So last night was not kind to me. I was on the Lance Stephenson train which totally derailed. The great part about DFS NBA is you get to start over each day, right?

We only have four games tonight so you can expect most of the higher priced players to be highly owned regardless of who you play. The thing to remember tonight is it is not LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard who is going to win you a GPP or help you cash for that matter, it is going to come down to the players like Iman Shumpert, D.J. Augustin, or Tristan Thompson. Regardless of what strategy you read or what people tell you on the radio, you have to get off the chalk somewhat to be successful nowadays. The guy who plays the 100 percent safest lineup finishes 97th out of 100 as of late. Tonight I am only running one lineup and more than likely will be sticking to that from here on out in the dog days of DFS NBA. My only exposure will be the $25 NBA And One (single entry) and one $25 50/50 (100 man) both on FanDuel.

On this slate your strategy should be to find the players with the highest upside (not safety net) in the best possible matchup while trying to hit on a two or three players at the bargain basement level. If you try and be that guy who plays a bunch of safe $6K players hoping to get 30 fantasy points out of each you will end up with 270 points. How well has that worked as of late?

Point Guard

Strategy

At the point guard position we only have a few good matchups and little in the way of stars tonight. I have been tinkering with my lineup for a while now and no matter how I do it I see no way around not taking some risk at this position tonight. I am really hoping some value comes to light later on opening the door for a cheap player who should see a ton of minutes with decent fantasy production. Remember, just because a player racks up minutes, it does not mean he will get fantasy points. You need to check and see his fantasy point per minute production with the limited minutes the player has played. If you see a player who averages 12 minutes per game and scores 13 fantasy points who is now starting, you have found the player you want.

Core Players

The best option tonight at point guard is Kyrie Irving. Never mind the fact he gets to face the Lakers tonight who are allowing the most fantasy ppg to point guards, but he also has been on fire lately scoring over 30 fantasy ppg in eight out of his last nine games including three 40 fantasy point performances versus the Pistons, Hornets, and Wizards. His price is only $7,200 on FanDuel and I much prefer him over Kyle Lowry tonight. This game has a nice 209 expected point total with Cleveland being 9.5-point favorites but I say the Lakers keep it closer than this.

D’Angelo Russell is the other player I really would love to pair with Irving tonight but at this time I am unable to do so and still see a lineup I can live with tonight. The Cavs are allowing the 19th most fantasy ppg to point guards and Russell who is playing a ton of minutes has scored over 30 fantasy ppg in six of his last seven games putting up nearly 50 versus the Nets. The Lakers seem to be content letting the youngster run rampant and I see no way that this trend does not continue tonight.

Possible Value Plays

The word is right now Tony Parker is planning on suiting up but if Parker sits then I well imagine Patty Mills will draw the start tonight over Andre Miller. Depending on the situation, if either of these players starts tonight then they will be the one I pair with Irving facing a beat up Bulls team allowing the fourth most fantasy ppg to point guards.

The player I currently have paired tonight with Irving is D.J. Augustin. His price is only $4,000 on FanDuel and he has been averaging over 20 minutes per game in his last four. He also in his last six games has managed to score over 20 fantasy ppg three times hitting the 30 mark versus the Lakers in 23 minutes. It is not pretty but a player like Augustin is exactly the kind of guy that wins you tournaments on a four-game slate. On a night where I am doing only one lineup a cross between a cash game and GPP is the route I am taking.

                        FanDuel   Draft Kings  
Player Tm Opp M/G FGA 3PM REB AST STL BLK TO PTS $ PTS $ PTS
Kyrie Irving CLE LAL 30.32 15.95 1.49 2.84 4.46 1 0.24 2.14 19.59 $7,200 33.34 $7,700 31.99
D'Angelo Russell LAL CLE 27.86 11.81 1.71 3.49 3.52 1.17 0.16 2.37 13.33 $7,000 24.63 $7,200 25.33
Patty Mills SAS CHI 20.5 7.58 1.56 2 2.81 0.8 0.08 0.89 8.72 $4,200 16.63 $4,300 17.52
D.J. Augustin DEN PHX 15.26 3.56 0.71 1.26 1.94 0.38 0.06 0.88 4.18 $4,000 9.37 $3,800 9.46
Andre Miller SAS CHI 10.77 2.23 0.04 0.92 2.23 0.35   0.96 3.38 $3,600 8.15 $3,000 8.12

Shooting Guard

Strategy

The shooting guard slot is the greatest source of salary relief on the slate for roster construction purposes. Outside of DeMar DeRozan, who I plan on having zero exposure to, there is not much to spend up on here. I am trying to avoid using any value plays as I find a few guys in the five to six thousand range just right. But make no mistake about it, if I feel the risk is better here than at the point guard position, I will find a way to pair Russell with Irving and go cheap here.

Core Players

Regardless of matchup Jordan Clarkson is my favorite play of the evening at the two. Even though Cleveland is allowing the seventh fewest fantasy ppg to shooting guards this means little as he dropped 34.6 fantasy on FanDuel versus San Antonio on Feb. 19 and similar numbers versus both Memphis and Orlando. He has scored over 30 fantasy ppg now in six out of his last nine games and tonight, along with Russell, he should light up the fantasy scoreboard.

For a few dollars less you can also roster Devin Booker, who I all but had given up on until a few nights ago. In the last four games he has scored 39.6, 27.8, 43.9, and 34.1 fantasy points on FanDuel versus the Heat, Magic, Grizzlies, and Knicks all who are far better defenders than the Nuggets who are allowing the fourth most fantasy ppg to shooting guards. I find Booker to have more upside than Clarkson and to be honest if I cannot pair them both I will more than likely use Booker.

Gary Harris not only is facing a Suns team allowing the most fantasy ppg to shooting guards but both him and Booker are playing each other in the game with the highest expected point total of the evening at 213.5. Harris has secured his starting role leaving Will Barton behind while playing nearly 40 minutes per game. In his last three he is averaging nearly 30 fantasy ppg and is the best complimentary piece at $5,100 on FanDuel to pair with Clarkson or Booker if you cannot fit both of them.

Possible Value Plays

We have two really good cheap options but neither come without risk of course. With Jimmy Butler out, E’Twaun Moore is back in the starting role. His price is only $4,200 on FanDuel and in his last game he scored 27.7 fantasy points on FanDuel versus the Bucks in 36 minutes. There is no doubt he could not have gotten a worse matchup than the Spurs tonight who are allowing the fewest fantasy ppg to shooting guards but the reality is he should play plenty of minutes and someone has to score.

Iman Shumpert, if this game becomes a blowout, could get a chance at a few extra minutes facing a Lakers team allowing the third most fantasy ppg to shooting guards. When given the chance he has shown success scoring 39.2 fantasy points in 35 minutes versus the Celtics on March 5. I was looking at J.R. Smith and he seems to be the logical choice but you can only gain so much exposure to one team and if I am going to go a third player I like to find a cheap guy off the bench to score while my other players are sitting. He is the near minimum across the industry but you also stand the risk of a total bust here.

                        FanDuel   Draft Kings  
Player Tm Opp M/G FGA 3PM REB AST STL BLK TO PTS $ PTS $ PTS
Jordan Clarkson LAL CLE 32.39 13.77 1.35 4.02 2.63 1.08 0.11 1.77 15.85 $6,100 27.41 $6,200 27
Devin Booker PHX DEN 25.09 9.34 1.28 2.22 2.03 0.5 0.16 1.6 11.78 $5,700 19.63 $5,600 18.76
Gary Harris DEN PHX 32.14 9.81 1.34 2.88 1.86 1.31 0.24 1.4 11.74 $5,100 20.96 $5,000 21.21
E'Twaun Moore CHI SAS 20.84 6.48 0.74 2.08 1.52 0.64 0.24 0.82 7.42 $4,200 13.58 $4,400 14.02
Iman Shumpert CLE LAL 24.42 6.03 0.89 3.76 1.66 1.05 0.34 1.13 6.08 $3,900 15.4 $3,700 15.94

Small Forward

Strategy

Norman Powell, Mike Dunleavy, P.J. Tucker, JaKarr Sampson, and Nick Young (if no Kobe Bryant) are among the bevy of crap you have to choose from tonight at the three. The bench players do not look much better either.

Core Players

LeBron James has shown he still puts up decent fantasy numbers even in back-to-back games. The last time this happened he played 30 and 36 minutes scoring 51.6 and 55.2 fantasy points on FanDuel versus the Wizards and Celtics. Tonight he gets the Lakers who are allowing the fourth most fantasy ppg to small forwards and he has had two straight games without scoring 50 fantasy points. I feel like he is Adam Jones facing a LHP like John Danks at home after a two-week home run drought. I suspect he will be close to 100 percent owned tonight I see no way you fade him.

The player I have paired with James is Kawhi Leonard. With all the crap we have to choose from at the three tonight I am not taking any chances. Even on an off night both Leonard and James will still get you more fantasy points combined than anyone else at this position. Leonard has scored over 40 fantasy ppg in five out of his last eight games hitting the 50 mark versus the Pelicans on March 3. Tonight he faces a Bulls team allowing the 23rd most fantasy ppg to small forwards and blowout or not (San Antonio is 11-point favorites) I fully expect Leonard to still get you that 40 spot.

Possible Value Plays

Not much swirling around in this crap bucket but if I had to drop a line in it and hope for a bite then Kent Bazemore is where I would look (and I am not planning to). His price is $4,800 and in his last six games he has scored over 20 fantasy ppg five times with three of them going over the 25 mark. The Raptors game has the lowest expected point total of the night (199) but does have the closest line with Toronto being four point favorites. The matchup is also terrible with the Raptors allowing the fourth fewest fantasy ppg to small forwards. Like I said, I do not plan on using him but if you wanted to be contrarian he is the safest of the risky plays. Unless something huge presents itself he is the only value play. If you would call it that.

                        FanDuel   Draft Kings  
Player Tm Opp M/G FGA 3PM REB AST STL BLK TO PTS $ PTS $ PTS
LeBron James CLE LAL 35.87 18.84 1.1 7.41 6.61 1.43 0.62 3.23 24.89 $10,100 49.36 $9,800 47.09
Kawhi Leonard SAS CHI 32.75 14.95 1.85 6.83 2.53 1.78 0.88 1.42 20.76 $8,700 40.41 $8,400 38.62
Kent Bazemore ATL TOR 28.39 9.9 1.51 5.02 2.27 1.25 0.42 1.92 12.07 $4,800 24.68 $5,000 24.9

Power Forward

Strategy

We have a lot of options tonight at this position and plenty in good matchups. For the price I see little need to use Paul Millsap in a horrible matchup with Toronto allowing the fourth fewest fantasy ppg to small forwards unless in a GPP. Any of the three core players listed below are great to pair together if at all possible.

Core Players

It certainly does not take a rocket scientist to see that LaMarcus Aldridge is the top play tonight. Although Kevin Love has a great matchup I feel like a huge let down is in store there (but I have been known to be wrong on occasion). Aldridge, however, has been hotter than a summer day in July, scoring 96.8 fantasy points combined in his last two games. He has the highest ceiling at the position and is about as close to a must roster as there is facing a Bulls team allowing the 24th most fantasy ppg to power forwards.

Julius Randle is playing plenty of minutes and providing fantasy players with plenty of bang for the buck. His price is only $6,400 on FanDuel and he has scored over 30 fantasy points in four of his last five games. The matchup is terrible with Cleveland allowing the fewest fantasy ppg to power forwards but the minutes versus fantasy production should continue to pay dividends regardless. I currently am not rostering him myself tonight because I like both Russell and Clarkson much more.

Kenneth Faried has also been lighting it up. In six out of his last seven games he has scored over 30 fantasy ppg including a whopping 54.5 fantasy point performance versus the Mavericks on March 6. The Suns defend the four well, allowing the 14th fewest fantasy ppg but I will take Faired at home on fire over a Suns defense any day.

Possible Value Plays

The best play for value tonight is Tristan Thompson. If Timofey Mozgov (GTD – illness) sits tonight again then Thompson for $4,600 on FanDuel becomes a great source of value tonight. The Lakers are allowing the 26th most fantasy ppg to centers and the 22nd most fantasy ppg to power forwards. Thompson has scored over 20 fantasy ppg in four of five now hitting the 30 mark versus the Kings last night. His production per minute’s ratio is excellent and if he can get the time he is that player who can really give you a cheap boost. Honestly he is still a viable option whether Mozgov sits or not as he plays more than 25 minutes most nights.

A lot more risk here but you could also take a look at Jason Thompson for $3,600 if he starts again tonight. He scored over 20 fantasy points on Tuesday night in 24 minutes versus the Nets. The Hawks are allowing the 17th most fantasy ppg to power forwards so the matchup could be better. But hey, he is the minimum.

                        FanDuel   Draft Kings  
Player Tm Opp M/G FGA 3PM REB AST STL BLK TO PTS $ PTS $ PTS
LaMarcus Aldridge SAS CHI 30.24 13.88   8.47 1.49 0.34 1.15 1.29 17.42 $7,900 34.92 $7,100 32.59
Kenneth Faried DEN PHX 26.12 9.6   8.95 1.18 0.47 0.91 1.26 13 $6,800 29.06 $6,700 28.09
Tristan Thompson CLE LAL 28.16 5.41   9.38 0.71 0.35 0.52 0.78 8.1 $4,600 23.14 $4,900 22.25
Jason Thompson TOR ATL 6.39 1.5   1.93 0.68 0.14 0.29 0.25 2.14 $3,600 6.8 $3,200 6.3

Center

Strategy

We have a lot of centers on the slate to choose from but nothing cheap that stands out. Although Al Horford, Jonas Valanciunas, and Pau Gasol are all great options tonight I find none of them for me. I like the $6K range tonight myself though.

Alex Len is the chalk tonight and for good reason. He plays plenty of minutes and has a great matchup with Denver allowing the 25th most fantasy ppg to power forwards where Len is playing. His game log for his price is impressive as he has two 50 fantasy point games in the last three. Everyone will have him in their cash games tonight and myself have him in my lineup as well. For now.

Core Players

I have a strong feeling that with the need to go a little of the beaten path tonight Nikola Jokic is the play. Granted the matchup is terrible as the center position is one of the few Phoenix manages to defend well allowing the ninth fewest fantasy ppg but Jokic when he is on the court is a fantasy point cash register. He is averaging around 35 fantasy ppg in his last three with two double-doubles. On a night when you need to be a little contrarian he may be the way.

Possible Value Plays

Crickets…chirp…chirp.

                        FanDuel   Draft Kings  
Player Tm Opp M/G FGA 3PM REB AST STL BLK TO PTS $ PTS $ PTS
Alex Len PHX DEN 21.2 7.07 0.02 7.1 0.98 0.52 0.88 1.58 8.65 $6,600 22.16 $6,900 21.02
Nikola Jokic DEN PHX 20.42 7.39 0.32 6.37 2.06 0.98 0.56 1.37 9.89 $6,100 24.31 $6,100 23.52

Good luck tonight. I will not be back until next Tuesday. I have a minor operation tomorrow morning that will put me down for at least a day and then Saturday morning I have to drive to New Jersey for a pretty big MLB Auction draft followed by a second on Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter: @geraldcolvin73

GO DODGERS!