What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Thursday!
After a nine-game slate last night, we have a much smaller three-game slate this evening. Although small, there are a few studs on the slate. It could be a low scoring night however, as only one of tonight’s contest has an over/under of over 220 points. Of the six teams playing tonight, three are playing at a bottom seven pace and five teams are inside the top 12 in defense efficiency, with four of those teams being inside the top eight in that department. As far as news is concerned, there is nothing major pending, but as always, unexpected news can pop up. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both considered probable for tonight’s game against the Bucks.
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 115
- Lakers 114
- Jazz 111.75
- Warriors 110
- Knicks 105.5
- Pelicans 104.75
- Jazz -7
- Warriors -4.5
- Bucks -1
Position By Position
Stephen Curry (DK $9700/ FD $9800) – The Warriors are on a second night of a back-to-back, but that should not worry you too much when it comes to Curry. For starters, he played just 32 minutes and only one minute and 38 seconds in the fourth quarter with the game in the bag. In addition, Curry has fared well in the second game of a back-to-back at home, averaging 52.14 DK points per game and with a consistency rating of 68.4 percent across a 19-game sample size. Curry has been inconsistent with his shooting, but did shoot the ball well last night, draining in 59 percent of his shots. Look for him to carry that momentum over against the Knicks this evening. It’s not the greatest of matchups, but he is capable of posting big numbers against tough opponents.
Jrue Holiday (DK $6600/ FD $7600) – Most of Holiday’s stats are down from the last several years, but that has also affected his price, as he was once an $8K player on DK. Although the stats are down because the usage is down and the role has changed on his new team, the talent and upside of that $8K player is still there. He can still stuff the stat sheet on any given night. Holiday has turned in several solid performances in recent games, scoring 16 or more real points and 32+ DK points in three straight games. He is also a good facilitator, grabs rebounds, and racks up the defensive stats. This should also be a competitive matchup, so he should play minutes in the upper 30’s. If you take a balanced approach this evening, Holiday is a solid piece to include in that build. He is a great way to get exposure to this matchup at a fair cost.
Dennis Schroder (DK $6300/ FD $6600) – Schroder is coming off nice game, scoring a season high 25 points in his last contest. Although his scoring is down from the last couple of seasons, Schroder is averaging a career high in rebounds, as well as more assists and steals per game than he was averaging in his previous two seasons. In addition, the scoring is down, but he has still scored double-digit points in all but two games, showing nice consistency in that department. Schroder is also averaging 31 minutes and has 12.8 shot attempts per game, so he has a solidified role on this offense. The Bucks are a good defensive unit, though they have been somewhat lenient to opposing point guards. They are allowing the eighth most real points and over 45 fantasy points per game to the position. Schroder might not offer an immense ceiling, but at this price tag, he should be able to reach value.
Eric Bledsoe (DK $5300/ FD $4700) – Bledsoe is just too cheap on FD to be ignored. I get that he has not been overly great this season and has been very hit or miss. However, he is more valuable than that $4700 price tag. The matchup against the Jazz is far from great and he struggled against them just a few nights ago. Therefore, I understand why you would want to shy away from him. That said, when taking his ability, upside, and price into consideration, he can be considered a strong point per dollar play. At this price tag, he does not need to have a stellar game to return value.
Donovan Mitchell (DK $7900/ FD $8200) – Mitchell has been shooting the ball well in recent games, shooting 50 percent or better from the court in five of his last six games. During that stretch, he has topped 25 real points five times. Tonight, he faces off against a Pelicans team he lit up a few nights ago and one that he has good recent history against. In the last five meetings against New Orleans, Mitchell has averaged 47.5 DK points per game, while sporting an 80 percent consistency rating. He has scored fewer than 40 DK points just once in those five meetings. New Orleans gives up the most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, along with the eighth highest three-point field goal percentage, which bodes well for Mitchell who generates 42.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Look for him to stay hot in tonight’s matchup against New Orleans.
Jordan Clarkson (DK $6100/ FD $6300) – Clarkson doesn’t start for Utah and averages 25.2 minutes per game on the season but has played no less than 28 minutes in four consecutive games and in five of his last six. Clarkson averages a healthy 25.8 percent usage rate on the season, as he is Utah’s primary offensive weapon off the bench. He also averages 1.17 fantasy points per minute and should see 27-29 minutes in this contest. Clarkson scored 18 points with six boards and six dimes just a few nights ago against this same Pelicans team. That doesn’t mean he will do it again, but he has been playing well in recent games, scoring 18 or more real points in all but three of his last 10 games, tacking on peripheral stats along the way. He is PG/SG eligible on DK, allowing you to get creative with your roster construction.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (DK $3700/ FD $4000) – If you are looking for a cheap option at the position this evening, KCP makes a lot of sense. He does not stuff the stat sheet but is a great source of three-pointers and steals. The good news for him is that the Bucks allow the 10th highest three-point percentage to opposing teams. In addition, this is a paced-up spot for the Lakers, as Milwaukee plays at the sixth fastest pace. KCP comes in at a very affordable price on both sites and won’t need to do all that much to hit value. He doesn’t play a ton of minutes on a regular basis, averaging 22.6 minutes per game, but averages 0.81 fantasy points per minute, so he should be able to pay off his salary this evening so long as he plays his regular allotment of minutes which is expected to be the case.
Pat Connaughton (DK $3400/ FD $4000) –Connaughton is not going to play a ton of minutes, as he averages 16.6 minutes per game on the season. That said, he has played 18 or more minutes in three of his last four games and no less than 16 minutes in any of those contests. He is averaging just about a fantasy point per minute on the season and should play 16-18 minutes here, which should be enough for him to reach his value at this cheap price tag. Don’t expect monster numbers from Connaughton, but if you are looking for a cheap option this evening that allows you to fit a few stars, he should be of service. Please note that he is listed as an SF on DK.
LeBron James (DK $9200/ FD $9500) – James is once again listed as questionable for tonight’s game, which has been the trend pretty much all season, but he has yet to miss a game. Chances are he will play in this contest against the Bucks. James continues to provide us with a steady floor on a nightly basis, averaging a healthy 47.3 DK points per game. He has a tough matchup at hand this evening, but one he has a good history against. In his last seven games against Milwaukee, James has averaged 60.3 DK points per game and a consistency rating of 85.7 percent. He scored fewer than 56 DK points just once in those seven games and never below 44.75 DK points. James has not displayed the ceiling he has in previous seasons, but that is OK because the floor remains steady and his price is reasonable.
Khris Middleton (DK $7600/ FD $8000) – Middleton continues to produce quality numbers on a consistent basis, scoring at least 40 DK points in seven of his last eight games. Despite that, he comes in at the cheapest price on DK since January 6. Granted this is not an ideal matchup for him against a tough Lakers defense. That being said, Middleton should still be priced as an $8K player based on his production and talent. The price cut alone makes him worth consideration, but this should also be a competitive game and he should play his full allotment of minutes. You can also take into account that Middleton generates 31 percent of his points from inside the paint and the Lakers give up the ninth most points in the paint.
R.J. Barrett (DK $6900/ FD $6700) – Barrett is shooting the ball well and in addition to that, has been stuffing the stat sheet with peripherals. Tonight, the Knicks face off against the Warriors, in what will be an up in pace matchup for them. This should create more possessions for the Knicks, which will benefit Barrett who is sporting a healthy 23.1 usage rate. Barrett averages 7.6 rebounds per game on the season but has double-digit boards in each of his last two games and the Warriors give up the third most rebounds per game to opposing teams. In addition, the Warriors surrender the fifth most points off turnovers and Barrett generates 17 percent of his scoring off turnovers. Normally I prefer Barrett in tournaments, but on a small slate like the one at hand, he can be considered in all formats tonight.
Bojan Bogdanovic (DK $5000/ FD $5000) – Bogdanovic is unlikely to light up the scoreboard, but he is in a good position for a solid outing. He is a three-point specialist, generating 58.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. The good news for him is that he faces a Pelicans team that gives up the most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, along with the eighth highest three-point field goal percentage. In addition, New Orleans is yielding the most three-point field goal attempts per game. Bogdanovic made 3-of-8 from three-point land a few nights ago against this same Pelicans defense and should once again get plenty of looks from beyond the arc, against a defense that has been generous in this department.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (DK $10600/ FD $11300) – It’s Giannis and we are likely going to get minutes in the upper 30’s tonight in what should be a competitive matchup. The Lakers are a tough defensive unit, so he will have his work cut out for him. However, there is a path to success here as the Lakers do allow the ninth most points in the paint per game and Giannis generates 55 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, this is a matchup that he has fared well in. Giannis has averaged 57.14 DK points per game against the Lakers in their last seven meetings, while sporting a consistency rating of 71.4 percent. During that stretch, he scored fewer than 54 DK points just twice and never below 46 DK points. So far this season, in games where Giannis has played at least 32 minutes, he has yet scored fewer than 53 DK points. That can be considered a floor for him this evening, despite the difficult matchup.
Julius Randle (DK $8800/ FD $9000) – I am all about getting Randle at sub $9K on DK. In fact, it’s the first time in 2021 that we have seen him this cheap. Aside from the great price tag here, we get him in a matchup that he should dominate in. The Warriors give up the third most rebounds per game and Randle sits ninth in the NBA in rebounds per game. He is averaging 11 boards per game and has a double-double in all but five games this season. If that is not enough, the Warriors actually allow the second most rebounds per game to the position, along with the fifth most fantasy points per game. Randle has displayed his ability to be a well-rounded player, not only producing points, but also peripherals for the Knicks. He offers us triple-double upside, is all but a lock to double-double, yet his price has come down on DK.
Zion Williamson (DK $7700/ FD $8000) – Williamson draws a matchup against a Jazz defense than is efficient, but one that he had a solid outing against the last time they played a few nights ago. In that game, Williamson scored 32 points with five rebounds, three assists, and a steal, while shooting 74 percent from the field. He is in a position for another productive outing, as the Jazz are allowing the eighth most points in the paint, which is where Williamson generates 80.4 percent of his scoring from. I am not expecting a ceiling game here for Zion, but a productive one is certainly in the realm of possibilities and at this price tag, he should be able to return value.
Draymond Green (DK $5500/ FD $5400) – I know, I know. He shit the bed yesterday in a plus matchup and he is now in a tougher matchup. That said, there are not many paydown options at the PF position, especially on FD. Therefore, if you are looking for some salary relief, you can consider Green. He is not a high usage player, nor does he score a ton of points, but he does contribute to peripheral stats most nights. Green has topped 30 DK points in three of his last five games, but has also shown the volatile side, scoring fewer than 20 DK points in two of those contests. I am not making him a priority tonight, nor is he someone I love, but I did want to give you a cheaper option at the position if needed.
Rudy Gobert (DK $7200/ FD $8500) – Gobert had his way in the paint against the Pelicans a few nights ago, grabbing 18 rebounds, while scoring 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He continues to play well and is all but a lock for a double-double even though the Pelicans are not an easy matchup. Gobert is not a high usage player, but he does have a high field goal percentage since nearly 80 percent of his shots are inside the paint. He comes in at a very reasonable price tonight and is easy to fit in for those taking the balanced approach with your roster construction.
Brook Lopez (DK $5100/ FD $5300) – I really like Lopez here tonight even though the Lakers are a good defensive unit. One position they have struggled against this season is opposing centers. They are giving up the sixth most real points, fifth most three-pointers, and over 50 fantasy points per game to the position. The fact that the Lakers give up the three ball to opposing bigs is huge for Lopez since he generates 57.4 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. It’s unlikely that Gasol or Harrell will come out to defense Lopez on the outside, which should generate some nice looks for him from three-point land. At this price tag and considering how solid he has played as of late, he pops up as a strong point per dollar play this evening.
James Wiseman (DK $4500/ FD $4400) – Wiseman turned in another strong performance last night, scoring 20 points with six boards, and four assists, while playing 25 minutes. It was the third time in four games that he plays at least 25 minutes and the second time in three games that he scores at least 18 points. The Knicks play big, so Wiseman should see 24-28 minutes in tonight’s contest, which should be enough time for him to reach value since he is averaging 1.12 fantasy points per minute. The Knicks have been playing solid defense this season but do yield the 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing centers. Wiseman is not normally someone I feel great about in cash, but as I have said before on this article, it’s a three-game slate, so there will be some guys we normally don’t consider in our cash game player pool tonight.
DraftKings: LeBron James, Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday
FanDuel: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, James Wiseman, Donovan Mitchell
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**