***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:35 PM***
Ben Simmons has been ruled out. Joel Embiid becomes a great play and is part of the core four this evening. Seth Curry gets a bump as well.
Jaylen Brown is playing and becomes a very strong play tonight. We can bump down Walker and Tatum a bit, but both remain viable.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Friday!
We have a nine-game slate this evening. At first glance, this is not a great slate and you will have to be willing to take some chances with some players tonight, players you might not normally consider in cash. That can certainly change throughout the day as news pops up, but at the time of writing this article, this feels more like a GPP slate than a cash game slate. Keep that in mind when registering for your contests.
Here are some of the players listed as questionable tonight that we should be keeping tabs on: Kyle Lowry, Draymond Green, James Ennis, Will Barton, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, Dillon Brooks, Mike Conley, Nicolas Batum, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard. Meanwhile, Steven Adams is listed as doubtful. As you can see, still a lot of news pending that we can expect throughout the day.
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 121.5
- 76ers 119.5
- Suns 117
- Raptors 115.25
- Celtics 115.25
- Bucks -11
- Nuggets -8.5
- 76ers -8.5
- Grizzlies -5
- Warriors -4.5
Position By Position
Stephen Curry (DK $10100/ FD $10000) – Curry is having an incredible month of February, scoring 30+ real points in all but two games. In nine games this month, he has averaged 35.1 minutes, 35 points, six assists, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 6.2 three-pointers per game, scoring no less than 40 DK points in all but one game and eclipsing 50 DK points in six of the nine games. That includes three 65+ DK point performances. During that stretch, he has also shot an incredible 45.5 percent from beyond the arc. Tonight, he faces off against a Magic team that ranks 18th in defense efficiency and one that has been generous to opposing point guards. Orlando gives up the 11th most real points, sixth most rebounds, fifth most assists, fifth most three-pointers, 13th most steals, and seventh most fantasy point per game to the position. The fact that they give up the fifth most three-pointers to opposing point guards, as well as the 13th most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, is great news for Curry who generates 50.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. These two teams already faced off this season and in that game, Curry drained 10 three-pointers, falling one shy of his season high. He is once again in a great position for a huge performance.
Ja Morant (DK $7400/ FD $7100) – I have been hesitant to play Morant in cash since he returned from an eight-game absence, but that changes this evening. Morant has now played no less than 31 minutes in seven consecutive games. During that stretch, he has averaged 33.3 minutes, 18.6 points, 9.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.4 steals per game, finishing with a double-double in all but three contests, including one triple-double. It’s clear that he is back on track with his play, after some up and down performance. Tonight, he faces off against a Pistons team that ranks 22nd in defense efficiency. Detroit is giving up the sixth most points in the paint per game, which benefits Morant who generates 60.7 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, the Pistons give up the 10th most assists and 12th most steals per game, all of which give Morant multiple ways to accumulate fantasy points. Morant has now topped 41 DK points in three of his last six games, scoring fewer than 36 DK points just once in that span. Considering his recent play, along with the matchup at hand, and his price tag, we can consider Morant a viable option in all formats this evening.
Kemba Walker (DK $6500/ FD $6200) – Walker has not provided us with the floor we like in cash games this season, but this is a particularly good matchup against a Hawks team that ranks 25th in defense efficiency over their last 10 games. Atlanta is not only struggling defensively, but they have been unable to contain point guards this season. They are yielding the fifth most real points, ninth most rebounds, eighth most assists, third most steals, and the most fantasy points per game to the position. Walker remains affordable on both sites this evening and after sitting out the last game to rest, he should have fresh legs in this contest. Brown is listed as questionable with a knee injury. Should he miss, Walker gets a nice boost. With Brown off the court, Walker sees the biggest usage bump of any Boston player, with an increase of 6.4 percent. He also sees an increase of 8.2 percent in assist rate. I know that Walker hasn’t flashed a huge ceiling this season but given the matchup at hand as well as his price tag, he should be able to return value against the Hawks.
Zach LaVine (DK $9300/ FD $9500) – LaVine has been consistent for most of the season, but even more so in recent games. He has now scored no less than 45 DK points in seven consecutive games and looks to keep that streak alive this evening against a 76ers team that has been somewhat generous to opposing shooting guards this season. Philly is allowing the third most real points and eight most fantasy points per game to the position. In addition, they give up the eight most three-pointers per game to the position, which bodes well for LaVine who generates 37.8 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Both of these teams play at a top five pace for the season, so there should be plenty of touch opportunities in this contest for LaVine. The one concern here is whether Chicago can keep this game competitive or not, but that will be the case for multiple games this evening.
Fred VanVleet (DK $7800/ FD $8000) – Lowry missed last night’s game and is considered questionable for tonight as well. If he sits, we can go right back to VanVleet tonight who remains affordable and finds himself in a favorable matchup. When Lowry is off the court, VanVleet sees a 3.2 percent usage bump, an increase of 3.9 percent in assist rate, and an increase of one percent in rebounding rate. Not to mention, he averages roughly 2.9 more DK points per game. Toronto takes on Minnesota who ranks 22nd in defense efficiency for the season. The Timberwolves have been generous to the guard position this season, yielding the fifth most real points and ninth most fantasy points per game. Not to mention, they also give up the seventh most three-pointers per game to the position, as well as the ninth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, all of which bode well for VanVleet who generates 48.5 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. He had an off shooting night last night, sinking in just 33 percent of his baskets, but that did not stop him from turning in a solid performance. Minnesota gives up the fifth highest field goal percentage to opposing teams, so I fully expect VanVleet to have a better shooting night this evening. The floor is high here and there is also plenty of upside to be had. So long as Lowry sits this one out, we can confidently consider VanVleet in our lineups against the Timberwolves. Please note that he is PG/SG eligible on DK.
Lou Williams (DK $6600/ FD $6700) – If and only if both Leonard and George are out this evening, we can once again consider Williams in our cash game lineups. He is the absolute opposite of cash game viable any other time, but when those two are out, Williams sees a major uptick in production and has been very consistent. He has now started in each of the last three games and has averaged 34 minutes, 21.3 points, 8.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.7 steals per game, scoring over 34 DK points in each of those contests. In fact, Williams has now topped 30 DK points in seven consecutive games with George out. We might not get this news before lock, but if we do, that would be fantastic for us in order to make the right decision on Williams here. The matchup isn’t great, but he finished with 16 points, six boards, six dimes, across 35 minutes against this Jazz team a few nights ago.
Norman Powell (DK $6200/ FD $5800) – Powell went off last night, scoring 29 real points with four boards, three assists, and two steals in 31 minutes. I am not expecting 29 points from him again tonight, but a solid outing is certainly in the realm of possibilities. As I just mentioned, this is a favorable matchup against a team that doesn’t play great defense. With Lowry off the court, Powell sees a 1.1 percent usage bump and averages close to 4.2 more DK points per game. Since entering the starting lineup towards the end of January, Powell has played big minutes almost every game. That should not change tonight, in what should be a great game environment. For those wondering, I am totally fine with playing both Powell and VanVleet in a lineup so long as Lowry is out.
Anthony Edwards (DK $6000/ FD $6300) – Edwards shot the ball poorly on Wednesday against the Pacers but is in a good position for a bounce back game this evening. He is playing big minutes, averaging 33.4 minutes per game over his last seven games and has been somewhat consistent over that stretch, eclipsing 32 DK points in all but two games. He played well against Toronto a few games ago, scoring 18 points with seven boards, three dimes, and a steal. The Raptors rank 15th in defense efficiency over their last 10 games, so they are a middling defense. Edwards should once again play big minutes in this contest, in what should be a favorable game environment. He is SG/SF eligible on DK, which gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to roster construction.
Seth Curry (DK $4800/ FD $4000) – Curry had himself a game on Wednesday night, scoring 25 real points with five dimes, two boards, and two steals in 37 minutes of play. Simmons is expected to return today, which downgrades Curry, but he is still a viable option this evening, especially on FD where he is incredibly cheap. This should be a great game environment with two teams that play up in pace, which should create plenty of touch opportunities for Curry in this contest. The Bulls are giving up a ton of three-pointers per game but do give up slightly over three per game to opposing shooting guards. Curry does not provide us with as steady of a floor as we would like for cash but should be able to return value this evening at his price tag, especially on FD where he is close to min price.
Pascal Siakam (DK $7700/ FD $8700) – Fortunately for those who play on FD, Siakam is SF eligible, as this position is not all that great tonight. Siakam is coming off a nice performance against the Bucks and has now strung together three consecutive solid outings. With possibly no Lowry tonight, Siakam sees a nice boost, as he sees a 2.5 percent increase in assist rate and a one percent increase in rebounding rate. The matchup is a great one against a Timberwolves team that doesn’t play good defense as I have already pointed out. Minnesota gives up the sixth most rebounds and third most blocks per game, both of which benefit Siakam who generates some of his fantasy production from these categories. In addition, the Timberwolves are awful in the paint, allowing the third most points in the paint per game. This bodes well for Siakam as 52.8 percent of his scoring comes from inside the paint. He is in a great position for yet another good performance.
Khris Middleton (DK $7600/ FD $7300) – Middleton is very affordable on both sites tonight. I get that his production has been off lately, but for most of the season, Middleton has been consistent. Tonight, he faces off against a Thunder defense that has been generous to the small forward position, giving up the seventh most fantasy points per game to the position. He scored 23 real points the last time he faced off against OKC, though did not contribute much to peripheral stats. It’s only a matter of time before Middleton snaps out of this funk he is in, and what better time than tonight? The one concern I have here is the blowout risk involved with this contest, but the last time these two teams faced off, OKC came out victorious, so they are capable of keeping it close.
Garrett Temple (DK $4000/ FD $4500) – Recommending Temple in cash is not something I feel overly excited about, but this is what the slate is giving us at the small forward position, at least early in the day. As I said before, this is not a great position tonight. Temple has started in each of the last three games and has played no less than 30 minutes in any of those contests. In fact, he has now played at least 30 minutes in four straight games, averaging 34.5 minutes, 11.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, one steal, and 0.8 blocks per game during that stretch, eclipsing 20 DK points in all but one of those contests. In five starts this season, Temple has averaged 34.2 minutes per game and has topped 20 DK points in all but one of those contests. Tonight’s matchup is far from great, but this game will be up-tempo and the 76ers give up the 10th most three-pointers per game over the last 10 games, which bodes well for Temple who generates 52.2 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. The floor can be volatile for Temple, but in this specific situation and given the projected minutes, he can be considered a viable option this evening.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (DK $10800/ FD $11300) – You know the drill with Giannis, if he plays his regular allotment of minutes, he will produce quality numbers. Last night, he turned in a near triple-double in 37 minutes of play against the Raptors. Tonight, he is once again in a good position for a great game against OKC, a team he absolutely dominated against just a few games ago. The Thunder are awful inside the paint, allowing the fourth most points in the paint per game. This is something that Giannis will take full advantage of being that he generates 59.9 percent of his points from inside the paint. In the last meeting against OKC, he scored 24 points with 17 rebounds, 10 assists, three blocks, and three steals. That game stayed competitive throughout and the Thunder ended up winning it. Tonight, the Bucks are the biggest favorites on the board at -11 points. That is concerning to me because I am not quite sure that OKC can keep it close this time around. However, if this game ends up being competitive, Giannis would arguably be the best play on the entire slate.
Jayson Tatum (DK $8800/ FD $9400) – Brown news is very important tonight, but whether he plays or not, Tatum can be considered. Tatum continues to play good basketball and faces a Hawks team that he absolutely dominated against just a few nights ago. Atlanta had no answer for Tatum, who scored 35 points with six boards, six dimes, and two steals against them on Wednesday. He has now scored at least 45 DK points in each of his last three meetings against this team. The Hawks are giving up the eighth most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Tatum who generates 36 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. They also give up the ninth most fantasy points per game to the position. Look for Tatum to find success once again against this Hawks defense that has had no answer for him in their recent matchups.
Zion Williamson (DK $8400/ FD $8700) – We are finally seeing more of the upside that Williamson has to offer to go along with his incredible floor. He has now scored at least 48 DK points in three of his last four games and 50+ DK points in back-to-back contests. Tonight, he draws a tougher matchup than the last time out, but it is still one that can have success in. He has faced the Suns twice this season and has averaged 1.2 fantasy points per minute against them. Both of their meetings ended up in blowouts this season, with a split in outcome, which has led to Williamson averaging just 30 minutes per game against Phoenix. That said, in the one game that he did play 32 minutes against the Suns, he scored 28 points with seven boards and six assists. I don’t expect the Suns to be able to contain Williamson who is heating up right now and if this game stays close, which Vegas expects it will, Williamson should have no trouble returning value. For the season, he has exceeded expectations in 71 percent of his games.
Daniel Theis (DK $4500/ FD $4900) – Theis is not on the injury report for the Celtics and will likely step right back into the starting lineup, resuming his role. Theis who generates 51 percent of his points from inside the paint, is in a good position tonight, against a Hawks team that allows the eighth most points in the paint per game. Prior to the finger injury, Theis was playing solid basketball and solidified minutes for Boston. He comes in at a very low price tonight and should be able to easily pay off this price tag.
Nikola Jokic (DK $11000/ FD $10600) – Jokic continues to play at an MVP level, posting career highs in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, and steals through 28 games. He has now triple-doubled in six games this season and has come shy of one many other times. Tonight, he faces a Cavaliers team that has given up the third most points in the paint per game over the last 10 games, which bodes extremely well for Jokic who generates 52.2 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Cleveland also surrenders the 11th most assists, the most blocks, and fourth most steals per game to opposing teams, putting Jokic in a terrific spot to fill up the stat sheet this evening. Jokic played just 30 minutes against the Cavs in their last meeting due to a blowout and in that game, he finished with 12 points, six boards, 12 assists, and two steals. Denver is favored by 8.5 points which can be a cause for concern for some, but even if this game is a blowout out, Jokic should be able to put on a clinic while he is on the court.
Nikola Vucevic (DK $9900/ FD $9700) – Vucevic is expensive tonight and you can certainly make the case for finding the extra salary to pay up for Jokic. However, if you are unable to, Vucevic is in a great spot tonight. The Warriors are awful at rebounding, giving up the second most rebounds per game on the season. They have also struggled against opposing big men, allowing the ninth most real points, sixth most rebounds, and 10th most fantasy points per game to the position. In their last meeting, Vucevic turned in a dominant performance, scoring 25 points with 13 boards and five assists. He managed to post these numbers despite shooting just 35 percent in that contest. Vuc does not shoot that bad on most nights, so I expect a better performance in that department, while still being dominant on the glass. I would prefer if he was closer to $9K instead of his current price tag but would not fault anyone who considers him in this spot.
Willy Hernangomez (DK $3900/ FD $4400) – Hernangomez could slide into the starting lineup tonight with Adams listed as doubtful. If that ends up being the case, Hernangomez would become arguably the best point per dollar play on the slate. He has now played at least 19 minutes in three of the last four games and that has turned into 25+ DK points in each of those contests. Hernangomez averages over a fantasy point per minute and should play 26-29 minutes if Adams sits. That puts him in a fantastic position to pay off his cheap price tag. Even in a matchup that is not all that great, Hernangomez can be considered a strong play.
DraftKings: Pascal Siakam, Seth Curry, Joel Embiid, Willy Hernangomez
FanDuel: Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Seth Curry, Willy Hernangomez
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**