***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:25PM***
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Monday!
We have a nice eight-game slate this evening. The news has been flowing today, as we already have a lot of information to work with. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo, Kevin Love, Al Horford, Lu Dort, Taurean Prince, and Tristan Thompson have all be ruled out for tonight.
There is also still news pending that could impact the slate. Here are some of the notable players listed as questionable for this evening: Darius Garland, Rudy Gobert, and Kevin Porter are all listed as questionable. As always, unexpected news is possible in the NBA, so it is important to keep tabs on news as we get closer to lock. This is especially true now with the trade deadline approaching.
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
- Jazz 119
- Bucks 117.75
- Clippers 115.5
- Raptors 114.75
- Timberwolves 114.5
- Jazz -9
- Raptors -8
- Clippers -6
- Bucks -5.5
- Spurs -5
Position By Position
John Wall (DK $7100/ FD $7800) – Wall is coming off a nice performance against the Thunder yesterday. He played 35 minutes and scored 24 points with seven dimes, two boards, and three steals, scoring 42 DK points. Wall has played well when healthy this season and has now topped 40 DK points in four of his last six games. Tonight, he faces off against a Raptors team that ranks 22nd in defense efficiency against opposing point guards in their last 10 games. This is a matchup that Wall played well in just last month. He scored 21 points with 12 assists, two rebounds, and one block in 36 minutes against the Raptors back in February. Wall can be considered a nice option at his price.
Jrue Holiday (DK $6800/ FD $6800) – The Bucks are expected to be without Antetokounmpo tonight as he battles a knee sprain. One of the biggest beneficiaries of when Antetokounmpo is off the court is Holiday who sees a massive 6.9 percent usage bump, as well as an increase of 11.2 percent in assist rate. In addition, Holiday averages roughly 7.9 more DK points per 36 in this scenario. The Bucks face off against the Pacers tonight, a team that ranks 25th in defense efficiency against point guards in their last 10 games. Indiana surrenders the third most points in the paint per game, which bodes incredibly well for Holiday who generates 53.1 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. Lastly, the Pacers give up the 10th most rebounds and seventh most assists per game to opposing teams. This is great news for a player like Holiday who is capable of racking up the peripheral stats. Holiday is underpriced considering the circumstances and makes for a strong play in all formats.
Darius Garland (DK $6600/ FD $5500) – Garland draws a fantastic matchup tonight against a Kings team that is awful defensively. Sacramento ranks 17th in defense efficiency against opposing point guards for the season and 26th in their last 10 games. The Kings give up the third most real points, fourth most assists, seventh most three-pointers, second most blocks, and fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. In addition, this is a paced-up spot for the Cavs, as Sacramento plays at a top 10 pace. Garland generates 46.1 percent of his scoring from inside the paint and 31.5 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. These are two weaknesses for Sacramento, as they give up the most points in the paint per game, the 10th most three-pointers per game, and the highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams. He is priced appropriately on DK, but on FD, Garland is way too cheap and has to be considered a strong point per dollar play in this matchup. That said, he is viable on both sites. He popped up on the injury report throughout the day, so keep an eye on his status.
Donovan Mitchell (DK $8700/ FD $8400) – Mitchell has now topped 50 DK points in four of his last six games. Tonight, he faces off against a Bulls team that plays up in pace, making this a paced-up spot for Mitchell and the Jazz. Chicago has done a solid job defending opposing backcourts this season, so this is far from a great matchup. That said, they struggle inside the paint, allowing the fifth most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Mitchell who generates 32.9 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, the Bulls are giving up the second most steals per game, which is good for Mitchell who has six steals in his last three games. Even in subpar matchups, Mitchell is capable of posting big numbers and although the matchup against the Bulls is no slam dunk, it is not one you should be shying away from either.
Fred VanVleet (DK $7600/ FD $8100) – It appears that VanVleet shook the rust off really quick, as he now has turned in two straight quality performances. He has topped 40 DK points in each of his last two games and is in a good position for another big outing against a Houston team that ranks 22nd in defense efficiency and will be without their top defender. VanVleet is capable of stuffing the stat sheet on any given night, but against the Rockets that might be easier than in most other matchups. Houston gives up the third most real points, seventh most rebounds, sixth most three-pointers, most steals, 10th most blocks, and second most fantasy points per game to the position. VanVleet had a strong performance against this Rockets team earlier in the season, scoring 25 real points with four boards, four dimes, and three steals, finishing with 43.5 DK points. He should have not trouble finding success in this matchup tonight.
Terry Rozier (DK $6600/ FD $5900) – The Hornets lost Ball for the season, which is awful as he was having a great rookie season. His absence will create opportunities for other players on this offense, starting with Rozier who sees a 1.2 percent usage bump with Ball off the court. In addition, Rozier sees a three percent increase in assist rate. The matchup against the Spurs is one that bodes well for Rozier, as they rank 20th in defense efficiency against the position. San Antonio is also yielding the third highest three-point field goal percentage to the position, which bodes well for Rozier who generates 49.3 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Between the usage bump and the solid matchup, as well as the heavy minutes, Rozier can be considered viable option in all formats.
Donte DiVincenzo (DK $6100/ FD $5700) – DiVincenzo has played well as of late, recording a double-double in two of his last four games and eclipsing 30 DK points in four straight games, including 40+ DK points in each of his last two. He should be in for an expanded role this evening as the Bucks will be without Antetokounmpo. When he is off the court, DiVincenzo sees a three percent usage bump, an increase of 3.7 percent in assists rate, and a near one percent increase in rebounding rate. The matchup against the Pacers is middling, as they rank 17th in efficiency against the position. However, Indiana yields the ninth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which bodes well for DiVincenzo who generates 53.2 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. He also produces 34.6 percent of his points from inside the paint and the Pacers allow the third most points in the paint per game. This price tag is certainly not ideal, but there is still plenty of room for value and upside at this salary. Given the situation at hand, I am willing to consider DiVincenzo this evening.
Devonte Graham (DK $4800/ FD $4300) – Graham will likely enter the starting lineup once again with Ball out and becomes the primary facilitator for the Hornets. If you look back at the start of the season, Graham averaged 34.6 minutes, 14.5 points, 6.1 assists, three rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game in his first 22 games. During that timeframe, he scored less than 28 DK points just six times, topping 21 DK points in all but two of those 22 games. With Ball off the court, Graham sees a one percent usage bump, sees an increase of 4.5 percent in assist rate, and gets one percent boost in rebounding rate. The Spurs struggle against the position, giving up fifth most real points and eighth most fantasy points per game. Graham is too cheap given what his expected role is for this contest and the minutes he should play.
Jaylen Brown (DK $7900/ FD $7800) – Brown is playing at an incredibly high level right now, scoring 28 or more real points in three of his last four games and eclipsing 45 DK points in four consecutive games. Tonight, he faces off against a Memphis team that ranks 28th in defense efficiency against the position. The Grizzlies are yielding the 10th most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, as well as fourth highest three-point field goal percentage to the position. This bodes incredibly well for Brown who has attempted 33 three-pointers in his last three games and generates 30.6 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. In addition, the Grizzlies surrender the second most real points, ninth most rebounds, second most assists, seventh most steals, most blocks, and most fantasy points per game to the position. Brown went bonkers against this same Grizzlies team back in December, scoring 42 points with five rebounds, four dimes, and a steal in 29 minutes. That performance was good for 57.8 DK points. Not only is Brown playing great basketball, but he also draws a great matchup and remains affordable.
Khris Middleton (DK $7600/ FD $7000) – Middleton continues to produce mixed results, with some solid performances, mediocre outings, and below average games. However, that is likely to change tonight as he now becomes the primary offensive weapon for the Bucks with Giannis out. When Antetokounmpo is off the court, no other Bucks player sees a higher usage bump than Middleton, who gets a massive 7.6 percent usage bump. In addition to the usage increase, Middleton sees an increase of 3.6 percent in assist rate and a one percent increase in rebounding rate. Not to mention, he averages 8.4 more DK points per 36 minutes in this scenario. The matchup against the Pacers is one that Middleton should be able to exploit as they rank 24th in defense efficiency over their last 10 games. Furthermore, Indiana gives up the third most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Middleton who generates 32 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. He is in a great position for a productive game and comes in at a very affordable price tag on both sites.
Larry Nance (DK $6100/ FD $5600) – Nance has not lived up to expectations in the last couple of games, but that should change tonight against a Kings team that ranks 26th in defense efficiency against the position. Sacramento allows the most points in the paint per game, which bodes incredibly well for Nance who generates 48.3 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. He is also a capable shooter from beyond the arc, which is another area in which the Kings struggle in, as they allow the 10th most three-pointers per game and the highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams. Love was ruled out once again for this contest, so Nance should play minutes in the mid-30’s, in what should be considered a slam dunk matchup. Nance remains affordable on both sites, making him an appealing point per dollar option.
OG Anunoby (DK $5600/ FD $5200) – Anunoby has played well since returning from a six-game absence, scoring 34 DK points in each of his last two games. He is once again in a good position to turn in a productive performance, as he faces off against a Houston team that is not all that great and will be without their top defender in Oladipo. The Rockets enter this contest ranked 27th in defense efficiency against the position. Anunoby has been shooting the ball well and has been active on the boards the last two games but has also done a great job defensively with seven steals and two blocks in those two contests. This is a matchup where Anunoby can rack up the defensive stats as Houston surrenders the fifth most steals and sixth most blocks per game to opposing teams. Anunoby is not someone I recommend often in cash games, though in this specific matchup, his floor can be considered relatively safe. His price tag is also reasonable, making him a nice option this evening. HAS BEEN RULED OUT FOR REST
Malik Monk (DK $4000/ FD $3500) – No player in Charlotte gets a bigger usage increase than Monk with Ball off the court. Monk gets a 3.1 usage boost in this instance, as well as a one percent increase in assist rate and a 1.3 percent increase in rebounding rate. Monk should also see a larger role tonight and play minutes in the low to mid 20’s. He averages just shy of a fantasy point per minute, so at this price tag, Monk will be in a good position to return value. Keep in mind, he tends to be volatile, but given the circumstances in Charlotte and his price tag, especially on FD where he is min price, Monk can be considered a value option this evening.
Position note: I like Gordon Hayward tonight quite a bit, but given his price tag and some of the other small forwards in his price range, I am not fitting him in. I am prioritizing the guards from Charlotte tonight instead. However, if you end up with Hayward in your lineup, that is totally fine.
Domantas Sabonis (DK $9000/ FD $9100) – Sabonis is coming off two average performances but finds himself in a great position for a big game against a Bucks team that will be without their best player. Despite struggling in his last two games, Sabonis kept his double-double streak alive for the seventh consecutive game. During that stretch, he also has three triple-doubles. The last time he faced off against the Bucks, Sabonis had a huge performance, scoring 33 points with 12 boards and six dimes, which was good for 59 DK points. There are not many expensive players on the slate, but Sabonis is certainly one of the top pay up options this evening. This should be a great game environment with two teams that play at a top 10 pace.
Christian Wood (DK $8000/ FD $8100) – Wood has been great since returning from a lengthy absence. He has been on a minute’s restriction but did play 32 minutes yesterday against the Thunder and has seen his minutes increase in every game. Wood has averaged 22 points with 9.3 rebounds, two assists, 1.7 blocks, and 0.7 steals in his three games back from injury, scoring 40+ DK points in two of those contests. The matchup here against the Raptors is middling as they rank 17th in defense efficiency against opposing centers. That said, they are giving up the eighth most rebounds per game to the position as well as eighth most rebounds per game to opposing teams, so he should be able to dominate on the boards. In addition, his ability to make three-pointers gives him a slight edge in this matchup being that the Raptors allow the fourth most three-pointers per game, as well as the sixth highest three-point field goal percentage. The fact that Oladipo is out tonight benefits Wood, as there are more shot opportunities to go around. Wood does see a one percent usage bump with Oladipo off the court. Wood offers a steady floor to go along with massive upside and is a viable option in all formats. Please note that he is listed as a center on DK.
Daniel Theis (DK $4800/ FD $4500) – Thompson will not play tonight once again, which means that Theis should play solid minutes. He has now played no less than 25 minutes in each of his last four games and has turned in three decent performances in that stretch. The matchup against the Grizzlies is far from ideal for Theis, but they do allow over a fantasy point per minute to the position. In addition, it is a matchup that he did well in when these teams faced off earlier in the season. In that contest, Theis played just 19 minutes, but scored 26 DK points. He has now scored at least 29 DK points in three of his last four games. There is always risk involved when rostering Theis, but the risk reward factor plays in his favor as he generally produces solid numbers when the minutes are there.
Bobby Portis (DK $4100/ FD $3700) – Yes, another Bucks player. That is what happens when you are missing your main player who sports a 32.3 percent usage rate. Portis is likely going to join the starting lineup for tonight’s contest against the Pacers, making him an incredible value option this evening. In two starts this year, Portis has averaged 32 minutes, 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, two steals, 1.5 assists, and one block per game, while scoring 26.5 DK points in one of those games and 42.8 DK points in the other. The matchup against the Pacers is a solid one as they rank 23rd in defense efficiency against the power forward position. Indiana struggles inside the paint, as they allow the third most points in the paint per game. This bodes incredibly well for Portis who generates 49.5 percent of his scoring from inside the paint, and that is something I fully expect him to exploit. Indiana plays big, so we can expect Portis to play solid minutes this evening. I have him projected for 27-29 minutes and he averages well over a fantasy point per minute, putting him in an excellent spot to exceed expectations.
Karl-Anthony Towns (DK $9500/ FD $9700) – Towns is in a favorable matchup tonight against the Thunder who rank 19th in defense efficiency against centers and will be without Horford tonight. OKC is giving up the eighth most points in the paint per game, which bodes incredibly well for Towns, who generates 48.3 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, they allow the 12th most real points, seventh most rebounds, fifth most assists, and seventh most fantasy points per game to the position. Towns should absolutely dominate this front court tonight and not only score at-will, but grab a ton of rebounds as well. He is coming off a subpar game but has topped 50 DK points in three of his last five games, including 60 or more DK points in two of those contests. The floor is stable, and the ceiling is massive, making Towns one of the better overall plays tonight.
Jarrett Allen (DK $7600/ FD $6700) – Targeting centers against Sacramento is something I have been doing all season and it continues tonight. Sacramento ranks dead last in efficiency against opposing centers. They allow the eighth most real points, most rebounds, most assists, and third most fantasy points per game to the position. No other team allows more points in the paint per game than the Kings do, which is something I expect Allen to take complete advantage of, as he generates 67.7 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. He has been quiet as of late but has not had a matchup like this one in any of those games. We know the ceiling is massive here and against a team like the Kings, a ceiling game for Allen is certainly possible. I prefer his FD price, though he is viable on both sites this evening.
Moses Brown (DK $5100/ FD $4300) – Horford will not play tonight, which means that Brown should start and see an expanded role. In three starts, Brown has averaged 27.3 minutes, 15.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, two blocks, 0.7 steals, and 0.3 assists, while eclipsing 30 DK points in two of those games. He is averaging over a fantasy point per minute and should play 26-28 minutes tonight, in a good matchup. The Timberwolves struggle immensely against centers, ranking 29th in defense efficiency against the position. In addition, they allow the most real points and second most fantasy points per game to opposing bigs. Brown has topped 23 DK points in five of his last six games and should have no trouble returning value at his price tag, especially on FD, with the upside to completely smash his salary out of the water.
DraftKings: Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis, Jrue Holiday, Karl-Anthony Towns
FanDuel: Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis, Jrue Holiday, Karl-Anthony Towns
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**