Tuesday’s four-game slate features some potentially high-scoring matchups, with Vegas agreeing on 210-plus Overs for every contest. There are also no back-to-backs on the docket so every team will be coming off at least a day of rest, although both the Timberwolves and the Pelicans have long trips to their respective games.
Usually, we would first take a look at our elite players above $50, but for this slim slate I’m lowering the threshold down to $40. DeMarcus Cousins ($57) and Anthony Davis ($55) top the list, and although Boston has been stingy against opposing centers, it’s hard to find an argument against either player. Davis posted one of the best stat lines of any player this season on Sunday, and Cousins snagged a season-high seven steals in the same game.
While I wouldn’t recommend a Davis/Cousins stack, you should definitely consider them in cash lineups, especially. Another center humming on all cylinders is Karl-Anthony Towns ($47), who comes in cheaper in a slightly better matchup against Bismack Biyombo. Towns has been good for around 20 points and 12 rebounds over the past week, and he should hit that mark with some ease. Jimmy Butler ($42) rounds out the list at $40 or higher. He went through a quizzical three-game stretch at the beginning of the month where he underperformed projections but he has sped back up of late. He didn’t hit value in his last matchup against the Magic (39.1 YFP), but Butler has upped his game defensively and I think he’ll have a slightly better time against them this time around. I like all four of these players in either format, but I’m more likely to go with Towns instead of flipping a coin with Davis or Cousins.
We’ll now run down the slate and select two players to highlight per position, accompanied by a short list of other players that hold equal weight in my projections. We’ll also identify one player to fade at each position.
Kyrie Irving, BOS vs. NO ($39): The Pelicans rank a pitiful 29th against opposing point guards, and although Irving had a sloppy game overseas last week, he’s had almost a full week to rest up and prepare for this matchup at home. I anticipate a 40-plus YFP score at the minimum here.
Jeff Teague, MIN at ORL ($24): This will be Teague’s fifth game back after injury, and his totals have gradually increased with every game. He comes at an excellent price at one dollar below Yahoo’s median cost, and when you couple that with a strong 50 YFP game against the Magic six weeks ago, he’s practically a value lock on Tuesday.
Other guards to consider: C.J McCollum, POR vs. PHO ($31); Jamal Murray, DEN vs. DAL ($23); Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. NO ($17)
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GUARD TO AVOID
Evan Fournier, ORL at MIN ($20): The Magic are going to have a tough go of it at home Tuesday night, as the T-Wolves match up well against them at every position. Jimmy Butler has redirected his focus in recent weeks and has showed a lot more hustle on the defensive side of the ball, and it should give Fournier fits. I don’t think he will hit value, even at this below-average price.
Andrew Wiggins, MIN at ORL ($29): I’ll again lean on this great matchup for Minnesota. Wiggins took the Magic for 34 YFP in their last matchup, and after a mediocre December, Wiggin’s output has largely stabilized. He should be pairing up against Jonathon Simmons in this one, who doesn’t pose much of a threat.
Dragan Bender, PHO at POR, ($16): Bender did not perform well at all in his last matchup, but with Marquese Chriss (hip) missing his third straight I have a hard time fading him with the upside he has at $16. I’m counting on his shot to heat back up, but due to the volatility here I’m making him a tournament option only.
Other forwards to consider: Harrison Barnes, DAL at DEN ($26); Trey Lyles, DEN vs. DAL ($23); Josh Jackson, PHO at POR ($12)
FORWARD TO AVOID
Mason Plumlee, DEN vs. DAL ($13): While Plumlee will draw the start I expect him to give way to Trey Lyles, who should have the better production overall. Lyles is due to for a rebound as he’s been a bit cold from the floor of late, but he should outplay Plumlee off the bench and restrict Plumlee’s upside.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs DAL ($39): Some may elect to fade Jokic if they look at Dallas’s record against opposing centers, but Jokic missed out on the Mavericks due to injury in their last matchup, and the Mavs will have to contend with his dominating presence inside this time around. He’s outperformed projections in three of his last four, and offers a slight discount from the likes of Towns and a steep downgrade in cost from Davis or Cousins.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. PHO ($26): Nurkic had one decent game and one below-average outing against the Suns so far this season, and for the kind of production we’ve been seeing from Nurkic lately, I think he’s a tad too expensive. Still, if you look at Phoenix’s success against opposing centers, who average 34.2 YFP per game against them, you’re hard pressed to fade any center against the Suns.
Other centers to consider: Tyson Chandler, PHO at POR ($11)
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CENTER TO AVOID
Bismack Biyombo, ORL vs. MIN ($23): Earlier in the season, I’d feel the exact opposite about any decent center matching up against Karl-Anthony Towns, but Towns’ defensive ability is on the upswing. He no longer looks flat-footed in chasing drives into the paint and has upped his game in the low post. Biyombo will produce, but he won’t meet value here.
Be sure to check your lineups before tip-off to stay up-to-date on late scratches of any other developments that may occur throughout the day.