This article last updated 10/18/2018 – Featured image from by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
After a 2-game short slate to kick off the season with moderate success on Tuesday, we had a massive offering for Wednesday night and it did not disappoint! I didn’t get to watch as much basketball last night as I would have liked as we had some friends over, but I was happy to see that most of my projections and calls were spot on. As I mentioned at the beginning of my analysis yesterday, I did not have time to do any updates to the article throughout the day, and a few things did change in my thinking. Because I didn’t know what time I would be home, I was only planning to enter a couple of lineups in the clutch shot contest on FD, but when I got home at 6:30 PM, it looked like there were going to be some huge overlay opportunities. The EPIC Monster contest on Fanduel was less than half full with half an hour to lock, and still only at ~1500 out of 2500 entries with 10 minutes to go. Surprisingly, it ended up at about 2249/2500 after a late flurry of entries, but I decided to enter and take advantage of the overlay. On my main lineup, I did end up with Trey Burke (who ended up being my dropped score on Fanduel) but my second guy was De’Aaron Fox. When I really started looking at value options, I felt like the Kings were going to come in under-owned considering how cheap they were. On other lineups, I did play the other guys that I wrote up, but I’m glad I got Fox into my main.
Shooting guard was the last position that I filled on my main lineup, and I ended up landing on Kent Bazemore and Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway was one of my best value plays of the night, and I got him at low ownership, so he really propelled me above a good portion of the field. At small forward I locked in Kawhi Leonard and was deciding between Nemanja Bjelica and Cedi Osman. Both Bjelica and Osman were similarly priced value plays and I had them graded almost identically. I ended up going with Bjelica in my main lineup but put in a Clutch Shot entry with Osman slotted in there to see if he would have done better. They both performed well, but Osman did score a few extra fantasy points, and if I had chosen him on my main lineup instead of Bjelica I would have won an extra $5000 last night. Had I chosen to play both of my value picks and upgrade from Blake Griffin to Anthony Davis at PF, I would have taken down the EPIC Monster for $200,000.
I did use LaMarcus Aldridge as my locked in power forward and chose Blake Griffin as my second guy at that spot. Aldridge performed very well, and Griffin had a good game. I wanted to use Davis on a night when I knew he was healthy and he was going to be on national television as he begins his MVP campaign for the season, but when I was building the roster I couldn’t come up with a lineup I felt comfortable with spending that much salary. I almost used Willy Hernangomez at center to fit Davis in and I’m glad I didn’t choose to do that. I ended up using Enes Kanter, who had a decent game.
That’s enough about last night’s slate. Let’s dig into the 3-game slate tonight and see if we can win some money!
At first blush, the Miami Heat backcourt looks like great value at PG. Goran Dragic is underpriced at $6200 and has a plus matchup. He’ll play over 30 minutes and is a 1+ FPPM player. At that price, he’s close to a lock. I’m on the fence about Tyler Johnson right now. My first lineup build worked out really nicely with Dragic and Johnson occupying both of my point guard spots, but I think I’ll end up going another way by the time lineups lock. Johnson was very inefficient last night, managing only 10 fantasy points in 23 minutes. He played well against the Wizards last time they met in March, and if he gets 23-27 minutes, he has an opportunity to exceed value with a modest outing.
On a short slate like this, all 3 of the big-time studs are definitely in play. Damian Lillard has a big-time matchup against LeBron James and the Lakers. John Wall is playable against any team on any night that he’s healthy, and Ben Simmons showed what he is capable of when the 76ers opened their season Tuesday night. Out of these 3, I expect Lillard to have the highest usage and the most minutes, so he’s probably the one I would choose, but they’re all in play.
Here are the other guys I’m looking at:
Kris Dunn<<< Dunn has been ruled out for tonight’s game. That should create extended run and opportunities for Cameron Payne, who will draw the start and play 28-30 minutes. He immediately becomes a much better value than Tyler Johnson. He’s $200 more salary, so he blows up my initial lineup build, but he’s pretty close to a lock for value at $4000 in this game.
- TJ McConnell
The Bulls offer good value on tonight’s slate. Zach LaVine should see 33+ minutes tonight and be the primary scoring option for this starting group. Justin Holiday will start alongside LaVine and should also push for close to 30 minutes. With Dunn now out, Antonio Blakeney should see some extra run. He is a volume shooter and with extra minutes and a lack of offensive firepower, could be a GPP difference-maker tonight.
I also like JJ Reddick at $5400 coming off the bench but playing big minutes and leading the second group of guys offensively for the 76ers. Reddick played 29 minutes against Boston in the season opener, and while he was relatively ineffective from a fantasy standpoint, he should face less resistance against the Bulls tonight. If he can add some more peripheral stats and keep up his scoring, he should be a good value.
CJ McCollum and Bradley Beal project similarly in my model and McCollum is $1000 less, plays on the team with the higher implied team total in a game that is projected to be tight, and is the nationally televised game this evening. If you’re picking one, I’d lean towards McCollum. Ownership should be pretty even between the two.
Others to look at:
- Dwyane Wade
- Markelle Fultz
I can’t imagine playing this slate and fading LeBron James. I would rather fade the slate than fade LeBron tonight. It’s LeBron’s first regular season game with the Lakers, on national TV, and he’s an underdog. The only thing that could make it better is if the game was actually being played in the Staples Center in LA, but this is a prime spot for James to crush it. On a short slate like this, I’d say he’ll be owned in 60%+ lineups. I’m okay with being ahead of the field on that.
Josh Richardson looks to be another good value. He should see all the minutes he can handle, likely 35+, and is good for close to 1 FPPM. I think 4x value is pretty much his floor tonight.
I also like Robert Covington tonight against the Bulls. He didn’t do much in the season opener against Boston, managing only 8 points and 6 rebounds, but he did get a block and 2 steals to keep it from being a complete bust of a night. Like I mentioned with Reddick, Covington should face a softer opposition in the Bulls than he did against the Celtics. He’s also a more productive player than the stats from the first game indicate, so he’s due for some positive regression toward the mean.
Jeff Green is my value pick of the day at SF. He’s almost at the bare minimum price and I could see him getting 20+ minutes. On Fanduel especially, I like Blakeney and Payne as inexpensive options that have really high upside, paired with Green who may not have that same upside but offers some, and with those three on your roster, knowing the lowest score will be dropped, you can really get some studs in there.
Here are some other guys I’m considering:
- Jabari Parker
- Otto Porter
Dario Saric sure let me down Tuesday night. He was my biggest miss of that slate, as I expected a good game for him, and he managed only 6 points, 6 boards, an assist and 3 turnovers for 11.7 Fanduel points. The most alarming part of his performance for me was that he only played 22 minutes. He got into early foul trouble, though, which I think prevented him from really getting into the game. I expect we’ll see closer to 30 minutes tonight, and at $5900, I think he’ll push for close to 30 fantasy points.
Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram are both interesting options this evening. Ingram tweaked his quad towards the end of the preseason, but there is no indication that it’ll cause him to miss time or have any restrictions. Both of these guys have good upside, and I’m interested to see how all the Lakers gel together as new teammates.
Bobby Portis is another good value from the Bulls. I think he will end up on my main lineup.
I will be impacted by recency bias tonight. I really thought Kelly Olynyk was a great play last night. I was wrong. He played only 15 minutes and scored 4 points with a rebound and a turnover for a whopping 4.2 points. If other people who, like me, got burned by him last night, are holding a grudge, you may have an opportunity to take advantage. I won’t be going near him tonight, but I wanted to mention him in case I’m being overly emotional. If it makes a difference, my model doesn’t like him either.
Other guys to look at:
- Markieff Morris
- Wendell Carter Jr
- Al-Farouq Aminu
I made a good call on Hassan Whiteside last night and somehow came off of him on my main lineup. He looked like his old self, playing 33 minutes and posting 12 points, 18 boards, 2 blocks, a steal and a turnover for 41.6 FD points. I wanted to use most of my salary last night, so while I liked Whiteside better, I spent up to Enes Kanter on my main lineup, who finished the game with 38.7 FD points. Kanter certainly didn’t bust, but the extra 2.9 points from using Whiteside would have moved me from 17th to 12th in the Monster for an extra $3000. Oh well, no reason to dwell on it… Whiteside is a good play again tonight! I have Joel Embiid projected for about ~8 more raw fantasy points, but I think we can more than make up for those 8 points with the extra $3300 in salary savings we’ll have from dropping down from Embiid to Whiteside.
I definitely don’t hate the idea of playing Embiid, though, if you have the salary available and love the rest of your lineup.
I’m not building a ton of lineups tonight, and these are the only two centers I’ll be using. Jusuf Nurkic and Dwight Howard are reasonable options, but I see Whiteside as a better play than Nurkic for $300 less, and Howard’s back issues worry me. I don’t like any of the low-priced guys at this position tonight.
Good luck tonight!