Ricky Sanders guides you through today’s preseason slate in the wonderful world of NBA DFS.
We’ve got a fun six-game NBA DFS preseason slate tonight! Let’s get into it!!
Miami Heat @ Toronto Raptors
MIA – N/A
TOR – Patrick McCaw (O)
Coach Erik Spoelstra says this game will look “nothing like” a full dress rehearsal and Shandel Richardson reports Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala and other young players will get “looks” in the preseason finale.
Consequently, it is difficult to get bullish on any single member of the Heat, but Tyler Herro is specifically identified in a Miami Herald article as being “expected to play minutes again Friday.” If playing one asset from the Heat, Herro is clearly the guy, and he leads all my minute projections for the team with 28.
On the Raptors side, there has been no early indication as to how the team will approach this game, but I am expecting the starters to get ramped up slightly.
Kyle Lowry made his first media appearance of the year last night which signifies to me that he will likely suit up. Three centers split the center minutes, Fred VanVleet will now likely be playing with Lowry and Pascal Siakam is not cheap, so it seems unlikely more than one Raptors player makes any of my builds.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ New York Knicks
CLE – Cedi Osman (P), JaVale McGee (P), Collin Sexton (P), Levi Randolph (Q), Dante Exum (D), Matthew Dellavedova (O), Kevin Love (O), Larry Nance Jr. (O), Kevin Porter Jr. (O)
NYK – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Q), Austin Rivers (Q), Frank Ntilikina (Q), Nerlens Noel (O)
Tonight, the Cavaliers are expected to get both Cedi Osman and Collin Sexton back, although Sexton is only expected to play around 16-18 total minutes.
The presence of those two players eliminates some of the ultra-value from the other night as Damyean Dotson no longer pops.
Isaac Okoro still almost assuredly will see a healthy allotment of minutes as the team looks to develop their lottery selection prior to the season, but there is not much else here.
Andre Drummond would become a top play if Marques Bolden either is out of the rotation or plays sparingly with JaVale McGee back, but there is no indication as to whether that is the case.
As of now, the center rotation will consist of all three players, limiting Drummond to a 21-minute projection in my model (and deeming him unplayable outside of large-field tournaments).
Meanwhile, Coach Tom Thibodeau did Thibodeau things last game, playing his starters heavy minutes. Even while Mitchell Robinson battled through extreme foul trouble (and eventually fouled out), he still topped the 30-minute mark sans Nerlens Noel, and Noel has been ruled out yet again.
Surprisingly, Julius Randle did not close the team’s previous game, as Obi Toppin was in at power forward down the stretch. Still, Randle flirted with 30-minutes, and that is my projection for the rotation again on Friday.
Since Thibodeau’s rotations are ultra-condensed, multiple Knicks can comfortably be played together (as per usual).
Chicago Bulls @ Oklahoma City Thunder
CHI – Devon Dotson (O), Adam Mokoka (O), Tomas Satoransky (O), Garrett Temple (O), Denzel Valentine (O), Thaddeus Young (O)
OKC – Trevor Ariza (O)
While it may have seemed like Zach LaVine and Coby White played 1,000-minutes last game, neither exceeded the 28-minute mark, which suggests each of their minute allotments still have room to grow.
New Coach Billy Donovan is trying to assess his rotation as quickly as possible which limits the potential for the Bulls to have a “rest fest” tonight. Instead, the Bulls likely run something close to a normal rotation, and White/LaVine obviously run a majority of the show.
Do not sleep on Chandler Hutchison, whose new ability to finish at the hoop has been on full display when he has played. Coming off a 26-minute game, it would not be surprising to see him play similar minutes tonight as Donovan gets one final look at the improved version of the kid.
As for the Thunder, Theo Maledon keeps getting expanded opportunities, but the team will be the healthiest they have been all preseason tonight. If their minutes approach their norm, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should see minutes into the mid-to-high-20s and dominate the usage while on the floor.
Otherwise, there is not a whole lot to see here, especially if George Hill, who missed the team’s previous game, returns to the rotation.
Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics
BKN – Nicolas Claxton (O), Elie Okobo (O)
BOS – Romeo Langford (O), Tristan Thompson (O), Daniel Theis (O)
Well now, Coach Steve Nash says tonight’s game will “resemble a normal rotation for the Nets,” so my 27-minute assumption on Kyrie Irving and 29-minute assumption on Kevin Durant could even prove to be a bit conservative.
If either player exceeds 30-minutes, they will obviously finish amongst the top scorers of the night, and that is before mentioning the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, who also have a potential so see significant minutes.
Of the two, Durant is the preferred option, and the field will likely go in other superstar directions. If Nash is dead serious about running a normal rotation, the Nets regulars possess GPP-winning upside.
Daniel Theis is expected back tonight so no need to tilt Robert Williams and his foul trouble any longer. Instead, the Celtics worth rostering would be Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in case the team decides to run a normal rotation.
Early in the day, no reporting has come out in regards to the Celtics rotation, but Coach Brad Stevens does have a reputation for playing deep rotations (so I am not overly optimistic in 30-plus minutes for any single player on the team).
Milwaukee Bucks @ New Orleans Pelicans
MIL – D.J. Augustin (O)
NO – Josh Hart (P), Wenyen Gabriel (O), Will Magnay (O)
UPDATE: Giannis Antetokounmpo out!
For the first time all preseason, the Bucks have listed a member of their squad on the injury report, as poor D.J. Augustin will not play tonight.
Otherwise, it appears to be business as usual, with Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez listed as the starters.
In their final preseason game last year, the Bucks player Middleton and Antetokounmpo 27-plus minutes, but it would be surprising if the team pushed them much further.
Expect mid-to-high 20s minutes for the starters and for Coach Mike Budenholzer to empty the bench later in the game if last year’s handling of the final game continues this season.
UPDATE: With Antetokounmpo out, give boosts to the other studs on the team (Middleton/Holiday) since the usage will have to flow through them. Bobby Portis’ power forward minutes get a boost as well.
The Pelicans starters played heavy minutes their last time out, and with a young core and many new pieces, it would not be surprising for them to play heavy minutes again to work on chemistry.
Eric Bledsoe will play in what has become a revenge game for him now that he is no longer on the Bucks, but his minutes should be limited.
Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson are the safest bets for minutes and Josh Hart should be the first player off the bench (so he could see around 30-minutes as well).
If no news is released in regards to the Pelicans prior to lock, Ingram/Williamson are the clear safest plays of the bunch, with Ball in line for a large workload also (but he is a more volatile talent).
Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets
POR – N/A
DEN – JaMychal Green (O)
Both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum played 30-minutes last game so I am expecting the Trail Blazers to ramp those two down in their final preseason game. In 2019, the Trail Blazers rested their superstars in the final game of the preseason, which seems within the range of outcomes.
If Lillard and McCollum do play, it seems foolish to expect high-20s minutes given the past sample, so the Trail Blazers are mostly a pass for me (unless they end up being thin due to late inactives).
Portland resting players could lead to the Nuggets doing the same and reports suggest players like Bol Bol, Vlatko Cancar, R.J. Hampton and Zeke Nnaji will be given a shot tonight.
For those reasons, the Nuggets are nothing more than a crap shoot, and Bol Bol is probably the guy likeliest to make any of my lineups.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Phoenix Suns
LAL – N/A
PHX – Abdel Nader (O), Dario Saric (O)
Frank Vogel says he wants to give his guys an “opportunity to get their legs under them” tonight so LeBron James and Anthony Davis are clearly worthy of consideration.
I have both approaching 30-minutes in what should be their version of a tune-up game and the two are amongst the best per-minute producers in the entire league.
On FD, where salary is not an issue, there is no reason not to lock Davis at the center position if he actually is going to see around 30-minutes. On DK, both superstars are playable, especially if the Antetokounmpo minute projection ends up being high, and either leading the slate in fantasy points would not exactly be shocking.
On the Suns side, Devin Booker’s minutes were down last game due to foul trouble, so there is no reason to hold him back in the final exhibition.
Cameron Johnson is back which impacts the wing minutes, and limits the upside of Mikal Bridges, but Booker/Deandre Ayton easily could see 30-plus minutes.
The Lakers defense is tough to beat but minutes are the single most important aspect for any player in the preseason. For what it is worth, Booker played a team-high 25-minutes in the team’s 2019 preseason finale, and Ayton only played 17-minutes in that game.
Top Plays: Khris Middleton, LeBron James, Zion Williamson and Julius Randle
Top Values: Mitchell Robinson, Josh Hart, R.J. Barrett, Spencer Dinwiddie
Top GPP Plays: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Isaac Okoro, Chandler Hutchison, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander