FanDuel NBA Value Plays: Saturday (12/2)
Happy Saturday! It’s the first week of December and, if you can believe it, we’re already a quarter of the way through the NBA regular season. Tonight’s main FanDuel slate features five games and some of the most talented, and expensive, players in the league. The small forward position is notably top-heavy tonight with Giannis Antetokounmpko and LeBron James both over $12,000 and our next option under $7,000. Power forward follows a similar trend with Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons at $10,400 and our third-most expensive option at $6,500.
Overall, there are 6 players priced over $10,000 on Saturday’s slate and they are all matchup proof players. We’re going to need to get creative and save some salary to get two, or even three, of these guys in 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.
Jamal Murray (DEN): $5,100 vs. LAL
Coming off one of his worst games of the season (9.3 FanDuel points in 30 minutes), Murray is in a prime bounce-back spot at home against the Lakers. After splitting time with Emmanuel Mudiay for most of the season, Murray seems to have taken over the timeshare and has averaged 31.7 minutes over the past three games. The Lakers are giving up the 3rd most fantasy points to the point guard position this season and Murray has a usage rate of 22.4%. With Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap out, we can expect his minutes to be secure and the usage to increase.
Ish Smith (DET): $4,100 at PHI
Smith has averaged 24.3 FanDuel points in his past three games and has a very affordable price tag. This is a pace up game for the Pistons and a spot where Reggie Jackson can easily get into foul trouble against Ben Simmons. If that’s the case, expect a nice bump in minutes for Smith. Even if he only plays 20 minutes off the bench, a matchup against the Sixers’ second unit should be enough to return 5x to 6x on his salary. With must-play studs at both forward positions, Smith is a nice punt plat at point guard.
JJ Redick (PHI): $5,500 vs. DET
Luckily, the value play cut off line is $5,500 because there is not a ton to love under that price on tonight’s main slate. Redick’s individual matchup against Avery Bradley appears to be tough on paper but the Pistons are on the second half of a road back-to-back. Due to that, I am downgrading their entire team in this matchup. In a game that features a 214.5 total and 5.5-point spread, Redick should be locked into 35 minutes which creates a safe 25 to 30-point floor. He is an appealing option at a thin shooting guard position.
JR Smith (CLE): $3,900 vs. MEM
His production has been all over the map this season, but Smith offers some appeal at a sub-$4,000 price tag. He has been locked in to 30 minutes a night with Iman Shumpert out indefinitely and on a five-game slate, minutes are key. Memphis is ranked 6th against the shooting guard position this season, but Lebron James will draw a lot of attention and double teams, leading to open shots on the perimeter. Smith is a low usage player but if his shot is falling he can return 6x on a near-minimum salary.
Warning: The small forward position is one of the top-heaviest positions I’ve seen in any slate this entire season. Outside of Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Robert Covington, there are A LOT of players we normally wouldn’t take a second to consider rostering. If you’re looking to take a stand in large-field GPPs, you can take the massive risk and fade one of those three players.
Evan Turner (POR): $3,800 vs. NOP
Alright, I’ve warned you. If you’re still feeling adventurous, Evan Turner looks like our best bet for cheap production at the small forward position and an interesting pivot off of Juan Hernangomez in tournaments. The Pelicans defense has been shredded by opposing small forwards this season. Turner is clearly not the player he was in the past, but we can still project him for 20-25 minutes and a usage rate of 17.8% off the bench. As a deep tournament flier, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Kenneth Faried (DEN): $5,200 vs. LAL
The Nuggets frontcourt is shorthanded and that was before Nikola Jokic injured his ankle in Thursday’s night game. With Jokic now on the shelf for several games and Pall Millsap out indefinitely, Faried will continue to see extended run. His price is one that would turn me off in a larger slate but if we can project 20-25 minutes against a Lakers defense that allows plenty of fantasy points to the power forward position this season, I think we can count on Faried for 25-30 fantasy points.
Julius Randle (LAL): $4,800 at DEN
Now that Larry Nance Jr. is back in the mix, the Lakers have three solid power forwards and choosing one on any given night will be like playing roulette. However, Nance Jr. is expensive at $6,200 and Kyle Kuzma had an MRI for back spasms on Thursday. Randle is the cheapest of the bunch and, in my opinion, the most talented. He saw 31 minutes against Golden State on Wednesday night and produced 29.8 points. Denver, like the Lakers, struggle against power forwards and Randle is one of the best per-minute performers in the NBA. If we can project 25 minutes, his 19.8% usage rate and matchup are going to be hard to ignore.
Mason Plumlee (DEN): $4,700 vs. LAL
I’ve saved the best for last. With Jokic out for tonight’s game, Plumlee is in an ideal situation in Saturday’s matchup. The Lakers are ranked in the bottom tier against opposing centers this season and Brook Lopez is, inch for inch, one of the worst rebounders in the NBA. A 7’ center should not average 4.5 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game. So, what does that mean for Plumlee? Rebounds, rebounds, and more rebounds. If he can get 20-25 minutes in this matchup, and see a decent amount of Lopez, I think a double-double is within reach. The price is up but so is the opportunity. He is going to be popular and for good reason.
Jay Brancato is an NBA fantasy contributor for FantasyPros. You can follow him on Twitter @jay_brancato.