We are just days away from the trade deadline and the rumor mill is abuzz. Staying up to date on these moves is key for finding DFS value.
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Here are some rankings and thoughts on three different tiers today in the five-game Tiers contests on DraftKings:
SF/PF Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. WAS
C Nikola Jokic, DEN at BKN
PG/SF Luka Doncic, DAL vs. CHA
I love Luka Doncic. He is one of my favorite players, but he does not belong in the top tier. There is a bit of recency bias with DOncic coming off a massive 62.3 DKFP game against the Cavs, but there is plenty of reason to think he will regress tonight. Cleveland is dead last in defensive efficiency, and he faces a slightly more competent Hornets defense, which is 21st in defensive efficiency. Dallas was shorthanded for its most recent game, but it will have many more options to turn to on offense tonight. Tim Hardaway Jr, Trey Burke and Courtney Lee all are going to be active for the Mavericks. This means we can expect a bit of usage to come away from Doncic.
Jokic makes the most sense of any options in Tier 1. He plays the Nets, who allow the most DKFP to centers. Jokic scored more than 70 DKFP in each of his past two meeting against Brooklyn, including a 37-point, 21-rebound effort earlier this season. For me this tier comes down to Jokic or Giannis, but I lean towards the Joker because he comes with less blowout risk. The Greek Freak is in a good spot, but he might not be on the court for all of the fourth quarter with the Bucks favored by 11.5 points.
SF/PF Kevin Durant, GS vs. SA
PG/SG Stephen Curry, GS vs. SA
PG/SG Jrue Holiday, NO at CHI
PG Kemba Walker, CHA at DAL
Oh boy, do we have what should be a one-sided affair tonight in Golden State. Tasked with the daunting task of beating the Warriors on the road, the Spurs have opted to rest both DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. This sets up as potentially being one of the more lopsided games of the season on paper. I don’t think Golden State will need much playing time from its starters to pull off a victory, which has me off both Curry and Durant.
Walker has an interesting matchup against the Mavericks. They are a below-average team at defending point guards and they are bringing in new players to the rotation as mentioned above. The Knicks have not been known as a defensive stalwart, so I don’t think taking on recruits from New York is going to shore up Dallas’ perimeter defense. This is a plus matchup for Kemba, who is coming off back-to-back games of more than 60 DKFP.
SG/SF DeMar DeRozan, SA at GS
PF/C LaMarcus Aldridge, SA at GS
PG De’Aaron Fox, SAC vs. HOU
PF Lauri Markkanen, CHI vs. NO
PF/C Kenneth Faried, HOU at SAC
C Jahlil Okafor, NO at CHI
Since they are resting, both Aldridge and DeRozan are easy names to cross out of the player pool. One interesting name here is Okafor. He looks to have revitalized his career with his recent play as the Pelicans are shorthanded, but they might be getting bodies back. Anthony Davis (wrist) is cleared to play, although he is not expected to play until after the trade deadline. A more realistic candidate to return to the lineup is Julius Randle. Randle is questionable to play after missing the past six games with an ankle sprain. If Randle is out then Okafor is a fine play, but if Randle plays, Okafor could lose out on rebounds, playing time and shot opportunities.
As good as Okfor has played on offense, the reality is he is still a massive liability on the defensive end of the floor. This always has been a bugaboo for him, and Markkanen is a player who can take advantage. He played most of his minutes at power forward, but he still is logging 28 percent of his minutes at center, so he should square off against Okafor for stretches of the game. The quickness of Markkanen and his ability to stretch the floor should give Okafor fits, and I doubt he will be able to keep up.
OFF-THE-WALL PLAYIn Tier 5, Deandre Ayton matches up against a vaunted defender in Rudy Gobert. Gobert might be the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, but Utah allows the sixth most DKFP to centers. Ayton missed time due to an ankle injury, but he hasn’t shown any signs of rust since returning. He is playing more than 33 minutes in his two games since coming back, so I see no reason for concern of a minutes restriction. He posted a double-double in both of games since the injury and is averaging 35.6 DKFP.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) 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.
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