FanDuel NBA Value Plays: Saturday (12/23)
We have a massive 12-game slate tonight to kick off the holiday weekend over on FanDuel and it should be an interesting one. There are six superstars priced above $10,000, all on the second half of back-to-backs and facing tougher match-ups than they did on Friday night. With players like Jimmy Butler, Victor Olapdio, Bradley Beal, and Kyrie Irving in better match-ups in the $8,000-$10,000 range, targeting three of them could make for an interesting build.
To afford three or four mid-to-high priced players, we’re going to need to fill in our rosters with some value. Here are a few value plays, $5,500 or less, at each position that will allow you to free up some salary so you can afford your studs.
Shabazz Napier (POR): $4,500 at LAL
With Damian Lillard out on Friday night, Napier was a chalky play and did not disappoint, putting up 35.3 FanDuel points in 37 minutes. Napier has seen a 3.6% increase in usage across 219 minutes played without Lillard on the court this season. Lillard is expected to sit out again tonight so Napier will carry heavy ownership, even in a 12-game slate. The Lakers are ranked 28th in FanDuel points allowed to point guards so Napier should have no problem reaching value again tonight. His price has increased but he is still a top value play.
Dennis Smith Jr. (DAL): $5,300 at ATL
After storming out of the DFS gates in October, Smith Jr. has started to pick up some steam again in limited time this past month, averaging 26.5 FanDuel points in four games. Despite having a volatile game, as most rookie point guards do, he has flashed 40-point fantasy upside on multiple occasions this season. Smith Jr. gets a dream match-up against an Atlanta defense that have given up the 6th most FanDuel points to opposing point guards. On top of that, Dennis Schroder is ranked 92nd out of 93 point guards in defensive real plus minus (DRPM) this season. With Smith Jr.’s elite 27.2% usage percentage, his upside is too good to pass up in this match-up.
Isaiah Canaan (PHX): $4,200 vs. MIN
Canaan was waived by the Rockets and Thunder earlier this season but has finally found a home in Phoenix. In his first four games with the Suns, Canaan has averaged 27 FanDuel points and 24.7 minutes a game while surpassing Mike James as the back-up point guard. He has averaged 8.5 shot attempts per game and filled up the stat sheet off the bench. The Timberwolves are ranked 20th in pace this season but they should be forced to push the tempo on the road against the Suns fast-paced offense, leading to more chances for Canaan to exploit Minnesota’s 15th ranked defense against point guards.
Justin Holiday (CHI): $5,100 at BOS
In Zach Lavine’s extended absence from the lineup to start the season, Holiday has been a very serviceable starter. With Lavine close to a return, I have been buying into the narrative that Holiday is trying to make his case to remain in the starting lineup. At this price, he is a nice target against the Celtics’ 16th ranked defense against shooting guards. He put up 24 FanDuel points in 24 minutes against the Celtics earlier this season but over the past four games, Holiday has averaged 34.6 minutes per game. If he sees a similar complement of minutes tonight, Holiday has then potential to return 6x on his salary.
Wayne Ellington (MIA): $3,800 vs. NOP
In the event that you’re strapped for salary cap and need a cheap volume-based play, Ellington makes sense as a flyer at the shooting guard position. Ellington has averaged 30.5 minutes over the past seven games, and the Heat are going to be without Goran Dragic for at least one more night. The Pelicans are ranked 7th in FanDuel points allowed to shooting guards this season and are playing in the second half of a road back-to-back. Ellington doesn’t come with a ton of upside, but he did hit eight threes and put up 31.6 FanDuel points on Friday night. If his shot is falling again tonight, Ellington should have no problem paying off his cheap price tag.
Allen Crabbe (BKN): $4,900 at IND
The Nets are on the second half of a back-to-back tonight which means that Demarre Carroll should see an even further reduction to his declining workload against the Pacers. After shifting into the starting lineup, Crabbe has eclipsed 30 minutes in the past seven games and has averaged 11.8 shot attempts. He has only put up 20+ FanDuel points in four of those games but the increased minutes and shot attempts suggest that an uptick is coming. The Pacers have given up the 5th most FanDuel points to small forwards on the season so this seems like a prime spot for Crabbe to break out.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA): $5,000 vs. MIL
Despite being 11-20, the Hornets are actually favored by -1.5 over the Bucks tonight at home. Even though Kidd-Gilchrist’s match-up appears to be tough on paper, the Bucks have actually allowed the 11th most FanDuel points to small forwards this season. Kidd-Gilchrist has averaged 27.3 FanDuel points over the past four games and should see a boost in playing time, as he will be the primary defender on Giannis Antetokounmpo. If he can stay out of foul trouble, Kidd-Gilchrist should have no problem returning 5x on his salary.
Jordan Mickey (MIA): $4,200 vs. NOP
With Hassan Whiteside out of the Heat lineup, Mickey has emerged and become a staple in the rotation over the past few weeks. Over the past five games, Mickey has averaged 21 FanDuel points over 22.2 minutes per game. Despite Anthony Davis‘ reputation as an elite defender, the Pelicans allow the 11th most FanDuel points to power forwards on the season which is mainly due to the team’s 6th fastest pace. The starting big men for the Heat should have their hands full against Davis and DeMarcus Cousins so this is a spot where we can expect an uptick in minutes for Mickey. He struggled on Friday night, but Mickey is a solid value play at the power forward position.
John Henson (MIL): $5,500 at CHA
This is the same match-up that we saw on Friday and the Bucks should have their hands full with Dwight Howard again tonight. Barring foul trouble, Henson should see 25-30 minutes in this game and the match-up with Howard actually works in his favor, as he never tends to stray too far from the basket. Henson should see an increased opportunity for rebounds and put-backs against a Hornets team that has given up the 7th most FanDuel points to centers on the season.
Tyson Chandler (PHX): $4,000 vs. MIN
After sitting out to rest on Thursday night, Tyson Chandler is facing a Timberwolves team that has allowed the 10th most FanDuel points to centers this season. Chandler disappointed in this exact same spot last Saturday, but Karl-Anthony Towns is ranked 68th out of 73 centers in defensive real plus minus (DRPM). Chandler has struggled over the past few weeks, averaging 17.4 FanDuel points in four games, but this has led to a $1,500 decrease in price. In a home game that features a 216.5 total, this is a perfect spot to buy low on Chandler.
Julius Randle (LAL): $5,200 vs. POR
Choosing between three Laker power forwards on FanDuel has not been fun this season, but Randle has finally been shifted over to the center position. After putting up a 5.7-point dud against the Rockets on Wednesday, Randle responded with 41.5 FanDuel points in 24 minutes against the Warriors on Friday night. Nurkic has a reputation as an elite defender, but the Blazers have surrendered the 8th most FanDuel points to centers this season. If Randle can stay out of foul trouble, which is always a big if, he has elite upside on a cheap price tag.