***UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:33PM***
Bump up Wood and Wall with Oladipo out and Porter doubtful.
If Cedi Osman starts, he becomes a viable value option this evening.
Add Nicolas Claxton and Bruce Brown into the cash game player pool. TLC grades out well too, but he is a bit more volatile. Though, he does come in at near min price.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Wednesday!
We have a massive 11-game slate this evening, with some interesting situations. As far as news is concerned, we have received some throughout the day as Rudy Gay, Abdel Nader, Blake Griffin, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Monte Morris have been ruled out for this evening.
There is still a lot of news, and important news might I add, pending that will certainly change the way we approach this slate. Two big names to keep an eye on are Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden, both of whom are listed as questionable. Some other players considered questionable for tonight’s slate are Wayne Ellington, Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner, Garrett Temple, Kevin Porter, Chasson Randle, Terrence Ross, and Danilo Gallinari are all questionable for tonight. Also, with the trade deadline approaching, we can see unexpected news pop up.
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 120.25
- Mavericks 119.75
- Bucks 118.25
- Hawks 117
- Kings 114
- Jazz -10.5
- Suns -10
- Mavericks -8
- Pacers -6.5
- Bucks -6.5
Position By Position
Luka Doncic (DK $11000/ FD $11000) – The point guard position is loaded with nice options this evening and it begins with Doncic. He draws a fantastic matchup against a Timberwolves team that ranks 28th in defense efficiency against opposing point guards. Minnesota is giving up the seventh most real points, sixth most rebounds, 13th most assists, seventh most three-pointers, and seventh most fantasy points per game to the position. Doncic who generates 40.7 percent of his scoring from inside the paint, should be able to score at-will in this matchup, as the Timberwolves lack rim protection and allow the second most points in the paint per game. Minnesota also surrenders the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams, which also bodes well for Doncic who generates 30.5 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. If that doesn’t convince you, this is also a paced-up spot for Dallas, as the Timberwolves play at a top five pace. Overall, this is a great spot for Doncic and even at this price tag, he makes a ton of sense.
De’Aaron Fox (DK $9000/ FD $8900) – The matchup between the Kings and Hawks is one I want to be invested in this evening. Fox is the primary offensive weapon for Sacramento, and he finds himself in a decent spot. The Hawks rank 16th in defense efficiency against opposing point guards and give up the fifth most fantasy points per game to the position. In addition, Atlanta yields over a fantasy point per minute per 48 minutes against point guards. This is a matchup that Fox dominated in the first time they faced off this season. In that contest, he scored 32 real points with six dimes, seven boards, and a steal in 40 minutes. The Hawks are playing slower than we are used to seeing them play and they have been solid defensively overall, though Fox is capable of posting big numbers against any defense on any given night. That said, as I pointed out, the Hawks are far from elite against point guards.
Trae Young (DK $8700/ FD $8700) – Young is someone I typically prefer in tournaments, but I am willing to make the exception tonight and roster him in cash. The Kings are a terrible defense, as they rank 30th in efficiency. The same can be said of them versus opposing point guards, as they rank 25th in defense efficiency against the position in their last 10 games. Sacramento gives up the third most real points, eighth most assists, seventh most three-pointers, second most blocks, and fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. He should take full advantage of the lack of rim protection from the Kings, who allow the most points in the paint per game. That bodes well for Young who generates 34.3 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In their last meeting, Young scored 28 real points with nine dimes, one steal, and one rebound. Another performance like that is certainly possible. Young’s floor is not as stable as some of the other point guards listed here, but this is an incredible matchup and a fantastic game environment for him and the Hawks.
John Wall (DK $7600/ FD $8000) – Wall is coming off a stellar performance, recording a triple-double against the Raptors on Monday night. He is once again in a favorable matchup against a Hornets team that ranks 21st in defense efficiency against opposing point guards. Charlotte struggles inside the paint, scoring the third most points in the paint per game, which bodes incredibly well for Wall who generates 42.4 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, the Hornets surrender the most assists and the third most steals to opposing teams. These are two categories that Wall generates fantasy points from, making this a nice spot for him in multiple ways. Both of these teams play relatively fast, so this contest should be up in pace, and that should create additional touch opportunities. Wall remains fairly priced on both sites given his production when fully healthy. He would get a nice bump should Oladipo sit this game out.
Terry Rozier (DK $7100/ FD $7000) – Despite shooting just 36 percent from the court in his last game, Rozier turned in a solid overall performance. It was the first game with Ball out after he sustained his wrist injury and Rozier capitalized. With Ball off the court, Rozier is averaging over a fantasy point per minute and sports a 23.7 percent usage rate. Rozier sees a 1.2 percent usage bump and a 3.2 percent increase in assist rate in this instance as well. He draws a great matchup this evening against a Houston team that ranks 25th in overall defense efficiency and 24th in defense efficiency against opposing backcourts. Keep in mind, they could also be without, arguably their best defensive player in Oladipo this evening. The Rockets yield the 10th highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing backcourts, which bodes incredibly well for Rozier who generates 48.9 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. We saw firsthand last game what Rozier can bring to the table with Ball off the court, especially in a favorable matchup like the one at hand this evening. He is PG/SG eligible on DK, giving you plenty of roster construction flexibility.
Theo Maledon (DK $4900/ FD $4600) – As I was wrapping up the article, we got word that SGA will sit out for OKC tonight. With that news and with Hill still out for the Thunder, Maledon becomes a viable option this evening. When Hill and SGA are both off the court, Maledon sees a three percent usage bump and a 4.2 percent increase in assists rate. In this instance, Maledon averages 0.8 fantasy points per minute and sports a 19.6 percent usage rate. The matchup against Memphis is far from great, but it is a matchup in which he previously turned in a solid performance the last time they faced off. Taking that into consideration, as well as his price and expected role, Maledon makes for an interesting value option this evening.
Note: If Giannis Antetokounmpo sits again, Jrue Holiday becomes a viable option once again. His price tag on DK remains very appealing. Pat Connaughton who is listed as a PG on FD and a SF on DK also becomes a nice value pay, especially on FD where he remains very affordable.
Donovan Mitchell (DK $8800/ FD $8400) – Mitchell continues to turn in consistent numbers on a nightly basis. He has now scored no less than 30 real points and 49.5 DK points in each of his three games. Tonight, the Jazz draw a paced-up matchup against a Nets team who play at a top 12 pace. Brooklyn not only plays fast, but they also lack in the defense department, especially on the road where they rank 23rd in defense efficiency. This is a Nets team that allows the fifth most points in the paint per game, which bodes well for Mitchell who generates 32.5 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. He also produces 39 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and the Nets are allowing the 11th most three-pointers per game for the season, as well as the fourth most three-pointers per game over their last five games. This should be a great game environment for Mitchell and a matchup I fully expect him to exploit. He played just 30 minutes the last time these two teams faced off and finished with 42.5 DK points.
Zach LaVine (DK $8500/ FD $8000) – Outside of his performance against Detroit a few games ago, LaVine has been extremely consistent. He has now topped 40 DK points and has scored at least 27 real points in four of his last six games. The matchup against the Cavs is favorable, as they rank 27th in defense efficiency against opposing shooting guards. Cleveland surrenders the eighth most points in the paint per game, which is good news for LaVine, who produces nearly 40 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. He also generates 37.4 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc and Cleveland yields the highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing shooting guards. The Cavs do play at a slower pace, but the overall matchup for LaVine is very good. Plus, after shaking things up with the starting lineup, LaVine has played more consistently. His price also remains reasonable on both sites.
Fred VanVleet (DK $7600/ FD $8200) – VanVleet continues to play at a high level since returning from a five-game absence, scoring 40+ DK points in three of the four games. In fact, even before being sidelined, he was playing well. VanVleet has exceeded expectations compared to his salary in 70 percent of his last 10 games. The matchup against the Nuggets tonight is a favorable one, as they rank 26th in defense efficiency against the position over the last 10 games. Denver is allowing the 11th highest three-point field goal percentage to the position and the eighth most three-pointers per game to opposing teams in the last seven games. This is good for VanVleet who generates 49.5 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. He should also take advantage of the fact that over the last 10 games the Nuggets are yielding the fourth most steals to the position. VanVleet has at least two steals in each of his last five games and averages 1.8 steals per game for the season. His DK price remains very reasonable, and he is firmly in play on both sites.
Will Barton (DK $6100/ FD $5900) – You know the drill by now with Barton. He is someone I generally gravitate towards when he is on the slate as a mid-range option. Barton plays big minutes on a nightly basis, has found a rhythm where he has been consistent, and remains reasonably priced on both sites. The matchup here against the Raptors is one that favors Barton as they rank 20th in defense efficiency against the position this season and 28th in their last 10 games. Barton has scored no less than 33 DK points in seven of his last nine games, scoring at least 26 DK points in every game during that stretch. Although his price continues to increase, it is still at a point where value is attainable, with room for upside. Please note, he is listed as small forward on DK.
Devonte Graham (DK $5300/ FD $5000) – Graham entered the starting lineup in the last game for the first time since February 14th. He played 29 minutes and scored nine points with four dimes, three rebounds, and a block. In that game, he sported just a 13.1 percent usage rate, but that can be considered an outlier. When Ball is off the court, Graham sees a one percent usage bump and averages a 19.7 percent usage rate, to go along with 0.9 fantasy points per minute. Tonight, he draws a great matchup against a Houston team that ranks 25th in overall defense efficiency and 24th in defense efficiency against opposing backcourts. Houston also surrenders the 11th most real points per game to opposing backcourts. Graham should play 29-31 minutes in this contest and at his price, that should be enough for him to hit value, especially in this matchup.
Jaylen Brown (DK $8300/ FD $7800) – Brown continues to play at an extremely high level, having topped 45 DK points in five straight games. Despite that, his price remains very affordable on both sites, especially FD where he remains under $8K. Tonight, he faces off against the Bucks, a team that plays at a top three pace. In addition to playing fast, Milwaukee struggles against opposing small forwards, ranking 25th in defense efficiency against the position. Over their last five games, the Bucks are yielding the sixth most three-pointers per game, which bodes well for Brown who has attempted 50 three-pointers in the last five games and generates 30.7 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Brown had a huge game against the Bucks the last time these two teams faced off in December, scoring 33 real points with five boards, four dimes, two steals, and a block, which was good for 52 DK points. Another big performance is certainly in the realm of possibilities and until Brown cools down, we can stay on this bandwagon.
Gordon Hayward (DK $7900/ FD $7000) – Hayward wasted no time to fill up the stat sheet with Ball off the court. In his last game, Hayward scored 27 real points with seven boards, six dimes, and a steal in 37 minutes. When Ball is off the court, Hayward gets a one percent usage bump and sees a one percent increase in assist rate, as well as a slight increase in rebounding rate. In these instances, Hayward averages 1.1 fantasy points per minute, to go along with a healthy 24.8 percent usage rate. Tonight’s matchup against the Rockets is one that favors Hayward, as they rank 25th in overall defense efficiency and 27th in efficiency against small forwards. This is also a paced-up spot for the Hornets, which should create more touch opportunities for Haywards. We saw him be more consistent earlier in the season when Ball was not playing heavy minutes. This is something that can continue for Hayward now that Ball is out. I prefer Hayward on FD where his price is much cheaper.
Malik Monk (DK $4300/ FD $3800) – I pointed it out in Monday’s article, and I will once again elaborate on what it means for Monk with Ball off the court. In these, nobody sees a higher usage boost than Monk, who gets a three percent usage bump. In addition, Monk gets a 1.1 percent increase in both rebounding and assist rate. He also plays more minutes and averages a healthy 0.95 fantasy points per minute, to go along with a 26.5 percent usage rate. Monk played 27 minutes in the last game, though he fell short of expectations. That said, as I have already pointed out, tonight’s matchup is stellar against a bad Houston defense and Monk should once again play 26-29 minutes this evening, which is more than enough to reach value at this price tag.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (DK $4000/ FD $4200) – Bogdanovic comes with risk, but it is incredibly difficult to ignore this spot for him. The Hawks play the Kings, who enter this game ranked dead last in defense efficiency and 18th in efficiency against the position. Sacramento yields the 10th highest three-point field goal percentage to the position for the season and the highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams. This bodes incredibly well for Bogdanovic who generates 60.7 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. In addition, this a great game environment for him considering how fast Sacramento plays. The risk with Bogdanovic is that his minutes have been volatile, as he has played as much as 30 minutes in one of his last six games and as little as 20 minutes. I have him projected for 24-27 minutes, with upside for more, and at this price tag I am willing to take the risk with those projections. He averages 0.85 fantasy points per minute and in this matchup, he should have no trouble paying of his price tag so long as he plays minutes in the mid to high 20’s like I have him projected for.
Note: If Giannis Antetokounmpo sits again, Khris Middleton becomes a strong option this evening.
Domantas Sabonis (DK $9400/ FD $8800) – The Pacers could end up being shorthanded this evening, as both Turner and Brogdon are considered questionable for tonight. If that ends up being the case, it is going to be tough to pass up on Sabonis this evening. When both of those players are off the court, Sabonis averages 1.3 fantasy points per minute and sports a healthy 23 percent usage rate. Even if they play or one of the two play, Sabonis is still in a nice spot tonight. The Pistons rank 25th in defense efficiency against opposing power forwards. They are giving up the 10th most real points, fifth most rebounds, fifth most assists, eighth most steals, third most blocks, and fourth most fantasy points per game to the position. Sabonis has three triple-doubles in his last eight games and has come close to one in other games during that stretch. He has the ability to stuff the stat sheet on any given night and in a matchup like this one, he is in a good position for a huge game.
Kristaps Porzingis (DK $8000/ FD $7500) – I am hesitant about recommending Porzingis in cash because quite frankly, his floor is extremely volatile. That said, this is such a great matchup for him that I am willing to take on the risk, especially at this price. In fact, one of his best games this season came against this Timberwolves team. In that game, Porzingis scored 27 points with 13 rebounds, four dimes, and five blocks, scoring a season high 61 DK points. The Timberwolves are awful against opposing frontcourts, ranking 25th in defense efficiency. They also struggle against opposing bigs, ranking 28th in defense efficiency against the position and allowing the second most fantasy points per game. Porzingis generates 39.5 percent of his scoring from inside the paint, so I fully expect him to take advantage of this Timberwolves team who surrenders the second most points in the paint per game. In addition, Minnesota yields the sixth most rebounds per game to opposing teams, making this a good rebounding matchup as well. Despite the volatility that Porzingis brings to the table, this is just too good of a spot to ignore him in.
Isaiah Stewart (DK $4700/ FD $4100) – Steward does not start for Detroit but has played at least 20 minutes in 10 straight games, including no less than 23 minutes in each of his last four contests. He averages 0.92 fantasy points per minute for the season, though over his last 10 games he has averaged a fantasy point per minute. Regardless, Stewart is productive on a per minute basis and is playing decent minutes off the bench. This is a good matchup against an Indiana team that ranks 22nd against opposing bigs over the last 10 games and one that allows the sixth most fantasy points per game to the position. If Turner sits, this would be an even better matchup for Stewart who remains very affordable. I prefer him on FD where he is cheaper. Also, please note that he is listed as a center on DK.
Note: If Giannis Antetokounmpo sits again, Bobby Portis becomes a viable option this evening.
Nikola Jokic (DK $10700/ FD $10800) – Whenever Jokic is on the slate, he is someone you can consider in cash. We know what he brings to the table whenever he is on the court, a safe floor, consistency, and an incredible ceiling. Tonight, he faces off against a Raptors team that has done a good job against opposing centers, though that generally does not stop Jokic from posting big numbers. His ability to stuff the stat sheet gives him so many ways to score fantasy points and tonight is no different. Jokic is not someone I am prioritizing this evening, but that does not mean he is not in play.
Christian Wood (DK $8100/ FD $8100) – Wood did not pan out as we hoped last game, but tonight he finds himself in a nice spot against a Charlotte team that ranks 18th in defense efficiency against opposing centers over the last 10 games. In that 10-game stretch, Charlotte has allowed the eighth most points in the paint per game, which bodes incredibly well for Wood who generates 58 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. In addition, the Hornets are allowing the second most three-pointers per game, which is something that Wood can take advantage of as he generates 24.2 percent of his points from beyond the arc. Wood is in a favorable matchup this evening and despite his struggles last game, that should not prevent us from going back to the well here.
Clint Capela (DK $7300/ FD $7200) – Capela is someone I prefer in tournaments most nights, but this is one of those matchups where it’s tough not to consider him in cash games. The Kings are absolutely terrible defensively, especially against opposing centers, as they rank dead last in defense efficiency against the position. Sacramento gives up the sixth most real points, most rebounds, most assists, and fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing centers. Capela’s minutes fluctuate from game to game and he has not played 30 minutes in any of his last five games. That being said, he averages 1.3 fantasy points per minute and should play 26-28 minutes this evening. In this specific matchup, that should be enough for him to at least hit value at this price point. He played just 26.5 minutes against the Kings in their last meeting and ended up with 48 DK points.
Ivica Zubac (DK $5500/ FD $5000) – Zubac continues to start for the injured Ibaka and has done a solid job filling in for him. He has now started the last four games for the Clippers and has averaged 30 minutes, 12.8 points, eight rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and one block per game. During that stretch, he has scored no less than 30 DK points in all but one of those contests. The minutes have been down the last two games, which is certainly concerning, but Zubac is a fantasy point per minute player, so even if he plays minutes in the mid-20’s like he has in the last two games, he is in a good position to reach value.
Note: On FD, Jarrett Allen remains too cheap given his upside and this is a great matchup against a Bulls team that struggles immensely against opposing big men. This is a great spot for him.
DraftKings: Jaylen Brown, Clint Capela, Luka Doncic, Nicolas Claxton
FanDuel: Jaylen Brown, Clint Capela, Luka Doncic, Nicolas Claxton
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**