Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks: Aaron Gordon and Friday’s Top Value Targets

by Kevin Roberts
on January 20, 2017

After a crazy five-game NBA slate last night, things ramp up in the daily fantasy basketball realm on Friday night. That’s not to say things were at all quiet on Thursday, because they weren’t. Even on a slate light on true elites, we had several top-end options go nuts, with John Wall, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Nikola Jokic and Kawhi Leonard – just to name a few – topping 50+ fantasy points over at FanDuel.

That upside is always going to be your main goal when building your NBA DFS rosters, and tonight there’s plenty to chase. It does come at a price, of course, as James Harden ($12.2k) leads the way as the most expensive option on the board, while Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo are both over $11k, as well.

There are solid options a little lower down in Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins (both over $10k), but it may be hard to completely fade the studliest of studs on Friday night. Because of that, everyone will be seeking out the best value plays. To help nudge you in the right direction, we’ll take a look at our favorite value plays at each position at FanDuel:

George Hill, PG, Utah Jazz ($6.1k)

Point guard is loaded tonight, but based on pricing at FanDuel, there is not a clear elite you must roster. Russell Westbrook and John Wall don’t play tonight and the other guys at the position that would qualify as elite DFS options are a little more volatile.

You can see that right away by noting Stephen Curry is the most expensive option. He joins Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker as guys who can really blow up, but tend to be rather scoring dependent. That could mean it might not be worth investing a good chunk of your salary at point guard, and paying down for some cheaper options could be the play.

That’s the path we’re leaning towards with James Harden and Anthony Davis being tempting elsewhere tonight and George Hill is one of a handful of value point guard options that help us do that. Hill is on the road against a Dallas defense that has been solid against point guards by the numbers, but Hill dropped 25 actual points on them earlier this year and he’s facing Deron Williams. It’s really not a matchup to be afraid of, plus with Rodney Hood out, Utah needs Hill to score and distribute more than usual.

Hill seems to be due for a big game, too, as he was wrecking before getting nicked up and he hasn’t really popped off yet since getting back to the floor. With Dallas more concerned with Gordon Hayward, it’s very possible we get a big game out of Hill in this one.

Right up there with Hill, of course, are guys like Jrue Holiday ($6.5k) and Dennis Schroder ($6.3k). If you want to save even more, consider T.J. McConnell. Hill seems to have the safest floor of this group, however, and tonight he also seems to have some solid upside.

Norman Powell, SG, Toronto Raptors ($3.5k)

Powell’s role and DFS value 100% hinges to the status of DeMarre Carroll (neck), who exited Toronto’s last game and hasn’t had his status confirmed yet for tonight. If Carroll plays you can forget about Powell (as well as Terrence Ross probably) and keep on searching out some value.

However, Powell tends to start games where Carroll sits, and he tends to thrive in that enhanced role. Powell is not gun shy and tends to score well while adding some solid stats across the board. Looking back at his recent logs, he’s seen 20+ minutes seven times in his last 15 games and in those games he managed to chip in 22+ fantasy points four times. He even had 27+ fantasy points three times, so we not some safety and clear upside when he has a bigger role.

Powell obviously comes with risk any way you look at him and needs Carroll to sit, so we should also consider Orlando’s Mario Hezonja, the Lakers’ Lou Williams and the Pelicans’ Tyreke Evans. No one here is super reliable, but Lou has been heating up lately and Evans wrecked the Nets last time he faced them (and gets them again tonight at home). Mario is super unstable, but with so many injuries in Orlando, he’s a deep dive worth considering.

Aaron Gordon, SF, Orlando Magic ($5k)

Gordon feels like a great money saver that could pay off in a big way tonight. The Magic are at home but are dealing with major injuries to their offense with Jodie Meeks out for the next 4-6 weeks and Evan Fournier being ruled out again due to a heel issue:

Fournier is the bigger loss, but this robs the Magic of two great perimeter scorers and is naturally going to lead to consistent court time for Gordon, who can effectively play three positions. Run is his key, as Gordon can do a little bit of everything. With an expanded role at this price, he feels like a must play.

Most people will at least glance at Gordon due to his price and likely role, but we’ll hopefully benefit from some recency bias here. Gordon has been a little erratic lately (18 or fewer fantasy points in 2 of last 5 games), but has tons of upside and should be safe in this spot and at this price.

If you’re not enamored with Gordon, Gordon Hayward and Paul George both provide nice value at a steeper price (though they’re both vastly cheaper than Kevin Durant) and Joe Ingles ($4k) is a bigger dive that could also pay off. He’s starting and locked into run with Rodney Hood sidelined.

Julius Randle, PF, Los Angeles Lakers ($6.5k)

Randle is one of the top power forward value plays tonight, as his price has dropped back down a bit due to shaky play. He’s too good to stay grounded forever, however, and tonight he has a solid matchup at home against a Pacers team that struggles defensively and specifically is bad all around on the road.

Randle is bound to turn things around eventually and at a discount, this looks like a great spot to roll the dice on him. There just isn’t much at PF to confide in once you get past the top options. It might be safer to use Anthony Davis and maybe get Draymond Green or Paul Millsap as that secondary option, but we think Randle could be in line for a big game.

Even if he doesn’t erupt, Randle rebounds well and tends to play well at the Staples Center, so hitting around 30+ fantasy points feels like a good spot to shoot for.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors ($5.7k)

Center is loaded tonight, so like usual, don’t take every single daily fantasy basketball value pick that we like as gospel. Jonas V can be a real turd and we haven’t been immune to his stinker outings, but he also can blow up with great rebounding and block numbers. In fact, in his last five games, he’s topped 30+ fantasy points four times and had a 46-point fantasy gem.

Valanciunas has a nice matchup against the Hornets down low on paper and has hovered around a double-double in the last five games he’s faced them. Charlotte is at home and does have a collection of bigs to throw at them, but they don’t have a dominant post scorer that will crush him on the glass or get him into serious foul trouble. On paper, he has a good matchup, is a good price and could provide nice relief at a position you may not want to feel forced into spending at.

Center may be stacked, but look at some of the matchups and reliability. Boogie faces Marc Gasol on the road, Robin Lopez (who normally is a solid punt play) has a bad history against Dwight Howard and there just aren’t many sexy option that help you save like Jonas V. In fact, the two centers we’re targeting the most are Jonas and Myles Turner (awesome matchup vs. Lakers). Both should help you save and also give you a solid shot at 30+ fantasy points.

Remember, these are daily fantasy basketball picks we like and plan on using in cash games and tourneys tonight. If you don’t feel it, don’t force it. As usual, no matter the path you take, we hope it leads to big winnings. Good luck in tonight’s NBA DFS contests!

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