We have a massive 12 game slate of NBA DFS action here today, and that means a ton of moving pieces and a ton of options. It’s a great day for cash game play. Three games are currently without totals. The first one is the Knicks/76ers. Tim Hardaway Jr. is listed as questionable, and he is a key piece of that Knicks team. His status is why…
We have a massive 12 game slate of NBA DFS action here today, and that means a ton of moving pieces and a ton of options. It’s a great day for cash game play. Three games are currently without totals. The first one is the Knicks/76ers. Tim Hardaway Jr. is listed as questionable, and he is a key piece of that Knicks team. His status is why the line is not out yet.
The Pacers/Raptors game is also one we are waiting on to be released. Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are both listed as questionable here. With Jonas Valanciunas already out, losing Ibaka would leave them very thin in the frontcourt. Pascal Siakam should be a guy to target if that does happen. If Lowry is out, Fred Van Vleet would be the main beneficiary. He sat out on Saturday, and that was a major reason Delon Wright had a big day. Both guys get a boost, but I do prefer Van Vleet.
The last game without a total is Grizzlies/Trail Blazers. Mike Conley is the main piece here, and we are waiting for news on his status. If he sits, we get a cheap Shelvin Mack, who should see a major bump in minutes and usage.
Pacers/Raptors and Grizzlies/Blazers are likely to be lower scoring games, featuring some of the better defensive units in the league. The Knicks/76ers could end up with a pretty high total, so that is the one line I am anxiously awaiting.
TOP PROJECTED TOTALS
- Bucks – 120.5
- Thunder – 120.25
- Rockets – 118
- Hornets – 115.5
- Celtics – 115.25
- Kings – 115.25
BIGGEST PACE BUMPS
- Rockets: 5.8
- Grizzlies: +4.5
- Cavaliers: +4
- Knicks: +1.5
- Pacers: +1.5
- Thunder: +1.5
HIGHEST PROJECTION OVER AVERAGE
- Rockets: +10
- Thunder: +9
- Warriors: +5
- Bulls: +5
- Celtics: +4
FAVORITE CASH PLAYS
Russell Westbrook – This is such a good spot for Westbrook and I definitely will have some exposure in either cash or GPP play. Sacramento and OKC are both top-5 in the league for pace with the Thunder getting a slight bump here. Next to the Rockets, they have the highest projection over average of any team on the slate. Being a high usage guy, Westbrook is perfectly positioned to be one of the main beneficiaries of that outsized performance. I have him projected for a top-3 overall score today, behind Giannis and Anthony Davis and slightly ahead of James Harden. I likely do not wind up with him in cash because I want to spend elsewhere, but he’s absolutely a great play today and someone I will have exposure to in GPPs at the very least.
De'Aaron Fox – So you will see a bunch of Kings on my list today even though it’s a tough matchup and the Kings are site specific for me. DraftKings discounted them due to the matchup and the fact that the starters only played half a quarter in the last blowout loss. That loss was on the tail end of a back-to-back after a hard-fought victory over the Mavericks, so I’m not going to read too much into it. De'Aaron Fox has become one of my most used cash game plays this year. Normally, point guards do well against the Thunder, as Westbrook is a little lazy defensively, saving his energy for the other side of the floor. Fox has really taken a step forward. He has 46+ fantasy points and 25+ real-life points in 4 of the last 7. His price has dipped on DK and is reasonable on FD as well. Getting over 40 from him at $7K is a 6X return and he’s been well over 40 in 4 of the last 7.
Kris Dunn – I like this play more when Zach Lavine is out and it does look like he should be returning here. Still, Dunn is a scorer and one that has produced when given the chance and healthy. Chicago is projected for 5 points over their average, and with the Nets coming off a back-to-back with a win against the Lakers on the front end, I can see this being a little bit of a letdown spot for them. Dunn just feels too cheap right now for a guy who was routinely putting up 40+ last year when healthy. Right now, he is healthy, and with the lack of scorers outside of him, Lavine and Markkanen, they should all be able to put up points.
D.J. Augustin – Not a huge fan of D.J. Augustin, but was surprised to see how cheap he was today. I know the matchup is not great and DJ has a low ceiling, but he does routinely play around 30 minutes. At only $4K on DraftKings, you can luck into a couple points, assists and steals to get you over that hump. Even at $4,800 on FanDuel, he still needs just 25 on both sites to make value.
James Harden – At this point in the season, I shouldn't have to explain how good a fantasy producer Harden is. What makes me love him today is the fact the Rockets get the biggest pace bump and are projected for the most points over their average (+10). Harden has gone nuclear in the past week, torching the Lakers for 86 fantasy points on a 50/10/11 triple-double, following that up with 69 against a slow-paced Memphis team and recorded another triple-double, and then dropping 47 real-life points on his way to 71 DK points against another normally tough opponent in the Jazz. This is the softest spot for him in the last week and my biggest fear in cash games is a blowout. Harden played 35, 40 and 40 minutes in the last three games, which is helping with that huge ceiling. If this game does turn ugly, I can see the Rockets using this opportunity to rest him a bit. With Washington struggling and on the tail end of a back-to-back, it is not out of the question, hence making him a slightly higher risk in cash games. Absolutely will have some GPP exposure, but we do have plenty of high-end options to choose from and some nice mid-range SG options that we can go to instead.
Jrue Holiday – So the Pelicans are without both Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic today. Although position wise that doesn't really benefit Jrue, it will in his scoring and usage. Those two guys combine for 36 points a game and with the bench options and secondary pieces not really being able to score like that, the points will have to come from the other stars picking up their usage. Milwaukee is a tough defense to crack, but the Pelicans still have a high team total and as you look down the roster, I can't figure out who else is going to score. For this game to stay close, it has to be Jrue and Anthony Davis.
Buddy Hield (If no Bogdon, he becomes an even better play) – Not a huge fan of his upside and never really play him in GPPs, but the price is reasonable on both sites for a guy who consistently puts up about 30-35 a game. Bogdan Bogdanovic is also questionable here, and that would free up more minutes for guys who play the wing. Hield has been producing nicely and that could be the thing that bumps him up and makes the floor even safer.
Derrick Rose (Especially if Teague is out) – I actually don’t mind Rose even if Teague plays. He runs the second unit and gets crunch time minutes with the first depending on matchups. I likely won't use his unless Teague is out though. If Teague misses, the minutes floor is higher and Rose has always produced this year when he sees extra minutes. I do think the upside here is unlikely, but the floor would be really high without Teague.
Jeremy Lamb – Lamb draws a decent matchup here against a Cavs team without an interior presence on the tail end of the back-to-back. Lamb has been solid this year and he’s needed to be. The Hornets do not have a lot of good scorers outside of Kemba Walker. Lamb is one of the few other consistent ones with guys like Batum and Marvin Williams so hit or miss. He is reasonably priced on both sites, and while I’m not expecting upside, I do expect him to produce a high floor and could explode if he has a big rebounding game against a team without much size or rim protection.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Giannis projects out for 10 points higher than any other SF option on this slate for me today. He is definitely one of the guys I am looking to target on the higher end. New Orleans has been a great matchup all season for everyone they face. They play fast, scoring and allowing a lot of points. When you remove Mirotic and Randle, that takes two other big men off the floor and forces lesser players to pick up the slack. Giannis may see some Anthony Davis, but he also might draw some Darius Miller or Cheick Diallo. The biggest thing with Giannis is the minutes. When games stay close, he plays 35+. He has a 55 point floor when he does with upside to 70/80 fantasy points.
Trevor Ariza – The debut as a Wizard went even better than many could have imagined as Ariza went nuts yesterday for nearly 10X his salary. He’s not that proficient of a scorer that this is a normal game for him, but he did see a ton of minutes for a team that desperately wanted and needed him. The key here is Otto Porter. As long as Porter is out, Ariza is going to be locked into big minutes. The salaries came out before that game ended last night, so his price has not really adjusted upwards. It is only one game and maybe things change, but I expect him to have a high minutes number again and to produce at least at value.
Nemanja Bjelica – Another victim of that benching and resting of the starters for the Kings last time out. Bjelica had been playing really well with 40+ in two of the previous games. He was 90% owned in double ups and 50/50s when he crapped out the other night and people are going to be in the “NEVER AGAIN” camp with him. The price hasn't really moved so he’s as good a play today as he was the other day, and the ownership is now going to be way lower than 90%. I still expect him to be pretty chalky as the savings he offers is needed, but I’ll take easy points when the DFS gods offer them to me at a cheap price.
Joe Harris – With Allen Crabbe out, Joe Harris has consistently produced a 6X return. He lacks major upside and I wouldn't expect a monster 40 point performance, but his minutes without Crabbe are safe, as he is one of the few guys who can stretch the floor for them while giving Dinwiddie and Russell driving lanes. He saw 38 minutes last game, which is the most he has seen since way earlier in the season when they also had injury issues. He is priced where his 30 point recent games would be a 6X return. That’s a solid floor for the price.
Anthony Davis – There is no way the Pelicans stay close here today without a big game from Davis. Mirotic and Randle are both out. Between them, they are averaging 36 points a game with 18 rebounds in over 60 minutes of action per night. That is a ton of minutes, points and rebounds that need to be made up. The guys playing for them like Diallo and Miller are not going to produce big numbers, which means the rest of the main pieces are going to have to pick up the slack. Davis is coming off performances of 60, 76 and 66 in his last three games. He had Randle in those three, so his production could even increase here and that is a scary thought for opposing defenses.
Larry Nance – The Cavs were babying Nance, but the injury to Tristan Thompson has forced them to stop that nonsense. Their frontcourt is thin right now, so Nance is going to have to keep playing big minutes for them to have a chance to win. He had a monster 50 point explosion last night, and while that is likely closer to his ceiling game, it is worthy of note. Nance should continue to be a proficient scorer and one of the best rebounders left on the team, and with the lack of other options, I am confident the minutes will remain elevated.
Jeff Green – So I am not a huge Jeff Green fan, but apparently, the Wizards are. It made a good, young player like Kelly Oubre expendable, and we still see them giving him big minutes. They did add Ariza, but they also lost Oubre, so those minutes end up basically a wash. Green was already routinely seeing 30+ minutes, including an average of 35 a night in the last four games. In those four games, he went for 12, 4, 7 and 5 times his salary.
Cheick Diallo – This one dovetails with the Anthony Davis reasoning. No Randle and no Mirotic mean a lot of forward minutes available to play. Davis will likely slide into the center role with guys like Darius Miller and Diallo taking the minutes vacated by Randle and Mirotic being out. We have a lot of Pelicans on the list today and rightly so. They have a high team total and are without two guys who play a lot of minutes, grab a lot of rebounds, and score a lot of points. Everyone else is going to have to pick up the slack for that lost production.
Joel Embiid – My favorite expensive option today is Embiid slightly over Andre Drummond. The 76ers blew out the Cavs before getting blown out by the Spurs, so everyone on their roster has weird recent game logs. Embiid played 29 minutes or less in both. He averages 34 minutes per night on the season, so taking 15-20% of his time away is going to have a negative effect. There is a chance of blowout risk here too, but the Knicks have been scrappy. If Embiid gets back up to his 34+ minutes tonight, that massive 35% usage rate for a center along with his ability to crush with a dozen or more rebounds should translate into a lot of fantasy production for him.
Willie Cauley-Stein – This is more of a DraftKings play in my mind, as the Kings prices are depressed over there. Last game, the Kings starters played under 10 minutes each. It was the tail end of that road back-to-back, and after beating Dallas with high minutes from the top players, they all sat out after the first rotation. It killed quite a few rosters as a bunch of those guys were very highly owned. This matchup here for WCS is not great. His FD price hadn’t adjusted, so he’s not a good play over there. On DraftKings, he is below $6K though, and that just feels too cheap for him. WCS likely gets back to his 34ish minutes tonight. When he does, he has a high floor and should pop for 30+. That’s over 5X with upside even in a tough spot.
Cody Zeller – Nothing sexy here, although, he has flashed some recent upside. Zeller is cheap, has a matchup with a Cavs team lacking any interior size right now, and is someone who has a consistently solid floor. If you need to save, Zeller is a guy high up on my radar today in cash. Just don't expect massive upside. It happens sometimes but is quite rare.