Identify the players on today’s NBA DFS slates who have the safest floors for your DraftKings & FanDuel cash game lineups!
Every year, the NBA goes hard on Martin Luther King Day. They have 14 games starting at 2 PM and going all the way through the rest of the day. It’s a fun slate with 14 games, but also a headache due to the way the sites break it up. FanDuel is offering a small three game early only slate, while DraftKings’ biggest slate is the one that includes the 2 and 5PM games together. FanDuel’s main slate starts at 5 o’clock with 5 games starting then and a few others in the nighttime session. DraftKings is only offering a smaller slate for just the 5 o’clock games and a third slate for the games starting at 7 or later. I think FanDuel might even have a small two or three gamer for the late games as does DraftKings. With different games mattering to each slate, I figured the best way for me to do this today was mention my favorite plays by game and then you can mix and match the pieces depending on what slate you are playing.
Detroit Pistons @ Washington Wizards
Pistons: 116 projected points (+7 over average), Pace Bump +4.4
Wizards: 117 projected points (+2.5 over average)
Derrick Rose – I like Rose a lot in this spot. Not only is he playing well and putting up numbers, but the paced up nature of this game is his forte.
Andre Drummond – Yes, he makes the list, but no I am not in love with him. If you can afford him, it’s a soft matchup against a team that he should be able to put up numbers against. He has not been smashing value lately either, so I have some concerns.
Markieff Morris – He can produce even in limited minutes and has proven it in recent games. Plus he’s dirt cheap on a team desperate for healthy talented players to cover minutes.
Toronto Raptors @ Atlanta Hawks
Raptors: 119.5 (+7.75), Pace Bump +2.9
Hawks: 111.5 (+4)
Trae Young – 30/10/10 the last time these two teams met. He’s not cheap, but this offense revolves around him and he’s routinely putting up 50+ most nights. The Hawks do project over average at home as well.
Jeff Teague – Recently acquired Teague feels a little cheap for the role he had last game. This team is very thin, and Teague could easily be the guy stepping in to give Trae a break, as well as play alongside of him.
Kyle Lowry – One of the problems I have breaking down the Raptors today is health. With a lot of the studs like Van Vleet, Siakam, and Gasol back in the mix, it’s tough to trust any of the other guys besides Lowry. VV is on a minutes limit and they seem to be capping guys like Siakam and Gasol too. That means they are unlikely to exceed or even meet value at the prices. They will be cutting the minutes and usage for the guys like Powell, Ibaka, and Boucher who have filled in for them. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to. That makes those guys suspect as well. Lowry is about the only safe play you can count on for minutes and that’s why he is my only Raptor on an all-day slate:
Note: I do like this game on both sides if you are playing an early only slate. Guys like Powell, DeAndre Hunter, and John Collins are all interesting with a smaller player pool on top of the ones already mentioned.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Brooklyn Nets
76ers: 108.5 (no change), Pace Bump +3.6
Nets: 110 (+1)
Ben Simmons – I much prefer him in cash to GPPs as the ceiling seems to be lacking and the price rising. Still he is flirting with triple-doubles and basically double-doubles every night with 4 in the last 5 games. Embiid being out puts more of the offense on him and we’ve seen a lot of 20+ actual points scored lately. IT also gives him a higher usage rate and more opportunities for rebounds. The rebounding may even be further juiced up if Al Horford can’t go.
Note: A lot of people will benefit if Horford joins Embiid on the sideline. The direct beneficiaries are Kyle O’Quinn and recent call up Norvel Pelle. They are both basically min priced. Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, and even guys like Furkan Korkmaz and Matisse Thybulle also would be in line for more minutes and a usage bump. All of them would be in play on short slates and even in consideration of the all-day slates.
Orlando Magic @ Charlotte Hornets
Magic: 105.75 (+2)
Hornets: 101.75 (-2), Pace Bump +1.5
Nikola Vucevic – On top of the fact it’s one of the softer matchups to pick on with big men, the Magic do project for a slight bump in scoring, something Vucevic does well for this team.
Aaron Gordon – Gordon, Fultz, and Fournier are all mid-tier priced. It’s not the best matchup with two of the bottom five teams for pace, so I don’t want to go too heavy. Gordon has played well lately and with Isaac out the minutes are high. He’s my favorite of the three.
Terry Rozier – In GPPs I think Devonte Graham has more upside, but you can’t knock the consistency of Rozier right now. He’s had between 36 and 47 points in 6 of the last 7, which is basically 5.5X or better on his price today.
New Orleans Pelicans @ Memphis Grizzlies
Pelicans: 120.5 (+6.25) – Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, and Jahlil Okafor all questionable.
Grizzlies: 118 (+4.5), no pace bump as both teams are tied for 5th
Jonas Valanciunas – Regardless of which if any of the Pelicans big men play, J-Val is priced well. The $6500 on FD is especially interesting to me. On the season he’s averaging 25 minutes, but in the last 4 games that’s up closer to 30 and the production has been too. His worst game over the stretch is 31, which would still be 5X his price today. He’s had games of 45 and 60, which would be 7-9X his price today. It’s paced up spot between two fast teams that should have a high total when it’s posted. J-Val has upside and a high floor at a relatively cheap price.
Jaxson Hayes – I would like it more if all the bigs were out, but even with Favors in, he’s produced well. The key is not having both Favors and Okafor play. That would mean we see 25-32 minutes from Hayes who is too cheap not to be relevant if he gets that much court time.
Lonzo Ball – Ever since Jrue went down, he’s produced solid across the board stat lines in big minutes and this is a paced up game with a likely high projected total.
Brandon Ingram – He’s played better than anyone expected this year and is loving the role as the man in New Orleans. No Jrue, Zion still out, and maybe no bigs would only put more of the load on his shoulders.
Ja Morant – He’s playing his best ball of the year, but the price has come with it. If this wasn’t such a smash spot of a matchup I wouldn’t be interested, but how can you not like what he has done when he’s stepping into one of the best matchups for upside. He’s pricey, but I expect another big game to get him around value.
The New York Knicks @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Knicks: 110 (+5.75)
Cavaliers: 111.5 (+6.25), Pace bump +0.7
Kevin Love – He’s a much better option on FanDuel where he is $1000 cheaper. Love is arguably on the way out of town and the auditions seem to be going well. He’s played 31 minutes a night on average, but lately it’s been more like 33-36 and he’s producing across the board for big fantasy scores.
Marcus Morris – Morris has returned from injury and is rounding back into form. What I really like is that the price has dropped. HE was routinely in the $6K range on both sites and is now in the low to mid $5K the crane. The Knicks just lost RJ Barrett too, so more shots and minutes open up for the other perimeter guys.
Reggie Bullock – The direct beneficiary of RJ Barrett going down. This should solidify him in a 30 minutes a night role for the present and he’s dirt cheap at $4K and $440 on FD and DK.
Elf Payton – He’s another guy that should benefit a bit from Barrett being out. Barrett had the ball a lot and took a lot of shots. He was not efficient, but he did try to create. Elf should be given more touches and more opportunities to do that playmaking now.
Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks
Bulls: 105.75 (no change), Pace bump +4.9
Bucks: 119.75 (no change)
Luke Kornet – Wendell Carter went down and Daniel Gafford joined him. Kornet is now the starting center on a very thin frontcourt. He’s pretty cheap and has produced value. It’s not a good matchup, but he could do enough to get over the hump.
Lauri Markkanen – Another guy without a good matchup, but the Bulls still project for their normal amount of points and Markkanen is cheap.
Donte DiVincenzo – My biggest beef with the Bucks is that they are good. They end up beating up on a lot of teams and with a rotation that utilizes a bunch of guys for equal minutes it caps the high priced studs. If I play anyone, it’s likely a lower cost guy like this that produces big when on the floor.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets
Thunder: 111.25 (+1.5), Pace bump +5.6
Rockets: 117.75 (-1)
Nerlens Noel – Steven Adams is not 100% and even with him playing the last game, Nerlens had the bigger performance.
Chris Paul – These two teams met last week, and it turned into a Thunder blow out. CP3 was really sticking it to his former team that game.
Note: I know Harden is a beast and can go off in any spot, but I really do not love this one for him. Maybe I am overreacting, but that last game was one of the worst I have seen from both him and Westbrook. I’m not saying the Thunder have them figured out, but I’m not looking for upside.
Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat
Kings: 108.5 (+2), No pace bump (27th v. 28th)
Heat: 113.5 (+2)
Marvin Bagley – The price on Bagley is really cheap. $5100 FD and $5400 DK. I know Bjelica is expected to play, but Holmes is still out. Guys like Dedmon and Giles play very few minutes, so I don’t worry about them too much. Bagley has the ability to put up 40+ and is rounding back into top shape and full minutes.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Boston Celtics
Lakers: 112.75 (-1.5)
Celtics: 110.75 (-1), Pace bump +1.1
Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown are all questionable. This might lead to some plays when things are announced later as all three are big major pieces. Kuzma if AD sits, Smart gets a huge bump if either or both of the guards can’t go. Guys like Hayward and Tatum would also benefit from that. In all honesty this is two good defensive teams. If everyone plays, I don’t have many guys projected for value or well above.
Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Nuggets: 108.25 (-1), Pace bump +5.6
Timberwolves: 110.75 (-1)
Nikola Jokic – Jokic is one of the few remaining healthy starters for the Nuggets. Jamaal Murray, Gary Harris, and Paul Millsap are all questionable and have missed games lately. Jokic is coming off 50+ in back-to-back contests and it makes sense that they run more of the offense through hi without their point guard and with some younger guys and secondary players seeing bigger minutes at the moment.
Jerami Grant – Assuming Millsap is out, I like Grant better than the guard backups that play minutes if Murray and/or Harris miss.
Michael Porter Jr. – Maybe he is a little too volatile for cash and if a bunch of the Vets play, I’ll be off of him, but this kid has talent. He’s already shown he can light up the scoreboard in limited minutes. When and if he gets normal run, he could crush it.
Jarrett Culver – The return of Karl-Anthony Towns hurts the production of everyone else. They all saw a bump with his high usage butt on the bench. His return killed a lot of that value and many of them are still priced up. The recent Jeff Teague trade has opened up some PG time for Culver and he’s been looking good with it. Denver is a brutal matchup for most teams and that’s true here, hence why Culver is the only guy on my list from Minnesota.
San Antonio Spurs @ Phoenix Suns
Spurs: 111.25 (-2.5), Pace bump +2
Suns: 115.75 (+2.25)
DeAndre Ayton: He’s back and healthy and looking really good on the offensive end. He’s dropped over 50 fantasy points more than once recently. He’s gone for 20/10, 26/21, and 26/15 in the last three games and played nearly 35 minutes a night or more in each.
DeMar DeRozan – DeRozan has always been able to score, but the knock on his fantasy production is that was all he ever did. Lately though his all-around game is starting to show more. The Spurs play faster this year, so that also creates more possessions. DeRozan is still scoring in those possessions, but he’s also added in rebounds and assists over the last two weeks or so. Those other stats are what has pushed him up a level and now he’s not only reaching, but exceeding value routinely.
Note: Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio are both very good players. They seem to be negatively correlated, meaning one going off comes at the expense of the other. Could both play well? Sure, but for the price you need one or the other to go off and there’s only one ball for that to happen. Same can be said of Mikal Bridges and Dario Saric. I like both guys, but if you expect Ayton and one of the two guards to play well, there’s only so much production to go around.
Indiana Pacers @ Utah Jazz
Pacers: 105 (-4.5), Pace bump +0.4
Jazz: 112 (+1.5)
Note: Mike Conley is back, and this is two good teams. Both are solid defensively and both are middle to lower tier in pace. Nothing really standing out at all to me here. It will be a game to watch, but not one that I want a lot of fantasy exposure to.
Golden State Warriors @ Portland Trail Blazers
Warriors: 105.75 (+0.5), Pace bump +0.8
Blazers: 112.25 (+0.75)
Eric Paschal – Paschal has been in and out of the lineup, but when he plays, he tends to produce. His price has dropped a bit and he’s very cheap at $4500 on FD. I don’t even mind the $5300 on DK as he has produced over 30.
Note: CJ McCollum is out. Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr filled in for him last game, each seeing near 36 minutes. That should be the case again today and both of those guys are cheap. Trent produced way better, but both saw minutes and were above value. I like them more than expecting a monster huge score from guys like Lillard or Carmelo to make up for the missing McCollum.