Perfection: the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. That definition, courtesy of Google, personifies Thursday night lineups. With so little margin for error, it pays to take the extra steps of research and rotation studying. Luckily for you, I do the work for you.
The four teams playing tonight are an interesting mix: Bulls, Thunder, Spurs and Warriors. Two defensive-minded, slower-paced teams and two offensive juggernauts. Instead of just loading up on the faster paced squads, realize that the other teams are going to score points too. Teams like the Bulls and Spurs will have put points up to compete and both coach Thibodeau and Popovich understand this. In some cases, these websites know you want Thunder and Warriors so players from the other teams will come at a bargain. For that reason, I wanted to focus on the teams with less fantasy talent in my article tonight.
So without further ado, here are the guys I will have in my lineup tonight and ones I will be throwing out from my list of possibilities. All prices are based on my favorite daily site (Draftkings).
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Players I Love:
Kevin Durant – $11,300 – LIke I said, I will be focusing on the Bulls and Spurs tonight, so I won’t spend too much time on Durant. Over the last 15 days, the Bulls allowed the 3rd most fantasy points per game to opposing Small Forwards. Enough said.
Joakim Noah – $7,200 – Welcome back the old Joakim Noah. In accordance with his M.O., Noah is back to his hard hat, lunch pale style of doing the dirty work. In his last seven games, he is averaging 11.6 PTS, 11.9 REB, 3.6 REB, 1.0 STL and 1.9 BLK. Over the last 15 days, Oklahoma has been slacking defensively against opposing centers. They rank 17th in fantasy points allowed against the position, and in my opinion, Kendrick Perkins stinks. Neither Perkins nor Steven Adams will be able to match Joakim’s intensity so he should be able to mimmic the numbers he has been putting up recently.
DJ Augustin – $4,000 – Even though Oklahoma City doesn’t defend against the point guard position extremely well, this isn’t a match up play. Augustin’s value is too good to pass at that price regardless of who the opponent is. Since joining the Bulls, Augustin has injected the offense with life they didn’t previously possess. Unlike Hinrich and Marquis Teague, Augustin can make his own shot. In a Thibodeau offense, crafty point guards are a perfect fit. Just look at Nate Robinson last season after Rose went down. Augustin might be even a better fit because he can distribute a little bit along with the scoring. At the moment, Augustin is a mid-tier PG along the likes of Jameer Nelson at a backup’s price. For that reason, he needs to be in your lineup every game until his price evens out.
Marco Belinelli – $3,700 – With the big three inactive, Belinelli will have to shoulder the scoring load. Belinelli already averages over 17+ fantasy points per game for the season and most of that is with most of the team healthy. In the game with the highest over/under tonight, Belinelli and Kawhi Leonard will be the team’s #1 and #2 scoring options. Game flow will determine who takes which role but both are safe bets to out-produce their price tonight. I’ll gladly take Belinelli for under $4,000 in order to get some studs in elsewhere (See Durant, Kevin).
Players I Won’t Use:
Tim Duncan/Manu Ginobili – Both are inactive in case you didn’t see the news. Tony Parker also will miss his second consecutive game.
Carlos Boozer – $6,400 – Oklahoma City, for the season, ranks 28th vs the power forward position. So why not use him? Last season in two meetings, Boozer averaged 5.5 PTS and 9.0 REB against OKC. Not much has changed for Scott Brooks’ bunch so there’s no reason to be optimistic about those numbers going up. Boozer typically doesn’t fare well against super athletic opposing PFs and Ibaka certainly fits that bill. I would just man up and spend the extra $1,000 for Joakim.
Luol Deng – $6,100 – Certainly the Bulls’ best player at this point, Deng matches up against Kevin Durant. Unsurprisingly, OKC is tough against opposing SFs: they allow the 7th least amount of fantasy points to the position over the past 15 days. Wilson Chandler just put up 13 PTS, 2 REB and 3 AST against OKC: a “yawn” of a line. Although Deng is a solid play most nights, tonight is not one of them.
If you have any further questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @RSandersFR.