Identify the players on tonight’s NBA DFS slate who have the safest floors for your DraftKings & FanDuel cash game lineups!
Another solid little six-game NBA DFS slate for tonight, which is not usually the case on a Thursday. One minor issue is the spreads though. Only two games have spreads of four points or less with the other four at seven, 10, 12 and 13. Blowout risk is definitely a factor we need to be conscious of today, as 2/3rds of the games are three possessions or more.
One of the two games with a close spread also happens to be the lowest total on the board, meaning the game that stands out the most is Charlotte and Washington. The Wizards defense has been god awful all season, but even worse lately, as they gave up nearly 90 points to a Giannis-less Bucks team in the first half the other night. You will definitely see a few Hornets on the list today, but it’s not easy to click those names off some of the game logs.
In terms of injury news, we do not have much left up in the air with players listed as questionable or doubtful that make major impacts. In fact, we probably have more situations where players returning will tic down some numbers as opposed to the norm of players being out opening up minutes and usage. For the 76ers, Al Horford is out while Mike Scott will be available Thursday. This opens up some frontcourt minutes, but remember Joel Embiid also recently returned, so in terms of adjustments, I’m still ticking down the production of guys like Simmons and Tobias. Embiid sucks up so much usage when on the floor that he’ll easily make up for the loss of production.
The other major questionable piece is Jayson Tatum. I have a few Celtics on my list as they have needed to step up to cover the lost production from the Tatum injury. Tatum plays a lot of minutes and has a decent usage rate. Guys like Brown and Hayward have benefitted from him being out with a few extra minutes and shots, so his return would lower their floors and ceilings while capping the upside.
On top of the return of Embiid, the Clippers will be fully healthy for the first time in a while. Patrick Beverley and Paul George are slated to play, Kawhi is not expected to sit out either. That really causes a problem for guys like Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Sure, they will continue to play well, but the minutes and usage are going to drop and that caps their upside potential. As I mentioned, the returning guys may be bigger slate changers than anyone listed as questionable today.
Highest Projected Total
- Clippers – 118
- 76ers – 117.75
- Wizards – 115.75
- Celtics – 115.75
- Raptors – 115.25
Biggest Pace Bump
- Hornets: +6.6
- 76ers: +4.8
- Kings: +4.6
Highest Projection over Average
- 76ers: +9.25
- Hornets: +8.5
- Celtics: +3.5
- Raptors: +3
NBA DFS Position By Position
- Trae Young – Young is not in a particularly good matchup, but he gets the nod as top PG to spend on from me today. The other guy in this range is Ben Simmons on the other side of the floor, and the return of Joel Embiid scares me with him likely to lose usage and maybe even the 40+ minutes he was routinely playing. De’Aaron Fox, Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker are the tier below Trae, both in price and production. Trae’s floor games tend to be in the 40s while the good games for these other guys are the ones where they get there. Their ceilings are probably around 50, while we’ve seen Trae triple-double and put up 60-70 fantasy points this year. Do I think the ceiling game is likely for him today? No, but his floor and ceiling are still higher than the rest of the group, making him the guy to spend up on if you choose to do so.
- Terry Rozier – The Washington Wizards could give up 100 points to my kid’s fifth-grade basketball team and they average about 17-20 a game normally. The Bucks almost scored 100 on them by halftime without Giannis the other night. This defense is one we should always pick on, and with this game having the closest spread of the higher total games on the slate, it stands out as a great spot. Charlotte gets a massive +6.6 pace bump and projects for 8.5 points over average despite being a road dog here. Rozier has been their best player lately and is producing above-average fantasy points already. Throw in the prime matchup here and we should continue to see him break out.
- Monte Morris – If you need to save a little, Monte Morris is a way to go. With Jamaal Murray out, his minutes are safe and he’s been seeing a lot of them and producing recently. He saw foul trouble against the Pelicans, which limited his court time, but he played at least 28 minutes in five of the last six, besides that game. He’s averaged 25 fantasy points over that stretch, even including the disastrous performance against the Pelicans. It’s not as nice at $5300 on DK, but for $4400 on FanDuel, that projects out to around 6X if you need a salary saver.
- Ish Smith – On DK, Ish is $4600 v. $5K on FD. I prefer Morris on FD and Ish as my cheap option on DK. He is splitting time with Isaiah Thomas, but Ish is seeing the bigger share, playing 25-31 minutes in recent games as opposed to 18-24 for IT2. He’s been producing most of the time as well with at least 25 points in six of the last nine, including five games where the returns would be 6-8X his price today on DK.
- Bradley Beal – Beal seems to be healthy again. After playing under 30 minutes a night for the first week he was back, he’s now played 37 or more minutes in three of the last four. Jordan McRae is also out, which may contribute to Beal getting back up to his massive minute totals we got used to him playing. He went for 52 or better in each of these recent games with 37+ minutes, and he projects for that here in a game with a big total and his team projected for their normal production. His price is not cheap, but it’s a discount from its high watermark of the year, and with Beal rounded back into that high minutes/high usage guy he was before the injury, it does offer value.
- Devonte Graham – I know the production has been a little sub-par lately, but the minutes are still there and the ball is still in his hands often. He’s also seen a price drop, as he is down to just $6600 on FanDuel. On DK, he’s $7700 and not nearly as good a play, but remember this is one of the softest possible matchups you can have. Charlotte projects for a massive +6.6 pace bump and 8.5 points above average. Graham and Rozier are the two main weapons and the guys carrying this team offensively so they should be the biggest beneficiaries of the sweet matchup.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic – Bogdan is pretty cheap, especially for a guy with an increasing role. The big men are banged up in Sacramento, and the replacements are not the offensive weapons Holmes and Bagley can be. It has forced the perimeter guys to pick up the offensive slack. Bogdan missed time with an injury and is just getting back up to his top minutes. He played the most on the team last game with 27, despite the blowout, and he saw 34 the game before when things were a little closer. He’s moved into the starting lineup lately as well, which is why I expect the minutes to continue to be there. It’s a tough matchup for sure, but he gets run regardless of the scoreboard and is cheap. You won’t find many guys in the sub $5K range who can go for 30-35 and have a floor of 20-25. He’s less risky even in a bad spot than a lot of other value priced guards, and he offers more upside too.
- Jaylen Brown – Both Brown and Hayward have been playing very well lately. I am not going to lie and say Jayson Tatum being out doesn’t help, which is why we need to monitor his status today. The loss of Tatum had put more offensive pressure on those guys to perform, but the reason I mention them is they have performed well in this situation. He has missed a few games recently too, but when he plays, he’s going for 35-40 fantasy points routinely. His price of $6600 on FanDuel is much better than the $7400 on DK, but that’s why he’s here. On FanDuel, the SF position is a bit of a wasteland, and Brown has been the guy who stands out the most to me.
- De’Andre Hunter – Some may question the love for Hunter in cash, as he tends to alternate 30+ point games with some ridiculously bad showings, but here’s my thing. How many guys in the sub $5K range play around 30 minutes or more in high tempo offenses? How many of them have some rebounding upside, get a few assists, and also can score double digits. It doesn’t take much to pay off a $4500ish price tag on either site, and Hunter has four games in the last six where he’s gone 6-8X on that cheap tag. You can’t take superstars at every position and build lineups. You have to find some value, and even though he misses badly on occasion, he’s been clearing the cash line more often than missing it lately and the price is still low enough where even a crappy game will not kill you.
- Kevin Porter – The best cheap option on the day may be Kevin Porter on both sites. After missing much of January with an injury, he’s come back and stepped right into a major role. He’s still a part-time player, which is a knock on him vs. Hunter today, but he’s a big producer when he is on the floor. Back-to-Back games with a usage rate of 27, as the minutes are rising up to over half a game. Porter can fill it up even in limited minutes, so while that caps his upside, it is still a high per dollar production rate at a cheap price.
- Serge Ibaka – Marc Gasol is out. We have seen this game play out over the long term with these guys dating back to the trade last year. Serge Ibaka is getting older, but he’s still very productive. When everyone is healthy, his minutes are caped, although he’s always produced well when on the floor. When injuries strike, like they did earlier this year to Siakam and Gasol, his role increases. He routinely played 30 minutes at over a fantasy point per minute earlier in the year without Gasol. 35-45 fantasy point games in 30+ minutes of action were his norm. Those minutes dropped below 30 with the return of the other bigs, and not surprisingly, he dropped his production. It still spiked for big games here and there, but it was more of a GPP thing. Without Gasol today, we can project him for at least 27-28 minutes and likely more. With his price dropping back down, that means the 35ish fantasy points he projects for are now better. I don’t hate him on DK at $7100, but for $5300 on FD, it’s an absolute steal.
- Jerami Grant – Grant has benefitted from not only Paul Millsap being out, but also the injury to Plumlee, as he has played more center. His minutes are up, his rebounding is up, and he’s scoring more points. Now the price has risen as well, so it’s not a slam dunk anymore, but in the last five games, he’s averaging over 34 minutes and over a fantasy point per minute. His price is right around $6000 on both sites, so he’s basically giving us a 6X return.
- Larry Nance – Ante Zizic is out, and Tristan Thompson’s minutes have regressed. The beneficiary of that has been Larry Nance. He’s now double-doubled in four of the last five games with a usage rate jumping up over 20, despite playing 24-30 minutes max in those contests. His price has come up a bit too, and normally this is not the kind of guy I want in cash, but the production has been consistent. With the thin frontcourt, I could even see the minutes continue to rise with his good play.
- Daniel Theis – Enes Kanter is still out, and Jayson Tatum has been missing games lately too. That has opened up Theis for more minutes and more rebounding opportunities. He doesn’t have a big ceiling, but he’s reasonably priced and producing consistently. He’s gone for 30+ in seven of the last eight games, and his minutes are now closer to 30 a night than the 24 a night he was playing, which only helps boost the floor and ceiling potential. Golden State traded away Cauley-Stein and are now weaker on the interior than they were. This is not the guy who goes for 40+ and wins you anything big, but he’s likely to keep producing 6X at a fair price and keep you ahead of the cash line.
- Nikola Jokic – Jokic is able to produce but rarely sees monster minutes. With the injuries to the frontcourt guys like Millsap and Plumlee, the minutes have been rising. With Jamal Murray out, the offense is running more through him now. Jokic is a triple-double threat every time he steps on the floor. His size helps him rebound, his vision helps him set up teammates, and his skill level helps him score in a variety of ways. The more minutes you give an across-the-board producer like that, the better, as he has more court time to rack up each of those stats. He’s triple-doubled in two of the last four games and double-doubled in seven straight. He’s averaged 32 minutes on the year, and that has been his floor number of minutes over the last seven games. He’s been routinely playing 34-38 minutes recently, and that’s the added 10-15% of court time that has allowed his numbers to bump up a bit. He’s averaged 19/10/6 in 32 minutes on the season for 43 fantasy points, but he’s topped those minutes and production in six of the last seven, so we are catching him on one of his better runs of the season. I’m sure the injuries are a big reason why they are leaning on him for more minutes and production, but none of the guys mentioned are expected back today, so I do not expect them to stop leaning on him either.
- Thomas Bryant – My favorite cheaper option on the day is Thomas Bryant. The Charlotte bigs are a group we like to pick on and have with success. Bryant was playing well before going down with an injury. He was routinely seeing near 30 minutes and producing over a fantasy point per minute, which had him in the 30s and 40s for fantasy production. After the injury, he had only one game with over 21 minutes in his first seven since returning and that was just 21 minutes. Last game, he exploded for 30 minutes of court time and the production went way up too. The one thing that lags right now is the price. We were routinely asked to pay $6K+ for him earlier this year. The run of low minutes since coming off injury now has his price below $5K on both sites. In 31 minutes last game against a Milwaukee team guys normally do not produce against, he had 40 fantasy points. Again, he produces over a fantasy point per minute when on the floor, so if those 30 minutes are the mark of him getting back to the 27-32 he was routinely playing, we should expect him to get back to around 30 fantasy points too, which would be 6X+ his price on both sites. Jokic will likely beat him in raw points, but at about half the price, I doubt Jokic doubles his production, making the spend down at center a very viable option for lineup construction.
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