***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:09PM***
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Monday!
We have a star-studded eight-game slate this evening. Despite only eight games on the board, there are plenty of pay up options in great spots to consider. There has also been a ton of news pop up today, which gives us a lot of information at hand. However, there is still plenty of news pending that we must keep tabs on.
What we know is that Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Eric Gordon, Jae Crowder, and Devonte’ Graham have already been ruled out for tonight. As far as questionable players are concerned, here is the list of some of the more notable players considered questionable for tonight: Chris Paul, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Alex Caruso, Eric Paschall, and Jamaal Murray. The Thunder and Grizzlies will once again be shorthanded this evening as they continue to deal with injuries/health protocols.
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
- Bulls 120.75
- Bucks 118.5
- Mavericks 118
- Spurs 117
- Wizards 116.75
- Lakers -10.5
- Mavericks -10
- Suns -6.5
- Bucks -4
- Bulls -3.5
Position By Position
Luka Doncic (DK $11000/ FD $11400) – Doncic draws a fantastic matchup against the Timberwolves who rank 20th in defense efficiency and a team that plays up in pace. Minnesota is a bad defensive team and that includes struggles against the point guard position. This defense is giving up the seventh most real points, 11th most rebounds, second most three-pointers, 11th most steals, and eighth most fantasy points per game. Doncic is coming off an incredible performance, scoring a season high 42 real points, and is in a great position for another strong outing. The one and only concern here is that Dallas is favored by 9.5 points, which insinuates a potentially lopsided game. That being said, if the Mavs do indeed blowout the Timberwolves, chances are Luka will have a lot to do with it.
Stephen Curry (DK $10300/ FD $10100) – If you don’t want to take your chances with Luka at his price tag, Curry is someone I really like this evening. In fact, I lean more towards rostering Curry than I do Luka this tonight. The matchup against the Spurs is a good one and one that Curry has had success in. Earlier this season, Curry went off for 26 points with 11 rebounds, seven assists, and a steal in 31 minutes. In his last 16 meetings against the Spurs, Curry has averaged 45.6 DK points per game against them, scoring over 40 DK points in all but four games, which includes a game he played just two minutes in. San Antonio is allowing the fourth most real points, fifth most three-pointers, and seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. Aside from allowing the fifth most three-pointers per game to point guards, the Spurs also yield the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which bodes well for Curry who generates 49.2 percent of his points from beyond the arc. This should be a great game environment and a competitive game, making this a favorable situation for Curry.
Coby White (DK $6400/ FD $5600) – White’s price is back to a place where we can start considering him again, after it went up above $7K on DK in January. His production has been meh and he is not shooting the ball great, though this is a great matchup against a Wizards team that not only ranks 29th in defensive efficiency but also plays at the fastest pace in the NBA. Washington is also giving up the second most real points, sixth most rebounds, ninth most assists, and second most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. White has played against Washington twice this season and is averaging 17 points with eight assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 38.3 minutes against them, scoring over 32 DK points in each of those contests. Now that his price is back to a reasonable point, we can consider White in cash, especially in a matchup as favorable as the one at hand. He is PG/SG eligible on DK which allows for some flexibility with roster construction as well.
Terry Rozier (DK $6300/ FD $6100) – Rozier scored 26 points on Sunday, which marks the third highest amount of the season. He took full advantage of Graham being out, and once again Graham will sit this game out. This means that we can go right back to the well here with Rozier. The matchup tonight is not as appealing as it was yesterday, but this will be a paced-up spot for the Hornets who face off against Houston that plays at a top five pace. Rozier has been playing well as of late, scoring over 30 DK points in five of his last six games. He makes for a viable option this evening at a reasonable price and he is PG/SG eligible on DK, giving you some additional flexibility with your build.
Monte Morris (DK $5100/ FD $4200) – Murray is questionable for tonight’s contest due to a knee injury and could miss his second consecutive game. If that ends up being the case, Morris will be in line for another start. He started in Saturday’s game against the Kings and played 35 minutes, scoring 11 points with nine assists and five rebounds. Morris has started just two games this season but has played well in both of those starts. DK adjusted his price above $5K, but FD did not adjust Morris’ price, and he remains just too cheap on there. He is viable on both sites so long as Murray is out and Morris starts, but is a much stronger play on FD where he is underpriced.
Derrick White (DK $5100/ FD $5500) – White got the start on Saturday and played 29 minutes, scoring 14 points with five dimes, two assists, and two blocks. He should get another start with Walker out this evening and finds himself in a nice spot against a Warriors team that plays up in pace. White is close to a fantasy point per minute player and should play 27-29 minutes tonight with upside for more. The Warriors are yielding the eighth most fantasy points per game to the position, making this a nice matchup for White. So long as he is in the starting lineup, he is firmly in play. He has been very solid since returning from his toe injury, scoring 27 or more DK points in all but one game,.
Ish Smith (DK $5000/ FD $4800) – With Westbrook out, we could see Smith in the starting lineup today and if that ends up being the case, he will make for a strong value option tonight. The Wizards take on the Bulls who are giving up the fifth most real points, the third most assists, and the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. They also rank 21st in defense efficiency. Smith has played no less than 24 minutes in all but one of his last seven games and could potentially play 26-29 minutes in tonight’s contest. He is averaging 0.9 fantasy points per minute and should be able to pay off his salary tonight between his expanded role and the matchup at hand. I prefer him if he is starting, but even off the bench, Smith will likely see minutes in the mid to high 20’s.
Bradley Beal (DK $9000/ FD $10800) – I am not playing close to $11K on FD for Beal, but on DK where he is the cheapest that he has been since January 6th, he is much more appealing. Not only is the price good, but so is the matchup here, against a Bulls team that does not play good defense. Beal has had two subpar games (by his standards) in each of his last two contests but is in a great position for a huge performance. He has scored over 40 DK points in each of his two meetings against the Bulls this season and has scored no less than 40 DK points in nine of his last 13 meetings against Chicago. This contest has the highest implied total on the slate and just a three-point spread, making this a potential stellar game environment for Beal. Westbrook is not playing tonight, which gives Beal a major boost in usage.
Zach LaVine (DK $8900/ FD $8800) – If you are paying up at SG on DK, you could elect to find the extra $100 and roster Beal. However, on FD where LaVine is $2K cheaper, he makes for an incredibly strong pay up option at the position. LaVine continues to play extremely good basketball and has posted some stellar numbers in recent games, including his last performance where he scored 39 real points with seven boards and four dimes, which was good for over 50 fantasy points on both sites. Tonight, he draws a fantastic matchup against a Wizards team that he has averaged 22.5 points with 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds, two steals, and 0.5 blocks against in two meetings this season. Washington is yielding the highest three-point field goal percentage, along with the seventh most three-pointers per game, which bodes well for LaVine who generates 36.8 percent of his points from beyond the arc. He should continue to play well this evening, in what truly sets up to be a smash spot for LaVine.
Victor Oladipo (DK $8100/ FD $7900) – Both Wall and Gordon will sit out tonight for the Rockets, giving Oladipo a nice boost. Oladipo will not only get more shot opportunities this evening but will also see additional ball handling responsibilities. The Rockets faces off against the Hornets who rank 17th in defense efficiency. Charlotte is giving up the third most three-pointers per game, which bodes well for Oladipo who generates 37.2 percent of his points from beyond the arc. Considering the matchup and the expanded role he will have tonight, Oladipo makes for a solid play on tonight’s slate, especially for those taking a balanced approach with roster construction.
Norman Powell (DK $6500/ FD $6500) – Powell has started in each of the seven games he has played and has averaged 35.3 minutes, 22 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.1 blocks per game during that stretch. He has scored over 30 DK and FD points in all but one of those seven starts, showing consistency. Tonight, he faces off against a Memphis team that plays good defense, but a team that has struggled defending the position. They are allowing the eighth most real points, second most assists, most blocks, and most fantasy points per game to the position. The Grizzlies are also giving up the seventh highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which bodes well for Powell who generates 44.3 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Memphis also surrendered the ninth most steals per game and Powell is averaging nearly two steals per game in his last seven contests. There are numerous ways that he will be able to rack up the fantasy stats and he comes in at a reasonable price on both sites.
Josh Richardson (DK $5000/ FD $4700) – Richardson is more volatile than I normally would want for cash games, but he is playing big minutes, is affordable, and draws an incredibly strong matchup this evening. Richardson has also been playing a tad better in recent games, scoring 14 or more real points in three of his last four games, while topping 23 DK points in three of those contests as well. The Timberwolves are giving up the 11th most fantasy points per game to the position, so this is an exploitable matchup for Richardson. He is not the safest option at hand by any means, but at his price tag, especially on FD, he does not need to do all that much to reach value.
LeBron James (DK $10500/ FD $10800) – Anthony Davis will not play this evening, which sets James up nicely as he sees a nice 2.3 percent usage bump with Davis off the court. In addition, sees a 5.4 percent increase in assist percentage with AD off the court. James has been playing some good ball in recent games, recording a triple-double a few nights ago. He is always a three to triple-double whenever he is on the court and is a stat stuffing machine. Although we have not seen many ceiling games from James this season, his floor remains one of the more stable ones in basketball. The matchup against the Thunder is one that James should exploit as they allow the fourth most points in the paint, which is where James generates 43.2 percent of his scoring from. OKC will not have an answer for James this evening, making him an incredibly strong play in all formats.
Gordon Hayward (DK $7900/ FD $7600) – Hayward is off to a good season in his first year with the Hornets, averaging a career best 23.1 points while shooting 49.9 percent from the court, which is 0.1 percent shy of his career best. He is also averaging 2.2 three-pointers per game, which is also a career high. Hayward has been rock solid from a DFS perspective as well, exceeding expectations in over 50 percent of his games. Hayward has scored fewer than 35 DK points in just seven of his 23 games this season, topping 40 DK points in 12 of his contests. The matchup against Houston tonight is not the best, but the game environment should be a good one being that Houston plays up in pace and this should create additional touch opportunities for Hayward.
Will Barton (DK $5500/ FD $4800) – Barton has not been shooting the ball well in recent games, shooting below 40 percent in each of his last two games. That being said, he continues to play huge minutes, playing 36 or more minutes in each of his last three contests and no less than 30 minutes in four straight. Barton should once again see heavy minutes against the Bucks tonight and although the matchup is far from ideal, this is a paced-up spot for Denver. In addition, Milwaukee is yielding the fourth most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, as well as the seventh highest three-point field goal percentage, which bodes well for Barton who generates 41.2 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. He not the most consistent player but is way too cheap on FD this evening when taking his role into account. Although I prefer to roster him on FD, he is viable on both sites.
Denzel Valentine (DK $4800/ FD $4400) – Valentine got the start on Saturday with Markkanen out and could once again draw another start tonight with Markkanen out once again. In his last game, Valentine played 37 minutes and scored 20 real points with four assists, three rebounds, and a steal. The matchup at hand is a good one against a Wizards team that plays extremely fast and is not good defensively. Valentine has now scored 13 or more real points in three straight games and has attempted 10 or more shots in each of those contests. With some of the injuries that Chicago is dealing with, Valentine could continue to see additional opportunities. He remains extremely cheap on both sites and should start and play upwards of 30 minutes in what is arguably the best game environment on the slate. Please note that he is listed as a SG on DK.
Juan Toscano-Anderson (DK $4500/ FD $5300) – Toscano-Anderson has started in each of the last two games for the Warriors due to injuries to their frontcourt. This has led to big minutes for him, as he has now played 34 minutes in each of those games. He should once again draw another start and play big minutes this evening against the Spurs. The Spurs are giving up the sixth most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Toscano-Anderson who generates 48.1 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, San Antonio yields the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage and Toscano-Anderson generates 44.4 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Being that he remains affordable on both sites despite his recent role increase, you can consider him a solid point per dollar play in this favorable matchup. He is SF/PF eligible on DK, giving up some nice flexibility with roster construction.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (DK $10900/ FD $11200) – The only concern we ever have when rostering Giannis is whether the game can stay competitive or not. Whenever he has played more than 30 minutes, he has scored over 50 DK points in all but two games (15-game sample). The good news is that the game between the Bucks and Nuggets tonight is expected to be close with just a four-point spread. It also has the second highest over/under on the slate, making this a very appealing game environment. Denver is 24th in defense efficiency, so they are not as good defensively as they have been in years past. They are also giving up the fifth highest field goal percentage to opposing teams. Look for Giannis to play his regular allotment of minutes this evening and be in a great position for a strong outing. He is one of the top pay up players on the slate, offering a great combination of a safe floor to go along with a massive ceiling.
Kyle Kuzma (DK $5200/ FD $4900) – With AD out tonight, Kuzma could step into the starting lineup against the Thunder. In five starts this season, Kuzma is averaging 29.8 minutes, 14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 0.8 assists per game, scoring over 20 DK points in all but one of those starts. With AD off the court, Kuzma gets a 1.9 percent usage bump, sees a 1.2 percent increase in rebounding percentage, and a 1.6 percent increase in assists percentage. OKC has been very generous to opposing power forwards this season, allowing the fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. The Thunder are also giving up the eighth most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, which bodes well for Kuzma who generates 52.1 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Keep an eye at the starting lineup for the Lakers, but if Kuzma starts, he makes for a strong value option at a PF position that is not incredibly strong this evening, especially on FD.
Xavier Tillman (DK $4900/ FD $5100) – Tillman has posted some subpar performances in recent games, scoring below 10 real points in each of his last two games. With that said, he has had some tough matchups in recent games and fouled out of the last contest against the Pelicans. Tonight’s matchup is not all that great either, but Tillman is in a position to play heavy minutes as the Grizzlies frontcourt remains thin due to injuries. Toronto is giving up over 50 fantasy points per game to the position, so it’s not like this is an incredibly difficult matchup for him. Taking his price into account, along with the position, which is thin this evening, Tillman is someone you can consider in cash games this tonight.
Maxi Kleber (DK $4500/ FD $4200) – I’m not overly excited about Kleber this evening, but as I have alluded to, the PF position is thin on FD tonight. Kleber has played 30+ minutes in two of his last three games and has started in each of his last seven games. So long as he remains in the starting lineup tonight, which is expected, he can be considered a viable value option. The matchup does not get much better than this tonight against a Timberwolves team that gives up the third most points in the paint and surrenders the fifth most rebounds. Kleber offers an unstable floor, but he also comes at a very low price and is in an incredible matchup against a beat-up frontcourt. He is coming off a nice performance and perhaps he will pick up where he left off.
Andre Drummond (DK $8200/ FD $7200) – Drummond is too cheap on both sites, especially on FD. The matchup against the Suns is not great, but he is capable of posting big numbers against any team. Drummond offers a solidified floor along with immense upside and is all but a lock to double-double. Whenever he comes in at a price tag cheaper than $9K I will have interest and this evening with the Cavs missing multiple front court players, Drummond should play hefty minutes, making him even more appealing at his salary. If you go with a balanced build tonight, he will fit in with your roster construction.
DeMarcus Cousins (DK $7100/ FD $6000) – Once again, here is another center that is just too cheap on FD and remains affordable on DK. Cousins is now the starting center for Houston with Wood out and should play heavy minutes. He draws a nice matchup here against a Hornets team that gives up the most rebounds per game to opposing centers and a team that is dealing with injuries to their frontcourt. I fully expect Boogie to exploit that weakness in this contest and have himself a field day inside the paint. He averages well over a fantasy point per minute and should play 30+ minutes in this contest, putting him in a great spot to exceed expectations. Let’s take advantage of this price tag on Cousins while it lasts because it is only a matter of time before he jumps into the $8K range in pricing. Houston will also be without Wall and Gordon, so he should see a usage bump because of that.
DraftKings: Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMarcus Cousins, Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma (if he starts)
FanDuel: DeMarcus Cousins, Zach LaVine, Denzel Valentine, Kyle Kuzma (if he starts)
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**