We have a fairly tricky Friday night NBA Tiers seven-game slate. The lines at DK Sportsbook indicate we could have a few lopsided games tonight. I am wading through the blowout risk to find the safest plays for the evening.
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Here are some rankings and thoughts on three different tiers today in Tiers contests on DraftKings:
Tier 1— Kevin Durant vs. Chicago
— Stephen Curry vs. Chicago
— Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Dallas
— Kawhi Leonard vs. Brooklyn
James Harden is so good he couldn’t even be included with the top tier of players. He has transcended this DFS format. I have an issue rostering the Warriors as healthy 15.5-point favorites over the Bulls. I think there is too much blowout risk to play Curry or Durant. The Golden State stars played limited minutes in a game with a similar spread against the Knicks on Tuesday. In an earlier matchup against the Bulls, Golden State won by 25 points.
Neither Leonard nor Towns have plus individual matchups. The Nets have been solid defending wing players this season and rank seventh allowing DKFP to the small forward position. Leonard also could see slightly less usage than usual as this is one of the rare games where the Raptors will have both Kawhi and Kyle Lowry healthy. As for Towns, Dallas is slightly above-average against the center position, but DeAndre Jordan rarely likes to leave the paint. The perimeter shooting ability of Towns could be the difference-maker in this spot, and he should get open looks from 3. He scored 31 points and hit a season-high four triples in the only other meeting between these teams.
Tier 3— Clint Capela vs. Cleveland
— Rudy Gobert vs. Los Angeles Lakers
— Kyle Lowry vs. Brooklyn
— DeAndre Jordan at Minnesota
— Donovan Mitchell vs.Los Angeles Lakers
— Domantas Sabonis at Knicks
In Tier 3, we have a pair of Jazz players and both are in good spots. Rudy Gobert is the second highest scorer in the tier with an average of 39.4 DKFP. He also gets the benefit of playing the Lakers’ frontcourt, who allow the fourth-most DKFP to centers. Despite these numbers, my favorite player from Utah (and in the tier) is Mitchell. After injuries to Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Raul Neto, the Jazz are left with a grand total of zero healthy points guards on the roster. This means Mitchell is going to have the ball in his hands a lot, and he could be forced to play almost the entire game. In the past three games, he is averaging 38.5 minutes.
Despite not being in the tier, Myles Turner is questionable to play, and his status has an impact here. If he is out, Sabonis likely will move in the starting lineup. Sabonis is a fade if he comes off the bench, but his production spikes in the starting unit. He is averaging 39.56 DKFP as a starter this season and 32.89 DKFP when coming off the bench.
Tier 5— Zach LaVine at Golden State
— Enes Kanter vs. Indiana
— Kris Dunn at Golden State
— CJ McCollum vs. Charlotte
— Serge Ibaka vs. Brooklyn
— Spencer Dinwiddie at Toronto
— Brandon Ingram at Utah
— Lonzo Ball at Utah
Damian Lillard is the biggest name on the injury report tonight. He is questionable to play with an elbow injury, and his absence would mean a big boost for McCollum. With Dame off the floor, McCollum’s usage sees a 9.8-percent increase and he scores 39.53 DKFP per 36 minutes. Charlotte is ranked sixth against shooting guards, so CJ is avoidable if Lillard ends up playing.
I mentioned the blowout risk with the Chicago-Golden State game in Tier 1, and it comes into play again in Tier 5. LaVine and Dunn are both fades for me since I think the Bulls could have a tough time staying competitive as 15.5-point underdogs. Another player I am looking to fade is Kanter, who is questionable to play with an illness. Even if he is active, I think there is a chance of him being limited.
The only player in Tier 5 with a good matchup is Ibaka. The Nets are ranked dead last with the 30th-ranked defense against centers on DK. He also benefits from a slight uptick in playing time with Jonas Valanciunas out due to a broken hand. Ibaka is my top play here if Lillard ends up playing.
MOST APPEALING PLAYWe have a bunch of options in Tier 6, but Joe Ingles is the best of the bunch. Jinglin’ Joe is one of the only capable ball-handlers on Utah with all of its point guards injured. In a similar situation last game, he had his second highest usage rating of the season at 25.4 percent and dished out seven assists. Ingles also was needed to stay on the court for longer than usual and played 35 minutes as a key cog in the Jazz’ offense.
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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