Ricky Sanders breaks down tonight’s 9-game NBA DFS slate!!
Players are based on FanDuel (FD) pricing/positions. Plays noted with (DK) are notably good plays on DraftKings. Please read the entire article, as the rankings are explained in the bottom half (along with what news can radically shift these rankings).
- T.J. McConnell
- Trae Young
- Dejounte Murray
- Malachi Flynn
- Ben Simmons (if no Joel Embiid)
- Facundo Campazzo
- Terence Davis
- Dillon Brooks
- Devin Booker
- Desmond Bane/Gary Trent Jr.
- Aaron Holiday (if Caris LeVert out)
BONUS: Kevin Huerter gets a significant boost if Danilo Gallinari is inactive
- Duncan Robinson (if no Jimmy Butler)
- Maurice Harkless
- Kawhi Leonard (move him up if Paul George is out)
- R.J. Barrett (Knicks still could move up in seeding)
- Kyle Anderson
- Aaron Gordon
- Paul Millsap
- Jaren Jackson Jr.
- Domantas Sabonis
- Freddie Gillespie
BONUS: Marcus Morris (assuming one of Kawhi Leonard/Paul George sit)/Doug McDermott (assuming Caris LeVert sits) both enter top five consideration if their teammates sit
- Chimezie Metu
- Nikola Jokic
- Jusuf Nurkic
- Khem Birch
- Bam Adebayo (especially if Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid sits)
NOTE: Chris Boucher has been upgraded to questionable. If he were to play, Raptors big men like Freddie Gillespie and Yuta Watanabe would become riskier propositions as they would not possess the same clear path to sizeable minutes.
Top Stud over $8K: Nikola Jokic
Top Value under $5K: Chimezie Metu
DK Core: Nikola Jokic, Chimezie Metu, T.J. McConnell, Terence Davis
Top Stud over $8K: Nikola Jokic
Top Value under $5K: Gary Trent Jr.
FD Core: Nikola Jokic, Facundo Campazzo, T.J. McConnell, Terence Davis
Key News to Watch:
Jimmy Butler – After the Heat went out and beat the Celtics in back-to-back important games, Heat fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as they have successfully avoided the play-in tournament. While the team can move up a spot in seeding and eclipse the Hawks with wins down the stretch, it likely becomes a higher priority for the team to simply rest their stars and get them ready for the playoffs. For that reason, a questionable Jimmy Butler is likely closer to doubtful, and his absence will boost the usage of fellow teammates Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic. Unfortunately, the question becomes whether the team wants to push anyone’s minutes tonight, and that is the reason for my Heat hesitation. Robinson is the safest of the bunch and Herro may end up over-owned due to two lights-out shooting performances in the last two. Pay attention to who starts at point guard (PG), presumably Nunn, as he would be the main beneficiary (and his usage rate has increased 2.3-percentage points in 16 games without Butler already this year).
Joel Embiid – Like the Heat, the 76ers have already clinched the playoffs, although they are only 1.5-games up on the Nets for the number one overall seed. With that being the case, whomever suits up tonight will have some motivation, and Ben Simmons/Tobias Harris have each averaged at least 1.18 DK fantasy points per minute (FPPM) in games without Embiid this year. Harris receives the more significant boost of the two as he has gone from 1.08 DK FPPM to 1.27 in the 19-games without Embiid. Hell, Embiid sat last game and Harris ended up garnering a 36.9-percent usage rate (24 shot attempts), so he would be worth every penny of his $7,000 price point if Embiid were to sit. As for Simmons, he remains underpriced on FD as well, and he makes sense to correlate with one of the shoots. The Heat guard the basket well and force opposing teams to shoot three-point attempts against them at a 43.0-percent frequency (highest frequency of three-point attempts allowed by any team). If Simmons is driving and kicking, someone will be knocking down the open threes, and Danny Green is the affordable three-point shooter of the bunch.
Toronto Raptors @ Chicago Bulls – With a loss to the Nets on Tuesday, the Bulls have not officially been eliminated, but their season is effectively over. Basically, with three games to go, the Bulls are 2.5-games behind the Wizards, and need a miracle to get in. In all likelihood, the last loss ended their season, and this will be a battle between two teams who feel they are out of the playoffs. Given the Raptors extensive injury report, they have fully committed to the end of season tank: O.G. Anunoby, Aron Baynes, Chris Boucher, Rodney Hood, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Paul Watson will all miss tonight’s contest. By my calculations, that leaves the Raptors with eight men standing: Gary Trent Jr., Yuta Watanabe, DeAndre Bembry, Malachi Flynn, Khem Birch, Stanley Johnson, Freddie Gillespie and Jalen Harris. All eight of them should play extensive minutes by default and one of Watanabe/Gillespie should step into the starting lineup for Boucher. Whichever one starts will be the more popular of the two but it should be noted Gillespie and Harris played more minutes than the starter Johnson last time out. The Bulls are listed as 10.5-point favorites, and if this one gets out of hand, it could be the bench players factoring into the tournament-winning conversation, as the Raptors could surely pull the plug on a few starters at any point. Flynn and Birch are the safest of the bunch, but if playing tournaments, you are looking for upside, and the upside plays here are Trent Jr. (heavily-reliant on how he shoots), Watanabe, Harris and Gillespie. Of the bunch, Gillespie may be my favorite shot, especially since Boucher’s 37-minutes from last game have to go somewhere else tonight. It would not be surprising for Gillespie to play 30-plus minutes and inherently flirt with a double-double. Since the Raptors are so thin, playing at least a few guys from their rotation makes sense, and opens up salary to spend on superstars at other positions.
Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – Following the Grizzlies blowout victory against the Mavs, they have officially clinched a play-in berth, which lowers their motivations for tonight considerably. If the Grizzlies continue winning, they will end up having to face-off against either the Trail Blazers or the Lakers in the play-in tournaments, whereas if they continue to lose their opponent will be one of the Spurs or Kings. Clearly, remaining motivated to play better teams does not make a ton of sense, so I would expect to see a questionable Jonas Valanciunas sit. On the other hand, the Kings are two games behind the Spurs for the final spot in the play-in bracket, meaning every game is a must-win for them in order for their playoff aspirations to remain alive. Vegas lists them as 8.0-point underdogs and I expect this game to be closer than that number (especially if Valanciunas is out). Lately, Delon Wright has been an absolute monster for the Kings, averaging 17.8 points per game (PPG), 7.0 rebounds per game (RPG), 7.2 assists per game (APG) and 47.2 FD fantasy points per game (FPPG) in five games without Tyrese Haliburton this month. The price point has gotten extremely aggressive on him which makes Richaun Holmes, Chimezie Metu and an equally red-hot Terence Davis the preferred per-dollar spends. Game stacks win tournaments and it would not be crazy to play three-plus Kings in a must-win situation. On the Grizzlies side, Jaren Jackson Jr. is expected back after a one-game absence, and he has topped 33 FD fantasy points in each of his previous three games (despite topping out at 27-minutes during that span). Additionally, Dillon Brooks has posted a 33-plus usage rate in back-to-back games, and I would not expect the team to push Ja Morant tonight, which should mean Brooks continue to be busy on offense. All-in-all, this is not a game to overlook, and one in which you should roster at least two players from in all lineups.
Slate Edges: Terence Davis