The FanDuel Partners Basketball Championship (FPBC) pits RotoWire against eight other sites in the fantasy industry in a daily fantasy sports (DFS) competition over the course of a five-week span. In the first two contests last Wednesday and Friday, RotoWire's DFS tools produced middling results – 268.7 and 272.6 FanDuel points (FDP), respectively – and the current standings can be explored here. The entity with the highest aggregate total sans the two lowest scores for each partner site will ultimately be deemed the winner.
Rather than lay out the decision-making process for my lineup with the aid of RotoWire's tools, I'll instead hone in on my Top 5 FanDuel NBA plays of the day. Enjoy!
D'Angelo Russell, PG, LAL at DEN ($5,300) – On the coattails of a Lakers rookie-record 39 points Tuesday against the Nets, Russell has been returning far more than his current price tag in recent games. Over the last five, he's surpassed five times his salary four times, and at least 5.8X in each of the past three. During that three-game stretch, his average output equates to 33 FanDuel points (FDP) on the backs of 21.4 points, 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 three-pointers, and 0.6 steals in 32 minutes per contest.
Hot shooting spurred the outbursts, namely 55 percent from the field and 62 percent from three-point range, but even if his accuracy is curtailed to some degree, Wednesday's outing against the Nuggets provides solace that Russell will keep up the pace. RotoWire's NBA Defense vs. Position tool reveals that a Denver backcourt populated by defensive sieve Emmanuel Mudiay has allowed the third-most three-pointers (2.6 per game) and seventh-worst FG% (44.2 percent) to point guards this season. With a friendly matchup on tap, the potential exists for Kobe Bryant to miss his third straight game due to a sore shoulder, which would offer additional opportunity for Russell to direct the offense.
Will Barton, SG, DEN vs LAL ($6,000) – Joining Russell on RotoWire's Optimal Lineup, Barton is poised to prosper from the absence of Danilo Gallinari, who missed the first of many games Monday against the Grizzlies due to two torn ligaments and a medial ligament sprain in his right ankle.
Barton didn't return to his early-season glory Monday, putting together a measly 19.2 FDP for his third-lowest point total in the last 10 games. He garnered 34 minutes, though, which should extend throughout Gallinari's recovery. Aiding in the decision to use Barton on Wednesday is the Lakers' propensity to be carved up by two-guards. In particular, they've given up the most FDP (37.2 per contest) to the position in 2015-16. Barton has contributed to that mark in two previous games on his way to 35.9 FDP per 36 minutes. If he's afforded a similar workload to Monday, he's a safe bet to return 5X his value.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, MIL vs IND ($8,400) – Antetokounmpo has been toasting the opposition since the break, posting two triple-doubles and two double-doubles over the course of six games. While three-pointers remain ever elusive, he compensates prowess on the glass with formidable defensive counting stats, while playing a larger role as a distributor of late. In sum, he boasts 17.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.0 blocks, and 1.5 steals in 38 minutes per game – or 46.3 FDP points – in his current run of success.
Now, the Pacers rank in the middle of the pack in terms of FDP points conceded to small forwards this season (34.1 per game), and Antetokounmpo himself has been somewhat quelled in two earlier matchups, recording 30.7 FDP per 36 in this campaign. Considering he's notched 40-plus FDP on five occasions in the past six outings, the opportunity is there Wednesday to achieve the desired 5X his sticker price.
Zach Randolph, PF, MEM vs SAC ($6,600) – Reliable in a handful of categories, Randolph's standing in the Grizzlies' offense is secure without the services of Marc Gasol. In fact, Randolph has scored double-digit points in 12 consecutive contests, a span in which he's averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 0.8 steals+blocks in 31 minutes. Equivalent to 30.4 FDP per game, he's reached the threshold seven times, though his previous game against the Kings on Jan. 30 produced the second-lowest total of that stretch (18 FDP). Fortunately, they've been especially yielding to power forwards over the past 10 contests, surrendering the third-most FDP (48.3 per game). Look for something to give as the NBA's second-slowest team takes on a Sacramento squad that sits No. 1 on the pace charts with 100.2 possessions per 48 minutes in 2015-16.
Nikola Vucevic, C, ORL vs CHI ($8,100) – Vucevic is in the midst of his second-longest streak of the season without a double-double (five games), and a frontcourt minus Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Nikola Mirotic awaits Wednesday. The Bulls' top all-around player (Jimmy Butler) is out of commission as well, which helps to explain a lofty over/around for this game of 215. In conjunction with a bare cupboard at forward, Chicago's 24th-ranked defensive rebounding rate (74.9 percent) is apt to suffer further. With a number of factors trending toward a standout performance, Vucevic merely needs to harken back to his pre-break marks (38.3 FDP per outing in the final six games) to approach 5X his salary.
Using the players mentioned above, Wednesday's lineup ensues: