Identify the players on tonight’s NBA DFS slate who have the safest floors for your DraftKings & FanDuel cash game lineups!
Big nine-game slate of NBA DFS action here on Wednesday. The trade deadline is hanging over us right now, and things get a little wild this time of year. I’ve been playing DFS long enough to have been through the wars, and let me tell you guys, it’s not always pretty. The next couple of days I will not be playing on FanDuel, because at this point, trades are going to start coming hot and heavy.
FanDuel locking in players at first tip is a recipe for disaster without late swap. Every year, we see something happen, and that something is never what you expect it to be. Taking a zero because a player you rostered is traded kills any chance of you cashing. At least on DK, we have the ability to sit around and adjust rosters with late swap. On FanDuel, we have no way to get out from under something like this and it’s hard enough to turn profits without also having to roll the dice with players being traded.
On the flip side of this argument, we should have a lot of value open up because of the trades. Value does not always mean stone cold minimum priced punts. Value could also be playing multiple guys from a team like the Timberwolves that just traded away a bunch of pieces. On paper, trades are easy, but in real life, the logistics behind them develop much slower. Guys need to catch flights from one city to the next to meet their new teams. Guys may need to get physicals and pack up and have things moved. Rarely does a player get traded one day and end up in uniform for his new team the next.
Even when guys do come to their new teams, it takes a while to get them back up to speed. They need to learn defensive rotations, offensive play calls, and get used to playing with new teammates. This is where the value comes into play. Guys like Wiggins or Towns or Culver or Okogie could end up playing 34-38 minutes tonight because the roster only has 7-8 players dressed and in uniform. Those guys are going to produce above their norms, and the pricing was put in place before the trades. That’s value, and we will probably have more of it open up during the day as new trades are made and discussed.
The NBA trade deadline is a wild time for DFS. It can be profitable if you know what to look for, but it can also bankrupt you if you miss out on something. My volume over the next few days will drop, especially in cash games. Remember, the key to winning in cash is not making mistakes, and unfortunately, even if you are on top of the information flow, mistakes can be made. Use late swap to your advantage and stay on Twitter or some other reliable feed that you can track trade news. Something you see may open up the key to victory, and your opponents may not be as vigilant about it. That’s the real edge that exists this time of year.
Top Projected Totals
- Timberwolves – 121.25
- Mavericks – 116.75
- Nets – 116.25
- Hawks – 115.75
- Thunder – 115.25
Biggest Pace Bump
- Heat: +4.7
- Mavericks: +4.5
- Pistons: +3.2
- Pacers: +2.4
- Celtics: +2.2
Highest Projection over Average
- Timberwolves: +9.75
- Hawks: +6.5
- Nets: +6
- Thunder: +4.75
- Pistons: +3
NBA DFS Position By Position
- Trae Young – We will talk a ton about the other side of this game today with the Timberwolves being so thin, but the Hawks are also in a good spot here. These are two of the top seven teams in the league for pace, and the Hawks still project for six points above their seasonal averages as well. Young is questionable but has played through that tag recently and done well. He is the most expensive option on the slate today, but he also projects for the most points. We have more than enough value to easily fit in a few studs today, even on DraftKings where that is not always the case. The Hawks are also really thin and may get even thinner, as they are involved in plenty of rumors currently flying around the trade market. One thing we know is Trae Young will continue to see massive minutes and do so with a huge usage rate. He’s not cheap, but what guy playing 35 minutes a night with a usage rate of 33 and averaging just shy of 50 fantasy points ever is?
- Chris Paul – The only other guy I have projected for 40+ at the point guard spot today is Chris Paul. He’s coming off a game where he was just shy of 50, and he’s priced a few thousand below Trae Young if you need the savings. He draws one of the best matchups in basketball against the weak Cleveland backcourt defense. OKC gets a slight pace bump and projects for almost five points over average today. Tristan Thompson may also be out for the Cavs so that only makes the interior defense a little weaker, which should also benefit CP3.
- Mike Conley – The cheap option I have a lot of faith in for cash is Mike Conley. After seeing under 20 minutes for most of the games as he rounded back into form from injury, he finally got above that 30-minute mark last game. He produced a huge return too, and it caused DK to bump his price up a bit over $5000. On FanDuel, he’s only $4300 still and a much better salary saving option there. I don’t hate the DK price though, as 30+ is 6X+ and that’s what he did last game with the minutes bump.
- Andrew Wiggins – The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently down to eight players dressing tonight. I would not be shocked if they call up some D-League players or make a move here, but whoever comes on board is a secondary piece at best. They traded away a lot of guys yesterday and are still very active in talks here today. We saw Wiggins have some big games when the Timberwolves were forced to play without Teague and Napier earlier in the year, and after trading both guys, that is what we are back to for tonight. If this was a tough match, I could understand the fade, as Wiggins really won’t start seeing more minutes as he already plays a ton. He could even end up with higher usage, as we saw last time they were short-handed at the guard spot. On top of that, it’s one of the best spots on the day for his team. The Wolves get a slight pace bump here and project for just shy of 10 points over average. Wiggins is one of the names talked about in trade rumors, so there is a chance he still gets shipped out later today; but if not, it’s a great spot for a guy who seems a little underpriced for the match and lack of depth on his team.
- Bruce Brown – Derrick Rose is out. Last game, that led to a big bump in playing time and production for Bruce Brown. I would expect more of the same here today. The Pistons are projected for three points above their average, and that’s without Rose and his normal high production already. They also are one of the bigger paced up teams today. Brown has benefitted from adding playing time and having the ball in his hands more when guys like Reggie Jackson or Rose have been out. The Pistons still seem reluctant to give R-Jax a big boost in minutes, so Brown should remain highly useful when on the floor and also see more minutes in a good spot.
- Caris LeVert – I am not ready to give up on Spencer Dinwiddie after he had a bad last game without Kyrie Irving. I am ready to hop back on board with LeVert though. He’s still very cheap, and last game, the role expanded. It’s not like we have not seen him have a big role before, and he’s produced dating back to last season in these spots. He had a monster game at a small price last time out, and while the price has jumped a bit, he’s still well below his high when the minutes were big. If he’s rounding back into being that guy, you can bet that price has $1000+ more to keep moving up and I want to hop on him now before it does. Whatever trades the Warriors make today, they are still a below average defensive team, which is why the Nets project for six points above average today, even without Kyrie.
- Jarrett Culver – I’m going to go lock button on a pair of Timberwolves here today. I tried hard to find something else I could use instead to give you guys options, but really, I don’t see a way around this. Culver had a bunch of big games as a part-time point guard with Napier and/or Teague out earlier in the season. The newly acquired trade pieces are unlikely to be in uniform today, and that means a tight eight-man rotation at best for the T-Wolves. They own the highest projected total here and a pace bump as well. Culver’s minutes were the thing capping his upside and floor so far this year, and the team is now so devoid of players that I’d be shocked if he played under 34 minutes tonight and would expect him to see closer to 40.
- Josh Okogie – Everything I said about Culver basically holds true for Okogie as well. Those two guys were the reason the entire rest of the roster was expendable, as the Wolves wanted to free up space to get those guys more run. He’s been volatile this season, but like Culver, it has had to do with his minutes. He too should play no fewer than 32 tonight with 40 a reasonable upside projection. When you factor in the price around $4K for each of them, it’s tough to even fathom not playing these guys, as they are the best value options on the slate. Pairing them on FD gives you a ton of money to spend up on 2-3 superstars at other positions. I have Culver projected for over 8X and Okogie over 7X with no other SF on the slate even projected for 6X.
- Kristaps Porzingis – Many of you may know of the site called NBA WOWY. WOWY actually stands for WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, and that’s a key stat for Porzingis. With Luka Doncic, he averages a little over 35 fantasy points per game. Without Luka, he’s been averaging over 50 and consistently getting there. He sees a big uptick in usage as well as rebounding, both of which combine to really boost his production. Dallas draws one of the better matchups today against a young, faster-paced Memphis squad, and they have one of the biggest paced up numbers as well as a projection for a few points over their seasonal average. Surprisingly, the Mavs have not really averaged fewer points without Luka as some expected. It’s a smallish sample of around a dozen games, but it’s still telling. The shots and rebounds Luka ate up are now being distributed to the rest of the team, and the main beneficiary has been Porzingis.
- Larry Nance – I assume Tristan Thompson doesn’t play today, as he is listed as questionable and being dangled in the trade market. That was the case last game, and Nance saw a big boost in minutes and production. Remember, Ante Zizic is out as well, so Nance and Love are the main two big men the Cavs have to roll out there. It’s not an easy match, and his price is rising, but the upside was hit last game and he could easily match or exceed that today, as his role is likely to remain the same as long as Thompson is not playing.
- Christian Wood – I have been burned by him before, but I like his game. He’s a guy who comes off the bench but is a major scoring and rebounding threat when on the floor. His minutes are starting to creep up and be more consistent, and his price is still very cheap. Phoenix is basically playing without three of the four big men they usually have on the floor, and the one remaining one is Ayton, who has been a defensive liability. This could be another big game for Wood, as long as the minutes remain high, because he is a well above average per minute producer.
- Karl-Anthony Towns – We have discussed the Timberwolves numerous times here today, but it’s not done yet. The last one I have interest in is Towns. Towns is already a guy who regularly ends up on the cash game radar. His dominating the ball may not lead to many wins, but it’s been fine for fantasy production. Like Wiggins, I’m not sure his minutes can really improve much, as he already plays a lot of them, but he’s also already producing well in those minutes and could see a slight uptick in usage. Even without the uptick, I would have interest in him because of the match. Not only are the Hawks undersized, but they play fast and both teams project for a ton of points here. Minnesota has the #1 projection on the day and it’s 9.75 points above their average. If they are going to crush their norms, you would expect the highest usage guy to also play near his ceiling.
- Deandre Ayton – Aron Baynes, Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric are all already ruled out. Phoenix has a match with the Pistons, who do have a lot of size with Drummond and a couple secondary pieces off the bench. Other than Ayton, the Suns are pretty much undersized. That means Ayton should continue to get as many minutes as he can handle, and it’s been good for his production. He’s averaged 45 fantasy points over the last 10 games, going for 50+ in half of them. He’s got eight double-doubles in the last 11, and many of them are in the 20/10 variety in 34+ minutes.
- Enes Kanter – Daniel Theis is already ruled out. I know Kanter has been injured and in and out of the lineup lately, but this should be one of his bigger minute games. It’s not a good match at all, but the price is dirt cheap. He does carry risk, as we are not sure if he will get much more than 25 minutes or so here, but he’s produced solid numbers in low minutes like this before and that was with the price $1000-$2000 higher. I don’t think we need to punt center today with all the value mentioned elsewhere, but he’s popping as a top PP$ play on my lists today and I can’t ignore that in cash. I’m likely spending up on FD for one center but still debating on grabbing an expensive one and Kanter together on DK in the C and Util spots.
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