I don’t want to jinx anything (knocks on wood), but in a year that’s seemingly been defined by injuries, tonight’s NBA slate looks pretty straightforward when it comes to bumps and bruises. Now, obviously that’s due in part to there only being four games this evening, yet we’ve got to celebrate these minor health victories whenever possible. However, I’m also not saying I wouldn’t be keeping an eye on the DK Live app as we get closer and closer to tip-off. This is still basketball, after all. I’m not a crazy person.
Let’s break it all down position-by-position.
StudDevonte’ Graham, CHA vs. NO, $6,700 – If you’re looking to attack this matchup — and you should be — the choice is between Graham and Terry Rozier ($7,000). Still, despite the fact that the latter is the starter, it’s hard to find a reason to pay the extra $300 for Rozier. Graham has simply been the more efficient option and it’s not as if he’s severely lacking in volume, either. While Rozier leads Charlotte in field goal attempts per game at 13.6, Graham sits second on the team at 12.3. Though Rozier has the highest usage rate on the Hornets (24.8%), Graham isn’t too far behind (23.2%). However, Graham’s .590 true shooting percentage dwarfs Rozier’s mark (.499) and, partly because of that, the sophomore is outperforming the veteran from a DFS perspective. In fact, Graham’s averaging 1.10 DKFP per minute and Rozier’s all the way down at 0.93. Again, both can be viable against a Pelicans squad that possesses the NBA’s second-worst defensive rating (114.5), but Graham’s just the better play.
Other Option: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,100)
ValueAlec Burks, GS at OKC, $4,500 – I’m having a difficult time pinpointing the reason why Burks’ salary dropped $700 from last night’s OT loss to the Timberwolves. Sure, the Thunder are a much tougher matchup and they’ve been stout defensively to begin 2019-20, but it just seems like Burks is going to get a lot of run on this injury-plagued Warriors roster. In the team’s past three games specifically, Burks has racked up 91 minutes of action, he owns Golden State’s second-highest usage rate at 24.9% and he’s hit at least 5x value each time he’s taken the court. The presence of D’Angelo Russell ($8,500) surely caps his ceiling a little bit, but I’m still willing to wager that Burks gets off double-digit shot attempts tonight in Oklahoma City.
Other Option: Austin Rivers ($3,600)
StudLuka Doncic, DAL at MEM, $9,600 – The decision between Doncic and James Harden ($11,800) is a daunting one, but it’s hard to go against the sophomore with the kind of start he’s had to November. In four games this month, Doncic is averaging 31.3 points on an eye-popping 38.3% usage rate. Also dating back to Nov. 1, the Mavericks’ star ranks third in the league in touches per night (105.5) — an amount of volume that Doncic has translated into three triple-doubles and an impressive 1.74 DKFP earned per minute. Plus, these aren’t your slightly older brother’s Grizzlies. Memphis comes into Saturday with the NBA’s sixth-fastest pace (106.3) and allowing the sixth-most points per contest (117.9). Grit n’ Grind is clearly a thing of the past.
Other Option: James Harden ($11,800)
ValueCoby White, CHI vs. HOU, $4,300 – The White experience in DFS has definitely been an up-and-down adventure so far this season, but the rookie’s remained heavily involved in the Bulls’ rotation despite a few shooting hiccups. In fact, though he possesses putrid percentages both overall and beyond the arc, White’s 18.0 field goal attempts per 36 minutes actually only rank him slightly behind Zach LaVine ($7,300) for the team-lead in that category. His 24.8% usage rate is also good for second on Chicago amongst its main rotation pieces. Anyway, in a matchup against a Rockets squad that ranks inside both the top three in pace and bottom three in defensive rating, this is an uptempo setting where White’s aggression might be rewarded. If he’s ever going to have an efficient shooting performance, it’ll be opposed by Houston’s generally apathetic defense.
Other Option: Hamidou Diallo ($4,100)
StudBrandon Ingram, NO at CHA, $8,000 – What else needs to be said about Ingram? In the seven games he’s completed without injury, the fourth-year forward has only once not exceeded 5x value. Of the 19 players with a usage rate of at least 29.0%, the only three guys with a better true shooting percentage than Ingram’s mark of .622 are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam and Damian Lillard. That’s some pretty elite company. Simply put, Ingram’s been performing at a completely new level to begin 2019-20 and I see no reason to think he falters against an underwhelming Charlotte team. The Hornets possess the NBA’s sixth-worst defensive rating and they’ve also conceded a 47.8% field goal rate to opponents through eight contests, the fourth-highest figure in all of basketball. Ingram should continue to eat.
Other Option: Danilo Gallinari ($6,400)
ValueChandler Hutchison, CHI vs. HOU, $3,200 – Just think, one day you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren about Chandler Hutchison chalk night. What a time to be alive. Hutchison has already been named tonight’s starter with Otto Porter sidelined due to a left foot sprain. Now, by no means am I expecting the second-year forward to go off on this slate, however, we do have a bit of a track record when it comes to Hutchison being viable in a starting capacity. Going back to last season, Hutchison averaged a respectable 22.8 DKFP in the final seven starts he was able to make before succumbing to injury. Still, the most important thing to remember here is that this contest has the slate’s highest implied total and Hutchison is priced just over the minimum. It won’t be pretty, be he’ll reach value with little issue.
Other Option: P.J. Tucker ($5,800)
StudKristaps Porzingis, DAL at MEM, $7,500 – He’s been underwhelming in a DFS capacity so far this season, but his mid-range salary is definitely enticing with the ceiling we know Porzingis possesses. Memphis is also the exact type of team that can assist Porzingis is collecting some tertiary statistics vital to him being viable. In three of Dallas’ eight games in 2019-20 the former lottery pick has racked up at least five blocks. Unsurprisingly, on those three occasions Porzingis is averaging a robust 46.0 DKFP. So, what do you need to accumulate blocks? Well, a team that likes taking shots near the basket certainly helps and that’s precisely the Grizzlies’ plan of attack. In fact, Memphis comes into this evening generating an NBA-high 51.2% of their points in the paint. As such, they’ve been blocked a Western Conference-high 6.5 times per game. Tonight we have all the ingredients for Porzingis to break out.
Editor’s Note: Porzingis (knee, load management) is listed as out for tonight’s game.
Other Option: Miles Bridges ($6,100)
ValueBrandon Clarke, MEM vs. DAL, $5,100 – As tantalizing as Jaren Jackson Jr. ($4,700) is in this same matchup, Clarke’s just been the more consistent fantasy asset so far in 2019-20. Clarke leads the Grizzlies with a .628 true shooting percentage, he’s one of only three players on the roster averaging more than 1.0 DKFP per minute played, and he’s putting up 28.7 DKFP per game across Memphis’ past four contests. With the Mavericks surrendering the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards this season, Clarke makes for a high-floor value option at a relatively barren position.
StudPJ Washington, CHA vs. NO, $6,000 – Washington produced arguably the worst game of his young career on Thursday against Boston, but, despite making only a single basket, the rookie still finished with 26.5 DKFP. Washington’s actually yet to post fewer than 20.0 DKFP in a contest this season and it’s hard to see that streak ending tonight against the Pelicans. New Orleans just hemorrhages fantasy points to big men. No team in the West has allowed as many made field goals in the restricted area as the Pelicans and they also own the Conference’s worst overall rebounding rate (48.2%). Washington might be a floor archetype in terms of DFS, but this evening he’s got an opportunity to create a new ceiling.
Other Option: Clint Capela ($7,400)
ValueJaxson Hayes, NO at CHA, $3,100 – Even with Derrick Favors ($4,200) back and healthy, Hayes has seen at least 14 minutes of work in each of New Orleans’ past two games. That’s not a lot to work with, however, it’s not like he needs all that much time to do some damage on the stat sheet. In fact, the rookie is averaging 1.02 DKFP per 60 seconds played and he might be in line for a few additional minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. I wouldn’t go crazy in terms of exposure, yet, in a stars-and-scrubs build, you could do worse than Hayes.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.