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NBA Core Plays – January 4, 2019

James Harden’s game winning three-pointer last night gave me goosebumps.

And the Warriors have already lost 6 games at home this year.

This means the NBA is evening out, especially in the West and I am loving every second of it.

I mean the Sacramento Kings barely lost to the first place Nuggets last night.

When the Kings are competing, good things happen for Basketball.

But not everything can be even.

The Knicks, Suns, Cavs, and Bulls are all super trash this year and are letting the losses pile on.

Good thing they all play tonight!

So without further ado, let’s get into Today’s NBA Core Plays where I will be breaking down each position and giving you a Value Play and a Top-Tier Play.



Point Guard


Top-Tier: Brandon Ingram (PG/SG, LAL) – LeBron James is still nursing that Groin Injury which means Ingram will once again be the leader of this offensive group. Kyle Kuzma might be out tonight as well due to a lower back contusion, if he is unable to go then Ingram’s usage would be even higher. Ingram has posted 17+ points in each of his last 4 games as well as 7+ rebounds in each of his last 3. Last game Ingram had 102 touches compared to 76 touches for Lonzo Ball showing that Ingram is more involved on the ball now. 80 minutes and 88 fantasy points over his last 2 games has me very excited.


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Value: Shabazz Napier (PG/SG, BKN) – Shabazz has finally worked himself back into the rotation for the Nets. A few nights ago vs MIL he went off for 32 points off the bench on 9-16 shooting and played a whopping 33 minutes. Last game vs NO he actually entered the game at around 6 minutes in the first quarter and ended up with 12 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds on 24 minutes. Love his price tonight as Napier has found his role in this offense and is now prospering thanks to Nets lack of guard depth.


Shooting Guard


Top-Tier: D’Angelo Russell (PG/SG, BKN) – Okay, I know he plays PG, so thank DraftKings for throwing almost everyone an extra position because he can go at the SG spot too. Russell has a history of ripping up the Memphis Grizzlies like last time they met – 26 points, 8 assists, 1 block, 3 steals (45.75 fpts). Russell has been on fire as of late too with 98.75 fantasy points over his last 2 games which averages out to an insane value rating. Now I get it, Russell has been spotty at times this season but that is usually when they have depth at the guard position. With only Russell, Dinwiddie and Napier, I expect to see Russell playing around 34-35 minutes every game from now on.


Value: Josh Hart (PG/SG, LAL) – Hart is still a value play at this price because of his skill set. Hart can get you rebounds, buckets, assists, steals, blocks, literally whatever you need he will do it. I say this because of his well-rounded stat lines like last game vs OKC – 13 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal. Or the game before vs SAC – 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals. My man Josh Hart is an animal and he is getting so much playing time right now that we almost have to roster him. I mean 38 minutes last game, 40 minutes the game before and 35 minutes the game before that one. I love what he can do for our lineups at such a cheapish price.


Small Forward


Top-Tier: Paul George (SF/PF, OKC) – George has been an absolute beast for this OKC Thunder team. Can you believe at one point he was going to LAL? That would have been a mistake because this OKC team looks deadlier than ever. And George is looking deadlier than ever as a scorer. He has scored 30+ points in 9 of his last 14 games and he had double digit-rebounds in 4 of those games! Now don’t expect a blowout here as Portland is rolling out a really good offensive team which means George will need to score a lot of points. I don’t mind paying up for George as I think he will be the backbone of my lineup.


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Value: Jeff Green (SF/PF, WAS) – If you want value then look no further. 40+ fantasy points in back-to-back games, check. 36+ minutes in back-to-back games, check. Over 6 rebounds and over 6 assists in back-to-back games, check. I mean come on how is Jeff Green this low priced? I understand Otto Porter is healthy-ish now but last game he only played 14 minutes and looked rusty. I really do not think Washington is going to rush him back and start him tonight vs MIA. I expect Green to get another start and continue helping this WAS team get back into the playoff picture.


Power Forward


Top-Tier: Danilo Gallinari (SF/PF, LAC) – Gallinari is having a resurgent year for the Clippers and I love his price point tonight. 35+ fantasy points in his last 3 games shows us the consistency we want. The matchup tonight vs PHO is brilliant because the Suns can’t guard Gallinari. In 2 games vs PHO this year Gallinari has averaged 26.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2 APG, 1 BPG and 1.5 SPG. Yea I would say that Gallinari has their number. Danilo has scored 19+ points and collected 7+ rebounds in 3 consecutive games. Start this man.


Value: DeMarre Carroll (SP/PF, BKN) – DeMarre Carroll is finally healthy and has carved himself out a nice little role in this offense. 29 minutes vs NO, 35 minutes vs MIL, 31 minutes vs CHA, I think you get where I am going with this. During those game Carroll has averaged 31.75 fantasy points and at this price level I think he is a no-brainer. The injuries that forced Carroll into much more time are still there so don’t worry about him playing less tonight. If you want to play guys like Paul George then you might also have to roster Carroll.




Top-Tier: Jusuf Nurkic (C, POR) – Nurkic is coming off his best game ever as an NBA Player and it was a hell of a game for someone at the Center position. He had 24 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks and 5 steals. Like who even saw this coming? Jusuf Nurkic is a great player but usually Portland doesn’t give him enough minutes to ball out like that. Well good news is Nurkic is getting more playing time which could be because of the tightness of the playoff race already in the West. Tonight, Nurkic is matched up with Steven Adams who is a bit of a beast down low as well. It should be a nice matchup tonight, but since OKC is ranked 20th in DVP vs C, I think Nurkic will have his way down low.


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Value: Alex Len (C, ATL) – Talk about a guy who gets a ton of fantasy points in only a small number of minutes. Alex is averaging 1.2878 fantasy points per minute which is pretty good for a backup center. Now I honestly think Alex Len is a fantastic player, but he has dealt with too many injuries and his playing time is too sporadic. Len is still playing hard though and puts up numbers whether he starts or comes off the bench. He had 24 points and 11 rebounds with 3 blocks off the bench in 27 minutes on Wednesday vs WAS. The game before that, he started vs IND and only played 25 minutes, but he still dropped 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. Since the Hawks are in full tank mode already I expect to see a lot more Alex Len sightings. His price is nice too.


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