Identify the players on tonight’s NBA DFS slate who have the safest floors for your DraftKings & FanDuel cash game lineups!
Solid nine-game NBA DFS slate for Wednesday. Center is going to be a very important position today in our lineups. It’s twice as important on FD as it is on DK because you have some real decisions today that could change your entire roster construction. I’m not even going to get into the pricing side of it, because by now you guys know my feelings and probably have some of your own with the super-soft FD pricing. I mention this because it does play into the decision making here as well.
The issue we have today is that we have some of the most extreme value on the slate coming from the center position. LaMarcus Aldridge is out for the Spurs, and that puts Jakob Poeltl at near min price in play as one of the best value options on the day. Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke are out for the Grizzlies, which also now puts Gorgui Dieng in a great spot as a super value option based on what we saw from him last game after Clarke got hurt less than four minutes in. These guys are both near min price and project for over 30 fantasy points, which equates to a 7-10X kind of return.
At the same time, we have a couple guys who could go for 60+ at the high end. Joel Embiid has really picked it up since the injury to Ben Simmons. He’s gone for 67 or more in three of the last five games, and that’s elite 6-7X upside even at his $10K price. Nikola Vucevic has not been putting up those ceiling type games, but he’s routinely going for 50+ right now. Today, he draws one of the best matchups against a Hawks team getting crushed by centers in a game with one of the biggest pace bumps and also a massive 10 point projection over average even on the road. Vucevic, as one of the highest usage players with one of the highest rebounding rates on the team, stands to benefit the most from this.
On FanDuel, we can only play one of these four guys. The first two are really cheap and would allow you extra money to spend up elsewhere for studs at other positions. The other two are two of the most expensive options available on either site. Playing them limits what you can do at the other spots, as you would need to punt somewhere to make up the massive salary difference.
This poses different questions on either site with respect to roster construction today. As referenced previously, you can only play one of these four guys on FanDuel. All of them are listed at center, and you only get one center spot to fill. You have to decide first whether or not you want to spend or save at the position. Then you have to decide which of the two options at the lower or upper end of the spectrum is the better one to use. I lean Embiid and Poeltl at either end, and you will see that in the write-up. On DraftKings, we have the ability to play two of these guys and I think not running a two center lineup on DraftKings in any format today is a mistake. We still have the same questions to answer, but now we have a little more room to play around.
The most popular roster constructions are probably going to split the difference and play one pricier center and one cheap guy in the C and Util spots. In cash, this is how I will likely be attacking it as well.
On FanDuel, Dieng is $500 more expensive than Poeltl, so it’s a much tougher decision to make on which one to play. Again, I lean Poeltl, as I actually have him projected for more raw points, although the projections are basically the same. On DraftKings, Poeltl is $3200 and you would be crazy not to play him in every format today. I literally lock buttoned him in. He projects for over 10X his salary, and you rarely get a near min priced guy who has that as a ceiling, let alone a mean projection. His ceiling game could be 40+, and you can’t expect to make up for missing a 13X guy if that happens.
On the high end, Vucevic is $1000 cheaper on both sites. It has become easier to make lineups on FanDuel with everyone other than the studs priced down a bit and so much value to go along with the higher salary to spend. On FanDuel, you can make lineups with projections just as good and even better if you do spend the extra $1000 on Embiid. On DraftKings, where the pricing is tighter, that extra $1000 spread around to another position or two is spitting out some much higher projected lineups with higher ceilings as well.
On DK, it makes more sense to drop down to Vucevic because it makes the lineup as a whole look better, even if you sacrifice some floor and upside using him instead of Embiid. That is why I currently have Vucevic and Poelt as my combo on DK, even though I have Embiid on one lineup and Poeltl on the other I am considering for cash on FanDuel. I have so far avoided Dieng in cash, but it honestly scares the shit out of me. I just think with Houston playing small, it limits the amount of court time J-Val and Dieng could have together, so even without the Power Forward duo, he could see fewer minutes than expected. I could be dead wrong, but that’s my take on the four guys that should suck up a ton of ownership on both sites tonight at the position.
The roster construction route you choose tonight should start with your choice of center. This decision is likely to be the one that wins or loses your game tonight, as I can see pretty evenly distributed exposure to the four of them. On DK, with Poeltl a lock on my lineups, I’ve been building with more higher-end guys like Luka or Beal and a second spend up at center. On FanDuel, I think you should build two lineups today for cash and compare them side by side. One with a spend at center and one going cheap. Then, after adjusting for news throughout the day, enter the one you like best before lock in all the cash game spots you signed up for today. At least, that’s my plan and I think it’s a good way to go today.
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Highest Projected Total
- Rockets – 122.5
- Clippers – 119.25
- Heat – 119.5
- Nets – 118.25
- Mavericks – 116.5
Biggest Pace Bump
- Magic: +5.9
- Heat: +5
- Hornets: +2.4
- Nets: +1.9
Highest Projection over Average
- Magic: +10
- Nets: +7.75
- Heat: +7
- 76ers: +4.75
- Rockets: +4
NBA DFS Position By Position
- Luka Doncic – Some are down on Luka after the last game when he missed a value. That was a 15 point win that got closer at the end. It was worse early on, and the game was never really in doubt. He still had 47 fantasy points despite playing just 25 minutes. He’s normally playing 10 minutes more or an extra 40%, which would have him at 65-70 fantasy points. With Trae Young now questionable with the flu, Luka is easily the top spend up for me today.
- Spencer Dinwiddie – The Wizards pace and defensive inefficiency have been awesome for opposing fantasy options all year. Without Kyrie, Spencer Dinwiddie’s numbers are much better than his seasonal averages. I know LeVert has been a tad better lately, but these two are carrying the offensive load. When you factor in the match, ceiling type games are expected and Dinwiddie’s ceiling has been pretty high. He’s definitely not cheap, which is a slight concern, but he’s much friendlier on FanDuel at $900 below his DK price. On DK, I would rather spend up for Luka, but on FanDuel at $7100, Dinwiddie feels like an excellent upside value.
- Shabazz Napier – I was waiting for Napier to get the bigger share of the PG minutes since he was traded over. It finally happened last game, and we got word it might before the game started. That is why I do not think it was a fluke. I’m looking for Napier to pick up more minutes going forward here, and he had a monster game doing so last time out. After seeing like 20 minutes to Ish Smith’s 28 for much of the first week or two as a Wizard, he played 36 last game against a tough Milwaukee defense and put up a big 47 fantasy points. Will he repeat that? It’s unlikely, but I do think he has an excellent chance to get 30+ and that’s a 6X+ return on his price today if he does.
- Jeff Teague – This is entirely reliant on whether or not Trae Young plays. Teague would step into a massive role if Young sits. He’s not going to produce the same kind of stat line, but he’ll be given massive minutes, touches and usage, which he normally would not see. He’s priced like a bench guy here and would have 7-10X upside without Young. In a better match, I would even say well over 10X upside, but I’m not expecting 35+ out of him against the Magic, although it’s not out of the question.
- Bradley Beal – I honestly prefer Beal to Harden right now. The Wizards are playing super fast, crazy high scoring games. The Rockets have slowed a touch, which is weird since they are playing small. Brooklyn is not a bad spot to face, and Beal has been otherworldly in the past few games. He followed up 53 against Chicago with 55 against the Bucks. I’m talking about actual points here, not fantasy points. This match is softer than the last one was, so I have no fear about him being able to produce. Yes, he’s expensive, but he’s still cheaper than the other more heralded superstars, and while others have produced well too, no one is producing better right now.
- Caris LeVert – A lot of the same arguments for Dinwiddie apply here too. The Wizards pace them up, they project for almost eight points over average, and he’s playing very well without Kyrie as one of the main offensive weapons on the Nets. He’s cheaper than Dinwiddie by a few hundred bucks too, so if I end up going with other options at PG, I’ll likely use LeVert at SG on FD so I have some exposure to this game. In GPPs, you can play them both, but I’ll likely do one or the other in cash.
- RJ Barrett (FD) – The FD price is too low on Barrett. I know last game he saw a bump because Elf was out too, but he’s still too cheap, even with Elf expected to play. I’m very price sensitive with him today because the match is a very slow-paced one, so it’s not like all the arrows are pointing up. DraftKings bumped up his salary too much to play him, but FD left it, as it was off some bad games, and I think that’s a bit too cheap.
- Tobias Harris – This position is weak as hell today. Paul George is the only expensive guy, and I have him bunched up with the same projections as the other higher-end guys I am looking at, so I can’t pay $1000+ more for him on FanDuel. Even on DK where it’s only a few hundred to guys like Hayward and Harris, I don’t see forcing PG13. Now on DK, you have Jaylen Brown at SG. He’s a viable SF option along with Harris on FD. I prefer the soft match with Cleveland to pick on though, so I’m leaning with Harris on both sites here. With Kemba out, guys like Hayward and Brown are definitely still in play, but I’m not picking on the Utah Jazz if I can pick on the 76ers without Simmons by using Harris for basically the same price.
- DeAndre Hunter – With or without Trae Young, I like Hunter, as he remains cheap and sees massive minutes when he does play. I actually think Trae Young missing the game will help him, as Teague is less of a do it all type. It could leave more shots and rebounds open for the rest of the team to distribute out. In recent games, he seems to be getting more comfortable with his role in the NBA. He’s taking more shots, grabbing more rebounds and was already playing a ton of minutes, so the productivity has really been driving the improved fantasy numbers. It’s not an ideal spot, but for cheap, you will struggle to find a guy who has as safe a minutes floor and projection with upside potential to go 7X+.
- Josh Jackson – Jackson is still playing only about a little over half the game, but he’s produced well enough to grab a lot of attention from around the industry as a viable salary saver. He first started seeing some minutes a few weeks ago and was doing OK, considering the price. Then, the Grizzlies welcomed back Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke and his minutes dried up again. JJJ got hurt two games ago, and then Clarke went down early the next game, and Jackson saw his minutes and production bump up again. They face a Rockets team that plays smaller, so I’m not sure how much the Grizzlies can get away with playing J-Val and Dieng together here. That means this could be an increased minutes spot for Jackson. He’s near min price and already has produced around the 25 fantasy points we would need out of him lately. Today, he could see a boost in minutes again so it’s not crazy to project him for 25-30, and with the price so low, a ceiling game of 30+ could be a 9-10X return.
- Bam Adebayo – I love Bam today, even if Jimmy plays. Towns is out, and that leaves Naz Reid, a rookie, to man the middle. Bam not only rebounds and scores enough, but he’s a good defensive stats guy and a great passing big. I love those guys who are double-double rebounders and scorers who can rack up assists at the center and power forward positions. Those are the ones that have the safest floors and the potential to smash ceilings. I’ve never been a big believer in Bam’s ceiling until recently, but this is cash and I love the floor. It wouldn’t suck to see him get another 60+ like he did two of the last three games, but I’m more interested in the consistent 45-50 point floors. Miami is seeing one of the biggest pace bumps at +5 and one of the higher projections above normal with +7 against a team that wasn’t great to begin with and traded away Robert Covington and Gorgui Dieng and have Karl-Anthony Towns on the sidelines.
- Aaron Gordon – Aaron Gordon is in one of the best stretches of his career. He’s played 35 minutes or more in each of the last four games and gone for 42-54 fantasy points. A lot has to do with playing time right now. On the year, he averages just 32 minutes, but he’s averaged 38 over the last four games, including 40+ twice. It’s not just the minutes though, as the production per minute is also on the rise. He was averaging just under a fantasy point per minute on the year, but he’s bumped up his rebounding and is flirting with double-doubles every night. He’s had at least nine rebounds in seven of the last eight games. He’s also bumped up his scoring, as he averages just over 14 but has gone for 20+ in five of the last nine, including three of the last four games. Throw that increase in his production with the massive pace and scoring projection above their average and you have a chance for a ceiling game out of a guy playing ceiling games already lately.
- Trey Lyles – LaMarcus Aldridge is out, and while I expect Jakob Poeltl to benefit more, we should still expect a boost for Lyles at near min price as well. Lyles’ strength is his ability to hit shots outside, something Poeltl can’t do. When DeRozan was out, he benefited more. I expect Poeltl to benefit more today because LaMarcus Aldridge was more of the inside presence and that’s Poeltl strong suit over Lyles. Still, the two guys will both see more minutes, as LMA was one of the highest minute guys on the team and those minutes will now be disbursed to the few guys who have enough size to actually fill in for him.
- Joel Embiid – I devoted much of the opening today to the center position, and rather than rehash the whole argument again, I’ll just hit the highlights. Embiid has gone for massive 66+ fantasy point games in three of the last five. He gets the boost on offense without Simmons, and the minutes and rebounding have been up too. He’s a high minute producer already, so any bumps to his productivity or court time are just gravy on top. Philly projects above average against a weak defense today. Should be another big one for Embiid, as long as it stays close.
- Nikola Vucevic – He doesn’t produce as well as Embiid, but you do get a discount. The question is can he produce enough above his norm to justify it, and I think he can today. Atlanta has been a great spot for opposing centers, and they were last year too. Dedmon and Collins were the big man pairing last year, so even if you argue they are better at this point than they were earlier, you do have enough to go back and see how they performed in 2019. Not only is Vucevic playing some of his best ball right now, but you put him in a game that is more likely to remain close, likely to be at a faster pace, and with his team seeing massive bumps to both pace and scoring tonight. Again, you can afford the extra $1000 and not sacrifice elsewhere easier on FD. But on DK, I’m leaning Vucevic, as that extra money is more needed with tighter pricing throughout.
- Jakob Poeltl – In the four games without LaMarcus Aldridge this year, Poeltl has basically seen his 15 minute per game and 17 fantasy point per game lines double. He’s $4000 on FD and $3200 on DK. If he gets us 30, that would be below his norm without LaMarcus Aldridge and still an 8-9X return on his price. We need about 25 to justify using him, and his chance of reaching that is very high. He also has upside games where he could hit 40+, and if he does that, you are looking at 10X or better on both sites and an absolute smash. He’s likely to be the highest owned player at the position, and it is justifiable, so don’t overthink it.
- Gorgui Dieng – On any other day, I might be higher on Dieng, but Poeltl is just a better play tonight and cheaper. I have both guys projected for right around 35 fantasy points, although I feel better about that safety for Poeltl and I project him slightly higher.
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