In fantasy basketball, the “silly season” is almost upon us. Over the final month, NBA teams that are out of the playoff picture will rest (or even shut down) veterans, audition youngsters and lengthen the bench.
Even teams that have locked up a postseason spot often feature unpredictable lineups down the stretch. It’s a nuisance in traditional leagues and creates some unlikely heroes in DFS. Last night, Sasha Vujacic scored 23 points (including 6-of-7 from deep) as the Knicks dropped a 31-point beating on the Suns.
There are still games that matter to both teams, including half of tonight’s four-game slate. However, the defensive intensity in those matchups can preclude high scores. We never said this would be easy.
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The Bulls have lost Jimmy Butler (knee) again and are barely clinging to eighth place. They haven’t won on the road in a month and the Spurs haven’t lost at home all year. Pau Gasol $8300 and Derrick Rose $6300 will be determined to snap both those streaks. Possible bargains include Taj Gibson $4600, Mike Dunleavy $4000, E’Twaun Moore $4400 and Nikola Mirotic $4100. As always, Kawhi Leonard $8400, LaMarcus Aldridge $7100 and Tim Duncan $4400 will be primed for a battle. Ageless Andre Miller $3000 was terrific in a surprise start for Tony Parker $4500 (toe) but TP is expected to return.
Despite the standings, all is not well in Toronto, as Kyle Lowry $8700 and DeMar DeRozan $7500 may be tiring from a heavy workload and defensive lapses keep costing Jonas Valanciunas $6300 minutes. The Hawks are wrapping up an excellent five-game road trip, with three straight wins after a narrow loss to the Warriors. Jeff Teague $6000 and Paul Millsap $7800 are particularly sharp.
LeBron James $9800 and Kyrie Irving $7700 led Cleveland’s victory last night in Sacramento and should have enough left to beat the Lakers in this road back-to-back. However, we’re not expecting any Cavaliers to put up huge numbers, as the stars will play only long enough to win. Tristan Thompson $4900 is probably the best value if Timofey Mozgov $3300 (illness) sits out again. Kobe Bryant $4900 (shoulder) might make an appearance, but the Lakers belong now to youngsters D’Angelo Russell $7200, Jordan Clarkson $6200 and Julius Randle $6400.
The team to focus on tonight might be Denver. Emmanuel Mudiay $6500, Kenneth Faried $6700, Nikola Jokic $6100 and Gary Harris $5000 are rested and at home, while Phoenix had to travel after last night’s ugly loss. Devin Booker $5300 stayed hot but everyone else looked tired. Even our top pick Alex Len $6600 cooled off to a more modest double-double (14 & 10.)
|PG||Kyle Lowry $8700||Emmanuel Mudiay $6500||Tony Parker $4500|
|SG||DeMar DeRozan $7500||Gary Harris $5000||E’Twaun Moore $4400|
|SF||LeBron James $9800||Kawhi Leonard $8400||Mike Dunleavy $4000|
|PF||Paul Millsap $7800||Kenneth Faried $6700||Tristan Thompson $4900|
|C||Pau Gasol $8300||Nikola Jokic $6100||Tim Duncan $4400|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.