• 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

    Chris Paul (PG) – Los Angeles Clippers $8,800

     

    CP3 draws arguably the best PG matchup in the league vs. the Nuggets.  Denver ranks dead last in defensive efficiency vs. point guards, 8th in pace, and 29th in defensive rating.   Chris Paul is one of the greatest pick and roll point guards of all time, and though he will be without his usual partners of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, he is facing the 2nd worst team at defending the pick and roll ball handler.  With the usage bump he should see with Blake sitting out, he will no doubt be popular as a cash game building block.

     

    Carmelo Anthony (SF/PF) – New York Knicks $8,100

     

    No matchup boosts fantasy scoring more than the Brooklyn Nets.  Nets are the fastest paced team not only this season, but also the past 10 seasons.   They also rank 28th in defensive efficiency, 30th in defensive efficiency vs. small forwards, and are below average at defending isolations.  Kristaps Porzingis will miss the game with a thigh injury, solidifying Carmelo’s usage.  Everything lines up for a huge game from Melo.

     

    Stephen Curry (PG) – Golden State Warriors $9,500

     

    The 2-time MVP is the most logical pivot off of Chris Paul in GPPs.  The Warriors have been making it a point to turn Steph back into his old MVP self, and this might just be the game it can happen.  The Magic do not represent the type of smash matchup Carmelo and Chris Paul are facing but Steph has found success against Orlando in the past.  Last season he had two huge games over 70 fantasy points in the season series vs. the Magic.  Steph’s upside with KD still sidelined is immense.  We know what he is capable of, and if he returns to last year’s form, this will be the cheapest price we see Steph at until KD returns.

     

    Midrange

    Gordon Hayward (SF) – Utah Jazz $6,900

     

    Gordon Hayward comes in at a very enticing bargain.  Coming off of a 47 dk point game, he faces a Cavs team whose defense has became a dumpster fire as of late.  While LeBron James’ teams in the past have represented tough matchups for opposing small forwards, this has not been the case this year.  Cleveland has been middle of the pack vs. small forwards this year and have given up their fair share of big games to the position.  At a $900 discount on DK compared to fanduel, I will get my Hayward exposure mostly in DK cash games.

     

    Rudy Gobert (C) – Utah Jazz $6,800

     

    Rudy Gobert comes in as our 2nd under-priced Jazz player.  Gobert has averaged 37 DK points per game for the season, well past a 5x value threshold for the salary.  Even better, this is only in 33.4 minutes per game.  Recently he has been seeing 36 minutes a game as the Jazz try to lock up home court advantage in the first round.  Until they raise his price, he will be a great cash game play in all but the very worst matchups.  His matchup tonight is better than it first appears, as Cleveland has been one of the worst rebounding teams in the league while Kevin Love has been out.  Though LeBron can represent foul trouble risk, I expect an extremely high floor for the $6800 price tag in a competitive game.

     

    Derrick Rose– Chicago Bulls $6,700

     

    I love playing Derrick Rose in GPPs whenever he pops.  He is rarely a player you have to worry about becoming too popular.  His game log does not inspire much confidence, and he almost never represents a must-have in cash.  He draws the dream matchup vs. the Nets, a matchup that turns players much worse than Rose into viable cash plays.  Brooklyn rankes 27th in defensive efficency vs. point guards.  If he goes a little overlooked with the strong options at PG, he could make for an elite tournament play.

     

    Cheapies

    Marreese Speights (PF/C) – Los Angeles Clippers $3,300

     

    With both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan sitting out this matchup with Denver, Marreese Speights is a smash play in all formats.  Speights is an extremely efficient fantasy player with a Massive 1.11 fantasy point per minute output.  To put that in context, Speights’ per minute production is on par with Draymond Green, Carmelo Anthony and Kyle Lowry, players on this slate who cost over twice as much as Mo Buckets.  If you need another reason to play him, he draws a matchup with the Nuggets.  Denver is 8th in pace, and 2nd-to-last in defensive rating.  Speights has a great chance to see 30 minutes or more, and if he does, he will be arguably the best value play of the season thus far.  I will have him 100 percent.

     

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (PF) – Brooklyn Nets $4,000

     

    More of a GPP play, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson represents perhaps the best way to get exposure to the Brooklyn side in this Juicy Knicks-Nets matchup outside of Brook Lopez.  He should be low owned.  His minutes are not stable enough for cash on a slate that should be rich with great value plays, but facing a match up with Carmelo might encourage Kenny Atkinson to give RHJ a little extra run.  If he can get the minutes, he has a very high ceiling in what could easily turn into the highest scoring game of the night.

     

    Brandon Bass (PF) – Los Angeles Clippers $3,000

     

    No doubt today will be Marreese Speights’ chalk night by the time lock rolls around.  Brandon Bass might go overlooked as a result.  A decent fantasy scorer himself, he should be a pretty safe bet to hit value tonight.  The game is very likely to play more on the small side, so I don’t see much of a path to him seeing huge minutes.  I like Bass more as a cash game punt than a GPP play because of the lack of huge minutes, but if he ends up getting very low ownership, he could make sense as a possible pivot off of Marreese Speights for those crazy enough to try to fade Speights.  Because both players are so cheap, it is perfectly fine to play both in the same lineup, a path I favor over fading Speights.

Fantasy News

  • Jayson Tatum
    SF, Boston Celtics

    Jayson Tatum put it all together as the new top dog in Boston, posting top-20/12 value (8/9-cat) in an outstanding season.

    A reshuffled roster led to a much clearer pecking order, and Tatum thrived as the primary option. There was a two-month stretch towards the end of the year where he was a comfortable top-10 option. The third-year forward put up career-bests all over the board, including 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks and 2.8 3-pointers. Tatum added 3.5 minutes to his nightly average this season but saw an increase of nearly six shots per game as the main beneficiary of Kyrie Irving's departure. While Tatum's percentages actually dipped (from .450 to .448 FG% and .855 to .806 FT%), the volume gains were too great to be dragged down. As Tatum continues to improve, he should be in the group of players that gets selected around the first round turn in fantasy drafts.

  • Jaylen Brown
    SG, Boston Celtics

    Jaylen Brown finished the fantasy regular season as a top-55/70 player (8/9-cat), blossoming with a new-look Celtics roster.

    With all of the changes Boston went through last summer, Brown was empowered to carry a larger share of the load and responded in a big way. He averaged 20.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks and 2.1 3-pointers while shooting .490 from the field and .736 from the line — all career-highs besides blocks. Brown took full advantage of an increase in nearly eight minutes per contest and an additional five shots, becoming a vital two-way part both on the court and in the box score. Brown made incremental improvements across the board, and the volume numbers carried his rise in the rankings, but don't sleep on his improved efficiency — particularly at the free throw line, where he had been under 66 percent in each of the previous two seasons. That could be the difference between a top-60 and a top-90 player moving forward, but Brown's new prominent role should secure him at least middle-round value for years to come.

  • Daniel Theis
    PF, Boston Celtics

    Daniel Theis emerged as a key contributor for the Celtics this season, finishing with top-110/80 value (8/9-cat) thanks to averages of 9.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.3 blocks and 0.4 3-pointers per contest.

    An injury to Enes Kanter opened the door and Theis burst right through, never looking back. Theis also made 57 starts in 58 games this year after making just five starts combined over his first two campaigns. He set career-highs across the board, including a .565 mark from the field despite increased volume. A heady defender and versatile offensive threat, Theis was the missing piece at center for Boston between his rim protection and modest floor-spacing ability. Despite a handful of absences, Theis was even better by total value standards with top-90/75 rankings. He rarely wows you, but tends to check multiple boxes on any given nights and should remain a nice depth piece for fantasy purposes moving forward. With extended stretches as a top-75 player, there may still be some untapped upside if Theis can get more than the 23.8 mpg he received this season.

  • Jonathan Isaac
    PF, Orlando Magic

    Although Jonathan Isaac (knee) is at Disney World with the rest of the Magic, he is still rehabbing his injury and GM Jeff Weltman splashed some cold water on the idea that he might play during the restart.

    "He's at the stage where he can do a little light court stuff, but that's about it," Weltman said. Isaac was putting together a huge fantasy season and delivering on the high expectations that the Magic have for him before a devastating knee injury took him out of action on January 1. While Orlando is a safe bet for a playoff spot, they will likely err on the side of caution when it comes to Isaac's status. He's too important to the organization's future to bring back for a playoff series against one of the league's elite teams, especially after an eight-month layoff. Keep an eye out for more Isaac updates but don't count on his availability if you'll be playing fantasy games when the NBA starts again.

    Source: Josh Robbins on Twitter

  • Robert Williams III
    C-F, Boston Celtics

    Robert Williams had a productive second season in the NBA despite a 37-game absence due to a hip bone edema, finishing with top-195/175 per-game value in 8/9-cat formats.

    Williams was actually up close to the top-150 before he returned from his injury to a more limited role behind a resurgent Enes Kanter and a breakout campaign from Daniel Theis. The Time Lord needed just 14.0 mpg to come away with 1.2 blocks and 0.9 steals per contest, while also shooting a sterling .677 from the floor (albeit on low volume). It's clear that Williams already boasts block specialist appeal and if the Celtics reshuffle the frontcourt this offseason then he may make for a nice late-round flier type next year.

  • Grant Williams
    PF, Boston Celtics

    Grant Williams' first fantasy season ended with averages of 3.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.3 3-pointers in 15.5 mpg.

    That was good for top-340 value on a per-game basis, and while Williams is not an important offensive cog for the Celtics it's clear that he has all the makings of a glue guy for Brad Stevens and fantasy GMs alike. Williams is the sort of player who does a lot of little things well and can rely on above-average basketball IQ. Boston's depth will be a limiting factor but there's a lot to like about this first viewing of Williams' stat set. He's on the deep-league radar next season and could surprise if he carves out a larger role.

  • Semi Ojeleye
    PF, Boston Celtics

    Semi Ojeleye was only a modest contributor to the Celtics this season, but he did set a pair of career-highs with marks of 89.3% at the free throw line and 36.7% from 3-point range.

    Ojeleye only averaged 14.6 minutes per contest, but he remains a trusted defensive option for Brad Stevens even if his offensive game is extremely limited. The fact that he was able to hit his freebies, even at extremely low volume, so efficiently bodes well considering he was around 61% in each of his first two campaigns. Ojeleye ended the fantasy season with top-400/380 value in 8/9-cat leagues and is not a recommended option moving forward.

  • Markelle Fultz
    PG, Orlando Magic

    An unnamed Magic player has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not with the team at Disney World.

    Additionally, Markelle Fultz is not with the team due to a personal matter, while Al-Farouq Aminu remains away to continue rehabbing his knee. Seven of the 22 teams participating in the Orlando restart had to shut down their practice facilities due to COVID-19 positive personnel, and it seems like the league would've had an eighth had the Magic not already left for the "bubble."

    Source: Tim Reynolds on Twitter

  • Carsen Edwards
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Carsen Edwards made 35 appearances in his rookie season, finishing as a top-430 player in fantasy.

    Edwards was always in tough to see substantial value this season given Boston's strong depth in the backcourt. The team remains high on his future but it's unlikely that he comes into any sort of fantasy appeal barring major changes this offseason. The highlight of his season was an 18-point outburst against the Wizards way back in November.

  • Tacko Fall
    C, Boston Celtics

    Tacko Fall wrapped up his first fantasy season outside the top-425, averaging 4.0 minutes in six appearances.

    Fall is already The People's Champion, but is a long ways off from getting consistent minutes. His physical attributes make him fun to try and project for fantasy purposes — he put up 0.3 blocks in his extremely limited minutes — but Fall is a big developmental project and should only be on the radar in deep, deep dynasty formats.