Which players should you build around and which players should you fade in DFS as we tip off Tuesday’s NBA action? Our experts have the answers.
Today’s panel includes ESPN Fantasy’s André Snellings and Kyle Soppe, and DFS expert Renee Miller.
Players to build around
Renee Miller — LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
There are several interesting point guards and small forwards to spend on tonight, but nothing stands out quite as much as the matchup Aldridge gets with the Cleveland Cavaliers. While they have been a top-five matchup for power forwards all season, no team has given up more fantasy points to that position over the past five games than the Cavs. Meanwhile, Aldridge is the anchor this Spurs team needs with Dejounte Murray taking the reins from Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard being hurt or alienated, or whatever it is today. He’s coming off a terrible game for him (though he still double-doubled), and should bounce back nicely tonight in one of the few games expected to be competitive.
André Snellings — LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
Aldridge has been the focal point of the Spurs offense all season with Kawhi Leonard out. He’s coming off a down game where he netted only a 10-point/10-rebound double-double, but in the three games before that he averaged 25.3 points and 11.0 rebounds. He has an excellent chance to bounce back on Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been in a defensive crisis of late. They are allowing 121.9 points on 50.3 shooting in their past seven games, and have allowed the second-most fantasy points in the NBA to opposing power forwards over their past five games.
Kyle Soppe — Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings
Building around a young King is as scary as it sounds, but hear me out. First of all, opportunity breeds fantasy value, and given that Cauley-Stein has played at least 37 minutes in three of his past four games, he checks that box. And we aren’t talking empty minutes, as his average number of shots per game has increased each month this season and his season usage rate ranks just below that of Karl-Anthony Towns. So if we assume that WCS is going to be heavily involved, how can you possibly avoid him in a matchup against a Magic team that ranks 29th in rebounding and dead last in defending the paint? A double-double feels like a lock tonight with Nikola Vucevic continuing to nurse his hand injury, and Cauley-Stein’s defensive prowess on top of his sheer volume of shot attempts makes him the type of high-ceiling option that I’m rostering in both cash games and GPPs.
Players to fade
Renee Miller — Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers
Clarkson is one of my favorites, but his salary is to the point where I’m not just thinking twice, I’m fading. That is more true than ever against the Boston Celtics tonight. Boston owns the league’s best defensive efficiency rating and plays at a much slower pace than the Lakers are accustomed to. On the season, Boston has limited opposing shooting guards to the fifth-fewest fantasy points, and they’ve been even better defensively during the past couple weeks. Clarkson was spectacular in the previous two games with Lonzo Ball and Kentavius Caldwell-Pope out (likely the case again tonight), but faces a much tougher test versus the Celtics.
André Snellings — Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Love is coming off an illness that limited him to only three minutes on Saturday. He was struggling even before the illness, averaging just 23.9 minutes per game in January with 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists. He was in the midst of arguably his best season in a Cavaliers uniform through December, but physical issues and a changing role have diminished him of late. He has the talent to bounce back at any given time, but that would seem unlikely on Tuesday against a strong Spurs defense that has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing power forwards and the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing centers this season.
Kyle Soppe — Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder
I love what he brings to the table for this team, but given his low usage rate in a game that has blowout potential … I’ll pass. The Nets struggle in plenty of areas, but they are a top-10 defensive rebounding team, thus putting Adams’ point total at risk due to his reliance on putbacks. Even if you believe that Adams is a matchup-proof rebounder, what is going to stop the Nets from wrapping him up should he get the ball in a dangerous position (he has made just five of his past 19 free throws)? There is always the chance that the Thunder blow out the Nets because of Adams, but there is more risk at this price point in an offensively limited player than I am willing to take.