D’Andelo Russell (DK $4900, FD $5100, 23.4 USG) – Russell is a guy that is hard to roster because of his role off the bench and the unpredictability of the rotation but he’s seen 30 min in two out of his last 4 games and I think a lot of that has to do with a banged up Kobe. Despite his sore shoulder/Achilles, Bryant continues to play and it’s likely because he knows fans are paying up to witness his farewell tour. But with that, I believe the plan as of late is to just throw him out there for a few min (averaging only 20 minutes over his last 4) to give the fans what they want, then let the young guys finish it off. Russell torched the Kings a couple weeks back for 39.5 DKPTS/36.4 FDPTS in only 29 minutes. The Lakers and Kings game owns the highest over/under on the night at 215. I got no problems stacking this one as both teams are bottom 5 in DEF EFF. I will say this though, I think the smart thing to do in cash games is to spend up at PG tonight with so many top options in favorable spots.
Dion Waiters (DK $4100, FD $4200, 18.9 USG) – I’ve mentioned this before but there’s not many players I hate rostering more than Dion Waiters. I can never seem to get this guy right. In the 2 or 3 times I’ve ever rostered him, he’s failed me. But this all has to do with the scarcity at the position tonight. There’s only one guy I love tonight and that’s Jimmy Butler. Everyone else comes with worries and questions. With Waiters, it’s about the production over his last 5 games and the likelihood that the Thunder blow out the Hornets (OKC -9.5). Prior to last night (I was so close to rostering him too), Waiters was averaging 24.6 DKPTS/22.7 FDPTS over his previous 4 games and averaging minutes in the high 20’s. The Hornets give up the 8th most fantasy points to SG’s so if this game gets out of hand like I’d expect it to, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Waiters get about 25 fantasy points, which would make me ecstatic considering the price and the level of talent at the position tonight. And call me crazy, but on DK . . . I think I’m gonna roll out Tyler Johnson again. Much better matchup and still gonna get his 34 min or so. Everyone will be off him after that dud last night but lots of that had to do with foul trouble and the size of MCW. He’s PG eligible on FD for only $4500, so he’s def in play over there if you choose to go that route.
Aaron Gordon (DK $4200, FD $4200, 16.8 USG) – Scott Skiles (never to be trusted) recently hinted at potential lineup changes for the Magic and if you’ve followed this team, you’re first guess would be that Aaron Gordon ends up replacing Channing Frye in the starting lineup. With exception to the game in London against the Raptors where he only scored 1 fantasy point in 7 minutes (bad defense and a bum ankle), he’s been playing extremely well. I really want to believe Skiles but you can’t until you see it for yourself. Gordon is one of those guys that doesn’t need a lot of time to put up a decent fantasy performance. He’s averaging 32.80 DKPTS/31.14 FDPTS per 36, so if he does end up starting and seeing anywhere close to 30 minutes, you’re probably looking at 27 fantasy points which is beautiful for only $4200 on both sites. I think I’d feel comfortable rostering him even if he’s still coming off the bench tonight to be honest, he’s been playing that well. And by the way, the Magic are playing the Sixers, who rank 29th against PF’s (where he’ll be spending most of his time if starting for Frye) It just makes too much sense.
On FD, Gordon is PF eligible and makes for an elite value play there but for SF, I’d look at Robert Covington at $4800 as long as he continues to start.
Dwight Powell (DK $3800, FD $3600, 18.7 USG) – Dirk has already been ruled out tonight which brings Powell into play instantly. In the 3 games Dirk has missed this year, Powell has averaged 11.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. Rostering a guy who’s averaging a near double-double for under 4K is always a no-brainer for me. Charlie V will likely get the start but don’t be fooled, Powell is the play. He’s averaging about a fantasy point per min this year so as long as he’s getting close to 25 min, i expect him to reach value with ease against the Timberwolves.
Gorgui Deng (DK $4100. FD $4700, 16.6 USG) – With Garnett already ruled out for tonight’s game against Dal, Dieng deserves a look. On DK, his price is way too low. I’d probably consider him an elite value over there but even at $4700 on FD, he’s someone to consider. We’ve seen Dieng start in the past when KG rests but that was before Pekovic was in the picture. Pek is back but still unlikely to see more than 15 minutes so Dieng should see some of KG’s minutes as well as backup center minutes. Also something to consider is that Nemanja Bjelica has been seeing playing time as well so in all honesty, this rotation is usually something to avoid until it gets sorted out but on a night that has so many superstars you want to roster, you’re likely going to need to roll out a cheaper center and Dieng is easily my favorite of the bunch. He’s only averaging 21.8 minutes over his last 5 games and averaging 21.78 fantasy points with that time. It’s not hard to do the math there, he’s giving you a fantasy point a minute so if he sees time in the high 20’s tonight, you’ll be satisfied with the results.