FanDuel NBA Value Plays: Saturday (2/24)
It’s Saturday night and we have a six-game slate over on FanDuel. It is important to note that the Lakers and Mavericks game is not featured on the main slate due to the FanDuel WFBBC taking placing tonight. Our marquee matchup tonight is the Warriors and Thunder game that features a ridiculous 234.5 total. Due to this, we’re definitely going to want to get some exposure to the studs in this game like Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant. With these players sitting above $9,500, we’ll need to have solid value plays to round out our lineups.
Here are a few value plays, $5,500 or less, at each position that will allow us to free up some salary we can afford our stud players.
Frank Ntilikina (NYK): $3,700 vs. BOS
With the Knicks looking to start their youth movement in the second half of the season, all of the Knicks’ young point guards have become relevant in DFS. In Thursday night’s game, Emmanuel Mudiay (21 FD points) started and played 23 minutes, while Frank Ntilikina (21.6 FD points) and Trey Burke (44.8 FD points) played just under 30 minutes a piece. While Burke’s performance obviously stands out, I am going with the player who will most likely have the least ownership in tournaments. People will either play Mudiay because he’s the starter or chase Burke’s big game, which leaves Ntilikina as the odd man out. He has flashed upside on multiple occasions this season and is sitting at a nice $3,700 price tag. The Celtics are also most susceptible at the point guard position, where Kyrie Irving ranks 71st out of 97 PGs in defensive real plus-minus (DRPM).
Tyler Johnson (MIA): $4,400 vs. MEM
If you’re looking for another pivot off Emmanuel Mudiay in tournaments, Tyler Johnson makes sense as a low-owned contrarian play. Over the past five games, Johnson has had a safe minute’s floor of 30.1 per game. He has also averaged 22.8 FD points in that span, so Johnson been playing some solid basketball as well. In terms of the matchup, the Grizzlies are middle of the pack against point guards (14th in FD allowed) but Andrew Harrison has a subpar DRPM rating of -1.24. With the Heat playing in a back-to-back set and Goran Dragic coming off a big game, Johnson should fly way under the radar and we can probably get him for an ownership of less than 5%.
With the Heat playing in the second half of a back-to-back set, Ellington is a player that makes sense for tournaments tonight. He is coming off a game where he only put up 14.9 FD points in 31.5 minutes, but with Dwayne Wade likely to sit out, or at least be limited tonight, Ellington should see an increase in opportunity of the offensive end. His price has also come all the way down to $3,700 after sitting at $5,000 in late-January. This feels like the right time to buy low on his price tag, especially against a Grizzlies team that ranks 20th in defensive efficiency rating this season.
Nemanja Bjelica (MIN): $3,500 vs. CHI
This is our chalk value of the night, as Jimmy Butler suffered a non-contact knee injury in the third quarter of Friday night’s game. While the Timberwolves are optimistic that he didn’t tear his ACL, his injury is going to lead to a ton of opportunity for Bjelica over the next few weeks – especially tonight when his minimum price isn’t accounting for his change in role. Bjelica made four starts for Butler in mid-January and he responded with 26.8 FD points across 33.4 minutes per game, so there is a proven body of work for him when Butler misses time. Bjelica also gets a solid matchup, with the Bulls ranking 22nd in FD points allowed to small forwards. Lock him in and don’t think twice.
Al-Farouq Aminu (POR): $4,900 at PHX
Aminu has been a fairly steady fantasy option over the past few weeks and tonight he gets a great matchup against the Suns. On the season, the Suns rank dead last in FD points allowed to power forwards and they have the worst defensive efficiency rating in the NBA. Aminu has put up 27.1 FD points across his past six games and the price tag is still beatable while it’s under $5,000. Power forward is relatively thin tonight so paying down for Aminu makes a lot of sense and is a good way to open up some cap so we can fit a few stars in our lineups.
Marcus Morris (BOS): $4,800 at NYK
Morris is another cheap power forward option that could make sense for tournaments tonight. The Knicks DvP stats at power forward show them as 14th in the NBA, but Michael Beasley has shifted over as the starting four in Kristaps Porzingis‘ absence and he has a –1.16 DRPM. Morris is coming off a two-game stretch in which he averaged 30.0 FD points per game and he went for 33.0 FD points against the Knicks in late January when they had Porzingis in the lineup. At a price tag of $4,800, Morris is a nice salary saver tonight.
Alex Len (PHX): $4,500 vs. POR
In Tyson Chandler‘s absence due to neck spasms last night, Len put up 37.1 FD points in 24 minutes of action. If Chandler is forced to miss another game, which is likely, Alex Len will become one of the strongest value plays on the board at $4,500. An interesting stat to note is that in 763.7 minutes without Tyson Chandler on the floor this season, Len has averaged 1.08 FD points per minute which actually ranks ahead of Devin Booker. While Jusuf Nurkic is a tough defender on the Blazers side of the ball, he gets in to foul trouble pretty easily so Len might not have to worry about seeing him too much in tonight’s game.
Jay Brancato is an NBA and PGA fantasy contributor for FantasyPros. You can follow him on Twitter @jay_brancato.