James Harden - SG - $12,500
HOU vs BOS
Once again, the top of this slate is loaded with elite talent, elite talent that’s generally reliable at a high-level. It’s tough to go wrong with any of the top-four guys, but two have a tough match-up (on-paper), so it really comes down to Harden and LeBron James. While James is likely to hit 5x value, I like Harden’s upside better for a couple intangible reasons. The first is, this is the ABC spotlight game and all eyes will be on this matchup. If you think the players don’t think about that, you are nuts. More importantly though, if you remember the first time these teams played, the Rockets had the game in hand only to blow a late lead thanks to a couple bizarre offensive foul calls on Harden. Harden will no doubt remember that, and he’ll do everything possible to avoid that situation again. Boston was able to hold Harden to 7-27 from the field in the first game, but he still managed to rack-up nearly 50 Fanball points. Expect a better shooting night tonight and something in the 60-point range.
Russell Westbrook - PG - $12,800
OKC @ POR
When we changed the format of the daily preview, I thought it would be pretty easy to find a high-dollar fade each day, but it’s actually proven much harder than I anticipated. I’m obviously not fond of fading Westbrook, especially off a 78.50 Fanball point effort last night, but it’s tough to ignore the numbers here. The numbers I speak of are Portland’s defensive ranking against the PG position this season, which is tops in the league. Sure, Westbrook is generally matchup proof, but this matchup could test that as the Thunder are on the backside of a back to back and Portland is one of the best all around defensive teams in the league. Another factor to consider is Westbrook’s price, which is the highest on the board and nearly too high for him to reach the 5x level. Yes, he got there last night, but he failed to reach the 5x level in three of his previous four games.
Pau Gasol - C - $6,400
SAS vs LAL
Kawhi Leonard has been out for a while, which shifted the scoring burden to LaMarcus Aldridge, but with Aldridge now out, someone will have to pick up the slack. Gasol missed the Spurs last game and he’s still questionable for this game, but he has so much upside that I felt it necessary to put him here just in case he plays. One worry about Gasol is his minutes, but he hasn’t played since 2/25, so if his knee is good enough, I have to imagine he’ll get as many minutes as he can handle. The past two times he was on the floor for at least 30 minutes, Gasol posted scores of 39.50 and 50.75. The Spurs aren’t generally a great target for fantasy purposes, but with so much talent on the sideline, some opportunities have arisen.
Dejounte Murray - PG - $6,400
SAS vs LAL
While Gasol is a guy who depends on others being out to provide fantasy value, Murray needs no such help. Murray has taken control of the starting PG spot for the Spurs and he’s not about to let go anytime soon. Just like Gasol, the 30-minute mark seems to be the magic number for Murray. Murray has topped 30 minutes in his past two games and in those games he’s posted Fanball scores of 40.75 and 45.75 points. I’ve failed to mention this yet, but the reason that multiple Spurs are in-play here is because of the matchup against the Lakers. The Lakers rank 17th in the league against the PG position this season.
Andrew Harrison - PG - $5,900
MEM @ ORL
Harrison missed the game last night with a wrist injury, but news didn’t break until a couple hours before game time, so he must have been close to playing. With that in mind, I’m placing him here with the expectation that he’ll play tonight. If he does, he’s in for a big night as Marc Gasol has already been scratched. Harrison has started many games this season while Tyreke Evans was out, but recently, he’s really upped his game. Harrison has scored 31 or more Fanball points in four of his past five games and he topped 40 Fanball points in his most recent outing. The matchup works as well as the Magic rank 21st in the league against the PG position.
Mid Level Fade
Ricky Rubio - PG - $7,200
UTA @ SAC
Rubio is slowly getting back to form after the injury that kept him out for a few games, but this spot is troublesome for me. It has nothing to so with the defense he’s facing as the Kings aren’t very good on the defensive side of the ball, but just like James Harden has the intangibles in his favor, that’s not the case for Rubio. First and foremost, the Jazz are coming off an intense game last night against the Wolves and Rubio in particular likely spent a lot of mental energy against his former team. This looks like a dead spot to me, where the Jazz come out flat. While Rubio is locked-in to the starting PG position, there have been times this year where he’s been stuck on the bench after a slow start and that could easily happen again tonight.
Low Level Values
Jarell Martin - PF - $4,000
MEM @ ORL
It’s a strange night in that a lot of value resides among the players on the Spurs and the Grizzlies, which is not normal. Injuries though can create value where there isn’t any and in the case of Martin, it can enhance the value that’s already there. Martin has played well for the better part of the past 30 days and with Marc Gasol out tonight, Martin’s minutes should be locked-in. Jamychal Green will likely be back tonight after missing the game last night, but someone has to pick up Gasol’s minutes and Martin is a good candidate for that. Martin isn’t the most consistent guy out there, but he’s flashed nice upside the past two games by posting Fanball scores of 28.25 and 35 points.
D.J. Augustin - PG - $5,100
ORL vs MEM
It’s a strange dynamic between a PG and a center in that sometimes a specific PG will struggle without a good big man on the court. That could explain Augustin’s performance over the past month as he didn’t fare all that well filling in for Elfrid Payton until Nikola Vucevic returned to the lineup. Over his past three games, Augustin is averaging over 31 Fanball points per game and he’s coming off a nearly 40-point effort last night against the Pistons. The matchup is not great as Memphis is 4th in the league against opposing PGs, but the Grizzlies are so scattered right now with injuries, it’s hard to know exactly how good they are on defense in their current form.
Greg Vara (@gregvara) is an employee of SportsHub Technologies, Fanball’s parent company. As such, he is ineligible to compete in public Fanball contests though he may play in private, Fanball-sponsored contests similar to those contests he offers advice on. Any advice or strategies provided by Aaron or other SportsHub employees represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Technologies and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups.