***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:26PM ET***
Richaun Holmes and De’Aaron Fox have been ruled out. Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley are doubtful. Bump up Metu. Add Delon Wright, Terence Davis, and Buddy Hield to you player pool.
To no surprise, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins have been ruled out. Jordan Poole and Kent Bazemore are strong plays, with Juan Toscano-Anderson and Kevin Looney also viable options. See slate notes below.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Friday! Today I’ll be breaking down tonight’s eight-game slate.
Tonight’s slate is shaping up to be a wild one. News has been flowing in all day as we already have word that Dwight Howard, Aaron Gordon, Paul Millsap, Facundo Campazzo, Kevin Love, Josh Hall, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, Jonas Valanciunas, Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson, Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, Kyle Anderson, Patrick Beverley, Terance Mann, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George have been ruled out for tonight. Despite all of that news coming in, there is still a lot of news pending that will impact this slate. This slate is better suited for GPP’s than it is for cash games given how it is playing out, so keep that in mind when registering into your contests tonight.
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
- Wizards 117.75
- Jazz 117.5
- Clippers 117
- Mavericks 116.25
- 76ers 114
- Jazz -14.5
- 76ers -14
- Mavericks -14
- Clippers -9
- Nuggets -8.5
Position By Position
- Russell Westbrook
- Malachi Flynn
- Rajon Rondo
- Jordan Poole (see slate notes)
- Killian Hayes
- Tyus Jones
- Saben Lee
- Collin Sexton
- De’Anthony Melton
- Josh Jackson
- Khyri Thomas
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker/Eric Bledsoe
- John Konchar/Desmond Bane
- Saddiq Bey
- Kent Bazemore (see slate notes)
- Michael Porter Jr.
- Luke Kennard/Nicolas Batum
- Stanley Johnson (see slate notes)
- Anthony Lamb
- Kenyon Martin
- Xavier Tillman/Killian Tillie
- Marcus Morris
- Juan Toscano-Anderson (see slate notes)
- James Johnson
- Davis Bertans
- Nikola Jokic
- Jarrett Allen
- Joel Embiid (would be No. 1 but there is a blowout risk)
- Chimezie Metu
- Willy Hernangomez (see slate notes)
Key News To Watch
- Darius Garland – questionable
- Cedi Osman – questionable
- Hamidou Diallo – questionable
- Matisse Thybulle – questionable
- Mo Bamba – questionable
- Mike Conley – questionable
- Ty Jerome – questionable
- Yuta Watanabe – doubtful
- Serge Ibaka – questionable
- Marvin Bagley – questionable
- Harrison Barnes – questionable
- De’Aaron Fox – questionable
- Richaun Holmes – questionable
- Steven Adams – questionable
- Brandon Ingram – questionable
- Wes Iwundu – questionable
- Mychal Mulder – questionable
- Stephen Curry – questionable
- Draymond Green – questionable
- Andrew Wiggins – questionable
- You know the drill. Houston remains shorthanded and like we have seen numerous times in recent games, they will run a tight rotation. The good thing about today is that we are not waiting on news for the Rockets, as we already know who is out. Christian Wood, Kevin Porter, Danuel House, Avery Bradley, Sterling Brown, Eric Gordon, David Nwaba, and D.J. Wilson are all listed as out this evening. The team also parted ways with DaQuan Jeffries, who was part of their rotation in recent games and had played 30+ minutes in four of his last three games with the team. In Wednesday’s game against the Lakers, Houston ran an eight-man rotation where Kenyon Martin, Khyri Thomas, Armoni Brooks, and Anthony Lamb all played over 30 minutes. Kelly Olynyk and Jae’Sean Tate played 25 and 23 minutes in that contest, which is surprising being that the game was competitive. Meanwhile D.J. Augustin played 23.6 minutes and Cameron Oliver played 22.7 minutes. We could see a similar rotation for the Rockets this evening in their matchup against the Clippers. Martin, Thomas, Lamb, and Brooks should once again play upwards of 30 minutes, with Tate and Olynyk playing minutes in the mid-to-high 20’s. The players I would be targeting from this Rockets team are Martin, Thomas, Lamb, Brooks, Olynyk, and Tate (listed in order of preference), with Lamb being an incredibly strong point per dollar play at near min price on both sites. The image below displays the rotation that the team ran in their last contest.
- As we have seen frequently over the last month or so, the Pistons will be sitting a lot of their players tonight. Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Wayne Ellington, Frank Jackson, Cory Joseph, Rodney McGruder, Dennis Smith, and Isaiah Stewart are all out for tonight’s contest. In addition, Hamidou Diallo is listed as questionable. On Tuesday, Detroit ran nine-man rotation which included Stewart who is out this evening. Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes, and Stewart were the only three players that played 30+ minutes in that game. We could see a similar rotation tonight, with potentially more minutes for Jahlil Okafor since Stewart is out. The primary targets for the Pistons this evening are Hayes, Bey, Josh Jackson, and Saben Lee. We can throw Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya in the mix as well, but the other four players are higher on my list. Diallo’s status could change things up a bit here, but as of early this afternoon, this is how I would approach this Pistons team. The image below displays the rotation that the team ran in their last contest.
- The Raptors have been resting players and are also dealing with injuries. Kyle Lowry has sat out the last five games, while Fred VanVleet has sat out the last three games due to rest purposes. OG Anunoby has been battling a calf injury that has kept him out of the last six games. Pascal Siakam has missed his last two games as he deals with a shoulder injury. In addition, Yuta Watanabe who exited last night’s game with an ankle injury is doubtful. The Raptors have ruled out Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby, and Siakam to no surprise. Malachi Flynn has been someone we gravitate towards when Lowry and VanVleet have missed time. Over the last three games with both of Lowry and VanVleet out, Flynn has been in the starting lineup in each of those games and has averaged 32 minutes, 14 points, 4.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game. In those three starts, Flynn has scored at least 28 DK points in each game, including 30+ DK points in two of those contests. Flynn has started 12 games this season, averaging 32.5 minutes, 13 points, 5.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 0.1 blocks per game. In those 12 starts, he topped 27 DK points in all but two games, including 30+ DK points in six of those contests. Flynn can be considered a strong option this evening and would be the top player to target from this Raptors squad. Stanley Johnson, Gary Trent Jr., Deandre Bembry are the other players who could be in line for heavy minutes tonight. Johnson is coming off of a huge performance scoring a season high 35 points with a season high 10 rebounds, five dimes and three steals. That performance was good for 65.5 DK points. I would not necessarily chase that performance considering he has flashed limited upside for most of the season. However, he remains cheap enough where he is worth consideration and can be rostered. Bembry and Trent can also be considered, but they too tend to be volatile. The tough part to figure out for Toronto is their frontcourt. Last night Chris Boucher did not see the court due to a coach’s decision. This led to Freddie Gillespie to play 30.8 minutes, while Aron Baynes played 20.6 minutes and Khem Birch played 28.2 minutes. It’s a frontcourt situation I might consider avoiding tonight given the volatility and pricing for some of these players.
- The Clippers have ruled out Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley, Amir Coffey, and Terance Mann tonight. Reggie Jackson is now listed as doubtful and Serge Ibaka is listed as questionable as he deals with a knee issue. Jackson was someone that graded out well for me tonight, but he is not likely to play. This means that we can look at Marcus Morris, Rajon Rondo, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac, DeMarcus Cousins and Luke Kennard as viable options for the Clippers. From the bunch, I would prioritize Morris and Rondo, though given how shorthanded Los Angeles will be, you can make a case for all of those players. It’s a fantastic matchup here against the Rockets, arguably the worst team in basketball.
- The Warriors have Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, and Mychal Mulder listed as questionable for tonight. This is the latest game on the slate, so it’s unlikely we will have most of this news prior to lock. Therefore, if this is a team you want to target for value tonight, you will need to have pivot options at hand. Jordan Poole, Kent Bazemore, and Juan Toscano-Anderson (listed in order of preference) are the players I would be targeting if indeed all of the players listed as questionable end up sitting. Kevin Looney would also be a viable cheap option, but I always have trouble recommending him given the limited upside. The Warriors are essentially locked in as an 8th or 9th seed in the West, so there really is no need to force any of their injured players into action tonight.
- The Pelicans will once again be without Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart this evening. Furthermore, Brandon Ingram and Steven Adams are both listed as questionable. We saw what a rotation without Ingram and Adams, as well as the other three players, looks like for New Orleans in their last game, being that they all sat out in the last contest (see image below). Their statuses will have an impact on how we approach this Pelicans team tonight, though Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Eric Bledsoe (GPP) are both firmly in play regardless of whether Adams and/or Ingram suit up. Kira Lewis is also someone you can consider as a value option for the Pelicans. Jaxson Hayes and Willy Hernangomez would be viable options in a favorable matchup should Adams sit tonight. This is the latest game on the slate, so it’s unlikely we have this news prior to lock, however. Like I pointed out with Golden State, if the Pelicans is a team you want exposure to, having pivot options is a must.
- As soon as I was ready to publish this article, Memphis announced that they will sit Kyle Anderson, Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke, Jonas Valanciunas, Jaren Jackson, and Dillon Brooks tonight. A lot of these players were in my player pool given the matchup against the Kings team that ranks 27th in defense efficiency. This news opens up a ton of value for Memphis and players that will be in a terrific spot. De’Anthony Melton, Xavier Tillman, Killian Tillie, Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, and John Konchar are the players that stand out the most for me. Justice Winslow is another player who should see an expanded role this evening. Keep an eye on the starting lineup for Memphis tonight as it can dictate how we go about this team. For now, Melton and Tillman are my favorite options, followed by Jones, Tillie, and Winslow (in that order).
Washington Wizards vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: This matchup has the highest implied total on the slate at 228.5 points and the Wizards are favored by eight points in this one. Washington will once again be without Bradley Beal tonight, so we should see the same rotation we have seen from them in recent games. Russell Westbrook continues to post stellar numbers and even at his elevated price tag, he remains someone to prioritize. The matchup at hand is stellar against a Cleveland team that ranks dead last in defense efficiency against opposing point guards over their last 10 games. Outside of Westbrook, we can consider the usual suspects from Washington, such as Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans, Raul Neto, and Ish Smith. Players such as Chandler Hutchinson, Alex Len, and Daniel Gafford can be considered cheap dart throws in a great matchup, though not necessarily players I’d force into your lineups. Cleveland ruled out Kevin Love for tonight while Darius Garland is questionable. The primary run back option in this game stack would be Collin Sexton followed by Jarrett Allen. You can also make a case for Dean Wade, though outside of his big performance against the Pacers a few nights ago, Wade has displayed limited upside. Cedi Osman is questionable for tonight as well for the Cavs, but if he plays with no limitations, he’s someone to consider in tournaments as well. However, not a must by any means given that his price has caught up to his recent production. Isaac Okoro has also seen his price increase but can too be considered a GPP option as he has played huge minutes in recent games and has now topped 30 DK points in each of the last two games. Let’s keep in mind that the Wizards are not a good defensive team and play incredibly fast, so there will be plenty of possessions in this contest. For what it’s worth, given how this slate is playing out, there is no need to game stack this evening.
Note: Being that there are no games with incredibly high totals and a few games with double-digit spreads, there are not specific games that I plan on being heavily invested in. Like I did on Wednesday, instead of game stacks, I intend on taking advantage of these shorthanded teams and roster value from those squads.
DraftKings: Russell Westbrook, Jordan Poole, Xavier Tillman, Kenyon Martin
FanDuel: Russell Westbrook, Marcus Morris, Xavier Tillman, Jarrett Allen
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**