Top Tier: Chris Paul- Paul struggled mightily in his first game without James Harden, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and keep him as the top point guard play tonight. Given his price and matchup with the Portland Trailblazers, I don’t think he is a must-play at all but keep in mind this is someone that average over 1.5 FPPM with Harden off the floor a season ago. I expect him to play better tonight and he is viable in all formats.
Mid Tier: Kemba Walker- It’s hilarious to me that Kemba keeps putting up these monster games and his price is just not adjusting. He’s sitting at well over 30% usage and assists this season, and he is literally doing everything for the Hornets. The Heat are a strong defensive team, but they are playing much faster this season and Walker is so involved in the offense at this point and price I don’t even care what the matchup is.
Low Tier: Frank Mason (If Fox Out)– Frank Mason is headed to the Chalk Zone should we get news that De’Aaron Fox is out tonight after tweaking his back late in Monday night’s game. Thankfully, this is a 7 o clock game so we should know before lock whether or not Fox is playing. He’s min-priced on FanDuel and has shown the ability to pile up fantasy points when given the opportunity. If Fox is confirmed out, he’s my top overall value play today.
Top Tier: Bradley Beal- I love this spot for Beal tonight, especially on DraftKings where he is priced down at $6,800! It’s not long ago that we avoided targeting guys against the Memphis Grizzlies, but with the way the NBA has been trending this season, this game owns a 217 O/U and the closest spread on the slate (1 point). Mike Conley will be tasked with defending John Wall, so naturally some shots should filter more towards Beal tonight and I’m 100% going to take advantage of this mis-pricing.
Mid Tier: Buddy Hield- What could possibly go wrong when I write up multiple Kings players? I really like this game against the Magic and I do think it should be a close game. I hate taking shooters on back-to-backs, but Hield has played 36, 36 and 40 minutes over his last three games and his usage will only increase if Fox is ruled out.
Low Tier: Eric Gordon– Gordon was pretty bad in the first game without James Harden, though so was the majority of the Rockets team. His usage rate barely touched 20% which could of been due to the presence of Carmelo Anthony, but also could be that it was just a rough game. He’s been so good without Harden in the past that it’s not dumb to give him a pass for the bad game, but if you don’t feel comfortable going here you can settle for Dennis Schroder on FanDuel who is only $5,200!
Top Tier: Kawhi Leonard- I actually don’t know if Kawhi is going to be super-popular tonight given a tough matchup with the 76ers, but he is by far the top overall Small Forward for me. He could see some increased time at PF tonight in this matchup as well, but in terms of floor/ceiling he is easily the top play here. He already dominates usage on this Raptors team, but even more could funnel to him with Lowry presumably locked up by Ben Simmons.
Mid Tier: Otto Porter- Porter is a borderline elite play tonight, especially on DraftKings where he is priced at just $5,300…what’s with these Wizards prices! With Markieff Morris out and Kelly Oubre questionable, Porter should be locked into big minutes against a team that’s bottom-ten in defensive efficiency to his position.
Low Tier: Justin Jackson- A lot of people would slot Jeff Green in here with Markieff Morris out and Kelly Oubre questionable, and I do think he is in play, but I think I’m going to side with Jackson with Iman Shumpert out for the Kings. Whether or not Fox plays, Jackson played almost 40 minutes the last time Shump missed and he has been mega-consistent over the last week. This is one of the top ways to go on FanDuel in my opinion where they drop your lowest score.
Top Tier: Blake Griffin- I guess the theme of the night is above-average players in below-average matchups. Griffin finds himself in an extremely difficult matchup with the Boston Celtics, but he’s also sporting a career-high 30% usage right. Much like Kemba, the Pistons need a big game from Grifin to stay in games and if I’m spending up at this position it’s with him.
Mid Tier: Jaren Jackson Jr- Jackson is a legitimate stud in the making, and was severely limited by foul trouble in his last game. That’s going to happen when it comes to rookie bigs, and he should be back on track for his usual allotment of minutes tonight against the Wizards. He’s average over a FPPM this season, and has an added ceiling given his ability to block shots. I love his price point and I think he is playable in all formats tonight. You can also slot in Larry Nance here, who is finally a PF on FanDuel.
Low Tier: Pascal Siakam- OG Anunoby is still out for a personal reason tonight, and even though Kawhi Leonard will return we can peg Siakam for another 30+ minutes. He touched 30 minutes in this same situation the last game that Kawhi played, and he still was able to reach just under 1 fantasy point per minute.
Top Tier: Andre Drummond- Even though I wrote up Blake Griffin, I will include Drummond here as well. Drummond has posted a solid 25% usage rate this season and put up 32 fantasy points in 29 minutes against this team last week despite a major blowout. If they can keep it close and Drummond plays full minutes, he should have no issues posting a double-double.
Mid Tier: Willie Cauley-Stein- Another Kings (#Kangz) player…what is happening! WCS has put up back-to-back 40+ point fantasy games, and draws a great matchup with Nikola Vucevic. He should be able to feast on the glass tonight, and it is worth noting that in the other game Iman Shumpert missed this season WCS saw an increase of three minutes relative to his average.
Low Tier: Tristan Thompson (FanDuel Punt)- There’s not a ton of value at center tonight, which has me looking at TT if you choose to punt on FanDuel. His minutes haven’t been more than 20-23 over the past three games, but the Hawks are bottom-six in terms of allowing rebounds to opposition and he put up 28 fantasy points in 27 minutes against them in their matchup earlier this season.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)