We have a solid little 6-game slate tonight, and we have about two weeks left of regular season NBA basketball. As each day passes, we lose more teams from…
We have a solid little 6-game slate tonight, and we have about two weeks left of regular season NBA basketball. As each day passes, we lose more teams from the potential playoff hunt. A few of these games do still matter though, the biggest probably being the matchup between Indiana and Boston. As of now, they sit 4th and 5th in the standings with the Pacers 1 game up on Boston. This could be a potential playoff preview and I’m sure both teams would rather be the 4 and get the home court advantage if it goes the distance. Portland should pick up the win against the Hawks, although the Hawks are playing much better late in the season here. Denver and OKC both have something to play for here. The Nuggets got rocked by the Rockets yesterday and are now a game back of the Warriors who are also in action as a ten-point favorite over the Timberwolves tonight. OKC/Den is currently the 2 v 7 matchup in the west, although OKC is only a half a game ahead of San Antonio in 8th and 1 back of both Utah and the Clippers, so they could end up anywhere between 4 and 8 depending on how this works itself out. The Jazz also play today and are favored over the Wizards. If they lose, the Thunder could leap them in the standings, but they are the biggest favorite on the board today at 12. Charlotte’s playoff hopes are technically alive but fading fast. They can’t afford loses as they are two games behind Miami and Orlando back with 6 or 7 games to go.
The major piece of injury news so far is Paul George listed as questionable. George is a high minutes, high usage guy, so if he sits, we would expect to see usage bumps for everyone as the added minutes will be distributed to multiple guys, but none of them are going to approach the usage of George. The more likely outcome is that the other main players like Westbrook, Grant, Adams, and even Dennis Schroeder pick up the added usage. Nothing else major to the bad side really. Taurean Prince, Taj Gibson, Cody Zeller are some others likely to be out here today and they do open up some value we will discuss. The bigger news is guys who are now listed as active. We have Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Lebron James who were upgraded from questionable to probable and are all likely to play. These are big producers, so they hurt the other guys who benefitted when they were out and also are guys we need to consider. We do have enough value as is often the case late in the year, so we won’t have any problem going Stars and scrubs.
Top Projected Totals
- Warriors 119.25
- Jazz 119.25
- Trailblazers 118.75
- Hawks 115.75
- Hornets 115.25
Biggest Pace Bumps
- Nuggets +5.3
- Blazers +4.6
- Hornets +4.1
Highest Projection Over Average
- Jazz +8.25
- Hornets +4.25
- Blazers +4
- Hawks +2.75
Top Cash Plays
Russell Westbrook – Denver is not the best matchup overall, but OKC at home does project for a point over average. They do catch the Denver Nuggets on the tail end of the back-to-back. Westbrook is in play any day, so you never have to avoid him. The catalyst for why he can play to the upside today is that PG13 might not play. If he is out, we could get max usage Westbrook to go along with higher rebounding numbers. That would mean 50-60-point floor and 80-point upside not out of the question.
Steph Curry – If PG13 plays, the matchup for Westbrook is not one I really want to go with. In that case, Steph is the guy I like most. You get $1000+ dropping down to him from Westbrook or Lillard and he’s dropping 45+ routinely with 50-60-point upside. Golden State projects over average, even on the road here and Steph has a solid matchup.
Damian Lillard – With McCollum and Nurkic out, he’s needed to play big and up his usage. He had some monster assists games and has seen the shot attempts go up to. One thing that does concern me a little is minutes. He’ll play as many as they NEED him to, meaning he could see 40 if the game is close, but if it’s not, he could play closer to 30 like he did last time out and there is no way he will pay off an elevated salary if he’s playing only 30 minutes. I tend to like him more for GPPs today, but it’s so hard to lay off a high usage guy on the uptick against the Hawks defense.
Kemba Walker – Charlotte is technically still alive and they really need the win. Kemba’s last few games have been unworldly. The dude has always played well in March dating back to his college days. Charlotte has a solid +4.1 pace bump and projects for more than 4 points over average. Kemba’s last three DK scores are 70, 55, and 69 so the dude is balling out right now and carrying his team. Increased shot attempts, near max minutes, and a matchup this good makes him a very interesting play.
Trae Young – Last two games he went for 30/10. The two games before that it was only 20/10, but either way you are talking 40-50 fantasy points right there. The guy is priced up in line with other point guards like Steph and Kemba, but he’s also producing really well. The matchup is actually pretty soft against Lillard too, especially with Nurkic not anchoring that defense.
Tyus Jones – I like a lot of the expensive point guard options as you can see above, with two notable exceptions in the cheap range. One is Tyus Jones. He lacks upside, but with Rose and Teague out has been consistently around 30-35 fantasy points. Again, not the upside guy to win you anything, but a serviceable cash game play likely to keep you on pace for cheaper than the stars.
Seth Curry – My favorite cheap PG play is probably Curry. He’s been solid since CJ McCollum went down finishing with 25-30 fantasy points routinely himself. The price is still cheap where 25-30 would be a 6X kind of return. If the game does get ugly, he could even see a lot more PG time in a mop up duty situation. The matchup with the hawks is one of the best you can ask for, so he’s definitely a viable salary saver tonight.
Donovan Mitchell – I actually do not love Mitchell, but the SG position on FD is a wreck. On DK you can use a Curry here and that is what I have done so far, but on FD we need a guy eligible. Mitchell does draw a very good matchup with the fast paced and defensively challenged Washington Wizards. The up and down style of this game actually suits him well today. On DK I have zero interest, but on my initial FD build I found my way to him almost by default.
Dennis Schroeder – Schroeder is consistently playing decent and getting near his value number, but we would need a catalyst to really want to play him. That Catalyst today may be the status of PG 13. Schroeder would pick up both minutes and usage if PG 13 can’t play as the other guys outside of Westbrook are not really going to create shots for themselves or others. Schroeder can do that and that’s why his usage bump is the thing we need to put him as a cash play. If PG13 does play, I’m off of Schroeder.
Josh Okogie – Big minutes, routinely in the 30s now for Okogie. He’s actually produced better too. It’s not just the minutes either, as the per minute average is also up and the combination of them is what makes this great. His price remains relatively cheap too. That means he’s got a good sot to make value and even exceed it on a good day. The Warriors are no easy matchup, but his minutes give me confidence in the safe floor.
Lebron James – Lebron is playing today. Lebron can dominate games and this minutes limit crap hasn’t slowed him down anywhere but the price tag. LeBron has been in and out of the lineup lately, but before sitting last game he played 3 straight, logging at least 34 minutes in all of them, scoring mid 20s points, averaging over 11 assists to go along with 9 rebounds. He’s double doubled in all of them and triple doubled in one of the three games, missing three straight triple doubles by 1 and 3 rebounds in those games. The guy is a monstar and no that word is spelled correctly. The Lakers project over average and Lebron’s averages have been in the 50-60s anyway lately. Also, if PG 13 is out, he’s the clear #1 SF on the slate. I worry about both how productive PG13 will be even if plays and the tough slower paced matchup he plays in. I’m avoiding him today, especially with both guys within $1000 of each other right now.
Dwayne Bacon – So I was trying to figure out which guy benefits from Nic Batum being out and from Jeremy Lamb not being 100%. The two guys who stood out are Bacon and Miles Bridges. Bridges has seen his price rise more, which is why Bacon makes more sense to me for cash. There is risk here, but as long as Batum is out the minutes are available for both guys again. Bacon has shown the better upside and he’s cheaper, so for me he gets the nod as a cheap punt, especially on FD where the score can drop if he sucks.
Rodney Hood – Not a ton of upside with hood, but due to the injuries he has stepped up a bit. The last game wasn’t as close as expected, so I’m not sure how this translates into a closer contest, but they do need scoring help as Dame can’t do it all and they have a lack of other scoring options with guys like Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe HArkless not being big time shot makers. Hood can score and is a shot maker, something this team needs. I expect to see both his minutes and usage climb a bit and he’s very cheap. If either of them climbs he has upside, if both do, he could end up with 25-35 points and even the low end of that is 6X+ at his price.
Paul Millsap – I didn’t initially have Millsap on my list. PF was not a spot that jumps out at you today. I think you will see a lot of people go cheaper. If you want to spend up, I do think Millsap bounces back tonight. They got rolled last night but are still fighting for the #1 spot in the playoffs so I could see a 30+ minute game here. That last game did not start out great and you saw less minutes for everyone. My guess is they didn’t care as much about that one and are trying to get this one tonight. If PG13 sits, the matchup also gets softer for them, although George won’t be banging with Millsap anyway.
Jerami Grant – I like Grant and like Schroeder typically comes in around value. He already plays big minutes, but if PG13 if out the usage will climb too. Grant has had upside games when asked to do more scoring due to an injury to one of the big two stars. Those guys are both so high usage that everyone else basically gets scraps most nights. If one were to be out as is projected here. It would make the other guys all better plays and that could be the spot we have today with Grant.
Frank Kaminsky – I love Kaminsky today, especially at his price. I think he is going to keep playing the near 30 minutes he saw last time out. Plus, the Lakers interior is weak, so his center minutes should be very valuable today.
Al Farouq-Aminu is a decent value option in a great matchup today. Without Nurkic he should continue to see higher minutes and be more involved in rebounding. At a cheap price that should help the floor, but he lacks a ceiling. Dario Saric should benefit if Taj Gibson misses today, but he’s not producing enough in those spots to love him. Still for the cheap price he is interesting at least.
Rudy Gobert – I’m not paying all the way up for KAT today or Jokic. Jokic on tail end of a back-to-back on the road vs. Steven Adams defense is not ideal. I’m also not looking to spend $3K more on KAT when his track record this year isn’t great against the Warriors and Minnesota projects for 3 points below average without much of a pace move. It just doesn’t scream upside spot. That has me looking down the list and Gobert is interesting. He’s putting up 45-50 most nights and now he draws a soft matchup against the Wizards interior in a game where his team has the co-highest total on the day. Gobert rebounds and scores enough, but also has some assists and the athletic ability to dominate in defensive stat categories.
Demarcus Cousins – So I never thought I’d say these words, but in the next price tier the decision was whether or not to play Cousins or JaVale McGee. In GPPs I do think McGee has the higher ceiling as crazy as that sounds. Cousins has a slew of other scorers who cap his upside. In terms of who is more likely to miss 35-45 points tonight though the answer to that question is also McGee, which is why I prefer Cousins as a safer floor option in cash. The Warriors project over average with a big co-high total on the day. Cousins also hasn’t been playing his max minutes, so besides the safer floor he could even have upside. McGee minutes are up to about the same level and that is his ceiling in minutes, so you really can’t project him to be any better there.
Al Horford – If you need to save a little, I debated Horford vs. Myles Turner in the same game for about the same price. Neither guy has a great matchup on paper, but I just feel like the Celtics need and want this game more. That’s why Kyrie is playing, and the standings tell you why. The Celtics are currently a #5 seed behind Indiana. Winning ties them up and puts Boston in the driver seat for the #4 spot and home court in the first round. I expect them to play this like a playoff game today. On DK at $6000 Horford fit nicely into some lineup builds I was making and that is why I went back and forth between him and Turner. Again, no knock on Turner and I’ll have GPPs shares of him too, but for safety I preferred Horford as I trust his minutes more. Turner has Sabonis who sometimes steals minutes and for cash I don’t want that headache.