**UPDATED CORE FOUR @ 6:47PM**
Tyler Herro has been ruled out, this gives Dragic a bump and puts Kendrick Nunn in play as a strong value option.
Myles Turner has been ruled out. Doug McDermott becomes a strong value play if he starts once again.
***Please note: Seconds after posting the article, the Portland & Memphis game was postponed. I have made some changes to the article, as well as to my core four because of the news. All changes made shortly after posting are in blue text. I will still be making the afternoon updates as usual as news comes in. ***
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Wednesday!
We have a 10-game slate this evening. At first glance, this is a slate where taking a balanced approach with roster construction makes a lot of sense. As far as news in concerned, there is a lot to keep tabs on today that could impact our approach for the slate. Some players to keep an eye on today are Tyler Herro, Andrew Wiggins, Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Myles Turner, and Cam Reddish all of which are listed as questionable. The players I am most interested in getting status information on here are Wiggins, Herro, and Turner, as their absence can open up some much needed value for us this evening.
Goran Dragic is probable for the Heat. Tim Hardaway is probable for the Mavs, though he was clearly affected by the groin injury last game and didn’t play well. The Nets will have Kyrie Irving back and it will be the first time the big three in Brooklyn play together this season. Orlando will get Evan Fournier back this evening. Some notable players out tonight are Karl-Anthony Towns, John Wall, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Jonas Valanciunas. Dallas, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Memphis all remain somewhat shorthanded tonight. As always, unexpected news can always pop up between now and lock, so make sure to be on top of news as we head into lock.
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
- Clippers 120.5
- Nets 116.25
- Warriors 114.5
- Spurs 113.5
- Suns 112.75
- Clippers -10
- Nets -8
- Suns -5.5
- Hawks -5
- 76ers -5
Position By Position
Damian Lillard (DK $10400/ FD $10000) – The Trail Blazers are missing a few key pieces this evening, which means we will see a significant usage increase for Lillard in this contest. Last game, he finished with a season high 40.3 percent usage rate, while playing 36 minutes and scoring 35 points with six assists, three rebounds, one block, and one assist. Going back to last season, whenever McCollum and Nurkic were off the court, Lillard saw a significant 5.5 percent usage bump. He also saw a four percent assists rate increase. His price has gone up on both sites, but that goes hand in hand with his recent production. Look for Lillard to carry this Portland team on his shoulders once again. GAME WAS POSTPONED
Stephen Curry (DK $9700/ FD $9800) – Curry has struggled with his shot in recent games, shooting below his career average of 46.9 percent in four of his last six games. That said, shooters like him don’t stay in this funk for too long and tonight he faces a Spurs team that gives up the 10th highest field goal percentage to opposing teams. In addition, San Antonio gives up the 10th most three-pointers per game to opposing point guards, which bodes well for Curry who generates 43.3 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Curry is currently top 10 in the NBA as far as usage rate is concerned, sporting a healthy 31 percent in that department. He has a solid history against the Spurs, averaging 45.1 DK points per game against them in his last 15 games, eclipsing 50 DK points in eight of those contests. This contest has the second highest implied total on the slate with just a one-point spread, so this should be a great game environment for Curry and the Warriors. Another plus is that Wiggins is questionable for this contest and if he misses, Curry will see a usage bump. In a small sample size this season, with Wiggins off the court, Curry sees a 3.5 percent usage bump.
Dejounte Murray (DK $7400/ FD $7800) – I’ve watched a lot of the Spurs games this season and Murray is quickly becoming a player I like a ton. He can do it all and plays hard pretty much every night. He is coming off a subpar performance offensively, scoring just nine points, but did add 11 dimes and nine boards. Filling up the stat sheet is something Murray can do in a hurry, as he is averaging career highs in points, assists, rebounds, and minutes. Tonight, he faces a Golden State team that plays at a top three pace and is not great defensively. This is a great game environment for Murray who should be in a position for more touches than usual this evening due to Golden State’s up-tempo style of play.
Ja Morant (DK $7300/ FD $7900) – Morant has now played two games since returning from an eight-game absence due to an ankle injury and has logged 30+ minutes in each of those contests. He comes into this contest at a very affordable price and finds himself in a great matchup. Portland ranks 27th in defense rating and plays at a top 12 pace. In addition, this unit gives up the second most real points, fifth most rebounds, most three-pointers, and seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. Morant remains too cheap for his abilities, as he is more of an $8K player, so we should be taking advantage of this price tag now before it goes up, especially in such a favorable matchup. He is likely going to be popular tonight, but rightfully so, and can be considered good chalk. GAME WAS POSTPONED
Goran Dragic (DK $5700/ FD $5200) – Dragic has played 30+ minutes in each of the last two games and should once again play 29-31 minutes in tonight’s contest against the Raptors. He is averaging over a fantasy point per minute and should have no trouble paying off this salary. The Raptors are not playing as good of defense as we have seen in the past, ranking 16th in defense efficiency. They are also giving up the eighth most three-pointers per game, which bodes well for Dragic who generates 29.6 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Dragic is much more appealing on FD where he is just too cheap but is viable on both sites. He would also get a bump if Herro is out and if Dragic is in the staring lineup.
Players you can add in your cash game pool: Luka Doncic, Kyle Lowry, Jalen Brunson
Paul George (DK $9100/ FD $8500) – The Clippers take on the Kings this evening, a team that ranks dead last in defense efficiency. These two teams faced off a few nights ago and Los Angeles won by 38 points. This game has the potential to blowout again, making George a bit of a risky play, but on FD we cannot ignore his price. The Kings are giving up the most real points, fifth most assists, fourth most three-pointers, 11th most steals, and most fantasy points per game to the position. George played just 30 minutes in their last meeting and scored 26 points with four rebounds and two assists, on 8-of-14 shooting. George attempted just four shots and played in just 12 minutes in the second half of that game. That risk is there tonight, but if this game stays closer, George will be in a position to smash here at a fair price given his potential. I prefer using him on FD where he is cheaper.
D’Angelo Russell (DK $8800/ FD $8400) – Russell has been playing some good ball as of late and is in a position to continue playing well this evening. He faces off against a Magic team that struggles immensely against the position, allowing the fourth most real points, most rebounds, most assists, fourth most three-pointers, and fourth most fantasy points per game. Russell has a healthy 30.3 percent usage rate on the season and has now taken 20+ shots in four consecutive games and in five of his last six. Orlando surrenders the seventh highest field goal percentage to opposing teams, making this a good situation for Russell.
DeMar DeRozan (DK $8500/ FD $8000) – DeRozan was a bit pricey last game but has seen a price decrease on both sites. He is still not overly cheap but considering how well he has played this season and his results, he is a nice point per dollar play. This is a paced-up matchup against a Warriors team that plays fast and doesn’t play great defense. Golden State has struggled defending the position, allowing the eighth most real points per game. DeRozan has played well against the Warriors in the past, averaging 45.1 DK points per game and with a consistency rating of 75 percent over his last eight games against them. This should be a great game environment and one that I think DeRozan could flourish in. Please note, he is SF/PF eligible on DK.
Dwayne Bacon (DK $3600/ FD $3800) – Bacon has started every game for the Magic and although his results have been mixed throughout the season, he has scored double-digit points in five of his last seven games. Granted, that is nothing to brag about, being that he doesn’t contribute much to peripheral stats and offers us a low ceiling. However, tonight’s matchup is a favorable one and one that he should find success in. The Timberwolves allow the most points in the paint per game and Bacon generates 54.3 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. He is averaging 28.1 minutes per game over his last seven contests and comes in at a cheap price this evening. Bacon won’t have to do all that much to hit value here at his salary on both sites. Fournier playing is not ideal for Bacon here, but at near min price, we can still go here if needed for value.
Kawhi Leonard (DK $9400/ FD $9100) – Leonard is in a great spot this evening against one of the worst defenses in basketball. He faces off against the Kings who play relatively fast and rank dead last in defense efficiency. Sacramento gives up the most points per game to opposing teams. These two faced off a few nights ago, and in that game, Leonard scored 27 points with six dimes, four boards, and a steal in just 28 minutes of play. He sat out the final 14 minutes of this contest because of the blowout. That is once again a concern this evening, but if this game stays closer than the last one, Leonard would be in a great position to post up a strong stat line. The Kings give up the second most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Leonard who generates 40.3 percent of his points from inside the paint. In addition, the Kings allow the highest field goal percentage to opposing teams. Leonard could hit value in just three quarters like we saw last game, but if he plays his regular allotment of minutes, a ceiling game is possible.
Eric Gordon (DK $5500/ FD $5200) – Gordon returned to action on Monday after missing two games and played 34 minutes. He turned in a solid performance, scoring 21 points with four assists, two rebounds, and made three shots from beyond the arc. He finished the contest with a healthy 23.2 percent usage rate. Tonight, he should once again see an uptick in usage with John Wall out for Houston and Gordon remains reasonably priced. The matchup is not great by any means considering that the Suns play at a slow pace and have not been overly generous against the position. However, they do rank 18th in defense efficiency.
Carmelo Anthony (DK $4700/ FD $4100) – Melo has not started a game this season, but has played decent minutes off the bench, especially in recent games. He is averaging 26.4 minutes per game in his last five games. The Trail Blazers are missing some key pieces this evening and so far this season when both McCollum and Nurkic have been off the court, Melo sees a healthy five percent usage increase. Last game, Melo attempted 13 shots, the second highest in a single game this season. He might not be the scorer he once was, but he is averaging 0.86 fantasy points per minute and should play 25-28 minutes tonight, which should be enough for him to reach value at his price point. GAME WAS POSTPONED
Players you can add in your cash game pool: Kelly Oubre (if Wiggins sits), Duncan Robinson (FD)
Domantas Sabonis (DK $9800/ FD $9600) – Sabonis has double-doubled in every single game this season and is one of the more consistent players available in today’s slate. The Pacers might be without Myles Turner tonight who is highly questionable, which is good news for Sabonis, who gets a usage bump with Tuner off the court. In addition, Sabonis saw a 21.8 rebounding percentage with Turner off the court last season. Tonight’s matchup against Dallas is one that Sabonis should find success in, as they are not a good rebounding team, allowing the seventh most rebounds per game. In addition, Dallas has given up over 23 real points per game to the position. Sabonis is one of the top pay up players on tonight’s slate, offering a great floor to go along with plenty of upside.
Bam Adebayo (DK $8600/ FD $8800) – On FD where Bam is considered a PF, he makes for an interesting play against the Raptors. The Heat will be without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro is considered questionable, so Adebayo could be in for a major usage bump. When Butler is off the court, Adebayo sees a 2.4 percent usage increase, but when both Butler and Herro are off the court, he sees a 4.5 usage bump. In his two games back from a two-game absence, Bam has scored 28 real points in each contest, finishing with a double-double in his last game. He can fill up the stat sheet in a hurry and is one of very few players in this price range that offers triple-double upside. I prefer him if Herro sits, but still consider Bam a viable option if Herro plays. Please note, he is listed as a center on DK.
Brandon Clarke (DK $6000/ FD $6500) – Clarke has played some solid basketball in recent games, scoring 30+ DK points in four of his last five games. He has attempted no less than 13 shots in five straight games and has scored 15 or more real points in four of those, while finishing with at least eight rebounds in three of those contests. Not to mention, he has played no less than 30 minutes in each of the last five games. With no Valanciunas tonight, Clarke gets a minor bump in usage, as he has seen a 2.1 percent usage increase with Valanciunas off the court this season. Tonight, Clarke faces a Portland team that gives up the fifth most rebounds per game and will be without their staring center. Portland gives up 46.6 points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Clarke who generates 75.3 percent of his points from inside the paint. GAME WAS POSTPONED
Draymond Green (DK $5400/ FD $5400) – After a poor outing against the Nuggets, Green turned things around last game against the Lakers. He was once again close to another triple-double, scoring nine points with nine dimes, eight assists, and a steal, while playing 31 minutes. Green has now played 30+ minutes in four of his last six games, playing fewer than 29 minutes just once during that stretch. He has also posted solid numbers in three of his four last games, flirting with a triple-double on multiple instances in that span. He is not a high usage player but has the ability to stuff the stat sheet with peripherals. The matchup is a good one as the Spurs allow the third most rebounds per game to opposing teams and Green now has at least six boards in three of his last four games. In addition, San Antonio allows the seventh most points in the paint per game, which benefits Green who generates 41 percent of his points from inside the paint. If Wiggins sits this game out, Green gets a boost, but he is a viable option either way.
Xavier Tillman (DK $3500/ FD $4600) – My top value on the slate this evening is Tillman who should once again be in the starting lineup. Tillman got the start last game and played 29 minutes, finishing with 12 points, six rebounds, a steal, and an assist. He has now played 28 minutes in each of the last two games and should play 27-30 minutes in this contest. He averages just shy of a fantasy point per minute, so he should have no trouble returning value at his salary. The matchup is also a good one here against a Portland team that allows the fifth most rebounds per game. Tillman has also showed off his defensive skills with seven steals in his last three games, so there are multiple ways for him to produce fantasy points. He is PF/C eligible on DK, giving you plenty of flexibility with roster construction. So long as he starts, Tillman is one of the best point per dollar plays on the slate this evening. GAME WAS POSTPONED
Players you can add in your cash game pool: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kristaps Porzingis (FD)
Nikola Vucevic (DK $8600/ FD $9900) – Vucevic is in a great position for a big game tonight against a Timberwolves team that will be without Karl-Anthony Towns and one that has been extremely generous to opposing centers this season. Minnesota is allowing the most real points, seventh most rebounds, most assists, and most fantasy points per game to the position. In addition, Minnesota gives up the most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Vucevic who generates 38 percent of his points from inside the paint. If that is not enough to get you on the Vucevic bandwagon tonight, maybe the fact that the Timberwolves rank 28th in defense efficiency will do it. Vucevic has double-doubled in five of his last six games and has displayed a strong floor as well as a high ceiling. He is a tad too expensive for me on FD but do like his price tag on DK quite a bit.
Clint Capela (DK $7600/ FD $8000) – Capela has posted back-to-back strong performances, scoring at least 23 real points, and grabbing 15 rebounds in each of his last two games. He also had seven blocks combined in those games and scored 50+ DK points in each those contests. Tonight, he faces a Pistons team that is giving up the third most blocks per game to opposing teams and the eighth most fantasy points per game to opposing centers. Capela has played 37 or more minutes in each of the last two games and although the Hawks will get some players back tonight, he should see 30+ minutes again tonight against Detroit.
Enes Kanter (DK $6300/ FD $6300) – Kanter has started in each of the last two games and has played 27 and 29 minutes in those contests. He has mixed results on those games but did play just 27 minutes last game due to a blowout. Tonight’s game is expected to be much more competitive than the last one, as it has a 223-point over/under and just a one-point spread. The matchup against the Grizzlies is a good one as they have been overly generous to opposing centers, allowing the fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. In addition, they allow the second most rebounds per game to opposing bigs. The Grizzlies allow the seventh most rebounds and second most blocks to opposing teams as well. Look for Kanter to bounce back tonight, after a subpar performance last game. Kanter averages well over a fantasy point per minute and should play 28-30 minutes tonight. Taking that into account, as well as the matchup, it’s difficult not to love Kanter at this price tag. GAME WAS POSTPONED
Players you can add in your cash game pool: DeAndre Ayton (FD), Mason Plumlee
DraftKings: Nikola Vucevic, Draymond Green, Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic
FanDuel: DeMar DeRozan, Domantas Sabonis, Goran Dragic, Draymond Green
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**