Welcome, to the Judge’s Verdict. We have an excellent eight-game NBA slate to kick off the week– so let’s get right down to business.
Here are some of my top tournament plays for today’s slate.
Note: The numbers in parenthesis refer to the salaries of that particular player. The first number is the FanDuel (“FD”) salary, while the second number is the DraftKings (“DK”) salary.
Dennis Smith Jr. (5.1, 4.5)
It has been incredibly depressing to watch DSJ play this year. The combination of Carlisle and Doncic has destroyed his confidence on the court. And it doesn’t help things that he barely gets to touch the ball on the offensive end if he doesn’t get off to a quick start. But, with that said, he is now at a price I simply cannot ignore. Playing way up in pace against the Lakers, I think there is a very good chance DSJ plays 28-30 minutes and gets us 35 fantasy points. If you’re watching the game, we’ll know within the first few minutes what kind of night we’re in for…so let’s hope he comes out aggressive (and Donic lets him touch the ball).
James Harden (12.9, 12.0)
I just don’t envision myself fading Harden tonight too much. He is the only offensive weapon that Houston has right now, and his usage is astronomical without CP3. We easily have the value to fit him in, so I am not going to overthink this one. His last game against Portland, he was a walking disaster and still had around 55 fantasy points on 13-35 shooting (5-17 from three point range). Harden will be chalk, but I can differentiate tonight at the other positions.
Jonathan Isaac (4.3, 3.8)
I will be playing 2-3 Orlando guys in most of my lineups because the Kings play at a video game level pace. If you look at Isaac’s game logs, you may feel ill, and you will feel underwhelmed. If you’ve watched Orlando play, you know that Isaac has almost no role on the offensive end. He goes 10-12 possessions up and down the court without touching the ball. But, he is an athletic freak of nature. If the pace of this game goes crazy, Isaac is going to get 5+ steals and blocks in his normal 25+ minutes per night. And, he should be able to get some easy scores in transition. At his price, we do not need much – and Isaac can get us 25 fantasy points or so tonight with relative ease.
Aaron Gordon (7.2, 6.7)
I have a sign above my desk that reads “Why Do You Exist?” and then list some of my most frustrating NBA players this season. Aaron Gordon is currently No. 3 on that list. Gordon has been mediocre, to say the least, this year, and his effort is questionable at best on certain nights. However, I just cannot pass up this matchup. The pace and lack of defense of the Kings should cover up Gordon’s flaws tonight. Plus, Gordon is still seeing around 35 minutes a night over the last month and usage actually has been trending up.
DeAndre Jordan (6.8, 6.1)
I will make all of you a deal. If Jordan doesn’t get us 40 fantasy points tonight against the Lakers, I will never write about him again this year. I am so SICK of rostering Jordan. He is clearly on the decline right now in every facet of his game. Also, I’ve noticed that Doncic refuses to pass him lobs on the pick n roll the last couple weeks (which has been odd…is there tension there?). However, I don’t have the salary to fit Vucevic, Clint, or even Marc Gasol in the first few lineups I built, so Jordan seems to make some sense. If you do have the salary, I recommend grabbing one of those guys instead. However, I will try Jordan one final time in some tournaments and hope he can excel in the fast-paced game against the Lakers. I am not confident in this pick, but sometimes guys simply fall into our lineup based on roster construction. So, to recap: if you want to suffer a bit with me, play some Jordan. If you have the money, spend up.