Tyler Johnson v. Chicago : $4,300
With Goran Dragic questionable tonight against Chicago, Tyler Johnson immediately goes on my radar. Johnson’s biggest fantasy drawback are his minutes, but his per 36 numbers from last year were great with 16.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.4 steals. Tyler Johnson has a good chance to earn 3-4 steals with Chicago turning the ball over 17.5 times a game for an extra 9-12 FDP. He will be especially valuable anytime he has a chance to get minutes with steals and blocks now being assessed at 3 FDP. Had this been the case last year, Johnson may have hovered around $7k for most of the season. With Dragic coming off an illness Johnson could be a spark against this weak Chicago team tonight, especially if Dragic doesn’t suit up at all. So keep an eye on his status prior to game time. A line of 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, with 3 B+P and 3 turnovers earns you 32.8 FDP.
Prediction: 26+ FDP
LeBron James v. Indiana: $10,500
I don’t bet against LeBron James scoring less than 57 FDP in this matchup. The Cavs are on a dismaying 3 game skid and the Pacers are coming in on a back-to-back. Although I believe Cleveland wins convincingly; I think they will be pressed to play LeBron upward of 37 minutes to hammer Indiana. The Pacers currently put up almost 110 points a game, so Cleveland will need to match their energy to not drop a 4th game to another talent-inferior opponent. The Cavs really need one here, and a young Pacers squad presumably with less energy than last night gives Cleveland that opportunity. LeBron only needs 52 to earn his keep, so he’s a great low-risk option that should yield about 10% more than his salary would project. A line of 29 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, with 3 B+P and 3 TO gets you 59.3 FDP.
Prediction: 56+ FDP
Rodney Hood v. Portland : $5,400
I like Rodney Hood here for $5,300 to take on the workload of matching Portland’s aggressive shooting. Portland is currently averaging 107.5 points a game, while Utah is only averaging 96. So while Utah should win this one due to their defense, they will also have to stay on track offensively. I think at home against this Portland team would be a good time for Hood to play with confidence as he goes up against the likes of CJ McCollum and Evan Turner. He just recently put up 25 points in 29 minutes against Dallas, who play a much different style and tempo than Portland, but it’s a good sign for his production. I think you can take a flyer on him if you’re looking for a shooting guard in the ballpark of 6-9% ownership. 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists with 1 TO (0 B+P) is good for 29.1 FDP.
Prediction: 27+ FDP
Jayson Tatum v. Sacramento: $5,800
Jayson Tatum was at one point priced at $7,200 this year. I wouldn’t touch him for that price, but he’s now a very reasonable $5,800 against a rookie-laden Sacramento team. Tatum hasn’t been fantasy dynamite this year with very volatile numbers, but still far from a disappointment. He’s just coming off an 11 rebound, 2 assist, 3 block game against San Antonio and should find even more opportunities to contribute against the Kings tonight. Tatum is the type of versatile player who can provide something statistically to get close to his Value-Reflecting-Salary of 29 FDP. I also like him as a young player going up against the youth of Sacramento with the likes of De’Aaron Fox and Skal Labissiere. His output is sporadic but if he could cash in 15 points, 8 rebounds, an assist, 3 B+P and keep the turnovers to 3 or less, he’s good for 32.1 FDP.
Prediction: 30+ FDP
Zach Randolph @ Boston : $4,500
Like Tyler Johnson, Zach Randolph qualifies as the type of player who can double their 5-Point-per-Thousand value. The most likely salary range to find this caliber of player is in the $4,000-$4,500 range. It’s critical to find at least two of these players to win, but in a slate as big as this you likely have a multitude of options. Randolph is without-a-doubt still capable of a 40+ FDP game. Last year, Zach took over games on the road. Lines of 28 and 9 boards at Utah, 27, 11 boards, and 6 assists at Golden State, and 24, with 10 rebounds at Dallas attest to his craft. I like Randolph against Boston on the road here for the game that Vegas is forecasting it to be. The Celtics are favored by 12 in a game that is not projected to exceed 200 points. A game like this gives Randolph a perfect opportunity to make an impact and possibly lead Sacramento to an upset. I’m going bullish here and saying Randolph cashes in 22 with 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 B+P and 1TO for 40.2 FDP.
Prediction: 33+ FDP