• Welcome back to another Friday edition of my DFS plays. It is January 18 and we have seven games on tonight’s slate to focus on. Let’s ignore DFS for a brief minute and mention how tonight will be the return on DeMarcus Cousins. He is only expected to play in short bursts of four-to-five minutes, but nonetheless rejoice!

    We have a lot of fun games and this should be a great slate to watch. We have our studs to play in Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Karl-Anthony Towns and Kevin Durant. I’d play them in that order. I am slightly worried about the Warriors adjusting to Boogie’s return, but this game has an insane total that is hard to ignore – the points have to come from somewhere and any of their shooters could get hot at any time so that is where I am leaning.

    Point Guard

    Damian Lillard vs. Pelicans $8,600 – I like Lillard in this spot. There’s not much else to say other than it will be a high-scoring and fast-paced game. We are going to want some exposure and we could easily look towards the streaking Jusuf Nurkic, but we will see later on I have my eye on some other centers. Both are very much in play with guard being the weaker position in my opinion.

    Jrue Holiday vs. Blazers $8,000 – I have steered away from Holiday since a lot of these healthy bodies began returning for the Pelicans, but that may have cost me some money. Jrue has been producing at a similar clip to when Elfrid Payton and Nikola Mirotic were hurt. Over his last three games Holiday is averaging 47 DK points and he has already hung up 40 DK points on the Blazers earlier this season on a poor 5-of-14 shooting night.

    Jeff Teague vs. Spurs $6,100 – There is nothing sexy about playing Jeff Teague against the Spurs. The simple fact is that I do not love a lot of the guards in general and think we have a lot of value at the other positions, so I am generally spending up. Teague comes in at a middle of the road salary and has flashed some upside in this exact matchup earlier this season. In the two games that Teague has faced the Spurs he has averaged 27 minutes and 33 DK points per game. His minutes have been down after returning from an injury, but with Tyus Jones already ruled out Teague and Derrick Rose may be pressed more minutes if healthy enough. I’d limit him to tournaments, as he is just not fitting any sort of cash build I make.

    Shooting Guard

    Donovan Mitchell vs. Cavs $8,900 – Mitchell is priced fairly for his floor and potential upside. The matchup is spectacular and if this game stays intact should easily get there. The problem is as of Friday morning the Jazz are being favored by 15 points and some starters may not see the fourth quarter. Nonetheless we have some pieces on the Cavs’ side of the ball that we could pair with Mitchell if we want to play him. I will probably end up in other spots, but he is still worth the mention and will be in my player pool.

    Klay Thompson vs. Clippers $6,600- It is always tough when deciding which Warriors’ star we are going to play on any given night. It becomes even harder when we have players light Anthony Davis on the slate. Enter Klay Thompson, who almost always enters the night with lower ownership than his counterparts and a much cheaper salary. Klay gets hot in stretches and those are ones we want to take advantage of. I do not love a lot of the shooting guard options on the slate and this is a game that we want some exposure too. The 40 DK point average over his last five games make us feel a little more comfortable that a 25 DK point night isn’t coming. I’d rather play him with a Clipper or two than as a one-off. But if you play anyone from the Warriors you are likely playing a Clipper.

    Alec Burks vs. Jazz $4,800 – Burks has a chance at a little revenge on tonight’s slate. He’s averaging 29.2 DK points over his last five games and doing so in only 28 minutes per game. That is about one point per minute and even if this game gets out of hand I could see Burks playing against his former team in the fourth quarter

    Small Forward

    DeMar Derozan vs. Timberwolves $7,800 – When I target the Spurs I generally look towards DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Even though bigs tend to have their way with Karl-Anthony Towns on defense I am leaning DeRozan. Aldridge is still very much in play – I just think DeRozan is too cheap for his type of upside and the only thing that would scare me off playing him in this matchup is Robert Covington, but he’s still ruled out. These teams have faced off three times already this season and in two of those games Robert Covington played for the Timberwolves. In those two games DeRozan averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds. In the one game where Covington was not on the Timberwolves he dropped 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. I am thinking Covington’s defense has played a large part in DeRozan’s struggles against the Timberwolves.

    Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Pelicans $5,300 – Playing Aminu is always a risky proposition and I generally only look to him in certain spot or on shorter slates. I think this is one of those spots where he seems slightly more reliable. The Pelicans have a fully healthy team once again and that means they have plenty of size to toy around with. The Blazers are going to need all the size they have tonight and Aminu figures to be the best person on defense to chase around Nikola Mirotic. When these teams played earlier in the season Aminu scored 17 points while grabbing 11 rebounds in 33 minutes. Over his last five games he is averaging 29.4 minutes and 27.3 DK points in that span. This is a game we are going to want to target and Aminu makes for a solid game-stack piece or one-off.

    Omri Casspi vs. Celtics $3,700 – This is a pretty early look, but as of now Casspi feels like one of our cheap value options who may get overlooked. In the two games that Kyle Anderson has been hurt we’ve seen Casspi take advantage and play 25 and 36 minutes. Both games got out of hand and this one could easily as well. His floor feels comfortable around 24 minutes and there is always the chance that he sees more than 30 if the game becomes a blowout. We have some other similarly priced value plays in similar situations that we will get to later as well. Justin Holiday is a similarly priced pivot, but I just can’t trust his minutes and I feel Casspi is slightly safer.

    Power Forward

    Montrezl Harrell vs. Warriors $7,100 – I do not know where I am at with this game just yet. It has a massive total and also yields the impending return of DeMarcus Cousins. The Clippers will see a pace boost in this game and the return of Boogie means they will need a little more size. Both of these bode well for Harrell. He is a smashing point per minute player it is just targeting the spots where we know he will get the minutes. Well, Gortat and Boban can’t run with this Warriors team and I think that only leaves one person left.

    Aaron Gordon vs. Nets $6,400 – I am in love with another player on the Magic tonight, but when constructing lineups I can’t seem to get of off Gordon. This is a game where attacking the Nets frontcourt makes a ton of sense and Gordon feels slightly underpriced given the matchup. Someone is going to shred this Nets frontcourt and it feels hard to avoid both Gordon and our later play unless you are game stacking.

    Nikola Mirotic vs. Blazers $5,900 – Niko looks back! He looked spry in his 29 minutes played against the Warriors the other night and that led to 46.75 DK points. The pace will not be as good for the Pelicans, but we have already seen Mirotic destroy the Blazers earlier this season when he dropped 46.3 DK points in 35.5 minutes. I am not expecting him to get that many minutes again, but he is underpriced for the type of upside he possesses in a game we want some exposure to.

    Center

    Nikola Vucevic vs. Nets $9,400 – As if we didn’t see this one coming. The other Magic player is of course Vucevic as he draws a dream matchup on paper. The Nets have been one of the league’s worst rebounding teams the season and Vucevic is one of the league’s best rebounders. The price is high, but we’ve seen him pay that off countless times this season in worse matchups. The upside is huge in this one, but so will be the ownership.

    Rudy Gobert vs. Cavs $8,800 – As of early Friday morning this game currently has the Jazz favored by 15 points. This game obviously contains massive blowout risk and it is mainly because the Cavs will have a tough time scoring. They will be without both of their main big men in Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr., but even if those guys were playing this would still be a smash Gobert spot. If we get all four quarters out of him this could be another 20-20 game. So correlate your lineups properly and if you are playing either Mitchell or Gobert than run it back with a couple of Cavs players. If everything goes right hopefully your Cavs shoot well and the game stays close, giving Gobert his full potential. You could play him as a one-off with the hopes that he crushes within three quarters and he very well could do that.

    Ante Zizic vs. Jazz $3,700 – Behold the chalk value spot. Well maybe it won’t be chalk given the matchup and inherent blowout risk involved, and the fact that the Cavs are on the front end of a back-to-back. Zizic will draw what is possibly the toughest defensive matchup in the NBA, but the guy is a great point per minute producer and the Cavs are lacking healthy bodies. He’s so cheap that we really don’t need much and if by some miracle chance he stays out of foul trouble and this game stays close he has tremendous slate-breaking upside. *Jaron Blossomgame is in play as well as the Cavs have very few healthy frontcourt bodies and Blossomgame is only $3,300 on DK and he played 29 minutes in the Cavs last game. He is also likely to play if the game gets out of hand as well.

    Well, I hope I covered just about everything and gave you something you could take away from this. If you have any questions or comments you could fin me on Twitter @MIkeApotria.

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