Updated core four for both sites
Updates: Michael Carter-Williams is in the starting lineup. He becomes a strong value play. With Marcus Smart out, Payton Pritchard is expected to start and play more minutes than usual. He is part of my core four on both sites now. Jayson Tatum gets a boost as well and Jaylen Brown becomes viable as well. Darius Garland has been ruled out, so I am adding Collin Sexton into the player pool for cash as he should play all the minutes he can handle and see a usage bump. Dante Exum will get the start and is a viable value option, but I prefer Pritchard and MCW over Exum for value.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Monday!
We have a nice nine-game slate this evening. There is a ton of pending news that we have to monitor as we get closer to lock. Fortunately, we have already received some important information regarding the statuses of some players. Luka Doncic was upgraded to probable and is expected to suit up. James Harden expects to play tonight, but he remains questionable. Blake Griffin and Josh Jackson will sit out tonight against the Bucks. Jeff Teague has been ruled out, while Marcus Smart popped up on the injury report with a thumb sprain and is considered questionable.
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 119.75
- Kings 117.5
- Rockets 116
- Warriors 115
- 76ers 115
- Bucks -15.5
- Heat -9
- 76ers -8.5
- Hawks -6.5
- Magic -5
Position By Position
Stephen Curry (DK $9300/ FD $9500) – Curry is coming off a masterpiece of a performance where he scored a career high 62 points with five rebounds and four assists, in 36 minutes. He made eight shots from beyond the arc and shot an impressive 58 percent from the court. Tonight, he draws a great matchup against the Kings who rank 18th in defense rating and allow the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. Curry has a good history against the Kings too. In their last 12 meetings, he has averaged 54.2 DK points per game and owns a consistency rating of 66.7 percent. During that stretch, Curry has scored fewer than 48 DK points just four times. This is expected to be a competitive and high scoring contest between the Warriors and Kings tonight, making it a great game environment as well.
De’Aaron Fox (DK $8200/ FD $8000) – I just talked about how this game should be a good one and it should provide us with plenty of fantasy goodness. Fox is coming off a subpar game, but for the most part this season, he has been fairly consistent. Tonight, he plays the Warriors, a team that ranks 27th in defense rating and is playing at the second fastest pace in basketball right now. Aside from that, Golden State yields the eighth most fantasy points per game to point guards and the second most real points per game. Fox sports a healthy 27.7 usage rate and plays big minutes on a nightly basis. He should turn in a solid performance tonight and offers plenty of upside considering his price point.
John Wall (DK $7600/ FD $8500) – Wall has done a solid job so far this season on his new team, filling up the stat sheet as we expect him to. Through two games, he is sporting a healthy 31.8 usage rate and is averaging 25 points with 7.5 assists, five rebounds, two steals, and 1.5 block per game. He has played 37 minutes in each of the two games and has attempted no less than 20 shots in any of those contests. James Harden, who missed last game, is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. If he misses, Wall will get a significant boost. Regardless, Wall is a strong play this evening at his price tag. He is just too cheap for the combination of a solidified floor to go along with the upside he offers.
Elfrid Payton (DK $6000/ FD $5300) – Payton has now played at least 29 minutes in three of the last four games. During that stretch he has taken at least 12 shots in each game and has scored no less than 14 real points in each contest. Payton has shown his ability to be a well-rounded player, contributing to peripheral stats to go along with the scoring. Tonight, he draws a nice matchup against the Hawks who play up in pace and rank 17th in defense rating. Payton should once again play 29-32 minutes tonight and considering he averages 0.96 fantasy points per minutes, that should be enough to pay off his salary tonight. His FD price is just way too cheap to ignore, though he makes a strong play on both sites.
Darius Garland (DK $5900/ FD $6600) – Garland is dealing with a shoulder injury and is considered questionable for tonight’s game. It’s important to keep an eye on shootaround before finalizing your lineups if you are considering Garland. The young guard is coming off a poor performance where he shot 21 percent from the court, his worst outing of the season. That said, if he plays tonight, we can go right back to the well here. Garland is playing big minutes, averaging 35.5 minutes per game, and averages nearly 15 shot attempts per game. The Cavs will be in a paced-up spot tonight against a Magic team that is playing at a top six pace to start the season. Orlando has also been generous to the position, allowing the third most fantasy points per game. Garland has been pretty consistent so far this season, displaying a decent floor with plenty of upside. He is affordable tonight and so long as he is a full go, he should be able to pay off his salary and some. RULED OUT
James Harden (DK $11100/ FD $11400) – Harden is questionable for tonight’s game as he battles an ankle injury. If he plays, he has to be considered a strong play tonight. Yes, he is expensive, but rightfully so as he offers one of the most stable floors to go along with an immense ceiling. Harden still managed a 38 percent usage rate with Wall on the court and will remain one of the highest usage players in basketball. We know that Harden can score with the best of them and will stuff the stat sheet just about every night.
Marcus Smart (DK $6600/ FD $5700) – Smart is doing a solid job filling in for Kemba Walker so far this season. Smart averages 12.6 points with 6.7 dimes, 1.6 steals, and 2.3 rebounds per game, as well as 33.1 minutes per contest. He is showing his ability to facilitate the ball efficiently and rack up the defensive stats. He is not going to score a ton of real points on a nightly basis, but he is a well-rounded player that does a little bit of everything. The Raptors are playing at a top 10 pace right now, making this a paced-up spot for the Celtics. Smart is a much strong play on FD than he is on DK because of price and position eligibility, but he is viable on all sites. Smart offers a solid floor and should have no trouble paying off his salary. Jeff Teague has been ruled out for tonight, which bodes well for Smart. Keep on eye on Smart’s status as he is now questionable with a thump injury. If he is unable to suit up, Payton Pritchard becomes a strong value play tonight. RULED OUT
Buddy Hield (DK $6800/ FD $5700) – FD only play for me here, as his price on DK is a tad too high for my liking. This should be a great game environment for Hield who takes on a Warriors team that plays up-tempo basketball and does not defend well. Most of his production comes from scoring, which is something I try to avoid, but he occasionally contributes to multiple categories. Hield plays big minutes and has a usage rate close to 20 percent. Last season, Hield scored no less than 19 real points in each of his meetings against the Warriors, averaging over 30 FD points per game. He will be in a position to post similar numbers tonight, which would be a nice return on investment on FD considering his price.
Seth Curry (DK $5600/ FD $5500) – Curry has done a fantastic job so far this season on his new team. He is embracing his role as a three-point specialist, with 17 three-pointers through the first six games of the season. He is shooting 52 percent from beyond the arc. Curry has also shown his ability to facilitate the basketball, averaging four dimes per game and has also added a steal per game. The Hornets are playing at the eighth fastest pace to start the year, making this a paced-up spot for Curry and this unit is also allowing nearly four three-pointers per game to the position. Curry scored 21 points with six dimes, a block, and a steal against this Hornets team just a few days ago, while draining three from beyond the arc. He is playing nearly 30 minutes per game and should have another successful outing against this middle of the pack defense.
Tobias Harris (DK $7600/ FD $8000) – Harris has exceeded expectations compared to his salary in each of his last four games. He has been shooting the ball well, but tacking on peripheral stats too, showing us that he is a well-versed player. Harris has been active on the boards, is racking up defense stats, and can also facilitate the ball. His price remains affordable considering how well he has played, the floor he offers, and the upside he has shown. He has at least nine rebounds in each of the last four games and had one of his best games of this young season against this Hornets team he faces tonight. He scored 24 points with nine boards, six dimes, four steals, and three blocks against Charlotte just a few nights ago. I am expecting another quality performance from Harris tonight.
Harrison Barnes (DK $5600/ FD $6100) – Outside of his second game against the Suns, Barnes has been consistent all season long. He has scored no less than 30 DK points in all but one game and is in a great position to continue playing well against a bad Warriors defense. Not only does Golden State play poor defense, but they play up in pace, so there will be plenty of touch opportunities here for Barnes. He is averaging 35 minutes per game and a little over a fantasy point per minute. Barnes is not a high usage player but has attempted at least 13 shots in all but one game and is active on the boards. He is fairly priced on both sites and grades out as one of the top plays at the position.
Saddiq Bey (DK $3900/ FD $4200) – Blake Griffin and Josh Jackson have both been ruled out of tonight’s game, which should open up the door for extra playing time for Bey. In the two games that Griffin has sat this season, Bey has played 30 minutes in each of those contests. He is averaging 0.87 fantasy points per minutes, so should have no trouble paying off the cheap price tag. This game is likely going to be a blowout, so I don’t want to invest too much in this Pistons offense, though the risk here is minimal being that he is close to a near min salary player.
Julius Randle (DK $9000/ FD $8100) – Randle has double-doubled in four straight games, with one triple-double during that stretch. He has now flirted with triple-doubles multiple times this season and has flashed his immense upside, to go a long with a solid floor. He draws a great matchup tonight against a Hawks team that gives up the third most real points, second most rebounds, fourth most assists, and second most fantasy points per game to the position. Atlanta also plays up in pace, which should create additional touch opportunities for Randle this evening. DK has him properly priced tonight, but FD has him underpriced and that is something we should be taking advantage of this evening.
Jayson Tatum (DK $8600/ FD $9100) – Tatum is coming off a big game against the Pistons and is in a position for another good outing. The Raptors play up in pace and have been generous to the position, allowing over 50 fantasy points per game. Tatum has averaged 43.7 DK points in his last 11 meetings against the Raptors, showing a ceiling of 68.5 DK points against them. So far this season, he has topped 40 DK points in all but two games, showing a solidified floor along with nice upside. He is sporting a 28.8 usage rate, averages 34.4 minutes per game, and well over a fantasy point per minute. Tatum has the ability to stuff the stat sheet on any given night and makes for a strong play this evening.
Zion Williamson (DK $7900/ FD $7500) – Williamson comes in at the lowest price tag he has been all season on FD tonight. That alone has to catch our attention. I get that he has put together some underwhelming performances in recent games and has had an up and down start to the season. The matchup at hand against the Pacers is not all that great as they rank seventh in defense rating. That said, they do play at a faster pace than the Pelicans play, which bodes well for Williamson. I probably will not have a ton of exposure to Williamson on DK, if any at all, but on FD this price tag is very appealing.
Christian Wood (DK $7400/ FD $9100) – Wood continues to post up quality numbers to start the season, with a double-double in all but one game. He is coming off a big game where he scored 20 points with 15 boards, four blocks, one steal, and one assist. Wood is playing big minutes even with Cousins back with the team. Wood has stuffed the stat sheet with Harden on and off the court, as well as with Wall on and off the court. This dude is seriously good and should have a field day against a Dallas team with the fourth worst rebounding differentials in basketball thus far. Wood is listed as a PF on FD, but a C on DK.
Marvin Bagley (DK $5500/ FD $4800) – If you are looking at a paydown option at PF, I like the idea of tolling out Bagley. He is not playing huge minutes, averaging just 24.6 minutes per game, but he is a fantasy point per minute player and comes at a very affordable price. As I have mentioned multiple times in this article, this contest offers a great game environment and one that should produce a ton of points. Bagley should take full advantage of how poor the Warriors are with rebounding and should be able to dominate the boards. He has at least eight rebounds in all but one game this season, which includes to double-digit rebounding games. I would not be surprised if Bagley brings down double-digit rebounds in this contest.
Bam Adebayo (DK $8500/ FD $8700) – Adebayo has put together two strong performances in each of his last two games, displaying his ability to stuff the stat sheet. Tonight, he draws a good matchup against a Thunder team that is giving up over 55 DK points, along with 22.9 real points and 13.9 rebounds per game to opposing centers. Oklahoma City has the ninth worst rebounding differential in basketball, so this is a spot where Adebayo should dominate the boards. The center position is filled with appealing options tonight, but Adebayo is really standing out to me as one of the better pay up options at the position when taking matchup and price into account. He has scored no less than 43 DK points in any game that he has played 30+ minutes in.
Clint Capela (DK $6300/ FD $6500) – Capela has played at least 30 minutes in each of the last two games and has turned that into two strong performances. He should continue to play 30+ minutes tonight and gets a nice matchup against a Knicks team that has been extremely generous to opposing centers. New York is yielding the second most fantasy points per game to the position, to go along with 26.3 real points and 14.5 rebounds per game. Capela now has double-digit rebounds in three consecutive games and I expect that trend to keep going tonight. He is affordable on both sites and makes for a strong point per dollar play this evening.
Richaun Holmes (DK $5600/ FD $6300) – Holmes has played 30+ minutes in three straight contests and has scored at least 20 real points in two of the last three games. Tonight, he gets a great matchup against a Warriors team that doesn’t play good defense and does not rebound well. They are allowing a league high 18.54 rebounds per game to opposing centers. Holmes has at least nine rebounds in all but one game this season, including two double-digit rebounding games. As I mentioned with Bagley above, I would not be shocked if Holmes finishes with double-digit rebounds in this contest. I normally prefer Holmes in tournaments, but I am willing to run him out in cash games tonight considering he has played 30+ minutes in three straight games.
DraftKings: Harrison Barnes, Payton Pritchard, Stephen Curry, Clint Capela
FanDuel: Payton Pritchard, Saddiq Bey, James Harden, Clint Capela