Welcome to the NBA Rundown for FanDuel contests on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.
Our favorite players at each position in the various price points can be found below for tonight’s eight-game slate.
Damian Lillard ($9,200)– Lillard has had two pedestrian games in a row for the Trail Blazers with one of those games coming against the Kings who he faces tonight. Those pedestrian games make me love Lillard tonight as it should keep his ownership levels down with the box score watchers and I doubt he has another 33 fantasy point game again tonight against the Kings. The reason I feel that Lillard doesn’t have another 33 fantasy point performance is a simple fact the Kings don’t defend point guards well. This season the Kings rank 21st in defensive efficiency and are allowing the most fantasy points per game to point guards. Lillard also played well in that first game against the Kings with 1.17 fantasy points per minute but he did not get to play his full allotment of minutes due to the blowout victory. While it is possible that this game is another blowout I don’t think it is and the oddsmakers agree with me as this game currently only has a spread of four points.
Caris LeVert ($8,000)– Kevin Durant told reporters that he is going to play tonight but I don’t see it happening. The Nets have no reason to play Durant in the second game of a back-to-back with him coming off that injury. If Durant does convince the team to let him play I doubt they let him play a lot of minutes. If I am right then LeVert even with his elevated salary would be one of the best plays on the board as Kyrie Irving is still out doing whatever it is Kyrie does. This season when not sharing the court with both Irving and Durant LeVert has a usage rate of 38.3% which would be one of the highest marks in the NBA and is averaging 1.46 fantasy points per minute which also would be one of the highest marks in the NBA. If we look at the three games that both players missed all together we will see that LeVert is averaging 31 points, 5.33 rebounds, nine assists, and 54.9 fantasy points in those games.
Delon Wright ($5,500)– Wright is a great value play on this slate even in the bad match-up against the Bucks who he struggled against in the Pistons’ two previous meetings. The reason why I feel this way is based on the way Wright has played the last two games with the rookie Killian Hayes out. In those two games, Wright has played over 32minutes in each game and has produced at least 28 fantasy points in each of those games.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,800)– There is so much to love about Hardaway tonight that I don’t think I have time to list them all. With that being said I am going to focus on the main reason I love Hardaway tonight and that is due to the fact that the Mavs are going to be short-handed tonight due to a Covid outbreak. The Mavs are going to be missing Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, Josh Richardson, and Jalen Brunson tonight. With most of those players out in the Mavs’ last game, Hardaway played 40 minutes and had a huge game with 36 points, five rebounds, and two assists on his way to 41 points. That was the second time in his past three games that Hardaway had scored 30 points while producing 39 fantasy points for the Mavs.
Eric Bledsoe ($5,300)– We need to watch the status of Bledsoe tonight as he is dealing with an injury. If Bledsoe is able to play I really like him as a value play due to the fact that Lonzo Ball has been ruled out for tonight’s game. Bledsoe has seen a huge increase in usage and production this season when not sharing the court with Ball. In his 118 minutes when not on the court with Ball Bledsoe has seen a usage increase over five percent to 23.0% and is averaging 0.25 more fantasy points per minute for a total of 1.06 fantasy points per minute.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,000)– If you are looking to punt the shooting guard position I don’t mind punting with KCP. KCP has been solid in his two games post-injury. In those two games, Caldwell-Pope is averaging 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, two assists, and 2.5 steals. Caldwell-Pope has at least 20 fantasy points in each of those games despite not playing more than 22 minutes in either game.
Jerami Grant ($8,300)– Grant is having a breakout season with the Pistons. Grant has scored at least 20 points in each of his nine games and for the season is averaging 25.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and two blocks+steals. Grant has at least 30 fantasy points in each of those past nine games with at least 43 fantasy points in four straight games. Two of those four games were against the Bucks who the Pistons face tonight and there is really no reason to believe that Grant doesn’t have that level of production once again.
Cameron Johnson ($4,300)– Johnson put up a dud against the Wizards in the Suns’ last game but had been playing fairly well prior to that game. In his three previous games, Johnson had scored in double-figures while producing at least 21 fantasy points. Tonight I am expecting Johnson to go back to that level of production as the Hawks are a positive match-up for him. This season the Hawks rank 19th or worst in defensive efficiency and fantasy points allowed per game to wing players.
James Johnson ($4,200)– With Maxi Kleber out we should see Johnson play minutes in the mid-20s even if Kristaps Porzingis returns from injury as Porzingis would be on a minutes restriction. In the Mavs’ last game when Johnson played 26 minutes he was excellent with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, a block, and two steals on his way to 29.5 fantasy points. While I know that was one game that is actually the level of production we have come to expect from Johnson this season when given the minutes as he has played over 15 minutes in four games this season including the last game and has produced at least 25 fantasy points in three of those four games. The Hornets are also the best possible match-up for Johnson as they are allowing the most fantasy points per game to power forwards this season.
Kyle Kuzma ($3,900)– This play is most likely going to come back to haunt my dreams but I am all over Kuzma tonight. I don’t think that Anthony Davis plays in the second night of the back-to-back especially after hurting his toe and while Kuzma bombed last time Davis was out he has normally produced with Davis out of the lineup. In the nine games that Kuzma has played that Davis has missed since last season, Kuzma is averaging 18.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Kuzma has at least 25 fantasy points in six of those nine games. The Thunder is also an elite match-up for Kuzma as they have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to power forwards this season.
Enes Kanter ($5,300)– Jusuf Nurkic is a question mark for tonight’s game and if he misses out Kanter would be a player that I am going to have 90 plus percent exposure to. Kanter would likely start in Nurkic places if he is out and play minutes in the high 20’s to low 30’s. A boost in minutes would be huge for a player like Kanter as Kanter always produces when on the court. This season Kanter is averaging 1.29 fantasy points per minute and has produced at least 21 fantasy points in all but two of his games this season despite only averaging 19 minutes a game. The Kings also profile as an excellent match-up for Kanter as they rank in the bottom five in defensive efficiency and fantasy points allowed per game to centers.
Brook Lopez ($4,500)– Lopez is not a player that I typically like to target unless one of the Bucks big three is out but I don’t mind him tonight if you are looking for a cheap center even with all three of the Bucks big three expected to play. The reason why I don’t mind Lopez tonight is due to the match-up against the Pistons. The Pistons are a team that I love to target centers against as they don’t rebound the ball well or defend centers well. This season the Pistons have the third-worst team rebounding rate and rank in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency to centers. Lopez has also played strongly in his two prior meetings against the Pistons. In those two games, Lopez averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, two blocks, and 29.6 fantasy points.