Thursday’s three-game slate tips off with the much-improved Hornets hosting Toronto. The marquee matchup on TNT has the Thunder in Cleveland.The second half of the TV doubleheader could be a mismatch, as the Lakers can’t slow down James Harden $10800 or Dwight Howard $7000.
Houston is hardly unbeatable, having dropped the first two games of this trip in Denver and Sacramento. However, their most recent home game was a 126-97 romp over Kobe Bryant $6100 and company. Ironically, the better L.A. responds tonight, the more that will benefit the Rockets’ stars with extra minutes. Garbage time is a DFS enemy; it can compromise anyone’s value while making bargains of bench players.
Though currently coming off the bench, D’Angelo Russell $5400 and Julius Randle $6000 are the future. Jordan Clarkson $5300 looked sharp in Tuesday’s win after missing two games with an ankle injury and Roy Hibbert $4700 might get inspired against Howard, who seems grumpy again. Not the best game or the easiest to handicap, the nightcap does have some potential.
Plays of the Day
Congratulations to “fultonian” who won $100,000 cash last night for just $3 with Ricky Rubio, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Draymond Green, Gorgui Dieng, Jarrett Jack, John Henson and Jrue Holiday.
Tonight’s $300K Sharpshooter is a mere $3 buy-in (FREE with your first deposit) where the top 23,535 finishers (from up to 115,000 teams) win cash. First place is worth $20,000. It closes at 7:00 EST; enter before it fills and make lineup changes until each player’s game begins.
If the Raptors were even close to healthy, I’d be more optimistic about their chances. DeMarre Carroll (knee) and Jonas Valancuinas (hand) have been replaced by the inconsistent Terrence Ross $3900 and Bismack Biyombo $4800, who should be inspired in this Charlotte homecoming. DeMar DeRozan $7100 has put together an excellent run of four straight games with 20+ points, going 36-for-39 from the line in that stretch. Though he looked tired in Monday’s back-to-back, Luis Scola $5100 is usually the team’s top-scoring big.
If Kyle Lowry $8500 is the poor man’s Russell Westbrook $10300, you might say Kemba Walker $7200 is the poor man’s Lowry. Last night in Orlando, Nicolas Batum $7500 (illness) left after less than 20 minutes and P.J. Hairston $3100 led the starters with just 14 points in a losing cause. Jeremy Lamb $4300 had a team-high 16 in 29 minutes off the bench. Cody Zeller $4700 and Frank Kaminsky $3700 will take turns against Biyombo.
Kevin Durant $10100 vs. LeBron James $9900 is must-see TV and it will be no surprise if both put on a show. Cleveland’s biggest problem is stopping Westbrook. Iman Shumpert (groin) is out, leaving Matthew Dellavedova $4400, Mo Williams $4600 and J.R. Smith $4900 at the guard positions. The Thunder won easily last night (KD had 24 in a team-high 29 minutes) and ex-Cavalier Dion Waiters $4000 warmed up for this return with 18 off the bench. Kevin Love $8000 and Timofey Mozgov $3700 will start against Serge Ibaka $6100 and Steven Adams $3900 but Enes Kanter $4400 usually outproduces Adams. Mozgov seems to have emerged from a slump in his last two, making him a value play.
Today’s Short List and sample lineup assumes that Batum won’t play. That makes Hairston far more likely to get 30 minutes and lets me punt SF instead of paying retail for one of the superstars. Trevor Ariza $5700 is the only medium-priced alternative for me at a top-heavy position. Betting against Howard with two cheap centers is also part of the strategy.
Obviously, if you don’t commit to Harden — deservedly the highest-salaried guy in the pool — that cap room can be utilized elsewhere. As always, breaking news can be extremely significant and last-minute lineup adjustments can pay off.
|PG||Russell Westbrook $10300||Kyle Lowry $8500||D’Angelo Russell $5400|
|SG||James Harden $10800||DeMar DeRozan $7100||Dion Waiters $4000|
|SF||LeBron James $9900||Trevor Ariza $5700||P.J. Hairston $3100|
|PF||Kevin Love $8000||Julius Randle $6000||Luis Scola $5100|
|C||Dwight Howard $7000||Bismack Biyombo $4800||Roy Hibbert $4700|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.