There’s value in safety this time of year. Even if a player is a little overpriced (Paul George, for example), we can sacrifice salary for a confidence in 30-plus minutes of solid production. Given tonight’s short five-game slate and all the players resting, it’s more about floor than squeezing every dollar out of our lineup.


Check out today’s injury report here

1. New York Knicks

Jose Calderon (quad) and Kristaps Porzingis (shoulder) are out and Carmelo Anthony (rest) is doubtful. In the nine games that Anthony has sat this year, Williams has averaged 23.0 DK points in just 24.7 minutes. Also note that his usage rate with both Melo and Porz off the floor is a very strong 25.0. Given this and a minute projection of 26-29, Williams is too cheap at $4,300. The other Knick to consider starting point guard Jerian Grant. It appears Kurt Rambis finally realizes that failing to give his first-round rookie much-needed experience is important, as Grant has seen 38 and 30 minutes over the last two games.


1. Jonas Valanciunas against the Sixers

The undersized, thin and overmatched Sixers give up a slate-worst 5.96 more DK points than salary-based expectation to centers. The Raptors might rest Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan tonight. Also, Jonas Valanciunas’ price has dropped all the way to $4,900. So it’s a bit of a perfect storm to get on Valanciunas, especially in tournaments where he’s always underowned. The Sixers only have the corpse of Elton Brand as a big behind starting center Nerlens Noel.

2. Hassan Whiteside against the Pistons

The Heat are one of the few teams still playing for something, as they are trying to secure the East’s fourth-seed and home-court advantage in the first round. So we should see normal minutes out of the starters, which is good news for new starter Hassan Whiteside. The Pistons give up 3.62 more DK points than expectation to centers, so we can give Whiteside a little boost on his baseline of 1.318 DK points per minute. And with his new role as starter, the minute ceiling rises from 32 up toward the 35 range. With very few other options to pay up for tonight, I expect Whiteside to be extremely popular.


1. Thunder expected to rest everyone

Oklahoma is likely to rest Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. The good news is we’ve seen this situation recently, as the trio sat out against the Blazers six days ago. In that game, Enes Kanter started and finished with 33 points and 20 rebounds. It’s not a fluke, as he possesses one of the best rebounding rates in the league and has long been a gifted scorer. Even though he oddly didn’t start the second half of that Blazers game and has to face a far more difficult matchup in San Antonio, Kanter’s ceiling is too high to pass up for just $5,400. The guy who scares me more is Dion Waiters, who somehow went 10-of-19 while playing 39 minutes against the Blazers. As one of the worst real-life players in the NBA, Waiters’ range of outcomes is wider than his ownership percentage will merit.

2. Sixers lacking big bodies

With Jahlil Okafor, Richaun Holmes and possibly Carl Landry all sidelined, the Sixers are really thin up front. We saw this on Sunday, as Elton Brand was the only big off the bench, leading to Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant playing 43 and 42 minutes respectively in that overtime loss to the Bucks. Given the size of this slate and the situation with so many teams using questionable rotations, secure minutes in the mid-to-upper-30s has as ton of value. Noel ($6,200), Grant ($4,800) and Robert Covington ($6,800) are all firmly on the radar even in a meh matchup. Note, Covington is averaging 9.0 rebounds over his last eight games as he’s been forced to log significant minutes at the power forward spot.


1. Blake Griffin against the Grizzlies

The Clippers have already said they are likely to play their starters tonight and rest them on Wednesday. We’ve also seen them ramp up Blake Griffin’s role as he simultaneously comes off injury and tries to get ready for the playoffs. His minutes peaked on Sunday, as he logged 33 in a win over the Mavs. It’s at least possible we’ll see Griffin in that mid-30s range again tonight as he will be off until the playoffs start on Saturday or Sunday. So Griffin, who gets 1.230 DK points per minute, has a baseline of 40.59 DK points at 33 minutes. That’s 5.7x his depressed $7,100 salary.

Cash Game Thoughts


(No particular order)

PGCory Joseph (if Kyle Lowry is out), Jerian Grant, Reggie Jackson, Goran Dragic, Ish Smith,
SGDeMar DeRozan (if he starts), Norman Powell (if Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are out), Monta Ellis, Dwyane Wade, Anthony Morrow (if Westbrook and Durant are out)
SFDerrick Williams, Jerami Grant, Lance Stephenson (if he starts), Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Robert Covington, Paul George
PFNerlens Noel, Zach Randolph, Blake Griffin
CEnes Kanter, Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside