We have a big slate today with 10 games on tap for NBA DFS. Upon breaking down the games, I noticed something I wanted to highlight for you guys in terms of roster construction today. SG is absolutely loaded. I can name a half dozen guys I would feel bad not having some exposure to tonight. We have a ton of value at both PG and SF on the evening, assuming some of these doubtful guys don't pull miraculous recoveries. You can easily save at those positions. That means we should…
We have a big slate today with 10 games on tap for NBA DFS. Upon breaking down the games, I noticed something I wanted to highlight for you guys in terms of roster construction today. SG is absolutely loaded. I can name a half dozen guys I would feel bad not having some exposure to tonight. We have a ton of value at both PG and SF on the evening, assuming some of these doubtful guys don't pull miraculous recoveries. You can easily save at those positions. That means we should also have money to spend up or near the top of the PF and center spots. In terms of matchups for the superstars, Joel Embiid has the softest one, but the rest grade out as neutral to negative. With Embiid, the bigger concerns are blowout risk and the back-to-back, so really none of the superstars project for huge ceiling games tonight. I wouldn't be shocked if either Harden or Giannis had one, as those two face off against each other. My bigger problem with that is Houston plays slow and Milwaukee plays good D, so neither are in an ideal position. Based on my first look through everything and initial lineups I built before doing the write up, I do think spending at PF and SG, while saving at PG and SF is the way to play this slate tonight. The only game without a line this morning is Phoenix/Dallas. Phoenix may be without Devin Booker again today, which likely accounts for why nothing is posted yet.
HIGHEST PROJECTED TOTALS
*Does not include Phoenix/Dallas
- Pelicans – 118.5
- Nets – 118
- 76ers – 115.25
- Bucks – 113.5
- Rockets – 112
BIGGEST PACE BUMPS
- Cavaliers: +6.4
- Nets: +6.2
- Rockets: +5.9
- Pistons: +4.2
- Grizzlies: +2.7
HIGHEST PROJECTION OVER AVERAGE
*Does not include Phoenix/Dallas
- Nets: +7
- Cavs: +2
- Pelicans: +2
- Pistons: +1
Note: No other teams are projected to score over average, and this is a big slate, which is unusual.
FAVORITE CASH PLAYS
Mike Conley – Despite the absolute tailspin the Memphis Grizzlies are in right now, one guy you can't blame is Mike Conley. Conley is feeling better after struggling through that Detroit game where he went scoreless and played under 30 minutes. He only played 25 minutes when San Antonio blew them out a few days ago too, but he had 21 points before exiting that game. In all the other recent games, Conley has been around 40 fantasy points, which would be enough to pay off that salary on both sites today. With everyone else struggling, he has looked to score more, and that has raised up his floor. Memphis is likely to lose this game as they have looked dreadful lately, but at home, they may be able to keep it close. If so, we get 33-36 minutes from Conley, and that’s when he’s been going for his 40+.
De’Anthony Melton – Assuming Devin Booker is out again, Melton is still too cheap. He was a guy I was high on yesterday, because without Booker, he gets a bump in usage and minutes. Booker sat; Melton got his bump and came in at 37 DraftKings points for around $4K. His price there hasn't really moved (at $4,300 today), although I would say I expect 25-30, not 35+. He had an obscene amount of defensive stats yesterday, something like four steals and two blocks, which really boosted his scores. That added double-digit fantasy points to his score and is very unlikely to be repeated. Still, at $4,300, even if you take that away, he was a 25-point guy, which is still 6X.
Raul Neto – Sometimes pricing on a certain site is out of whack, and today I think it’s out of whack on both sites for Neto. Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum are both likely to be out. That would mean Neto is likely to see a lot of playing time. He went for about 25 last game when Exum was out and Rubio got hurt early. I would expect about the same today. At $4,300 on DraftKings, that makes him a great play for 6X his salary. At $5,900 on FanDuel, he’s overpriced. Neto is not a great NBA player, so even with the added minutes, I doubt he smashes. Paying up for a guy like that makes no sense, but taking him as a value play where cheap does. Neto will be on my DraftKings lineups, but I wouldn't touch him at that price in cash on FanDuel.
Jeremy Lin – Assuming Kevin Huerter is out, I like Lin a lot. The Hawks perimeter is already thin with guys like Bazemore and Prince not playing. Huerter has not done a ton with the minutes, but he was routinely seeing 30s before getting hurt. If Lin has to start and cover those minutes again, that’s a big deal for a guy who was barely seeing 20 minutes a night. He smashed value yesterday, and the price is still pretty cheap. If Huerter sits, Lin makes sense in a revenge game against the Nets. Plus, he is basically matchup proof, as he likely plays if the game does blow out.
NOTE: I have never had a list of shooting guards I am interested in that is as long as the one I have today. As I tried to narrow it down, I didn't feel comfortable leaving any of these guys off really. If you multi-enter, my best advice is to make sure you have a large pool of SG options today, because a lot of these guys are in good spots and could get boosts from teammates injured.
James Harden – The matchup is not ideal, but Harden is matchup proof. Without CP3 and Eric Gordon, he is doing everything for that offense. He plays 37+ minutes a night, sometimes even in blowouts, which is why he’s my favorite of the stars for cash. He tends to get his minutes regardless of what else is going on with the scoreboard. It’s not like the guy isn't putting up numbers to justify it either. 11 of the last 13 games he’s gone for 60+ on DK. The two games he fell short were 57 and 58. That’s about as consistently awesome as you can be.
D’Angelo Russell – D-Russ has been heating up, and it’s no shock that has coincided with the Nets starting to play much better too. Now, he draws one of the best possible matchups in basketball. I don't think he is going to go low owned today, but some people still scoff at his price. I know he sucked against the Celtics, but they have one of the best perimeter defenses in the league. The same can't be said of the Hawks, who tend to give up a ton of production. The Hawks play extremely fast too, which also leads to more possessions and more production for the best players on the opposing team. Russell did drop 43+ DK points in four straight games before crapping out as chalk against the Celtics. I hope people swear off of him, because this matchup is too juicy to ignore.
Donovan Mitchell – I have not played Mitchell much all season. That may change today though. Without Rubio and Exum, Raul Neto is likely to play big minutes and he is not as high of a usage guy. That means the offense needs to fall on the other guys. Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert are not really big-time scorers or creators, which means you are left with Mitchell, Crowder and Favors to pick up the offensive load. Mitchell is really the only one of the three I trust to do so, and this should be like last year with him playing 36+ minutes and taking his 20 shots. At a slight discount to where he normally is, that is a solid spot to look at him today.
Malcolm Brogdon – I rarely ever want him in GPPs, but he’s a solid consistent guy I play a lot in cash. On other nights, I would be even higher on him, as he tends to score his 30+ fantasy points and do it for a little over $5K on both sites. The matchup is not a big upside one against a slow-paced Houston team, but Brogdon is always worthy of cash game looks with his consistently high floor.
Jordan Clarkson – The Cavs are one of very few teams paced up here today and also projected over there average. This team already lacks scoring, and today, they have both Rodney Hood and Larry Nance questionable. The names of the guys who would benefit in minutes are Jalen Jones, Jaron Blossomgame and maybe even Ante Zizic. None of those guys are scorers who will match the lost production. Clarkson is a guy who has no problem taking extra shots. He managed to get up 17 and 20 the last two games, giving him a superstar level 36 usage rate. You may not get 35 minutes out of him, but he’ll produce better than some guys who do see that much court time, given the usage rate he has been playing at the last couple games with Hood out. If Hood plays, all bets are off; but if he sits again, I do like Clarkson.
Bruce Brown – Not a ton of upside here either, but the guy is dirt cheap. He’s also seen well over 30 minutes in recent games. Now, he has been up and down in terms of production and is a 5th best option on the floor, but for the near min price salary and with the ability to drop a low score on FanDuel, I wanted to keep him on my short list for today.
DeAndre Bembry – Again here, this assumes Huerter is out. Bembry has been a pretty good per minute producer in low minutes. Guys like that benefit the most from injuries, because they see more court time. Bembry has averaged about 0.9 DK points per minute this year. He plays about half a game. Last game without Huerter, he played 37 minutes and put up 33 fantasy points. Again, about 0.9 points per minute. If he even gets 32-35 today upon Huerter sitting, you are talking 30ish fantasy points. That’s still over 6X on DK and close to it on FD, so he is a very good value option.
Kelly Oubre – With Devin Booker out yesterday, we saw a huge bump in minutes for Oubre. Oubre has produced all season when given minutes, even when he was on the Wizards. Like Bembry, he just needs the minutes, as he too produces around 0.9 fantasy points per minute. He played over 25 minutes just four times as a Sun, and each time he ended up at 28+ fantasy points. He’s under $3,800 on both sites today with a 25+ point floor if Booker sits and upside to match the 40+ he put up yesterday.
Jae Crowder – I do not play Crowder ever for upside, but with the point guards banged up, Grayson Allen out and Alec Burks traded, this team is thin on the perimeter. Not only does Crowder see time at the 4, but he saw an increase in usage last game, as the Jazz were desperate for other scorers to step up. He’s still pretty cheap and likely to see increased minutes and usage here with the Jazz rotation so thin. No upside really, but a high floor, given the current situation.
Evan Turner – Moe Harkless had been playing well and seeing at least half a game when healthy. He re-injured himself and is now out again. Turner stepped up and had made value without him a few times in recent games. Those games were against bad matchups with a slow-paced Houston team and a good defensive OKC team. Today, he draws a weaker spot against the Bulls, and he doesn't need to do a ton at his price given that matchup.
Blake Griffin – I’m never going to tell you Anthony Davis can't go off here, but I am worried about him since they just blew out Cleveland at Cleveland and now may face them short-handed and at their place. That makes Blake my #1 spend up at PF today. He has a consistently high 45-50 point floor and draws one of the better matchups on the day. Detroit is one of only four teams projected over average, and they get the fourth biggest pace bump here. The perimeter guys for the Pistons are not really scorers, especially with Brown and Bullock playing the bulk of the minutes. That means the scoring falls on Blake, and he should put up a nice game today back in LA.
Domantas Sabonis – Myles Turner looks like he will miss another one tonight, and if so, you get big minutes for a high PER guy in Sabonis. I know the matchup is not ideal against the Celtics, but I prefer dealing with bigs against them and fading the guards. Sabonis gets a big boost when he sees big minutes due to his high per minute production, and without Turner, he is guaranteed big minutes. If Turner plays, I would not touch him in this matchup; but if Turner sits, you have to continue to look his way.
John Collins – I really like game stacking the Nets/Hawks here, as it should be one of the juicier games in terms of fantasy production today. Collins has taken a step forward this year, and while the ceiling is not elite, the floor has been. Fouls and blowouts have kept him from smashing lately, but when he avoids those, he tends to end up with over 20/10 in 35ish minutes of action. The matchup here is soft, with the Nets running back up players like Kurucs and Davis and an undersized Demarre Carroll at the PF position. Collins should be able to avoid fouls and rack up rebounds, so a 20/14 game is not even asking a lot of him today. He’s double-doubled in six of the last eight games with no less than seven rebounds in any of them, even with foul trouble keeping him under 30 minutes.
Josh Jackson – Josh Jackson benefits whenever Devin Booker is out. He is more of an SF, but FD lists him at PF, so we have to talk about him here. He’s no longer dirt cheap, but he’s still not expensive. He’s averaged 25 without Booker, and that includes a couple early season games when he was riding the pine more often. He played 30 minutes in each of the last two games and put up 30 or more in both of them. His DK price is $5,200, which is OK. His FanDuel price is under $5K, and we need a lower multiple there, so that’s really where he stands out.
Richaun Holmes – He is still only likely to see about 20 minutes, which is never ideal, but the guy is priced below $4K. He’s been able to put up 30 twice and 25 another time in three of the last four games. That doesn't sound like much, but for under $4K, 25 is over 6X and 30 is almost 8X. That’s a lot of production for cheap, even if the minutes load is not huge.
Andre Drummond – I probably would choose either him or Blake on a lineup today, but I have to include him due to the matchup. The Lakers are a team that centers have been putting up numbers against all season. When you look at that Detroit team, who else do you really have faith in, besides Blake and Drummond? Not only can Drummond get more points than usual here, but he is also in line for upside in rebounding. His price is not overly expensive either, and I do expect a big number out of him today.
Jusuf Nurkic – I love picking on the undersized Bulls with good big men, and Nurk fits that description. I know he seems expensive, but the guy has gone for 40+ in five of the last seven with the other two being games where he played less than half due to the scoreboard. When he’s seen his 32-35 minutes in the other games, he’s easily topping 40 with a ceiling that was 80 a few games ago. Given the good matchup and the fact I don't see the Bulls big men getting him in foul trouble, I expect 32 minutes and 40+ points out of him again. He needs to do that and more to pay off the price tag, but I’m confident he can.
DeAndre Jordan – Another team we have had success picking on with big men is the Suns. The Suns play fast, do not rebound well as a team and miss a ton of shots. This could be a 15-20 rebound game for DeAndre Jordan. He will score, but not a ton, as he tends to make a few shots close range on dunks and putbacks. Still, he should rack up big rebounding numbers and grab a few blocks to go with enough points to get him near 40 today.
Tristan Thompson – Thompson appears to be rounding back into form and seeing closer to his normal level of minutes. He draws a decent matchup here, as the Pelicans pace tends to help guys elevate their production. While the matchup is not the softest one, he also may be without his PF in Larry Nance, which would force the Cavs to have to go small with a lack of other size. That could be a big boom for his minutes and rebounding numbers, which have already been pretty high.