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Plays of the Day
Value: With Chris Paul out and J.J. Redick (hamstring) questionable tonight, Jamal Crawford becomes an easy choice as a value play. The ageless wonder could wind up producing more FPs than Felton as he did when Paul missed a home game against the Mavericks right before Christmas and he makes for a fine option in any format given his secure usage as the leader of the Clippers second unit. Crawford posted Usage Rates of 34.7 and 34.5 percent with CP3 out over the Clips last two games and a notable 53.8% Assist Rate (6 dimes) with Paul out against the Mavs last Friday and he faces a weak Nuggets defense tonight.
Fade: LeBron James and the Cavs put it all on the line to defeat the Warriors at home yesterday and it wouldn’t be surprising if one of Cleveland’s Big 3 gets some rest on the second half of a B2B set. Even if he plays, he could play shorter minutes than usual in a brutal matchup against the Pistons elite defense and that makes him worth fading.
Games to Target
- Los Angeles Clippers (-3) hosting Denver Nuggets (Over/Under = 213.5)
- Houston Rockets (-13) hosting Phoenix Suns (Over/Under = 230.5)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) @ WAS DK:$10,300/FD:$10,600 as SG
Because he doesn’t necessarily depending on scoring to meet value, Giannis has emerged as one of the premier cash game plays in DFS over the past several weeks. That’s not to say he’s not scoring, as he’s averaging 24.3 PPG on 55.6% FG shooting throughout December, but the fact that he’s averaging 9.7 RPG, 5.6 APG and 3.9 STL/BLK per game during that span is even more encouraging. He’s already roasted these Wizards twice this month with a combined 67 points, 21 rebounds and 13 assists while getting to the rim in effortless fashion against Washington’s 23rd-ranked defense. Washington (-4.5) is somehow favored in this home game despite losing to the Bucks by 25 points before Christmas, so you can expect a full slate of minutes for Giannis in a matchup that he’s dominated recently.
Raymond Felton (LAC) vs. DEN DK:$3,600/FD:$4,000
Chris Paul (hamstring) went through pre-game warm-ups and seemed likely to play in the nightcap on Christmas Day, but he was held out at the last moment and is not going to play on the second half of a B2B set. Felton started in his absence and played heavy minutes for a second straight game, but this time he filled the stat sheet with 8 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks to produce 36.5 DK points (35 FD points) and return at least 6x the value of his near-minimum price tag. Tonight the veteran will get another chance to prove his worth as the leader of an elite Clippers offense against a Nuggets defense that gives up the third-most FPPG (47.8) to opposing PGs and fifth-most PPG (109.7) overall.
Ty Lawson ($4000/$4600) has exceeded value in three consecutive appearances and he seems unlikely to slow down in a dream matchup against the 76ers tonight.
Jeremy Lin ($5900/$6400) didn’t stand much of a chance with the Nets visiting Cleveland in his last game, but he could bounce back with a strong game against Charlotte. Austin Rivers ($4400/$4000) has yet to blow up with CP3 out, but he has plenty of upside in a great matchup against Denver.
James Harden (HOU) vs. PHO DK:$11,900/FD:$11,600
Simply put, the Rockets are going to beat the Suns tonight, it’s just a matter of when they put the game away. Phoenix is giving up the second-most PPG (113.6) and Houston is scoring the second-most PPG (112.9) this season, so it came as little surprise that the high-powered Rockets dropped 125 points in Phoenix last week with Harden handing out 14 dimes. He’s leading the team in Usage Rate (33%) as well as Assist Rate (52.6%) and has been incredibly reliable with a double double in 23-of-31 appearances this season. The Suns happen to give up the fifth-most FPPG (46.04) to opposing PGs and they’ve had little success in slowing down Harden over the past couple of seasons.
Jamal Crawford (LAC) vs. DEN DK:$4,400/FD:$4,100
With Chris Paul out and J.J. Redick (hamstring) questionable tonight, Crawford becomes an easy choice as a value play. The ageless wonder could wind up producing more FPs than Felton as he did when Paul missed a home game against the Mavericks right before Christmas and he makes for a fine option in any format given his secure usage as the leader of the Clippers second unit. Crawford posted Usage Rates of 34.7 and 34.5 percent with CP3 out over the Clips last two games and a notable 53.8% Assist Rate (6 dimes) with Paul out against the Mavs last Friday. Now he faces a Nuggets team that’s ranked 25th in defensive rating and coughs up the most FPPG (41.74) and PPG (26.13) to opposing SGs this season, so he’s certainly worth using despite the fact that it’s a B2B set for the Clippers.
Iman Shumpert ($4000/$4200) continues to serve as a low-upside value option with J.R. Smith out, and who knows if the Cavs will rest one of the Big 3 again after yesterday’s hard-fought win.
C.J. McCollum ($6800/$7100) might wind up as the best GPP play of the night with Damian Lillard (ankle) in danger of missing tonight’s shootout against Toronto.
Nicolas Batum (CHA) @ BKN: DK:$7,800/FD:$7,500 as SG
He goes about his business so quietly that Batum is almost certain to go lightly owned on a full slate, but his matchup tonight is very notable. The Nets are giving up the most PPG (114.7) while surprisingly playing at the fastest pace in the NBA right now and Batum tends to put up good numbers against poor defensive teams. He’s averaging 18 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 7.3 APG over his last 5 appearances and just posted a tripled double against the declining Bulls, so give him a look against a Brooklyn squad that gives up the most FPPG (42.88) to opposing SFs on the year.
T.J. Warren (PHO) @ HOU: DK:$5,400/FD:$5,600
Warren is finding his rhythm once again after missing several weeks with a mysterious head injury, and he could have a very productive game in a potential shootout in Houston this evening. Only the Nets give up more PPG to opposing SFs than the Rockets (22.28) this season and Warren is producing 61% of his FPs by scoring this season. He’s one of the toughest wings to stop from getting to the basket and he could give the Rockets defense fits as a hybrid SF/PF while keeping the Suns in the game on the road against an elite offensive team.
Thabo Sefolosha ($4600/$4600) becomes slightly safer with Tim Hardaway Jr. ruled out for Atlanta, but I prefer Kent Bazemore ($5200/$4300) at a cheaper price tag on FanDuel.
Robert Covington ($5700/$5300) is an intriguing tournament option against a Kings team that ranks 25th in opponents 3PT shooting this season.
Paul Millsap (ATL) @ MIN: DK:$8,200/FD:$8,200
Of course Anthony Davis warrants GPP consideration in a plus matchup at home against the weak Mavs frontcourt, but that game doesn’t seem to have much “juice” with a 197.5-point Over/Under, while the total in Minnesota is set at a robust 210.5 points this evening. With Dwight Howard (back) ruled out for a third consecutive game, Millsap will be asked to shoulder a heavier load as a rebounder and he’s been up to the task with averages of 22.6 PPG and 9.7 RPG over his last 3 appearances. Tonight he’ll face a Wolves team that is ranked 27th in defensive rating and coughs up the fourth-most PPG (21.9) to opposing PFs this season with inexperienced Gorgui Dieng playing heavy minutes at the 4 and Millsap already roasted this young team for 18 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 46.5 DK points earlier this year.
Nikola Mirotic (CHI) vs. IND: DK:$3,900/FD:$4,300
I would probably roll with a safer play such as Montrezl Harrell ($4700/$4500) in cash games, but Mirotic remains temptingly cheap on DK after exceeding value in a tough matchup against the Spurs on Christmas Day. Since he received a DNP-CD for disciplinary reasons, the talented European is averaging 11.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 26.6 DK PPG, as his playing time spiked with 32 minutes of run in San Antonio yesterday. Now he’ll face a Pacers team that is well below average on the defensive end and coughs up an above average 43.36 FPPG to opposing PFs, so give him a look in tournament formats and be ready to increase your exposure if Dwyane Wade (rest) decides to sit out the second half of the Bulls B2B set.
Mike Muscala ($4000/$3700) is also a riskier value play than Montrezl Harrell, but he’s worth a look with Dwight Howard out tonight. However, if you want to go with a contrarian value, Kris Humphries ($3200/$3600) outplayed Muscala in Atlanta’s last game and he might match up better with KAT and the Wolves frontcourt.
Ryan Anderson ($5400/$5900) is seeing a bump in playing time and usage with Clint Capela out and he could have a great night in a track meet with the Suns tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) vs. PHI: DK:$10,900/FD:$11,200
A matchup with formidable defender Joel Embiid might seem like reason to fade Cousins, but he just roasted the talented young Karl-Anthony Towns for 32 points last Friday and he could certainly take “The Process” to school tonight. Regardless, Embiid can’t play more than 28 minutes and he no single player can stop Boogie the way he’s been playing lately. Cousins is averaging 29.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG and posting a 38.9% Usage Rate with Rudy Gay (hip) spending most of December in street clothes as he awaits a trade. The insertion of Ty Lawson into Sacramento’s primary lineups has increased Cousins’ opportunities as well as his efficiency and he should put up a big line against a Philadelphia team that gives up the ninth-most FPPG (48.13) to opposing centers this season.
Brook Lopez (BKN) vs. CHA: DK:$6,400/FD:$7,300
With the Nets playing at the fastest pace in the NBA and Jeremy Lin back in the fold, things have opened up for BroLo offensively. He dropped a dud in a huge blowout loss in Cleveland before Christmas, but prior to that Lopez averaged 23.3 PPG while topping 20 points and 32 FPs in 5 consecutive appearances. Tonight he faces a Hornets squad that gives up the sixth-most FPPG (48.76) and third-most RPG (15.67) to opposing centers and has struggled to contain talented big men all year, so give BroLo a look as an under priced option in a plus matchup at home.
Lucas Noguiera ($3800/$3900) is playing too well to remain on the Raptors bench throughout most of a shootout in Portland tonight. Nene Hilario ($3600/$3800) is worth a look as a low-upside punt after he got some rest over the weekend.
Another player who needed some rest is Marc Gasol ($7200/$8000) but now he should be ready to roast Orlando’s soft tandem at center.