***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 7:36 PM***
Ben Simmons has been ruled out. Bump Harris and Milton. Both become very strong options. Add Matisse Thybulle into your player pool now that he is in the starting lineup.
Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills are out tonight, which opens up some backcourt opportunities. Derrick White on FD is interesting and can be rostered, but not a must play by any means.
Add Bismack Biyombo in your player pool.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Saturday! We have a small four-game slate this evening.
Golden State continues to be shorthanded with their frontcourt and now Kevin Looney will sit tonight’s game out. Stephen Curry also remains doubtful for tonight’s game, after missing yesterday’s contest with a tailbone injury. As far as pending news is concerned, there is not much that needs to be monitored. Serge Ibaka, who has missed the last two games, is listed as questionable. He is the one player we need to keep tabs on, as his absence does create some value opportunity for us. Outside of that, it seems like a straightforward slate unless something unexpected pops up throughout the day which is possible.
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
- Clippers 120.5
- Bucks 120.25
- 76ers 118.25
- Kings 112.25
- Grizzlies 112.25
- Bucks -10
- Clippers -9.5
- 76ers -6
- Grizzlies -6
Position By Position
De’Aaron Fox (DK $9500/ FD $9200) – Fox continues to play great basketball, scoring 20 or more real points in 11 consecutive games. During that stretch, he has averaged 27.8 points, 8.5 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game, while scoring fewer than 42 DK points just once in that span. This is no slam dunk matchup, as Philly plays solid defense and have been tough against point guards. However, this game will be up-tempo with two teams that play at a top 10 pace, which bodes well for Fox. In addition, the 76ers become more vulnerable in the paint with Embiid off the court. For the season they allow the 12th fewest points in the paint per game, though over their last three games, they are giving up the 11th most points in the paint per game. Fox generates 48.7 percent of his scoring from inside the paint, so he should exploit this. In fact, Fox turned in an incredible performance against this 76ers team back in February, scoring 34 real points with 10 dimes, six boards, and a steal in 39 minutes, which was good for 60 DK points. In that game, Embiid played, so Fox’s path to success is even better tonight.
Ben Simmons (DK $9100/ FD $8500) – Simmons draws an incredible matchup this evening against a Kings team that not only plays fast but ranks dead last in defense efficiency as well. They struggle in a big way against opposing point guards, allowing the fourth most real points, third most assists, seventh most three-pointers, second most blocks, and fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. Simmons sees a seven percent increase in assist rate and a 1.2 percent increase in rebounding rate with Curry and Embiid off the court, so he is in a good position to rack up peripherals in this contest. In addition, he should score at-will as the Kings have no rim protection, allowing the most points inside the paint per game. This bodes incredibly well for Simmons who generates 76.2 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. On DK, Simmons is SF eligible, giving you a lot of flexibility with roster construction.
Shake Milton (DK $5200/ FD $5500) – Both Embiid and Curry will be out for the 76ers tonight and when they are off the court, Milton sees the highest usage rate bump of 5.8 percent. Milton also gets a 3.9 percent boost in assist rate and a one percent increase in rebounding rate. The matchup is an incredible one, as the Kings are a terrible defensive unit and play at an incredibly fast pace. Milton who generates 43.1 percent of his scoring from inside the paint, should be able to score at-will against this Kings team that is giving up the most points in the paint per game. In addition, the Kings rank 25th in defense efficiency against the position in their last 10 games. Milton might come off the bench, but he should still play 25-27 minutes in this contest and he averages 0.92 fantasy points per minutes, so he would be a decent position to return value at his price tag.
Jordan Poole (DK $5100/ FD $4600) – I wrote up Poole yesterday and he ended up in my core four after the Warriors announced their starting lineup. It will be interesting to see what the starting lineup will look like for the Warriors today. Yesterday, Poole got the start at the point with Curry out, and he played 34 minutes. It was Poole’s first start of the season and he took full advantage of it. He finished with 25 points, two rebounds, two assists, and a steal, which was good for 34 DK points. It was the second straight game with 30+ DK points for Poole. He has now finished with 24 or more DK points in all but one of his last six games. He faces off against the same Grizzlies team he faced off against last night, a team that plays solid defense, but one that Poole was clearly able to produce against. Curry is expected to sit tonight out once again. If that ends up being the case and Poole is in the starting lineup, we can go back to the well here.
Paul George (DK $8300/ FD $7600) – George turned in a solid performance a few nights ago against the Mavs and finds himself in a great spot tonight for another big night. He faces off against a Hornets team that ranks 25th in defense efficiency. Charlotte gives up the second most three-pointers per game, which bodes incredibly well for George who generates 44.5 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Charlotte also plays at a top 12 pace, making this a paced-up spot for the Clippers. George has not been as consistent as we saw earlier in the season in recent games, but this is a great spot for him and one he should take full advantage. He is viable on both sites at this price, but his FD price remains too low.
Buddy Hield (DK $6600/ FD $6300) – Hield has been playing some solid basketball as of late, scoring 20 or more real points in six of his last seven games. During that stretch, he has averaged 37.4 minutes, 21.4 points, five rebounds, 4.6 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game, while scoring 30+ DK points in all but two of those contests. Hield can be volatile, but this is a great game environment, with two teams that play incredibly fast. Not to mention, it’s a four-game slate so we will have to embrace some volatility in cash tonight. The matchup itself is far from elite, but Hield did have a 40.5 DK point performance against this same Philly team just last month.
Andre Wiggins (DK $6300/ FD $5200) – Wiggins went absolute bonkers yesterday, in this exact same matchup. He will potentially be in the exact same scenario, as Curry remains unlikely to play this evening. Wiggins is not someone I ever typically roster in cash, being that he is somewhat one-dimensional, relying so much on his scoring, but this is a four-game slate and he now becomes the primary scorer for Golden State. Last night Wiggins attempted a season high 24 shots and sported an insanely high 37.4 percent usage rate. We can expect a similar role tonight from him so long as Curry is out, and his price remains reasonable, given the circumstances, making him a strong point per dollar play. He might not score 40 real points tonight again, but he should still play well enough to outperform his salary on both sites, especially on FD where he is just too cheap.
Furkan Korkmaz (DK $4600/ FD $3500) – Korkmaz should see an expanded role this evening with Curry out for Philly and could potentially be in the starting lineup. In three starts this season, Korkmaz has averaged 28.7 minutes, 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.7 steals per game, scoring 25+ DK points in two of those contests. The matchup tonight is a good one for him, as I have pointed out just how bad the Kings team is defensively. Korkmaz generates 56.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and the Kings give up the ninth most three-pointers per game, as well as the highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, making this a great spot for him. I would prefer if he was in the starting lineup tonight to roster him, but on FD where he is min price, he is fine whether he starts or not.
Kawhi Leonard (DK $9200/ FD $9300) – Leonard is in a great position for a huge game tonight against a Hornets team that ranks 28th in defense efficiency against opposing small forwards. Charlotte is giving up the fifth most real points, third most rebounds, fourth most three-pointers, 12th most steals, and 11th most blocks per game to the position. In addition, the Hornets are yielding the fifth most points in the paint per game over their last five games, which bodes well for Leonard who generates 39.2 percent of his points from inside the paint. He has now scored 40+ DK points in five of his last seven games, including three 50+ DK point performances. He should continue to play well in a soft matchup that he should completely dominate in.
Harrison Barnes (DK $6400/ FD $5900) – As you may have noticed by now, I absolutely love this game tonight, so rostering several players from this contest is something I intend on doing. Barnes has played well the last two games with Bagley off the court, scoring 37 or more DK points in each of those contests. He has been more active on the boards with at least eight rebounds in each of the last two games, including a season high 13 rebounds last night. Barnes sees a 1.2 percent usage bump and one percent increase in rebounding rate with Bagley off the court. Tonight’s matchup against the 76ers is far from great, but Barnes should be able to take advantage inside the paint with no Embiid. He is not my favorite Kings player tonight by any means, but he is certainly in play.
Danny Green (DK $4700/ FD $4600) – Green is one of the primary beneficiaries of when Embiid and Curry are off the court, as he sees a 2.7 percent usage bump and an increase of 7.8 percent in assist rate. Green can be volatile, but this truly sets up as a great matchup for him. The Kings give up the ninth most three-pointers per game, as well as the highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which bodes incredibly well for Green who generates 79.3 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. In addition, Sacramento allows the fourth most steals and third most blocks per game to the position, which is good news for Green who is a good defender. In fact, he has at least one block or one steal in each of his last 10 games, with a total of 11 blocks and 16 steals during that stretch. Green is affordable on both sites and makes for an appealing value option this evening.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (DK $11100/ FD $11400) – The player with the highest floor and highest ceiling on this slate is Antetokounmpo. In other words, he is the best player on tonight’s slate, not taking salary into account. The one concern here is whether or not the Spurs can keep this game competitive. This contest has the highest spread on the board at 9.5 points, though being that it is a four-game slate, we can’t be overly concerned about the blowout factor. So long as he plays his regular allotment of minutes tonight, Antetokounmpo should post up stellar numbers.
Tobias Harris (DK $8800/ FD $8300) – Harris has scored no less than 41 DK points in each of his last three games with Embiid out. We know that when Embiid is out, Harris is one of the primary beneficiaries, as he sees a five percent usage bump and an increase of 3.5 percent in assist rate. He draws a fantastic matchup against a Kings team that ranks 25th in defense efficiency against power forwards, as well as allowing the eighth most real points per game to the position. Sacramento gives up the most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Harris who generates 49.7 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Harris recorded a double-double, with 22 points and 10 boards the last time these two teams faced off and in that contest, Embiid was on the court. We can expect a much better performance this time out from Harris, in what is arguably the best game environment on the slate and a slam dunk matchup for him.
Draymond Green (DK $7400/ FD $6600) – I don’t think I’ll be paying for Green on DK this evening, but on FD his price is palatable. He is not going to score a ton of points, but like we saw last night, he can stuff the stat sheet with peripherals in a hurry. Green has double-digit assists and rebounds in three of his last four games, triple-doubling twice during that stretch. He can be extremely volatile but given some of the players that will be out for Golden State tonight, Green is in a good position to fill up the stat sheet once again this evening. He faces the same Grizzlies team he faced off against last night, one he scored 40.75 DK points against.
Marcus Morris (DK $4900/ FD $3700) – Morris has started in each of the last two games and has taken full advantage of that opportunity. He has played no less than 31 minutes in any of those starts and has averaged 12.5 points with 6.5 rebounds, three assists, and 1.5 steals, scoring at least 27 DK point in each of those contests. Morris has started just four games this season and has played no less than 26 minutes in any of those starts and has topped 27 DK points in all but one of his starts. Assuming he is in the starting lineup again tonight, he can be considered a strong point per dollar play. Not only will he get the minutes, and has been efficient as a starter, but this is also a good matchup against a Charlotte teams that ranks 29th in defense efficiency against the position.
Juan Toscano-Anderson (DK $3600/ FD $3500) – Toscano-Anderson could move into the starting lineup tonight now that Looney has been ruled out for this contest. If that ends up being the case, Toscano-Anderson is a viable option. In 13 starts this season, he has averaged 26.2 minutes, 7.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game. He is far from consistent even when he starts but has topped 17 DK points in all but four of his starts. The Warriors will be without three of their front court players tonight, so Toscano-Anderson and Green are likely going to play all of the minutes they can handle tonight.
Jonas Valanciunas (DK $7700/ FD $7300) – Like we saw last night, Valanciunas can rack up the fantasy points in a hurry. He played just 25 minutes against the Warriors but finished with 38.5 DK points. He draws the same matchup tonight and the Warriors are down another big man as Looney is out, making this an even better situation than it was last night. Golden State enters this game ranked 25th in defense efficiency against opposing centers and ranked 28th in their last 10 games. This unit is giving up the sixth most real points, fourth most rebounds, and fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. In their last five games, the Warriors have allowed the eighth most points in the paint per game, which bodes incredibly well for Valanciunas who generates 74.2 percent of his points from inside the paint. The Warriors allow the most rebounds per game as well, so he should have another excellent rebounding game. Last night he grabbed 16 boards in his 25 minutes on the court. This is an absolute smash spot for Jo-Val.
Dwight Howard (DK $6000/ FD $5000) – It has been Tony Bradley starting in place of the injured Embiid, but Bradley has yet played more than 21 minutes in any of those starts. If you want cheap center option, you can consider Bradley, though it is Howard who has played the majority of center minutes for the 76ers in the last three games. Howard has played at least 20 minutes in each of the last three contest and at least 28 minutes in the last two. The matchup against the Kings is one that favors Howard as Sacramento ranks dead last in defense efficiency against opposing centers. Sacramento allows the eighth most real points, third most rebounds, most assists, and third most fantasy points per game to the position. In addition, they allow the most points in the paint per game, which is where Howard generates 70.5 percent of his scoring from. Howard averages over a fantasy point per minute and should play 25-28 minutes this evening, in a phenomenal matchup.
Ivica Zubac (DK $5100/ FD $4500) – If Ibaka sits out once again tonight, Zubac becomes an interesting center option. He comes in at an affordable price and has started the last two games for the Clippers with Ibaka out. Zubac has played 35 minutes in each of his last two games and has averaged 14.5 points, nine rebounds, two steals, 1.5 assists, and 0.5 blocks per game, while scoring 32.8 DK points in each of those games. The matchup against the Hornets is one he would be able to exploit as they rank 24th in defense efficiency against opposing centers. Charlotte is also allowing the fifth most points in the paint per game over their last five contests, which bodes incredibly well for Zubac who generates 76.7 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. If he gets another start, he would become a strong point per dollar center option.
DraftKings: De’Aaron Fox, Tobias Harris, Andrew Wiggins, Shake Milton
FanDuel: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tobias Harris, Andrew Wiggins, Jonas Valanciunas
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**