Today is a very strange day for cash games in NBA DFS. Every day has news and injuries and things that could potentially change a slate, but today it has nothing to do with late breaking news. Sure, Damian Lillard being out would open up some value. We will discuss that in a minute, but the major news that changes today’s slate is already known. The Utah Jazz are playing without Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum, and now Raul Neto who filled in for them last game. This rotation is going to have to dig deep for usage and minutes and we have so many cheap options who are now likely to see 30 minutes in this game that we really can’t ignore. It reminds me of the Lance Stephenson Memphis Grizzlies a few years back when the rotation was so thin and the prices so low that having less than 3-4 of these guys on your roster was not going to help you cash. Every optimizer, every lineup build, every time I even tried to get away from it I couldn’t today. We will have some other news break and some other value open up, but I can’t see myself not having at least 3 guys on the Utah Jazz. One being Donovan Mitchell, and the others a collection of guys like Kyle Korver, Royce O’Neale, Joe Ingles, and Jae Crowder. The matchup with the Lakers is too good and this rotation too thin not to be heavily invested in Jazz players today.
With all this value on that team, the other thing I can't get away from today is going Stars and Scrubs. When you have multiple guys at near min price or undervalued to start your lineups, you have the cash left over to plug in higher end options. It’s very easy to fit a Joel Embiid, James Harden, a bunch of Jazz players (maybe some Blazers value too if Lillard sits), and still have $7-$8K left over to fill out the last 2-3 spots on your roster. In GPPs, I can see going away from this strategy, but in cash I just can’t. I have a long list of guys here, but I’m not going to go heavy into the analysis like I usually do as I’m basically laying out the blueprint to cash here in the opening. Harden has been too good, the Jazz are too thin, and really your job today is try to piece together the other 3-4 guys needed from the list below to make your lineups. Is it going to be a chalky build? Absolutely, but chalk in cash is never a bad thing. It just means you understood the situation laid out in front of you and played it accordingly.
Top Projected Totals
- 76ers 122
- Bucks 118.5
- Warriors 118.25
- Rockets 115.5
- Raptors 115.25
Biggest Pace Bumps
- Utah Jazz +4.1
- 76ers +2.9
- Pacers +2.2
- Bulls +2.2
Highest Projection over Average
- 76ers +7.5
- Pacers +6
- Rockets +5
- Jazz +4.5
- Bulls +3
- Blazers +3
Steph Curry – The Warriors have a huge total and are at home. Steph is a guy who can put up big numbers. Unfortunately, PG is a place we have a lot of potential value options that would be near must plays, so I doubt I pay up.
Trae Young – Atlanta is thin at guard and both Young and his backup Lin are on the list. Lin playing more SG alongside Young also means Young playing more minutes. They likely get smacked by 76ers today, but both guys are cheap.
Jeremy Lin – see above
Seth Curry – Damian Lillard is listed as questionable and I am concerned about him. Even if he plays, I would expect them to not push him to play max minutes. With Harkless out too, Evan Turner is playing more SF and Curry is now worst case backing up both Lillard and CJ for decent minutes. He is dirt cheap and if Lillard misses could see 30+ minutes with decent usage and getting a bump in minutes and usage today.
Cory Joseph – Darren Collison is listed as questionable. Joseph is very cheap. If Collison misses, Joseph finally gets his 30ish minutes and for the price in one of the better matchups with a decent pace bump and big projection bump it would be a great spot to roll him out there.
James Harden – Do I even really need to keep listing the reasons why with him? Without Eric Gordon and Chris Paul, his numbers are even better than they were last year in his MVP season. The matchup is not ideal, but he just dropped 70 in an even less ideal spot against the Bucks last game. He’s had 12 of 14 with 60+ DK points, falling short in the other two at 57 and 58 fantasy points. Can't ask for better consistency or a higher floor.
Donovan Mitchell – No Nato, no Rubio, No Exum means he handles the rock and basically has to play 40+ minutes. Last game with Neto in and the other two out, he dropped 50+ fantasy points. He is priced down from his peak price and today sets up as the ceiling game for him in a good matchup with minutes and usage boosts for a guy who already is high in both categories. We have a ton of other SG options that are worthy of mentioning, but these two guys stand out head and shoulders above the field at any position today due to their projected usage and minutes.
Andrew Wiggins – This is the toughest choice for me tonight with Wiggins. The new direction and coaching change seems to point to Wiggins taking a bigger role. He had a monster game dropping 60 last time out. While I do not expect a repeat, he’s still relatively cheap and I do think he steps forward in this new regime. I expect him to smash value too and on DraftKings where you can play him at SFG or one of the G, F, or Util spots I am playing him on teams with guys like Mitchell and Harden who you can move around to PG too.
Bradley Beal – Dropping 45-50 a night without John Wall, but still behind the top two for me.
Luka Doncic – Doncic is as good and maybe even better than advertised. Without DSJ and with Barea not looking great, he is basically carrying this offense.
Jordan Clarkson – Three straight games with massive usage and upside on his value. If Rodney Hood remains out, he’s going to keep chucking up shots and likely hitting value.
Malcolm Brogdon – Lacks upside, but consistently paying off cash game salary.
Kevin Huerter – Cheap and seeing big minutes on a thin perimeter. Lacks upside, but always gives you around value.
Wes Matthews – No Dennis Smith Jr solidifies him playing 30+ minutes. Not a lot of upside here either, but another guy always around value.
CJ McCollum – I likely shy away here if Lillard is playing, but how do you not consider him if Dame is out? I know Curry picks up the minutes and gets a usage bump, but McCollum may do more handling as well which could mean a minutes bump for him to go along with a big usage bump as he becomes the best perimeter scorer and penetrator they have left.
Kyle Korver – Listen, I am not a huge fan of Korver, but without all those PGs on Utah he is going to have to see minutes. Korver is dirt cheap and will likely stand in the corner and just shoot, which also adds to my love for Mitchell as he is not really capable of being more than that on offense, meaning Mitchell is going to have to create shots for him and everyone else too.
Furkan Korkmaz – I almost forgot to mention him too, but the production for the price has been solid without Redick. If Redick plays, don't touch this, but if Redick misses, he needs to be part of the analysis too.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – He is listed as questionable, but I expect him to go. I love Harden and Embiid as my top 2 spend up options today, but Giannis is always in play too. They are on the road and Washington, even short-handed, has pulled off some wins we would not have expected. If the game stays close, Giannis smashes as he does every time he sees those 35+ minutes.
Kawhi Leonard – Leonard has been awesome lately, dropping 60+ and 50+ in most of the recent contests. On any other slate I would likely have a lot of exposure to him at that slight discount from other superstars. He may not have the ceiling they do, but his 5o-ish point floor is just as good as anyone’s.
Joe Ingles – With the Jazz in such a good spot and so short-handed, you are going to see all those perimeter guys on the list and I think we already explained it enough.
Otto Porter – The minutes are starting to creep back up and so is the production. That game has a big total over 230 and the Wizards are at home.
Jae Crowder – Another one of those Jazz guys already mentioned. He lacks upside, but has a high floor and now may see even more minutes and usage to raise that floor.
Royce O’Neale – This is a name you guys are going to see on all the optimizers and projection systems today. He is near min price and he has produced in years past when given the chance. With all the injuries he has to play minutes and he doesn't need to do much with them to make value. He may not be the guy I use in GPPs today, but he’s absolutely cash game viable.
John Collins – I love this kid and I like the matchup with the big totals here today. Collins is basically a double-double machine, but now he’s also getting enough shots and scoring enough points to be a 40+ fantasy floor guy.
Kyle Kuzma – He is the leading scorer on the Lakers (with LeBron out) and proved it by dropping 41 last game (with no assists). The matchup is not ideal, but without Lebron and with Kuz healthy, he is going to be a major part of the offense.
Serge Ibaka – The Nets matchup is a great one for big men and he’s the de facto center for the Raptors right now.
Thad Young – If Turner remains out, I prefer Young to Sabonis today. Sabonis has seen the price rise and while he has played well, he is not making or exceeding value. Young is $2K cheaper and he is the one exceeding or meeting value more often.
Dario Saric – Much like Wiggins, Saric benefits from the change in people in charge. Taj Gibson is set for free agency and is 33 years old. Saric is new in town and only 25. His minutes rose last game and I think that trend continues. His price is still pretty cheap, so hop on now before that begins to rise too.
Luke Kornet – Enes Kanter apparently has a tummy ache from housing a half dozen hamburgers. If it’s more serious and he misses, Kornet is a slam dunk play. Even if Kanter plays as he has the last few games, Kornet is a guy who has been making value often enough that we need to respect him. Without Kanter I love him, with Kanter, I still don't hate him at his price with the recent production.
Ed Davis – The Nets are thin in that frontcourt right now. Davis only plays half a game, but he’s been putting up numbers in that half a game. He’s cheap and is a good salary saver, especially on FD where you can drop a score if he’s not good.
Rodion Kurucs – Pretty much the same reasoning as Davis, although he does get the minutes. He doesn't produce as well per minute, but the Nets are without any PF options and thin at center too. DeMarre Carroll is forced to play a ton of PF minutes as guys like Davis and Kurucs are really the only other options to do so.
Joel Embiid – Ben Simmons tends to have up and down games and misses value sometimes with less minutes in blowouts. Even in the recent blowouts, Embiid has not missed value. Embiid is capable of 20/10 on a bad game and 30/15 on a decent one. He adds some assists, some defensive stats as well and just has a high floor. The 76ers total is tops on the slate and he faces an Atlanta team that misses a lot of shots and has been giving up monster games to opposing centers because of that. Huge pace jump, weak matchup and this is a great spot for the league’s highest usage post player.
Clint Capela – Capela is really the only other consistent option putting up points on the Rockets outside of Harden. He’s also the only true big man, so the double-doubles are coming often and coming big. Capela is also reasonably priced on DK in that mid $7K range. The guy has been around 40s with upside into the 60s.
Kevon Looney – Not much upside here, but I love the spot against a weak Chicago Bulls interior. Looney is cheap and already putting up like 22-25 a game which is decent value. I think he has a chance to outperform that today and he really doesn't need to do much more for upside.