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Plays of the Day
Value: Jae Crowder hasn’t really had an opportunity to flourish down the stretch since coming off a minutes limit two games ago, but tonight’s tilt with the Kings should go down to the wire and the pace of play should benefit a great defender and rebounder like Crowder. He’s a cash game lock given his ability to score and pile up peripheral stats and he’s under priced on both main DFS sites.
Fade: LeBron and the Cavs have to bounce back at some point after getting smoked in consecutive games this week, but I’m still not willing to pay up for him in a tough road tilt at Chicago. The King has fallen well short of value in each of his last two appearances and the Bulls have done a solid job against him in the past with Jimmy Butler defending him admirably.
Games to Target
- Denver Nuggets (+2) hosting Houston Rockets (Over/Under = 220.5)
- Boston Celtics (-6.5) hosting Sacramento Kings (Over/Under = 209)
Isaiah Thomas (BOS) vs. SAC DK:$7,500/FD:$8,100
Two below-average defensive teams will meet tonight at the TD Garden in Boston and there should be fireworks from former running mates DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas. Those two stars had a mixed relationship during their shared time in Sacramento, and Thomas has really flourished since he got out from under Boogie’s shadow and became the leader of a new team. Last season, IT4 averaged 21.5 PPG and 9 APG over two meetings with the Kings and he’s only increased in terms of consistency and upside this season. He’s produced at least 32 DK points in 17-of-18 appearances this season and faces a Kings team that is rated 25th in defensive rating, so he should have another solid game at home.
Jameer Nelson (DEN) vs. HOU DK:$4,900/FD:$4,400
You might want to go with Sergio Rodriguez ($4500/$4400) in cash games if Jerryd Bayless remains out, but Nelson seems to have more upside in the same price range. The Nuggets are turning to the veteran for playmaking and scoring with Will Barton and Gary Harris on the shelf and he’s responded with averages of 19.8 PPG, 8 APG and 38.3 DK PPG over his last 3 appearances. Tonight, the Nuggets offense should be very productive against a Rockets team that is ranked 26th in defensive rating, gives up the seventh-most PPG (107.4) in the NBA, and should be completely exhausted after dragging out a double-overtime win at Golden State last night. Houston allows limited FPPG to opposing PGs, but coughs up the seventh-most FPPG (39.06) to opposing SGs, which is Nelson’s role when he’s playing beside Emmanuel Mudiay.
Sergio Rodriguez ($4500/$4400) will be a great cash game play if Bayless remains out. Ty Lawson ($3900/$4100) has established a solid floor as the Kings timeshare PG and Elfrid Payton ($5000/$5700) is worth a look in a good matchup against the 76ers.
Dennis Schroeder ($6000/$5900) is on fire right now for the Hawks and he’ll see more usage if Paul Millsap misses another game.
James Harden (HOU) @ DEN: DK:$11,900/FD:$11,500
One of the few superstars in the NBA who is capable of providing a herculean offensive effort on consecutive nights, Harden will put his endurance to the test after logging a whopping 46 minutes in last night’s win. The Beard posted his fourth triple double of the season and he has that type of upside against a weak Nuggets defense that allows the fifth-most PPG (108.7) and most PPG (28.0) to opposing SGs on the season. Harden is actually averaging 14.5 APG and 28 PPG on 0 days rest this year. While he “only” averaged 24.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 5.7 APG over 3 meetings with Denver last season, this is a completely different player and leader while the Nuggets backcourt defense is significantly worse due to all their injuries.
Evan Fournier (ORL) @ PHI: DK:$6,000/FD:$5,800
Fournier needs to score, and score efficiently to exceed value on both main DFS sites. He doesn’t provide much in terms of peripheral stats and that makes him a somewhat risky play, but he’s been more boom than bust lately with 68 points on 26-of-44 FG shooting (59%) over his last 3 appearances. He’ll have a great chance to ride that momentum into a plus matchup tonight against a Sixers team that gives up the sixth-most PPG (107.9) and coughs up the twelfth-most FPPG (38.26) to opposing SGs on the season. You can stack this game with Philadelphia (-2) slightly favored at home tonight and Fournier is one of the best options to consider on Orlando’s roster.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5200/$5600) is playing with a lot of confidence right now and is consistently exceeding value at this mid-tier price tag.
Lou Williams ($5800/$5200) seems to have a little more upside than Jordan Clarkson right now and both Lakers guards are worth a look. You can consider Jamal Murray ($4300/$4100 as PG on FD) in tournaments as well.
Wilson Chandler (DEN) vs. HOU: DK:$6,800/FD:$6,300
Another Nuggets playmaker to consider given the Rockets tough spot tonight is Chandler, as he’s averaging 21.3 PPG over his last 9 appearances and has established a great floor in DFS contests. Houston’s defense should struggle overall tonight given how much energy was expended to defeat the Warriors last night, and the Rockets happen to give up the most PPG (23.94) to opposing SFs in the NBA this year. Chandler is averaging 35.7 DK PPG over 8 home games this season and he averaged 20.3 PPG over 4 meetings with Houston during the 2014-15 season. He seems fully recovered from the injuries that torpedoed his 2015-16 campaign and the Nuggets really need his steady production as part of a young team.
Jae Crowder (BOS) vs. SAC: DK:$5,800/FD:$5,300
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m literally excited to play Jae Crowder in cash games at this price tag and hope for him to replicate his FP totals each and every night. He hasn’t really had an opportunity to flourish down the stretch since coming off a minutes limit two games ago, as the Celtics won rather easily in Miami before getting whooped by the Pistons at home. Tonight’s tilt with the Kings should go down to the wire and the pace of play should benefit a great defender and rebounder like Crowder. Sacramento also ranks 23rd in 3PT defense (.364%), which is how Crowder usually contributes offensively, so he should be able to put up solid numbers once again and serve as an exciting (oxymoronic statement) cash game play.
Kent Bazemore ($5300/$5200) is a good bet to meet value and a better bet for upside if Millsap remains out for the Hawks. Also consider Marcus Morris ($5200/$4900) as one of the Pistons steady starters.
Robert Covington ($4600/$4500) is a classic GPP play and he could get hot in a plus matchup against the Magic tonight. Sam Dekker ($3000/$3600) is playing very well for the Rockets when they want to go small and they might do that against the Nuggets again tonight.
Anthony Davis (NO) vs. LAC: DK:$11,700/FD:$12,300
Good lord Davis is expensive on FanDuel and he doesn’t come cheap on DK either, but he’s still worth a look given the fact that his team will be home against a Clippers squad that’s on the second half of a B2B set. You might be able to get away with fading the Brow if DeAndre Jordan proves capable of sliding over to the 4 defensively and contains the Pelicans best player, but that’s been an impossible task thus far this season. Davis is routinely putting up 40-plus points with double-digit rebounds and he’s averaging a ridiculous 68.8 DK PPG over 4 appearances since he suffered one of his trademark early-game injuries last week. Even in a tough matchup against the Clippers, you can try to pay up for the Brow and find value elsewhere to make up for his cost.
Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) vs. MIN: DK:$7,900/FD:$7,900
If Porzingis is the consolation prize for those who can’t afford The Brow, it could be much worse. He’s playing like a poor man’s Anthony Davis given his ability to block shots, hit jumpers and create his own offense off the dribble when the coaching staff recognizes a mismatch. While Karl-Anthony Towns will deservedly get most of the attention for his monstrous game (47 points and 18 rebounds) against the Knicks two nights ago, Porzingis was excellent in that showdown as well with 29 points, 8 boards, 4 assists and 50 DK points (47.6 FD points) in a losing effort. He’s now produced at least 35 DK points in 9 consecutive appearances and seems to be finding his stride ahead of a rematch with the Wolves 23rd-ranked defense.
Ersan Ilyasova ($4700/$4600) continues to provide steady returns as the 76ers starting PF. Patrick Patterson ($4200/$4200) actually flashed some upside two nights ago with his first double double of the season but he’s more of a safe play with Toronto hosting the Lakers tonight.
Nikola Jokic ($5200/$5100) is really heating up for the Nuggets but he suffered a wrist injury that is worth monitoring. If he can’t go tonight, Kenneth Faried ($5600/$5900) would emerge as an intriguing tournament play.
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) @ BOS: DK:$10,700/FD:$10,900
Hopefully you won’t hold it against Cousins that Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia was postponed at the last minute, because it probably won’t effect his performance in an even better matchup tonight. Boogie came to the east coast on an absolute roll with averages of 35.3 PPG, 13.3 RPG and 62.9 DK PPG over his last 4 appearances and now he faces an under sized Celtics team that is coughing up the second-most FPPG (50.08) to opposing centers this season. It may be concerning to note that Cousins averaged 23.5 PPG on 35.7% FG shooting over 2 meetings with the Celtics and 24 PPG on 37.8% FG shooting against Al Horford’s Hawks last year, but Boston is ranked 22nd in defensive rating after finishing fourth in the NBA in that rating last season and the C’s are going to struggle against one of the most talented big men in the league.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) vs. NYK: DK:$8,900/FD:$9,400
One strategy in GPPs tonight could be to squeeze two or three big-time centers into your lineups with Cousins, Towns and maybe Joel Embiid fitting into a DK lineup. When you have to choose between those options on FanDuel, Towns seems like the safest bet for continued production even if he doesn’t approach Wednesday’s 47-point eruption against these Knicks. The second-year phenom put on a clinic in that game and the Knicks simply had no answers for him, so this shouldn’t be a matter of making the proper defensive adjustments. KAT might see a lot of double teams tonight, but he’s capable of passing to the open man and piling up peripheral stats even if he isn’t as efficient with his scoring.
Joel Embiid ($6700/$6200) is reportedly going to be restricted to 28 minutes instead of 25 going forward, and he should be well rested after Wednesday’s game was PPD.
Nikola Vucevic ($6800/$7100) could be a great pivot in tournament formats as he should roll against the weak 76ers front court. Jusuf Nurkic ($4400/$4400) is a true longshot to consider only if Jokic can’t play for Denver tonight.