We have a seven-game slate tonight to kick off the last weekend of 2017 over on FanDuel. There are four players between $10,300 and $11,500 so my approach is going to be choosing the top-tier player in the most favorable spot and creating a line-up around them. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins both stand out as elite options in a favorable home match-up against the New York Knicks, while Kevin Durant and Lebron James both face tougher match-ups and are only secondary options for me based on their pricing.
Since my plan is to build a line-up around Davis or Cousins, filling in my roster with solid value plays will allow me to afford a few mid-to-high range players as well. 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 one of these studs.
Shabazz Napier (POR): $4,800 at ATL
Damian Lillard (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Saturday night’s game. If he is ruled out, Shabazz Napier should be considered one of the top overall plays on the slate. Over the past three games with Lillard out of the lineup, Napier has averaged 36.8 FanDuel points across 35.3 minutes per game. The Hawks have given up the 6th most FanDuel points to point guards and Dennis Schroder is ranked 92nd out of 93 point guards in defensive real plus minus (DRPM) this season. Napier will carry heavy ownership but his price has yet to reflect his recent level of play.
Andrew Harrison (MEM): $4,300 at GS
Since his shift to the starting shooting guard position earlier this month, Harrison has been a cheap source of production that has flashed a 30 FanDuel point ceiling at times. Although he has a relatively modest 19.3% usage rate, Harrison has averaged 24.3 FanDuel points per game over the past three contests, which equates to 5.7x value per game. The Warriors play at the league’s 5th fastest pace so we can assume that the Grizzlies will have a few extra possessions to work with in this game. Harrison is certainly not the most exciting play but he has 6x upside in an up-tempo environment.
J.J. Redick (PHI): $5,100 at DEN
In two games since his return from a hamstring injury, Redick has produced two efficient fantasy outings in which he has averaged 30.7 FanDuel points and made 8 of his 17 three-point attempts. Gary Harris has a reputation as a good individual defender, and this evidenced by his 10th DRPM ranking out of 101 shooting guards, but the Nuggets have still yielded the 2nd most FanDuel points to the shooting guard position this season. Despite Harris’ individual strengths, the Nuggets have the 21stranked team defense overall. Assuming this trend continues, Redick has the potential to pay off 6x on his salary if his shot is falling like it has been over the past few games.
Pat Connaughton (POR): $3,500 at ATL
In Damian Lillard’s three game absence, Connaughton has actually been a surprising source of production. Connaughton, who is priced at the bare minimum, has averaged 17.6 FanDuel points and 23.7 minutes over the past three game. While these numbers certainly don’t jump off the page, the match-up against a Hawks defense that is ranked 28th in efficiency and given up the 6th most FanDuel points to shooting guards is enough to get excited about. In the likely event that Lillard misses his fourth consecutive game, Connaughton makes sense as a tournament flier that will surely have low ownership.
E’Twaun Moore (NOP): $4,600 vs. NYK
Moore has been red-hot from the field in December, averaging 16.4 actual points per game and a ridiculous .587 from three-point range. Despite his shooting ability, his price has remained in the mid-$4,000 range due to a lack of peripheral stats. As long as his hot shooting continues, Moore is a solid candidate to return 5-6x on his salary against a Knicks team that is 18th in FanDuel points allowed to small forwards this season. This is also a great spot for Moore to produce a more robust stat line, as the Knicks offense ranks 26th in turnover percentage.
Dillon Brooks (MEM): $3,500 at GS
The bottom of the small forward position isn’t exactly loaded with talent tonight, so Brooks should only be viewed as the deepest of tournament plays. As the team’s starting small forward, Brooks has averaged 31 minutes over the past two games. While this hasn’t exactly resulted in fantasy production (11.2 FanDuel points per game), Brooks is still getting a ton of run with the first team and has flashed 25+ FanDuel point upside on multiple occasions this season. The Warriors give up the 6th most FanDuel points to opposing small forwards and play at the 5th fastest pace in the NBA. The floor on a Dillon Brooks play is extremely low but he could provide a nice boost in GPPs if he flashes his 25 point ceiling.
Ersan Ilyasova (ATL): $5,300 vs. POR
Over the past three games, Ilyasova has averaged 32.4 FanDuel points in 31.7 minutes per game. Ilyasova has an 18.4% usage rate on the season but he has eclipsed 20.5% in 6 of the past 9 games, as the Hawks have been getting him more involved on the offensive end. He has also shot 63.6% from the field and put up 20+ actual points in each of the past three games. The Hawks draw the Blazers in tonight’s match-up and they have been kind to opposing power forwards this season, giving up the 3rdmost FanDuel points to the position. All things considered, Ilyasova grades out as a nice value play on Saturday’s slate.
Jordan Bell (GS): $4,900 vs. MEM
Injuries have caused the Warriors to shuffle up their rotation several times this season but one bright spot in this has been the emergence of Jordan Bell. Bell has eclipsed 20 FanDuel points in 7 of the past 8 games and has become an integral part of the Warriors high-powered offensive attack. His ability to stuff the stat sheet is reminiscent to his teammate Draymond Green, as Bell has averaged 9.8 rebounds 3.8 assists in his past four games. He draws a tough match-up against a Grizzlies team that has given up the least FanDuel points to opposing centers this season but Bell’s ability to do a little bit of everything more than makes up for this.
Richaun Holmes (PHI): $4,000 at DEN
With Joel Embiid (rest) already ruled out of tonight’s game, Holmes figures to the biggest beneficiary in his absence. In the last three game stretch that Embiid sat out, Holmes averaged 26.2 FanDuel points and 25 minutes per game. The Nuggets deploy a bigger starting line-up with Plumlee and Jokic so Holmes should see all the minutes he can handle in this game. As mentioned previously, the Nuggets have the 21st ranked team defense overall so this is an exploitable match-up for the Sixers. Amir Johnson will probably get the start but Holmes is the player we want to target in DFS.