There are two NBA games at 3:30 Eastern, with the Thunder huge favorites in Brooklyn and the Mavericks visiting Houston. The injury list, always important, is critical in that one. Dwight Howard (ankle) is out, so Clint Capela $6000 will start again, with Terrence Jones $5200 getting extra run.
James Harden $10100 always has triple-double potential and Ty Lawson $4500 is improving, but the most interesting daily play for the Rockets is Josh Smith $3600, who was just re-acquired in a trade. Not even expected to suit up on Friday, Smoov missed nine of ten shots and still had a great fantasy line — six assists, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 21 minutes. He admits that signing with the Clippers was a mistake and seems thrilled to be “home” again.
Moral victories don’t count in the standings, but in DFS it doesn’t matter which team wins. Dallas lost a tough one at home on Friday despite big efforts by Deron Williams $6200 and Chandler Parsons $5900. A knee issue makes Dirk Nowitzki $6300 questionable, and not the greatest option if he does suit up. Zaza Pachulia $5800 (leg) is also not 100%; if he’s scratched, JaVale McGee $3100 will benefit.
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Ironically, if you’re keying on Russell Westbrook $10600 and/or Kevin Durant $9500, you need the Nets to play well. That’s a stretch, considering they lost by 22 on Friday and scored just 78 points in their previous game, both at home. Steven Adams (elbow) is out, so Enes Kanter $4500 and Nick Collison $3100 have a tough matchup against Brook Lopez $7000 — if BroLo is in the mood. Early garbage time would mean the OKC superstars can take it easy; Dion Waiters $3900, Cameron Payne $3400 and Kyle Singler $3100 might play most of the second half.
Here in Toronto, we’re eagerly anticipating the All-Star game in three weeks. Today’s matchup between Chris Paul $9700 and Kyle Lowry $8500 is a great warmup act. The battle inside between DeAndre Jordan $7200 and Jonas Valanciunas $6400 will be fascinating as well. I’m expecting DeMar DeRozan $8300 to attack J.J. Redick $5400 early and often; bidding to join Lowry as an All-Star, DMDR has scored 30+ in three straight.
Locked in a four-way tie for the fifth through eighth playoff spots in the East, the Celtics have plenty of incentive against the much-improved 76ers. Last night’s cancellation gives both clubs an extra day of rest, so Nerlens Noel $6400 (migraine) should be feeling better. JaKarr Sampson $3000 (hip) also left Wednesday’s game early, so Jerami Grant $4400 really took advantage — 12 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL — and may have earned himself more minutes.
Both point guards are quick and aggressive; Isaiah Thomas $7800 is my pick over Ish Smith $7500. Philly’s best player Jahlil Okafor $6300 is becoming more consistent offensively, but he may have trouble with the shooting range of Jared Sullinger $5500 and Kelly Olynyk $5200. Expected back from a one-game absence, Amir Johnson $5000 (personal) has been ineffective lately, which usually means he’s playing hurt. Jae Crowder $6500 (illness) missed practice and might be less than 100% if he goes. Avery Bradley $5600 could get a few more shots than usual and the price is right.
Keying on two or more of the high-salaried superstars and filling with ultra-cheap guys is one way to build a competitive DFS team; I’m inclined to go for balance. Only one player in our sample lineup costs more than $8000, only one less than $5500.
|PG||Russell Westbrook $10600||Isaiah Thomas $7800||Ty Lawson $4500|
|SG||James Harden $10100||DeMar DeRozan $8300||Avery Bradley $5600|
|SF||Kevin Durant $9500||Chandler Parsons $5900||Jerami Grant $4400|
|PF||Nerlens Noel $6400||Clint Capela $6000||Josh Smith $3600|
|C||DeAndre Jordan $7200||Jared Sullinger $5500||Enes Kanter $4500|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.