***UPDATED CORE FOUR @ 6:35PM ET***
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Wednesday!
We have an 11-game slate this evening. As always, there is plenty of news to keep tabs on. The Pacers and Cavs are still battling a ton of injuries and will remain shorthanded. The Knicks on the other hand, are expected to get a few players back tonight, which will impact their rotations. Marcus Smart is considered questionable for tonight, after he missed last game due to a thumb injury. Christian Wood is also considered questionable with back soreness. Paul George who missed last night’s game, remains questionable for tonight’s contest. These three are key pieces of news to keep a close eye on and their statuses can change the way we approach this slate.
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
- 76ers 119.5
- Bucks 119
- Hawks 118.75
- Kings 118.5
- Clippers 115.25
- Bucks -12.5
- Pelicans -8
- Jazz -7.5
- Kings -7.5
- 76ers -6.5
Position By Position
Trae Young (DK $9600/ FD $9400) – There are not many negative things to say about Young’s game with the exception of his turnover issues. He averages 28.6 points per game, shoots a solid 44 percent from the court, and sports a healthy 33.8 usage rate. In addition, he is a great facilitator and has double-digit assists in three of his last four games, he rebounds, and tacks on defensive stats. Young is an all-around player and tonight he is in a good position for another big game. The Hawks take on the Hornets who play up in pace and are a team that yields the eighth most fantasy points per game to point guards. In addition, they allow the most assists per game and the seventh highest field goal percentage to opposing teams. Lastly, 34 percent of Young’s point come from inside the paint and the Hornets allow the seventh most points in the paint this season. This sets up to be a fantastic spot for Young who should not be priced below $10K.
Malcolm Brogdon (DK $8000/ FD $8200) – Brogdon has put together two very strong performances in back-to-back games. He is in a good spot to make it a third big game in a row tonight against the Rockets. Brogdon has scored 21 or more points in each of his last two games, totaling 18 assists, 10 boards, five steals, and a block during that stretch. He has also made 11 three-pointers, while attempting 19 shots from beyond the arc. The Rockets are currently giving up the sixth most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, to go along with the seventh highest three-point field goal percentage. 41 percent of Brogdon’s points are generated by three-pointers. In addition, Houston gives up the eighth most points in the paint, which also bodes well for Brogdon since 36 percent of his points come from inside the paint. Therefore, the Rockets struggle to defend where Brogdon generates over 70 percent of his scoring. Houston ranks 25th in defense rating and this is a matchup that Brogdon should take complete advantage of.
De’Aaron Fox (DK $8200/ FD $7800) – The Kings draw a nice matchup tonight against a Bulls team that ranks 23rd in defense rating and plays at the second fastest pace. This unit struggles immensely against point guards, giving up the sixth most real points, 10th most rebounds, fourth most assists, most steals, and second most fantasy points per game to the position. Fox has been a model of consistency this season, reaching at least 40 DK points in all but two games. He plays big minutes and stuffs the stat sheet pretty much every evening. His price remains reasonable for the type of production he provides us, and the matchup is fantastic. This should be a great game environment, considering it has one of the higher totals on tonight’s slate.
Coby White (DK $6800/ FD $6200) – If you play Fox, you can run it back with White who is coming off his second double-double of the season. Last night, White put on a nice performance against Portland, scoring 21 points with 10 rebounds, and five assists. He continues to display his ability to score, facilitate, and rebound on a nightly basis. The matchup at hand against the Kings is a good one as they rank 21st in defense rating and yield the third most fantasy points per game to point guards. White sports a healthy 22.6 percent usage rate on the season and continues to play big minutes, averaging 33 minutes per game. He remains affordable and offers plenty of upside with a decent floor for his price.
LaMelo Ball (DK $6000/ FD $6900) – Despite not being part of the starting lineup, Ball has played in at least 30 minutes in each the last two games and has now played no less than 27 minutes in each of his last four games. Considering he is averaging a 1.21 fantasy points per game, Ball is in a great position to return value this evening, especially since he is facing Atlanta. The Hawks rank 18th in defense rating and struggle immensely against the position. Ball has displayed his ability to stuff the stat sheet on a nightly basis when given the playing time and the Hornets are doing just that. His price tag is on the rise, but it still at a place were there is value to be had.
Payton Pritchard (DK $4600/ FD $4700) – If and only if Marcus Smart sits tonight, we can go back to the well with Pritchard tonight. He did not get the start last game, but he still played 32 minutes, and played the entire fourth quarter, closing out the game. He played well, scoring 23 points with eight assists, and two rebounds, while shooting 62 percent from the court. This is a tougher matchup than his last one, but Pritchard would once again be in a position to play upwards of 30 minutes and his ability to score as well as facilitate the basketball makes him a very intriguing option this evening at this price point.
Paul George (DK $8900/ FD $9000) – George sat out last night’s game due to an ankle injury, which was surprising since he was not listed on the original injury report and is considered questionable tonight. Monitor his status throughout the day, but if he is able to suit up, this is a great spot against a Warriors team that ranks 24th in defense rating and plays at the fastest pace in basketball. George has been playing some strong basketball in recent games. He has scored no less than 23 points in a single game and has attempted no less than 15 shots in any of his last three games. He offers a stable floor with immense upside. The fact that the injury was a late addition to the injury report is strange to me and perhaps this was the Clippers way to give George some rest on the first night of a back-to-back. I will be keeping a close eye on news today, but if he plays with no limitations, I am interested. If George sits, Luke Kennard would become a viable value option on tonight’s slate.
Zach LaVine (DK $8300/ FD $8100) – LaVine had a poor shooting night against the Trail Blazers in yesterday’s game, shooting just 33 percent. That said, he still managed to post up a solid stat line, scoring 18 points with nine dimes, four rebounds, and two blocks, while playing a team high 42 minutes. He will be in another great game environment tonight against a Kings team that ranks 21st in defense rating. Both the Bulls and Kings play up in pace as well, so there should be plenty of touch opportunities here. The Kings allow the third most points in the paint, which bodes well for LaVine who generates 37 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. With LaVine playing late this evening, those who decide to roll with George can always pivot to him if George is out. Regardless, LaVine grades out as a strong play this evening.
Eric Bledsoe (DK $6000/ FD $5300) – After a rough start to the season, Bledsoe has started to play good basketball in recent games. He has now scored 12 or more points in three straight games, after failing to reach double-digit points in his previous three. In addition, Bledsoe has shot the ball better and has been contributing to peripheral stats in recent games. His price has not reflected his recent performances and the matchup tonight is one he should have no trouble exploiting. OKC ranks 17th in defense rating, which is middling, though they are giving up the seventh most fantasy points per game to the position. Bledsoe is heating up and has hit 5X or greater in each of the last two games. I would not be surprised if he made it a third. This is a good time to get on board on the Bledsoe train before he either cools down or the price gets too high. He is far more appealing on FD than he is on DK, but is viable on both sites.
Terrence Ross (DK $5900/ FD $5500) – Evan Fournier has missed the last two games with back issues and is considered questionable for tonight’s game. Michael Carter-Williams will sit this evening with a bruised bone and sprained ligament. This means that Ross could be in for big minutes in tonight’s contest against the Cavs. Ross played 31 minutes against Cleveland a few nights ago and has now played over 30 minutes in three of the last four games. He relies heavily on scoring but does contribute defensively with steals. The good news for him is that the Cavs are allowing the third most steals per game this season and to no surprise, Ross had four steals against this unit just a few nights ago. Keep an eye on news here, but if Fournier sits, Ross becomes a solid mid-range salary option.
Damyean Dotson (DK $4200/ FD $3500) – Cleveland’s backcourt is banged up and that will lead to solidified minutes for Dotson this evening. He played 29 minutes in the last game and should once again play 28-30 minutes tonight. Dotson is not a great player by any means, but he comes at a cheap price this evening. Orlando is playing at a top 12 pace this season, making this a paced-up spot for Cleveland. Dotson shot well against the Magic a few nights ago, making 6-of-10 from the court and scoring 16 points on the night. A repeat performance is not what I am expecting, though it’s certainly in the realm of possibilities. That said, he does not have to do much to pay off the cheap price tag. If you need a pay down option at SG who is going to play solid minutes, Dotson fits that bill.
Kawhi Leonard (DK $9100/ FD $9600) – Leonard erupted last night for 30 points with 10 assists, three rebounds, two steals, and one block. He benefited immensely from George sitting out, who is listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Leonard will get a huge bump if George sits tonight’s game out, though even if George plays, Leonard is a viable option. The Warriors are not a good defensive team and play up in pace. On DK, Leonard comes in matching his cheapest price of the season, which is absurd considering the situation. He will be in a position to stuff the stat sheet and turn in a great performance once again. This contest should be high scoring and competitive, putting Leonard in a great game environment.
Jayson Tatum (DK $9000/ FD $9400) – Tatum is playing good basketball this season and he should continue to roll against the Heat tonight. Not because Miami is a bad defense, but because he has absolutely crushed this team in recent history. The last 11 times he has faced the Heat, Tatum is averaging 51.14 DK points per game and has a 72.7 percent consistency rating against them. He has topped 52 DK points in all but three games against them during that stretch. Tatum is sporting a 29.1 percent usage rate, but last game that jumped up to 33 percent with Smart out. If Smart sits again this evening, Tatum should once again see a 30+ percent usage rate against Miami. Whether Smart plays or not, Tatum is in a great spot against the Heat, but Smart being out would obviously give him a bump.
Gordon Hayward (DK $7400/ FD $7700) – Hayward slightly underperformed for us last time out, but tonight we go back to the well. He is second on the team in scoring and top four in rebounding, assists, and steals. Hayward is a big part of the Hornets offense and tonight he is in a great game environment in what Vegas projects to be the second highest scoring game of the night. The matchup is a good one as Atlanta ranks 18th in defense rating. In addition, they allow the fourth most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Hayward who generates 45.8 percent of his points from the paint. Hayward leads the team in minutes per game and sports a 22.7 percent usage rate. He will be in a prime position tonight for a strong performance, and his price is reasonable considering the floor and upside combination that he offers.
Cedi Osman (DK $5500/ FD $5200) – Osman played a season high 38 minutes in the last game and could once again be in for heavy minutes tonight with all of the injuries to Cleveland. He is facing the same team once again and in the last matchup, Osman went off for 18 points, seven boards, seven assists, two steals, and one block. I would not expect for him to fill up the stat sheet like that again, but he will have plenty of touch opportunities in this contest for the shorthanded Cleveland team. Even with Okoro back tonight, Osman should see significant minutes. Osman should play 30-32 minutes this evening in what is a paced-up matchup for the Cavs. He is more volatile than I normally like for cash, but it’s difficult to ignore the potential opportunity here for Osman in this contest.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (DK $10600/ FD $11400) – The Greek Freak is arguably the best play on the slate tonight. Not only does he draw a great matchup, but he is one of the best players in basketball. There is not much I need to say here, as most of you reading this know how good this guy is. He is a walking double-double with triple-double upside. Giannis faced the Pistons a few nights ago and finished with 43 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and a block. The only thing that has me hesitant about rostering him tonight is that this game has an 11.5-point spread and could blowout. Outside of that, there is no reason why anyone would not consider him in this matchup.
Domantas Sabonis (DK $9200/ FD $8800) – Sabonis has been one of the more consistent players in basketball this season, with a double-double in every single game, and showing triple-double upside as well. He faces a Houston team that gives up the eighth most points in the paint which is phenomenal for Sabonis who generates 63.9 percent of his points from inside the paint. In addition, the Rockets give up the ninth most rebounds per game to opposing teams and could be without their best rebounder in Christian Wood tonight. Taking that into account, Sabonis is in a fantastic spot this evening to post big numbers.
P.J. Washington (DK $5000/ FD $5200) – Washington is not playing huge minutes, but he should play 26-28 minutes in tonight’s contest and that should be enough to pay off his salary. He averages slightly over a fantasy point per minute and draws a fantastic matchup against a Hawks team that struggles in a big way against power forwards. They allow the most real points, second most rebounds, second most assists, and second most fantasy points pert game to the position. In addition, Washington generates 51 percent of his points in the paint and the Hawks allow the fourth most points in the paint per game. Despite the lack of high minutes, Washington is still in a great spot to outperform his price tag.
Nicolas Batum (DK $4900/ FD $4400) – Batum has played over 30 minutes in three straight games and tonight draws a great matchup against a Warriors team that plays extremely fast. He had a huge night last night, scoring 21 points with nine rebounds, three assists, a block, and a steal. Though, George did not play in that contest and is consider questionable for tonight. I prefer Batum if George sits tonight’s game, but still consider him viable even if George is active. Finding a player in this game environment, that plays 30+ minutes, under $5K on both sites is not easy to find. Batum can score, is active on the boards, and will provide defensive stats, so there are multiple ways he can score fantasy points.
Kelly Olynyk (DK $4400/ FD $5000) – Olynyk made his first start of the season last game and played 28 minutes. He finished with a season high 19 points, while grabbing eight boards. He was hot from beyond the arc, making 71 percent of his buckets from three-point land. Olynyk has now played no less than 28 minutes in three straight games and has attempted at least nine shots, include seven three-pointers in each of those games. He remains very affordable despite his recent expanded role and does not have to do all that much to pay off his salary.
Joel Embiid (DK $9900/ FD $9600) – Embiid gets a great matchup tonight against a Washington team that not only plays up in pace, but also ranks 27th in defense rating. In addition, this unit is generous to opposing centers, giving up the third most real points, second most rebounds, and third most fantasy points per game. In the first game of the season, these two teams faced off, and in that game, Embiid finished with 29 points and 14 rebounds, scoring over 48 fantasy points on both sites. Embiid should once against smash in this spot and makes for one of the best pay up options on the slate.
Bam Adebayo (DK $8500/ FD $8600) – Adebayo played just 28 minutes last game, but that was enough for him to score 20 points, with eight rebounds, and four assists. The lack of minutes was due to the blowout, where Miami had the game in the bag, and he sat the final six minutes of the game. That is not expected to be the case this evening in what should be a more competitive game. Adebayo has a very good history against this Celtics team, averaging 44.5 DK points per game over their last 11 meetings, and owning a 63.6 consistency rating against them during that stretch. Adebayo is a stat sheet filler and can get you fantasy points in so many ways. Prior to last game, he had played no less than 35 minutes in each of his last two games, finishing with double-doubles in each of those contests, and flirting with a triple-double in one of those games. He is someone you can build a balanced lineup around and makes for a very strong play this evening.
Clint Capela (DK $6700/ FD $6500) – Capela continues to play solidified minutes for Atlanta and that is turning into quality production. He has now played no less than 30 minutes in each of his last three games and has double-doubled in each of those contests. Tonight, he faces a Hornets team that gives up the seventh most points in the paint, which bodes well for Capela who generates 92.6 percent of his points from inside the paint. In addition, no team is giving up more rebounds per game to centers than the Hornets. Capela remains very affordable and is all but a lock to double-double tonight, while being in a position for a potential ceiling game. He is arguably the best point per dollar center on the slate tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins (DK $4300/ FD $4100) – This is completely news dependent here, as Christian Wood is considered questionable for tonight’s contest. If he sits, Cousins becomes arguably the best value option on the slate and pretty much a lock button if he is in the starting lineup. Cousins has not played many minutes, averaging just 9.2 minutes per game. However, produces well over a fantasy point per minute and could see minutes in the mid-20’s, with upside for more, should Wood sit this one out. If that is the case, Cousins would be in a great position to blow his price tag out of the water.
DraftKings: Clint Capela, DeMarcus Cousins, Trae Young, Gordan Hayward
FanDuel: DeMarcus Cousins, Coby White, Trae Young, Domantas Sabonis
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**