Welcome to the Monday edition of FanDuel NBA GPP Plays. I’m “Thunder Dan” and I love NBA DFS more than Brian Tulloch loves Tim Hardaway (ok, that might be pushing it…) All kidding aside, my goal every day is to give you my top targets every night for GPP contests on FanDuel. When making these picks I always take into account salary, ownership, and match-up and I always do my best to give you a clear rationale for why I believe each player makes an elite GPP target.
Punting one or two roster spots has appeared to be a very viable strategy on every slate this year, it simply allows you to roster more 7k+ players with higher floors and ceilings. My best FanDuel NBA lineups have been made using this strategy and I guarantee if you start looking at winning GPP lineups in the tournaments you’re entering you’ll see others who are doing it, too.
We have a 9-game slate tonight and four games with totals of 225 or higher. Two of those games have 11-point spreads (Sixers-Hawks and Warriors-Bulls) which means possible blowout concerns. I mentioned on Twitter the other day that I consider these high totals to be “the new norm” in the NBA and we’re going to continue to see points scored an incredible rate all year. Even with only 8 spots counting on FD, winning GPP lineups are topping 350 FD points with regularity, which means we’re looking for an average of 40-50 points from those 8 players in our lineups.
"The key to winning a GPP on any given night is finding players who hit their ceilings. 5x or even 6x value is not enough. We want 7x or better from players in order to take down GPP contests."
This is a first look article, so always remember to check Twitter for injury updates, quotes from coaches about playing time, and so on as lock approaches. If you’re not following some NBA beat writers for the latest news, you should at least be getting push notifications to your phone when players are declared out with injuries. NBA DFS is an information game and having access to all the information you need right up until lineup-lock is crucial to making sure your lineups have a chance at being in contention when the west coast games wrap up in the wee hours of the morning. Let’s get to the breakdown!
FanDuel NBA DFS: Point Guards
There’s a lot to like at the point guard position tonight. Ben Simmons and Steph Curry are in great spots, but as I mentioned earlier I’m concerned that we don’t get a full game from them. Damian Lillard has been outstanding to start the season but gets a tough matchup in Indiana and a bump down in pace. I’m willing to start my list by going all the way down to…
Kyle Lowry (8800) @ Milwaukee
Kyle is balling early on this season and any concerns that new teammate Kawhi Leonard would steal the show should be put to bed. He’s racking up some big assist totals, averaging 12 assists per game over his last four and only 2.3 turnovers per game on the year. We’re still waiting on a Vegas line for this game as Giannis could miss for the Bucks, but even if he does sit out I think this should be a competitive game between two really good Eastern conference teams. I think Lowry is a great pivot off the 9k+ guards tonight and I look for him to extend his 40+ FD point streak to 5 games.
Jamal Murray (7200) vs New Orleans
I love Jamal Murray and the Nuggets in this game tonight. New Orleans is playing fast, therefore, Denver has one of the highest pace bumps on the slate. Again we’re without a Vegas line for this game as Anthony Davis could sit out for the Pelicans, but once we get one I’m sure it will be one of the higher totals on the slate. Murray has already burned many DFS players with some sub-par outings this season, but he battled an injury in one and foul trouble in another. However, in the two games in which he’s played 34 minutes or more he’s scored 43.1 and 38.5 FD points. I look for him to have a big night for the Nuggets and continue to get more shots up while Will Barton is hurt.
Value Play: Tim Frazier (3500) @ Denver
We’ll need to wait and see who the Pelicans start at the point tonight with Elfrid Payton out, but I’m going to guess it’s Frazier, who played 13 minutes against Utah after Payton left with an injury. Frazier has bounced around four teams in his five years in the NBA but landed back in New Orleans this season where he had some fantasy relevance back in 2016 when he started 35 games. The diminutive point guard is a stat stuffer and has averaged 8-3-6 with 1 steal over 28 minutes a game in 51 career starts. He might split time with Ian Clark, but the opportunity for 20-25 minutes and 20+ FD points should be there. He makes for a great punt.
FanDuel NBA DFS: Shooting Guards
The SG position is actually very deep tonight and there’s a number of solid options at just about every salary point. I’m either paying up for DDR or likely looking to roster some guys in the mid-tier to save salary.
DeMar DeRozan (8800) vs. Dallas
It’s tempting to jump off the DDR express after another massive 60+ FD point outing against the Lakers, but I want to stay on him for one more game. His price went up 700 dollars, but that’s arguably not enough to justify fading DDR and his whopping 32% usage rate against the 30th ranked defense of the Mavericks. He’s not only scoring in bunches but also averaging 7.8 assists per game as the de-facto point guard for the Spurs. He’s not the scoring dependent version of himself that we were used to in Toronto.
Monte Morris (4800) vs. New Orleans
Morris has seen the most increase in production of any Denver player since Will Barton was hurt. He’s played 21, 28, and 27 minutes in his last three games as Coach Mike Malone has opted to run him out there alongside Murray for long stretches. His most recent performance, a 20-3-7 outing against the Lakers shows us an impressive ceiling for a bench player and his price is still where we can attack it aggressively tonight. I think he’s one of the best values on the entire slate.
Other Value: Rodney McGruder (5600), Damean Dotson (5200), and Wes Matthews (5000)
FanDuel NBA DFS: Small Forwards
With Giannis Antetokuonmpo questionable, Lebron James being expensive and Kevin Durant being a possible blowout risk, I’m looking to target the cheapest of the SF superstars and possibly pay down at my second SF spot.
Kawhi Leonard (9800) @ Milwaukee
Back to back 50+ FD outings in only 34.5 minutes per game, Kawhi is hot! The steals and blocks finally showed up as well, as Kawhi has 3 blocks and 5 steals over his last two. If you’ve read this column before you’ll know that I’m a sucker for stat-stuffers like Kawhi who can do a little of everything. I want some shares of him tonight as he’s still priced where he can hit 6x rather easily.
Nemanja Bjelica (6300) @Miami
If you’ve never seen Bjelica play, you need to go and watch some highlights. Here, go watch how easily he drops 26-12-3 on the Wizards in his last game. He’s brought some veteran leadership to a young Kings team, but more importantly, he is a skilled shooter, ball handler. and rebounder who can score inside and outside. He’s had a few duds this year, but you simply cannot ignore a player at his price who has the potential to hit 50+ fantasy points nightly. I hope people (who don’t read this) think he’s a chase play and don’t roster him tonight, because he could easily be a 7-8k player and he just might be very soon.
Value Options: Harrison Barnes (5300), Evan Turner (4800), DeAndre Bembry (4400)
FanDuel NBA DFS: Power Forwards
If Anthony Davis does sit out tonight, then the PF position gets awfully thin in a hurry. There’s always LaMarcus Aldridge at 8700 who you all know I love just about every night. But tonight I’m looking to pivot off LMA to another solid play or just pay down to some cheaper options.
Draymond Green (7500) @Chicago
Ah, yes, Draymond is back! Dray is coming off his biggest fantasy output of the season last night, a 46.3 FD point game against Brooklyn. I had been avoiding Green this season based on his lack of shots and boards, but I think today is the day I get on the Dray-train. While he’s not scoring much (and he never has really) he’s certainly doing plenty of other fantasy-friendly things like averaging an absurd 2.5 steals per game. I want at least one piece of the Golden State huge total tonight, and I think Draymond is the best way to get some exposure to GSW without paying a ton in salary. I look for him to record his first triple-double of the season tonight and go 6-7x on his salary here against the woeful Bulls frontcourt.
Domantas Sabonis (5500) vs. Portland
I’m a sucker for Sabonis! His price keeps going down and I’ll keep running him out there until he has a massive 7-8x game, it’s coming people, you have to trust me. The production, while he’s on the floor, is elite at 1.38 fantasy points-per-minute he just needs more minutes (someone please tell his coach that he’s better than Myles Turner). Many players will not spend 5.5k on a bench player, but I will. Sabonis is legit and even if he only gets his average of 22 minutes, he’s likely to get you 5x and won’t hurt your lineup.
Other Value Options: Pascal Siakam (4400), Zach Collins (4500), John Henson (3800)
FanDuel NBA DFS: Centers
Joel Embiid (11000) and Nikola Jokic (10300) are fine plays tonight, but at their prices they are going to need to go for 55 and 51 FD points, respectively, just to make 5x value. I’m looking at a few other really strong plays that are going to save you some salary cap.
DeAndre Jordan (7900) @ San Antonio
I’m not usually going to write-up so many defensive minded players on one slate that often, but I can’t help but think that DJ is underpriced tonight based on what he’s done in Dallas so far. Last night DJ was one assist shy of a triple-double (with assists, not blocks!) and one rebound away from 20.
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He also played a season-high 36 minutes as the Mavs hung with the Jazz all the way to the end of the game. He’s now sitting at 15-14-3 with nearly 2 blocks per game on the year. We used to shy away from targeting players against the Spurs, but they can they be attacked on the interior these days. I love that DJ’s role in the offense is growing and if these assists are for real (17 in his last 3 games) then it’s going to mean more big nights from the Dallas big man.
JaVale McGee (6600) @ Minnesota
JaVale finally had his first dud of the season, scoring only 23.5 FD points against the Spurs last game. Which is pretty awesome for tonight because his price went down 400 dollars despite the fact that he has an amazing matchup against KAT and the T-Wolves. This Lakers-Wolves game has a massive 238 total and I’m going to want some exposure to the Lakers. McGee is the perfect, cheap way to get Lakers exposure and I think he absolutely destroys KAT (a terrible defender) inside tonight. Don’t get off the McGee train just yet, JaVale is primed for a big bounce back tonight.
Sample Lineup and Overview
There looks like a lot of potential good value and mid-tier options today and each position, but I’m looking to pay up for at least one stud at each position with my sample build here having two higher-priced point guards. Game-stacking is definitely in play tonight, but don’t force too many players from the same game into those lineups as you’re not likely to win a GPP being overexposed to one game on a 9-game slate. Here’s where I’m at this morning, make sure to pay attention to the Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokuonmpo injury news.
PG: Jamal Murray (7200)
PG: Kyle Lowry (8800)
SG: DeMar DeRozan (8800)
SG: Monte Morris (4800)
SF: Evan Turner (4800)
SF: Nemanja Bjelica (6300)
PF: Draymond Green (7500)
PF: John Henson (3800)
C: DeAndre Jordan (7900)
This should be a fun, and high scoring NBA DFS slate! Play around with your roster construction and don’t forget to take some chances and punt or roll multiple value plays in order to get the studs in there that you really want! Thanks, everyone for reading. Always feel free to hit me up on twitter @ThunderDanDFS, I really do value your feedback. Good luck on tonight’s slate!