The NBA Core Four

Welcome to the Core Four where we share four core plays for FantasyDraft that you are going to want to target for your NBA DFS contests on Monday, January 15, 2018.

In this article, I will be giving you four players to target in your cash game lineups for FantasyDraft. They will consist of two guards with one of the guards being a value play and two forwards/centers with one of those players being a value play as well.

Note these picks come from the six-game early slate on FantasyDraft.


DeMar DeRozan-$17,000-TOR

We don’t know the status of Kyle Lowry for this game yet but I am going to be operating under the assumption that Lowry sits at least another game. If Lowry does indeed sit I don’t know how DeRozan is not in your lineups. When Lowry is not on the court DeRozan is forced to do everything on the offensive end of the court for the Raptors and this season he has a usage rate of 40.5% and is averaging 1.45 fantasy points per minutes when Lowry is on the bench. In the past three games with Lowry out, DeRozan is averaging 26.7 points, 4 rebounds, and 5.7 assists. Those numbers would be even higher if not for the Raptors killing the Cavs which lead to DeRozan not having to do much and playing limited minutes. Today we can fully expect another big performance from DeRozan as the 76ers rank 22nd in fantasy points allowed and 26th in defensive efficiency to shooting guards. Even if Lowry is able to play today I still think DeRozan is an excellent play.

Value Guard

Dwight Buycks-$7,000-DET

If you are looking to roster some of the studs on this slate Buycks is a great value play as he should have similar production to what we have seen from him in the past seven games with Reggie Jackson out. In those seven games, Buycks is averaging 11.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in just shy of 20 minutes of action. Buycks has produced at least 18 fantasy points in five of those games and has four games with at least 22 fantasy points. The Hornets are also a positive match-up for Buycks as this season they rank 19th in fantasy points allowed and 22nd in defensive efficiency to the point guard position.


Kawhi Leonard-$16,100-SA

There are a lot of big name players on this slate especially at the forward/center positions but Leonard stands out to me as the cream of the crop. The reasons why Leonard stands out to me as the best of the bunch is for one the way he is playing. Leonard made his return from his shoulder injury on Saturday and didn’t miss a beat. In that game, Leonard played 28 minutes for the third straight games and had his third straight game with at least 43 fantasy points. Another reason why I like Leonard is the best stud to target today is his match-up with the Hawks as the Hawks are the best possible match-up for small forwards. This season the Hawks rank dead last in both fantasy points allowed and defensive efficiency to the position. The last reason why I really like Leonard is due to his salary as Leonard is a bit underpriced at just over $16,000.

Value Forward/Center

James Johnson-$10,000-MIA

Johnson is the perfect value play to roster in cash games today as he has been super consistent since returning from injury. In those five games, Johnson has played at least 23 minutes in four of the five games with the one game him not playing that many minutes being the game he got in a fight with Serge Ibaka. Taking that game where Johnson getting thrown out early out of the equation, Johnson is averaging 9.25 points, 5.75 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.75 blocks+steals in the other four games. In those games, Johnson has produced at least 21 fantasy points and is averaging 26.94 fantasy points in those games. With the Bulls being an average at best defensive team against forwards Johnson should have another solid game relative to his salary.

Zach Qualtieri

Zach Qualtieri

Zach is an accomplished fantasy player who has had success in multiple sports across multiple platforms. Zach specializes in cash games where he can often be found playing $25 H2Hs but has also had a lot of success in GPPs as an 11-time winner of a large field GPP. When not talking about fantasy sports, Zach enjoys hanging out with his son. If you have any questions about fantasy or sports in general Zach can be found on Twitter @zachsgotmoxy.

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