• Could this be the end for James Harden’s MVP hopes? Will one game missed sway the votes heavily in Russell Westbrook’s favor? I imagine this is what’s going through Harden’s head right now but aside from my thoughts about his thoughts we have a very interesting slate to dissect today. Let’s dive into my FanDuel cash lineup for Saturday, shall we?

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    Point Guard

    Goran Dragic: $7,800

    The crafty Slovenian has an incredible matchup with the undersized and offensive-minded Jamal Murray tonight and should be able to pick apart the susceptible Denver defense. In fact, I love all Heat players (for the most part) for cash games against Denver, but Dragic has incredible appeal considering the must-win situation the Heat find themselves in. Dragic will play close to 40 minutes tonight and should have a big hand in a potential Heat win.

    Dennis Schroder: $7,000

    Recommending a point guard against Brooklyn? Surprising right? Not so much. It’s safe to say Schroder will be incredibly high owned in all formats tonight but it might be one of those cases where not playing him would be detrimental. He has extra appeal if Milsap remains out, but in the case he does suit up you can consider fading him for someone like Rajon Rondo who is around the same price or Jeremy Lin.

    Shooting Guard

    Eric Gordon: $4,600

    We find ourselves in a position we have not experienced yet this season: a  possible Harden-less Rockets. So after thinking long and hard about who would step up in his absence, I — and I’m sure just about everyone else — arrived at Gordon. He is bound to be the number one option alongside Lou Williams on offense and they have a fantastic matchup with the young and fast Suns. Be super confident deploying Gordon at such an affordable price.

    Lou Williams: $4,600

    Was this obvious? It’s funny how these guys are the same price and both have an incredible opportunity to put up big numbers tonight so I couldn’t just pick one. Both Rockets should have the ball in their hands for the majority of the game and that obviously correlates to big stat lines. These picks are of course reliant on Harden sitting so if we see him suit up definitely consider guys like DeMar DeRozan and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball Premium Subscribers get access to even more info, articles, live chats, tools and more.  Subscribers to our Hoop Ball Fantasy Pro Service get in-depth analysis on a one-on-one basis from our pros.  Check it out!

    Small Forward

    Jimmy Butler: $9,900

    Like the Heat, the Bulls are fighting for a playoff spot and therefore will be using guys like Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler as much as humanly possible tonight. On top of a high usage rate, he has a very nice matchup with the defensively sub-par Pelicans and should get to the line quite a bit. His price isn’t outrageous and is a safe pick for cash games.

    T.J. Warren: $6,600

    The Rockets are without their best wing defender in Trevor Ariza tonight and they will likely either stick the undersized Eric Gordon or the defensively weak (and banged up) James Harden on Warren. On top of a nice matchup, Warren has exceeded salary based expectations in almost all of his recent games and should excel in this fast paced affair in Phoenix.

    *Note: Consider Sam Dekker as punt play.

    Power Forward

    James Johnson: $6,300

    I’m not crazy about any of the pricey guys at this position tonight and I think sticking around mid- to low-end prices is the way to go tonight. Johnson’s production has been up and down as of late, but with such a nice matchup where he’ll be able to get out and run I can’t see the Wake Forrest product disappointing tonight. His price is attractive and should play big minutes in a must-win game.

    Nikola Mirotic: $5,500

    Definitely another high ownership guy tonight but with good reason. It’s always a good idea around this time to pick guys on teams who are making a final push for a postseason spot and with Mirotic’s increased role on offensive he’s as obvious of a pick as they come. His price has failed to rise to where it should be and you’re going to want to play him before that inevitably happens.

    *Note: Consider Kenneth Faried if given the start.

    Center

    Dwight Howard: $7,600

    It’s no secret that the Superman has been on a tear lately without Milsap and, like Dennis Schroder, has an incredible matchup with the Nets tonight. The Eastern standings are very close near the bottom and the Hawks can’t afford to give up an easy one to the flimsy Nets. Assuming he can avoid foul trouble, Howard has a very safe floor and at cheap price given his production and should be a mainstay in your cash lineup.

    *Note:  Consider DeMarcus Cousins (more suited for tournaments) and Hassan Whiteside (cash).

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    GOOD LUCK!

     

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