***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:18 PM***
Ben Simmons was ruled out. This puts Joel Embiid, Seth Curry, and Tyrese Maxey in play tonight. None of them enter my core four, but this opens up value and it does mean that this game should be closer than initially expected.
Houston will be without Oladipo and Tucker this evening. Discussed the plays I like from Houston below. They get a bump with this news. Gordon remains a game time decision. Danuel House is starting and should play solidified minutes here. He is viable, though does come with risk.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Wednesday!
We have a nice 10-game slate this evening, in what is shaping up to be an interesting slate. Although we are still awaiting some news that could impact the slate, we have received plenty of important news throughout the day that provides us with some clarity. Al Horford, Kemba Walker, Daniel Theis, De’Anthony Melton, Desmond Bane, Will Barton, PJ Dozier, and Paul Millsap have all been ruled out.
Some of the pending news that we need to monitor as we head into lock is that Kawhi Leonard, Mike Conley, Gary Harris, Monte Morris, Rodney Hood, Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, James Ennis, and Doug McDermott are all either questionable or doubtful for tonight.
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
- Pelicans 119.75
- 76ers 118.75
- Nuggets 118.25
- Trail Blazers 116.75
- Grizzlies 116
- 76ers -10.5
- Grizzlies -7.5
- Pacers -5.5
- Knicks -4.5
- Jazz -4
Position By Position
Damian Lillard (DK $10300/ FD $9500) – Lillard is properly priced on DK, but is a tad underpriced on FD this evening. Don’t get me wrong, he is fully in play on both sites. Tonight’s matchup against the Pelicans is a favorable one. New Orleans yields the eighth most real points, most assists, sixth most three-pointers, and eighth most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. In addition, they rank 29th in defense efficiency. Lillard is sporting a healthy 33.4 percent usage over his last 14 games with both McCollum and Nurkic out. Over that span, he has averaged 36 minutes, 31.4 points, eight assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game, while scoring no less than 47.5 DK points in all but two games during that stretch. The Pelicans give up the most three-pointers and the most three-point attempts per game, to go along with the third highest three-point field goal percentage. This bodes well for Lillard who generates 41.3 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. In addition, New Orleans gives up the second most assists per game to opposing teams, making this a great spot for a potential double-double and big game for Lillard.
John Wall (DK $7800/ FD $8500) – Wall played well last game, sporting a healthy 39.3 percent usage rate with Oladipo, Gordon, Tucker, and Wood out. The only one not doubtful or out from this group tonight is Tucker, who is considered questionable, and is the least impactful player for usage purposes for Wall. In fact, with Wood, Oladipo, and Gordon off the court, Wall sees a massive 9.7 percent usage increase and has a +/- of plus 6.3 DK points per game. We saw it firsthand in his last contest where Wall went for 29 points with 11 dimes, three boards, one steal, and one block, scoring a healthy 52.75 DK points. Tonight, he faces off against a Philadelphia team that has been tough defensively but does play fast and is giving up the 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. The one concern here is the potential blowout, as the 76ers is the only double-digit favorite on the slate tonight. That said, Wall remains reasonably priced on DK and as we saw last game, he can absolutely blow this price tag out of the water.
Malcolm Brogdon (DK $7700/ FD $8000) – I was on Brogdon on Monday and I think it makes a lot of sense to go back to the well here. He had a strong performance against the Bulls, scoring 23 points with 15 rebounds, five dimes, and a steal, while scoring 52.25 DK points. It was his second consecutive game of 40+ DK points and he is in a great position to make it a third. He faces off against a Timberwolves team that gives up the sixth most real points, ninth most rebounds, fourth most three-pointers, ninth most steals, and ninth most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. Brogdon scores 38.7 percent of his points from inside the paint and the Timberwolves give up the third most points inside the paint to opposing teams. In addition, Minnesota yields the 12th highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which bodes well for Brogdon who also generates 35.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Lastly, this team is also top seven in rebounds, assists, and blocks allowed per game to opposing teams. As you can see, Brogdon will have multiple ways to score fantasy points this evening and remains affordable.
Delon Wright (DK $6000/ FD $7000) – I love attacking the Bulls backcourt and that is not changing tonight. Normally I prefer Wright in tournaments because he can be volatile at times, though not only is this a great matchup, but his price is also reasonable, and he has been playing some solid basketball as of late. Chicago enters this contest ranked 19th in defense efficiency and plays at the third highest pace. The Bulls are also giving up the seventh most real points per game, the sixth most assists, the fourth most steals, and the seventh most fantasy points per game to the position. Wright is averaging 37.2 minutes, 17.8 points, seven assists, 4.6 rebounds, one steal, and 0.6 blocks per game over his last five contests. Considering how well he has played as of late and the matchup at hand, it’s tough not to consider him, especially on DK where he is just $6K.
Payton Pritchard (DK $4200/ FD $3900) – Pritchard is in line for the start this evening with Walker being ruled out. Yes, he shit the bed last time he got the start a few nights ago, but we should not let that affect our decision making here. This is a favorable matchup against a Hawks team that ranks 19th in defense efficiency and one that is awful at defensing point guards. Atlanta surrenders the fifth most real points, 10th most rebounds, eighth most assists, third most steals, second most blocks, and most fantasy points per game to the position. Despite struggling in his start last game, Pritchard did log in 29 minutes and would be in line for solidified minutes in this contest. He has topped 19 DK points in all but two games where he has played at least 23 minutes (11-game sample). Considering his potential role this evening, his price, and the matchup at hand, Pritchard has to be considered a strong point per dollar play this evening so long as he starts.
Facundo Campazzo (DK $3500/ FD $3500) – Keep an eye on news for this contest, but if the Nuggets remain shorthanded and Campazzo is in the starting lineup once again, he can be considered a strong value play. He started last night and played 40 minutes, scoring 15 points with eight assists, three boards, two steals, and a block. He has now played at least 26 minutes in each of his last two games and has topped 26 DK points in both of those contests. The matchup against the Wizards is spectacular as they play up in pace and rank 26th in defense efficiency. Only one other team gives up more points per game to opposing teams than Washington does. Campazzo remains min price on FD and near min on DK. If he is once again starting, we can roll him out as an incredibly strong point per dollar play.
Zach LaVine (DK $9400/ FD $9500) – LaVine continues to produce consistent numbers on a nightly basis and I expect that to continue this evening against a Pistons team that ranks 23rd in defense efficiency. The Pistons are giving up the eighth most points in the paint to opposing teams, which bodes well for LaVine who generates 35.5 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, he generates 38.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and they give up the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams. LaVine should be able to score at-will against this defense and continue to play at a high level. He is pricey on both sites, but it should come to no surprise considering how well he has played. He has now scored no less than 45 DK points in six consecutive games.
Tyler Herro (DK $6000/ FD $6100) – Herro should play big minutes in tonight’s contest, in what should be a great game environment, against a fast-paced Warriors team. Golden State gives up the 12th most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, which bodes well for Herro who generates 36.6 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. The Warriors are also giving up the seventh most real points, fourth most rebounds, and sixth most fantasy points per game to the position. Despite starting in just two games in the month of February, Herro is averaging 34 minutes per game (seven-game sample). He has taken no less than 15 shots in all but two games during that stretch as well and closes games out when games are competitive.
Gary Trent (DK $5800/ FD $5500) – For the season, Trent averages 30 minutes per game, but since entering the starting rotation on January 25th, he has averaged 36.5 minutes per game. Trent has been efficient as a starter, averaging 19.7 points, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game, while scoring at least 28 DK points in all but two games (12-game sample). Most of Trent’s fantasy production comes from scoring and normally I try to avoid this kind of player in cash, but tonight he faces a Pelicans team that surrenders the sixth most real points per game to the position. In addition, it’s a New Orleans team that ranks 29th in defense efficiency, making this a favorable matchup. Trent is more appealing on DK where he is cheaper, but is viable on both sites this evening.
Grayson Allen (DK $5000/ FD $4700) – Allen has started in each of his last three games and has played at least 30 minutes in three of his last four games. So long as he remains in the starting lineup, he can be considered a viable option in cash games. The matchup against the Thunder is a solid one, as they give up the seventh most points per game to opposing teams. Allen played just 26 minutes in his last game, but that was due to a blowout. Both Bane and Melton have been ruled out for this contest, so Allen could once again see 30+ minutes so long as it remains competitive and makes for a nice value option. Please note that he is SG/SF eligible on DK, giving us some roster construction flexibility.
David Nwaba (DK $4300/ FD $5100) – DK only play for me here, as he remains very affordable and is SG/SF eligible on there, hence why I am writing him up in this section. Nwaba went off for 41.8 DK points last game and although a repeat performance is unlikely, in fact it’s doubtful, he should once again be in line for an increased role considering some of the players who are possibly sitting for Houston tonight. He should also see plenty of minutes, as he saw 41 minutes in the last game. The matchup is far from great, but this game will be up in pace, which should create plenty of opportunities for Nwaba. In addition, even if this game gets out of control, Nwaba is likely still going to play significant minutes. We saw him play the entire fourth quarter in the last contest, a game that Houston lost by 12 points.
Jimmy Butler (DK $8800/ FD $9400) – Butler bounced back last game, after a subpar performance in his previous contest. Tonight, he is in line for another strong outing, in what will be a paced-up spot for the Heat. Golden State plays at the second fastest pace in basketball. They have played solid defense this season, but that should not stop Butler from posting up big numbers here. He has been incredibly good since returning from his 10-game absence, averaging 34.8 minutes, 22.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game in his last nine contest, while scoring fewer than 44.5 DK points just once during that stretch. He has flirted with a triple-double on numerous occasions and it will not be surprising to see him do so again in this contest.
Jaylen Brown (DK $7900/ FD $8400) – Brown continues to play solid basketball with 25 or more real points in three consecutive games and in four of his last five. He faces a Hawks team that ranks 19th in defense efficiency, a team that surrenders the eighth most points in the paint per game. This is good news for Brown, who generates 42.7 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Both Theis and Walker are out for the Celtics tonight and when they are off the court, Brown sees a 2.8 percent usage bump, while averaging a positive 2.7 +/- in DK points per game. Brown makes a lot of sense for those taking a balanced approach with roster construction this evening, as he is priced reasonably on both sites.
Derrick Jones Jr. (DK $4000/ FD $4200) – Jones has played at least 31 minutes in each of his last two games and at least 29 minutes in three of his last five. He is someone that is much more volatile than we’d like in cash games, but value is not easy to come by at this position, at least early in the day. Not to mention, he has been fairly productive as of late, with three 20+ DK point games in his last five contests. Jones is not a huge scorer, but he is active on the boards and racks up defensive stats. The good news for him this evening is that New Orleans gives up the ninth most rebounds and third most steals per game to the position. They are also allowing the 13th most blocks to opposing teams. Jones comes in at a cheap price tag on both sites and does not have to do a ton to return value at his salary. If you are looking for a paydown option at this position, he is someone to consider.
Domantas Sabonis (DK $9700/ FD $9700) – Sabonis finds himself in a great spot against a Minnesota team that not only struggles defensively, but one that has also been generous to opposing frontcourts. The Timberwolves give up the third most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Sabonis who generates 64.7 percent of his points from inside the paint. They also give up the sixth most rebounds per game to opposing teams, making this a great rebounding spot for Sabonis. Not to mention, this team also allows the fourth most blocks per game and Sabonis now has at least one block in six consecutive games, including a season high four blocks in the last game. His price is starting to climb, but that goes hand in hand with his production. When you look at the matchup at hand and the game environment for him this evening, he is worth considering even at a hefty price tag.
Jayson Tatum (DK $8700/ FD $9400) – Tatum is the main beneficiary of having both Theis and Walker out tonight. When both of them are off the court, Tatum sees a nice 4.5 percent usage bump and a plus nine in +/- in DK points per game. He also sees a 1.6 percent increase in assist rate and a one percent increase in rebounding rate. The matchup against the Hawks is one that favors Tatum and one that he has done well in throughout his career. In 10 meetings against Atlanta, he is sporting an 80 percent consistency rating against them, scoring over 45 DK points in each of their last two meetings. The Hawks are giving up the 10th most real points, sixth most assists, seventh most blocks, and sixth most fantasy points per game to the position. This is a spot where Tatum should find plenty of success in.
Bam Adebayo (DK $8600/ FD $9100) – Adebayo is listed as a PF on FD, but is a center on DK. He makes more sense on DK because of the position eligibility and the fact that PF is so stacked this evening. The Heat get a paced-up spot tonight against the Warriors and this is a team that struggles with rebounding. Golden State gives up the second most rebounds per game to opposing teams. The Warriors also struggle against opposing big men, allowing the fifth most rebounds, ninth most real points, and 10th most fantasy points per game to the position. Adebayo has double-doubled in three straight games and has flirted with a triple-double a few times during that span. He is fully capable of stuffing the stat sheet whenever he is on the court and in a game with so many possessions because of the tempo, I like his chances for a big game here.
Zion Williamson (DK $8200/ FD $8300) – One of the biggest things with Zion this season is the fact that he hasn’t displayed a huge ceiling so far this year. That is starting to change now with two 47+ DK point performances in his last three games. Granted, we know the ceiling is much higher than that, but it is nice to see him flash his upside a tad more. The floor remains rock solid and tonight I expect him to continue playing well against a Portland team that ranks 28th in defense efficiency. The Trail Blazers are allowing the seventh most rebounds per game to opposing teams, making this a good rebounding matchup for Zion. Even if he doesn’t exceed expectations, he should be able to produce enough fantasy points to pay off his salary. Afterall, he has exceeded expectations in nearly 70 percent of his contests this season, showing excellent consistency.
JaMychal Green (DK $4700/ FD $4200) – Green started last night and was disappointing. That said, he played 29 minutes and could be in line for another start tonight. If that ends up being the case, we can go right back to the well here. Tonight’s matchup is far more appealing as the Nuggets faces off against a Wizards team that plays fast and ranks 26th in defense efficiency. Green is not a huge scorer, but when he is scoring, it’s generally from beyond the arc where he generates 53.9 percent of his points from. The good news for him is that Washington allows the seventh most three-pointers per game to the position, the 12th most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, and the eighth highest three-point field goal percentage. Green is a fantasy point per minute player and if he starts again this evening, he should play minutes into the mid-20’s with upside for more. That would put him in line to pay off his reasonable price tag.
Isaiah Roby (DK $4000/ FD $4700) – Roby played 24 minutes last game and that was off the bench. Tonight, he is in line for the start as Horford will sit this game out. In eight starts this season, Roby averaged 27.4 minutes, 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game, while scoring less than 25 DK points in just one of those games. We can project him for 26-28 minutes here and at this price tag, that is tough to pass up on. He faces a Memphis team that can struggle against opposing bigs, allowing 21.2 real points with 15.02 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game to the position, to go along with 50+ fantasy points per game. The Grizzlies are giving up the 10th most points in the paint per game on the season, which bodes well for Roby who generates 67.4 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Roby has displayed his ability to shoot it from beyond the arc as well, scoring 16.9 percent of his points from three-point land and Memphis also allows the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage. Roby is in a great position to not only return value, but also blow this price tag out of the water. He is arguably one of the best point per dollar plays on the board tonight and is a strong option in all formats.
Nikola Jokic (DK $11000/ FD $10500) – Look, there is not much I need to say about Jokic that you don’t already know. He’s an absolute beast and a stat sheet stuffing machine that offers triple-double upside anytime he steps on the court. To make him even more enticing, let’s look at the matchup tonight against a Wizards team that not only plays up in pace, but also ranks 26th in defense efficiency. It does not end there, Washington has been one of the more generous teams when it comes to defending opposing centers, allowing the 10th most real points, third most rebounds, 12th most assists, seventh most steals, and fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. Washington will not have an answer for Jokic tonight, so it should be business as usual for him.
Karl-Anthony Towns (DK $9300/ FD $9300) – After missing 13 games, Towns has played in each of the last four contest and has played no less than 31 minutes in any of those games. He has turned in mixed results in those four games but finds himself in a nice spot tonight against an Indiana team that plays big. The Pacers give up the sixth most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Towns who generates 47.1 percent of his scoring from the paint. In addition, Indiana gives up the 11th most rebounds per game to opposing teams, making this a good rebounding matchup for Towns. He is reasonably priced on both sites and although his floor has been rocky since returning, we know that Towns is a high floor player. He has an incredibly strong history against Indiana, averaging 52.1 DK points and having a consistency rating of 71.4 percent over their last seven meetings.
Robert Williams (DK $3100/ FD $3600) – No Theis tonight means that Williams should see more minutes. He played 20 minutes last night, which led to eight points with eight boards, two assists, and five steals. We should not be expecting five steals in this contest, but Williams does average over a fantasy point per minute and considering he is near min price on both sites, it’s tough to pass up on him in this contest. I have him projected for 17-19 minutes tonight, which should be more than enough to hit value. Tristan Thompson should get the start and he is also viable, but Williams is much cheaper.
DraftKings: Isaiah Roby, Nikola Jokic, Zion Williamson, Robert Williams
FanDuel: Isaiah Roby, Nikola Jokic, Zion Williamson, Damian Lillard
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**