Huge slate of NBA games today. The main slate that we should be playing for our cash games has 8 games starting at normal time tonight.
Huge slate of NBA games today. The main slate that we should be playing for our cash games has 8 games starting at normal time tonight. Hell even the shorter early slate has 5 games, which is more than we are used to seeing on a normal NBA Sunday. We are less than a week until season’s end. Most teams have two or three games left and much of the playoff picture is already in focus. In the West they are only playing for matchups as the 8 teams are already set. In the East we still have three spots up for grabs with only 1.5 games separating the final four teams with a chance. Miami is currently on the outside looking in, but teams like Brooklyn, Orlando, and Detroit are all in that mix as well. 3 of today’s games have playoff implications with both teams still alive. These are not the best games to target for fantasy production though. The Celtics and Magic are both slower paced defensive teams, so that is not an ideal fantasy matchup. The Celtics are trying to hold on to fourth place while the Magic are trying to stay alive. The Warriors draw the Clippers here today. As of now it looks like they will be full strength. In fact the Clippers are the ones with guys likely to sit out more than the Warriors. Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari are both unlikely to play here. While it does open up some value for the Clippers, it doesn’t give me a ton of confidence in them to win. The last big playoff push matchup is Denver and Portland. Denver will be a team we talk a lot about today as Murray, Millsap, and Jokic are all likely to sit. That’s nearly 100 minutes in recent games and from the top three offensive weapons currently on the squad. Missing three high minute, high usage guys like this is going to open up major value as the rest of the team is now in line for boosts in minutes and usage, while all of them are cheaply priced. The Nuggets may ultimately lose this game to the Blazers, but for fantasy I think we need to start our discussion by looking at them. If your lineup doesn;t have at least a couple of Nuggets players today, you are doing it wrong.
The injured list is honestly too long to even get into today. Here’s the highlights though. Giannis is likely out. Trae Young and John Collins may be too on the other side of that first game. If so, the Atlanta Hawks would join the Nuggets as places we should be looking today. The Suns also have some issues with Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton both out. TJ Warren has been out awhile and Richaun Holmes is now also listed as questionable to doubtful today. Last game without those guys we saw a big monster performance from Josh Jackson, along with big performances from Dragan Bender and some guy named Ray Spalding. I mention them, because that Trio should feature heavily again here today, although it is a much tougher matchup. The Pelicans against Sacramento and the LAkers against Utah are the other two teams with massive value due to multiple injuries. These guys are cheap and solid plays as well, although I don’t have as many of them in my lineups due to better value at other positions. I would not doubt we get a few more surprise guys sitting today too and if so, that could open up even more value that we have not mentioned. Most teams are done for the season, either because they were eliminated or because they are in the playoffs and are using this time for rest. Definitely follow any news that breaks later on in the day.
Top Cash Plays
Elf Payton – I do not hate D’Aaron Fox on the other side of this game either and both guys are priced in that second tier range for point guards. Ultimately I leaned Elf because he is more of a triple double threat. This game features a fast pace and two teams with nothing really to play for. Fox does give up some time to Bogdan, which is another reason I lean Elf. Both guys are solid plays in a game with a huge total that likely features a ton of scoring.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Ever since Patrick Beverley went out, SGA has seen 30+ minutes again routinely. Not only that, but he is producing with those big minutes. Today the Clippers may also be without Danilo Gallinari. That would mean everyone else would have to do more on offense. SGA has already been making value without Beverley, so this would just solidify his role a little more.
Monte Morris – Morris may be one of my favorite plays on the day. The guy has produced well all year when given a chance. He has played very well since the IT2 experiment was deemed dead and he started to get minutes back. Now he plays a game with Jamal Murray and a Murray less Nuggets team was something that helped him burst on the scene in the first place. Jokic and Millsap are out too, so Morris should be in line for not only big minutes, but also increased production.
Donovan Mitchell – I don’t think salary is much of a concern here today. Some of the high end options are not playable and we have so many cheap low end options that you can pretty much fit in whoever you want. Utah draws an awesome matchup with the Lakers and Mitchell is coming off his fourth straight game of about 45 DK points. Not a ton of upside from there, but for cash and a nice safe high floor you really can’t go wrong here.
Kris Middleton – Giannis is very unlikely to play. Whenever Giannis is out, the guy I always look at first is Middleton. HE tends to not only pick up his scoring, but pick up his game across the board. He’s also reasonably priced at Below $7K on DK. He’s had some monster games without Gianis already this year and is in line for another today assuming that is the situation.
Jamal Crawford – With Booker going down, the Suns needed scoring. The rest of the guards on this team really can’t do that, but Crawford can. The price has risen off a monster OT game where he dropped 40+, but it’s still under $5K. Crawford is probably more of a 25-35 point kind of guy than the 40+ he dropped last game. Still for under $5K, around 30 would be more than enough.
Mario Hezonja – So the Knicks suck and no one is going to argue that, but MArio Hezonja is a gunner and when given a chance he can and has produced. In fact he has produced a lot in recent games. He played 34 and 42 minutes in the last two games, following up a 50 point performance with a 29/9/5 stat line by going for 57 DK points last out with a 16/16/11 stat line. I know the price has jumped up big time, but 34+ minutes and 50+ fantasy points is no joke. The Wizards matchup is one of the best you can ask for at a high pace and lack of defensive prowess.
Gordon Hayward – Normally I steer clear of the Celtics with that deep rotation, but this is a must win game for them to try and keep hold of that #4 spot and home court in the series with Indiana. Not only has he played more with Jaylen Brown being doubtful the last few games, but Terry Rozier also went down and is questionable. Hayward is the guard who should continue to see more minutes and usage with these guys out. Kyrie and Smart already play ceiling minutes, so they don’t have much room to add extra. Hayward was routinely playing less than he can handle as they rounded him back into shape after that season ending injury last year. Now is the time they need him and as the minutes have gone up, so has the production.
DeAndre Bembry – I’m not a huge fan in cash, because normally he plays less than half the game. Today though I expect more from him, because guys like Trae Young and John Collins are unlikely to play. Bembry has been playing to the upside even in 29 or less minutes. With increased usage and a thinned out rotation his chances are even better today.
Josh Jackson – The Suns are a mess right now, but Jackson is the bright spot. Without the high usage rate of Devin Booker, along with guys like Ayton and Warren being out, Jackson is basically the #1 option on this team. He dropped 60 DK points last time out and helped many of my cash teams from the other day. His price has come up a bit, but this is a guy who still almost went 10X on that price and is in line for another big game. The matchup today is not anywhere near as good, but I still project him as one of the better options at the position on the day.
Trey Lyles – We already discussed the Nuggets sitting Jokic, Millsap, and Murray. Lyle’s is the guy who has been benefiting the most from Millsap absences. Jokic and Millsap being out means the Nuggets frontcourt is likely to be a combo of Mason Plumlee and Trey Lyles. The two of them have split time covering minutes whenever one of the other big guys has been out. Lyles has had some big games in these circumstances earlier in the season and I expect him to finish strong as the Nuggets rest some of the big guns before the playoffs.
Dragan Bender – This one really hinges on the availability of Richaun Holmes. We already know that Ayton is out, but Holmes has been banged up too. If both of those guys miss the Suns frontcourt is down to two guys. Dragan Bender and Ray Spalding who is listed below. They each went for 40+ DK points in that last game, although it did go to OT. Still these guys are cheap and even without OT would have been around 30+ minutes and over 30 fantasy points. The matchup today is tougher, but when guys are getting huge bumps in minutes and production, it doesn’t really matter.
Ray Spalding – Already kind of explained it above, but the real kicker with him is price. Bender at $5K is not expensive, but not cheap either. Spalding is near in or dead minimum on both sites. If he repeats or even comes close to repeating his effort from that last game, it’s well over a 6X return and flirting with 10X.
Mason Plumlee – I start this with Plumlee, because he is going to be on a lot of my lineups. He already flirts with value off the bench backing up guys like Jokic and Millsap. With the start today he should get plenty of minutes and he’s never been a guy to struggle to produce. Plumlee should crush here today and will be on all my lineups.
Alex Len – Don’t hate Alex Len either to be honest and made a few lineups for cash with both guys. He’s miles behind Plumlee for me in a one center spot (FanDuel), but without Dedmon and with Collins likely joining him, Len should be the main big guy for the Hawks.
NOTE: We have a slew of second centers at $7-$8K today. Guys like Demarcus Cousins, Javale McGee, Rudy Gobert, and Enes Kanter are al in play. My bigger problem is why use them though? You might get the same or more fantasy points out of Plumlee today and he’s a few thousand cheaper. Without Jokic, his production has been that good. These other guys could al outscore him by a few points, but not likely by enough to justify the added price you have to pay for them.