FanDuel NBA Value Plays: Saturday (12/16)
Happy Saturday! We’re officially one weekend closer to the holidays and I don’t know about you but I’m ready to make back some of the cash I spent on Christmas gifts. Hopefully a nice night in DFS will be the answer. Tonight’s main FanDuel slate features eight games and four of the top players in the NBA, who all happen to be priced over $11,000.
We’re going to have to make a few tough decisions at the top of our lineups tonight and choose between LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. Luckily, there has been a lot of value that has opened up over the past few days that can add some more balance to our lineups tonight. Here are one to two value plays, $5,500 or less, at each position that will allow you to free up some salary so you can afford your studs.
Ricky Rubio (UTA): $4,900 at CLE
Dating back to the beginning of December, Rubio has really struggled with his game. A lot of this can be attributed to the emergence of rookie Donovan Mitchell, along with Rodney Hood and Alec Burks‘ strong play off the bench. Oddly enough, Rubio is still attempting 1.2 more shots per game compared to his career average but his assist totals have been astonishingly low at 4.9 per game. With all of that being said, he does have a get right match-up against a Cavaliers defense that is giving up the 6th most FanDuel points from assists by opposing point guards. Rubio is averaging 28.8 minutes per game on the season and is simply too cheap for a player that will be running the offense in a pace-up game.
Tyler Johnson (MIA): $4,900 vs. LAC
Over the past 4 games, Tyler Johnson has averaged 27 FanDuel points across 29 minutes per game. As the primary ball-handler and playmaker on the Heat’s second unit, Johnson has a usage rate of 17.3% and has surpassed Goran Dragic in minutes played the past two weeks. The Clippers defense against point guards appears to be tough on paper, 2nd least FanDuel points allowed, but this accounts for 11 games played with Beverley. They are now forced into giving heavy minutes to Milos Teodosic and Jawun Evans. Obviously, this is a significant decrease in talent on the defensive end of the floor which makes this a match-up Johnson should excel in.
Malcolm Brogdon (MIL): $4,700 at HOU
Brogdon’s fantasy stock has taken a significant hit since Eric Bledsoe was acquired and added to the starting lineup. Due to this, the DFS industry has largely overlooked Brogdon over the past month but FanDuel has finally corrected his price to represent a reduced role. Despite the shift to the bench, Brogdon is still playing a decent amount of minutes in a sixth man role. With a price under $5,000, Brogdon is a strong punt option against a Rockets defense that has given up the 8th most FanDuel points to the shooting guard position this season. Over the past 5 games, he has only put up 22.4 FanDuel points/game but averaged an encouraging 30.4 minutes. A 10.5 point spread also suggests that Brogdon could receive extended run without the starters if the game gets out of hand.
Jamal Crawford (MIN): $3,500 vs. PHX
If you’re looking to play someone who has 20-point fantasy upside for a bare minimum price and minimal ownership, Crawford is your guy. He has only averaged 17.7 minutes on the season but he is sporting an elite usage of 22.3%. The Suns have given up the 4th most FanDuel points to shooting guards this season and Crawford is someone who can rack up fantasy points in a hurry if he gets a hot hand. This is an ideal spot to take a chance on him but just keep in mind that the floor has the potential to be very low.
Josh Richardson (MIA): $4,900 vs. LAC
After one of his best games of the season on Friday night (32.7 FanDuel points), Richardson gets an elite home match-up against a reeling Los Angeles Clippers team that has given up the 10th most FanDuel points to small forwards this season. Over the past three game, Richardson has averaged 26.4 FanDuel points per game and he has been locked into 30+ minutes the entire season. He is a relatively low-usage player but with Goran Dragic failing to eclipse 30 minutes in 8 of the past 9 games and Hassan Whiteside out, the Heat’s secondary players have seen more chances to step up. Richardson has a strong chance of returning 5x on his salary if he can eclipse 10 shot attempts in this game, which he has done in 6 of the past 8 contests.
Courtney Lee (NYK): $5,800 vs. OKC
I apologize for cheating with the value cut-off line today but there aren’t a ton of players at small forward below the $5,500 mark that are in favorable spots on Saturday night. Courtney Lee‘s match-up certainly shouldn’t be described as favorable but injuries in the Knicks starting lineup have opened up a few interesting opportunities. With Kristaps Porzingis very questionable to play and Tim Hardaway Jr. out, Lee becomes the de-facto number one scorer outside of the paint for the Knicks offense. The Thunder have given up the 11th least FanDuel points to small forwards this season but Lee could still be in line for a 35+ fantasy point outing. Even if Porzinigs plays, Lee would still be interesting as a low-owned option with upside.
Jonas Jerebko (UTA): $3,500 at CLE
Jerebko was forced into heavy minutes on Friday night against the Celtics after Rudy Gobert (left knee) and Derrick Favors (eye) exited the game with injuries. He responded with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and a block across 24 minutes of action. If Gobert and Favors are both ruled out tonight, Jerebko easily becomes the best value play on the board and will almost certainly carry heavy ownership at minimum salary. In the past 4 games that Jerebko has exceeded 24 minutes, he has averaged 24.6 FanDuel points, which represent a 7x return on his minimum salary. He’s a lock for me in all formats.
In the event that Kristaps Porzingis is ruled out tonight, Beasley would become an elite play. In the 162 minutes he has played without Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. on the floor this season, Beasley has a 34.9% usage rate and has averaged 0.97 FanDuel points per minute. FanDuel has already increased his price by $1,500 to account for an increased role but the price tag is still a playable one. The Thunder are 13th best in FanDuel points allowed to power forwards but Carmelo Anthony is a suspect defender, which is shown by his 55th overall rank in defensive real plus-minus (DRPM). Beasley’s minutes should be secure but be sure to check the injury news on Porzingis prior to lock.
Tyson Chandler (PHX): $5,200 at MIN
The Suns frontcourt rotation can be frustrating at times but it is starting to get more predictable. Over the past 4 games he was active, Chandler has averaged 26 minutes a night. Alex Len is locked into an 18-20 minute role and Greg Monroe is out of the rotation except when Chandler sits on back to backs. Since this is not a back to back situation, we’re safe to consider Tyson Chandler against the Timberwolves, who have allowed the 10th most FanDuel points to centers this season, and the poor defense of Karl-Anthony Towns. Chandler has averaged 30.7 FanDuel points over his past 4 games and should be able to return 6x on his salary again if this game stays competitive into the 4th quarter.
Jay Brancato is an NBA fantasy contributor for FantasyPros. You can follow him on Twitter @jay_brancato.