The DraftKings/FanDuel Roster Build (3-23-18)
What’s up, everybody? I’m joined once again by Kevin Roberts. As usual, we’re going to go through each of the five primary positions and break down some of our favorite plays at each of them. Kevin handles FanDuel, while I take a look at things from the DraftKings perspective.
It’s worth noting that my plays are typically geared toward cash games, while Kevin takes more of a GPP approach. Then again, the line between cash and tournament plays has gotten murkier with how sharp DFS players are these days. Sometimes, a little added risk can give you the edge you need, even in cash games.
Anyway, here’s how we’re looking at tonight’s slate.
DraftKings: Eric Bledsoe, Milwaukee Bucks ($8,000)
TS: The general rule of thumb this season has been to load up on the likes of Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton whenever Giannis Antetokounmpo sits. The Greek Freak has already been ruled out thanks to an ankle sprain, so Bledsoe, Middleton and Jabari Parker figure to be pretty chalky, especially in cash games.
The return of Parker may muck things up a bit, but Bledsoe and Middleton look to be in great spots without Giannis in there. Bledsoe’s minutes have also been solidified since Malcolm Brogdon went down with a long-term injury. This game would appear to have blowout risk, but the Bucks are just 5.5-point favorites despite the fact that they’re playing an undermanned and tanking Bulls outfit.
In about 291 minutes without Giannis or Brogdon out there, Bledsoe has a usage rate north of 30% and he averages 1.17 DK points per minute. Both of those make us happy.
Bledsoe just feels like a guy that comes with a very safe floor, which is obviously what we want in cash games.
FanDuel: George Hill, Cleveland Cavaliers ($4,700)
KR: If you want Russell Westbrook or King James tonight, you’re going to need to save somewhere. I like doing that with Hill, who should benefit from a lot of dead bodies in Cleveland.
Hill looked good in his last game, where he logged 35 minutes and poured in 33.8 fantasy points. Now he gets the Phoenix Suns, who routinely get torched by far inferior talents. Sale pitch over.
DraftKings: Justin Holiday, Chicago Bulls ($3,400)
TS: The Bulls got yelled at by the NBA for blatantly sitting Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez on the bench in order to tank, so Fred Hoiberg has essentially been forced to give some token minutes back to Holiday. Most of the time, Holiday will play an extended stretch at the beginning of each half before being banished to the bench forever.
Tonight, though, Holiday may actually play real minutes. Here’s the Bulls’ injury report:
Markkanen’s status is interesting for implications elsewhere, but we’re only interested in the wing guys for Holiday. With Blakeney and LaVine out with Zipser unlikely to play, somebody’s going to have to man the shooting guard spot. Cam Payne and Jerian Grant have been sharing point guard duties. Holiday and David Nwaba are essentially the only able bodies capable of playing the other guard spot, while Denzel Valentine will presumably gobble up minutes at the 3.
I think you can play Payne, Nwaba and Valentine tonight, but Holiday is the best source of salary relief at just $3,400. We know Hoiberg doesn’t really want to play him minutes, but he doesn’t seem to have a choice tonight.
Holiday isn’t the sexiest option (he only averages 0.75 fantasy points per minute on the season), but some extra usage should flow his way. In about 181 minutes this season with LaVine, Dunn, Blakeney, Zipser and Robin Lopez off the floor, Holiday averages a more palatable 0.89 DK points per minute.
For just $400 over the minimum, you can do worse tonight.
FanDuel: Nick Young, Golden State Warriors ($5,000)
KR: I know Swaggy P’s price has risen, but you’re paying for minutes and volume in a great system.
The price has risen and the production hasn’t always been there, but even with Stephen Curry back, it’s hard not to love Young at home against the Atlanta Hawks.
Did I mention the Hawks have the second worst perimeter defense in the league? Hoist, Swaggy, hoist!
DraftKings: Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks ($5,400)
TS: I’m still waffling regarding whether I want to pay premium prices for either Khris Middleton, but I’m fully on board with slotting Jabari Parker into my cash game lineup. I had Parker alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo on Wednesday. Giannis’ injury was obviously bad news, but it did open up additional playing time for Jabari. Parker figures to slide into Giannis’ starting spot tonight against Chicago.
The Bucks have been hesitant to give Parker much of a workload as he continues to work his way back from another torn ACL, but I expect him to be heavily involved this evening. He played 30 minutes for the first time this season after Antetokounmpo went down the other night, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t get there again tonight.
Jabari has always been a strong per-minute producer, and that’s been the case again this season. The only problem has been the limited playing time, but that isn’t a concern tonight. He’s averaged 1.16 DK points per minute in 207 minutes this season without Giannis or Malcolm Brogdon on the floor. That will do.
The Bucks also get a cushy matchup against the tanking Bulls, who we know are without several regulars. This game obviously has serious blowout concern, but you’d prefer to take guys on the right end of a blowout. If Milwaukee is going to crush, Jabari will be part of the reason for that.
He just feels like a free square tonight. His price hasn’t come up enough. I think you can even get frisky and take a flier on Shabazz Muhammad in tournaments, though his price is a bit higher than I expected ($4,100). Still, if there’s garbage time, Shabazz should see plenty of it.
FanDuel: Corey Brewer, Oklahoma City Thunder ($5,000)
KR: I still don’t know if I’m going all in on LeBron James tonight. Whether I do or not, though, I’m certain I’m paying down at that second SF slot and Brewer makes as good of sense as anyone.
Small forward is not great tonight, so if you think James is overhyped in a likely blowout against the Suns, then a double-punt may be in order. Either way, I like Brewer, who is starting and seeing 30+ minutes on a nightly basis.
Brewer isn’t exactly safe, but this is GPP land and he does a lot more than just score. Here’s to hoping Miami focuses hard on his star teammates and he can cruise to another 30+ fantasy point effort.
DraftKings: Al Horford, Boston Celtics ($6,100)
TS: I know this one looks gross, but it’s hard to ignore Al Horford when he’s priced this cheap. He’s never a guy that seems to garner much ownership, and with good reason. He’s hardly spectacular, and he’s been battling some poor form of late. Still, I’m tempted to fire him up here.
Here are a few players with more expensive price tags than Horford at this position on this slate: Bobby Portis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Kelly Olynyk, Nemanja Bjelica, Jayson Tatum. Those guys have been playing better than Horford of late, but it’s still a strange thing to see.
Horford’s sluggish play is weird because the numbers tell us he should be crushing with the Celtics so short-handed. In about 155 minutes this season with Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown off the floor, Horford has a usage rate over 27% and he’s averaged exactly 1.00 DK point per minute. We know Horford isn’t some ball hog, but he sees a massive 7.6% usage bump with those three guards off the floor.
There’s blowout concern here, as Portland is favored by 7.5 against an undermanned Celtics squad at home. Boston also comes with the lowest implied total of any team on the slate, so I won’t talk you out of it if you don’t want any part of this team tonight.
I’m primarily recommending the play because he makes for an excellent value if he can rediscover his old form. He’ll get an additional boost if Jusuf Nurkic (currently questionable) sits out, as Nurk has emerged as a strong defender on the block. Given Horford’s ability to contribute in a number of statistical areas, I have interest in him tonight, even in cash games.
FanDuel: Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks ($5,700)
KR: My approach to the build tonight is really just letting you in on my favorite value plays. Whether I opt for a balanced roster or try to get Russ or LeBron, I love these cheaper plays and think they can all work out.
Parker is of that variety. You saw it in his last game, when the Greek Freak died a horrible death and he took advantage (30 minutes, 37 fantasy points). With Jabari slated to start against a bad Bulls team, he could be in for an even bigger outing tonight.
DraftKings: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves ($9,800)
TS: There are a bunch of centers I want to play tonight, but some of the others come with risks. Alex Len is a great price with Tyson Chandler out, but the game against Cleveland reeks of one that will go small. I always have interest in Jonas Valanciunas, especially against the Nets, but the Raptors seemingly hate to give him consistent minutes. It’s hard to pay nearly $7,000 for a guy that might play 19 freaking minutes.
So, I’m probably just spending all the way up for Karl-Anthony Towns. LeBron James has been god lately, but he’s now over $12,000 in a game that should be an absolute massacre. As such, I’m likely making Towns my preferred spend at his very affordable sub-$10k price point.
Towns sees a slight uptick in usage with Jimmy Butler off the floor, as he’s essentially the focal point of the offense. Andrew Wiggins thinks he should be the top dog, which occasionally keeps KAT’s shot attempts down. While that’s annoying, I still like the combination of upside and affordability that come with rostering Towns in this spot.
The Knicks are tanking, which means Enes Kanter has seen his role reduced. Kanter randomly played 31 minutes the last time out against the Heat, but I’m thinking that was more an aberration than anything. Kanter’s a strong rebounder, but I don’t expect Towns to see much of him tonight. He’ll be spending plenty of his tie beasting against the likes of Kyle O’Quinn and/or Isaiah Hicks.
You can also pivot down to DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert or Horford at this position, but Towns just makes too much sense. His floor against a poor defensive team like the Knicks is probably 50 fantasy points with upside for a whole lot more.
FanDuel: DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers ($8,300)
KR: Again, I’m not really showing my hand here as to which elite I want. That’s partially because I don’t know yet and also because I might fade both Russ and LeBron.
You can fill in the pieces as you see fit, but my favorite non-cheapy here is DJ, who gets a very beatable matchup with the Pacers. Indy has the leg up at home, but they rank 26th at stopping scoring inside on the year and just 23rd in opponent offensive rebounds per game.
Both of those stats aid Jordan, who has been a bit of a monster and is even coming off of a huge 50-point fantasy affair. I also love KAT and Joker here, but no center offers better value tonight than DJ.
DK thoughts: Starting things off with Bledsoe, Holiday, Jabari, Horford and Towns leaves you with $5,766 to spend on your last 3 roster spots. That obviously takes LeBron James (and his newfound guard eligibility) out of the picture, but I don’t think he’s necessary for cash games on this slate. I’m fine filling out the rest of my lineup with mid-range guys like Josh Jackson (injuries permitting), Dennis Schroder (tank permitting) or an underpriced Paul George.