There are a handful of NBA superstars to choose from in daily fantasy on an 11-game Wednesday. In real life, the matchup between Chris Paul $9800 and Russell Westbrook $11200 is compelling stuff. James Harden $10400 leads the Rockets into New Orleans, where Anthony Davis $10100 (toe) is expected to return after missing just one game.
Any (or all) of them could earn those lofty salaries, but in DFS we look for value — underpriced players with a good chance to succeed. Will Barton $6000 is my #1 guy tonight. He was relatively quiet on Monday in a loss to Memphis, but with Kenneth Faried $6200 (back) questionable and Danilo Gallinari (ankle) out, The Thrill is the primary offensive threat as the Nuggets host the Lakers. Emmanuel Mudiay $5300, Darrell Arthur $3900 and Gary Harris $5000 are also affordable.
L.A. did beat the Nets last night with our bargain pick D’Angelo Russell $5800 draining eight threes among his 39 points, plus a double-double from Julius Randle $6200 and a rare good effort from Roy Hibbert $3400. It remains to be seen if they can be as effective in a back-to-back on the road at altitude, though Kobe Bryant $5700 (shoulder) should return.
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If every player in your 8-man lineup outperforms his cost, you’ll win money. My rule-of-thumb is FPTS = 5$, or five times the player’s cost should at least equal his fantasy points scored. For Harden, that’s a score of 52.000 to “break even” on his salary. Barton has the better chance to earn six or even seven times his price. Eric Gordon $5100 showed zero rust with 31 points (44.3 FPTS) after missing a month and is also worth considering.
The decision at PG is extremely tough. John Wall $9700, Kyle Lowry $8400 and others could beat Westbrook and CP3 in points-per-dollar. We touted Kemba Walker $8100 here yesterday with a caveat about garbage time; though the Hornets won by 34 and he saw less than 30 minutes, he still earned 6.5 times his cost. A repeat in Philadelphia tonight would be no surprise.
Kevin Durant $10200 is clearly the best SF on the board and priced accordingly, but Kawhi Leonard $7700 and the Spurs are playing their first home game in 25 days (they were 7-1 on the road) and might entertain the crowd. The underrated Jerami Grant $4700, not much of a scorer, contributes in rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.
DeMarcus Cousins $10600 faces the tough Grizzlies D, so Davis gets the nod as our Premium PF but again, we’re looking for value. LaMarcus Aldridge $6900 warrants strong consideration and Arthur (my top choice under $4000) is a decent punt play.
Center is also a tossup, with Karl-Anthony Towns $8500 and Marcin Gortat $7100 both playable in a potentially high-scoring affair. Dwight Howard $7600 has been profitable in three of last four and was a break-even play vs. an inspired Tim Duncan $4800 in the other.
We always create a Short List of 15 players before trying to assemble the best lineups. Some nights there are more ultra-cheap bargains with upside, which makes a stars-and-scrubs approach more viable, but this evening’s value appears to be in the middle. As always, breaking news between now and game time can create opportunities.
|PG||Chris Paul $9800||Kemba Walker $8100||D’Angelo Russell $5800|
|SG||James Harden $10400||Will Barton $6000||Eric Gordon $5100|
|SF||Kevin Durant $10200||Kawhi Leonard $7700||Jerami Grant $4700|
|PF||Anthony Davis $10100||LaMarcus Aldridge $6900||Darrell Arthur $3900|
|C||Karl-Anthony Towns $8500||Dwight Howard $7600||Tim Duncan $4800|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.