This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Hello, all! Moving forward, I will be delivering a FanDuel advice column on Mondays in addition to my usual offerings for DraftKings. I look forward to assisting everyone with their lineup builds!
I'll be presenting the article with the standard format, but I will making a small addition at the conclusion of each article to attack one unique element of FanDuel's full-roster rules. Some analysts may differ with me on this, but in a situation where our lowest score is dropped, I am in favor of 'forcing the drop.' That is to say, I want to utilize the lowest possible salary for the low score because anything else would be a waste of money and could also compromise other higher-cost additions. I'm not going to punt with an injured player, though. I will do my best to make a sensible choice, and on occasion, I will slide up the chart to a slightly higher value target if I feel like it's appropriate. So, in conclusion, I will be adding a PDP (Player Drop Punt) at the end of every article to assist you with this feature.
If you play regularly, you can depend on most of the injury landscape to be static tonight, and even if you don't, the pivots are fairly obvious. I won't bore you with a detailed rundown, but one situation to monitor is the status of Kyle Kuzma (back). If you're in favor of a Brandon Ingram ($6,900) play or a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,500) pivot, you'll want to keep your ear to the ground as lineups lock.
Kyrie Irving, BOS vs. BKN ($9,000): While it might not be the safest pick, I doubt the Celtics would remove him from the injury report if his eye wasn't up to snuff. The allure of this matchup against the Nets' weak defense is a little too good to pass up. The Nets allow around 112 PPG, and though they've improved their backcourt defense, they rank 24th against point guards. Even if you decide to fade Irving, it is time to part ways with Terry Rozier, as Irving's return will severely compromise his output.
Elfrid Payton, NO vs. MEM ($6,100): Payton let me down last week versus Cleveland, but I still think the potential is there for him to drop enough dimes on the way to a decent score, despite Memphis' stalwart defense. As long as he can see a regular allotment of around 25 minutes per game, I think he'll have ample opportunity to dish it inside to Davis and make a few plays of his own.
James Harden, HOU vs. DEN ($12,800): As long as Chris Paul remains out, I think you have little choice but to punch in the cheat code that is James Harden. He's a must-play to keep pace in cash, and while you can fade him in favor of lower-ownership targets, you might break your slate if you do. Harden's matchup isn't ideal, and he put up a mediocre outing (for him) of 22 points and 11 assists when he faced the Nuggets earlier in the season, but that was with Paul in the lineup. The Nuggets have a strong defense and could find a way to isolate him, but even the best coaches have failed to find a formula to do that.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC vs. ORL ($6,800): There are some tough calls to make at this spot tonight as a lot of twos have tough matchups, but one guy I like is Bogdan as his numbers are trending up. He's coming off a 42.7 FDFP outing against the Warriors on a night where De'Aaron Fox couldn't find his shot and needed some air support. I need to see some threes and around 30 minutes of playing time to get the result I want, but I think this is a reliable floor for the price.
As much as I'd like to spend up on Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,300) here, I don't see a sensible pathway to stack Harden and Giannis without making some sacrifices, but give it a shot and see if you can live with the trade-offs.
Nemanja Bjelica, SAC vs. ORL ($6,100): I slid past Brandon Ingram for no other reason than how obvious he looked when I flipped the page to small forward. I think his ownership numbers will be astronomical, and I'm not as high on him in the event of a Kuzma return. Bjelica has a shot at decent production against the Magic, and the guy has been crashing the boards with abandon recently. If he can keep snagging rebounds, a floor of 30 FDFP is feasible, and if the game stays close, we could see an even higher total.
Jae Crowder, UTA at MIL ($4,400): The pickings are slim at small forward, and yes, I know that Jae Crowder isn't a name you're thrilled to click on, but I think the Jazz will need some veteran muscle to fend off Giannis, and since these guys have yet to meet this season, I can go with that instinct without any statistical history to refute it. Crowder doesn't need a lot of minutes to make a quick impact, and if the Jazz get behind, they will likely call Crowder's number to provide some pop on both ends of the floor.
For those willing to move off of Harden, Anthony Davis ($12,500) has some interesting value in what should be a hard-fought matchup against Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies, but I tried a Harden/Davis combo and didn't really like my options. It's doable but ugly.
Aaron Gordon, ORL at SAC ($7,200): I have no problem with Gordon here, as he was good for a double-double when he last met the Kings, and if he can heat up with a few threes, we could see an even higher total here. The Kings are much-improved defensively, but they're near the bottom in total rebound efficiency and should have difficulty containing Gordon tonight.
Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. BKN ($6,200): I had difficulty going too low for the second PF pick, but this plum matchup against Brooklyn was enough to catch my eye. Tatum's totals have hopped around a bit in recent weeks, but the potential is always there for Tatum to give us a ceiling pop here and there, and he doesn't tend to fade away in a blowout either. I think this game may cover the spread, and if the Celtics need a push at the end, Tatum could be crucial.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL at SAC ($9,700): Now, Vucevic is a guy that I had some success with when I paired him with Harden. I will still be able to reach for another guy or two without killing my lineup, and I like Vucevic's chances against the Kings frontcourt. A nightly double-double threat, he had a 15 point, 13 rebound day in his last meeting with Sacramento, and I have little reason to believe that yet another double-double won't emerge tonight.
Al Horford, BOS vs. BKN ($6,200): Why not, right? We've stacked the Celtics so far, and I don't see why we can't capitalize on Brooklyn's poor rebounding skills and continue some building with Boston. Consistency hasn't been his strong suit recently (13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists over last five games) but when a matchup is this favorable, you've got to play it by the numbers. He might be more of a GPP option, but he's worth considering.
PDP (Player Drop Punt) Play of the Night:Semi Ojeleye, BOS vs. BKN ($3,500)