Solid seven game slate for NBA DFS tonight which is the good news. The bad news is that…
Solid seven game slate for NBA DFS tonight which is the good news. The bad news is that it’s not the greatest slate for cash games. We have three of these games with double digit spreads and another currently at 9.5. There is a big chance a few of them feature fewer-than-ceiling minutes for some of the studs. We also have an all-star team of big name players listed as either out or questionable. Jimmy Butler and Kevin Love are two guys we know will be out already. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins both missed the last game and are also listed as questionable tonight. Luka Doncic is listed as questionable and seeing the Mavericks as home dogs does not instill confidence that he will be able to play, or that he will be 100% if he does. Zach LaVine is also listed as questionable here. That means with the exception of Blazers/Clippers, every other game either features a 10+ point spread, a legit superstar that is in real danger of missing the game, or both.
Normally I would say this slate sets up for a stars and scrubs type of night, but with the spreads where they are that is not even a good barometer. A guy like Joel Embiid has an amazing spot today against a Cavs team without Love and with Chriss, Nance, and Thompson all listed as doubtful. That basically leaves Ante Zizic as the sole remaining big guy and a guy like Cedi Osman in line to play some PF minutes tonight. Embiid should dominate him, but how much do they push him coming off an injury here? Boban is back too, so they have other options to chew up some of those minutes. KAT And Wiggins missing the other night made guys like Taj Gibson and Keita Bates-Diop must plays if you wanted to win. We get both guys relatively cheap today and they’re likely to see big minutes with higher usage again if Kat and Wiggins sit. You never know whether Anthony Davis plays or not, but we do know Jrue Holiday is out. Frank Jackson has done a good job covering those minutes, although his price is up, and I’m avoiding guys like Kenrich Williams and Cheick Diallo today unless we hear AD will sit. Milwaukee is a big favorite there and I like Giannis, but would be hesitant to use him without Davis playing 20 minutes and hopefully helping to keep it close.
My roster construction is currently very stars and scrubs as we have so many cheap options that are likely to be available due to injuries. Not all of these guys are listed as out yet, which is why I included a bunch of people I am very high on, but decided to use the caveat that I will play them IF someone else is out. KAT, Jimmy, Doncic, LaVine, and Love are some of the highest usage players in the league and the main weapons on their teams. No one player is going to cover the loss of production from any of these guys, which means a bunch of their teammates are in line for increased usage and production. I do think, ultimately, that stars and scrubs is the way to go, but the key to victory is being on the stars who end up getting a full run.
Top Projected Totals
- MIL – 123.5
- DEN – 118.5
- PHI – 117.75
- POR – 116.75
- LAC – 114.75
- NO – 114
Biggest Pace Bumps
- CLE – +5.2
- CHI – +4.5
- DEN/POR/IND – ~+2
Highest Projection Over Average
- CHI – +7.5
- DEN – +6.5
- MIL – +6
- IND – +4
Top Cash Plays
Ben Simmons – Simmons has played well, although people worry about his production with Embiid and Boban back. Simmons can’t shoot, so a lot of his scoring comes on drives and those work better without big men clogging the lane. Embiid can at least step out a little bit, but Boban basically rim runs and plants himself in front of the basket. Without Butler though, I still think he does enough in terms of his all around game. Simmons can rebound, this should be a big assist game for him, and he’s going to have to do some scoring as well. I worry about Embiid getting full run with Boban back and this likely to be a blowout. I worry less about Simmons as he is the reason they can go easy with Embiid as he likely plays most of the game.
Frank Jackson – Like him more on FD than DK as the price is cheaper on FD and the multiple needed is lower. Jackson has filled in nicely for Jrue Holiday. This is a tough matchup for him, but the Pelicans still project for 114, and with AD on minutes restriction and no Jrue, that means the other guys who get a chance to play here should produce above expectations even in a tough spot.
Jalen Brunson – Even with Doncic playing, he has been popping off for near 6X lately. He’s clearly the guard they want to play more over Trey Burke who doesn’t have a future with this team. We also have Luka Doncic as questionable and that is the interesting part. He’s not a bad play if Luka is in, but we have better ones. If Luka is out, Brunson would get a big boost in minutes and usage.
Collin Sexton – I don’t love Sexton, but the Cavs do, and as long as they are committed to him getting minutes, the production is at least worthy of mention because he has upside and a decent floor. Without Love today you would expect everyone to get a usage boost and even if the game turns ugly the Cavs have shown a willingness to let their young PG play. That’s a solid, safe floor with upside potential in a paced up spot. Lots of things to like about him at the price.
Shaq Harrison – If Zach LaVine can’t go, some people will flock to Kris Dunn. I’m nervous to use Dunn in cash due to his minutes being below 30 lately. He’s not 100% healthy and that could mean he doesn’t see as big a bump as people predict he will. Harrison was already seeing an uptick in minutes because of this and now without LaVine he could be in line for 30+ at near min price.
I am punting the hell out of the SG position today as it is one of the weakest on the slate. Guys like Jimmy Butler, Luka Doncic, and Zach LaVine would have been the best plays on the slate and likeliest high scorers, but all of them are either already out or listed as questionable with injuries. My list is a group of cheap guys who all should get boosts, but none that I really love. On DK you have a lot of PG/SG eligible guys that you can mix and match. On FD, The double punt and spending everywhere else seems to be the way to build tonight.
CJ McCollum – I think one of the safest plays tonight, even at an elevated price, is CJ McCollum. The SG spot on FD looks like the walking wounded up top, with basically just DeRozan and CJ as high end options without an injury tag. The one game that sets up best here too is that game with Portland visiting the Clippers. It’s a high total over 230 and the spread is only 2 points. It’s not an ideal spot with a slower projected pace than usual, but Portland is projected for above average production against a weak defense with weak rim protection.
Guys that I have interest in as SG2 on FD:
Wayne Selden – If LaVine is out
Josh Hart – Dirt cheap and likely to see minutes with that rotation so thin.
Marco Belinelli – Not much upside, but at his price he doesn’t need to be great. He’s played a bunch of 30 minute games lately, too.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Probably the best spend up on the day for me. Yes there is some risk as with all the double digit favorite spend ups today, but Giannis is on the road and the spread is under 10. My hope is the game stays close into the fourth quarter, because then you get full run out of him. This is also one of the fastest games on the day with the teams ranked 5th and 6th in pace and Milwaukee does project for 6 points over average, which is already one of the highest per game scoring averages in the league at 117.5. In terms of matchups for the spend ups, Giannis has the one that projects him for the highest ceiling provided he gets full run.
Otto Porter – I like Porter and his price is ok, but without LaVine I would love him. I’m not as high on Dunn as many others are today, mostly because I expect the production to go to the forwards in Porter and Markkanen. The Lakers defense is near non-existent and guys have put up big numbers against them due to the pace. Porter is a scorer and with the guys filling in for LaVine not being scorers, it should benefit him the most.
Cedi Osman – We haven’t gotten too deep into the Cavs dire frontcourt situation, but here’s the cliff notes. Love is out for rest on the tail end of the B2B. Nance and Thompson are both doubtful and have missed a handful of games. Marquese Chriss got choke slammed and punched in the face by Serge Ibaka yesterday for acting like a tough guy. He is doubtful as a potential suspension is looming. I am hopeful one of those three does play and whichever of them does would be in line for minutes. Zizic will play most of the Center minutes, but that still leaves them a lot of court time to fill up. Osman is more of a SF, but he may have to play a PF role here today. That could set him up for more rebounds. Add to that the monster court time he is likely to receive and while he’s not an elite level producer who smashes upside often, it would take a horribly bad game for him to miss value with increased minutes and more rebounding responsibilities.
Darius Miller – If you need a punt to make something fit, Darius Miller is a solid one. His minutes were just shy of 30 last game and with Moore and Holliday both out, the SF minutes are available for guys like him and Kenrich Williams to play. Due to the shortened injury riddled rotation, we could see 24-30 minutes from both. The difference today is that Williams price is way up and Miller is still near min salary. He’s just a really solid option at a price point that is useful when building stars and scrubs.
Lauri Markkanen – Again here banking on LaVine being out making him option #1, but even if LaVine is not out, he’s been doing fine. The blowout last game saw him with fewer minutes and he has not been great the few games preceding it either, but about a week ago this was a guy who had a string of 40-60 point games. Now we may even see him with a boost in usage to go along with solid rebounding numbers in a big paced up spot where his team has a huge projection over average. It’s one of the best spots on the day in terms of potential production.
LaMarcus Aldridge – LMA is a guy who is capable of 60 point games as we saw last time out, but really is more of 40-45 point guy. The matchup here is just so soft with guys like Dirk and Powell and Finney-Smith all likely to take turns trying to guard him. Dumping the ball inside and feeding him in the post area against the weak interior defense of the Mavericks makes a lot of sense. The Spurs are on the road and that is one of the games a little closer than the double digit spread ones, so I’m more comfortable using my money on guys playing in that one.
Taj Gibson (and to a lesser extent Dario Saric) – This is if Karl-Anthony Towns is out. Without Towns twice in recent games, Taj Gibson stepped into a big minutes role and produced. He’s a legit guy that is still too cheap if the minutes are going to be there. Without KAT they will be, with him you can’t trust Taj anymore as he is splitting PF time with Saric.
(CAVS) – Love is certainly out and the frontcourt may be just Ante Zizic. If you get news of Nance or Chriss being able to play tonight, I would have to consider them. Given how thin the Cavs are, either could play 30 minutes if active.
Nikola Jokic – I have Jokic behind only Giannis in terms of raw points. Yes I have him ahead of a banged up KAT and Joel Embiid off injury and with Boban lurking to take some minutes from him in a potential blowout. He has been a little disappointing lately, but the Nuggets were on a three game road trip. Now they are back home where Jokic has put up much better numbers. He is one guy who may prefer KAT play as that would be a softer defensive matchup for him, but Jokic can get production no matter what. He’s a bull in the post, passes like a guard, and is big and will rebound. That’s why we love him for fantasy. The guy has the upside to put up big numbers across the board and is one of the few centers that is a legit triple-double threat.
Ante Zizic – I didn’t like him much last night with Love and Chriss both playing too. Now both of them may be out in addition to Thompson and Nance. Almost by default he is going to have to see 30+ minutes. They just don’t really have any other size besides him. The 76ers have Boban and Embiid so they can run a legit 7 footer out there all game long and Zizic is the closest the Cavs can come to answering that.
Moritz Wagner – I also wanted to throw in another dirt cheap big from the Lakers in Wagner. On FanDuel at $5K he is unlikely to be my center, but he has paid off that salary recently. On DK he is $3300 and he’s gone for like 10X that salary recently. I would not be expecting 30+ from him every night, but he has shown the ability and should see > half the game here with 25 being 7-8X and upside.