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 Friday, February 9, 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.


Ben Simmons-$15,700-PHI

Simmons hit a bit of a rookie wall in the middle of January but in his past ten games Simmons has broken that wall down. In those games, Simmons is averaging 16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.9 steals+blocks in 35.1 minutes. Simmons has produced at least 35 fantasy points in eight of those games and is averaging 39.6 fantasy points in those games. Not only is Simmons playing well but I love the match-up for Simmons against the Pelicans. The Pelicans struggle against point guards as this season they rank 21st in fantasy points allowed per game to the position and 18th in defensive efficiency to the position. Most of those awful numbers for the Pelicans have come against traditional point guards and Simmons is far from that at 6’10”. The Pelicans do not have anyone on their roster that can match-up with Simmons and I don’t see Simmons slowing down tonight.

Value Guard

Cory Joseph-$8,900-IND

When looking at the match-up with Boston you might get scared away from Joseph as this season Boston is allowing the least fantasy points per game to point guards and has the third-best defensive efficiency against the position. While those numbers are awful I am not scared off of Joseph for a couple of reasons. The first reason is due to the fact Boston has struggled a bit against point guards as of late with Marcus Smart out. Over the past two weeks with Smart out Boston has ranked in the bottom ten in fantasy points allowed per game to the position. Boston also should be tired as they are playing in the second game of a back-to-back after an overtime game last night. The last reason why I like Joseph tonight is just due to the sheer number of minutes he is expected to play with Darren Collison out. Joseph is averaging 33.3 minutes per game with Collison out this season and right now I have Joseph projected for just shy of 35 minutes.


LeBron James-$22,300-CLE

The Cavs traded Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, and Dwyane Wade for the likes of Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, Rodney Hood, and Larry Nance. None of those four guys are expected to play tonight and that is going to leave the Cavs extremely shorthanded tonight against the Hawks. That should mean we see plenty of minutes for James who this season with the likes of those guys off the court as well as Kevin Love who is still injured has a usage rate of 39.4% and is averaging 1.82 fantasy points per minute. The Hawks are also an elite match-up for James as they are one of the best possible match-ups for small forwards. This season the Hawks are allowing the third most fantasy points per game to small forwards and have the worst defensive efficiency to the position. James is averaging over 60 fantasy points against the Hawks in their three meetings this season and I would be shocked if he didn’t hit that amount again in this one.

Value Forward/Center

Tristan Thompson-$9,900-CLE

Thompson is another player that is going to benefit with all the trades the Cavs made yesterday as both Jae Crowder and Channing Frye were playing big minutes in the frontcourt for the Cavs. With those two guys gone Thompson is likely to play 30 plus minutes tonight in a fantastic match-up against the Hawks. This season the Hawks are allowing the fourth most rebounds per game to centers, the second most fantasy points per game to the position and rank 25th in defensive efficiency to the position. Thompson should have a double-double and at least 25 fantasy points tonight which would easily pay off 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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