What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Thursday!
We have a five-game slate this evening and an interesting one to say the least. The Heat and Rockets will both be shorthanded tonight, which opens up plenty of value for them. Houston traded away James Harden yesterday and will also be without John Wall, Eric Gordon, and Daniel House, making this backcourt very thin tonight. Miami is expected to run an eight-man rotation tonight once again as they did on Tuesday night against the 76ers. There is not much else as far as pending news is concerned that we don’t already know, but as always in the NBA, things pop up throughout the day.
Remember 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.
Let’s jump right into it!
Top Projected Total
- Trail Blazers 115.5
- 76ers 115.5
- Nuggets 115.5
- Raptors 114.75
- Spurs 113.75
- 76ers -10
- Raptors -9
- Spurs -7
- Nuggets -4.5
- Trail Blazers -3
Position By Position
Stephen Curry (DK $9700/ FD $9600) – Curry has struggled with his shot in recent games, shooting well below his career average of 46.3 percent in three of his last four games. Tonight, he is in a position to turn things around against a Denver team that ranks 26th in defense rating. In addition, the Nuggets are yielding the fifth highest field goal percentage to opposing teams, as well as the sixth highest three-point field goal percentage. Considering that Curry generates 44.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc, this is a good spot for him. Denver has struggled against point guards this season, giving up the third most real points, eighth most assists, sixth most steals, and third most fantasy points per game to the position. Curry continues to sport a heavy usage rate at 30.4 percent and averages 34.1 minutes per game. Look for him to get back on track with his shot tonight in this favorable matchup.
Damian Lillard (DK $9300/ FD $9200) – Lillard was featured in yesterday’s cash game breakdown and it’s time to go back to the well here. He was absolutely magnificent, scoring 40 points with 13 assists, one rebound, and three steals in 42 minutes. Tonight’s matchup is not as great as the one he had last night, but the Pacers did trade away one of their best defenders yesterday afternoon. Lillard has a solid track record against the Pacers, averaging 52.39 DK points per game against them in his last seven meetings, with a 71.4 percent consistency rating. This includes a masterful 84 DK performance against them the last time they faced off. If you are concerned about the second night of the back-to-back, in his last seven games of a back-to-back, Lillard has topped 50 DK points four times and has scored fewer than 47 DK points just twice. The Pacers are giving up the second highest three-point field goal percentage, which bodes well for Lillard who generates 42.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. In fact, he went 6-of-15 from three-point land last night. Don’t hesitate to go back to Lillard this evening.
Malcolm Brogdon (DK $8300/ FD $8600) – I absolutely love Brogdon tonight and have been riding the hot hand hear for some time now. Not only is his price reasonable when considering what he brings to the table, but this is also a great matchup and the Pacers get a minor pace bump here too. Portland ranks 23rd in defense rating and is playing at a top 10 pace. This unit gives up the most real points, ninth most rebounds, most three-pointers, and seventh most fantasy points per game to the position. The Trail Blazers are also giving up the seventh most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, which bodes well for Brogdon who generates 41.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. In addition, Portland yields the 10th most assists per game to opponents and Brogdon averages 7.5 dimes per game. Brogdon struggled last game, but it was his second game of a back-to-back and his third game in four nights. I fully expect a bounce back game here in a fantastic game environment. Prior to his last game, Brogdon had topped 42 DK points in five straight games, including three 50+ DK point performances.
Kyle Lowry (DK $8100/ FD $7200) – On DK I am going to find the extra $200 to get to Brogdon, but on FD we cannot ignore the price discount we are getting here with Lowry. This is the cheapest that he has been all season over at FD. He didn’t play particularly well last game, but he has still been pretty consistent this season. The matchup is far from great against the Hornets, who rank sixth in defense rating and have not been overly generous to opposing point guards. That said, Charlotte does allow the fifth most fast break points per game, which is good for Lowry who generates 31 percent of his points off fast breaks. At the end of the day, his price on FD is just too cheap to ignore, making him a strong point per dollar play considering what he brings to the table.
Gabe Vincent (DK $4200/ FD $4500) – Vincent is dealing with a knee issue, though it does not appear to be serious as he is listed as probable for tonight’s game. The Heat are extremely shorthanded and ran an eight-man rotation in their last game, which is what we could expect once again tonight. In that last game, Vincent played 31.4 regulation minutes, scoring 24 points with two rebounds, three assists, and two steals. He attempted 20 shots, which was second most on the team. His price has come up since last game, but it is still reasonable considering what his expected role for tonight’s contest is. We can project Vincent to play 30+ minutes once again for the undermanned Heat team this evening and it was pretty clear that they gave him the green light to be aggressive on the offensive side. The matchup is not great, but that did not stop him from turning in a solid game against this same 76ers team a few nights ago. Even if this game does blowout, as Vegas suggests it can, the Heat have potentially just eight players dressing up tonight, five of which will be on the court.
DeMar DeRozan (DK $8000/ FD $8100) – DeRozan is on track to return this evening after missing the last two games due to personal reasons. He will face off against a Rockets team that traded away James Harden yesterday and will be without John Wall this evening. As it is, Houston is not a great defensive unit, ranking 22nd in defense rating. In addition, the Rockets allow the sixth most points in the paint, which bodes well for DeRozan who generates 45 percent of his points from inside the paint. Prior to his two-game absence, DeRozan was playing some good basketball. There is no reason to expect him not to pick up where he left off. Please note, on DK he is listed as SF/PF eligible.
Tyler Herro (DK $7300/ FD $6500) – Herro is properly priced on DK but is still very affordable on FD tonight. He played 34.3 regulation minutes last game and led the team with 28 shot attempts. He also had a season high 36.2 percent usage rate, which is not surprising considering he sees a massive 10.6 percent usage bump when the players that are out are off the court. Herro should once again play heavy minutes and be the primary ball handler and shooter for Miami. The matchup is far from great, as the 76ers play good defense, but that did not stop Herro from putting up a season high 34 points. The Heat ran an eight-man rotation last game and are likely going to do so again this evening, meaning that Herro will play all the minutes he can handle.
Ben McLemore (DK $3400/FD $$3700) – McLemore should see an expanded role tonight with the Rockets backcourt being so thin. He comes at an absolute cheap price this evening and should play 24-27 minutes. For the season, he is averaging over a fantasy point per minute, so he is in a great position to exceed expectations at this price tag. He tends to be volatile, but at near min price, it’s a risk I am willing to take here. If he starts, which is expected, he’d be even more appealing.
David Nwaba (DK $3200/ FD $4800) – Nwaba is expected to start once again this evening, but today the Rockets will be without Harden, Gordon, and Wall, which has not been the case in his last starts. This is huge news for Nwaba who sees a massive 10.2 usage increase when Harden, Wall, Gordon, and House are all off the court which is the case this evening. Considering his price tag on both sites, he makes for a strong value option on tonight’s slate. It is worth pointing out that he is slightly more volatile than we like in cash, but he does not have to do all that much to reach value here. He is SG/SF eligible on DK which gives you roster construction flexibility.
Sterling Brown (DK $3000/ FD $3800) – Brown should see an expanded role tonight for the shorthanded rockets and could even step into the starting lineup. So far this season, anytime that Brown has played at least 25 minutes, he has produced no less than 23 DK points. Tonight, we can project him for 25-28 minutes, with upside for more. With Harden, Wall, Gordon, and House off the court, Brown has seen a 5.7 percent usage increase this season. The Spurs play slightly faster than the Rockets, making this a paced-up spot for this offense. At essentially min price on FD and absolutely min price on DK, Brown is worth considering as an incredibly strong point per dollar play. Like Nwaba, Brown is SG/SG eligible on DK.
Will Barton (DK $5800/ FD $5700) – The SF position is not pretty tonight, so this is where we will be looking to pay down. Barton is someone I normally prefer in tournaments, but I’m willing to roll him in out in cash tonight. He will remain in the starting lineup for Denver tonight with Porter out. We have seen Barton play well in this role and although he does provide some volatility, tonight’s matchup against the Warriors is a favorable one. Golden State plays at the third fastest pace in the NBA at this time and they rank 20th in defense rating. In addition, they allow the ninth most fantasy points per game to the position. The Warriors are a team that Barton has played well against, averaging 33.82 DK points per game with a consistency rating of 73.3 percent over 15 meetings against them. He should play 29-31 minutes in this contest and comes in at a reasonable price tonight.
Duncan Robinson (DK $5500/ FD $4900) – Robinson played a team high 40 regulation minutes in the Heat’s last game and attempted 18 shots. He should once again see an extended role this evening with all of the players Miami will be without. The 76ers are allowing the 11th most three-pointers per game which bodes well for Robinson who generates 80.2 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. We saw him take advantage of this in their last meeting as he drained 6-of-14 shots from three-point land, for a healthy 43 percent from beyond the arc. On FD, Robinson remains too cheap and even on DK he is reasonably priced. He should once again play minutes in the mid-30’s against a Philly team he has an 80 percent consistency rating over his last five games.
Precious Achiuwa (DK $4400/ FD $4100) – My apologies if you are getting tired of reading about Heat players, but this is where the value is at. Achiuwa is expected to start once again tonight for Miami. In his first start last game, he played 31 regulation minutes and scored 17 points with 13 rebounds, three assists, and one block. He shot a healthy 70 percent from the court and turned in career highs in points, rebounds, and shot attempts. Once again, Achiuwa is in line to play heavy minutes and despite this being a subpar matchup, it is one he flourished in last game. He is no longer min price, but he remains affordable on both sites. Please note, he is listed as a PF/C on DK.
Domantas Sabonis (DK $9500/ FD $9200) – Sabonis continues to produce consistent numbers with no less than 46 DK points in three straight games and has flashed his upside with a 60+ DK point performance during that stretch. He has double-doubled in every single game this season and is all but a lock for one tonight. Portland allows the sixth most rebounds to opposing teams and Sabonis currently sits fourth in the NBA in rebounds per game, averaging 12.5. The Trail Blazers also give up the 10th most assists per game, which also benefits Sabonis who is averaging nearly six dimes per game. Sabonis offers one of the safest floors of any player on the slate and makes for a strong cash game option. It’s easy fitting him in tonight too, with all of the value we have at hand.
Christian Wood (DK $7700/ FD $8100) – Wood is in position for a huge night against the Spurs this evening. He gets a usage bump here with all of the players out tonight and faces a Spurs team that gives up the fourth most points in the paint. This is great news for Wood who generates 64.1 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, San Antonio allows the most rebounds per game to opposing teams and the fifth most blocks per game, both of which bode well for Wood who averages 9.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Wood comes in at an affordable price considering his ceiling and this is a matchup he should exploit. He is a PF on FD, but is listed as a C on DK.
Kelly Olynyk (DK $6400/ FD $5300) – Olynyk is properly priced on DK but remains affordable on FD tonight. He tied Duncan Robinson for a team high 40 regulation minutes last game and is in line for another night of big minutes. Olynyk scored 15 points with eight boards, four assists, two steals, and a block, while attempting 12 shots. His ability to do a little bit of everything give him a nice floor here, as well as some upside. He is not one of my top Heat value plays tonight but is still a solid point per dollar play and will see plenty of minutes once again.
Draymond Green (DK $5400/ FD $5700) – Green was eased in his first few games as he missed the first four games of the season, but has played at least 29 minutes in each of the last four games, including 30+ minutes in three of those contests. He is not shooting the ball well but continues to stuff the stat sheet with peripheral stats and was one rebound shy of a triple-double just a few nights ago. The matchup against the Nuggets is a good one as they rank 26th in defense rating and it’s a team he has played well against. In his last 15 meetings against the Nuggets, he has averaged 38.3 DK points per game with a 60 percent consistency rating.
Nikola Jokic (DK $11000/ FD $11200) – Tonight is a night to pay up at the center position, especially on FD. It’s either Jokic or Embiid on there, and both are firmly in play. Jokic continues to provide us with a massive floor and an incredible ceiling. Tonight, he faces off against a Warriors team that gives up the second most rebounds per game to opposing teams. In addition, they rank 20th in defense rating and play incredibly fast. This should provide Jokic with plenty of touch opportunities, which equates to plenty of fantasy points. Jokic is a walking double-double and offers triple-double upside. He should be able to stuff the stat sheet once again this evening and despite his incredibly high price tag, he warrants consideration in all formats.
Joel Embiid (DK $10000/ FD $10200) – Embiid went off for 80+ fantasy points against the Heat just a few nights ago. He will face the same shorthanded team this evening and will be in a position to dominate once again. Miami had no answer for Embiid last game as he scored 45 real points, while shooting 70 percent from the court, and dominated the boards with 16 rebounds. Embiid is pricey this evening but is totally worth paying up for on this slate. He is not likely to score 80+ fantasy points once again tonight, though he is in a great position for anther huge performance.
Jusuf Nurkic (DK $5300/ FD $6400) – I would recommend paying up at center tonight, but if you decide not to, Nurkic would be the other center to consider. The Pacers play big, so Nurkic will likely play solid minutes in this one and the matchup is somewhat favorable. Indiana allows the fifth most rebounds per game to opposing centers and allow the eighth most points in the paint, which bodes well for Nurkic who generates 76.1 percent of his points from inside the paint. Nurkic is coming off a nice performance where he scored a season high 18 points with 12 rebounds and should once again be able to produce a quality stat line against Indiana.
DraftKings: Precious Achiuwa, Gabe Vincent, Sterling Brown, Malcolm Brogdon
FanDuel: Precious Achiuwa, Ben McLemore, Gabe Vincent, Domantas Sabonis
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**