This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We've got a lot of interesting scenarios to cover on tonight's six-game slate. We've got a 240 O/U matchup, a questionable Celtic and yet another looming behemoth game from The Beard. Let's get right to those headlines.
First, let's look at that NO/LAC game with that crazy O/U. It's 14-15 points higher than any other line tonight, and I imagine DFS players will be flocking to this game. This is a little bit of a smoke-and-mirrors situation for me, however. Sure, a 122-118 game will yield a lot of output, but when you consider that Anthony Davis ($12,700) could very well represent one-third of the Pelicans' total, how can you safely navigate a stack for the Pelicans with Nikola Mirotic's return? I think we see the effect on Julius Randle, and the duo's overall cost relative to value isn't all that great. On the other end, the Clippers have a lot of different looks, and outside of Tobias Harris and maybe Danilo Gallinari, we see a lot of volatility. Even Lou Williams has bounced around with highs and lows over the past few weeks. So, can I go with Davis here? Yes. Am I thrilled about anyone else? Maybe Harris and Gallinari, but I'm treating this game and the absurd line as a potential DFS trap.
Our fountain of value will overflow in Boston if Kyrie Irving (quad) is sidelined tonight. To get to Davis and a bearded guy I'll mention in a minute, a Kyrie scratch is essential, in my opinion. If you can't wait around to find out Kyrie's status against the Nets, then I wouldn't play today. I am just being honest! If we can get Terry Rozier ($3,500), Marcus Smart ($4,700) or Marcus Morris ($5,100) into our lineups safely, our task for buying high becomes that much easier. Without this scenario, the amount of cheap value plays dries up pretty quickly. Luckily, this favorable matchup against the Nets is the earliest game on the slate, so hopefully, we'll see news about this sooner rather than later. I'm actually a fan of a few spots for the Nets in this matchup, so just in case I don't get to them below, I like D'Angelo Russell ($7,500) a lot here. He didn't do much against them a week ago, but he's put up two excellent stat lines since then, and I predict a better result tonight.
Finally, we have to touch on our resident cheat code, James Harden ($13,300). What is there left to say, really? I could tell you that he's averaging a triple-double over two games against the Grizzlies. I could tell you he has an insane six-game average of 39.5 points, 11 assists and 8.3 rebounds. But what is the point of throwing out numbers here? As long as CP3 and Eric Gordon are out, you have to play the guy. You'll lag behind in almost every format if you don't.
Mike Conley, MEM at HOU ($8,300): I feel a responsibility to go a little lower in this spot as I think it's crucial to keep our costs down, which is why I slipped past more obvious plays like Lillard and Kemba, who are excellent plays in their own right. What stood out to me for Conley was his 20.5 point, 5.5 assist average against the Rockets over two games, as well as a recent run of superb shooting nights. The rest of the pieces in Memphis don't work as well without the vet at the helm, so he'll feel the pressure to post some steep numbers.
Derrick White, SA vs. CHA ($5,800): White continues to impress with a six-game average of 16.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists, and he's popped with a few excellent nights over the past couple of weeks. The Spurs seem pleased with giving White 30-plus minutes on the floor consistently, and while I'm hesitant to use that word in relation to Gregg Popovich, I think the sophomore's output is safe.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA vs. DET ($8,800): Mitchell still finds himself in this dream-like game script with most of the backcourt out with injuries. Simply put, his numbers have been sick in this scenario, and you're leaving a lot on the table if you don't make a play for him. With a Mitchell-Harden stack, you are left with about $5,400 per player, and we can get that number a little higher if we force a $3,500 drop. I think this will be the less-popular pairing as a lot of folks will be trying to cram AD in with Harden, but this is a far cheaper option.
Buddy Hield, SAC vs. POR ($6,500): Hield had a solid night against the Blazers when they last met, as he torched Portland from beyond the arc on the way to a 27-point performance. Fortunately for Hield, Portland shares the basement with Minnesota in 3-point defense, so he should have an opportunity to convert some long-range shots with ease.
SG PIVOT: This is a bit of a flier call, but with Kyle Anderson out, I have a feeling we are going to see more of recent transfer Justin Holiday ($3,500) moving forward. He's a great forced-drop option tonight.
Danilo Gallinari, LAC vs. NO ($7,300): He tops the list as the most expensive player at the position, but things get slim beyond him. I predict that his ownership will be sky-high, and I'd like to find other options, but if you've got the cap room, he is the safest option at this position by a mile. A scratch from Irving could give me a reason for Gordon Hayward ($5,200), but otherwise, things look pretty bleak here.
Nicolas Batum, CHA at SA ($4,400): There aren't a lot of places to go at this position. Gallinari and Mirotic stick out like a sore thumb, and I already endorsed Danilo. I don't think Batum is the safest play you'll find, but his numbers can definitely find their way into 30 FP territory. Batum sees 30 minutes on the regular, so the opportunity is there. He just needs to have the shot volume to produce a high number.
This is a position where we start to see some of those Celtics pivots show up. Keep Tatum and Morris and on your radar as lineups lock. Also, Anthony Davis is an obvious play so he won't be mentioned below. LaMarcus Aldridge sets up well too, but I don't know that I'll be able to find room for him tonight.
Tobias Harris, LAC vs.NO ($7,600): Harris is the most dependable option for the Clippers. I think that despite the high O/U, over-stacking this game is a mistake for multiple reasons. First, there's the ownership issue, and second, the totals will be spread out so thinly that we might not be able to get much from the secondary targets. Harris has a respectable two-game average against the Pels with 26.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, so he's a good candidate for 40 FDFP or more.
Marvin Bagley III, SAC vs, POR ($5,700): Although he's more of a GPP play for me, I think the Kings are finally ready to give Bagley the minutes over Nemjana Bjelica, so that they can kick the tires on the rookie and really see what they got from their top pick. The numbers certainly bear out this upward trend, as he's seen a steady increase in points and minutes over the last three games.
Marc Gasol, MEM at HOU ($7,800): Drummond, Gobert and Nurkic are all exceptional plays above him, but since I'm leaning toward a Harden-Mitchell pairing I have to find something a little cheaper. Gasol is reasonably priced, and I have faith that he'll put up a number that will at least meet value at this price. He has an average of 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds over two games against the Rockets, so a double-double is a reasonable expectation.
Al Horford, BOS at BKN ($6,700): By once again following the 'start you center against the Nets' mantra, I think Horford can be played independently of Irving's absence. While his numbers have definitely bounced around, he won't find a better matchup in the league, as the Nets are dead-last versus opposing centers and probably will be for the foreseeable future.
FORCED DROP OF THE NIGHT: I mentioned Justin Holiday earlier, but unfortunately, you can only do that if you're fading Harden or Mitchell. I think he's a lock if you're matching Harden with AD or another high-priced forward, though. I think the lowly SF position is where to go low tonight, so let's go with Jake Layman ($3,700), who will get a little bit of a bump with Mo Harkless still out.
I still think Harden/Michell is the way to go tonight, and you might even be able to afford a third mid-range player if Kyrie sits. Granted, there's still value from someone like Davis or Aldridge or even Griffin to link with the Beard, so that will be your toughest call today.