Running each Wednesday and Friday for the next five weeks, the FanDuel Partners Basketball Championship (FPBC) is a daily fantasy sports (DFS) contest in which RotoWire and eight other sites in the fantasy industry will compete to determine who boasts the preeminent fantasy basketball tools. In the initial contest Wednesday, RotoWire finished a modest seventh with 268.7 FanDuel points (FDP) using the following lineup:
The current standings can be found here, but ultimately the winner will be decided by the highest aggregate total from the contests during the five-week period. In the course of the competition, the two lowest contest scores for each partner site will be nixed to arrive at a final tally.
For the second leg of the journey, I’ll again explore RotoWire’s NBA Lineup Optimizer in order to learn if our projections and FanDuel’s salaries parse out anything of interest.
Projected No. 1 in terms of FDP on RotoWire’s Value Report, Chris Paul’s presence is noteworthy as he faces a lackadaisical defender in Rajon Rondo. However, Paul hasn’t lit up the former Celtic in three matchups this season, posting 42.5, 37.7, and 28.3 FDP. Each affair was tightly contested, but foul trouble in the most recent showdown on Jan. 16 hindered his output in the end. Additionally, he’s averaged just 38.3 FDP per 36 minutes versus the Kings in 2015-16, which isn’t enough to warrant a roster spot from one of Friday’s most pricy players.
Speaking of expensive, the All-Star on the other side, DeMarcus Cousins, has prospered against the Clippers, as he has most opponents in the current campaign. To date, he’s accrued 46.1, 25.3, and 42.6 FDP in those games, with the middle outing impacted by a strained Achilles that forced him from the contest. Considering his output versus LAC has equated to 49.4 FDP per 36, he’ll be eager to bounce back from Wednesday’s 36-FDP showing against the Spurs, especially with another premier clash with DeAndre Jordan on the docket.
Due to the decisions made above, I’m locking Cousins into the lineup, while at the same time excluding Paul:
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While the Clippers-Kings slugfest possesses the top over/under in Friday’s slate, the Grizzlies and Lakers are set to take part in one of the evening’s highest-scoring affairs as well. Zach Randolph has yet to leave the optimal lineup, and after contributing 30.3 FDP against the Lakers on Wednesday, he’ll get another crack to record 30-plus for the sixth time in nine games this month. Rejoining Z-Bo on the optimizer is Mike Conley, who busted out for his most productive performance (43.2 FDP) in the last 10 games Wednesday. RotoWire’s NBA Defense vs. Position Stats tool reveals that the Lakers have allowed the most FDP to point guards this season, further supporting Conley’s DFS cause.
As for the opposition, Jordan Clarkson has provided a reliable, mid-tier option for most of the month, notching at least 30 FDP in five of the past seven games. Included in that run was 37.7 FDP on the backs of 28 points, six rebounds, and three assists versus two turnovers in 41 minutes during Wednesday’s 128-119 loss in Memphis. The ever-fickle Byron Scott could always get in the way, but Clarkson has consistently forged well past the 30-minute threshold for some time now, doing so in eight of the last nine contests.
With four spots locked down, here’s the lineup in its current state:
Upon exploring the path to this point in the process, two more names continue to stick out: Paul George and J.J. Redick. On fire all season, George has kept up the pace since the break, averaging 25.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.0 three-pointers, and 1.3 steals in 37 minutes. Equivalent to 42.9 FDP, he’s a solid bet to surpass 40 against a Hornets defense that has conceded 41 FDP per game to the position over the past five contests, or sixth-most yielding in the NBA during that span.
Turning back to the highest over/under – Clippers at Kings – Redick has fared well in two of three matchups in 2015-16 (30.6 and 28 FDP) and suboptimally in the other (15 FDP). He failed to reach 20 FDP in the first two games following the break, but has since knocked down 10 of 18 three-pointers in two tilts this week while accruing 27.9 FDP per contest. With two of the top 13 teams in terms of pace facing off, Redick has a great shot to return at least five times his value ($4,900) yet again.
Because three slots and $16,000 are free, a dart will likely have to be thrown at some point, but I’ll avoid going down that path until the end. Instead, the search is on for another potential 30-FDP play. Aaron Gordon has been as steady as they come over the past seven games, achieving that feat on each occasion and only falling short of double-digit rebounds in Thursday’s loss to the Warriors. With top-notch rebounding rates across the board – 25th on offense, 24th on the defensive end, and 23rd overall among players that have logged at least 1,200 minutes this season – he could return to form against a Knicks squad that ranks 20th in defensive rebounding rate (75.5 percent).
The delicate process of doling out $9,800 has presented itself, but luckily some matchups are meant to be exploited. Whether one is looking at FDP surrendered to point guards over the last five games, over the past 10 outings, or for the season, the Bulls sit in the bottom seven league-wide. More or less splitting the workload at the point, Dennis Schroder has been more dependable against Chicago than Teague in 2015-16, totaling 35 and 27.4 FDP in two previous contests (versus 39.2 and 22.4 FDP for the veteran). Their respective sticker prices also reiterate the choice of Schroder ($5,300) over Teague ($6,300).
Left with scraps on the SF heap, punting the final vacancy is a difficult task. While Kent Bazemore ($4,500) hasn’t scored beyond 14 FDP in four straight games, the following players have performed to that standard in streaks of varying degree: Hollis Thompson ($3,700) in six of seven tilts, Vince Carter ($3,800) in four consecutive, and Doug McDermott ($3,900) in three in a row. However, Wesley Johnson ($4,400) has eclipsed 14 FDP in each of the last 10 tilts, averaging 21.2 FDP in 27 minutes per game during that stretch. In addition to Paul Pierce missing the game due to a personal reason, the aforementioned encounter with the Kings serves as insurance, as Sacramento has given up the most FDP (46.4) to small forwards over the past five outings.
Entering Johnson generates the definitive nine-player squad: