***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 7:15PM***
Andre Drummond and Larry Nance have been ruled out for tonight’s game, which opens up frontcourt minutes for the Cavs. Jarrett Allen and JaVale McGee are the main beneficiaries. Allen should start and play 27-29 minutes, making him a very strong point per dollar play tonight. McGee is near min price and could play 15-18 minutes. Of the two, I prefer Allen in cash games as he offers the safer floor. Taurean Prince could also see an expanded role and is reasonably priced. Cedi Osman gets a boost as well, but prefer him in GPP.
Terry Rozier has been ruled out for tonight and LaMelo Ball will get the start. Ball becomes a viable cash game option tonight and Gordon Hayward also gets a boost with this news. Malik Monk should also see an increased role and is dirt cheap.
Steven Adams has been ruled out, so Jaxson Hayes becomes a viable option at a cheap price. Hayes averages 0.87 fantasy points per minute and could play minutes in the mid-20’s.
On a site like DK, playing two centers – Allen and Hayes is viable.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Monday!
We have a 10-game slate this evening. We have a ton of pending news for tonight, but already have some helpful information that came out early in the day. Karl-Anthony Towns, Gary Harris, and P.J. Dozier are all out.
As far as players whose statuses are in question, here is that list: Devin Booker, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Terry Rozier, Steven Adams, Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, D’Angelo Russell, and Naz Reid. These are some of the players we should be keeping a close eye on as we get closer to lock. Of course, unexpected news is always possible as well, so make sure you are keeping tabs on news throughout the afternoon.
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 122.75
- Pelicans 118
- Kings 115
- Rockets 114.25
- Nuggets 113.25
- Bucks -9.5
- Nuggets -7.5
- Heat -6
- Lakers -5.5
- Rockets -5
Position By Position
De’Aaron Fox (DK $8300/ FD $8200) – Normally Fox is someone I prefer in tournaments, but tonight I am willing to roll with him in cash. He has been more consistent as of late with 40+ DK points in five of his last six games, displaying his upside with a 77 DK point performance against the same Pelicans team he faces off against this evening. New Orleans gives up the 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. In addition, they allow the fifth most assists and fourth most steals to the position. It comes to no surprise that Fox had 13 dimes and four steals against the Pelicans in their last meeting. Most of Fox’s scoring comes from inside the paint (48 percent), but he does generate 23.8 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. The Pelicans allow the eighth highest three-point field goal percentage and the most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, making this a nice spot for Fox. Lastly, New Orleans allows the second most assists and the sixth most steals per game to opposing teams. There are many paths to success here for Fox who already smashed in this matchup. This should also be a great game environment considering it has the second highest over/under on the slate and just a 3.5-point spread.
Ja Morant (DK $7600/ FD $7800) – The price is starting to go up here for Morant, but there is still value to be had. He faces off against a Spurs team that is giving up the eighth most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Morant who generates 63.6 percent of his scoring from the paint. This will be the third time these two teams face off this season and so far, Morant has posted up strong numbers. In their first meeting, he finished with 44 points, nine assists, two rebounds, two steals, and a block in 35 minutes, while scoring 66 DK points. In their last meeting (a few nights ago), he scored 19 points with 11 assists, and two rebounds in 28 minutes, finishing with 37.5 DK points. He played just 28 minutes because the game turned into a blowout, causing Morant to play just 13 minutes in the second half of the game. Tonight’s game is expected to be a close one as Vegas has it at just a four-point spread, so Morant should play his regular allotment of minutes. If that ends up being that case, he should have no trouble exceeding expectations at this price point.
John Wall (DK $6900/ FD $7200) – Since returning from a five-game absence, Wall has yet to post a stellar performance or play more the 30 minutes in a single game. The issue is that in three of his last four games, the Rockets have won by a wide margin, which has led to Wall sitting out most of the fourth quarter in those games. Tonight, Houston faces off against Oklahoma City, in a contest with just a five-point spread. The Thunder rank 23rd in defense efficiency and play fast, so this sets up to be a great game environment for Wall. Oklahoma City gives up the fourth most points in the paint for game, which is good news for Wall who generates 46.9 percent of his points from inside the paint. Looking at his price, it’s clear that the algorithms are placing a lot of emphasis on his recent performances, but they are not considering the lack of minutes due to blowout scenarios. Wall averages 1.14 fantasy points per minute and if he gets his full allotment of minutes in this contest, he should have no issues paying off his ridiculously cheap price tag. Take advantage of the price now while you can.
Dejounte Murray (DK $6600/ FD $6900) – Murray is someone that often makes an appearance in my cash game breakdown and that will continue to be the case on most nights if his price remains this affordable. Two weeks ago, he was $8100 on DK, and now we are able to get him below $7K on both sites. The matchup against the Grizzlies is a solid one as they give up the 10th most real points, sixth most assists, fifth most steals, and 11th most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. Murray has played well against the Grizzlies in their two meetings this season, averaging 18 points with eight assists, five rebounds, two steals, and 29.1 minutes per game. Like Morant, Murray played just 28 minutes in their last meeting due to the score. Murray should play his regular allotment of minutes in this contest and be in a great position for a strong performance. He is a stat sheet stuffer that offers an incredible combination of a solidified floor, as well as plenty of upside. At this price, that is not always easy to come by.
Theo Maledon (DK $4300/ FD $4300) – Maledon has started in three straight games and is in line for another start this evening. During that three-game stretch, he has averaged 28.3 minutes, 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, three assists, and 0.7 steals per game, while scoring 24 or more DK points in two of those contests. Tonight, he finds himself in a favorable game environment against a Houston team that plays even faster than OKC. The Rockets are also allowing the sixth most fantasy points per game to the position. Maledon played a career high 33 minutes and scored a career high 24 points in the last game and could carry that momentum over into this contest. He is PG/SG eligible on DK and considering that the SG position is not all that great tonight, he makes a lot of sense on DK in the SG spot. At this price, 5X shouldn’t be too difficult, with 6X+ upside.
Monte Morris (DK $3800/ FD $3900) – Gary Harris left yesterday’s game after suffering a strained adductor and has been ruled out of tonight’s contest, which means that Morris could see a slight increase in his role. As it is, Morris is averaging 26.1 minutes per game off the bench this season. With Harris off the court, Morris has seen a 1.3 percent usage bump and a 1.5 percent assists percentage increase this season. The Nuggets draw a great matchup this evening against a Pistons team that ranks 24th in defense efficiency. If Harris ends up sitting, Morris becomes an interesting value play this evening at sub $4K on both sites.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (DK $8100/ FD $8300) – SGA is having a great season, averaging career highs in points, assists, and three-pointers per game, while averaging a career best 51.1 percent field goal percentage. He has now scored 21 or more real points in five straight games, eclipsing 38 FD points in all but one of those contests. The matchup against Houston is a good one as they allow the seventh most fantasy points per game to the position. SGA is not only a scorer, but he also racks up peripherals on a nightly basis. Houston does allow the most rebounds, second most steals, and seventh most blocks to the position, so there are multiple ways where he can accumulate fantasy points. Despite being a PG, he is listed as a SG on FD. He makes for a viable option on both sites, but I prefer him on FD given his position eligibility on there.
Victor Oladipo (DK $8000/ FD $8200) – After some subpar performances and struggling with his shooting, Oladipo has turned things around with two solid outings. He has now shot 48 percent or better in each of the last two games, while racking up peripheral stats. Tonight, he faces off against a Thunder team that gives up over 40 fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards. Oladipo has scored no less than 20 real points in all but one game with his new team, attempting no less than 14 shots in any game with the Rockets. He has also sported over a 26 percent usage rate in all but one game in Houston. Oladipo does not come in at an incredible discount, in fact he is properly priced, but even at the price tag, reaching value is very attainable for him in this matchup.
DeMar DeRozan (DK $7000/ FD $7100) – DeRozan is coming off a terrible game, scoring just five points with one rebound, and one assist, in 25 minutes of play. It was the second night of a back-to-back, so perhaps that had something to do with it. That said, he remains affordable on both sites and is in a prime position for a bounce back game. The Grizzlies defense has been solid this season, though they tend to struggle against the SF position (DeRozan’s position). They are giving up the seventh most real points, 10th most rebounds, second most assists, second most blocks, and third most fantasy points per game. This will be the third time that DeRozan faces off against the Grizzlies this season and so far, the results are mixed. He scored 56.3 DK points in one of those contests and 7.8 DK points in the other. Somewhere in the middle would be a safe projection for DeRozan tonight, making him a nice option at his price tag. He is SF/PF eligible on DK, while listed as a SG on FD.
Gary Trent (DK $5700/ FD $5500) – Trent has started for Portland in each of the last three games and has played no less than 37 minutes in any of those contests. He is in line for another start tonight and should once again play as many minutes as he can handle. Trent has taken full advantage of his opportunities, averaging 21 points per game during that stretch, to go along with 1.7 rebounds, one assist, and 2.3 steals per game. Most of his production comes from scoring and typically I try to shy away from one dimensional players in cash games but considering how thin the position is and his recent role, I am willing to consider him. The Bucks are giving up nearly 23 real points per game to the position despite being a stingy defense. In addition, they give up the second highest three-point field goal percentage, as well as the third most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, which bodes well for Trent who generates 66.5 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc.
Khris Middleton (DK $8500/ FD $7900) – Middleton is coming off a subpar performance for his standards, scoring 18 points with four rebound, four assists, and no defensive stats. He attempted a season-low nine shots in that contest but finds himself in a great position for a bounce back game against a Portland team that ranks 28th in defense efficiency. The Trail Blazers are giving up the sixth most three-pointers per game, which bodes well for Middleton who generates 36.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Portland is also missing one of their better defenders in Derrick Jones, to go along with other key players, making this an even more favorable matchup for Middleton who has been one of the more consistent players in basketball. Middleton has topped 40 DK points in all but seven games this season. Aside from an incredible floor, Middleton possesses plenty of upside. His price tag on FD is incredibly affordable, though he makes for a viable option on both sites.
Jimmy Butler (DK $8400/ FD $8700) – Butler returned to action on Saturday following a 10-game absence and it was business as usual for him. He played 34 minutes and scored 30 points with eight dimes, and seven boards, which was good for 50+ fantasy points on both sites. In that contest, he sported a healthy 36 percent usage. Butler should have no trouble being productive against a Hornets team that is middling in defense efficiency. The Hornets give up the 12th most steals, 11th most blocks, eighth most rebounds, and most assists per game to opposing teams, making this a nice matchup for Butler to be able to stuff the stat sheet. When healthy, he has produced quality numbers most nights and that should once again be the case in this contest. He gets a boost if Herro and Dragic are unable to play tonight.
Brandon Ingram (DK $8200/ FD $8000) – Ingram is not the stat stuffing machine we were used to seeing last season, but if there is a game that he can rack up peripherals, it is this one. He faces off against a Kings team that allows the fifth most assists, the eighth most steals, and 15th most blocks per game. Sacramento also ranks dead last in defense efficiency and one that plays at a top twelve pace. Ingram will also be in a great position to rack up the real points tonight since the Kings allow the fifth most three-pointers and the highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams. This bodes well for Ingram who generates 30.4 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. So long as he can produce peripheral stats, he will be in a great position for a big game. He did not do so in their last meeting, but that does not mean that he won’t be able to do so tonight.
Will Barton (DK $4800/ FD $4000) – Barton is a volatile player, and he is not someone you want to consider in cash on a regular basis. That said, he is near min price on FD, should play 27-29 minutes, and draws a fantastic matchup. Barton is coming off a strong performance against the Jazz, scoring 18 points with six dimes, three rebounds, and a block. Tonight, he faces a Detroit team that ranks 24th in defense rating. Harris has been ruled out for tonight’s game, which benefits Barton who sees a minor usage bump with Harris off the court. Considering his price and the matchup at hand, Barton is worth considering in cash tonight. He does not have to do all that much to pay off his salary and offers the upside that could blow this price tag out of the water. He is SG/SF eligible on DK and is viable there as well.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (DK $11000/ FD $11600) – Giannis finished one assist shy of a triple-double in his last contest and has finished two assists or less shy of a triple-double in three of his last four games. That is what he brings to the table on a nightly basis, hence the high price tag. Fitting him into your lineups might be a tough task tonight, but if you can find a way to do so, he is clearly an elite player. The matchup is one he should be able to find success in against a Portland team that is not great defensively and one that gives up 45.9 points in the paint per game and is without their starting center. The only concern with Giannis is whether Portland can keep this game close or not, which could lead to fewer minutes for Giannis. That said, so long as this game is competitive, he should play his regular allotment of minutes and whenever that ends up being the case, not many players offer the floor and upside that he does.
Zion Williamson (DK $7900/ FD $8300) – I really like Williamson this evening against a Kings team that gives up the most points in the paint per game. The reason why I love this for Williamson is because he generates 76.8 percent of his points from inside the paint. In addition to that, Sacramento ranks dead last and plays up in pace, making this a great game environment for Williamson. He scored 31 real points with six rebounds, and two assists against this Kings team in their last meeting, dropping in all but two buckets. I am expecting the same success for Williamson in the paint, with a chance for better peripheral numbers. Williamson remains one of the more consistent players in basketball and although we haven’t seen his upside regularly this season, the floor is extremely high, and that is all we are looking for in cash.
Brandon Clarke (DK $6300/ FD $6400) – Clarke has been in the starting rotation since January first and has been solid as a starter. During that stretch, he has averaged 30.8 minutes, 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, two assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. He has scored double-digit real points in all but one game where he has started. Tonight, he faces off against the Spurs, a team he has already faced off against twice this season. In two meetings against them, he has averaged 12 real points with four rebounds, one block, 0.5 steals, and 26 minutes per game. He played just 26 minutes against them in their last matchup, but that was due to the score. So long as tonight’s contest remains competitive, Clarke should play 30+ minutes. He does not offer much of a ceiling but has scored 30+ DK points in four of his last six games, displaying a decent floor. He has eight or more rebounds in four of his last seven games and the Spurs are giving up the fifth most rebounds per game to the position. San Antonio also struggles in the paint, allowing the eighth most points in the paint per game, which is where Clarke generates 73.1 percent of his scoring from. As you can see, there is a path to success here.
Xavier Tillman (DK $4800/ FD $5100) – Tillman continues to start in place of Valanciunas, who will once again be out this evening. In his two starts, Tillman has averaged 25 minutes, nine points, six rebounds, two assists, 1.5 steals, and one block per game. With that said, he has now scored double-digit real points in three of his last four games, playing 20+ minutes in three of those contests. Tillman averages a fantasy point per minute and should play minutes in the mid-20’s with upside for more, so he should have no trouble paying off his reasonable price tag on both sites. The matchup is one he should exploit considering he generates 85.3 percent of his scoring from inside the paint and the Spurs give up the eighth most points in the paint. In addition, they surrender over 50 fantasy points per game to the position. Tillman is PF/C eligible on DK, giving up plenty of flexibility with roster construction.
Nikola Jokic (DK $10900/ FD $10900) – Jokic is coming off a masterful performance against the Utah Jazz and finds himself in a position to smash once again. He faces off against the Pistons who are one of the worst defenses when it comes to opposing centers. Detroit allows the 12th most real points, the sixth most rebounds, the 11th most assists, the 10th most steals, the second most blocks, and the second most fantasy points per game to the position. The Pistons give up the 11th most points in the paint per game to opposing teams, which bodes well for Jokic who generates 55.3 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. He is one of the most consistent players in basketball by a pretty wide margin and is a stat sheet stuffing machine. The only thing stopping Jokic from being one of the top scorers tonight is a blowout.
Andre Drummond (DK $8600/ FD $8800) – I said it on the livestream the other day and I’ll say it here. Whenever I see Drummond under $9K, I will instantly have interest. Drummond is one of those players who typically produces huge games but does not get as much attention as some of the other players. Tonight, he faces off against a Timberwolves team that will once again be without Towns and are dealing with injuries to their frontcourt. Just yesterday, Drummond destroyed this Timberwolves defense, scoring 25 points with 22 rebounds, while adding four assists, a block, and a steal. The Timberwolves are one of the worst defenses in basketball, ranking 25th in defense rating and they struggle immensely against opposing centers. They allow the most real points, ninth most rebounds, most assists, sixth most blocks, and most fantasy points per game to the position. If you are concerned about the second night of a back-to-back, Drummond has a 60 percent consistency rating in situations like this in a 35-game sample size. He has scored no less than 48 DK points in each of his last nine games of a back-to-back at home, with seven 50+ DK point performances in that span. HE WAS RULED OUT
Brook Lopez (DK $5500/ FD $5100) – Paying up for center tonight is something I intend on doing, but on FD if you are looking for a cheaper center option, I’d consider Lopez. He is not overly cheap but is affordable and draws a solid matchup. Portland allows the 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing centers and are without their starting center this evening. In addition, the Trail Blazers give up the sixth most three-pointers per game, which bodes well for Lopez who generates 48.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. He should get plenty of open looks in this contest, as Kanter is unlikely to come out and defend Lopez outside of the paint much. Taking all that into account, Lopez should be able to produce solid numbers this evening.
DraftKings: Dejounte Murray, Zion Williamson, Jarrett Allen, De’Aaron Fox
FanDuel: Dejounte Murray, Khris Middleton, John Wall, Jarrett Allen
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**