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Fantasy Friday: Jamal As A Starter

It's still unknown whether Jamal Crawford will start tonight for the ailing J.J. Redick, but the real question is, how much do the starter's minutes help him?

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Crawford started Wednesday night's game against the Utah Jazz because J.J. Redick is suffering back spasms. Per an Los Angeles Times report, J.J. is considered questionable for Friday's tilt in New Orleans, which means that Jamal Crawford gets another start -- unless Doc Rivers decides that Austin deserves that too.

Jamal's FanDuel salary has slowly risen from $4,900 toward the beginning of January to the $5,300 he's listed for tomorrow night. As a comparison, that places him $200 behind Lou Williams and $200 ahead of Kyle Korver. In a slight surprise to me, Jamal actually ranks ahead of J.J. in average FanDuel fantasy points per game despite playing three fewer minutes each night.

Crawford is a marginal play in daily fantasy because he doesn't provide much more than pure scoring. But, on a given night, Crawford can bring points in bunches, as he has the past two games with 23 and 21. Impressively, he did that in just 30 minutes against Denver on Monday, which is his general minutes ceiling as first man off the bench.

Which brings us back around to tonight. J.J. is questionable, and judging by this quote from yesterday's ESPN update, Doc is too:

I'm hoping... Watching him move, no, but I'm thinking yes.

Doesn't sound so sure does he? Sounds like Jamal's getting the start, isn't he?

Jamal only has three starts this year, two of which actually came at "forward", so that's not particularly helpful to us stat-wise. I went back to last year, when Crawford started 24 games in Redick's place. In those starts, he averaged nearly nine more minutes than in games during which he came off the bench. Those nine additional minutes allowed him to score approximately three more points and grab another half an assist and half a steal, while adding just half a turnover. That's nearly four more FanDuel points per game. That takes Crawford from his average of 22.9 FanDuel points to Kevin Martin's average of 26.9 points, and Martin costs $1,200 more tonight.

Jamal scored 24 points per game in three contests against New Orleans last year, and 20 points in just 25 minutes in the Clippers' one game versus the Pellies this year. It's a small sample, but on the face of it, it's a matchup Crawford likes.

It's tough for FanDuel to adjust a player's salary for a one- or two-night bump in minutes. If Crawford gets the start tonight, he's liable to punch above his salary weight thanks to those extra starter's minutes. If you feel confident J.J. is out, then Crawford's your bargain, and bargains are what can win you the night.

As always, head over to FanDuel to register and play their NBA fantasy games.

Disclaimer: Even though this is a sponsored post with affiliate links, all of the opinions in this post are my own. And as an FYI, FanDuel gave me some cash to play its daily fantasy games.