Top Tier: Chris Paul- We get the inverse situation of what we saw on Wednesday when Chris Paul was out and James Harden was in, now we get Paul in and Harden out. Paul’s usage increases without Harden on the floor, but much like Harden his assist rate jumps to over 50% and he literally does everything for the Rockets on offense. He’s expensive, but still feels under-priced for his ceiling without Harden and he’s viable in all formats despite the Pat Beverley defensive treatment.
Mid Tier: Kemba Walker- Kemba draws the same matchup he saw on Wednesday against a terrible Bulls defense, and I want to go right back to the well tonight. His usage remains upwards of 30%, and he played another 35 minutes resulting in a 23-3-6 line. This game is in Charlotte, where Walker has historically played much better, and he’s going to continue to do it all for the Hornets and this matchup doesn’t get any better. He’s playable in all formats tonight, especially on FanDuel.
Low Tier: Derrick Rose (If Butler out)- There’s not a ton of overly good value at point guard tonight, so we can definitely key in on Rose if Jimmy Butler misses this game, he’s currently questionable with a phantom illness. Rose has actually been good fantasy wise so far this season, and he’s averaging over 25 minutes per game with a cheap price tag. If Butler ends up playing, you can pivot to Pat Beverley who will be needed to combat Chris Paul.
UPDATE: Brad Beal is now questionable, if he’s unable to go John Wall gets a big bump.
Top Tier: Jrue Holiday- Holiday’s playing style fits perfectly into this fast-paced game with the Nets, and he has shot the ball extremely poor to start this season. Eventually, his shot is going to fall and he can smash through his price tag, and there’s no better place for that to happen tonight against a bad Nets defense at home.
Mid Tier: Eric Gordon- Gordon averaged well over 30 minutes per game without James Harden last season with a 28% usage rate. He’s way too cheap for his upside on all sites, and will be very highly owned because of it.
Low Tier: Austin Rivers (FanDuel Punt)- I wouldn’t be playing Rivers on DraftKings unless Beal misses, but he fits the mold as a punt on FanDuel without the risk given your lowest score will be dropped. He loves to shoot, and he has played 20+ minutes in every game thus far this season.
Top Tier: Giannis Antetokounmpo- The biggest question on this slate comes down to Giannis vs Anthony Davis, and boy is it a tough one. ABC is coming off a monster 32-18-10 triple double in his last game, and his usage rate still sits at just under 40% (!) for the season. I think I’m *slightly* leaning Giannis tonight for a few reasons, but both are fantastic options and I will have exposure to both. For starters, this Bucks/Timberwolves game features a two point spread, although that could change if Jimmy Butler is ruled out, while the Pels are 9.5 favorites over the Nets. As I’ve said before, I don’t typically care about blowouts as much as others, but the Pels have rested starters in the fourth quarter a few times this season while Giannis will pretty much get minutes regardless. The second reason is that the Pelicans have capable players outside of Davis to take over a game, all the Bucks have is Bledsoe and Middleton and they both have been playing amazing as well, and it hasn’t hurt his production whatsoever. Karl-Anthony Towns is a soft as they come inside, and nobody will be able to hinder Giannis from betting to the bucket tonight.
Mid Tier: Jabari Parker- Parker lines up as a much, much better play on DraftKings than FanDuel tonight. Bobby Portis is expected to miss at least a month, which is going to push Parker back into the starting lineup and possibly open a few more minutes for him, even though he played 30 in their last game. He’s all the way up at $7,000 on FanDuel which takes him out of the cash game range for me, but he can be seen as a core play on DraftKings at only $5,500.
Low Tier: Gerald Green- Green should again see solid minutes with a key Rockets player out, and even though he had a rough game against the defensive minded Jazz, that won’t stop me from firing him up against the Clippers. Green is the type of player that can catch fire from deep at any time, and worst case scenario is he is your dropped score on FanDuel while allowing you to pay up for an extra stud.
Top Tier: Anthony Davis- The reason that the decision between Giannis and AD is so hard, is the quality of Davis’ matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Both of these teams play extremely fast, which suits Davis’ playing style and how many times have I written about targeting bigs against the Nets? They have nobody with a prayer of stopping Davis tonight and he has thrived in fast-paced games. He also gets a bump playing at home, where the scorer has historically “over-exaggerated” some of Davis’ stats. adding an extra block here or there.
Mid Tier: Serge Ibaka- I don’t know how long Ibaka can keep up the pace he’s on, and by pace I mean actually being fantasy viable, but hey let’s ride it while we can. I do expect the Mavericks to play relatively small as we get into the game tonight, especially with Harrison Barnes back, and that plays into Ibaka’s strength and should give him added time at Center.
Low Tier: Montrezl Harrell- I feel like I’ve already written up Harrell a few times this season, and he will continue to provide value in fast-paced games against teams like the Rockets. The Rockets like to play small, and that’s going to render someone like Boban completely useless, you can’t use him against Capela/Tucker so those minutes are going to funnel to Harrell who remains a value . He’s a FPPM guy, and he played 24 minutes against the Rockets last week, because of the reasons I just stated.
Top Tier: Karl-Anthony Towns- I really have no idea what’s going on in Towns’ head, or why he is playing like he is, but the fact is that Jimmy Butler may miss this game and his price has seen a huge drop (rightfully so). He’s eventually going to have a good game, and I could definitely see it happening in a game where Butler is off the floor and let’s not forget the matchup with the Bucks is a pretty positive one. Brook Lopez has no interest in rebounding, and the minutes are going to be there regardless as KAT has seen 30+ in every game this season outside the first one.
Mid Tier: Clint Capela- Capela is way too cheap for his ability, especially on DraftKings where he has fallen to under $7,000. I know that Capela’s numbers actually look better alongside Harden without Paul than alongside Paul without Harden, but the fact is there are going to be more shots readily available for him and Marcin Gortat and this Clippers frontcourt has been well below-average against the PnR this season, which we know is the Rockets bread and butter on offense.
Low Tier: Wendell Carter- This is the same situation as Jabari Parker, FanDuel was aggressive for once with pricing and it makes him a more difficult play there than on DraftKings where he is still mega-cheap. He’s had two rough games in a row, but the important thing is minutes and they have been there in both. They should be secure once again tonight with Portis out, and Carter will eventually put it all together in a game.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)