We have a six-game slate over on FanDuel tonight to kick off the first weekend of 2018. There are five players priced above $10,000 with Lebron James sitting at the top at $11,7000. James gets a matchup against a bad Magic team and Chris Paul is facing the Pistons on the road without James Harden. Since these are, in my opinion, the two best spots on the board, my goal is to try and build a lineup around these two players.
In order to afford James and Paul, we’re going to need to build a line-up that has strong value. Since there aren’t a ton of great value plays under the $5,500 threshold tonight, I am going to bump it up to $6,100 or less today so we can afford our stud players and still make a solid lineup.
Tyus Jones (MIN): $5,600 vs. NOP
Jones is coming off a rough four-game stretch in which he averaged 19.5 FanDuel points and only 4.5 assists per game. He’s been under-performing in the starting lineup but a game against the Pelicans could get Jones trending in the right direction tonight. He has averaged 31.2 minutes over the past five games and the Pelicans have given up the eighth most FanDuel points to point guards this season. Rajon Rondo is also a bad individual defender, ranking 70th out of 96 PGs in defensive real plus-minus(DRPM). With Jones burning some bridges in the DFS community over the past few weeks, this seems like a good opportunity to take one more chance on him.
Cory Joseph (IND): $4,800 vs. CHI
Assuming Victor Oladipo sits out one more game, Corey Joseph is one of the sneakier value options on tonight’s slate. In four games without Oladipo in the lineup, Joseph has averaged 23.8 FanDuel points in 29.6 minutes per game. The Bulls aren’t the best match-up for opposing point guards with Kris Dunnranking 18th out of 96 point guards in DRPM, but Joseph is likely to see a good amount of time against backup point guard Jerian Grant, who ranks 81st out of 96 in DRPM. Joseph has 30 FD point upside in a matchup against the 11th worst team in defensive efficiency rating.
Malcolm Brogdon (MIL): $4,900 at WAS
Brogdon is no longer the Bucks’ starting point guard but the defending Rookie of the Year is still playing efficient minutes off the bench. Brogdon has averaged 25.8 FanDuel points and 29 minutes over the past six games. The Wizards are tough on opposing shooting guards, yielding the seventh fewest FanDuel points, but this game has a 214 total and a close 4.5 point spread. As long as Brogdon sees 30 minutes, he should be able to reach value against the Wizards, who play at the 12th fastest pace in the NBA.
Evan Fournier (ORL): $6,100 vs. CLE
Since I’ll be playing Lebron James on tonight’s slate, my strategy is going to include running it back with a player from the Magic. Evan Fournier is one of my favorite tournament plays despite the fact that he has only averaged 19.5 FanDuel points over the past two games. The Cavaliers have given up the third most FanDuel points to shooting guards and are ranked 28th in defensive efficiency rating this season. Fournier has a respectable 22.9% usage rate and has flashed 40 FanDuel point upside on multiple occasions this season. He should carry a low ownership in tournaments tonight.
E’Twaun Moore (NOP): $4,400 at MIN
Moore is coming off a 9.9 FanDuel point game against the Jazz, but this is a perfect spot to go right back to the well. Prior to Wednesday night’s dud, Moore had a three-game stretch where he averaged 26.5 FanDuel points per game on 67.9% from the field. As long as he can maintain his efficiency from the field, Moore is a solid candidate to return 5-6x on his salary against a Timberwolves team that is ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency rating this season this season. Moore should carry relatively low ownership on tonight’s six-game slate, making him a strong option to pair with Lebron James in GPPs.
Denzel Valentine (CHI): $4,500 at IND
Over the past three games, Valentine has picked up his game and is averaging 24.9 FanDuel points. Tonight, he draws a great matchup against a Pacers defense that has given up the fifth most FanDuel points to small forwards per game. On top of that, Bojan Bogdanovic is a terrible defender, ranking 85th out of 89 small forwards in DRPM. Even though David Nwaba had recently started to cut into his time, Valentine has started to overtake his minutes again, averaging 24.9 per game over the past three contests. Valentine has 30 point upside on a cheap price tag on tonight’s slate.
Note: I am planning on fading the red-hot Gerald Green tonight. He has been on fire since signing with the Rockets, shooting 58.1% from the field and 60% from three. However, Green is a 42% career shooter (36.5% from three), who has been shooting at an unsustainable rate. Fading should be worthwhile at an elevated price tag of $5,700.
Zach Randolph (SAC): $5,500 vs. DEN
After a tough five-game stretch to end December, Zach Randolph rebounded strongly as a chalk play on Tuesday night, putting up 35 FanDuel points in 25 minutes. At 36 years old, Randolph has obviously performed better when he’s had longer periods of rest in between games. This is the first game the Kings have played in 4 days and the Nuggets are 21st in FanDuel points allowed to power forwards this season. Less than three weeks removed from a $7,500 price tag, Randolph deserves serious consideration on tonight’s slate.
John Henson (MIL): $5,000 at WAS
Henson has been in solid form recently, averaging 22.6 FanDuel points per game over the past seven contests. He struggled against a tough Raptors frontcourt on Friday night but the Wizards have been a nice matchup for opposing power forwards this season, giving up the ninth most FanDuel points per game. Henson has been battling foul trouble over the past few games but the Wizards don’t have a dominant big man that he will have to worry about down low. As long as Henson can avoid foul trouble, he will be an interesting option in a match-up that features a 214 total.
Mason Plumlee (DEN): $5,300 at SAC
Plumlee’s game has been a bit volatile recently but tonight he gets to face off against a Kings defense that is ranked 27th in FanDuel points allowed to power forwards. Over the past two games, Plumlee has averaged 31.1 FanDuel points in 20 minutes per game. The Kings are also ranked dead last in defensive efficiency rating and have the fifth lowest defensive rebounding percentage in the NBA. As long as Plumlee sees 20-25 minutes in tonight’s game he should have a ton of rebounding upside.