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FanDuel DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Sunday (2/21)

Feb 21, 2021

Darius Garland remains way too cheap.

Sunday slates tend to have games spread throughout the day, but we only have one day-game here. That leaves us with a seven-game ledger, beginning at 7ET. What’s nice is that we don’t have any postponements yet, which seems like the first time this week. Hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come! In any case, there’s a lot to discuss, so let’s go ahead and get into it!

If you have any comments or questions, reach me on Twitter @Bartilottajoel

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Most Value Per Dollar 

I’m sure you all agree, but there have been way too many blowouts this season. That doesn’t appear to be the case today, with six out of the seven games having spreads within five points. That’s huge for DFS purposes, with the Milwaukee-Sacramento game being the only lopsided spread. In terms of totals, the Clippers-Nets game should be the highest-scoring game of the night, while the T’Wolves-Knicks game will surely be the lowest total on the board.

If you’d like to see more information on how the betting landscape will be for this slate, check out BettingPros.

Below is a list of the top-10 players of the day expected to generate the most value relative to their salary. These are ranked in order.

Darius Garland (CLE) $5,900:
Garland is in this article so much that his name is starting to get burned into my screen. The simple fact is, these sites keep him way too cheap. We’re talking about a guy who averaged 34 FanDuel points per game before his injury and has not been far off of that recently. In fact, he’s averaging 28 fantasy points per game across his last 12 outings. That makes it hard to believe he remains below $6,000, especially considering this is a 21-year-old getting better by the day. Not to mention, Oklahoma City ranks 22nd in total defense.

Michael Carter-Williams (ORL) $4,500:
With Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony going down, MCW has stumbled into a solid role as the starting point guard in Orlando. Since returning from injury last week, Carter-Williams has played at least 27 minutes in four-straight games, averaging 25.4 FD points per game in that span. That’s really all you can ask for from someone this cheap, and we haven’t even discussed this superb matchup against a 21st-ranked Detroit defense.

Al Horford (OKC) $6,300:
Big Al has quietly had a resurgent season for the Thunder, and he really deserves more credit for what he’s done. Since coming off maternity leave last month, Horford has scored at least 27 FanDuel points in nine of his last 11 games. He’s also averaging 37.3 FD points per game in that span, and that makes this price tag look silly. Facing Cleveland only adds to his intrigue, with the Cavaliers ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency.

Nerlens Noel (NYK) $5,300:
With Mitchell Robinson out for the next four weeks, Noel will continue to start at the center. While he’s yet to have a big game, we can’t overlook the fact that he’s playing 30 minutes a game as the starter. What’s amazing is that he’s averaging 25 fantasy points per game in that expanded role, despite never taking more than seven shots or reaching double-digits in scoring in any game. That means he could go nut if he records a double-double, which he’s certainly capable of when you look at some of his past statistics.

Nikola Vucevic (ORL) $9,700:
We initially wanted to squeeze Vooch into the studs section, but there were five guys I couldn’t pass up on. That lands him here, though, playing some of the best basketball of his career right now. Over his last 10 games, Vucevic is averaging 52 FD points per game. Most importantly, the offense is being run through him with Aaron Gordon and all of the aforementioned point guards injured. Not to mention, Detroit surrenders the most fantasy points in the NBA to opposing centers.

Danilo Gallinari (ATL) $4,600:
Gallo’s numbers are not going to sway you to use him but look a little deeper. He’s actually seen his minutes slowly creep up recently, playing at least 24 minutes in four-straight. What we really like is that he’s taken at least 13 shots in three of those outings. If he keeps playing that much and taking that many shots, it’s just a matter of time before he starts dropping 25-plus fantasy points at ease. A revenge game against his former team could spark him, too, with Denver surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards.

Cedi Osman (CLE) $5,400:
With Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr, and Taurean Prince all nicked up, Osman remains a fantastic value. This guy’s been productive all season when given the minutes, scoring at least 28 FD points in the nine games he’s played at least 32 minutes. While he didn’t reach 32 minutes on Friday, Osman still dropped 31 FD points! If you get that from a $5,400 player, you’ll have no problem fitting in two or three of the studs we’ll discuss later on.

Dennis Smith Jr. (DET) $4,600:
Now that Derrick Rose is in New York and Delon Wright is dealing with a groin issue, it’s time to see what DSJ can do! He’s the only point guard remaining, providing 28 FD points across 23 minutes of action in that fill-in on Friday. This is a former top-pick, and he definitely has the ability to go off if given the opportunity. The best part about this might be the matchup, though, with Minnesota ranked 27th in points allowed and 24th in defensive efficiency.

Will Barton (DEN) $5,200:
The Nuggets are yet another shorthanded team, missing guys like Gary Harris, P.J. Dozier, Paul Millsap, and JaMychal Green. That leaves the wing positions very thin, forcing Barton into some big minutes. That’s evident when you see that Barton has played at least 34 minutes in six of his last seven games. He’s definitely had some duds in that stretch, but he’s too talented to be this cheap, especially with a workload like this.

Seth Curry (PHI) $4,000:
Curry was clearly hampered in his return from COVID, but recent results would indicate that he’s over it. He’s played at least 34 minutes in five-straight games, averaging over 21 FD points per game across his last seven outings. That might not sound too great, but it’s really all you can ask for from a $4K player. Toronto’s not the defense we used to fear either, ranked 16th in defensive efficiency.

Check out our NBA Prop Bet Cheat Sheet for the top bets of the day >>

Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) $11,300: The two-time MVP got off to a “slow” start this season, but he’s playing like an MVP right now. In fact, Giannis has scored at least 65 FanDuel points in five of his last six games, averaging 67 fantasy points per game in that span. That’s truly scary with Sacramento owning the worst defensive rating in the NBA.
  • Joel Embiid (PHI) $11,000: Embiid had the game of the season on Friday, and he might be the frontrunner for MVP. He collected 94 FD points in that gem, giving him a 57-point average over his last 13 games played. Not to mention, Joel dropped 61 fantasy points against these Raptors earlier in the season.
  • Nikola Jokic (DEN) $10,600: Jokic is the league leader with nearly 60 fantasy points per game, and he’s hard to fade on every slate right now. The big man has scored at least 39 FD points every game this season and enters this matchup scoring at least 55 fantasy points in seven of his last eight games.
  • Kawhi Leonard (LAC) $9,800: The Nets have the worst defensive rating since acquiring James Harden, and that’s awful news against a guy like this. Kawhi has at least 31 FD points in every game this season and had his best performance of the season against these Nets a few weeks ago. He provided 33 points, five rebounds, five assists, and four steals in that majestic performance.
  • Julius Randle (NYK) $8,800: Randle has had a breakout season for the Knicks, and we definitely expect it to continue here. The big man has scored at least 33 FD points in all but two games this season and should have no problem building off of that impressive floor against one of the worst defenses in the NBA.

Notable Players to Fade

  • Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) $9,300: Towns has been in this section ever since returning, and it’s clear we’ve been making the right decision by fading him. He’s actually scored 46 or fewer fantasy points in five of his six games since returning, averaging 41 fantasy points per game in that span. That’s not good enough at this price, and it’s terrifying that he has to play the top defense in the NBA here.
  • John Collins (ATL) $6,800: With Gallinari seeing a boost in playing time, Collins’ role has been slipping. What’s also concerning is that Clint Capela is swallowing up all the rebounds, leaving Collins with crumbs. That’s led to him scoring 34 or fewer fantasy points in five straight outings, averaging just 24 FD points per game in that span.
  • Lou Williams (LAC) $6,700: With Kawhi and Paul George, both back and fully healthy, we can’t trust Lou to be the guy we saw throughout the week. Williams averaged just 17 FanDuel points per game across his first 20 outings of the season with those guys suiting up. That makes him impossible to trust at this price.
  • Michael Porter (DEN) $5,700: Porter has been handed a golden opportunity recently with all of Denver’s injuries, but he’s still not stepping up. He’s only surpassed 30 FD points once in his last 11 games, averaging fewer than 24 FanDuel points per game in that span.

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Beyond our daily fantasy basketball content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Basketball Tools. Our Lineup Optimizer allows you to build winning DFS lineups in seconds for Cash and GPP contests – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players. We’ve got you covered this fantasy basketball season.

Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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