***UDPATED CORE FOUR @ 6:10PM***
Joel Embiid has been ruled out. Dwight Howard becomes a viable value option at the center position this evening.
Pascal Siakam will not play tonight, bump up OG. Kyle Lowry will play, making the backcourt less appealing for me.
Al Horford will not play tonight, putting Isaiah Roby in play this evening as a strong value option. George Hill has also been ruled out for OKC. Hamidou Diallo could benefit from that and now becomes a strong value option if he starts.
Robert Covington has been ruled out. Carmelo will likely see additional opportunities tonight and becomes a viable value option.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Monday!
We have a 10-game slate this evening and a lot of pending news at this time, but we have received some news early in the day that is helpful. D’Angelo Russell is not expected to play tonight as he deals with a quad contusion. Kemba Walker will rest tonight. Wendell Carter will miss yet another game as he battles with a thigh injury. The Heat will once again be without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, along with several others for tonight’s game against the Nets. The Celtics will have Jayson Tatum back this evening, after he missed his last five games due to health protocols. It is uncertain whether he will be on minutes restrictions or not and that is something we have to keep close tabs on before finalizing our lineups.
As far as questionable tags are concerned, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, LeBron James, and Joel Embiid are all considered questionable for tonight. Al Horford is listed as probable and so is Aaron Gordon.
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
- Nets 121.5
- Warriors 118
- Celtics 116
- Trail Blazers 115.25
- Heat 114
- Lakers -10.5
- Warriors -8.5
- Nets -7.5
- 76ers -6.5
- Trail Blazers -6
Position By Position
Damian Lillard (DK $10300/ FD $9700) – Lillard has scored 30+ real points in four of his last five games. He has had to pick up the slack in recent games, as both McCollum and Nurkic are out. To put it into perspective, for the season Lillard is sporting a 29.7 percent usage rate but has averaged a 36.5 percent usage rate over his last two games. Tonight’s matchup against the Thunder is one that favors him as they rank 20th in defense efficiency. Oklahoma is also allowing the 10th most points per game to opposing teams. Lillard should continue to carry this offense on his shoulders and will be in a position for yet another great outing.
Stephen Curry (DK $9200/ FD $9600) – Curry is shooting the ball much better after struggling with his shooting several games ago. Tonight, he faces off against a Timberwolves team that is pretty bad defensively, ranking 24th in defense efficiency. This unit struggles against opposing point guards, allowing the sixth most real points and eighth most fantasy points per game to the position. In addition, they allow the most three-pointers per game to point guards and the 11th highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which both are great for Curry who generates 45 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Both the Warriors and the Timberwolves play at a top seven pace, therefore, this should be an up-tempo game with plenty of touch opportunities. Curry has a great history against this team too. Since the 2014-15 season, in 17 meetings against the Timberwolves, Curry has averaged 52.35 DK points per game and has a 76.5 percent consistency rating. Over that span, not once did he score fewer than 43.5 DK points and has now topped 52 DK points in each of their last five meetings. He finds himself in a terrific spot this evening.
Dejounte Murray (DK $6500/ FD $7600) – Murray is finally back below $7K on DK and it is time to jump back on the bandwagon. He is dealing with an ankle issue but was able to play through it on Sunday and turned in a strong performance. In fact, he recorded his second triple-double of the season yesterday, scoring 11 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Murray has continued to display a solidified floor with plenty of upside and tonight, he is very affordable, especially on DK. The matchup against the Pelicans is a good one, as this unit ranks 25th in defense efficiency and they surrender the ninth most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards.
Goran Dragic (DK $6200/ FD $5800) – Dragic is dealing with a foot bruise, but he continues to play through it and is considered probable for tonight’s game against the Nets. The Heat will once again be missing some key players, so Dragic will likely start and play heavy minutes as he has been in the past four games. Over his last four games, Dragic has seen a two percent usage bump and has attempted at least 15 shots in all but one of those contests, while playing no less than 30 minutes in any of those games. The matchup against the Nets is a good one since they play up in pace, which will force the Heat to play faster than they normally do. These two teams faced off on Saturday and the Nets won 128-124. In that game, Dragic dropped 19 points with seven assists, and a rebound, while shooting a low 39 percent. The Nets give up the third most points in the paint, which is where Dragic generates 43.8 percent of his scoring. In addition, they rank 21st in defense efficiency. This is a nice spot for Dragic who comes in at a reasonable price on DK and is too cheap on FD.
Ricky Rubio (DK $5100/ FD $5300) – With Russell unlikely to play this evening, Rubio should be the primary ball handler for Minnesota. Last game, it was reported that Rubio would play 24-28 minutes and he ended up playing 28 minutes. It is uncertain on whether or not he will be on a restriction tonight, so it is something we have to keep a close eye on. Assuming he is not, Rubio can be considered a viable option this evening. I currently have Rubio projected for 26-29 minutes tonight and in any contest where he has played at least 26 minutes this season, Rubio has dropped 23+ DK points in each game. He is not the player he once was but can still stuff the stat sheet like we saw in his last game where he scored nine points, with seven rebounds and seven assists. Tonight’s matchup against the Warriors will be up in pace and should create plenty of touch opportunities for Rubio.
Jalen Brunson (DK $4700/ FD $4300) – Brunson has played no less than 31 minutes in three straight games and has now started in four consecutive games. Dallas continues to deal with injuries to some of their wing players, which has created opportunities for Brunson. He has turned in a couple of good games and a bad outing, which came against the Rockets on Saturday night. Tonight, he should be able to get back on track against a Denver defense that ranks 22nd in defense efficiency. Considering how cheap Brunson is, especially on FD, he does not have to go absolutely bonkers to pay off his salary. He is averaging 0.93 fantasy points per minute and should play 30+ minutes in this contest. So long as he remains in the starting lineup, Brunson is a nice value option this evening. He is PG/SG eligible on DK, which gives your more flexibility with roster construction.
Fred VanVleet (DK $7900/ FD $7900) – Keep an eye out for Toronto news before lock. If Lowry ends up sitting this one out, we can go right back to VanVleet this evening. With Lowry out on Sunday, VanVleet played a season high 41 minutes and would once again be asked to do the heavy lifting for Toronto’s backcourt. The matchup against the Pacers is not a slam dunk by any means, but it’s the same matchup that VanVleet had yesterday afternoon, a matchup he fared well in. He scored 21 points with five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block against this team yesterday. Indiana is giving up the second highest three-point field goal percentage, which bodes well for VanVleet who generates 51.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. At sub $8K on both sites, VanVleet makes a lot of sense tonight so long as Lowry sits.
Marcus Smart (DK $6400/ FD $6300) – Smart will run the point tonight with Walker being rested. The matchup doesn’t get much better against a Chicago defense that ranks 25th in defense efficiency and a team that gives up the third most points per game to opposing teams. The Bulls are giving up the ninth most three-pointers per game, which is where Smart generates 39.8 percent of his scoring from. In addition, Chicago allows the second most steals per game, which bodes extremely well for Smart who averages 1.8 steals per game. The Bulls are playing at the second fastest pace in basketball at this time, making this a paced-up spot for the Celtics tonight. Even with Tatum expected back in action this evening, Smart will have plenty of touch opportunities in this contest and will have a chance to stuff the stat sheet against a defense that has been overly generous to the position.
Kendrick Nunn (DK $6100/ FD $6500) – Nunn’s price is starting to get up there, but that is only because of how well he has played. In each of his last four games, Nunn has played at least 32 minutes and has topped 30 DK points in each game. He gets a rematch against the Nets, who he just played on Saturday. In that contest, Nunn scored 18 points with five boards, three assists, and a steal. He attempted a season high nine shots from beyond the arc, connecting on four of them. Nunn will once again be let loose, as the Heat continue to be without multiple key players. The Nets are far from a great defensive unit and play up in pace, making this a solid situation for Nunn. Although his price has increased, it is still reasonable considering his current role, production, and the potential game environment this evening.
Terrence Ross (DK $6000/ FD $4900) – This is a FD only play here for me, as Ross is just too cheap to overlook over at FD. Ross has played at least 30 minutes in four of his last five games off the bench. He is a volatile player and normally I avoid this type of player in cash. That said, it goes back to his FD price here, which is too low. The Hornets are allowing fourth most three-pointers per game, which bodes well for Ross who generates 39.5 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. As you can see, there is a path to success here for Ross and at his salary on FD, it will not take too much to reach value.
Norman Powell (DK $5200/ FD $5600) – If, and only if Lowry sits tonight, Powell is once again in play. He turned in a strong performance on Sunday, scoring 20 points with two rebounds and a season high six assists. Powell also played a season high 37 minutes and attempt 18 shots, tying his season record on shot attempts. Powell is one of the biggest beneficiaries when both Siakam and Lowry are off the court, which could be the case this evening, as he sees a massive 6.5 percent usage bump. At this price tag, he can be considered a strong point per dollar play so long as Lowry sits, and Powell starts. Keep a close eye on news as we head into lock.
Brandon Ingram (DK $8000/ FD $7700) – The last time Ingram was this cheap on DK, was on New Years eve. He continues to score with ease, scoring 20 or more real points in five of his last six games. However, he has been lacking in peripheral stats in recent games, with four or fewer rebounds in each of his last five games and four or fewer assists in four of those contests. That should change this evening against a Spurs team that is giving up the fourth most rebounds and the most assists, to go along with the second most fantasy points and eighth most real points per game to the position. In addition, San Antonio gives up the seventh most points in the paint, which is where Ingram generates 29.1 percent of his scoring from. The Spurs are also giving up the third most rebounds and the ninth most blocks. As much as he has lacked in peripheral stats as of late, Ingram is in good position to stuff the stat sheet in this contest. He scored 28 points with 11 rebounds, six assists, and a block in their last meeting earlier this season.
Tobias Harris (DK $7200/ FD $7200) – Harris had an underwhelming performance against this Detroit team on Saturday, but should bounce back here tonight, especially if Embiid does not play. The Pistons rank 27th in defense efficiency and give up the eighth most points per game to opposing teams. Harris does not offer the highest of ceilings, though he has been a steady player for most of the season. He plays big minutes, scores, is active on the boards, and also adds defensive stats. If Embiid sits, Harris will see a nice usage bump. With Embiid off the court, Harris has seen a usage increase of 3.1 percent this season. Even if Embiid plays, Harris is in play at his reasonable price tag, but he would become a stronger play if Embiid sat.
OG Anunoby (DK $6900/ FD $6200) – Anunoby went off yesterday, scoring a season high 30 points to go along with eight rebounds, five steals, one assist, and one block in 40 minutes of action. He attempted a season high 16 shots and made nine of them, for a healthy 56 percent shooting. Anunoby took full advantage of Siakam and Lowry being out, and that could once again be the case tonight. If Siakam and Lowry are both out, we go right back to Anunoby who sees the biggest usage bump (7.1 percent) of anyone in Toronto when those two are off the court. Anunoby is already a peripherals player, but when given the opportunity at more shooting, these are the types of games he can give you. So long as Lowry and Siakam are both out, Anunoby is firmly in play.
Duncan Robinson (DK $6200/ FD $4700) – On DK I am not going to pay this price for Robinson, but on FD, he is just too cheap to ignore. Robinson is playing huge minutes for Miami right now and that should continue to be the case tonight as they remain without some key players. He averages 33.5 minutes per game for the season but has played no less than 34 minutes in eight consecutive games. That does not always lead to huge numbers for Robinson, but he has been fairly consistent in recent games. The matchup tonight will be up in pace against a Nets team that allows nearly 13 three-pointers per game to opposing teams, which is where Robinson does most of his damage from. He attempted 11 three-pointers in their last meeting a few nights ago but connected on just 27 percent of them. Expect better shooting from Robinson tonight in what should be another high scoring affair.
Jayson Tatum (DK $8900/ FD $9600) – Tatum is set to return this evening after missing five games due to health protocols. It is uncertain on whether he will be on a minute’s restriction or not in his first game back, though I am currently projecting him for 30-33 minutes with upside for more. So long as he does not have any restrictions tonight, Tatum is a strong play. The matchup against the Bulls is a great one, as they rank 25th in defense efficiency. He should be able to stuff the stat sheet here against this defense, who will not have an answer for him. Tatum generates 39 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and Chicago gives up the ninth most three-pointers per game. Look for him to light this defense up this evening. Tatum was playing great basketball before his five-game absence and I expect him to pick up right where he left off.
Bam Adebayo (DK $8500/ FD $9600) – Bam continues to play very good basketball in recent games and should once again crush against the Nets. He scored 41 points with five rebounds, nine assists, and a steal in 38 minutes against this same team just a few nights ago. The Nets struggle in the paint, allowing the third most points per game from there, which bodes extremely well for Bam who generates 54.5 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, Brooklyn gives up the third most real points, the third most assists, the third most steals, and the fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. We have seen Adebayo’s usage go up in recent games because of all the players out for Miami and that will once again be the case this evening. He has the ability to stuff the stat sheet anytime he is on the court and provides us with a solidified floor, to go along with his massive upside.
Zion Williamson (DK $7900/ FD $8000) – Williamson scored 20 or more real points in eight straight games before his streak ended on Saturday against Minnesota. He finished one point shy of the 20 points but did finish with double-digit rebounds for the first time in four games. Tonight, he is in a position to get the scoring back on track, as well as dominate the boards. He faces off against a Spurs team that gives up the third most rebounds. In addition, San Antonio gives up the seventh most points in the paint, which bodes well for Williamson who generates 77.7 percent of his scoring from the paint. He scored 18 points with 11 boards, five steals, and a block against the Spurs in their last meeting earlier this season. Williamson has been very consistent throughout the season and is in a great position for another solid outing.
Jarred Vanderbilt (DK $5000/ FD $5400) – Vanderbilt has started in each of the last four games. That has not necessarily turned into huge minutes, as he has averaged 23.8 minutes per game during that stretch. However, he has taken full advantage of his opportunity from a production standpoint, averaging 9.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, two steals, two assists, and one block in those four contests. With the Timberwolves still missing some frontcourt bodies tonight, as well as potentially a high usage player in Russell, Vanderbilt should see an expanded role in the offense once again and be in the starting lineup. The matchup is one he should excel in, being that the Warriors are giving up the most rebounds per game to opposing teams and are allowing the fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. The lack of huge minutes is concerning, but like we saw last game, Vanderbilt can rack up the fantasy points in a hurry as his 1.13 fantasy points per minute suggests.
Thaddeus Young (DK $4500/ FD $4200) – Young has played at least 23 minutes in three straight games and with Carter out again tonight, he could see some additional minutes in this contest. He comes in at a cheap price tag and is averaging close to a fantasy point per minute. I have him projected for 23-25 minutes tonight, which should be enough for him to pay off the price tag here. The Celtics do allow the 14th most points in the paint per game, which is where Young generates 81.8 percent of his scoring from. If you are looking for a cheap PF this evening to fit in some of the higher priced players, Young is a viable option.
Nikola Jokic (DK $10800/ FD $11200) – Jokic continues to play incredible basketball and has a double-double in every single game this season. Tonight, he faces off against a Dallas team that is giving up the most real points per game to opposing centers and one that allows the ninth most rebounds per game to opposing teams. Although pricey, Jokic offers one of the safest floors of anyone in basketball. He is a stat sheet stuffer. The last time he faced this Dallas team earlier this season, he dropped 38 points with 11 boards, four assists, and two steals. He should have no trouble lighting this team up once again and he is my favorite pay up player on the slate.
Nikola Vucevic (DK $8700/ FD $9400) – Vucevic is producing consistent numbers on a nightly basis, offering an incredible floor to go along with nice upside. He faces off against a Hornets team that he scored 22 points with 13 rebounds against yesterday. Charlotte allows the seventh most rebounds per game to opposing teams, so Vucevic should dominate the boards once again in this contest. In fact, the Hornets allow the most rebounds per game to opposing centers, as well as 50+ fantasy points per game. Vucevic has scored no less than 45 DK points in eight of his last nine games and has a double-double in all but five games this season. He struggled shooting the ball against the Hornets last game and still managed 22 real points. He should have a field day against Charlotte once again.
James Wiseman (DK $5400/ FD $4900) – On FD Wiseman remains too affordable at under $5K. He has played no less than 25 minutes in three straight games and in five of his last six contests. The matchup against Minnesota is a good one, as they rank 24th in defense efficiency. In addition, they allow the second most points in the paint per game, which bodes extremely well for Wiseman who generates 61.4 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Minnesota also gives up the eighth most rebounds per game. Wiseman is averaging over a fantasy point per minute and should play 24-26 minutes in this contest. I prefer his FD price, but he is viable on both sites as a solid point per dollar play.
DraftKings: Dejounte Murray, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Isaiah Roby
FanDuel: Damian Lillard, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Isaiah Roby
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**