CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 13: Kris Dunn #32 of the Chicago Bulls rebounds against the Detroit Pistons at the United Center on January 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pistons 107-105. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Welcome into the Monday edition of Fantasy Basketball Top Plays and Fades! We have a very spread out seven game slate today so it’s going to provide a unique challenge!
I don’t really understand why DraftKings split the slate into two distinct slates, so this article is going to be a hair different. If have a player as a top play or a fade, I’ll do my best to make the honorable mention a player from the opposite slate. On FanDuel, the slate is seven games but they also don’t offer late swap so it’s a bit riskier no matter what. We do have a ton of big names whichever slate you choose to play, so let’s go to work.
Fantasy Basketball Top Plays – Point Guard
Top Play – Kris Dunn, Bulls(Early DK Slate)
The Bulls and the Cavs are one of the first games of the day that we can actually utilize because there is a 12:30 game that isn’t on either site. The good thing here is we shouldn’t;t have to worry too much about a blowout since both teams are not very good. The Bulls have been a little tough to nail down lately and Dunn hasn’t been anything special. This could be the game where he turns it around, however because the Cavs are not good at guarding point guards.
On the season, they have given up the third most real points and DK points to the position. Even though the results haven’t been there consistently for Dunn lately, I truly think he has 6x upside in this spot. He does have to share the ball with Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen but those three should be able to have good games against a bad Cleveland team.
Fade – Trae Young, Hawks(FD and DK Early)
This might surprise some people, but the Orlando Magic actually aren’t that bad defensively. They are in the top eight in the NBA in points given up and they are right about average when it comes to defending the point guard position. Young has been better recently, scoring at least 32 DK points in five of his last six games. The flip side of that production is his price has come up to a point that I’m not comfortable with, especially on FD.
The minutes have been more stable for Young lately which is another reason to explain his upswing in consistency. However, you can spend $700 more on FD and play De’Aaron Fox in a much better spot. It’s a bigger price gap on DK but I would still rather go to other options over Young. The Magic allow the fewest assists per game to point guards and for a player that is averaging 7.2 and needs those assists to hit value, it doesn’t appear to be a good matchup on paper.
Honorable Mention – Steph Curry, Warriors(FD and DK Late)
Fantasy Basketball Top Plays – Shooting Guard
Top Play – Eric Gordon, Rockets(Both DK and FD)
James Harden is deservedly gardening all the headlines for fantasy right now but the Rockets finally got a realistic sidekick back with Gordon in the past couple of games. In his two games back in the fold, he’s been well over 1.0 FPPM and it appears that his restriction has already been lifted. He played 32 minutes in the overtime game against the Lakers so we can feel comfortable with that aspect of the game. We can also look to his 25.3 percent usage with Clint Capela and Chris Paul off the floor.
The matchup against Philly isn’t anything all that special but we know that Harden(who is still basically an impossible fade) is going to get every ounce of the defense’s attention. He’s already taken 25 shots since he’s come back and Harden needs someone else to be a reliable offensive threat. Gordon and reliable aren’t exactly synonymous, but he will be a big part of the offense given the structure of the Rockets as they stand.
Honorable Mention – Malcolm Brogdon, Bucks
Fade – D’Angelo Russell, Nets(DK Early and FD)
This is a tough one for me because I really want to play Russell somewhere today. Maybe I’ll throw him in a tournament lineup but he is extremely risky given his price tag. He’s been on fire lately and he gets a spot that he should excel at. The Kings play at a high pace and aren’t good defensively, so that seems to line up with what Russel does well. Of the last four games, three of those games have seen Russell hit at least 47 DK with two over 50.
The biggest issue with Russell is his massive price tag, especially on DK. It’s over $8,000 and there are serious concerns about the minutes Russell will see. Sometimes he gets 34+, other times he sits at 25-27. The second scenario would be a disaster at that price tag and paying for Russell likely means you have to give up laying Blake Griffin or Nikola Vucevic on the earlier slate. There’s just too much risk for Russell for my blood.
Fantasy Basketball Top Plays – Small Forward
Top Play – Joe Ingles, Jazz(DK Late and FD)
This isn’t the first time we’ve targeted Ingles in this matchup and I have no issues going right back to the well. He’s averaged 15 real points, six rebounds and six assists in the two meetings so far and that might not sound like much, but it’s a nice floor of around 30 points and all three are over his seasonal averages. The ceiling is higher if Ricky Rubio remains out of the lineup, but that remains to be seen. Regardless of Rubio, I really like Ingles tonight.
Portland has been hurt by wings all season long and they have given up the fifth most real points to small forwards through the year. With everyone off the floor that the Jazz have been missing, Ingles is averaging 0.90 FFPM and he sees a 1.3 percent bump in usage. If you’re playing the DK slate, you’re going to need some mid-range plays to go along with a couple of the top end studs, especially if you want to pair one with Harden. Ingles is a great way to accomplish that.
Honorable Mention – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks(DK Early)
Fade – Buddy Hield, Kings(DK Early and FD)
This one is very site specific. On FD, I have no problem at all playing Hield. In fact, he might be a great play on that side of things given the price tag and game environment. The Kings against the Nets might be the best game stack on the early slate and among the better ones of the day. However, one player that I’m leaving off on DK is Hield because the price tag is massively different, and expensive.
Hield is one player that hasn’t seen his minutes take a hit lately but it’s still not going to be enough to pay off $7,100 on DK. He would have to hit almost 45 DK to hit 6x and his average of 1.03 FPPM isn’t going to cut it on this slate. Also, the shooting guard/small forward spots are two positions that Brooklyn actually defends well. They are in the top 10 against both and it’s hard to see a path to success for Hield tonight when he’s over $7,000.
Honorable Mention – Nikola Mirotic, Pelicans(Only FD has this game on the slate)
Fantasy Basketball Top Plays – Power Forward
Top Play – Marvin Bagley, Kings(DK Early and FD)
I’m sticking with this game because I want a lot of players from it and Bagley makes a ton of sense at his price. We have always attacked Brooklyn with big men and even though the rookie is playing a role off the bench and not starting, he can still be a massive asset in this style of game. The difference in salary relative to the minutes on the floor between Bagley and Willie Cauley-Stein is too big to ignore. Cauley-Stein has been ceding minutes lately to a mix of Bagley and Harry Giles, making him very risky. I can’t let the opportunity to exploit the Nets biggest weakness pass, so that’s why I’m going with Bagley here.
Brooklyn is in the bottom 10 in the league in both paint points and rebounds, while Bagley has scored double digit points in four straight off the bench. Brooklyn is actually in the top half of the league in rebound percentage overall, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be had down low. Bagley seems fairly safe to project for right around 25 minutes, and that is plenty in this game to pay off his very fair price tag on both sites.
Honorable Mention – Kyle Kuzma, Lakers(DK Late and FD)
Fade – PJ Tucker, Rockets(DK Late and FD)
Within the space of a few games, Tucker has gone from a top play to a fade and there’s a couple of reasons for it. For one, he’s gotten very expensive for what his role is. Make no mistake, he might not come off the court but he’s not a high end asset for fantasy. He benefitted from a lack of actual NBA level players on the Rockets roster and good matchups for the past week or so. Now that Gordon is back in the fold, it’s much harder to stay on board at an inflated price tag because he’s never going to be a big part of the offense.
The other big reason to not like Tucker tonight is the fact that he’s been playing a little bit of center with the loss of Clint Capela. As you may have guessed, that hasn’t exactly gone well. If he plays center tonight and Joel Embiid plays, Embiid is going to eat Tucker’s lunch every time he gets the ball. Embiid draws a ton of fouls, shooting the second most free throws in the league. Tucker would likely pick up fouls in short order and even if he doesn’t, it’s not like he can rebound with Embiid. Tucker is a hard pass for me tonight.
Honorable Mention – Thomas Bryant, Wizards(DK Early)
Fantasy Basketball Top Plays – Center
Top Play – DeMarcus Cousins, Warriors(DK Late and FD)
Well, here is my chance to offer up a sincere “I was wrong” about Cousins from the other night. Most of my CPR colleagues were on him(they’re a pretty sharp group) and we don’t really disagree all that often. I really wanted nothing to do with Cousins given all the circumstances and then I watched in surprise as he racked up 31 DK points in just 13 minutes. I actually almost lost an avatar bet with Shaun because 35 DK was the threshold. It was a pretty sweaty fourth quarter and at the end of it, he didn’t deserve to change his avi because he was right and I was wrong even if Boogie didn’t hit 35 exactly.
More from FanSided
- Caesars and PointsBet Promo Codes: $1,750 Bonus For ANY World Cup or MLB Game!
- Thunder projected lineup and rotations heading into 2023-24 season
- NWSL Challenge Cup news: Courage ruthless against Washington, Racing remain perfect
- 2023 Women’s World Cup: Ary Borges and Brazil showed the entire world what they are about
- Trea Turner’s rough season goes from bad to worse
If that’s anywhere close to the Boogie Cousins we get on the Warriors, it’s truly game over for the rest of the NBA. Tonight, he’s expected to play about 20 minutes and his price didn’t raise all that much. Oh, he gets the Lakers and whichever center wins “Starting Five Bingo”, which is how I assume Luke Walton chooses his starters. Even on very limited minutes, Cousins should be able to smash whatever player he draws. He might not hit 2 FPPM this time around, but is still a very solid investment tonight.
Honorable Mention – Joel Embiid, Sixers is an absolute must if he plays on DK. On FD, I wouldn’t risk it with no late swap and pay for Nikola Vucevic if paying up at center.
Fade – Rudy Gobert, Jazz(DK Late and FD)
If you look at the recent game logs, you likely understand why Gobert is so expensive. He has been on an absolute tear these past few games, just eating rebound left and right and being a 20/20 threat almost every time out. It’s also important to note that his price has skyrocketed with his production and he’s due a little bit of a comeback to Earth sooner than later. The matchups that he’s gotten in the past four games have really helped propel those scores as well.
Gobert has seen two of the five worst teams against centers in the past four and he drew a Cleveland team that was missing Tristan Thompson. You couldn’t ask for a much better stretch as a center and Gobert certainly took advantage of the cupcake schedule. He is a very good center, but he’s not this good. It’s generally a policy when a good/great but not elite fantasy player is on a heater, you hit a point that you don’t pay for him. We’re at that point with Gobert and I won’t be using him against Portland, especially as a five digit player on FD.
Honorable Mention – Hassan Whiteside, Heat(DK Late and FD)
Stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all of your DFS needs on this huge NBA slate!