Tuesdayís slate presents seven games of NBA action with some exploitable matchups (SA at DAL, WAS at BKN) and some basement battles (PHO at SAC, LAL at NY). Before I go by position to target and exclude players, weíll take a quick look at our high-salary options.
Only LeBron James, CLE vs. ATL ($60) and Joel Embiid, PHI at MIN ($51) are in our normal $50-plus range, so weíll extend down a few rungs to include some plays in the high 40ís. Ben Simmons, PHI at MIN ($49) looks to be the most attractive spend in that range, with Andre Drummond, DET vs. DEN ($48) playing a Denver team minus Nikola Jokic coming in a very close second.
Things get thin very quickly at center Tuesday, so my favorite spend-up is Drummond without question, especially since Embiid is a game-time decision. You could also make an argument for James at $60, but that high price will marginalize your other options, especially in cash. If Iím going for two of these, I would most likely go with a Simmons/Drummond combo for maximum value.
Bradley Beal, WAS at BKN ($36): With John Wall (knee) still sidelined, Washingtonís offensive attack will be helmed by Beal, whoís averaged 26.2 points over the past five games. Heís never been much of a contributor in other categories, but Brooklynís poor rebounding may net him a few extra points to get him close to 40 YFP. I favor him as a cash anchor, but you could go with another guard with higher variance in GPPs.
J.J. Barea ($20) and Yogi Ferrell ($10), DAL vs. SA: With Dennis Smith Jr. (hip) out, these two will split the bulk of the minutes at point guard. I think most people will flock to Barea but for $10 less you have an excellent chance to get the same value with Ferrell, if not more. Ferrell is a strong play if you are spending up at three or more positions.
Other guards to consider: Jimmy Butler, MIN vs. PHI ($38), Will Barton, DEN at DET ($31), J.J. Redick, PHI at MIN, ($19)
[Join the free NBA Yahoo Cup. $25K in total prizes with weekly winners]
GUARD TO AVOID
Lonzo Ball, LAL at NY ($28): Jordan Clarkson should be starting. Heís outplayed Ball in almost every game, but the billboards and posters are all Lonzo in LA, and thereís considerable pressure to showcase him. Interestingly enough, this pressure seems to subside in the fourth quarter, where Ball has been noticeably absent in a number of contests. The Knicks are sneaky-good defensively, and the Lakersí lack of confidence in Ballís ability to close keeps the rookie off my radar Tuesday.
Otto Porter, Jr., WAS at BKN ($31): Porter is another key cog in the Wizardsí offensive machinery and heís firing on all cylinders while John Wall (knee) is out. To lessen variance, I donít favor a Beal/Porter tandem in this particular matchup but they are viable together in GPPs. Porter possess the ability to go off in several categories and if I had to choose one Wizard, it would likely be Otto.
Trey Lyles, DEN at DET ($10): Kenneth Faried has been generally underwhelming as a suitable replacement for Nikola Jokic (ankle), so coach Michael Malone is giving Trey Lyles an opportunity to show his stuff. He didnít disappoint as he went off for 32 YFP in 25 minutes on Sunday, and itís likely weíll see similar usage from him on Tuesday. Iím going to use him in GPP lineups, but he lacks cash stability.
Other forwards to consider: Kristaps Porzingis NY vs. LAL ($44), T.J. Warren, PHO at SAC ($30), Zach Randolph, SAC vs. PHO ($29)
FORWARD TO AVOID
Kawhi Leonard, DAL at SA ($48): Tempting, I know. I may be made a fool but as exciting as Leonardís return may be, it isnít going to be some fantasy maelstrom as advertised. The buzz about starting Leonard is a little overstated in my opinion. It may end up that heís not ready to go at all tonight. If you just want to look at the math, this kind of risk isnít worth $48.
[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball contest or league today]
Drummond is still my play here, but if he doesnít fit, here are some more options.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN vs. PHI ($40): Towns is an excellent play if Joel Embiid (back) sits out. If he plays Iím not as high on him, as Towns has been owned by a host of big men at times this season and Embiid can get in anyoneís head. If The Process sits, all systems go for Towns.
Julius Randle, LAL at NY ($18): Randle is the second-best option on this team behind Brandon Ingram, and unless you live in Los Angeles you probably donít give him much thought. Iím a consistent watcher of Lakers hoops and Randle has tangibles that are hard to calculate, but thereís no question that itís incredibly difficult to guard him. Weíve yet to see him clash with the Knicks, but heís worth a shot in GPPs.
Other centers to consider: Pau Gasol, SA at DAL ($21), Greg Monroe, PHO at SAC ($16)
CENTER TO AVOID
Jahlil Okafor, BKN vs. WAS ($16): If you have a tendency to get a little cute with your lineups I already see you clicking on Okafor. Donít let his debut fool you Ė he may reap dividends eventually but has Okafor really given anyone evidence that he can contribute yet? No. Criminal trials can be won on circumstantial evidence, but not untested centers. Until I see production, Iím fading him in every format but if youíre looking for a punt play, click away.
Thatís all for Tuesday. Always check your lineups before tip-off to avoid late scratches and injuries!