Hope everyone had a safe Groundhog Day. I know the holiday can cause quite the ruckus, especially when we are to have 6 more weeks of winter.
We have at least 6 more weeks of NBA regular season action (and more), and tonight is a nice, hefty 9-game slate.
If you are just joining in for the Value Index, our path to success is really simple. I make a handful of picks – one player at each position using DraftKings pricing and position eligibility. I provide these selections with the caveat that these players will hit at least 5x. Most of the time, I would also play these players in either cash game or tournament formats, regardless of ownership.
I feel we have had a great run so far, and hope it is sustainable. Hope you have been enjoying it as well. I am a bit under the weather with writing this, so this intro will be short.
Wednesdays and Fridays are freebies for the Index, but you can extend the freebies into next week by signing up for our 7-day free trial to our premium content.
Before we get down to business, let it be known that I don’t feel like the value has opened up just yet, so today’s 5 selections are a little bit more pricey. I don’t know if you can fit them all into one lineup. Deron Williams news, plus a few other tidbits, would certainly vault a number of players into the top value plays of the night. #YogitheGOAT
Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers – vs. Dallas Mavericks – $8,000
Analysis: You can take Jeff Teague for $500 less, but you do have to worry about the possible blowout against Brooklyn. Lillard was just $8700 last game, but now comes into tonight’s game at a very low price. Considering his floor is around 35 points and he sees most of the usage on his team, Lillard is almost a lock and load for me tonight. The Mavs are one of the slowest paced teams, and are tough on point guards, but we don’t know the status of Deron Williams, meaning we could see Yogi Ferrell running point once again. Pace usually favors the home team, and the Blazers should control more of an uptempo style of offense in this one. $8K is just far too cheap for a guy who has averaged 40.9 points over his last 9 games.
Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns – vs. Sacramento Kings – $6,800
Analysis: The Sacramento Kings are bottom 5 against shooting guards on this slate. Allowing 43.6 fantasy points per game, the Kings will see one of the more consistent producers of fantasy points in the past 13 games. Booker has finally started to become a solid player with consistency. He’s scored at least 33 fantasy points in 12 of those past 13 games as well, including 8 straight. There may not be a better shooter with a better matchup on the board. This game should stay close with Sacramento favored by just 5 points. The O/U is at 217, one of the highest of the slate. Stay tuned, another guy from this game is going to make this list.
Jimmy Butler – Chicago Bulls – vs. Houston Rockets – $9,000
Analysis: With all the turmoil surrounding Chicago in the past couple of weeks, perhaps the Bulls have started to turn a corner. They blew out OKC and Philly in their past two games and without Rondo, it’s become a two-man show with Dwayne Wade and Jimmy Buckets. This is a pace-up game for Chicago, who comes in as only 6.5-point dogs in the highest O/U game on the slate at 222. Butler has scored 40 points in 4 of his last 5 games, including two games with 55 or more points. At $9,000 with the highest usage rate on the team, Butler is one of the top plays on the board tonight. Butler will see defense from Harden and/or Ariza most likely, and even if he does see Beverly, Butler has the size and athleticism to do what he wants in a pace-up game.
DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings – vs. Phoenix Suns – $10,900
Analysis: Cousins under $11K against a faster-paced team? Yes! Boogie’s price went down for this game and it’s hard not to want to play the top player on the slate in every single lineup tonight. Cousins has a usage rate near 35% and there’s no Rudy Gay, no Garrett Temple, maybe no Ty Lawson, so more opportunities should funnel to Boogie against a frontcourt that has trouble stopping PFs all season, allowing 47.4 fantasy points per game to the position and 49.5 FPPG to centers (Boogie plays both at times). Cousins might be very chalky, but he should at least be in your cash games tonight at home coming off a poor performance on the road in Houston.
Brook Lopez – Brooklyn Nets – vs. Indianapolis Pacers – $6,500
Analysis: So Lopez hasn’t made the Index in the last couple of slates, and his production has capped out at 23 and 27.8 fantasy points. I am not saying there’s a correlation there, but Lopez is back on the Index for tonight at a reduced price. The Pacers are second to last in fantasy points allowed to centers based on the teams playing on this slate. Indy is allowing 52.4 FPPG to the position while Lopez has the highest usage rate on the Nets, who play much better at home than on the road. There’s easily 40-point upside here, and if by some miracle he could get a few extra rebounds, this play would be almost astronomical in tournaments. Lopez is always a cash game option (along with Mason Plumlee, who I also like), but center is a strong position tonight, so I like BroLo to have low ownership in tournaments because of that reason and because of recent performance.