The purpose of this NBA FanDuel Picks column is to first identify key building blocks that can be used for any roster construction and then identify pivot points to help differentiate your lineup in hopes of a big payday!
For those of you that are new to Picks and Pivots, we will go through the season tracking trends in this space by looking at the winning GPP lineups each day.
One of the most basic questions when starting out the NBA season is how many points should I be targeting for tournament entries? A good rule of thumb is that you want your players to exceed 6x their salary so on a $60k team salary you are looking for 360+ points. If you spread that out over a roster of 9 players, that is an average of 40 points per player.
Now it is unreasonable to expect every player to hit that target, especially when you are utilizing value plays but remember that is the average you need over the course of your roster!
To start the year, I would simply build your roster with the simple 6x rule in mine and do the math quickly. Can I see player X hitting 6x their salary? For example, LeBron James is priced at $9,600 so in order to return value he would need to exceed 57 points.
This is not a hard and fast rule, but as we go through the season I will track the trends each night to understand the target multiplier we should use as our baseline.
Over the first 27 slates, we have seen the average winning GPP score at 371.3 a night which means we have needed 6.19x value to win big!
Friday’s Main NBA action kicks off at 7:00PM EST with 14 games on the main slate and no shortage of superstars to choose from. Without further ado – let’s get into our top picks for the day!
Jeff Teague ($6,900) Friday night we return to the NBA after having Thanksgiving off and are immediately greeted with a huge 14 game slate. Similar to what we saw on Wednesday, we have utilize a more fair and balanced lineup construction with slates of this size and with so many teams in action we have a ton of value options to build around!
The Pacers get one of the best match-ups on the board as they face off with a Brooklyn team that is giving up the most fantasy points to opposing teams and is dead last against opposing PG’s. The Pacers have a 112.3 implied team total which is the second highest mark on this slate and is over 7 points higher than their team average. The Pacers also see the second largest pace increase of any team on this slate so we want as much exposure as we can get to this game!
Teague has put up at least 34 FD points in 5 of his last 6 games and has exceeded 40+ FD points in two of his last three contests.
Rajon Rondo ($5,700) The Bulls get to take on the Sixers in Philadelphia on Friday and with a 7.5 point spread, this should be a solid spot to target the Bulls as we can expect a full complement of minutes from the starters.
The Sixers are 25th in the NBA in DvP to opposing PG’s and Rondo is coming off 3 straight 30+ FD performances on the back of 10 rebounds/game and 9.3 assists/game. Rondo’s ability to contribute in non-scoring categories gives him a relatively safe cash game floor and elite GPP upside as if he can get extended scoring opportunities he could put up a GPP winning triple double!
Victor Oladipo ($5,900) The OKC-Denver game opens with only a 2.5 point spread and a 210 combined team total so this is a spot we will want exposure to and if we are fading Russell Westbrook than his running mate Oladipo makes for an elite pivot at SG.
Oladipo could not ask for a better match-up as the Nuggets are dead last in the league in DvP to opposing SG’s. Oladipo has seen an uptick in minutes, at least 36 in each of his last five games and with it has come an increased level of production! Oladipo is averaging 35 FD points per game over his last five games which is nearly 10 points higher than his season average and looks to be in an ideal spot to continue his run in this spot!
Zach Lavine ($5,700) The Timberwolves-Suns games has the fifth highest combined team total and with a 1 point spread, this is a great game to target on this slate. The Wolves see the largest bump in pace of any team on the slate and the athletic Wolves wings should be able to exploit the up-tempo Suns.
Lavine has eclipsed 30 FD points in 3 of his last 7 contests and continues to be a high volume offensive target as evidenced by his 22 shot attempts in his last game. This game is going to be played at a fast pace and should stay close through-out so Lavine should continue to chuck up shots and as the potential to crush value at this sub 6k price point!
Jimmy Butler ($8,800) Butler is coming off back to back 55+ FanDuel performance and gets to face off Friday with the Sixers who are giving up the most points to opposing SF’s on the season. On a slate of this size Butler is going to be a key cog in all of my lineups as he has 50-60 FD point ability at a price point under $9k.
Maurice Harkless ($4,500) The Portland-Pelicans game has the second highest implied team total on the slate (219) and with a 4 point opening spread there should be plenty of fantasy goodness to attack in this one.
The Pelicans have been brutal defensively on the wings all season, ranking 26th in DvP to opposing SF’s on the season. Harkless has played 34+ minutes in 3 of his last 4 games and is coming off his best game of the year where he put up 30+ FD points against Cleveland (6x value) with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Harkless is one of the best value plays on the board in a game we want exposure to and can be easily paired with Butler in all formats when locking down your SF position.
Anthony Davis ($11,600) If there is one high-end superstar worth paying up for on this slate, The Brow is the one player I will look to make salary room for. When you are looking at players over $11k in salary we need to identify spots where we can get 60-70 FD point performances and considering AD has 63+ FD points in 3 of his last 4 games, this is a spot where he should be able to approach that lofty expectation.
Portland is 29th in the NBA in DvP to opposing PF’s and Davis just put up 67.8 FD points against this team a week ago so I feel confident (as confident as you can with the Brow) that he should be able to approach that total again on Friday!
Thaddues Young ($5,600) Thad Young revenge game? The Pacers head to Brooklyn where Young gets to take on his old team, one that ranks tied for dead last(with Portland) against opposing PF’s in DvP.
Thad has exceeded 6x value in 2 of his last three games and in this match-up should be able to dominate the Nets and approach GPP winning value again!
Alex Len ($5,300) This one is injury dependent but if Tyson Chandler misses another game than Alex Len should continue to start at Center for the Suns against Minnesota. Len is coming off back to back double-double and has his 6x value on average in his last two games. Minnesota has actually struggled against opposing Centers this year, ranking 21st in DvP to opposing bigs this season!
Best of luck tonight – stay tuned to Fantasy CPR on Twitter as we look to release lineup news and late breaking roster alerts throughout the day! We will see you back here on Saturday for some more NBA action!
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