• Every Thursday Will Allen highlights some of the best core plays at each price tier for both Cash Games and GPPs.  Feel free to reach out to Will on Twitter at @MooseBeLoose9 if you have any questions.

    Studs

    James Harden (PG/SG) – Houston Rockets $12,400

    James Harden has reached 63 or more DraftKings points in each of his last four matchups with the Trail Blazers.  With Harden chasing the MVP award and a likely lucrative incentive from Adidas to go get it, we would not expect today to be any different.

    Harden loves to get to the free throw line and faces a Portland team that gives up the third most free throws per game in the league.  Portland is also below average at defending the pick and roll.  He is likely to draw a defensive assignment from Moe Harkless, leaving one of either Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum with a mismatch against a much taller player that they’ll have a tough time closing out on when Harden hits them for assists.  Harden represents the safest floor along with the largest ceiling on the slate.

    Karl-Anthony Towns (PF/C) – Minnesota Timberwolves $10,900

    When we look at a slate and see a KAT has a date with the Lakers all we can think is “oh baby!”  The Lakers have nobody on their roster who can defend a tall, fast, and floor spacing center like KAT.  Towns has been incredible in fantasy since the all star break and is, in my opinion, making a strong case as the best center in the league right now.

    The Timberwolves carry a healthy 115.5 Vegas team total which, compared to their 105 average points per game for the season, is the largest scoring increase on the slate.   The Lakers’ sixth ranked pace and 30th ranked defensive efficiency are the root of this projected scoring boost.  While I prefer the floor and ceiling Harden provides, Towns does represent an elite way to pay up.

    Midrange

    Ish Smith (PG) – Detroit Pistons $6,100

    With Reggie Jackson likely to rest or come off the bench, that leaves Ish to start with our favorite matchup in the league – Brooklyn.  If you have read our Thursday picks article in past weeks, you already know how much we salivate at the thought of facing the Nets.  Brooklyn is the highest paced team in decades while also being a bottom tier defense and below average in defensive efficiency against every position.  We love any Detroit player who is seeing significant minutes in this matchup.  Ish stands out as the safest of the Pistons.

    Andrew Wiggins (SF) – Minnesota Timberwolves $7,100

    Wiggins has smashed in his recent matchups with the Lakers, averaging over 50 DraftKings points a game against their soft defense.  Along with their fast pace and poor defensive efficiency, the Lakers also give up the second most points in transition and bottom 10 defensive efficiency vs wing players.  The defense has only gotten worse since Lakers fired up the Tank.  On a slate where we really want to pay for James Harden, Wiggins presents an cheaper route to get exposure to the LA defense than Towns.

    Cheapies

    Kris Dunn (PG) – Minnesota Timberwolves $3,900

    Early in the day, we can already begin to start looking at Kris Dunn.  Dunn has had a relatively disappointing rookie season for the NCAA fans who thought he could replace Ricky Rubio this year.  He has been picking it up as of late, however, with fantasy scores of 25.9, 27.8, and 32.9 in his last three.   At a still cheap $3,900 price tag, this is production worth noting.  Dunn, a player whose upside is very dependent on steals, faces a Lakers offense which gives up the 4th most steals in the league at 8.6 per game.  With a 10.5 spread, Dunn can see some extra run should the game turn into a blowout.

    Jamal Crawford (SG) – Los Angeles Clippers $3,900

    With Austin Rivers out for their matchup vs the Suns, Crawford is line for some extra run at backup shooting guard along with increased ball handling duties.   The Suns team ranks 5th in pace and 28th in defense creating a great game environment for Crawford to thrive in.  Crawford is a little scoring dependent, but in a game that should see plenty of scoring, Crawford makes for a fine play in all formats.

Fantasy News

  • Yante Maten
    PF, Miami Heat

    The Celtics are signing F Yante Maten to an Exhibit 10 contract on Tuesday.

    Maten had a strong season with the Skyforce in the G-League last year averaging 23.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He was also productive in Summer League action with the Heat this summer.

    Source: Adam Himmelsbach on Twitter

  • Paul Millsap
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are all candidates for "load management" next season, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

    This is pure speculation by Kosmider, but this does hold some weight after the Nuggets' playoff run last season and the league-wide popularity of resting players. Millsap would seem to be at the most significant risk to get rested due to his age and quality of depth behind him. Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee would be the biggest beneficiaries should Jokic or Millsap miss time.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Utah Jazz

    Thabo Sefolosha is among the attendees at Rockets minicamp in Las Vegas with a host of other notable free agents this week.

    Sefolosha will be joined by the likes of Nick Young, Luc Mbah a Moute, Raymond Felton, Terrence Jones and Corey Brewer. The odds of someone making the Rockets' roster increased with Iman Shumpert declining an offer sheet from the team.

    Source: Kelly Iko on Twitter

  • Iman Shumpert
    SG, Free Agent

    Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Iman Shumpert has decided to decline the contract offer from the Rockets and will not attend team minicamp in Las Vegas this week.

    It'll be back to the drawing board for Shumpert. It's unsure exactly where he'll end up now, or if he and the Rockets will come to a new agreement in the future. Shump can get steals and threes, but otherwise isn't much of a fantasy asset, unless he finds himself in an ideal situation.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    After an extraordinary summer of 2019, which saw a cavalcade of stars change teams, executives around the league expect that this year’s transaction wires will be dominated by the trade market.

    “We’ve been getting calls all summer,” one general manager said. “I think if you look at the market, there is going to be a very robust trade market this winter for a few reasons.” The big driver figures to be the open, empty crater that the 2020 free-agent class has become. Teams hoping to make significant changes in their direction won’t have free agency to lean on and trades will be the only way to go. If you enjoyed the twist and turns that came with the very busy NBA free-agency period this summer, then buckle up as the trade market means more could be on the way this season.

    Source: Sean Deveney on Twitter

  • Michael Beasley
    PF, Free Agent

    The Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association are trying to bring Michael Beasley back to China.

    Beasley agreed to terms with the Pistons last month but he never officially signed with them as the team opted to go with Joe Johnson instead. Beasley has already played in China with Shanghai, Shandong and last year with Guangdong averaging 22.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists.

    Source: Sportando

  • Justin Simon
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Former St. John’s guard Justin Simon has signed an Exhibit-10 contract with the Bulls.

    Simon is 6’5” and went undrafted out of St. John’s, where he averaged 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, while also being named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. The Bulls currently have 14 players on guaranteed contracts with guard Shaquille Harrison all but locked in to the 15th and final one, so that means Simon is likely headed to the Windy City Bulls of the G League.

    Source: Adam Zagora on Twitter

  • Mychal Mulder
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have announced the signing of guard Mychal Mulder.

    Mulder played last season with the Windy City Bulls of the G-League and averaged 8.8 points in Summer League this year. He has good range but is unlikely to contribute much at the NBA level in 2019-20.

    Source: Miami Heat

  • Vincent Poirier
    C, Boston Celtics

    Nicolas Batum praised the play of Celtics center Vincent Poirier at the FIBA World Cup.

    According to Batum, Poirier "is a center that can block shots and control the paint." A native of France, Poirier has performed well over six seasons in Europe. Nevertheless, he should only be a depth option for the Celtics with Enes Kanter starting.

    Source: NBC Sports Boston

  • Zach LaVine
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Zach LaVine has been fine tuning his playmaking skills in the offseason, according to an interview with FanSided.

    LaVine enjoyed the best field goal percentage of his career for the Bulls last season. He also scored a career best 23.7 points per game. However, LaVine averaged 3.4 turnovers and his fantasy value will increase if he can take better care of the ball.

    Source: FanSided