***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 7:09 PM***
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Thursday!
We have a five-game slate this evening, in what appears to likely be a low scoring night. No contest on the slate has an over/under of higher than 229.5 and two games have implied totals below 216 points. As far as news is concerned, we have pending news that could affect the slate. Here are some of the players listed as questionable for tonight: OG Anunoby, Cole Anthony, and Evan Fournier. Getting Magic news is very important because it could lead to a very thin backcourt situation for them. Shake Milton is listed as doubtful for the 76ers tonight.
Somethings to keep in mind, Kyle Lowry who has been dealing with back spasms, is on a second night of a back-to-back where he played 33 minutes last night. Blake Griffin is on a first night of a back-to-back and has rested in this instance before, while at times he rests on the second game.
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 117.5
- Warriors 115.5
- Trail Blazers 112
- Celtics 111.5
- Pacers 109
- Warriors -8
- 76ers -5.5
- Celtics -3
- Pacers -2.5
- Heat -2
Position By Position
Stephen Curry (DK $10100/ FD $10500) – Curry is playing some good basketball right now and that should continue tonight against a bad Magic defense. Orlando ranks 21st in defense efficiency and has been very generous to opposing point guards. They are giving up the 10th most real points, fifth most rebounds, eighth most assists, fourth most three-pointers, fourth most blocks, and fifth most fantasy points per game to the position. Orlando is also giving up the 12th most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, which bodes well for Curry who generates 49 percent of his points from beyond the arc. This is a good spot for Curry and although he is one of the more expensive players on the slate tonight, he is worth the price tag.
Damian Lillard (DK $9800/ FD $10000) – Lillard is the cheapest he has been since January 16th on DK and that should not be the case. McCollum and Nurkic remain out, so Lillard will once again have to carry this Portland team on his back. Since McCollum has been sidelined, Lillard is sporting a healthy 33.5 percent usage rate. During that nine-game stretch, Lillard has averaged 35.8 minutes, 32 points, 7.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and one steal per game, while scoring 49 or more DK points in all but two games. Talk about an incredible floor. The 76ers play solid defense, but they do play fast, so this should be an up-tempo game with plenty of touch opportunities. Lillard should play all the minutes he can handle and attempt 20+ shots in this contest. At less than $10K on DK, he is tough to pass up on this evening.
Malcolm Brogdon (DK $7500/ FD $7200) – Brogdon did not quite pan out as expected last night, but he wasn’t awful either. He finished 15 points, six dimes, five boards, and a steal in 35 minutes, which was good for 32.75 DK points. Slightly under value for cash games, but not too far. We can go right back to the well here tonight with Brogdon, who remains affordable on both sites. The matchup against Detroit is a good one, as they rank 22nd in defense efficiency. The Pistons give up the seventh most points in the paint per game to opposing teams, which bodes well for Brogdon who generates 38.1 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, Detroit yields the fourth highest three-point field goal percentage and Brogdon generates 37 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. This puts Brogdon in a great spot to score some real points this evening. If that’s not enough, Detroit also allows the 12th most rebounds, eighth most assists, 13th most steals, and most blocks per game, so the path to peripheral stats is pretty easy here for Brogdon. He has not played great as of late, but a good matchup like the one at hand could help him get back on track.
Kemba Walker (DK $6500/ FD $5500) – While Walker is affordable on both sites tonight, he is far too cheap on FD. I get it, he has been shooting the ball terrible in recent games, making just six of his 32 field goal attempts in the last two games, for a whopping 18.8 field goal percentage. In his defense, he has played against two top seven defenses and two teams that play at a bottom six pace. On the brightside, Walker has now played no less than 30 minutes in four straight games, which means that Boston is being more lenient with his playing time. Tonight, he faces off against Toronto who ranks 13th in defense efficiency (middling) and a team that plays at a top 10 pace. Walker has a pretty solid history against the Raptors, averaging 39.5 DK points against them in their last 20 meetings, with a consistency rating of 60 percent. At his FD price tag, Walker should be able to provide us with a nice ROI. Even on DK, he makes for a strong point per dollar play.
Frank Mason (DK $4000/ FD $4200) – Keep an eye on news, but Orlando’s backcourt could be very thin tonight, which would put Mason as one of the top point per dollar plays on the entire slate. This would be the case if Fournier (back) and Anthony (shoulder) sit this game out, both of whom are questionable. Mason, who signed with Orlando earlier this month, has played 26 or more minutes in two of his three games with the team. He has taken advantage of his opportunities, scoring double-digit points in each of his last two games, while tacking on peripheral stats. He has now attempted 10 shots in each of his last two games and would be in a great position for an expanded role, should Anthony and Fournier sit this evening. The matchup is a good one too, as he faces off against a Warriors team that plays up in pace.
Norman Powell (DK $6700/ FD $6800) – Powell’s price is starting to creep up to a place where value might be hard to attain, but it is not quite there yet. He has been in the starting lineup in each of his last nine games and has taken full advantage of that role. During that stretch, he has averaged 35.1 minutes, 23.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Powell has scored fewer than 31 DK points just once in those nine games, displaying a nice floor. Tonight’s matchup against the Celtics is not great, but they will be without Marcus Smart once again who is an elite defender. OG Anunoby is questionable for tonight, so that is news to monitor before finalizing your lineups. That said, if Powell is starting again this evening, he is firmly in play here. Please note, he is SG/SF eligible on DK.
Tyler Herro (DK $6400/ FD $5800) – Herro has come off the bench in each of his last three games, but has still played significant minutes, playing 32 or more minutes in each of his last two games and no less than 29 minutes in any of his last three. He has also been on the court for the entire fourth quarter in each of his last two games and for most of the fourth quarter against Washington before that. Therefore, him not being in the starting lineup is not affecting his playing time. Tonight, he faces off against a Rockets team that has been playing better defense, but one that struggles against opposing shooting guards. The Rockets are giving up the most real points, the sixth most three-pointers, the third most steals, the second most blocks, and the third most fantasy points per game to the position. The fact that they surrender a ton of threes to this position is huge for Herro, who generates 35.3 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. He is more appealing on FD where he is cheaper, but Herro can be considered on both sites this evening as a viable option.
Eric Gordon (DK $6200/ FD $5900) – Gordon has been very consistent in recent games and is playing some solid basketball. He has now scored at least 20 real points in five straight games, which has led to 30 or more DK points in each of those contests. Tonight, he faces against a Heat defense that is yielding the seventh most fantasy points per game to the position. Miami is yielding the 10th highest three-point field goal percentage and the second most three-pointers per game to opposing teams. This bodes well for Gordon who generates 44.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Between the matchup and how well Gordon has been shooting, along with a reasonable price tag, Gordon makes for a solid mid-range option this evening.
Seth Curry (DK $4700/ FD $4100) – Curry is a three-point specialist who was struggling with his shot from beyond the arc but has found his rhythm in his last two games. He has now made 66.7 percent of his three-pointers in his last two contests, after making just 29.2 percent of his threes in his previous eight games. For the season, Curry is shooting a healthy 50.7 percent from beyond the arc and he is a career 45.6 percent shooter from three-point land. Tonight, he faces off against Portland who gives up the 12th highest three-point field goal percentage and the sixth most three-pointers per game to opposing teams. Portland is allowing nearly four three-pointers per game to opposing shooting guards. Most of Curry’s fantasy production comes from scoring, and given the game environment, plus the matchup at hand, he is in a good position to score this evening. He is very cheap on both sites and makes for a nice value option tonight. Yes, he can be volatile, but when a shooter like him is feeling it, you ride that wave until he cools down.
Jimmy Butler (DK $8400/ FD $8700) – Butler will have his work cutout for him this evening against a tough defender in Oladipo. However, Butler is normally up for these tasks and generally brings his A-game in instances like this one. He continues to stuff the stat sheet on a nightly basis and is playing some really good basketball right now. Since returning from his 10-game absence, Butler has averaged 34 minutes, 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 1.7 steals in his last six games. During that stretch, he has not scored fewer than 44 DK points in any game. Butler has now flirted with a triple-double in each of his last two games. Houston is giving up the most blocks and sixth most steals, so this is game where we can see Butler rack up the defensive stats. Moreover, although the matchup tonight is not ideal, the Rockets do play up in pace, so Butler will get additional touch opportunities here. A ceiling game is unlikely, but his floor remains consistent and his price is reasonable. Even in this subpar matchup, Butler should be able to get the job done.
Jaylen Brown (DK $7700/ FD $8400) – Brown is coming off a nice performance against a tough defensive team in the Jazz, scoring 33 points with eight boards. I expect him to carry that momentum over against Toronto this evening, in a better matchup, and versus a team he has done well against in recent history. Brown has averaged 38.6 DK points per game against the Raptors in his last 12 meetings, averaging a 58.3 consistency rating. He has actually topped 40 DK points in four of his last six meetings against Toronto. The Raptors play at a top 10 pace, so this will also be a paced-up spot for Brown and the Celtics. Aside from all of that, Brown comes in at an affordable price tonight, especially on DK, which makes him a very appealing cash game option.
Juan Toscano-Anderson (DK $5100/ FD $5200) – Toscano-Anderson remained in the starting lineup last game and so long as he is starting, and remains reasonably priced, we can keep rolling him out. Tonight’s matchup is a favorable one for a couple of reasons. Orlando ranks 21st in defense efficiency and will be without Aaron Gordon tonight. In addition, the Magic are giving up the 12th most points in the paint to opposing teams, which bodes well for Toscano-Anderson who generates 57.5 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Orland is also giving up the 10th most rebounds per game and Toscano-Anderson has eight or more rebounds in each of his last four starts. Toscano-Anderson is not someone who will light up the stat sheet, but he does provide double-double upside and should be able to payoff his reasonable price tag. So long as he is starting, we can consider him as a viable option.
Jayson Tatum (DK $8900/ FD $9500) – Tatum has shot below average the last couple of games but finds himself in a good position for a strong performance against a team he generally plays well against. In his last 12 meetings against the Raptors, Tatum has averaged 44.8 DK points per game with a consistency rating of 42 percent. He has scored no less than 40 DK points in all but one of his last six meetings against them, including a 56.5 DK point performance earlier this season. Toronto has been very generous to the position, allowing the fourth most real points, eighth most rebounds, third most assists, fifth most three-pointers, seventh most blocks, and third most fantasy points per game. Tatum generates 34.2 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and the Raptors surrender the fifth most three-pointers per game. He plays huge minutes on a nightly basis and this is a matchup he should be able to exploit for the second time this season.
Domantas Sabonis (DK $8800/ FD $9300) – Sabonis made us sweat last night, but ultimately finished with a somewhat decent performance. We can go right back to the well with him this evening against a Detroit team that struggles inside the paint. The Pistons are giving up the seventh most points inside the paint, which bodes well for Sabonis who generates 65.1 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, Detroit yields the 12th most rebounds per game. This is a matchup that Sabonis should take advantage of and one that he should find success in. He is essentially a walking double-double, who offers triple-double upside.
Robert Covington (DK $5900/ FD $6000) – Since returning from a two-game absence, Covington has been solid, although his shot continues to be streaky. In his last six games, he has averaged 34.2 minutes, 10 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game, while scoring no less than 21.5 DK points during that stretch, and in that contest, he played just 28 minutes because of a blowout. Covington has been more active on the boards and continues to rack up the defensive stats. Tonight, he faces a Philly team that plays up in pace and one that gives up the eighth most steals per game to opposing power forwards. This is good news for Covington who has two or more steals in four of his last six games. These two teams faced off a few nights ago and in that contest, Covington finished with nine points, six rebounds, four steals, and one dime. We would need a slightly better night out of him this evening at this price tag, which is very possible. He is not going to score a ton of real points, but he will stuff the stat sheet with peripherals and makes for a solid mid-range option at PF this evening.
Daniel Theis (DK $4900/ FD $4900) – Theis remains very affordable and although his ceiling is not enormous, he does give us a decent floor. He has played no less than 27 minutes in all but one of his last six games and has started in eight of his last nine games. During that nine-game stretch, he has averaged 0.94 fantasy points per minutes and should play 27-29 minutes tonight, so value is very attainable here for Theis. While this is no slam dunk matchup for Theis, there are paths to success here. For instance, he averaged just shy of a block per game and the Raptors yields the seventh most blocks per game this season. In addition, Toronto has been somewhat generous to the position, allowing the fourth most real points and third most fantasy points per game. Considering his price tag and his recent play, Theis is a solid value option this evening.
Joel Embiid (DK $10800/ FD $10800) – Embiid is the most expensive player on the slate tonight, but this should be a great game environment for him. Portland is giving up the sixth most rebounds per game, making this a good rebounding matchup for Embiid who is averaging 11 boards per game. In addition, Portland is yielding the third most real points per game to opposing centers. Just a few games ago, Embiid scored 37 points with five boards, one block, one steal, and one assists against this Portland team. Despite the lack of peripherals in that contest, he finished with 46 DK points. Embiid has finished with fewer than 10 boards just six times this season and fewer than eight boards just three times. He should be able to score at will once again against the Trail Blazers, while contributing more to peripherals this time around.
Nikola Vucevic (DK $9400/ FD $9800) – Vuc is getting up there in price, but that goes hand-in-hand with how well he has been playing. He has been dominant on the boards with at least 14 rebounds in four of his last five games. Tonight, he faces off against a Warriors team that gives up the second most rebounds per game to opposing teams and the sixth most rebounds per game to opposing centers. This is a pace-up spot for the Magic and facing off against a Warriors team that is 10th in shot attempts per game will create some rebounding opportunities. I don’t think that the Warriors will have an answer for Vuc this evening and I fully expect him to dominate the glass tonight.
Mason Plumlee (DK $6100/ FD $7100) – Plumlee is playing some good ball as of late and has now double-doubled in five of his last eight games. He is not only rebounding and scoring, but he is also displaying his ability to facilitate the ball, as well as racking up the defensive stats. Tonight, he faces a Pacers team who gives up the third most rebounds and eighth most blocks per game to opposing centers, while yielding over 50 fantasy points per game. In addition, they yield the 11th most points in the paint per game, which is where Plumlee generates 77.6 percent of his scoring from. He has played huge minutes in each of the last two games and considering that Indiana can play big, Plumlee should once again see plenty of minutes.
Kelly Olynyk (DK $5000/ FD $5100) – Olynyk has quietly been posting up solid numbers in recent games, scoring double-digit points in all but one of his last six games. During that stretch, he has averaged 25.7 minutes, 13.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, one assist, 0.7 steals, and 0.5 blocks. He has now played at least 27 minutes in three of his last four games. The matchup against the Rockets is one that will be up in pace for the Heat, which should create additional touch opportunities. Houston does play solid defense and they have been solid defensively against the position. However, Olynyk remains affordable and has done well even in subpar matchups in recent games.
DraftKings: Damian Lillard, Nikola Vucevic, Daniel Theis, Frank Mason (if he starts)
FanDuel: Kemba Walker, Nikola Vucevic, Daniel Theis, Frank Mason (if he starts)
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**