Jaylen Brown has been Boston’s best player this year.
This has been one of my best weekends of the season, and we’re finally getting a hold of this crazy NBA landscape. What’s interesting about this slate is the fact that no one will pay attention. All eyes will be on the NFL Conference Championships, which means us hardcore NBA DFS players will thrive. There’s going to be a lot of empty money from casual football managers, and that means we should have a big day. The slate consists of five games beginning at 7ET, so let’s go ahead and get into it!
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Most Value Per Dollar
Players expected to generate the most value relative to salary.
- Lillard should go crazy with so many injuries in Portland and that will land him a spot in the studs section later on.
- Kemba’s minutes are slowly creeping up, and we love that he has a usage rate north of 30 percent since coming back from injury.
- Payton is averaging over 25 FD points per game, and that makes this price tag hard to understand. Portland happens to own one of the worst defenses in the NBA too.
- Washington has the worst defense in basketball, making DeRozan and Walker great plays.
- Reddish has been playing at a $6,000 level for most of the season, and a high-paced matchup with Milwaukee should force him into 20-plus fantasy points.
- Brown has been Boston’s best player this year, and he should continue to roll with Jayson Tatum still sidelined.
- Barrett plays over 35 minutes a night and regularly takes 15-20 shots, making him enticing against a lackluster Trail Blazers defense.
- With McCollum and Nurkic out, Melo should see a major increase in usage, shots, and minutes.
- Giannis is the best bet to lead all players in fantasy points on this slate, and that will obviously squeeze him into the studs section later on.
- Aldridge just had his best game of the season on Friday, and we definitely want to use him at this price against the worst defense in basketball.
- Covington should see a usage bump with those aforementioned Trail Blazers injured. That makes him worth a shot with this diminished price.
- Kanter will be in the next section.
- Robinson is playing a career-high in minutes, and that’s a scary thought for a per-minute monster like this.
- Lopez used to be a $7,000 player, and we think he could recapture that form against a subpar Hawks defense.
5 Studs Worth Their Salary
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) $11,300: This game features two teams that sit Top-10 in pace, and that’s great news for a beast like Giannis. Giannis has scored at least 35 FanDuel points in all 14 games this season and is also averaging 50 fantasy points per game. That looks even better when you consider that Antetokounmpo has scored at least 50 FD points in five-straight meetings with Atlanta.
- Damian Lillard (POR) $9,700: With C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic both out, Lillard is the man. With those two off the floor, Dame has a 40 percent usage rate while averaging 1.3 FD points per minute. That’s a scary thought for a guy who’s likely looking at 40 minutes and 25 shots.
- Nikola Vucevic (ORL) $9,500: Vooch has quietly been one of the most consistent players in fantasy. In fact, he’s scored at least 33 FD points in all 16 games this year, averaging 46 fantasy points per game. We’re certainly not worried about him facing a weak Charlotte frontcourt either.
- Julius Randle (NYK) $9,100: Randle has been a beast all season long, averaging 22.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game. That’s led to him scoring at least 43 FanDuel points in 10 of his last 11 games. We absolutely love that, with Portland ranked 28th in defensive efficiency.
- Enes Kanter (POR) $6,500: Kanter is not necessarily a stud, but he’s one of the best plays out there. We say that because he’s averaging 1.4 FD points per minute for most of his career and is seeing a major bump in both usage and playing time in the absence of Nurkic. That was on full display when he combined for 80.6 FD points in his first two games as the starting center.
5 Notable Players to Fade
- Collin Sexton (CLE) $8,100: Obviously, Sexton had an absurd week, but it’s raised his price way too much. What concerns us here is the fact that Darius Garland is back now, limiting Sexton’s touches. That’s frightening with the price increase, particularly with the Cavs facing a stingy Celtics defense. Sexton would need at least 40 fantasy points to reach value at this price, and that seems like a major stretch with fewer touches and this tough matchup.
- LaMelo Ball (CHA) $7,200: Ball might be hitting his rookie wall. After going nuts in the first month, Ball has scored 22 FD points or fewer in three of his last four games. That’s a scary floor from a player this expensive, and we certainly don’t want to trust that with Orlando owning a Top-10 defense.
- Jarrett Allen (CLE) $7,000: This guy is an amazing talent, but it’s sad that he keeps being put on the bench. While he should have started ahead of DeAndre Jordan in Brooklyn, he certainly won’t ahead of Andre Drummond on Cleveland. While he did go off in his debut against his former team, playing 19 minutes in the one game since is really concerning.
- John Collins (ATL) $6,600: Collins has been in this section a lot this season, and results make us believe we’ve been right on him more often than not. He’s actually scored 27 or fewer fantasy points in five of his last seven games, averaging just 31 FD points per game for the year. It also worries us that Danilo Gallinari, De’Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish are all back, especially against a Top-10 Bucks defense.
- Russell Westbrook, Jusuf Nurkic, C.J. McCollum, Dejounte Murray, and Jayson Tatum are all expected to miss games here.
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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.