***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:58PM (see notes at the bottom of the article)***
LaMarcus Aldridge will not have minutes restrictions, but he is not in the starting lineup. Bumping him down a bit.
Jerami Grant has been ruled out. Bump up Saben Lee (see below) and add Josh Jackson and Saddiq Bey into your cash game player pool.
Goran Dragic will play tonight, but Tyler Herro has been ruled out. Kendrick Nunn is viable, but not someone I am prioritizing.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Wednesday!
We have a nine-game slate this evening, one that is shaping up to be an interesting one. For starters, the Spurs have just 10 players available tonight, which means they will likely run a concentrated rotation. Here are the players available for the Spurs tonight: Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, Lonnie Walker, Jakob Poeltl, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tre Jones, Keita Bates-Diop, Trey Lyles, Luka Samanic, and Drew Eubanks. This opens up a ton of value from San Antonio and now the question becomes, how many Spurs is too many Spurs in one lineup? I would try to cap it off at three, but normally prefer just two players from one team. Keep an eye on their starting lineup before finalizing your DFS lineups.
As far as news that has come out throughout the day, Kemba Walker has been ruled out for tonight, Cam Reddish is listed as doubtful, Gordon Hayward is considered probable, Taurean Prince is listed as probable, and Kyle Lowry is also considered probable. There is still plenty of news pending as we head into lock with multiple players listed as questionable. Here are some of the more notable players in which we are still awaiting news on: John Collins, Victor Oladipo, Eric Gordon, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro are among all of those listed as questionable.
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
- Suns 117
- Pacers 116.75
- Pelicans 116
- Bulls 116
- Warriors 114.75
- Suns -9.5
- Pelicans -9.5
- Jazz -9
- Bulls -4
- Rockets -4
Position By Position
Stephen Curry (DK $10000/ FD $10000) – Curry returned after a one game absence and continues where he left off, dropping 37 real points with six boards and six dimes. He is playing good basketball and that should continue tonight against a Pacers team that is middling defensively, ranking 16th in efficiency over their last 10 games. Indiana is also allowing the eighth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which bodes well for Curry who generates 50.7 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Curry did not shoot the ball well against the Pacers in their last meeting, but that was during a stretch where he was struggling with his shot and that is not the case now, as he is shooting 51.1 percent over his last 10 games. Look for him to light up the Pacers in what should be a great game environment.
Malcolm Brogdon (DK $8200/ FD $8200) – Running it back with Brogdon is something you can definitely consider here if you play Curry. After a few subpar performances, Brogdon has turned things around in recent games, with three consecutive 40+ DK performances, including two 50+ DK point games in that span. The Warriors play good defense, but they also play fast which creates additional touch opportunities here. Golden State does allow the 11th most three-pointers and yields the 11th highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which is good for Brogdon who generates 36.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Like Curry, Brogdon struggled with his shot the first time these two teams faced off earlier in the season, shooting just 28 percent. However, Brogdon is a 44 percent shooter on the season, so we should expect a better shooting performance from him this evening.
Dejounte Murray (DK $7400/ FD $7500) – The Spurs will be extremely shorthanded tonight, so we can expect Murray to play a ton of minutes and see a major usage bump here. Murray’s production has been all over the place in his most recent games but considering that the Spurs will be without a ton of players tonight, it’s hard to envision him struggling in this contest. OKC gives up the 11th most assists, the most rebounds, and the eighth most steals per game to opposing teams, which is good news for Murray who is capable of stuffing the stat sheet. In addition, the Thunder give up the fourth most points in the paint, which is where Murray generates 45 percent of his scoring from. The ceiling his high for Murray and although his floor has not been great in recent games, that should not be an issue tonight considering the circumstances for San Antonio. Murray scored 16 points with seven dimes and five boards the last time these two teams faced off, and most of the players who are sitting tonight played in that game.
Patty Mills (DK $4300/ FD $3800) – Like Murray, Mills should see an expanded role tonight for the Spurs and even if he comes off the bench, he should play solidified minutes. Mills is averaging 25.3 minutes per game on the season and we can pencil him in for 30+ minutes with upside for more. Considering he is averaging 0.87 fantasy points per minute, he should be able to pay off his affordable salary on both sites. Mills scored 27 DK points in 25 minutes against this Thunder team in their last meeting, so this is a matchup he fared well in before. He is PG/SG eligible on DK, giving you plenty of flexibility with roster construction.
Saben Lee (DK $3800/ FD $5000) – Lee has played no less than 29 minutes off the bench in each of the last two games with Wright out and has played better than starter Dennis Smith in each of those contests. Lee should once again see solidified minutes in tonight’s contest, which is a favorable one. The Pelicans rank 28th in defense efficiency and are giving up the third most fantasy points per game to the position. They also give up the 11th most real points, most assists, and fourth most three-pointers to the position. Lee has been impressive the last two games and remains very affordable, especially on DK where he remains below $4K, which is where I prefer him this evening.
Zach LaVine (DK $9600/ FD $9800) – LaVine is someone I frequently write about in my cash game breakdown and it’s because he is extremely consistent. For the season, he has exceeded expectations in 67 percent of his games and over the last 10 games, he has done so in 90 percent of his contests. In fact, it was last game that he had a subpar performance and that was only because of a blowout, which led to LaVine playing just five minutes in the fourth quarter. Tonight’s game is expected to be more competitive with just a four-point spread. It’s a matchup against a Timberwolves team that gives up the third most points in the paint, which is where LaVine generates 37.1 percent of his scoring from. In addition, Minnesota allows the eighth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which is where LaVine also generates 37.1 percent of his scoring from. Both of these teams play up in pace, so the game environment should be a favorable one for LaVine. He has been rock solid and despite the hefty price tag, he is worth considering in all formats.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (DK $8500/ FD $7500) – SGA faces off against a shorthanded Spurs team tonight, a matchup he should be able to exploit. He has turned in mixed results since returning from a four-game absence, but has been rock solid the last two games, scoring at least 27 real points in each of those contests. He should be able to score at-will tonight against San Antonio who allows the fourth most points in the paint per game, which is where SGA does 47.4 of his scoring from. He should also be able to rack up the steals and assists in this contest. San Antonio is giving up the 12th most steals and 13th most assists per game over their last 10 games. SGA scored 20 real points with nine rebounds and two assists against the Spurs in their last meeting earlier this season, which is not great, but this is a team that will be without a lot of players tonight, making it a much better situation.
Lonnie Walker (DK $3700/ FD $3500) – I am expecting for Walker to be in the starting lineup tonight and for him to play solidified minutes. That being the case, we have to consider him as a viable cheap option in cash games. He is not a high fantasy point per minute player, averaging 0.72 fantasy points per minute. However, he should play 35+ minutes tonight and gets a usage bump with all of the players who are out. Therefore, he is in a great position to return value and at this price tag, it’s tough not to consider him this evening. Not to mention, this is a position that OKC has struggled against this season, allowing the fourth most rebounds, 10th most assists, and eighth most fantasy points per game. He is SG/SF eligible on DK, giving up plenty of flexibility with roster construction.
LeBron James (DK $10900/ FD $10400) – You know the drill, with no AD, James becomes a strong play regardless of matchup. Tonight, he faces a stingy Jazz defense, but a team that he has a pretty solid track record against. In their last eight meetings, LeBron has averaged 54.1 DK points per game against Utah and sports a 50 percent consistency rating. We know that with AD off the court, James gets a 1.6 percent usage bump and a 3.3 percent increase in assist rate. He has now flirted with a triple-double multiple times in his last 10 games and has gotten there twice during that stretch. The floor is incredible and there is upside to be had. Utah quietly yields the 11th most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for LeBron who generates 46.5 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Don’t let a subpar matchup prevent you from rostering James.
Jimmy Butler (DK $9200/ FD $9200) – Consistency, consistency, consistency! Yes, that is what we get when we roster Butler, who has now exceeded expectations in 74 percent of his games this season. Butler is coming off a subpar performance, but that had more to do with the outcome of the game as the Heat blew out OKC and he did not see the court in the fourth quarter. However, since returning from a 10-game absence, Butler is averaging 34.8 minutes, 20.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game. During that 13-game stretch, Butler has scored at least 43 DK points in all but two games, while finishing with a triple-double three times. This is a matchup that Butler has done well in, averaging 46.8 DK points per game, and sporting a 70.6 percent consistency rating in his last 17 meetings against them. He is playing at an elite level and there is no reason why he slows down tonight. This is also a paced-up spot for Butler, which should create additional touch opportunities.
Jaylen Brown (DK $8400/ FD $8400) – Brown draws a nice matchup versus a Hawks team that ranks 27th in defense efficiency over their last seven games. This will be the third time these two teams face off this season and although he has not performed extremely well against them this season, it is still a favorable matchup for Brown. Atlanta gives up the ninth most points in the paint per game, which is where Brown generates 41.7 percent of his scoring from. The Hawks have also given up the second highest field goal percentage per game over their last five games, which should benefit Brown who struggled with his shot against the Hawks in their two meetings this season, shooting 38 percent from the field in those contests. Brown is shooting 50.1 percent from the field for the season and is having a career year. Look for him to take advantage of this matchup at hand and pay off his reasonable price tag.
Garrett Temple (DK $4800/ FD $4600) – Temple has played in no less than 29 minutes in each of his last seven games, averaging 32.9 minutes per game during that stretch. He has now started in six straight games and should once again be in the starting lineup tonight. This is a good matchup for Temple against a Minnesota defense that gives up the fourth most real points and fifth most rebounds per game to the position. A team that ranks 22nd in defense efficiency for the season. Temple has done a solid job in the starting rotation, averaging 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 0.8 steals per game, while scoring no less than 20.8 DK points in all but one game. This should be an up-tempo contest with plenty of touch opportunities, which should benefit Temple here. Please note, Temple is listed as a SG on DK.
Jayson Tatum (DK $9200/ FD $9400) – Tatum will face off against a Hawks team that he has completely dominated against this season. In two meetings against Atlanta, Tatum has averaged 30 real points with seven boards, six dimes, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game, while scoring on less than 50.5 DK points in any of those contests. In fact, even going back to last season, this is a matchup he has taken advantage of. In his last five meetings against the Hawks, Tatum has averaged 46.1 DK points per game and sports an 80 percent consistency rating. Atlanta continues to struggle defensively and has had no answers for Tatum in recent history. There is no reason to think that changes tonight.
Zion Williamson (DK $8800/ FD $8500) – Williamson is starting to get up there in salary, but he is still a price point where we can consider him in cash. The floor has been solid all season long and he has now exceeded expectations in 70 percent of his contests this season. Tonight, he faces off against a Pistons team that he should absolutely dominate again. Detroit is giving up the 10th most points in the paint per game, which is where Williamson generates 60.7 percent of his scoring from. In addition, the Pistons give up the third highest field goal percentage, 10th most rebounds, and third most blocks per game to opposing teams, all of which bode well for Williamson. He scored 26 real points with eight boards, two blocks, and three dimes in his last meeting against the Pistons, and another performance like that one is certainly in the realm of possibilities.
LaMarcus Aldridge (DK $6000/ FD $5600) – Aldridge has been cleared to play tonight and so far there are no reports on whether he will have minutes restrictions or not, considering he has missed the last six games due to a hip injury. If I had to guess, I’d say absolutely not, being that the Spurs have just 10 players available tonight. Assuming that ends up being the case, we have to consider Aldridge a strong point per dollar play this evening. The matchup against the Thunder is one that favors him as they are giving up the 13th most real points, third most rebounds, ninth most assists, most steals, eighth most blocks, and second most fantasy points per game to the position. It’s to no surprise that he finished with a strong stat line in their first meeting this season, scoring 13 points with 10 boards, six dimes, two blocks, and a steal in 32 minutes. Aldridge is in line to be one of the Spurs primary scorers tonight in a matchup that he should take full advantage of. He comes in at a reasonable price on both sites, making him a strong option.
Daniel Theis (DK $5100/ FD $4900) – Theis had an absolute miserable game last night but should be able to bounce back nicely here tonight. The Hawks are giving up the ninth most points in the paint per game, which is where Theis generates 53 percent of his scoring from. Atlanta also gives up the third most blocks per game to opposing teams and Theis is averaging 1.2 blocks per game, finishing with at least two blocked shots in three straight games. He turned in a solid performance against the Hawks in their last meeting, scoring 14 points with eight boards, four assists, and three blocks. Another solid performance is certainly possible here for Theis, who outside of last game, had turned in decent outings in six of his previous seven games.
Jarrett Allen (DK $7400/ FD $7600) – Allen has posted a double-double in five consecutive games and in six of his last seven contests. Tonight, he faces an undersized Houston team which he should completely dominate against. We saw Wendell Carter have one of his better performances of the season against this Houston team just a few nights ago. Since Drummond has been out, Allen has averaged 17.4 points with 13 rebounds, two blocks, 2.4 assists, and 0.6 steals per game (five-game sample). He has now topped 40 DK points in each of his last three games and should be in for a big night. Houston is giving up the fourth most rebounds and third most blocks per game to opposing teams, two categories that Allen excels in. In addition, they are allowing the eighth most points in the paint per game over their last three games, which bodes well for Allen who generates 68.3 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Allen averages a healthy 1.2 fantasy point per minute and should play 30+ minutes in this contest, putting him in a great spot to return value.
Myles Turner (DK $6100/ FD $6700) – Turner does not offer the most stable floor, but it’s tough no to consider him tonight in a great matchup against a Warriors team that struggles against opposing bigs. Golden State allows the 10th most real points, sixth most rebounds, and 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing centers. The Warriors are also giving up the most rebounds and nearly five blocks per game to opposing teams, both of which benefit Turner who generates a lot of his fantasy production from those categories. Turner had a huge game against this Warriors team earlier in the year, scoring 22 points with 12 rebounds and six blocks. I am not expecting a repeat performance by any means, but this is certainly a matchup that Turner should find success in. Despite the volatile floor, I don’t mind considering Turner in cash tonight because of this specific matchup.
Wendell Carter (DK $5800/ FD $5400) – Carter had a great performance against Houston and is once again in a solid spot against a Timberwolves team that has struggled against opposing bigs. Minnesota is allowing the most real points, eighth most rebounds, third most assists, third most blocks, and most fantasy points per game to opposing centers. Granted, Towns has missed a lot of the season, but this is still a team that has given up the ninth most points in the paint, the ninth highest field goal percentage, and the seventh most rebounds per game in their last 10 contests. The fact that they struggle inside the paint is great news for Carter who generates 62.1 percent of his scoring from inside the paint.
Please note: Jarrett Allen remains a strong play, but based on roster construction for me this evening I went in a different direction at center. If you can fit him in, don’t hesitate to do so.
DraftKings: Dejounte Murray, LeBron James, Lonnie Walker, Saben Lee
FanDuel: Dejounte Murray, LeBron James, Lonnie Walker, Saben Lee
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**