going to tell you that if Dame plays, I am lowering my rank on CJ big time and may not even have any at all. He should still be good in that case but I don’t know if he is $7700 good. If Dame is ruled out on the B2B, he becomes a lock in all formats and probably becomes the chalkiest player on the slate. After him, the position is really up in the air. I like Mitchell, but he is relatively uninspiring for the tag but Cleveland is bleeding points to opposing guards. He is probably the safest at this entire position, but the ceiling is just kind of ‘meh’ for the price. As I mentioned above, if Trae were to miss again, Huerter would become a top target for me. McRae may be popular as he had a decent game last game on good playing time (25 minutes) and he is almost minimum price. My head is saying to just eat it, but my head is saying to fade. I will probably end up eating it, but it should be noted that Bruce Brown is expected to be back tonight and the matchup isn’t ideal and McRae is very scoring-dependent so if the shot isn’t falling, he won’t blow the roof of the place. If I am playing one lineup, I am probably playing him. If I play two, I may fade in one and pivot to another guy down there like Korkamz, Burks, Harris or Clarkson.
- Hunter/Reddish *
- J Jackson
Notes: As of right now, this position is pretty straight forward for me. It is Harris and Wiggins and no one else. If Trae is in, I probably won’t stray from those two at all. If Trae is out, I will play the hell out of Harris and then plug in one of Hunter or Reddish. Jackson has been seeing 20+ minutes for the Grizz and is at his best when he can contribute some defensive peripherals (3 points on FD) and Atlanta gives those up at among the highest rate in the league so he is a decent dart throw punt if you need one.
- Giles (if no Holmes)
Notes: This position is the one that I think is going to make or break people tonight. We need some Cleveland news to come out because if TT and/or Drummond remain out, Love and Nance are in really underrated spots. Denver’s defense has struggled of late as I mentioned above, particularly to bigs as they have allowed opposing centers the 4th most FD points over the last month. I’m not sure if Jokic is getting winded this late in the season or what, but it is a matchup that people may avoid and if Drummond and Thompson are out, Nance or Love can possibly give us some leverage on the field that may be going Wood in a tough matchup. If Drummond or Thompson play, I will pull back on both Nance and Love as their prices are only in play if those two are out.
Favorite game of the night to target? Phi/GS
Least favorite game of the night to target? Uta/Det
Favorite position to pay up at? C
Most likely pay-down position? SG
Cash Game Foundation Pieces
*Since hedging your tourneys with cash games is extremely important in these daily sports like NBA and MLB, we have decided to include a cash game (double ups, 50/50’s) section at the bottom of our NBA articles this season. These guys will be my 4-5 player foundation for cash games. I will focus mainly on where I think ownership will be more so than who the actual “best” play at the position will be. It is imperative that we play ownership in cash as we just need to beat half the field in these games rather than finish first. We want to pay close attention to where the field is going so if we have a bust at high ownership, it doesn’t bury us. Ownership is indeed key, but don’t let it dictate your entire lineup. I love tourneys because they give me a chance to take some risks, but we want to play it safe in double-ups so I use my cash games to maybe eat some chalk that I may not be particularly high on, because again, we want to play ownership in cash. It is more importsnt that we eat low-dollar chalk in cash games than it is high-dollar chalk so you will see the low-dollar chalk in the foundation more often than high-dollar. Let’s dive in! (Check back for final updates at 6:30!)*
Fanduel NBA cash game foundation pieces: I do not recommend playing cash on a five game slate but check back around 6 as we get more news!
Other cash plays:
*Remember, these foundation pieces aren’t necessarily my favorite plays of the night, or “must-plays”, they are simply the guys I think will project to be the highest owned players for cash games!
Be sure to check lineups before lock to make sure these guys are active and for the first few weeks, play pretty light while we let things shake out! And as always, hedge your tournaments with cash games! Good luck