Today’s slate is five games long, replicating Christmas last Friday, with hopefully more competitive outcomes and better fantasy turnouts. Here’s what to look out for tonight.
Of every point guard option today, Ja Morant’s had the most fantasy points so far this season and is priced lower than at least three others, depending on where you play. On FanDuel, he trails Trae Young, Damian Lillard, and Kyrie Irving, in terms of price. LeBron James gets added to the list on DraftKings and Yahoo, and James Harden, at over $11,000, is DK’s most expensive PG option. In all cases, justifiably so, but Morant — averaging 36 points and eight assists — is a hot-hand worth riding ahead of facing the Nets less than 24 hours following Brooklyn’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Might be wise to pair him with Nikola Jokic if you could.
My thing with Irving from a fantasy perspective is that the assists and steals just aren’t there as much as you’d like, so unless you think he’ll go off for 30 or so points, it’s difficult to justify playing him over Morant, Young, or other guys in this tier who will probably accumulate better assist/all-around numbers from point guard. Plus, Irving is on the second of a back-to-back. Sure, he might have a great game, but again, we’re talking about value here.
Excellent value for Big Nurk, who’s been steady but hasn’t had that game yet. The set up is there for him tonight with the Blazers facing the Lakers on the second of a back to back, and who are without Anthony Davis. Nurkic is universally cheaper today than Jokic, Rudy Gobert, and Jonas Valanciunas, the latter not including Yahoo, where they’re the same price. On DK, Nurkic arrives as a cheaper alternative than a few others, including Montrzel Harrell.
Murray takes on the Houston Rockets tonight, which isn’t a bad match-up for him to break out of his pre-bubble play, but again, this is another Kyrie situation. Murray is another guy who, unless he goes off, I can’t justify playing him most nights. Murray’s great games typically look like 25-point, four-assist outputs. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll pay a bit more for Morant or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
It’s served for Wright and other Pistons to engage in a defensively challenged 130-120-plus affair with the Atlanta Hawks tonight. Wright exploded (by Delon Wright standards) for 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, and one block in their last outing against another defensively challenged team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wright is clearly going to be an essential member of the Pistons so long as he remains healthy and is tonight’s best value play at guard, who does more than just score.
He probably shoots as if he were Irving and thinks he’s as good as Murray, but even at this reasonable price tag, I’m cool. Clarkson is another all or nothing guard, who only has one assist in his first two games, and probably won’t average more than two or three this season. He’s facing Oklahoma City, so maybe he does have a solid scoring tally, but I’m good, because he probably won’t provide what we need here.
We’ll briefly touch on one rookie in particular, though.
Even as a buy-low option, and even tonight against the Hawks, it just hasn’t been there for Hayes, who has struggled mightily in his first two games. Not worth the sleeper tag until he could prove it.
I know he’s scarred fantasy players with his enticing upside but miserable floor on many nights. I know it’s still too early in the season to think what he’s doing is sustainable. But Kyle Anderson is worth a look tonight. He’s averaging 13.5 points and 12.0 rebounds, and although he doesn’t always crack double-digit points, we’ve always been intrigued by the versatility he presents. It’s a low dollar amount for Anderson, who will join Morant in facing Brooklyn, and is someone who can keep this momentum going, to some degree. Those assists numbers should go up, too, even when the rebounds eventually drop.