***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:05PM***
Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro have been ruled out for tonight’s game. Kendrick Nunn becomes a very strong option tonight in all formats, especially at his DK price.
OG Anunoby has been ruled out for tonight, Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet become viable options.
Al Horford is available to play tonight, bump down Roby.
Darius Garland WILL NOT have minutes restrictions tonight (read below under PG for my thoughts).
Larry Nance will not play tonight. Does not do too much for DFS purposes.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Wednesday!
After an unappealing three-game slate on Tuesday night, we get a massive 12-game slate this evening.
On the news front, we already know that notable players such as Blake Griffin, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, and Karl-Anthony Towns have been ruled out for tonight. Washington will also be without Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans, Deni Avdija, Ish Smith, Troy Brown Jr., Moe Wagner once again.
We have a pretty lengthy list of players considered questionable this evening that we must keep close tabs on. That list includes, Domantas Sabonis, Larry Nance, Cam Reddish, Clint Capela, Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Al Horford, Raul Neto, George Hill, Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and D’Angelo Russell.
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 121.75
- Warriors 118.75
- Pelican 117.5
- Bucks 116.75
- Hawks 115.75
- Warriors -9
- Pelicans -7.5
- Suns -7
- Bucks -6.5
- Nets -6
Position By Position
Stephen Curry (DK $9300/ FD $9600) – Curry will get a rematch from the other night against a Timberwolves defense that is absolutely terrible, ranking 26th in defense efficiency. This unit is also giving up the third most real points, 12th most assists, most three-pointers, and eighth most fantasy points per game to the point guard position. In addition, Minnesota gives up the 10th highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams. Taking all of this into consideration, you have to love this spot for Curry who generates 46 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. In their last meeting a few nights ago, Curry went off for 36 points with four rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 34 minutes. That includes 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. There is a blowout possibility here as the Warriors are the heaviest favorites on the board and the Warriors did win by 22 points the last time out, which led to Curry playing just four minutes and 17 seconds in the fourth quarter. That said, as we saw last game, Curry has the ability to light up this team in less than three quarters of play.
Chris Paul (DK $7600/ FD $7400) – The Suns will be without Booker tonight which benefits Paul in a big way like we saw last game. In situations with Booker off the court this season, Paul sees a 2.6 percent usage bump, a 7.7 percent increase in assist percentage, and a 1.4 percent increase in rebounding percentage. The sample size is not huge by any means, but in the last game without Booker, Paul played 32 regulation minutes, scored 21 points (2nd most of the season), finished with 13 assists (2nd most of the season), and grabbed nine rebounds (tied for season high). As you can see, he was one rebound shy of a triple-double and offers that same upside again this evening. Yes, the game went into overtime and that has to be factored in, but there is no denying just how much of a boost Paul gets with no Booker. The Suns face off against OKC which plays at the 10th fastest pace in basketball, making this a paced-up spot for Phoenix. In addition, the Thunder rank 22nd in defense efficiency. Paul should be able to stuff that stat sheet this evening and comes in at a very affordable price considering the circumstances of not having Booker.
Kemba Walker (DK $6300/ FD $7000) – Walker missed the first 11 games of the season and since returning, he has yet to play more than 29 minutes in a single game. That said, he has been extremely productive when on the court, averaging a healthy 1.41 fantasy points per minute. Walker’s minutes have been increasing each game, although in his last game he was on the court just 24 minutes, but that was more because of the blowout. Walker was rested in Boston’s last contest, so he should have fresh legs here tonight and should play 27-30 minutes, which, at this price tag, is more than enough for him to pay off his salary. The matchup against the Spurs is one that favors Walker, as this team plays at a top 12 pace and is giving up over 45 fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. Walker has shot the ball well thus far and has contributed to peripheral stats in just about every game. He remains too cheap this evening, especially on DK, making him a strong point per dollar play against San Antonio.
Lonzo Ball (DK $5600/ FD $5600) – I know Ball has not had a great season thus far and with rumors about the Pelicans taking calls and open to trading him, he is riskier than we normally want in cash games. That said, it is very difficult to not consider him this evening in this matchup against a very bad Wizards defense, a team that plays at a very fast pace. Washington allows the fourth most real points, most rebounds, third most assists, and third most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. In addition, the Wizards give up the sixth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which bodes well for Ball who generates 52.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Aside from scoring here, Ball has the potential to stuff the stat sheet with peripherals and he comes in at a very affordable price. Truth be told, I feel more comfortable with Ball in tournaments, but if you ended up with him in your cash game lineups, I would not hate it at all. This sets up to be a great game environment for the Pelicans.
Jerome Robinson (DK $4800/ FD $3600) – With Westbrook out this evening, Robinson should see an expanded role against the Pelicans. In the last two games that Westbrook has sat, and Robinson has played in, Robinson has played at least 22 minutes, has scored double-digit real points, and has finished with no less than 21 DK points. Robinson sees a 1.2 percent usage boost with Westbrook off the court. He comes in at a very affordable price, especially on FD where he is essentially min price. Keep an eye on the starting lineup, but Robinson should be in it.
Darius Garland (DK $4600/ FD $5300) – After missing eight games with a shoulder injury, Garland has played in the last three games for the Cavs. He has been coming off the bench and has been on a minutes restriction, though that is expected to change tonight. Since returning, his minutes have increased each game and Garland played 26 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Lakers. Assuming Garland is not on a minutes restriction tonight, we have to consider him a very strong value play here. Prior to the injury, Garland was playing some good basketball. He has struggled in his return but did shoot the ball well on Monday against a tough Lakers defense. Tonight, he faces a Detroit defense that sits 24th in defense efficiency. Garland could play 28+ minutes in this favorable matchup and averages 0.9 fantasy points per minute, so he should have no trouble paying off this salary. Garland scored 21 real points with 12 assists, five boards, two steals, and a block against the Pistons earlier this year. Keep a close eye on news here as we head into lock, but if his minutes restrictions are lifted, he becomes a strong cash game option. It would be even better if he is in the starting lineup too.
DeMar DeRozan (DK $7100/ FD $7900) – DeRozan and the Spurs had the night off Monday after their game was postponed. They should be nice and fresh for tonight’s matchup against the Celtics, a team that DeRozan has played well against in the past. In his last 10 meetings against Boston, DeRozan has averaged 41.6 DK points per game with a consistency rating of 50 percent. Boston currently allows the 13th most points in the paint to opposing teams, which bodes well for DeRozan who generates 44.5 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. This is not a slam dunk situation by any means, but this is a SG position (on FD) that is not all that great. His price has come down on both sites compared to what it has been in recent weeks, especially on DK where he is the cheapest that he has been since December 30th. Keep in mind, on DK is he SF/PF eligible only.
Kendrick Nunn (DK $5700/ FD $6500) – If Herro sits out again this evening, we can continue to hop on the Nunn train. It’s been a fun ride thus far for the most part, as he has played no less than 32 minutes in each of his last five games, topping 32 DK points in all but one of those contests. He finally had an off night shooting the ball, as he made just 29 percent of his field goals in the last contest. That said, tonight he faces a Denver team giving up the 10th highest field goal percentage to opposing teams and one that ranks 23rd in defense rating. Nunn’s price is back below $6K on DK and would make for a solid play so long as Herro was out. If Herro plays, we can keep Nunn off our rosters tonight.
Terrence Ross (DK $5600/ FD $4900) – On FD, Ross remains way too cheap and this evening he draws a fantastic matchup against a Kings team that not only plays fast, but ranks dead last in defense efficiency. Ross continues to come off the bench, but plays solidified minutes, as he has played at least 30 minutes in all but one of his last six games. The Kings give up the fourth most three-pointers and the highest three-point field goal percentage per game, which bodes extremely well for Ross who generates 39.8 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Ross is more volatile than I normally strive for in cash but considering the game environment and his FD price tag, he is viable on this specific slate.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (DK $4200/ FD $4200) – Alexander-Walker comes off the bench for the Pelicans and his minutes tend to be inconsistent. That said, he has played at least 21 minutes in two of his last three games off the bench and considering that he averages close to a fantasy point per minute, he should be able to return value here, especially in this matchup against a terrible Wizards team. Alexander-Walker is averaging over a 20 percent usage rate off the bench and will be in a position to rack up the stats against the Wizards second unit. He doesn’t offer the greatest of floors because of his minutes being so volatile, but on a night where SG is not great, NAW is intriguing at a very cheap price tag on both sites.
Kevin Durant (DK $10300/ FD $10700) – Durant is the one Nets player I am willing to pay up for today in what should be a great game environment. He remains the constant in Brooklyn, even after the James Harden acquisition. Atlanta continues to struggle against the position, allowing the second most rebounds, second most assists, third most blocks, and second most fantasy points per game. The Hawks are also giving up the ninth most points in the paint, where Durant generates 29.1 percent of his scoring from. In addition, Atlanta gives up the 11th most blocks and fourth most steals per game to opposing teams. There are multiple ways that Durant will be able to rack up the fantasy points this evening and considering how well he has been playing, we can expect another dominant performance from him. In two games against the Hawks this season, he has averaged 30.5 real points with 9.5 rebounds, six assists, 1.5 blocks, and one steal per game, while playing an average of 34.1 minutes and scoring an average of 55.9 DK points per game. Granted, the situation has changed in Brooklyn, but that type of performance is certainly in the realm of possibilities.
Brandon Ingram (DK $8000/ FD $7500) – Ingram remains an elite scorer, but he has not stuffed the stat sheet as consistent as he did last year. A matchup against the 28th ranked defense from an efficiency standpoint and a team that plays at the fastest pace in basketball could change that for him. Washington is a get right spot for pretty much anyone and I expect Ingram, who comes in at a reasonable price tag, to exploit the matchup. The Wizards allow the most real points to the position, along with 40+ fantasy points per game. Even if Ingram does not rack up peripheral stats in this contest, he should be able to score at will against this Wizards team.
Evan Fournier (DK $6400/ FD $5900) – I really like Fournier this evening in the matchup against Sacramento. The Kings allow the most real points, the third most assists, the fourth most three-pointers, and the most fantasy points per game to the position. In addition, Sacramento gives up the fourth most three-pointers and the highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams. This is great news for Fournier who generates 40.2 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. The Kings play at a top 10 pace, which is also a plus, being that this will be a paced-up matchup for Orlando. Fournier is SG eligible on DK, giving you flexibility with your roster construction.
Cameron Johnson (DK $4800/ FD $4600) – Johnson played 34 regulation minutes last game and should once again play 30+ minutes in tonight’s game against the Thunder. With Booker off the court, Johnson sees a nice 3.6 percent usage rate. We saw last game how many more shot opportunities open up for Johnson when Booker is out, as Johnson attempted a season high 16 shots. Johnson who generates 60 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc, will get plenty of opportunities from three-point land, as OKC gives up the 12th most three-point attempts per game. This will also be a paced-up spot for Phoenix, as the Thunder play at a top 10 pace. Not to mention, they rank 22nd in defense efficiency. Johnson relies a lot on his scoring for fantasy production, but should see plenty of opportunities today, and comes at a cheap price tag on both sites.
Joe Ingles (DK $4200/ FD $4800) – Ingles should see an expanded role this evening with Mitchell out and could even be in the staring lineup. Whether he is in the starting lineup or not, Ingles can be considered a viable value option on this slate, but of course it would be more ideal if he got the start. Ingles should play 27-29 minutes tonight, with upside to get minutes into the 30’s. He averages 0.88 fantasy points per minute, so even if he plays at the low end of that projection, he would be in a good position to pay off his cheap price tag.
Jayson Tatum (DK $8700/ FD $9600) – Tatum returned to action on Monday and picked up where he left off prior to his five-game absence. He scored 24 points with five assists, four rebounds, and a block in 31 minutes, while shooting 48 percent from the court. Don’t be alarmed by the 31 minutes as the Celtics had a healthy lead in this contest entering the fourth quarter and did not need Tatum on the court for the final three minutes. Tonight, the Celtics take on the Spurs who give up the fifth highest three-point percentage per game, which bodes well for Tatum who generates 38.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. In addition, San Antonio gives up the fifth most real points, third most rebounds, most assists, third most blocks, and most fantasy points per game to the position. Tatum is an elite player with a consistent floor, as well as a pretty high ceiling and if you go with a balanced approach with your lineups today, he makes for a great fit.
Zion Williamson (DK $7800/ FD $7800) – Williamson continues to provide us with a steady floor on a nightly basis and remains reasonably priced. He draws a fantastic matchup this evening against a Washington team that plays fast and ranks 28th in defense rating. The Wizards are giving up the 12th most rebounds per game and the second highest field goal percentage to opposing teams, so this is a spot that Williamson should exploit. They have been good against the position, but they are shorthanded tonight and on a second night of a back-to-back. Williamson has not flashed his ceiling this year, but that’s OK because that consistent floor he offers is all we are looking for in cash.
Aaron Gordon (DK $7700/ FD $6800) – Gordon is too cheap on FD tonight, especially in a matchup against the Kings who rank dead last in defense efficiency. He is playing well and filling up the stat sheet on a nightly basis. The Magic let him run the point at times, which has led to Gordon averaging a career high 4.4 assists per game. However, he now has six or more assists in five consecutive games, including a 10-assist game a few nights ago, which led to a triple-double. The Kings are yielding the most points in the paint per game this season, which bodes well for Gordon who generates 39 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. This will also be a paced-up spot for him, which should create additional touch opportunities. When taking everything into account, it’s tough not to have interest in Gordon tonight, as this is a great spot to be in for him.
Isaiah Roby (DK $5000/ FD $4500) – With Horford considered questionable tonight, Roby could be in for another start yet again and an expanded role. Roby has done a great job filling in for Horford in the last six games, averaging 26.2 minutes, 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, one steal, and 0.3 blocks per game during that stretch, scoring fewer than 23 DK points just once. Roby remains affordable on both sites this evening and is in a great position to pay off his salary so long as Horford is out. The Suns are giving up the sixth most points in the paint per game and Roby generates 64.5 percent of his points from inside the paint. We should hopefully have news prior to lock regarding Horford, but if we don’t, you can still play Roby and pivot off him if Horford does end up playing.
Jae Crowder (DK $4900/ FD $4800) – Crowder got the start and played 35 regulation minutes in the last game for Phoenix. He should once again see 30+ minutes in a paced-up spot against the Thunder. OKC had been generous to the position this season, giving up the 10th most points, ninth most rebounds, seventh most steals, and sixth most fantasy points per game. Crowder has been volatile this season even when logging in heavy minutes, though additional opportunities with Booker off the court and in a paced-up matchup, should provide a safer floor. He also comes in at an affordable price tag this evening. I do prefer him on FD, but he is viable on both sites.
Nikola Vucevic (DK $9200/ FD $9400) – Vucevic continues to put up masterful performances and is once again in a position to have another big game. He draws a slam dunk matchup against a Kings team that gives up the most points in the paint per game, which is where Vucevic generates 36.4 percent of his scoring from. Sacramento also gives up the third most rebounds per game to centers, as well as the 10th most fantasy points per game. In addition, Vucevic is scoring 35.5 percent of his points from beyond the arc and the Kings give up the highest three-point percentage, as well as the fourth most three-pointers per game to opposing teams. This truly sets up for another smash spot for Vucevic who has scored no less than 45 DK points in all but one of his last 10 games.
Myles Turner (DK $7500/ FD $7100) – Turner continues to play some good basketball and what he lacks in rebounding at times, he makes up for with blocks. Turner has no less than three blocks in each of his last nine games and faces a team that is giving up 5.4 blocks per game. The Hornets have struggled against opposing centers, allowing a league high 18.59 rebounds to the position, to go along with over 50 fantasy points. If Sabonis is unable to suit up, we can give Turner a bump here, but even if Sabonis plays, Turner is a viable option. I prefer him on FD where he is cheaper.
Rudy Gobert (DK $7200/ FD $8000) – Gobert is coming off a nice performance against the Knicks where he scored 18 points with 19 boards, adding four blocks and two dimes. The 19 rebounds tied his season high and he is once again in a position to dominate the boards against a Dallas team that is allowing the seventh most rebounds per game. The Mavericks have also been generous to centers this season, allowing the most real points as well as 50+ fantasy points per game to the position. Gobert should see some additional scoring opportunities in this contest with Mitchell out and he remains reasonably priced on DK where he is slightly over $7K. Gobert offers us a steady floor, while being all but a lock to double-double in this contest.
Mason Plumlee (DK $5100/ FD $4400) – Plumlee doesn’t see a huge usage bump with Blake Griffin off the floor but does see an increase of 3.9 percent is assist percentage and an increase of 2.8 percent in rebounding percentage. Tonight, he draws a matchup against a Cavs team that has played solid defense, but his one-on-one matchup against Drummond is not one I am concerned about. Plumlee already had success in this same matchup, scoring six points with nine rebounds, five assists, and three steals against the Cavs earlier this year. Griffin played in that game. Plumlee’s ability to contribute to every category makes him an appealing value play on tonight’s slate. His price on FD is just too cheap to ignore, but he is viable on both sites.
DraftKings: Stephen Curry, Joe Ingles, Nikola Vucevic, Darius Garland
FanDuel: Stephen Curry, Brandon Ingram, Mason Plumlee, Aaron Gordon
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**