***UPDATED CORE FOUR @ 6:40PM ET***
Afternoon Notes: Sterling Brown has been ruled out. If Mason Jones gets the start, he becomes a viable value option this evening — UPDATE Jones is not starting, so I am not on him. Bump up Thaddeus Young with Patrick Williams out, he becomes a great value option.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Monday!
We have a ton of NBA action today, but the contests have been spread out into early, afternoon, and the evening slates. In this article, I will be focusing on the four-game main slate this evening. Truth be told, this is a brutal slate and one that is much better for GPP’s than it is for cash games. However, I will navigate you through the slate and point out the best options for this evening.
On the news front, Kyrie Irving will not play this evening. Otto Porter has been ruled out for Chicago, as he deals with a back injury. John Wall has also been ruled out this evening, as he continues to deal with a knee issue. The Mavericks will once again be without multiple players and Tim Hardaway is considered questionable. LeBron James is listed as questionable, but he is fully expected to play. It’s worth noting that the Heat game was moved to 8pm because of Covid issues, but that game is not part of this slate.
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
- Bucks 120.75
- Nets 118.25
- Lakers 117.5
- Rockets 113.75
- Raptors 112.75
- Lakers -8.5
- Raptors -5
- Bucks -2.5
- Rockets -1.5
Position By Position
Luka Doncic (DK $11000/ FD $11200) – Luka has triple-doubled in four of his last six games, scoring 70+ DK points in four of those contests as well, while never falling short of 56 DK points during that stretch. Needless to say, he has returned to form after a somewhat slow start to the season for his standards. Tonight’s matchup against the Raptors is one that he should find success in, as they rank 22nd in defense rating. In addition to the favorable matchup, this is also a paced-up spot for Dallas. Doncic has played Toronto three times in his young career and has averaged 54 DK points per game against them, while sporting a 100 percent consistency rating. There are multiple players that you can pay up for tonight, but Luka is one of my favorites.
Kyle Lowry (DK $7700/ FD $7400) – Lowry has scored at least 40 DK points in three of his last five games and his production this season has been somewhat steady, scoring fewer than 35 DK points just once. Yeah, he has not flashed a huge ceiling by any means, but we are not looking for that in cash. Lowry is normally and $8K player, so we are getting a nice discount here at a position that is not incredibly deep tonight. The matchup is far from great, but even in subpar matchups Lowry can get the job done and this is a Dallas team that will be missing multiple players.
Jrue Holiday (DK $7200/ FD $7600) – Normally I prefer Holiday in tournaments, but given the options on the slate, I am willing to consider him in cash. This should be a great game environment being that it has the highest implied total on the slate and just a 2.5-point spread. In addition, both of these teams play up in pace, so there will be plenty of touch opportunities for these players. Furthermore, the Nets are allowing the sixth most points in the paint, which is where Holiday generates 50.5 percent of his points. Brooklyn also gives up the seventh most steals per game to opposing teams, which bodes extremely well for Holiday who averages 2.2 steals per game. Although his scoring is down this season, Holiday is shooting the ball well, averaging the second highest field goal percentage of his career. This is a game where we can see him light up the stat sheet.
Dennis Schroeder (DK $6400/ FD $6000) – Schroder has been more consistent in recent games, scoring 30+ DK points in three of his last five, while playing no less than 30 minutes in all but one of those contests. Tonight, he faces off against a Warriors team that plays fast and one that doesn’t play great defense. Schroder isn’t a high usage player, but he is capable of filling the stat sheet with peripherals, as he plays defense, can facilitate, and is active on the boards. If you are looking for value at the position, he makes a lot of sense. He would get a major boost if LeBron, who is listed as questionable, is unable to play.
James Harden (DK $10800/ FD $10300) – Harden made his presence felt in his Nets debut, scoring 32 points with 14 assists, 12 rebounds, four steals, and one block. He and Durant showed great chemistry after some time into the game and there was no looking back once they clicked. The Nets will once again be without Kyrie Irving tonight, so Harden’s usage will not be impacted. In his Nets debut, he sported a healthy 37.5 percent usage rate. This should be a great game environment and one with plenty of possessions. The Bucks are a good defense, but they do give up the ninth most three-pointers per game, which is where Harden generates 37 percent of his scoring from.
Victor Oladipo (DK $7500/ FD $7500) – Oladipo is expected to make his Rockets debut this evening and could be in for a nice role right off the bat as Houston will be without John Wall who owns a 27 percent usage rate. Oladipo has been playing good basketball this season and whether that continues on his new team remains to be seen, but I would think so, especially in Houston where he will be one of the primary offensive weapons. The matchup doesn’t get that much better against a Bulls team that ranks 27th in defense rating and plays up in pace. The Bulls have not been able to stop many teams this season, giving up a healthy 116.8 points per game. Look for Dipo to make a good first impression on his new team this evening at a nice price tag.
Donte DiVincenzo (DK $5400/ FD $4400) –On DK, I am not going to be rostering DiVincenzo, but on FD he makes for an appealing value play at his price tag. Like I have mentioned already, this is likely going to be a great game environment with plenty of scoring and plenty of touch opportunities. DiVincenzo is averaging 25.1 minutes per game on the season but has played 26 or more minutes in five straight games. He is not a high usage player, nor an elite scorer, but he does a little bit of everything and is just too cheap on FD considering the situation. He does rack up the steals and the Nets do give up the seventh most steals per game. This is a small slate, so we will have to get creative and he is one way to do so.
Kevin Durant (DK $10100/ FD $10500) – Durant is coming off a season high 42 points against the Magic. It was the first time that he and Harden played together in Brooklyn, and not too long into the game, the two displayed great chemistry. Tonight, they will face off against a tough Bucks defense, but a team that plays fast, which should create plenty of possessions for the Nets. Durant had a healthy 38 percent usage rate last game, even with Harden in the mix. Look for that usage to remain high this evening in what is expected to be a great game environment.
LeBron James (DK $9700/ FD $9500) – James is considered questionable for this contest, but this has been the trend all season long and he has yet to miss a game. He has not given us much of a ceiling this season but continues to provide a solidified floor on a nightly basis. The matchup against the Warriors is a good one for James and one he should take full advantage of. Not only do the Warriors play fast, but they don’t play great defense. James finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double in his last contest and stuffs the stat sheet on a nightly basis. Despite not displaying a huge ceiling this season, he still offers plenty of upside and can be considered a solid value at this price tag. If you go with a balanced build tonight, he makes a ton of sense.
Khris Middleton (DK $8000/ FD $8000) – Middleton has struggled with his shot the last two games, but he continues to turn in a great season. He is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and three-pointers per game, as well as shooting a career high 53 percent from the court. Look for him to get back on track tonight in a fast-paced matchup against the Nets, a team that ranks 15th in defense rating. Middleton is one of those players that quietly produces consistent numbers, while offering a nice ceiling, yet he comes in at a fair price. He is a good way to get exposure to this game.
Eric Gordon (DK $5200/ FD $5200) – Keep an eye on his status heading into lock, but Gordon is fully expected to return this evening after missing his last two games with a leg injury. If he plays and is not on a minute’s limit, Gordon makes for a very appealing point per dollar play. He will likely see an increased role as a ball handler and facilitator with John Wall out. In fact, in situations with Wall off the court, Gordon has seen a 4.6 percent usage bump. Take Harden out of the picture as well and Gordon sees a massive 12.5 percent usage bump. Chicago is atrocious defensively, so Gordon will be able to rack up the stats and fantasy points in a hurry. His cheap price tag is appealing on a slate where value is hard to come by. Please note, he is PG/SG eligible on DK.
Joe Harris (DK $5800/ FD $4500) – On DK I am not going to play Harris at his price, but on FD his price makes him very appealing. Harris is not a high usage player, but he is a three-point specialist and should see plenty of open shots from beyond the arc with a lot of the opposing defenses attention on the other studs on the Nets offense. Tonight, he gets a nice matchup for this being that that Bucks give up the ninth most three-pointers per game. Harris generates 61.5 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc, making this a great situation for him this evening. He is averaging 6.1 three-point attempts per game and 56 percent of his shots are from beyond the arc, so he will be in a great position to rack up the three-pointers tonight.
Christian Wood (DK $8900/ FD $9800) – Wood’s price tag has seen a significant increase, but it goes hand-in-hand with his production. He has now scored at least 24 real points and has grabbed at least 15 rebounds in each of the last two games, combining for six blocks during that stretch and scoring over 50 DK points in each of those contests. Over that span, Wood has a 28.5 percent usage rate and has attempted at least 18 shots in each game. The Bulls have done a solid job against opposing bigs this season, but it is not an easy task to slow down Wood who can score multiple ways and is incredibly good in the paint. Even at the increased price tag, Woods has to be considered a very strong play this evening. Please note, he is listed as a center on DK.
Chris Boucher (DK $7100/ FD $8100) – Boucher does not start for Toronto, but he continues to play big minutes off the bench, averaging 29.2 minutes per game in his last five games. During that stretch, he is also averaging 20.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, 1.2 assists, and 0.6 steals per game. Tonight, he faces off against a Dallas team that struggles in rebounding, allowing the seventh most rebounds per game to opposing teams. This bodes well for Boucher who has at least eight rebounds in all but one of his last five games. Normally I try to avoid paying up this much for a player coming off the bench, but he is playing big minutes, and averages well over a fantasy point per minute. He has demonstrated a pretty high ceiling, plenty of upside, and a consistent floor.
Lauri Markkanen (DK $6700/ FD $6100) – Markkanen has looked great since returning from a seven-game absence, averaging 34 minutes, 22.5 points, eight rebounds, 1.5 assists, one block, and 0.5 steals per game in his last two games. He has averaged a healthy 26 percent usage rate in those two contests and has attempted no less than 14 shots. This is not the greatest of matchups, but Houston is far from an elite defense. Considering his price on both sites, preferably on FD, and what he brings to the table, Markkanen grades out as a solid point per dollar play in tonight’s slate.
Draymond Green (DK $5200/ FD $5400) – Green was disappointing in his last game, finishing with one point, seven assists, and four rebounds. He failed to make any of his shots, scoring his lone point from the free throw line. That said, prior to that game, he had turned in a pair of solid performances, flirting with a triple-double in one of those contests. He faces the best defensive team in basketball according to defense rating, so this is far from a great matchup. However, Green’s ability to stuff the stat sheet with peripherals makes him an appealing option this evening considering his price tag. Remember, we have to take what the slate gives us and although his floor is more volatile than we’d like in cash games, there are not many great pay down spots.
Thaddeus Young (DK $3800/ FD $3800) – You can make a case for Patrick Williams as a value option here as well, but for me I would rather take the discount on Young this evening. With Porter being ruled out for this contest, Young is in a position to pick up some additional minutes with the second unit. We have seen how quickly Young can rack up the points even when playing limited minutes, and on a night where we are desperate for value, he makes a ton of sense. Is he the safest play on the slate? No, but then again, most players priced down this evening do not offer the safest floors.
Wendell Carter (DK $6500/ FD $5600) – When Carter is the most expensive center available on FD, you know the position is not deep this evening. Despite being the highest priced center, he comes in at a fair price and makes for a strong point per dollar option. The matchup against the Rockets is actually a good one as they allow the fourth most rebounds per game and the third most points in the paint. Carter generates 58 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, Houston gives up the fifth most blocks per game. This is a great spot for Carter who has played well in recent games and comes in at a fair price, especially on FD.
Brook Lopez (DK $5600/ FD $5300) – On DK, Lopez makes a lot of sense over Carter being that you get a $900 discount, and every dollar counts this evening. Lopez has played no less than 28 minutes in seven straight games, including 30 or more minutes in five of those contests. This contest sets up nicely for Lopez who generates a lot of his scoring from beyond the arc, being that the Nets allow the sixth most three-pointers per game to opposing centers. In addition, this game will be up in pace, so there will be plenty of touch opportunities here. Lopez should be able to exploit this matchup at a reasonable price tag.
DeAndre Jordan (DK $4800/ FD $4500) – If you are looking for an extremely cheap center option, Jordan is in play this evening. He will likely play 23-26 minutes tonight and is averaging a smidge under a fantasy point per minute. The Bucks are a good defensive team, but they are allowing 19.9 points and 14.9 rebounds per game to opposing centers, to go along with 50+ fantasy points. Jordan might not score a ton of points but will be active on the board and will get you defensive stats.
DraftKings: DeAndre Jordan, Victor Oladipo, Khris Middleton, Luka Doncic
FanDuel: Wendell Carter, Joe Harris, James Harden, Luka Doncic
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**