FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays
FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

Most eyes will be fixated on the NFL for Wild Card weekend, but we still have NBA going on! That's why we're looking at a short three-game slate here, with many bad teams in action. In fact, we only have only one team with over 15 wins and that should make for a high-scoring DFS day. With that in mind, let's get into it! 

Slate Overview 

CLE vs. MIN: While these are hard teams to usually trust, this represents a good spot for both. The reason is because they're equally as awful. That's a DFS player's dream since we should get a ton of minutes from all the fantasy-relevant players in what should be a competitive game. In fact, the T'Wolves enter this matchup as a 1.5-point road favorite in a game with a projected total between 215-220.  

PHX vs. MEM: This is my favorite game to target on this slate. We have two subpar teams who both sit top-10 in pace and bottom-five in points allowed. That's a recipe for a lot of points and fantasy production. That's also evident by the 6.5-point spread in favor of Memphis and the sky-high 232-point total.  

LAL vs. DET: This could be an ugly contest. We have a struggling Pistons' team traveling across the country to face a dominant Lakers' squad. That's why Los Angeles enters this matchup as a 15-point favorite, but that might not even be enough with the form of these teams. It's also not very fantasy friendly, with the Lakers having only two fantasy-relevant players and a beat-up Detroit team facing an elite Los Angeles defense.  

Positional Breakdown 

PG: It's strange to say, but this might be the weakest position on the slate. Ricky Rubio comes in as the most expensive player at $7,300. Following him are Ja Morant, Derrick Rose, Shabazz Napier, Jeff Teague and Collin Sexton, all sitting between $5,000 and $6,200.  

SG: Devin Booker is the cream of the crop at $8,400 and Andrew Wiggins is next at $7,000. No other player sits above $5,000, but Bruce Brown at $4,900 is a great value for a shorthanded Pistons' side. Danny Green is in play at $3,800 after providing 25 points, five rebounds and five assists on Friday. 

SF: LeBron James is sitting at $10,900 and Kelly Oubre Jr. is next at $7,600. Jae Crowder is the third-highest at $4,700 and he's definitely in play after dropping 50-plus on Saturday. Jarrett Culver is also decent at $4,500.  

PF: Anthony Davis enters as the highest-priced player on the slate at $11,800 and rightfully so. Kevin Love is discounted at $7,000, but could sit in the second half of a back-to-back set. Robert Covington is a nice value at $5,700 while Jaren Jackson Jr. registers at $6,500.  

C: With Karl-Anthony Towns questionable, Andre Drummond is the top option at $9,700. Deandre Ayton, Jonas Valanciunas, Tristan Thompson and Gorgui Dieng range between $6,000 and $7,500. That's where the majority of the ownership will lie. Aron Baynes is a great value at $4,900, if he continues to start.  

Injuries to Monitor 

Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN): Towns has missed the last two weeks due to a knee injury and Gorgui Dieng has been superb in his absence. He enters this matchup as questionable.  

Andrew Wiggins (MIN): Wiggins has been out due to an illness, but is expected to return here. If he doesn't, Jarrett Culver and Shabazz Napier should continue to play big roles.   

Jeff Teague (MIN): Teague is dealing with a knee issue and Shabazz Napier has been stellar as the starting point guard during his absence.  

Larry Nance Jr. (CLE): Nance is out for the next two weeks because of a knee problem, and Kevin Love should play a little more as a result. If they're both out, look for Tristan Thompson to post a monster double-double.

Blake Griffin (DET): Griffin has been in and out of the lineup all year with different injuries. While he is questionable, he's hard to trust even if he does suit up. Christian Wood has been very good off the bench in his absence.  

Luke Kennard/Reggie Jackson (DET): Both guards remain out with long-term injuries, as it's opened up more minutes and usage for Derrick Rose, Tim Frazier and Bruce Brown

Elite Players 

Anthony Davis vs. LeBron James

Here we are again. It seems like the Lakers play every Sunday and we have to pick between these two every time. While Davis is coming off one of the best performances of the season, we're going to go with James here. The reason for that is because he's $900 cheaper. That's a huge discount with Davis averaging only 0.54 more FanDuel points per game than James and it simply doesn't equate to the price tags. We also can't complain that James boasts the higher usage rate of the two and isn't dealing with any injuries like Davis.  

Which Phoenix Player? 

There are four Suns sitting between $7,300 and $8,400 and they're actually the only four players in that range. Picking the right one or two will be critical, so let's break that down. Devin Booker is the most expensive and is the easy choice of the four. That's because he's scored at least 42 FanDuel points in five straight games. As for the other three, Deandre Ayton is my favorite pick. Not only is he above Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre Jr. in fantasy points scored, he's done that despite playing limited minutes coming off of injury. Playing 37 minutes in his most recent fixture would indicate he's no longer restricted.   

Expected Chalk 

Anthony Davis, LAL ($11,800) 

We already discussed how Davis is the only premier play at the power forward position and that's going to make him very chalky after the line he just posted. The superstar big man just dropped 72 FanDuel points in his last game, but I don't really want to use him here at this price. The chalk is a major reason why, but I also don't like the fact he didn't crack 45 FD points in any of his previous four games. We also don't care for LA being projected to win in blowout fashion, possibly limiting Davis's minutes.  

Shabazz Napier, MIN ($5,600) 

While I don't want to swallow the Davis chalk, Napier is a different story. With so many injuries in Minnesota, Napier has been asked to play the biggest role of his career. That has led to him scoring at least 35 FanDuel points in three-straight starts while averaging close to 40 fantasy points per game over that span. That's simply impossible to pass up below $6,000, especially against a Cleveland team who sits 29th in defensive efficiency.  

Key Values 

Robert Covington, MIN ($5,700) 

It's all been about the minutes for Covington and we always want to use him as long as he plays 30-plus. While that was an unreliable proposition at the beginning of the season, it's been a near guarantee recently with all of the aforementioned injuries. In fact, Covington is averaging 37.4 FanDuel points per game across 34.6 minutes over his last six games played. That's a ridiculous total from a $5,700 player and people may overlook him because of a chalky Napier. Not to mention, facing a 29th-ranked Cavs' defense represents a nice bonus.  

Aron Baynes, PHX ($4,900) 

Many thought Baynes's value would be dead with the insertion of Deandre Ayton into the starting lineup, but we can use that to our advantage here. In Ayton's first start, they kept Baynes at center while shifting Ayton to power forward. That allowed Baynes to stretch the floor and provide 39.4 FanDuel points in 29 minutes of action. We're already talking about a guy who's averaging close to 30 fantasy points per game as a starter and the price drop appears to be an overreaction. We also love the matchup against a 26th-ranked Grizzlies' defense.  

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Joel Bartilotta plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Joelbartilotta Yahoo: Joelbartilotta.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joel Bartilotta
Joel has 15 years of Fantasy experience, and can recall riding a young Daunte Culpepper to a championship in the 2003-04 season in his inaugural fantasy year. He covers NBA, NFL, daily fantasy, EPL, and MLB for RotoWire.
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