There are seven games in the NBA tonight, but there are so many cheap options that you should be able to get whoever you want in your lineup. James Harden is serving his suspension tonight for kicking the King. Jimmy Butler is out with his elbow injury. DeMarcus Cousins and Kyrie Irving are both questionable. That thins out the herd even more.
Here are my FanDuel lineups for March 3:
Mo Williams, Hornets ($6,600): Mo has almost single-handedly kept the Hornets afloat since his arrival from Minnesota. In his five games in Charlotte, he has averaged 37 fantasy points per game, making him a consistent 6x value. He is about the only mid-range bargain right now, and will likely be in most lineups until his price gets out of control.
Langston Galloway, Knicks ($5,300): Galloway’s value gains a slight uptick with Jose Calderon out because he gets to play his natural position of point guard. That will result in more assists, and it also means that he will play all of the minutes that he can handle. He has averaged 25.4 fantasy points per game with Calderon out, so he is near 5x value. He should have no problem getting that tonight against the Kings, who have suffered some defending the point with Darren Collison out.
Ray McCallum, Kings ($4,200): Andre Miller is getting the same amount of minutes which limits his fantasy value, but McCallum is still the guy with the most upside. He is spending more minutes with the starters than Miller, which should help him. That said, Miller is the better passer, and if that is what the Kings decide they want from their point guard, Miller could see even more minutes. Either one is a solid option, but McCallum is still the safer bet right now.
Worth The Cost:
John Wall, Wizards ($9,100): Wall has racked up 76.7 fantasy points in his last two games against Detroit and Philadelphia. What do those teams have in common? They are missing their starting PG’s who put up most of the numbers that they have against opposing guards. Brandon Jennings is out for the year, and Philadelphia just enjoys selling off 23 year olds, but the results are the same. What does Wall have on tap tonight? You guessed it. Another team without it’s starter in the Chicago Bulls. Expect similar success from Wall tonight.
Michael Carter-Williams, Bucks (7,900): MCW had by far his best game with his new team on Saturday, scoring 31.5 fantasy points against the Jazz. The Jazz have had issues covering the point all year, so this one game might not mean much. Then again. the Bucks are playing the Nuggets, who are even worse defensively than any team east of Los Angeles. MCW could see the right side of 40 fantasy points for the first time since February 3rd. Who was his opponent then? That’s right. The Nuggets. And that was when Ty Lawson still wanted to play!
Isaiah Thomas, Celtics ($6,900): I wonder what would happen if Boston decided to start Thomas. He has put up 32.2 fantasy points per game coming off the bench in Boston, which is what he was doing in Phoenix as well. When he started, he was putting up numbers in the 40’s. That will only remain a dream so long as Marcus Smart is in the mix, so we will have to “settle” for 30’s from Thomas. Still, he is one of the most consistent producers at the position.
Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers ($8,300): Even if he does play as is expected, he won’t be anywhere near the player you need for his price. There are many better options available tonight.
Ty Lawson, Nuggets ($7,700): The franchise has managed to alienate their best player, and it shows. Lawson has only averaged 26 fantasy points per game since the All Star break, and that is with more options available to him. I wouldn’t touch Lawson right now, no matter the matchup. Not until he proves he is still interested, which likely won’t happen until he has a plane ticket out of Denver.
Aaron Brooks, Bulls ($4,500): I love his situation, especially with Butler out as well, but Brooks just has not produced. He is shooting 30% from the field since taking over for Derrick Rose, and has averaged just 19.8 fantasy points per game. That is still good for his price, but if you don’t need to go cheap, I would advise not doing so. Even though he is becoming a better option by the minute on paper.
A: Williams and Brooks ($11,100)
B: Wall and Williams ($15,700)
Feb 23, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Tony Snell (20) looks to pass in the second half during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Hardaway, Jr., Knicks ($4,600): The thing that has amazed me most about the Knicks this year is their unwillingness to take the training wheels off of Hardaway. He has proven that he can produce with starter’s minutes, but it has always taken an injury to get him out there. Well, Calderon is out again, which means a start for Timmy. He put up 31.9 fantasy points against the Raptors on Saturday, so he is a great option tonight against the Kings, who are notoriously weak defending the two guard this year.
Will Barton, Nuggets ($4,500): Barton has produced more than 20 fantasy points in every game in Denver, and is averaging 27 fantasy points per game during that span. That means he has not been below 4.5x value, which not only makes him a great play, it means there is virtually no risk.
Tony Snell, Bulls ($3,800): Someone has to start with all of the injuries piling up for the Bulls. Snell is the likely fill-in for Butler, and he will likely help shoulder some of the scoring load. He put up 75 fantasy points in three starts earlier this month, so he is a great value as a starter. Even if he doesn’t start, the Bulls only go about eight deep right now, so he will get a good run either way.
Worth The Cost:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks ($6,400): Giannis has only been over 30 fantasy points once in his last seven games, but he is still good for 4x value, and has the potential to go off at any minute. Tonight against Denver is a great possibility.
Brad Beal, Wizards ($5,800): The return of Beal went well against Detroit on Saturday. He scored 26.7 fantasy points in 33 minutes. His price fell so far while he was injured that that total still made him nearly a 5x value. He should have no problems getting that tonight against the beat up Bulls.
Evan Turner, Celtics ($6,100): Turner was almost forgotten when Marcus Smart took over at the point. Now he is flourishing back at SF. He has averaged 29 fantasy points per game over his last ten games, making him an average of 5x value. He does a little bit of everything, so he has a high floor as well. He is a solid play against Cleveland tonight.
Avery Bradley, Celtics ($5,600): Bradley has had two games under 20 fantasy points in his last three. That makes him way too big of a risk, especially when you consider all of the other great options available.
Wayne Ellington, Lakers ($5,500): Ellington has averaged 27.7 fantasy points in his last three games, but they were against favorable opponents. Charlotte defends the perimeter well, and Ellington has struggled with teams that defend well. He only had 13.8 fantasy points against the Bulls and 12.5 against the Nets in the games before his three game hot streak. He is a bit too risky when you consider all of the other options.
Elijah Millsap, Jazz ($4,000): Millsap has been a consistent 5x value since becoming a starter back on February 7th, but I don’t trust him against Memphis. They are the best defensive team he has had to face yet, and 20 fantasy points will probably be out of reach.
A: Hardaway and Barton ($9,100)
B: Turner and Barton ($10,600)Mar 1, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Cavaliers 105-103. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Danilo Gallinari, Nuggets ($5,200): Gallinari has four straight games of over 20 fantasy points, and has gone over that mark in his last six games when playing 25 or more minutes. The minutes are there for the taking, so Gallinari should be a reliable 4.5x value going forward.
Jae Crowder, Celtics ($4,800): Crowder has pushed his way back into the lineup with five straight games of more than 20 fantasy points. He is averaging 30.2 fantasy points per game during that span, and has rendered Brandon Bass a risky play at best. That means Crowder is a fantastic option at this price since his has averaged almost 7x value per game.
Worth The Cost:
LeBron James, Cavaliers ($11,200): Back-to-back 60 fantasy point games have pushed his price back over the $11,000 mark. That said, James has not always been dominant against less dominant teams. If the game against the Celtics turns into a blowout, he will likely get ample rest for his back. Don’t go expecting 60 from James tonight, but if you have the money he is one of only two players that might go over 50 if DeMarcus Cousins sits out again.
Khris Middleton, Bucks ($6,500): Middleton continues rolling out 25 fantasy point games and never goes under 20. If this sort of thing interests you, he is a great play tonight against the Nuggets.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets ($6,000): MKG got healthy over the break, and has been on a tear since it. He is averaging 29.8 fantasy points per game since it. That is a 5x value every time he takes the court. His rebounding prowess gives him a high floor. He has three straight double-doubles. A fourth is likely tonight against the Lakers.
Gordon Hayward, Jazz ($7,700): Just last week I marveled at his consistency. That has gone away for now. He has not gone over 25 fantasy points in his last four games, which means he is nowhere near value. He likely won’t get that tonight against Memphis either. He only scored 22.8 fantasy points in his last outing against the Grizzlies on February 4th. Look elsewhere tonight.
Rudy Gay, Kings ($7,600): Gay has had a score in the 20’s every other game over his last seven games. Tonight is supposed to be his game in the 20’s. Of course, I realize that you cannot make decisions in daily leagues based solely on that, but it does give us something to consider. Of course, those games were against the Bucks, Clippers, and Spurs, all of whom are playoff bound. Tonight he gets a Knicks team that is lottery bound. The only thing that would keep him under 30 tonight is if this turns into a blowout. That seems likely even if Cousins doesn’t play, so I consider Gay a risk.
Mike Dunleavy, Bulls ($3,900): The Bulls have to play anyone with a pulse, which means Dunleavy could get a decent run tonight. That said, he has been the starter most of the year and still only averages 18 fantasy points per game. He is definitely a risk.
A: James and Kidd-Gilchrist ($17,200)
B: Kidd-Gilchrist and Crowder ($10,800)Mar 1, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) is pursued by Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) during the second half at the United Center. The Clippers won 96-86. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Terrence Jones, Rockets ($6,500): Jones has averaged 32.4 fantasy points per game since the All Star break. He is still a 5x value at this price! Jones will have some trouble moving the big bodies up front in Atlanta, but I doubt that he goes below 25 fantasy points. He hasn’t since the break even against teams like Dallas, Minnesota, and Los Angeles, who are fairly big up front.
Nikola Mirotic, Bulls ($4,500): Mirotic exploded with Taj Gibson out on Sunday to the tune of 39.8 fantasy points. Gibson is out again tonight, and the team will need all the help it can get putting the ball in the bucket. Expect another big night from Mirotic. I can’t think of one reason not to play him.
Lou Amundson, Knicks ($4,400): Amundson has temporarily supplanted Jason Smith for the Knicks. Amundson has averaged 27.6 fantasy points over his last four games, and is a solid play against the Kings so long as DeMarcus Cousins is not patrolling the paint. If Cousins plays, I may reconsider using Amundson.
Worth The Cost:
Pau Gasol, Bulls ($9,500): There are a lot of things that tell us that Pau will have an off night against a solid Wizards frontcourt. None of those things factor in just how thin the Bulls rotation is right now. Pau has gone over 48 fantasy points in each of the last four games that he has played more than 38 minutes. That kind of workload seems likely tonight. Don’t expect miracles, but 40 is a distinct possibility.
Paul Millsap, Hawks ($7,500): Millsap’s production has been down some lately, but he has still been over 25 fantasy points in each of the last four games. The main reason he is here tonight is because of his matchup. Millsap has the undersized Rockets tonight. They are athletic at PF, but likely won’t be able to bang with Millsap enough to knock him off his game. He could get near 5x value tonight.
Zach Randolph, Grizzlies ($8,200): I almost put Randolph down below, but the thing that still has him here is the fact that he put up 36.2 fantasy points on the Jazz in their last meeting. The Jazz are good up front, but Randolph still found plenty of holes. He did that in Utah. He shouldn’t have a problem doing the same at home.
Derrick Favors, Jazz ($7,600): Favors has been one of the most consistent options at PF since the calendar rolled to 2015. The only game that he has had under 22 fantasy points in 2015 was on February 4th against Memphis. That is his opponent tonight.
Kenneth Faried, Nuggets ($5,800): The Nuggets faithful are very happy today. Brian Shaw was (finally) fired, and most are hopeful that the Denver rotations will clear up. And that Ty Lawson wants to play for whoever they bring in. The enticement for me has to deal with the usage of Faried. He is the most gifted athlete on the team, but never got consistent minutes. There is no guarantee that he will get them tonight, but there is cause for optimism, and not just because they are playing the undersized Bucks.
Kevin Love, Cavaliers ($8,100): Love has been a very good fantasy option of late and has a nice matchup against Boston. So why is he down here? He missed shootaround, but is still expected to play. It is just an illness, but the Cavs will be quick to rest him if and when this gets out of hand. That makes him a bit of a risk tonight.
A: Gasol and Mirotic ($14,000)
B: Millsap and Mirotic ($12,000)Feb 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) reacts after scoring against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Rudy Gobert, Jazz ($6,400): Gobert has averaged 32.4 fantasy points per game since Enes Kanter was traded. He is a fantastic option for his price. He held his own in 25 minutes off the bench against the Grizzlies in their last meeting. There is no reason to think he can’t do the same as a starter tonight. He might not hit his current average, but he should come close to 30, which is 4.5x value.
Worth The Cost:
Al Horford, Hawks ($8,200): Horford was rested on Saturday, which means he should be nice and fresh for the undersized Rockets. He went on a tear after his last game of rest. The same could happen this time around. That said, Horford was playing pretty well anyway. He was only under 25 fantasy points once in February, and that was against Memphis.
Al Jefferson, Hornets ($8,200): The Al’s have it tonight. As in the matchups. Jefferson gets to take on the beleaguered Lakers, who have been destroyed in the middle most of the year. Jefferson is averaging 35.3 fantasy points per game over his last ten games. He should have no problems reaching that mark against the Lakers.
Joakim Noah, Bulls ($7,200): Noah has been a beast on the defensive end since Valentine’s Day. Since then, he has averaged 33.7 fantasy points per game, despite not scoring in double digits in three of those games. Noah has helped shoulder some of the scoring load without Rose, and with Butler out, should be even more of an offensive asset. He is finally getting back to last season’s form.
Marc Gasol, Grizzlies ($7,600): Gasol has been consistent for most of the season, but he, like most others, has struggled against the Utah interior defense. He may get you 27 fantasy points like he did in his last meeting against the Jazz, but that is less than 4x value. You can likely do better.
Jordan Hill, Lakers ($6,000): Hill has done a nice job since his return from injury after the break, averaging 26 fantasy points per game since then. I just don’t trust his matchup against the Hornets. He will have a tough time reaching 4.5x value. As with Gasol, you can likely do better.
A: Jefferson ($8,200)
B: DeMarcus Cousins ($10,900): Reports are that he will play tonight, and the B lineup is for taking chances, right?
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