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 22, 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.


Khris Middleton-$14,900-MIL

With Giannis Antetokounmpo already ruled out for tonight’s game Khris Middleton should be the first player in your lineups tonight. With Giannis out Middleton shoulders, even more of the offensive responsibility and this season Middleton has a usage rate of 35.0% with Giannis off the court. Not only does Middleton have an elite usage rate without Giannis but he has put up some huge numbers in the three games that he has missed this season. In those three games, Middleton is averaging 31.33 points, 9.33 rebounds, 5.67 assists and 57 fantasy points. One of those games was against the same Suns team that the Bucks face tonight and with the Suns allowing the most fantasy points per game this season and having the second-worst defensive efficiency you can fully expect another huge game from Middleton tonight.

Value Guard

T.J. McConnell-$9,600-PHI

If you look at the match-up for McConnell against Memphis tonight you might be scared off of him as the Grizzlies are one of the better defensive teams in the NBA, especially against point guards. This season Memphis ranks 9th in fantasy points allowed to point guards and 14th in defensive efficiency to the position. While those number would normally scare me off of a player they do not scare me tonight for several reasons. The first reason is due to the number of injuries Memphis is dealing with. Memphis is down almost half their roster right now and those number I referenced earlier don’t mean much with the players they are trotting out on the court right now. The second reason I am not worried about those numbers is due to J.J. Redick being out for the 76ers. In the six games that Redick has missed this season, McConnell is averaging 10.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.5 steals and right around 25 fantasy points in 26.1 minutes of action. The last reason why I am not worried about the match-up for McConnell tonight is the way he is playing. McConnell is hot right now and in his past four games, he is averaging 14 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.8 steals and 32.19 fantasy points.


Blake Griffin-$15,400-LAC

I don’t understand why Griffin is as cheap as he is tonight as all he has done since returning from injury is produce. In those ten games, Griffin has a usage rate of 28.7% and is averaging 20.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. Those numbers would be even better if you took away the game that Griffin only played nine minutes due to being knocked out with a concussion. If we take that game away and focus on only the eight games that Griffin has played at least 32 minutes since his return his averages jump to 23.25 points, 8.75 rebounds, and 5.75 assists. In those eight games, Griffin has produced at least 40 fantasy points and is averaging 44.38 fantasy points in those games. That is elite production for a player under $16,000 in salary and I don’t see any reason why Griffin doesn’t continue to have that level of production tonight against the Timberwolves with DeAndre Jordan still out.

Value Forward/Center

Marcin Gortat-$10,900-WAS

Gortat has had three bad games in a row from a fantasy perspective which combined with his inconsistent minutes make him hard to trust tonight for cash games. With that being said Gortat is one of my favorite GPP players on this slate as I love the match-up with the Mavericks. The Mavs are one of the best possible match-ups for centers as this season they rank 25th in defensive efficiency to the position and have the worst rebounding rate in the NBA. While there is a huge chance of Gortat busting tonight it is a risk I am willing to take.

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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