Jam Them In
Richaun Holmes- Holmes is the first person I will be locking into my cash game lineup tonight, priced at $5,000 and with DeAndre Ayton out again for the Phoenix Suns. Holmes stepped in and played 26 minutes in his first game back, and I only expect that number to increase the longer that he is active and Ayton is out. He clearly has FPPM ability, and at only $5,000 he still has a legitimate ceiling — see his 40.5 FanDuel point performance against the Lakers.
Michael Beasley- Beasley is value play #2 that I will be jamming in, with Kyle Kuzma already ruled out for tonight’s game against the 76ers. Beasley will slide into the starting lineup again in the absence of Kuzma, and he posted a near 30% usage rate in this situation on Sunday. The Lakers desperately need offense with Kuzma and James still sidelined, and Beasley has the ability to score the basketball along-side some low-usage starting options.
Value Point Guard– It’s yet to be determined whether or not I want to spend up for a point guard in my optimal lineup, but one thing I do know is that I want one of the options to be a value piece. We have three sub-$6,000 point guards (FanDuel) that I am particularly interested in — Shabazz Napier, Derrick White and Elfrid Payton. Napier sports a 30% usage rate over the last two games without Spencer Dinwiddie, and he draws a quality matchup with the Chicago Bulls. White has an even tastier matchup against the Suns, but we could be concerned with his minutes given that the Spurs are 13 point favorites. As for Payton, he is clearly third among the trio for me, but that may make him the best target in tournaments for ownership purposes. With no Randle, AD or Mirotic he should be counted on for a bigger offensive workload, if his shot is falling is another question.
Joel Embiid- This may surprise some people, but Embiid is the one stud that I don’t see myself getting off of tonight, even with him missing shootaround due to an “illness”. I’ve harped on how bad the Lakers are rebounding the basketball over the last few weeks, so what exactly do you expect Embiid to do to them on the glass? We also have a bit of a narrative with Embiid dropping a career-high 46 points in LA in their meeting there last season. The Lakers play fast, can’t defense, and have nobody to match up with Embiid down low…this screams ceiling spot to me.
Russell Westbrook/Giannis Antetokounmpo- Now that we have locked in some value and Embiid, I do think that we have enough value to get up to another stud should we want to…the question being Westbrook or Giannis? Westbrook has a matchup on the road with the Orlando Magic, in a game that’s drop to just a 4.5 point spread despite over 60% of the bets on the Thunder. Giannis takes on the Pistons, who are one of the worst teams in the NBA in rim protection which bodes well for him seeing as almost all of his points come inside the paint. I really have no issue taking either of these guys, and I LOVE the matchup individually for Giannis, but I will note that I think Westy is a good bit safer. Giannis is rarely extended over 30 minutes in blowouts, so you absolutely need that game to stay close for him to reach 34+ minutes which I think is crucial if we want a ceiling-type output.
LaMarcus Aldridge- I think this is an absolutely smash play with Derozan still sidelined for the Spurs, I just wish the spread wasn’t 13 points. I normally don’t care about predicting blowouts whatsoever, but when it comes to Popovich anything truly can happen, and I mean that in the worst way. Regardless, the Suns are outside the top-20 in rebounding, and have been playing at a much faster pace over the last two weeks which bodes well for Aldridge being able to reach value even if his minutes end up limited (due to the score).
Kenneth Faried- Faried has been playing like the Manimal we all remember during his time in Houston, and he has an elite matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans tonight in the highest O/U on the board at over 230. The only issue is, his price is up to over $7,000 on FanDuel. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad play, because he has been playing so good that it warrants that price tag, but it takes the safety out of it completely. Ultimately, I’d probably try and find the money to jump up to LMA, but if Faried fits your lineup I have no issues with him in all formats.
Blake Griffin- I always love to target Blake Griffin against the Bucks, given that Andre Drummond struggles so much with defending Brook Lopez. Drummond’s three games against the Bucks this season resulted in FD point totals of 21, 31 and 29 and it’s much more likely that Blake hits his ceiling in this matchup than it is Drummond, as long as he is on Lopez.
Lakers- This is probably the best overall game of the night in my opinion, and I’ve already expressed how much I want to play Joel Embiid. In tournaments, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to stack this game up, and the Lakers guys are so cheap that it would be easy to take two or three of them along with Embiid + Ben Simmons. I would be looking at Brandon Ingram, Michael Beasley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as my first three Lakers, but on DraftKings I would like to pair Ivica Zubac at center with Embiid.
Other Targets- Paul George, Jrue Holiday, D’Angelo Russell
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)