Three games tonight, and the best one features the New York Knicks. God bless if tonight’s a big gambling night for you because this is one of the season’s worst evenings on paper so far. No, it’s not because of the Knicks: Their match-up with the Utah Jazz saves this from being downright abysmal. That won’t stop us from foolishly putting money on the line because sometimes, these are the best nights to secure winnings on. Still, though. Wizards against Rockets? Depleted Clippers versus potentially severely shorthanded Hawks?
Elites - Yah
👍🏼 Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards
Yahoo: $47 / DraftKings: $9,900 / FanDuel: $10,300
He’s averaging about 35 points per game, the Wizards don’t have anyone else reliable to run their offense through, and you only have three games to choose from. A productive Bradley Beal fantasy night is as guaranteed as this game against the Houston Rockets hitting whatever the over is. You might as well bet that, too. This one doesn’t require but so much thinking. Do consider pairing him with any of Julius Randle, Clint Capela (if active), and or Donovan Mitchell while you’re at it. Stay away from his fellow backcourt mate, though.
Elites - Nah
👎🏼 Russell Westbrook, PG/SG, Washington Wizards
Yahoo: $42 / DraftKings: $9,600 / FanDuel: $9,900
Playing Westbrook costs how much, now? Even after a nine-point, eight-rebound, and six-assist performance in his first game back? Nah, yo. You’re not getting me. Sure, there may be a level of vengeance he’d like to exercise on the Houston Rockets, but James Harden, and Daryl Morey aren’t there, and I’m not sure how pissed Westbrook is at, say, John Wall? Victor Oladipo? Who knows. Bottom line is, he doesn’t appear to be 100 percent, and is far too expensive as a result. I won’t leap and say he’s declining here, but that’s another column for another day. Consider Wall at point guard instead. He should be the vengeful one tonight. Non-emotional point guard alternatives include, really, just Mike Conley, unless you want to take a chance on Trae Young (game-time decision) or someone else we’ll discuss later.
😴 Nicolas Batum, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers
Yahoo: $21 / DraftKings: $6,300 / FanDuel: $5,500
Batum should be the Clipper that most benefits in the absence of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard tonight. Both swingmen are expected to miss this week of games due to COVID protocol, and Patrick Beverley will also sit tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks due to right knee soreness. Batum has been a bit of a fantasy sleeper revelation, easily playing his best basketball in about three years. He’s currently averaging 10.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 steals in about 29 minutes per game while a Clipper, playing a much more crucial role than many expected. Without Leonard and George, expect an uptick in minutes and production. For now, his price point is still generous, especially considering the three-game slate. Another sleeper to ponder may be his teammate Luke Kennard. We’re still waiting for him to earn those $64 million, and if he doesn’t this week, especially tonight in Atlanta, then I don’t know, man. He’s also cheaper than a Stimulus Check, so why not play him?
🤷🏼♂️ Immanuel Quickley, PG/SG, New York Knicks
Yahoo: $14 / DraftKings: $5,200 / FanDuel: $5,000
We’re gambling after all, right? Quickley just exploded for 31 points against the Portland Trail Blazers, and while the expectation isn’t a repeat performance, a thin slate means you need to scowl the landscape for upside, and you could get it here with the Knick back-up. The Kentucky-alum and rookie sharpshooter is averaging 11.0 points, 2.6 assists, and is shooting 37 percent from three. What you’re banking on is that Elfrid Payton has another lackluster outing — being guarded by Mike Conley may help in that regard — opening the door for Quickley to see 20-25 minutes. If he does, I like his odds in paying off the spot you’d award him in your lineup. Trying to predict which of the Knick point guards will “have it” on any given night has been a difficult season-long task, though. Again, even against the Utah Jazz, Quickley is one of the more cost-effective intriguing options on tonight’s light set of games. Fuck it, why not?