Marvin Bagley is questionable, if he sits, Harrison Barnes comes into play in cash games.
If Fournier and Anthony sir, Ennis becomes a viable option. If you want to consider him, you can play Grayson Allen and pivot to Ennis if news breaks. If either of them start, you can keep Allen in your lineup at a cheap price in a spot he should play solidified minutes.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Friday!
After a small five-game slate last night, we have a massive 11-game slate this evening. We have already received some important news for this evening, with Kemba Walker and Mason Plumlee being ruled out, which opens up value tonight. Frank Mason was also ruled out of tonight’s game with a groin injury. Both OKC and Memphis continue to deal with injuries/health protocols issues, leaving them shorthanded this evening once again.
There is still pending news that we need to keep tabs on. Here is a list of some of the players listed as questionable for this evening: Anthony Davis, Cole Anthony, Evan Fournier, and Devonte’ Graham. As always, unexpected news is not out of the realm of possibilities in the NBA, so make sure you are keeping tabs on news as we head into lock.
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
- Jazz 118.25
- Mavericks 117.75
- Clippers 117.5
- Nuggets 116.5
- Hornets 116.25
- Nuggets -11.5
- Kings -9
- Celtics -8
- Clippers -7.5
- Lakers -6.5
Position By Position
Luka Doncic (DK $10900/ FD $11200) – Doncic triple-doubled on Wednesday night, for the seventh time this season. He has now topped 60 DK points in three of his last five games and to no surprise is constantly stuffing the stat sheet. Tonight, he faces a Pelicans defense that gives up the second most assists per game to opposing teams and the most assists per game to opposing point guards. This unit also gives up 22.2 real points and 5.9 rebounds per game to the position, to go along with over 45 fantasy points per game. New Orleans enters this game ranked 26th in defense efficiency. Most of Doncic scoring comes from inside the paint (43.7 percent) and the Pelicans are good in this area, though he does generate 23.7 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and this is an area that New Orleans struggles against. They are giving up the most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, the ninth highest three-point field goal percentage, and the eight most three-pointers per game to opposing point guards. Doncic has faced the Pelicans seven times in his young career and is averaging 54.3 DK points against the, with a 71.4 percent consistency rating, scoring less than 50 DK points in just two of those contests. This may not be a slam dunk contest, but it is certainly one that Doncic should flourish in.
Russell Westbrook (DK $9000/ FD $8700) – The Wizards will be without Beal tonight who sports a 35.5 percent usage rate on the season, meaning that there will be plenty of opportunities opening up tonight for this team. The main beneficiary of that will be Westbrook who sees a 9.2 percent usage bump with Beal off the court. That is a significant number for a player who is already sporting a 29.7 percent usage rate. Truth be told, this is far from a great matchup against a Knicks team that plays slow and are good defensively. However, Westbrook can stuff the stat sheet against anyone and now that he will be the primary scorer for the Wizards this evening, we can expect him to take a ton of shots. Westbrook has taken 18 or more shots just eight times this season and has scored 20+ real points in seven of those contests, while finishing with a triple-double in three of them. In those eight games, Westbrook finished with fewer than 50 DK points just twice.
De’Aaron Fox (DK $9000/ FD $8900) – Fox is playing incredibly good basketball right now, scoring 30 or more real points in four of his last six games and now scoring fewer than 24 real points in any of those games. Tonight, he faces a Magic team that enters this game ranked 20th in defense rating. Orlando has also been overly generous to the point guard position this season and is now dealing with injuries to their backcourt. The Magic are yielding the 10th most real points, fifth most rebounds, eighth most assists, fourth most three-pointers, and allow the top five in fantasy points per game to the position. Fox struggled with his shot the last time he faced off against the Magic, shooting 24 percent from the field, but still managed to score 16 points with 10 assists, eight rebounds, and a block, which was good for 44 DK points. Orlando allows the ninth highest field goal percentage to opposing teams, so Fox should not struggle with his shot this evening.
Hamidou Diallo (DK $7000/ FD $7000) – OKC remains extremely thin tonight as they have been in recent games, which means Diallo is in a position for huge minutes and an increased role once again. He has now played 31 or more minutes in five straight games, including 37 or more minutes in three of those contests. During that stretch, he has averaged 16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game, scoring no less than 30.5 DK points in any of the five games. Tonight, he faces a Nuggets team that ranks 22nd in defense efficiency and will be without elite defender Gary Harris. This contest is expected to be lopsided, as Denver is favored by 11.5 points, but even if that ends up being the case, Diallo should see plenty of minutes being that OKC is shorthanded. I prefer him on DK where he is SG/SF eligible being that the PG position is so deep, but he is viable on both sites.
Dejounte Murray (DK $6800/ FD $7500) – Murray’s floor has become a tad more volatile as of late now that the Spurs have a healthy backcourt. That said, he finds himself in a terrific spot tonight and remains affordable. The matchup against the Hawks is one that he should be able to exploit. Atlanta surrenders the fifth most real points, 13th most rebounds, 10th most assists, second most steals, third most blocks, and most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. In addition, the Hawks are giving up the sixth most points in the paint, which bodes well for Murray who generates 45.8 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Murray has displayed the ability to stuff the stat sheet multiple times this season and this is one of those game environments that should benefit Murray, as both of these teams play relatively fast.
Payton Pritchard (DK $3800/ FD $3900) – Walker has been ruled out for tonight’s contest, so we can expect that Pritchard would see an expanded role this evening and he is extremely cheap. The matchup is also favorable against a Pistons team that ranks 25th in defense efficiency. Detroit is giving up the fourth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing point guards, which bodes well for Pritchard who generates 59.6 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and actually drained six three-pointers last night. In any game that Pritchard has played at least 23 minutes in this season, he has scored over 20 DK points in all but two of those games (nine games sample size). I am projecting Pritchard for 24-28 minutes, which should be enough for him to reach value and the upside to blow his salary out of the water. He can be considered one of the top value options on tonight’s slate.
Donovan Mitchell (DK $8200/ FD $8300) – Mitchell is balling right now and tonight finds himself in a paced-up matchup against a Bucks team that is playing at a top six pace this season. Granted, they do play good defense, but they are allowing the fourth most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, as well as the sixth highest three-point field goal percentage. This should be music to Mitchell’s ears considering that 45 percent of his points are generated from beyond the arc. No Conley tonight means that we should see Mitchell with more handling responsibilities. In fact, with Conley off the court, Mitchell sees a 5.5 percent increase in assists percentage. The game environment tonight should be great, being that this contest has the highest over/under on the slate with just a 2.5-point spread. Look for Mitchell to bring his A-game this evening as two the NBA’s best teams face off here. The last time these two teams faced off, Mitchell turned in a 50+ DK point performance.
DeMar DeRozan (DK $8000/ FD $7800) – DeRozan played just 28 minutes last game, but that was on a second night of a back-to-back and in a blowout game. He should be back to his regular allotment of minutes this evening, in what should be a great game environment. Both teams play up in pace, the over/under here is high, and this contest has a small two-point spread. The Spurs will be without Aldridge again this evening, which benefits DeRozan who sees a 3.1 percent usage bump with Aldridge off the court, as well as a 5.9 percent increase in assist percentage and a 1.2 percent increase in rebounding percentage. The Hawks are giving up the sixth most points in the paint, which bodes well for DeRozan who generates 39.7 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Prior to last game, he had posted 40+ DK points in three straight games. That is the type of performance we could expect in this contest. Please note that he is SF/PF eligible on DK.
Anthony Edwards (DK $6100/ FD $6100) – Edwards didn’t have a great game last time out, but it was a difficult matchup against a good defensive team. Tonight’s matchup is not as tough and with Russell out once again, Edwards should see a nice bump in his role. With Russell off the court, Edwards sees a 3.1 percent usage bump. He should play big minutes in this contest and the Hornets are giving up the 12th most fantasy points per game to the position. Edwards generates 38.8 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and the Hornets give up the third most three-pointers per game to opposing teams and the third most three-pointers per game to the position. He is reasonably priced and although his floor has not been extremely consistent, this is a matchup where he should be able to be productive and turn in a good performance.
Kevin Huerter (DK $6000/ FD $5300) – Huerter is playing solid basketball right now and big minutes for the Hawks. He has scored 16 or more real points in four straight games, while playing no less than 34 minutes in any of those contests. He has been red hot from beyond the arc and that should continue tonight against a Spurs team that yields the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams. Keep in mind, Huerter generates 56.1 percent of his scoring from three-point land. Huerter should continue to play big minutes in this contest with injuries to the Hawks backcourt and wings. He is much more appealing on FD where he is cheaper, but you can certainly roster him on both sites.
Jordan Clarkson (DK $5700/ FD $4700) – Clarkson is someone I prefer playing on FD where he is just too cheap, but even on DK the case can be made for him. He comes off the bench but is arguably one of the best sixth man in basketball. He is averaging 25.3 minutes per game off the bench but has played at least 28 minutes in each of his last two games and should play upwards of 25 minutes again this evening with Conley out. I have already talked about liking this game environment and I am fully expecting Clarkson to flourish here with the second unit. At his price point on FD, it’s tough not to have him in your lineups tonight. His cheap salary on there allows you to pay up for some of the high-end players in great spots tonight.
Kawhi Leonard (DK $9500/ FD $10000) – It’s tough not to consider Leonard this evening with George out and against a Bulls team that sits 20th in defense efficiency. Over the last three games with George out, Leonard has averaged 36.3 minutes, 28 points, 9.7 rebounds, four assists, one steal, and 0.3 blocks per game, scoring 50+ DK points twice in that span. He has sported a 34.9 percent usage rate in those three games and should once again see heavy usage this evening. In fact, with George off the court Leonard has seen a 2.9 percent usage increase and a 1.2 percent increase in rebound percentage. The Bulls have allowed the 11th most points in the paint over their last six games as they are dealing with injuries to their frontcourt, which bodes well for Leonard who generates 41.2 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Another plus here is that Chicago plays at the third fastest pace in basketball, making this a paced-up spot for Leonard who should see more touch opportunities here. This matchup sets up nicely for Leonard.
Khris Middleton (DK $8000/ FD $8000) – Utah plays slow and they are a good defensive team, but I expect Milwaukee to push the pace here. Despite the tough matchup, Middleton turned in an excellent performance against Utah in their last meeting. In that contest, he scored 31 points with 10 rebounds and four assists, which was good for 51.5 DK points. The Jazz give up the 10th most points in the paint, where Middleton generates 30 percent of his scoring from. Middleton is playing some of his best basketball this season and I am not expecting that to change in this contest. Even though this is not an ideal matchup, we have seen him flourish in difficult matchups many times this season, including against this very same team.
Jaylen Brown (DK $7800/ FD $8400) – Brown let us down last night, so I understand if you are gun shy about rostering him this evening. However, he typically does not shoot the ball that poorly, so we can consider that an outlier performance. He should be able to get back on track tonight in a good matchup against a Detroit team that ranks 25th in defense rating, a team he has played well against this season. In two meetings versus the Pistons this year, he is averaging 28 points with five rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and one block per game, along with 42 DK points per game. Brown should once again shine against Detroit who gives up the seventh most points in the paint per game, which is where he generates 43 percent of his scoring from. Even with a bad shooting night, Brown turned in his fourth double-double of the season. If his shot is going in tonight, a big game is highly likely and it’s worth noting that Detroit gives up the highest field goal percentage to opposing teams.
Gordon Hayward (DK $7300/ FD $7600) – This is a perfect example of how we can take advantage of the algorithms on these sites. After two subpar performances against two top 11 defenses, as far as efficiency is concerned, Hayward’s price has come down. However, the matchup tonight is a favorable one against a Timberwolves team that ranks 22nd in defense efficiency and a team that plays at a top six pace. They are allowing the third most points in the paint per game, which is where Hayward generates 39.7 percent of his scoring. In addition, Minnesota surrenders the 10th highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which also bodes well for Hayward who generates 29.2 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. The Timberwolves are also yielding the fifth most rebounds per game to the position which can be beneficial to Hayward who averaged 5.4 rebounds per game. Hayward is in a great position to not only pay off his affordable price tag, but to also exceed expectations.
Kendrich Williams (DK $5100/ FD $5200) – The price is starting to come up here, but it is still at a point where Williams is in play. As I mentioned earlier in this article, the Thunder team remains shorthanded and Williams has benefited in a big way from that. He has started in three of the last five games and has played no less than 30 minutes in each of his last four. In the last five games, he has averaged 31.8 minutes, 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game, while scoring no less than 20 DK points in any of those contests, with four 24+ DK point outings. Whether this game blows out or stays close, Williams should play big minutes again tonight, making him an appealing affordable option on tonight’s slate.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (DK $10800/ FD $11000) – Giannis in a competitive game is always in play, even though tonight’s matchup is far from ideal. Utah ranks second in defense rating and plays awfully slow. However, that did not stop Giannis from scoring 35 points with eight rebounds, four assists, and one block against the Jazz earlier this season. That performance was good for 53 DK points, which is the type of floor we can expect from him this evening. Although Utah is tough defensively, they do give up the 10th most points in the paint, which bodes well for Giannis who generates 59.1 percent of his scoring from the paint. This team didn’t have an answer for Giannis last time out, as he shot a healthy 56 percent against them and it’s unlikely that they will be able to contain the Greek Freak this evening.
Julius Randle (DK $9100/ FD $8600) – Randle is coming off a subpar performance but finds himself in a great spot for a bounce back game. He faces off against a Washington team that not only plays extremely fast but also one that ranks 29th in defense efficiency. The Wizards are giving up the sixth most rebounds and third most defensive rebounds per game. This is excellent news for Randle who accounts for 33 percent of the Knicks defensive rebounds and is averaging 10.9 rebounds per game. This is a matchup that Randle should exploit and take full advantage of. His floor has not been as consistent as it was earlier in the season, but in a matchup like the one at hand, it’s hard to envision him struggling.
Jayson Tatum (DK $8800/ FD $8900) – Despite some off-shooting nights in recent games, Tatum continues to post solid numbers. Tonight, I expect him to be able to score at-will against a Pistons defense that surrenders the highest field goal percentage to opposing teams. This is a defense that Tatum has crushed this season, averaging 26 points with seven rebounds, seven assists, 1.5 blocks, and 0.5 steals, while shooting 46 percent against them. He has averaged 51 DK points in two meetings against Detroit this season. The Celtics will be without Smart and Walker tonight, and in instances when they are both off the court this season, nobody in Boston sees a higher usage increase than Tatum does, at 3.5 percent. This dude is extremely good and should be able to crush in this spot for the third time this season.
Daniel Theis (DK $4800/ FD $4900) – Theis continues to be underpriced on both sites and it is something we should continue to exploit as DFS players. He faces off against a Pistons team that gives up the 12th most rebounds to opposing teams, the seventh most rebounds to the position, and seventh most points in the paint per game. These are things that bode well for Theis who accounts for 23.4 percent of the Celtics rebounds and generates 50 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, Detroit allows the second most blocks per game, which is something Theis should take advantage of here. We saw him block four shots last night and he now has at least one block in all but two of his last 10 games. At this price tag, it’ll be surprising to see Theis, who now has scored 23.5 or more DK points in all but two of his last 10 games, fall short of value.
Isaiah Stewart (DK $3100/ FD $3600) – Plumlee has been ruled out for tonight’s contest, which means we could see Stewart in the starting lineup once again this evening. He started last night and played 31 minutes against the Pacers. In that contest, Stewart scored 17 points with seven boards, two steals, one block, and one assists, finishing with 33.25 DK points. It was his first start of the season and he did not disappoint. In any game that he has played at least 23 minutes in this season, Stewart has scored no less than 20 DK points and has finished with double-digit rebounds in all but two of those games (four-game sample). He should be in line for 28+ minutes here and despite the subpar matchup, at near min price, Stewart is essentially a lock in cash tonight. Please note that he is only center eligible on DK.
Nikola Jokic (DK $10700/ FD $10800) – Jokic is in a great position for a HUGE game tonight against an undersized OKC team. The only concern is the potential blowout here, but if it does end up in a blowout, I would be stunned if Jokic is not a big reason as to why. In fact, the last time these two teams faced off, he played just 28.3 minutes and finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, one block, one steal, and 56 DK points per game. OKC yields the sixth most real points and seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing bigs. They surrender the fourth most points in the paint per game to opposing teams, which bodes incredibly well for Jokic who generates 55.2 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. The only thing keeping me away from locking him in tonight is the potential blowout, but this is an absolutely incredible spot for him.
Nikola Vucevic (DK $9400/ FD $9800) – We were on Vuc last night and he paid off. It’s time to go back to the well here with him in another favorable matchup. The Kings are giving up the fifth most real points, most rebounds, most assists, and second most fantasy points per game to opposing centers. This team is giving up the most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Vuc who generates 38.6 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Sacramento is dead last in defensive efficiency and plays up in pace, so this should be a great game environment for Vuc. If you are concerned about the second night of a back-to-back on the road, don’t be. In this instance, he has a consistency rating of 62.5 percent and has exceeded expectations by an average of 2.38 DK points in a 56-game sample size.
Al Horford (DK $6700/ FD $6200) – On FD, Horford remains very affordable despite playing huge minutes and turning in some impressive performances in recent games. By now you are aware that OKC will be shorthanded once again this evening, which should lead to solid minutes for Horford. Since returning from a six-game absence, Horford is averaging 29.3 minutes, 18.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game, while scoring 30+ FD points in all but two games (seven-game sample). This is not a great matchup for Horford but considering his recent role and how much the team is reliant on his scoring, he should see plenty of scoring opportunities this evening.
DraftKings: Payton Pritchard, Isaiah Stewart, Donovan Mitchell, Khris Middleton
FanDuel: Payton Pritchard, Isaiah Stewart, Jordan Clarkson, Giannis Antetokounmpo
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**