When the slate is light and the pickings are slim, few things are more important than knowing who to fade in daily fantasy basketball. I'm sure many people would have loved to know who to fade on a heavy 12-game Wednesday night, especially since we saw a few guys exit with ailments or stay on the court long enough to sack our souls into oblivion.
I'm looking at you, Chris Bosh.
Man, last night was brutal. Every day brings a new do-over opportunity, though, and I'll take mine in the form of an oddly fun three-game schedule on Thursday night. LeBron James and Kevin Durant wage war, while we also get another Kobe vs. Dwight moment in L.A. tonight. The other game on the night features the Raptors and Hornets.
Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors
I'm not into Lowry tonight for five pretty logical reasons: he's not exactly cheap, he's on the road against a sound defensive team, DeMar DeRozan is way cheaper, there is value at the point guard position and he's been posting pedestrian numbers. For this price, the last part is what grinds my gears, as Lowry hasn't topped even 38 fantasy points in four straight games. He's a fine play if you're not using Russell Westbrook, but Kemba Walker is a good $1.3k cheaper and I really like the value of guys like Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and D'Angelo Russell tonight. I'm leaving Lowry off my daily fantasy basketball squad tonight.
Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russ is not a consistent God when Kevin Durant is healthy. That's never been more obvious than in the past week or two, when he's twice now posted just 30 fantasy points or fewer. That's gross to hear or think about considering his talent and explosive nature. I also understand the very real possibility of him not being a fan of his line last night and coming out in a huge game against the Cavs and going nuts. That's certainly something that could happen. But we should be playing the odds here in terms of pure value, as KD and LeBron James are both cheaper and from a consistency perspective look to be the better plays.
J.R. Smith, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers
Smith can get super hot from outside and is still getting solid run, but Cleveland now has four healthy guards and he's just not as likely to explode as he could have been a few weeks ago. Iman Shumpert is back to steal minutes off the bench and both Matthew Dellavedova and Mo Williams are also good to go. Things are really going to get weird when Kyrie Irving returns to the court, but even aside from that I'm not overly into a guy like Smith, who is generally a shaky player even when he's kind of on. He hasn't been doing anything for me lately, either, with 19 fantasy points or fewer in his past three games. I like the price and run, but I'd rather pay a little more for Kobe or save on Jeremy Lamb tonight.
Nicolas Batum, SF, Charlotte Hornets
The top power forward and center options are pretty self explanatory tonight, so the only other spot you need to be careful is small forward. If I can help it, I'm using KD, Bron or Ariza or some pairing combination of those three. Heck, maybe all three. I'm not using Batum, though. He never works out for me personally and last night he exited Charlotte's game with an illness. It's very strange that he never works for me, too, considering every game I don't use him, the guy is routinely getting 35-40 fantasy points. Here's a fun experiment: I'll use Batum every day for the rest of the year and you can fade him while we watch me curse him into a never-ending string of horrid performances. Kidding aside, the guy isn't fully healthy and I just got sacked by him. I'd wait a game to pull the trigger again.
Again, this list does not mean all four of these guys will for sure be awful. More than anything, when I fade guys it's just because a combination of things force me to like other options better. Fading Lowry and Russ to get someone like Lou Williams so you can save to get both KD and LeBron isn't a bad idea. It might not be the move that wins you all of the money, but it probably won't sink you, either. Regardless of your strategy in daily fantasy basketball leagues tonight, good luck!