In case you've never played daily fantasy basketball, every player has a salary and your roster cannot exceed the game's salary-cap maximum.
For FanDuel leagues, rosters consist of nine players and the salary cap is $60,000, which averages to roughly $6,667 per player. To give you an idea of the range for Thursday's games, Thunder SF Kevin Durant ($12,000) has the contest's highest salary while many are tied for the lowest at the game-minimum salary ($3,500).
There are a number of benefits compared to traditional full-season re-draft leagues, such as:
- you don't have to worry about being saddled by players sidelined by injury;
- having a late pick doesn't rule out owning studs like Kevin Durant or LeBron James;
- you get the instant gratification of winning your league(s) that night.
OK, with the preliminary stuff out of the way, here are some value plays to consider for Thursday (March 13th) FanDuel leagues:
PG - Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (vs. LAL), $8,700: While I've never before listed a player with a salary greater than $7,500 in this post, Westbrook will be the exception as he's a must-start against the Lakers, especially considering there are only three games on tonight's NBA slate. In his past seven games, Westbrook has 34.9-plus fantasy points and he has averaged 48.0 fantasy points in his past four games, which includes a triple-double in just 20 minutes against the Sixers. The Lakers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season.
PG - D.J. Augustin, Chicago Bulls (vs. HOU), $5,800: In his past six games, Augustin has scored 22-plus points four times including in his previous two games. During that six-game stretch, he has averaged 20.83 points, 3.17 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game.
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SG - Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls (vs. HOU), $6,700: Only James Harden ($10,000) has a higher price at shooting guard, but the gap is enormous. In his eight games since returning from injury, Butler has scored 30 or more fantasy points six times. During that span, he is averaging 16.5 points, 6.13 rebounds, 2.38 assists and 2.38 steals in more than 42 minutes per game. The Rockets have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards this season.
SG - Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers (at OKC), $5,800: While I don't expect a repeat of his 42-point performance (49.4 fantasy points) when these two teams met on March 9th, Meeks is one of the league's best shooters and you know he will get his minutes. With Mike D'Antoni pulling the strings, there is no guarantee for others. For example, Kent Bazemore ($4,900) has played 32, 16 and 20 minutes in his past three games.
SG - Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks (vs. MIL), $5,000: With strong outings in back-to-back games, Korver has averaged 21.5 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in his past two games. In those two games, he has had 32.8 and 32.9 fantasy points, respectively.
SF - DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks (vs. MIL), $5,800: In his past eight games, Carroll has scored a minimum of 19.2 fantasy points in each game while averaging 25.49 FPPG. During that stretch, he has averaged 14.88 points, 5.25 rebounds and 1.25 steals per game. Carroll gets a favorable matchup tonight as the Bucks have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season.
SF - Ryan Kelly, Los Angeles Lakers (at OKC), $4,500: After losing his starting gig and seeing a huge reduction in minutes, Kelly has played 33-plus minutes in back-to-back games. In those two games, he has scored 41.7 and 36.0 fantasy points, respectively. Against OKC on the 9th, Kelly played 37 minutes and scored 12 points while adding eight assists, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal. In most of my FanDuel contests tonight, it will be a Durant-Kelly duo at SF for me.
PF - Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder (vs. LAL), $8,200: Like Durant and Westbrook, it would be extremely hard (i.e., foolish) to sit Ibaka. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing power forwards and Ibaka abused the Lakers for 48.5 fantasy points (21 points, 15 boards, two blocks and two steals) in their previous matchup on Sunday.
PF - John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks (at ATL), $4,900: Provided Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) misses more time, Henson's fantasy value increases (in theory). Henson has 19.2 or more fantasy points in four consecutive games. With back-to-back games of 30-plus minutes, Henson has scored exactly 10 points with eight rebounds in each game after 12/6 in his previous two games with fewer minutes.
C - Pero Antic, Atlanta Hawks (vs. MIL), $4,300: If you don't start a stud like Joakim Noah, Antic is a cheap option to consider. Not only has he been productive in his past two games (22.1-plus fantasy points in each game), but he has a favorable matchup tonight. Only the Lakers and Sixers have allowed more fantasy points to opposing centers than the Bucks have this season.
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