Friday’s eight-game slate will be information-based as we have a ton of injuries/rest to be aware of. The Lakers, Spurs, Knicks, Nuggets and Pelicans are all candidates to have value emerge via cheap players thrust into large roles. With just six days left in the regular season, stars and scrubs lineup constructions will be the norm the rest of the way.
1. Jameer Nelson, PG, Nuggets: OUT – This is a repeat of Tuesday when Nelson sat out against the Pelicans and Jamal Murray logged 33 minutes as the starter. The talented rookie finished with 31.25 DK points while Emmanuel Mudiay came off the bench for 26 DK points in 29 minutes. Note that Will Barton (out, foot) was also out that game and Kenneth Faried (probable, back) was only able to play 10 minutes. If that’s the case again, we are really only looking at a seven-man rotation for the Nugs in a must-win spot against a Pelicans team which was just eliminated from the playoff chase. Nikola Jokic (see below) is a very strong play and Danilo Gallinari/Wilson Chandler/Gary Harris are also firmly in play as well.
2. Luke Babbit, SF, Heat: DOUBTFUL – With Babbitt out on Wednesday, James Johnson drew the start and produced 41.5 DK points in 32 minutes. On Friday the Heat have another huge game as they’re a half-game behind the Pacers for the final playoff spot in the East. The matchup against the Raptors is more difficult than Wednesday’s against the Hornets, but the Heat are leaning on Johnson. When asked about Johnson’s performance Wednesday night, coach Erik Spoelstra said the following: “We’re at the stage in the season, it’s go-time. We don’t have time to mess around.” That should mean a high minute floor for Johnson, who also has a revenge game against a Raptors team which didn’t always treat him fairly.
3. Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks: DOUBTFUL – Anthony logged 31 minutes on Thursday night, so he’s expected to rest on Friday night. Kristaps Porzingis (back) is also doubtful and Derrick Rose (knee) is done. It’s another chance for the tanking Knicks to get a look at young players such as Ron Baker, Maurice Ndour, Justin Holiday, Willy Hernangomez and Justin Holiday. Of course, they have a brutal matchup at Memphis and will likely play a nine-man rotation. Holiday, Ndour and Sasha Vujavic are viable low-floor punts.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Spurs Resting Six Players Against the Mavs
Kawhi Leonard, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili and Dejounte Murray will all sit out Friday’s game in Dallas. It leaves the Spurs with nine available players. They are most thin on the wing, where only Kyle Anderson, Jonathon Simmons and Bryn Forbes are available. We can safely project at least 32 minutes for Anderson ($3,600) and Simmons ($3,900), who average .760 and .719 DK points per minute, respectively. At point guard, Gregg Popovich will likely take it easy on both Tony Parker and Patty Mills, but Mills’ .873 DK points per minute at just $4,000 stands out even if he only gets 25-28 minutes. Up front, Dewayne Dedmon and his hefty .928 DK points per minute are a near cash-game lock at stone minimum $3,000. Davis Bertans (.751) is also viable, as is David Lee if we can confirm he’s going to play. Lee’s price is elevated a bit at $4,800, but he’d get a big usage bump on his already strong .969 DK points per minute with all the Spurs stars out. Using San Antonio value plays to gain access to high-priced stars on playoff-hungry teams will be an optimal lineup construction.
1. Nikola Jokic Against the Pelicans
The Pelicans were officially eliminated from the playoffs when they lost to the Nuggets at home on Tuesday. It’s possible they take it easy on guys like DeMarcus Cousins (questionable, heel), Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, who have been playing a ton of minutes during the playoff push. That’s good news for the desperate Nuggets, who are in a must-win spot as they sit 1.5 games behind the Blazers for the final playoff spot in the West. With Jameer Nelson (calf) doubtful, look for Nikola Jokic to handle extra playmaking duties. More importantly, the potential limitations on Cousins/Brow should help Jokic stay out of foul trouble as those two are both in the top-three of fouls drawn per game. Jokic, playing 35.4 minutes per game over his last five, somehow remains under $10,000 on DK.
MATCHUP TO EXPLOIT
1. Russell Westbrook Against the Suns
A lot of people will look at Russell Westbrook’s season-high $14,000 price tag and scoff. That would be a mistake considering Russ needs one more triple-double to break Oscar Robertson’s record and the matchup. The Suns have been a sieve against point guards all season, giving up 5.9 more DK points per game than salary-based expectation to PGs priced over $6,000 this season (via FantasyLabs). That’s the most in the league. In three games against Phoenix this season, Westy has averaged 41.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 13.7 assists and 2.3 steals. If we can fit his massive salary with viable punts, he’ll provide a massive floor/ceiling combination.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Russell Westbrook, Jamal Murray, Patty Mills, Kyrie Irving
SG: James Harden, Gary Harris, Jonathon Simmons, Devin Booker
SF: LeBron James, Kyle Anderson, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler
PF: Nikola Jokic, David Lee, Davis Bertans, Anthony Davis, Kevin Love, James Johnson
C: Rudy Gobert, Dewayne Dedmon, Hassan Whiteside
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) 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.