There are only five NBA games on the schedule tonight, but there are still plenty of tough decisions to be made for your winning lineups. Can you get both LeBron and Harden? Should you? Let’s examine these and other good lineup options.
Here are my FanDuel lineups for March 12:
Tony Parker, Spurs ($6,300): Parker has been on fire since his lackluster 9 fantasy point effort against the Suns at the end of February. In March, he has averaged 38 fantasy points per game and 32 minutes per game. He will continue seeing an extended run until he cools off. The Cavaliers could provide some resistance tonight, but I still wouldn’t bet against a rejuvenated Parker getting to 4.5x value (28.3 fantasy points).
Jordan Clarkson, Lakers ($5,800): Lost in the recent success of Jeremy Lin has been the solid play of Jordan Clarkson. He is still getting 28 or more minutes per game, and has averaged 27.7 fantasy points per game since hitting rock bottom against the Celtics with 13.8 points in just 17 minutes on February 22nd. Lin is expected to play tonight, but the fact that he missed practice with a thigh injury suggests that Clarkson will get the lion’s share of the minutes. With what he has been doing with those lately, he is worth playing.
Beno Udrih, Grizzlies ($3,700): With Mike Conley and Tony Allen both out, Udrih will likely start at the point. He is not a great shooter, but he is a decent passer. He only needs 16.7 fantasy points for 4.5x value. He should get to that mark with relative ease.
Worth The Cost:
John Wall, Wizards ($9,000): Wall has averaged 35.2 points since the break, which is just under 4x value. That said, he has scored more than 30 fantasy points in six straight, and his average climbs to 39.5. I know he plays Memphis tonight, but Mike Conley is a game time decision, and even if he does play, he got beaten up pretty bad last night. There is no way he can hound Wall like he usually does. Wall is likely the strongest PG play tonight.
Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers ($7,900): His production has been sporadic, which you can expect when he is on a team with LeBron James and Kevin Love. I like him tonight because as good as Tony Parker has been on offense, the defense hasn’t been there. The Spurs are giving up tons of points to opposing PG’s, which makes Irving look like a solid play tonight.
Alexey Shved, Knicks ($5,600): Talent-wise, he probably deserves to keep starting for the Knicks, but that will likely change when Tim Hardaway, Jr. comes back. That could be as soon as tonight against the Lakers. Shved will still have some value, just don’t expect a 40+ fantasy point outburst like Tuesday night.
George Hill, Pacers ($6,200): He keeps producing between 22 and 30 fantasy points, but his price isn’t as low, so over the last three games, you have been needing more. You likely won’t get it against the Bucks. Add to the fact that C.J. Watson and Donald Sloan are both healthy and looking for minutes, and the Pacers won’t overwork Hill. They need him for a stretch run. He is a solid contributor, but you likely won’t get 4.5x value out of him.
Michael Carter-Williams, Bucks ($7,800): MCW has back-to-back games of over 30 fantasy points, but I don’t see it continuing against the Pacers. They are tough on the perimeter and they run three deep at both guard positions. The chances of him getting 4x value are not very good.
A: Irving and Parker ($14,200)
B: Wall and Udrih ($12,700)
Mar 11, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) points against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
Wayne Ellington, Lakers ($5,400): Ellington has four straight games of over 20 fantasy points and has averaged 22.5 fantasy points per game in that span. That leaves him right at 4.5x value. Tonight he takes on a Knicks team that should allow him plenty of open shots. Ellington is noe of my favorite options tonight. He has been productive against every team not named Charlotte since the break, and that included tilts against the Grizzlies, Mavericks, and Pistons.
Brad Beal, Wizards ($5,700): Yes, I am actually recommending people playing the Grizzlies. Why? Because Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol are all getting days off. For one day only, the Grizzlies will look like the Knicks. Anyone is a solid option against them.
Courtney Lee, Grizzlies ($3,500): Lee is also making a return to the starting lineup, but that won’t be a big change for him. The most likely difference is that he will see 35 minutes instead of 28 . His fantasy value is sporadic because of all of the other offensive talent on the team. That said, most of them are sitting tonight. Lee is mostly a scorer, and he will get plenty of shots tonight. He racked up 38 minutes and 25.5 fantasy points in his last start on March 3rd. He should get around that kind of production tonight, which makes him a great option play.
Worth The Cost:
James Harden, Rockets ($11,300): He had an off night against Portland last night. The Blazers hounded him the best they could. The side effect of that was Corey Brewer taking over the fourth quarter. Utah is terrific on the interior, so that means that the Rockets backcourt will have to manage the bulk of the scoring again tonight. I am guessing that Harden doesn’t have two off games in a row. And how good has Harden been this year to consider 18 points, two rebounds, six assists, and three steals an “off” night?
Rodney Stuckey, Pacers ($6,300): Stuckey was on fire against the Magic on Tuesday, recording a career high 34 points en route to a 54.7 point night in fantasy. The chances of him having that kind of success again are not great, especially against Milwaukee, but I think he will still be around 4.5x value. That will make him worth the price.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks ($7,000): Giannis is not very consistent from game to game, and he has struggled against good perimeter defenses. His opponent tonight is very good on the perimeter. He is still able to create enough on his own to not have a terrible game, but if you only get 20 fantasy points from him, that is less than 3x value at his current price. That can be devastating to your lineup, and Indiana is capable of holding him to that.
Iman Shumpert, Cavaliers ($4,000): Shumpert had a nice game on Tuesday against Dallas. He played 32 minutes because they needed the defense on Monta Ellis, and he responded with a nice all-around game (7 points, 4 rebouns, 6 assists, 6 steals). He could see a lot of minutes tonight against the Spurs as well. They might elect to try to guard Kawhi Leonard with Shumpert. At any rate, I would expect Shumpert to play somewhere around 30 minutes tonight, which could make him a good value. It will depend on how the game goes.
A: Beal and Ellington ($11,100)
B: Harden and Lee ($14,800)
Jan 31, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Jeff Green (32) celebrates after a dunk during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Green, Grizzlies ($5,100): Green is the only regular starter in the lineup tonight. Someone has to score for Memphis, and I think the bulk of that will fall on the shoulders of Lee and Jeff Green. This could be the night that Green owners have been waiting for. He will see plenty of minutes and shots. This is his best opportunity to shine so far this season!
Khris Middleton, Bucks ($6,500): Middleton is the most consistent option for the Bucks in real life and in fantasy. Actually, he has picked it up even more over the last three games. He has had two 40+ fantasy point games in that span, and has done so in three of his last five. He has averaged 34.4 fantasy points per game in that span. He is a great option if you can’t afford one of the top two SF’s tonight.
Worth The Cost:
LeBron James, Cavaliers ($10,800): LeBron flirted with 50 fantasy points Tuesday night for the first time in his last three games against Dallas. He might get close against San Antonio, but the Spurs do defend well. They aren’t going to hold James under 30 fantasy points, but they could hold him under 40. If you are going to spend this type of money, Harden is the safer bet because of his opponent and the lack of other good options at SG. There is more to choose from at SF. If you can get both James and Harden, which you should be able to with the Grizzlies benching their entire team, you have the potental for 100 fantasy points from two guys. Then you only need 200 from the other seven.
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs ($8,300): Leonard has been raking lately. He has seven straight 30+ point fantasy games, and has averaged 40.9 fantasy points per game during that span. He is a very low-risk option even at the price. You have a very suitable substitute if you can’t afford, or don’t trust, LeBron James tonight.
Corey Brewer, Rockets ($4,300): Brewer can score points in a big hurry, as you saw last night against Portland when he single-handedly brought the team back. Brewer is a bit of a risk since he doesn’t start, but his hot hand lately should afford him more minutes. He has played more than 25 minutes in five straight games now, but has only topped 20 fantasy points in the last two. That makes him somewhat of a risk.
Trevor Ariza, Rockets ($5,600): Like Brewer, he has topped 20 fantasy points just twice in his last five games. The Jazz might be without Gordon Hayward, and if they are, Ariza becomes a much stronger play. If Hayward is in the lineup though, he could pose a real problem for Ariza. Much like the gauntlet of Tayshaun Prince-Jeff Green-DeMarre Carroll that he ran last week.
A: Middleton and Green ($11,600)
B: Leonard and Green ($13,400)
Mar 10, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) smiles as he warms up prior to the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Leuer, Grizzlies ($3,500): Leuer was a strong part of the Memphis bench prior to the arrival of Jeff Green. Green has rendered Leuer irrelevant in the fantasy world, but for one night only, Leuer is back. He is expected to start in place of Zach Randolph, and had some success doing that early in the season. He could be a sneaky source of 20-25 fantasy points tonight.
Andrea Bargnani, Knicks ($5,500): Don’t look now, but Bargs has four straight games of over 20 fantasy points, and has done so in nine of his last ten. The only team that he struggled against was Sacramento, which is understandable. He likely won’t struggle against the Lakers tonight, making it a virtual certainty that he streak will continue. That makes him a solid bargain tonight.
Worth The Cost:
Kevin Love, Cavaliers ($8,100): If you have read this column for an extended period of time, you know that I rarely list Love here. Tonight against the Spurs is an exception, especially if Tim Duncan doesn’t play. Love has topped 30 fantasy points in three of his last four games, and in five of his last seven. That is a trend that is likely to continue against San Antonio tonight.
Derrick Favors, Jazz ($7,900): Favors is matchup-proof at this point. He has not been under 20 fantasy points since December, and has not been below 25 since the middle of January. He has averaged 36.3 fantasy points over his last ten games. That puts him a little above that coveted 4.5x value every time he takes the court. There is no reason NOT to play him!
Terrence Jones, Rockets ($6,700): Jones did well against LaMarcus Aldridge last night, but the Jazz are an entirely different animal. They are in the top three of defensive frontcourts in the league. Jones might have a good game, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
David West, Pacers ($5,900): West had a subpar night against the Magic, but I think most of that was the fact that he only played 22 minutes. I would think that this game stays close enough for West to play around 30 minutes. That said, he has not played 30 minutes since February 27th. That makes him a bit of a risk.
A: Love and Favors ($16,000)
B: Favors and Leuer ($11,400)
Feb 27, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson (7) shoots the ball against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Kosta Koufos, Grizzlies ($3,500): Koufos has averaged 13 fantasy points over his last ten games despite seeing more than 20 minutes only once. He has been solid off the bench. That should translate into a good start for him tonight, even though Washington is not an easy opponent up front. I still think he gets close to 7x value, which is extraordinary.
Jordan Hill, Lakers ($5,800): Hill now has eight straight games with more than 20 fantasy points, but he has not scored more than 28. That is very good consistency though, and that is about all you can ask for on a lighter night. If you can’t afford Gobert, Hill is a suitable play, especially against the Knicks.
Worth The Cost:
Rudy Gobert, Jazz ($7,700): Gobert has averaged 34.4 fantasy points since the trade of Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City. That is an average of almost 5x value. He has a nice matchup against Houston, who is still without Dwight Howard. Gobert is easily the best option at C, and you won’t have to break the bank to get him.
Marcin Gortat, Wizards ($6,700): Gortat has been on a roll since the All Star break. He has averaged 33.4 fantasy points per game. That number seems likely again tonight against the Grizzlies, who are giving their entire starting frontcourt the night off. Gortat might even outscore Gobert, depending on the amount of minutes that he plays. At any rate, he won’t be a disappointment!
Timofey Mozgov, Cavaliers ($5,300): The Spurs are weak at center, but Mozgov has had trouble staying on the court because of foul trouble, poor play, or both. He has only played 30 minutes or more once since the break, and that was on Tuesday against Dallas. The minutes are simply too inconsistent to rely upon him.
Ian Mahinmi, Pacers ($3,800): Mahinmi will get another start tonight in place of Roy Hibbert. He has done pretty well in spot starts for Hibbert over the course of the season, and should be a relatively low-risk option against the Bucks tonight. Don’t expect a big game from him though.
A: Gortat ($6,700)
B: Gobert ($7,700)
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