As always, make sure to check for the latest injury news and lineup changes.
*** I’m using DraftKings’ pricing, so the picks will be geared towards that site. But assuming there isn’t a major difference in salary, these plays can be used anywhere. ***
Russell Westbrook (OKC) $11,600
When Kevin Durant misses games, Russell Westbrook becomes the terminator. In 40 games without KD last season, Westbrook averaged 30.6/7.7/9.1 while chipping in 2.1 steals per game. Using quick gorilla math, that comes out to about 56 FP/gm when considering turnovers. Last year, there would be nights where I would fade Westbrook in GPPs given similar circumstances, and it was absolutely terrifying. Just use him and take the 60 FP.
Rajon Rondo (SAC) $7,600
He’s played all 48 minutes in back-to-back games, and while that might change tonight with Seth Curry probable to return, some usage has opened up with Rudy Gay likely missing the game. His price is creeping up there, but I don’t think it’s reached the point where we have to look elsewhere just yet.
T.J. McConnell (PHI) $5,500
Going back to the OKC/PHI game, I like T.J. McConnell tonight. A match-up with the Thunder represents a considerable bump in pace, and McConnell should fill up the box score. Since being inserted as the starter, T.J. has failed to rack up at least 8 assists only once in five games. He has a reasonably safe floor and is always a threat to go for a triple-double.
EDIT: After I initially posted this, Ricky Rubio was ruled out. Zach LaVine (MIN) $3,900 is now a great play.
James Harden (HOU) $10,100
Denver will likely be starting J.J. Hickson and Kenneth Faried up front; not the most intimidating pair of rim protectors. Harden should be able to get to the rim and create. Denver isn’t playing at the uptempo pace of years past, but it’s still a pretty good match-up for the Beard.
Alec Burks (UTA) $5,100
Rodney Hood has been ruled out for tonight, and that opens up a few more minutes on the wing for Burks. He needs 30 FP to pay off his salary, and that shouldn’t be a problem if he sees 34+ minutes.
Wesley Matthews (DAL) $4,500
I had used Matthews more than once this season before claiming I was off until he showed me he was back. Well, that game happened two nights ago when he exploded for 40 FP against the Clippers. The Lakers are a team you should be targeting nearly across the board, and I’m comfortable punting with Matthews and spending elsewhere.
LeBron James (CLE) $9,900
Since coming into the league, LBJ has averaged 27/7/7/2/1 against the Knicks. Not bad. LeBron has a tendency to ball out in prime time games, so I expect him to post a big line at MSG tonight.
Joe Johnson (BKN) $5,200
Despite shooting 38.5% from the field, Iso Joe has averaged 34.9 DK point per game over his last three. He’s racking up assists and rebounds at a surprising clip (roughly 6 & 6 during the three-game span), and if he can sink even a few shots, he should be in for a nice night against Sacramento.
Derrick Favors (UTA) $7,100
I try to always target bigs against the Magic, so of course I’m going to be on Favors tonight. He’s fine whether or not Gobert plays, but he really benefited last night when Gobert missed (to the tune of 64 FP). Favors has been tearing it up all season, and his price hasn’t really adjusted yet. Take advantage of that.
Nerlens Noel (PHI) $7,000
Assuming he’s healthy, he has a phenomenal match-up with the Thunder tonight. OKC plays at an uptempo pace, Westbrook will be forcing action at the rim, and Noel will have ample opportunity to accumulate rebounds, blocks, and steals. The Thunder’s interior D has been kind of a joke this year, too. He’s a little risky as this is his first game back from injury, but he has ridiculous upside.
Serge Ibaka (OKC) $6,500
Given the choice, I think more people will choose to drop down to Ryan Anderson than play Ibaka. A case could even be made for Kenneth Faried or Dirk Nowitzki at the same price point. Basically, I think Ibaka is going to be under-owned tonight. Durant is out, and he will likely be replaced by Kyle Singler in the starting lineup. That means there are a ton of shots out there to be gobbled up, and I think Westbrook and Ibaka will be the primary fantasy beneficiaries of Durant’s injury. He’s still priced as if Durant is healthy, so take advantage.
J.J. Hickson (DEN) $4,500
I’m going to keep this short and simple. When he starts and is sub-$5k, just use J.J. Hickson. When he gets minutes, he’s a near lock for a double-double.
Rudy Gay is allegedly out tonight, so DeMarcus Cousins makes for a great GPP play. I’m not making him an official pick, because I like other guys when considering price, but I just wanted to point out that DMC warrants serious GPP consideration.
Dwight Howard (HOU) $7,400
I think he’s closer to an $8-8.5k player, so there’s a lot of value here. J.J. Hickson is an undersized sieve and should offer little to no resistance for Howard. Dwight’s gone for 20/20 and 20/17 in his last two, and I expect a similar performance tonight.
Zaza Pachulia (DAL) $5,600
If you need to save a little cash at center, I would go with Zaza. He draws the Lakers, and they’ve given up the 3rd most DK points to opposing centers this season. Point guards and centers against the Lakers = cash. Pachulia has four double-doubles in eight games this year, and he should get #5 tonight. Throw in a couple peripheral stats, and you’re looking at 30-40 FP for $5,600. That’s solid value.
Good luck tonight!