It's been too long. Hopefully this bubble turns into one of the few good ideas to come out of this quarantine and we can enjoy a few decent nights of basketball. Two game slates are never ideal since it guarantees repeated lineups, but it opens the door for low-priced sleepers to be the deciding factors. Playing in Orlando removes home court advantage from every game and that should lead to more intense games, which should favor hustle players, superstars, and energetic young players in terms of box score numbers. It's going to be weird, and that means it's going to take a lot of focus and persistence from players if they want to thrive (the way we want them to for DFS purposes). That will be the philosophy going forward, and with the four teams playing Thursday, there is no shortage of value and upside. Looking at the top stars tonight Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Paul George and Anthony Davis are go-to guys. With Davis seeming almost uncontested against the Clippers frontcourt, while Kawhi Leonard should be the lowest owned superstar basing it off Paul George's ridiculously low price.
Immediately looking at the value of both games, Brandon Ingram sticks out as a too-cheap-to-fade option based on the matchup. Rudy Gobert roams the paint, but he won't be able to help out on Ingram if he decides to stick to his pull-up and mid-range like he wants to. Despite the Jazz defense having the ability to stop some of the best offenses, Ingram's style removes Gobert from the equation, not to mention Zion Williamson just returned to practice. Whether or not he will play or not is still a question, but if he does, Gobert won't have the chance to settle in and bait Ingram and the rest of the Pelicans offense like he wants to. In the Laker-Clipper game, Lou Williams has officially opened the window for one Clippers player to shine and maybe not become a household name, but to become a DFS legend, obviously just for one night. Unfortunately, Reggie Jackson is about to have 100% ownership and his double-double will go down in history as a wash, while those who played Frank Jackson benefit from an unexpected bubble debut.
In this article, I will be providing you with my daily fantasy basketball lineup picks for FanDuel on 7/30/20. You can also check out today's DraftKings lineup picks. Remember to monitor injury news as the slate can completely change before lineup lock. Good luck!
FanDuel DFS Guards
Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, NO vs UTA ($3,500)
Frank Jackson might have been the teaser in the introduction, but Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been playing just as many minutes and there is no real reason you can't run both Alexander-Walker and Jackson in the same lineup. They don't subtract despite playing together, and with this being the debut, it's hard to really say which way coaches will lean. Will they go all out in terms of trying to win with few games, or will they save their players and be more concerned with the health aspect.
Initially, the coaches should ween a more winning attitude onto the players and treat these first few games as participation games. It's doubtful they throw games away for the sake of playing bench players, but looking at the Pelicans bench regardless, Jackson and Alexander-Walker are at the top of the food chain...you know, at the bottom of the totem pole. If you need more reassurance, look at the shot distribution and you see a clear pattern of where both guards leave plenty of room to crush their basement level pricing.
Josh Hart - SG, NO vs UTA ($4,400)
If you are concerned about going too cheap and it coming back to haunt you, Josh Hart can offer an equally disturbing monster to mess around with. He does offer more upside and his price reflects that, but it's hard to picture Hart not playing with added intensity. Hart is one of the few players that seems to play the game regardless if fans were watching. He will miss shots. He'll probably airball one attempt Thursday, but the way the Jazz play, at a slow place, Hart is guaranteed to cause a disturbance, not to mention his defense will be needed on an individual level. There are quite a few factors working in Hart's favor here, but his scoring ability does limit his upside unless it's just one of those nights.
Terance Mann - SG, LAC vs LAL ($3,500)
In complete honesty, Reggie Jackson is more than likely going to take up most of the usage that would have gone to Lou Williams. Nothing wrong with that, but already, Jackson's ownership is going to be a tough spot to waste a lineup on. Rodney McGruder has had big games when asked to step up in the past and he has been Doc Rivers go-to-guy when he needed a replacement guard or small forward throughout the "original" season. He has that ability, but otherwise is extremely underwhelming as a player. He does little things, rarely shoots, but when he has one of those nights, he absolutely crushes, but that is usually because his price is always so low.
Terance Mann on the other hand, has shown flashes of having high-volume shooting nights and can fill the box score because of his playmaking and hustle. He does struggle and if the right player is guarding him, let's say a Danny Green or Avery Bradley, it's going to be a tough night. Assuming the Clippers are in full force, minus Lou Williams, McGruder should get the start, but Mann, along with a few others, will have the green light.
Jordan Clarkson - PG, UTA vs NO ($4,300)
This is easily the safest value guard in the player pool. Jordan Clarkson is a shooter at heart, and not only is he finally playing for a contender, but he was playing arguably some of the best basketball he's ever played before the shutdown. Aside from Joe Ingles and Bogdan Bogdanovic the Jazz lack confident outside shooters. Clarkson adds a shooter and someone that can attack the rim with ease, opening up space for everyone else in the offense, an ideal fit. You don't need to look at the previous box scores for Clarkson to know what you are going to get nightly from him. You just have to know whether he is playing or not. Well, Thursday night he plays the Pelicans, and despite the Pelicans being extremely exciting from an offensive standpoint, their defensive backcourt is severely lacking and Clarkson will exploit that simply by being on the court.
FanDuel DFS Forwards
JaMychal Green - PF, LAC vs LAL ($3,600)
JaMychal Green lives outside and far from the spotlight. He was only averaging close to 20 minutes a game this season, but the Clippers had a decent rotation and Green was healthily seeing minutes and usage regardless. When playoffs came, Green was set for heavier minutes because of how well he can fill any role, play defense at a high-level, and in some cases stretch the floor. With the Clippers rotation still up for grabs, it's pretty certain that a healthy Green will see plenty of minutes in a dilapidated frontcourt. It won't be an easy task going up against someone like JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard or worst case scenario, LeBron James, but minutes are minutes and Green should be a main recipient along with Joakim Noah, who looks ready to start in any contest.
Kyle Kuzma - PF, LAL vs LAC ($4,700)
It's hard to gauge when Kyle Kuzma is going to have a good game and the first game back after a quarantine doesn't strike me as one of those times for an offensive explosion. Then again, anything can happen and with a price that low, I'll take the chances. His height alone makes it hard for the Clippers to really stick someone on him and if he does end up hitting his shots, Kuzma rarely disappoints. It's a bold strategy and I doubt Kuzma makes it into many final lineups, but based on price he's a great pick.
Marcus Morris - PF, LAC vs LAL ($4,200)
As a much safer alternative to JaMychal Green, Marcus Morris has a better track record and is set for more minutes and usage, just at a slightly more expensive cost. It would be wise to free up the cap space to roster Morris over Green, but I wouldn't sell out on an entire lineup for the price differential. This game is going to be intense and it'll be hard to keep these players from trying to win the first game back, especially one between both Los Angeles teams. This is the type of game Morris thrives in, so even with his hands full playing against the unstoppable Lakers frontcourt, Morris will make sure to return the favor on the other end and his price is too low to pass up. Based on every option listed, Marcus Morris has more security in my lineup than Kuzma and Green combined.
Dion Waiters - SF, LAL vs LAC ($3,800)
Now I do not know Dion Waiters on a personal level, but I can only imagine the excitement surrounding his official return. If the scrimmages were any indication, he's ready to contribute and Waiters Island is fully functioning and apparently cheap upon the NBA's restart. It's a risk, there's no hiding that and there's no reason to. Waiters plays a shooters role and with the Lakers offense, he might have to adapt to find comfort. That's just looking at it from an analytical standpoint because based on the eye test, you would have thought his price would be closer to $5,000. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has the most to lose and depending on the night, it's going to come down between who is more valuable. Waiters' shooting, or Caldwell-Pope's defense.
FanDuel DFS Centers
Derrick Favors - C, NO vs UTA ($5,400)
Not only is this a revenge game, but Derrick Favors is a walking double-double, even in limited minutes. (I had to double-check the price to make sure it was really that low.) Of course, things are always going to be uncertain within these first few games, but even Gobert can't really keep Favors from getting to his spots. He's built a career off of being an immovable object in the paint that has the touch to drag big-men into no man's land. Look for that to happen a lot this bubble (get used to that), especially if players struggle to adapt to the new environment. Favors' post game is just as good as anyone's and if your offense is struggling like the Pelicans has in the past, a mix of Favors stationary brute strength and Williamson's flying hulk routine will jumpstart even the slowest paced offenses.
Joakim Noah - C, LAC vs LAL ($3,800)
JaVale McGee was the placeholder before Joakim Noah stole the headline, so look for both to be exceeding their projected scores Thursday. McGee's downside comes from that he can't play 35 minutes a night and he splits time with Dwight Howard, but other than that, at $4,400, McGee is just as worthy as a roster spot as Noah, especially seeing how McGee was actually playing consistently during the "original" season. That being said, Noah has looked fantastic in the scrimmages and there's no reason to fade him as confident as he has been playing. He fills a much needed role on the Clippers and since this will be a matchup we'll see in the future, expect him not to take it lightly. His style is hard to mimic and he brings a totally different style to the table, so not only with he have to figure out how to deal with the Lakers, but the Lakers will have to figure out how to play against Noah.
More DFS Lineup Picks and Analysis