The following is a breakdown by position of players worth targeting for tonight's slate of games. I'll feature a few “Top Targets” and give you the “Best of the Rest” to include other options that are set to hit their relative value as well. Salaries and position eligibility are specific to FanDuel for the purpose of this article, but some values are likely to translate to other sites.
Kyle Lowry $8900-
His shot attempts have spiked up to 20 & 18 with DeRozan out the last two games and has taken full advantage of the increased role, putting up 54 fpts in each. DeRozan may return tonight which would likely cut into Lowry's expectation a bit, but he makes for a nice target at this price either way.
Isaiah Thomas $8000-
IT2 came back from his stomach illness with a fine effort last game against a tough Grizzlies defense, shooting 10-21 from the field for 31 fpts. Tonight's matchup with Dallas offers a much better outlook overall, and the highest o/u at 215. Cousins is undecided for tonight but looking doubtful after not being able to run full-court at practice, so Thomas should be in line for another 20+ shots against a poor defending backcourt in Calderon and Monta Ellis.
Stephen Curry $9900-
Curry rebounded from a poor 8-23 shooting against WAS with a pristine 8-10 from the floor last night against the Clips. Only problem for him was his team manhandling LA from start to finish. Tonight could have some blowout risk against Utah, but with the Warriors on a b2b they are only favored by 5 on the road. Also worth noting, in six games this season on zero days rest Curry has been a monster: 28.8pts, 9.3ast, 5.3reb, 2.2stl. He averages more minutes, (40.5), shots (20.0), and his highest FG% (48.3) than any other split by a decent margin. It's clear that the Warriors have relied on Curry in these situations when the rest of the team may be tired. Note: If Trey Burke and/or Derrick Favors sit this one out then blowout risk increases for Golden State.
BEST OF THE REST
Ramon Sessions $5700-
IF Kemba Walker is ruled out for tonight (he practiced in full yesterday), then Sessions makes a fine play at a reduced price from the Top Targets. He needs 27 fpts to hit his price here, which he's done in three of five games as a starter in relief of Kemba. He's not a high-ceiling player, but tonight's matchup with the Lakers offers similar upside as his 32 fpts effort last time out vs. DEN.
Shelvin Mack $4500-
IF Teague is ruled out (GTD- ankle sprain), then Mack becomes the best value at the PG position tonight. After the blowout limited his role and minutes vs. MIL, he came back big for the Hawks in their game at OKC posting 29 fpts in 31 mins. A date with the sieve-like Sixers could be fantasy gold for owners this evening.
Devin Harris $4300-
SG is devoid of any reliable targets tonight so Devin Harris tops the list until more news breaks. He's scored 14 actual points in three straight games and knocked rookie Shane Larkin out of the rotation since his return. Right now he's a 24 minute player which is a bit risky, but coach Rick Carlisle said yesterday that some changes could be coming to the rotation. If he does tinker at all I think it could only help Harris' cause, and possibly stagger more of Calderon and Monta's time on the court together defensively. In the meantime, Devin looks like a 20-25 fpts guy and only needs about 20 at this price. Also, a matchup with the Kings should make his minutes more productive.
Randy Foye $5800-
He should be a hot pick after dropping a 50 spot on the Bobcats last game. With Lawson out and Nate Robinson exiting in the first quarter, Foye chucked up 21 shots in 40 mins. Both were major jumps from his averages. NateRob is out indefinitely, and Lawson is a GTD for a later game tonight against TOR. The good news is he should be playable even if Lawson returns, just not as great of value. In his previous eight games, Foye ranged from 26-33 fpts in five of those, and needs 28 at this price. Perhaps the guarantee of Nate sitting will be enough for Foye's floor to be closer to his price and anything beyond as gravy if Lawson sits.
Evan Fournier $3900-
The other primary beneficiary of the NateRob injury is Fournier, who stepped in with a terrific 19-6-5-3 line for 38 fpts in 38 mins last game. There's less security with Fournier than the two guys above, but he's been a diverse contributor fantasy-wise when given the minutes and had a hot three game stretch earlier this month of 24 26 26 fpts off the bench. My guess is he'll be a 20-25 minute player with NateRob out yielding 16-24 fpts. But, IF Lawson is announced out after shootaround today then Fournier jumps to the top of this list for value.
BEST OF THE REST
Terrence Ross $5000-
IF Derozan is announced out, Ross will have the opportunity to match his 30 fpts last game at a reduced price. He played 37 minutes vs. ORL and only shot 4-13 to get to that mark. I like his style against a quick-paced DEN team and would peg him for 25-30 fpts tonight if DeRozan sits.
Monta Ellis $6900-
As a GPP flyer, Monta makes a lot of sense. We know he's capable of big games, and a look at his last ten games (15 11 35 23 39 21 47 45 30 35) shows us that if he heats back up he could fly by this price. With Carlisle threatening to make changes to the rotation I would not bank on Monta in lower-risk action (H2H and 50/50s), but on a night with so little appeal at SG $6900 for a guy with a chance to crack 40 is a bargain.
Kevin Durant $12600-
Nobody on Brooklyn can guard him, and taking the guys at half his price is going to be a risk of 30-40 pts less production. I never believe in forcing top-priced guys into a lineup at the expense of punting others...but tonight looks ripe enough with other values to afford Durant. He was held to just 34 fpts at the beginning of the month against Brooklyn in a loss at home, but was benched for much of the 3rd quarter with foul trouble and played the last 9 mins with 5 fouls, likely adjusting his aggressiveness. He still shot 8-13 for a great percentage and has since lit the world afire with his 12 straight 30+ actual points streak.
Evan Turner $7000-
It's always dangerous to put your finger on this guy, but he's starting to pack the box score again. Last game he shot just 6-17 in a lower-scoring 76ers affair (95-94) and put up 39 fpts thanks to 8 assists, 6 rebounds and a couple steals. He hit a killer buzzer-beater to bring PHI the win in that game. Without much more obvious value at SF Turner should be highly owned tonight. He needs 34 fpts at this price, and has posted a log of 39 37 29 22 47 in his last five.
DeMarre Carroll $5400-
After I highlighted an expected increase in minutes for Carroll following a low 24 mins in the MIL blowout, he was on the court for 42 mins with Durant totaling 29 fpts thanks in large part to his 5 steals. With the injured Hawks, Carroll's floor is decently high for this price and facing the Sixers tonight offers more upside than any other matchup he'll see. For what it's worth, he put up 21-6-2-1 with five threes against PHI in their Nov. 15 game.
BEST OF THE REST
Jae Crowder $3500-
Crowder will be a popular plug-n-play with Marion out tonight. Keep expectations tempered though as he has never been a player that scales evenly with minutes played. In three starts for Marion earlier this month, Crowder posted 28 22 20 fpts. However, tonight offers a fine matchup against SAC and perhaps he gets extra burn even in the case of a blowout (DAL -8).
Ryan Kelly $4300-
He comes with more risk after D'Antoni chose to start Jordan Hill in the second half of last game against IND. Kelly still managed 23 fpts in just 19 mins but it'd be better to have a lower-risk 20 fpts at this price. More than likely it was a fleeting matchup decision by the coach and Kelly will be back in his 25 minute role, where he has topped 23 fpts in six of eight games as a starter.
Wilson Chandler $6200-
Many may fade Chandler off his dud 19 fpts output against CHA last game (2 fouls in first 2 minutes), but he's been extremely solid in the six games before that (33 36 22 27 34 38). He played 34-40 minutes in each of those six and there could be more shots to go around with NateRob sitting and Lawson questionable.
Paul Millsap $8700-
38+ fpts in five straight and a date with the Sixers that would make any player giddy with excitement. With Love facing the Grizzlies and Pau having added risk while playing through a groin injury (didn't come out to start the second half last game), Millsap is the best PF option at the top of the list. The o/u for ATL/PHI is 212.
Gustavo Ayon $3900-
See the theme? If you're going for something cheaper than Ayon is definitely your guy against PHI tonight. His price hasn't increased much despite a 24 17 29 fpts log as a starter with Antic sidelined. He's played 26-28 mins with 5-7 shots in each game. He looks like decently steady production and only needs 19 fpts at this price.
Andray Blatche $5900-
He has topped 30 fpts in five of six, and the Nets are going to need his offense in tonight's bout with the Thunder. The Nets play again tomorrow against the Pacers, which increases the chance that Jason Kidd is mindful of Garnett's workload tonight as well.
BEST OF THE REST
Dirk Nowitzki $8500-
He's very up and down in his age 35 season, but Nowitzki turned it on big time in his last two games putting up 61 & 46 fpts. Marion is out tonight, which could mean Dirk is leaned on a bit more than average in the rebounding department. He's at least worth a look for GPP rosters having flashed a high ceiling of late.
Ersan Ilyasova $5200-
After getting kicked in the leg last game, Ersan sat out practice yesterday and was cleared to play this morning. With 33 29 29 fpts in his last three without shooting 50% in any of them, Ilyasova may be coming into a nice stretch in his role on the Bucks (finally). But, Larry Drew could always hold him to under 24 minutes and screw fantasy owners so tread carefully. There's a report that Drew may experiment with starting Nate Wolters in a 3-guard lineup against the Nelson-Oladipo-Afflalo trio, which could add some risk if somehow Ersan and Larry Sanders are splitting time at center.
Jonas Valanciunas $5500-
Don't look now but JV is finally coming on for the Raps. He's put up a double-double in four of his last five games...playing 32+ mins in three straight averaging 11 shots and posting 33 37 31 fpts. A matchup with Denver offers a higher floor than normal for his variable self. At the beginning of December Jonas tagged the Nuggets for 18-11-3 on 8-16 shooting in 37 minutes. If anything, it's comforting to see that Dwayne Casey trusted him on the floor for that long in a matchup against the same frontcourt of Faried and Hickson. It would likely help his shots attempted if DeRozan sits.
Al Jefferson $9300-
Easily the top overall center tonight, Jefferson also gets a terrific matchup against the Lakers. AlJeff has averaged 49 fpts in his last nine games and “only” needs 45 at this price. The Lakers haven't faced many top scoring big men recently, but just for fun here are the lines for opposing larges in their last five: Hibbert-11-10-2-1 in 30 mins, Tyson Chandler- 13-14-0-1-1 in 30 mins, Tobias Harris- 28-20-4-1 in 43 mins, Bosh- 31-6-0-0-1 in 34 mins (15-22 shooting!), Joakim Noah- 17-21-6-2 in 42 mins. You're going to want a piece of AlJeff.
BEST OF THE REST
Timofey Mozgov $4400-
The Top Targets are far and away the best options at C tonight, but Mozgov offers interesting GPP value. He's topped 30 fpts in three of six (33 21 30 19 14 35 log) and posted a 16-15-1-2-2 line in 31 mins last game vs. TOR on a sustainable 6-12 shooting clip. If Jonas chokes, then Mozgov could be the value play waiting in the bushes offering a high ceiling.