***UPDATED CORE FOUR @ 6:48PM ET***
Derrick Jones will start for Portland tonight. He’s viable at his cheap price tag, but he is volatile.
Tobias Harris and Seth Curry will both not play tonight. Bump Simmons. You can add Furkan Korkmaz, Joel Embiid, Shake Milton, and Mike Scott in your player pool.
Coby White will start for the Bulls tonight with Tomas Satoransky ruled out and LaVine sidelined. White becomes a very strong play this evening.
Gary Trent Jr. will sit this evening and DeAndre Bembry will play tonight. Toronto now has 11 players available tonight. Bembry will likely impact Flynn’s minutes, which slightly downgrades Flynn tonight, though he is still in play.
Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out. Paul George is now questionable with an illness. If he plays, he’s the biggest beneficiary with Leonard being out. You can also add Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard, and Reggie Jackson to your player pool.
Davis Bertans has been ruled out.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Friday! Today I’ll be breaking down tonight’s 10-game slate.
We have not received a ton of news throughout the day, outside of DeAndre Bembry upgraded from doubtful to questionable and Hamidou Diallo popping up on the injury report with a knee injury, which puts his status in question for tonight. If Diallo sits, that means that the Pistons will be even more shorthanded than they are already. In addition, Alec Burks has been ruled out due to safety and healthy protocols (COVID), which is something that we must keep a close eye on because sometimes this will impact other players on the team. Outside of that, it’s been quiet on the news front, which means there is still a ton of pending news that can impact the dynamics of the slate.
I will be in the live chat tonight from 6:00PM to 7:00PM discussing news and any changes that we need to take note of, so make sure to stop on by and get all of your questions answered prior to lock.
Remember, the NBA differs from all other sports because one piece of news can change the entire look of a slate. Monitoring news throughout the day and keeping an eye on starting lineups is a key part of the daily process for those playing NBA DFS.
For the purpose of this article, I’ll be using FanDuel positions as they are less flexible than they are on DraftKings, but you should have plenty of options at each position to build on DK as well given the roster flexibility and multi-position eligibility of many players on their site.
Players are listed in order of preference by position.
Let’s jump right into it!
Top Projected Total
- Pelicans 122.5
- Wizards 120
- Trail Blazers 118.25
- Nuggets 117.5
- Nets 117.25
- Nets -12
- Nuggets -8.5
- Heat -6.5
- Mavericks -5.5
- Grizzlies -3.5
Position By Position
- Russell Westbrook
- Saben Lee
- Ja Morant (GPP)
- Malachi Flynn
- Damian Lillard
- Coby White/Tomas Satoransky
- Ben Simmons (prefer if Harris sits)
- Fred VanVleet
- Bradley Beal
- Will Barton
- Paul George
- Dillon Brooks
- Frank Jackson
- Jimmy Butler
- Saddiq Bey
- Michael Porter Jr.
- Brandon Ingram (GPP)
- Caleb Martin (if starting)
- Rui Hachimura (FD price is more appealing, GPP only)
- Luguentz Dort
- Zion Williamson
- Isaiah Stewart
- Khem Birch
- Jalen McDaniels
- Darius Bazley
- Aaron Gordon (GPP)
- Isaiah Roby (GPP)
- Bam Adebayo
- Nikola Jokic
- Steven Adams
- Jonas Valanciunas
- Chris Boucher (GPP)
- Moses Brown (GPP)
Key News To Watch
- Kawhi Leonard – questionable
- Tobias Harris – questionable
- Lonzo Ball – probable
- Brad Wanamaker – questionable
- Hamidou Diallo – questionable
- P.J. Washington – doubtful
- Mo Bamba – questionable
- Jalen Harris – doubtful
- DeAndre Bembry – questionable
- Gary Trent Jr. – doubtful
- Tomas Satoransky – probable
- Andre Iguodala – questionable
- Jaylen Nowell – questionable
- Gorgui Dieng – questionable
- Nerlens Noel – questionable
- The Pistons will be without Wayne Ellington, Jerami Grant, Corey Joseph, Rodney McGruder, Mason Plumlee, and Dennis Smith this evening. In other words, they will be extremely shorthanded, especially in their backcourt. This presents us with plenty of value from this Detroit team tonight. When these players are off the court, Killian Hayes sees the biggest usage bump with a five percent increase, followed by Isaiah Stewart (2%) and both Josh Jackson and Saddiq Bey with a one percent increase. Bey, Saben Lee, Stewart, and Frank Jackson (in that order) are the primary players I am looking at from the Pistons. Keep in mind, I am expecting them all to start tonight. Josh Jackson and Hayes are viable as well, though I have them as secondary options. If Hayes in the starting lineup, he would become a primary target and that would likely mean that Frank Jackson will come off the bench, which would downgrade him a bit. Hamidou Diallo is always interesting in tournaments if he gets the minutes, though they just have not been there lately. Plus he popped up in the injury report throughout the day, so his status is now in question. It is certainly important to keep tabs on the starting lineup for Detroit, but there is plenty of value to be had from this team. The matchup against OKC is favorable given that they rank 27th in defense efficiency for the season. On the opposite side, OKC will be without several key players as well. This has been a regular them for them however, so nothing all that new as far as how to handle the way we approach players from the Thunder. I listed some of my targets from this team above.
- Another team that will be missing multiple key players this evening is the Toronto Raptors. They will be without Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby. In addition, Gary Trent Jr. and Jalen Harris are all listed as doubtful for tonight, while DeAndre Bembry is questionable. Therefore, this team could very well be shorthanded once again. The good news is that Fred VanVleet is expected to be available tonight and he instantly becomes an interesting option, given that he sees a 12.2 percent usage increase when those six players are off the court. Right behind FVV is Malachi Flynn who gets a nine percent usage increase. Both VanVleet and Flynn are strong plays this even for Toronto. You can also add Chris Boucher (GPP only) and Khem Birch as viable options from this Raptors team. Yuta Watanabe is interesting at his price tag, especially if he joins the starting lineup tonight. I currently have him as a secondary option for Toronto, but he would be more appealing should he start.
- The Rockets will once again be without multiple players, which means that they will run a tight rotation like they did last game (nine players). Of those nine players, only five (the starters) played more than 20 minutes. This means that John Wall, Christian Wood, Kevin Porter, Kelly Olynyk, and Jae’Sean Tate should play a ton of minutes once again this evening. My concern is, as it always is with Houston, I’m not quite sure which Rockets team shows up tonight. Is it the team that will keep it competitive or the team that gets blown out? The spread at the time I am writing this article is Nuggets -8.5, so Vegas is not necessarily expecting a blowout here. I am, and will likely continue to, treat the Rockets as a team I only target in tournaments due to the risk they come with. My order of preference for Houston tonight is as follows: Wall, Wood, Porter, Olynyk, and Tate.
- Charlotte is another team missing a ton of players this evening and like we saw last game, they are likely running an extremely tight rotation in tonight’s contest. In their last game, the Hornets ran a nine-man rotation, of which just three players topped 30 minutes. The Hornets are the biggest underdogs on the slate, so there is risk here, though there are a few players you can consider rostering this evening. Jalen McDaniels and Caleb Martin (if starting) are the two players I am looking at as the top options from this Hornets team, taking price into consideration. Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, Bismack Biyombo, and Cody Zeller are all secondary options for me. Bradley Wannamaker is listed as questionable, but if he plays, he’d be viable as well given his price.
Washington Wizards vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Another slate and another game where the Wizards and their opponents are a focal point. This contest between Washington and New Orleans has the highest implied total on the slate and a 2.5-point spread. The Pelicans enter this game ranked 23rd in overall defense efficiency, while the Wizards rank 26th. As far as news is concerned for this game, the one major thing we have to monitor here is Lonzo Ball’s status for this contest. He is listed as probable after missing the last four games with a hip injury. News throughout the day suggests that he will play and if that is the case, and he has no minutes restriction, he becomes an interesting tournament play. The good news is that this is a 7PM game, so we should have all the information needed. Other Pelicans that stand out are Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Steven Adams (listed in order of preference). Williamson is viable in all formats and should take full advantage of a Wizards team that ranks 19th in defense efficiency against the positions and yields the seventh most rebounds per game. Ingram and Adams are more appealing in GPP’s tonight and both find themselves in great spots too. As far as the Wizards team is concerned, it’s starts with Russell Westbrook who continues to play elite basketball. He has now triple-doubled in six consecutive games and in all but one game in the month of April. In fact, he has triple-doubled in all by one of his 11 games. Talk about an incredible floor with an insanely high ceiling. The matchup tonight is outstanding against a Pelicans team that ranks 28th in efficiency against opposing point guards and one that surrenders the second most fantasy points per game to the position. Behind him, Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura (FD price is more appealing) are the two other players that I am considering as primary options for the Wizards. Hachimura is way too cheap on FD if you ask me and Beal is reasonably priced on both sites at under $9K on both FD and DK.
Davis Bertans is also viable in GPP’s, but I have him listed as a secondary option and only if game stacking here. BERTANS WAS RULED OUT. This is a contest you want to be invested in this evening.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers: This is an interesting game for me because I am not expecting it to get a ton of love tonight despite having the second highest over/under on the slate. Outside of Damian Lillard, who I think will get some attention, but I don’t even have penciled in as chalk tonight, I do not anticipate many other players from this contest to be highly owned. In tournaments, I like the idea of mini stacking this game with some of the primary pieces from both sides. For Portland, it’s Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic for me and for San Antonio it is Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan as the two players I would key in on if you plan on going this route.
CASH GAME CORE FOUR
DraftKings: Russell Westbrook, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, CJ McCollum
FanDuel: Russell Westbrook, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Stewart, CJ McCollum
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**