Gambling is a humbling-ass undertaking. Fred VanVleet was awful against the Orlando Magic two nights ago, finishing with nine points and five assists, shooting 4-for-12 in the process. Last night, also against the same Magic? No one saw 54 points, three steals, and three blocks (!!) on 17-of-23 shooting coming. 11-of-14 from three, too! If you opted for FVV, salute to you, but you didn’t see that shit coming either. Don’t lie.
2 / 6
Elites — Yah
Elites — Yah
👍🏽 Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
Yahoo: $47 | DraftKings: $10,000 | FanDuel: $10,200
There are so many great options tonight that it’s difficult to assess where you’ll land. Even at the center position alone, it’s like trying to choose which Miami Heat Vice Wave jersey is the best of the bunch; how do you do it? Embiid’s averaging 35.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists over his last five games in what continues to be an MVP worthy campaign. He’ll face the Charlotte Hornets, but it honestly hasn’t mattered who opposes the 76ers so long as Embiid continues to have the offense built around him. He’s been more unstoppable than Jeff Ross in a roast battle. If you steer clear from Embiid, do consider fellow centers Bam Adebayo, Christian Wood, and Clint Capela. Non-centers to look out for around this price tag? Luka Doncic, Julius Randle, and Jimmy Butler.
3 / 6
Elites — Nah
Elites — Nah
👎🏽 Brandon Ingram, SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans
Yahoo: $36 | DraftKings: $8,100 | FanDuel: $8,200
For where he is in fantasy, it’s still a “meh” compared to other options around him. Ingram’s posting formidable counting stats, but is just at 22.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game over his last 11. For that, you could save a tad and opt for Khris Middleton, who is good for 20/6/6 during the same stretch, or DeMar DeRozan, who is 20/6/4 over the last three weeks. Or you could put down a bit more for Jaylen Brown, who is at 26.5/5.9/3.7 since January 4, or the earlier mentioned Butler, who has combined for 55 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists, and four steals in his two games back from COVID. Butler also has the Washington Wizards tonight, making him a candidate for 20-10-10, if not more. Ingram faces the plodding Phoenix Suns, which doesn’t help.
4 / 6
😴 Jae’Sean Tate, PG/SG/SF, Houston Rockets
Yahoo: $11 | DraftKings: $4,700 | FanDuel: $3,900
Few players have excited daily fantasy gamblers not aware of them previously than Jae’Sean Tate. The undrafted rookie and former Ohio State Buckeye has sneakily provided quality value since making his first career start on January 14. Tate’s been in the starting lineup in all but one game since, an opportunity that arose after John Wall was inactive for what became a five-game stretch. During those five games without Wall, Tate averaged 10.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.8 blocks while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 43 percent from three. With Wall, his production has taken a slight dip, but was salvaged in his last two games powered by back-to-back double-digit scoring outings. Tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tate will be without Wall again, who is out (rest), making Tate a great value play once again. Other sleepers of note: Hamidou Diallo (No Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the Thunder), Buddy Hield, and Mikal Bridges. It isn’t like you only need to pick one, though.
5 / 6
🤷🏽♂️ Immanuel Quickley, PG, New York Knicks
Yahoo: $17 | DraftKings: $5,500 | FanDuel: $5,800
I know, I know, but we’re here now. This is admittedly more of a second-sleeper than a fuck it, but what good is establishing rules if you can’t break them yourselves? It ain’t like y’all are telling your kids not to eat chocolate chip cookies past 9 p.m., and you’re out here stuffing your face and ass three hours later, right? I thought so.
Anyway, people are waiting for the other shoe to drop with Quickley, but he’s been amazing as of late. He’s been so good that even with a 1-for-11 shooting performance against the Utah Jazz, the first-round pick from Kentucky has averaged 20.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in his last five games while shooting 44 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. Quickley’s scored 31, 6, 25, 25, and 16 points in his last five outings, and last time out, he netted seven assists, his second-highest tally of the season, and it was against the same Chicago Bulls he’ll face tonight. Of note: Quickley’s averaged 25.9 minutes during this five-game stretch, while starting point guard Elfrid Payton has dropped to 21.4. Whether or not Quickley overtakes Payton is the starter as he should is secondary to him outperforming the veteran and closing games anyway. Keep your eye on him for tonight and in general.
6 / 6