This is one of the oddest slates in recent memory. We could easily make high-quality lineups without filling out our entire $50K salary cap, which is what happens with tons of stars resting/hurt and no one on the slate priced over $10K. The key to tonight will be figuring out which of the cheapies are the best options — playing too many of them and leaving a ton of cap room on the table will likely be a mistake.
1. Washington Wizards
The most important injury of the night to track is John Wall, who is battling swelling in his right knee. We saw what happened when Wall sat out Wednesday’s blowout of the Nets: productive backup Ramon Sessions predictably went for 43.25 DK points, despite not playing at all in the fourth quarter. On the season, Bradley Beal’s usage goes to 27.4, Marcin Gortat’s to 21.3 and Markieff Morris’ to 20.1 with Wall off the floor. If the All-Star point guard does play, he’ll be overpriced at $9,500 but still an option because we’re desperate to spend our money on this weird slate. There are no players over $10K and only four over $8K that will definitely be active.
2. Orlando Magic
Aaron Gordon sustained a concussion on Wednesday and will not play against the Heat tonight. The most intriguing beneficiary is Andrew Nicholson, who has earned 20.0 minutes a night across the last seven games as a primary bench player. If he starts, we can bump his minute projection into the 27-32 range — an appetizing number for a player who gets .921 DK points per minute and costs just $3,800. Other candidates to start next to Nikola Vucevic are the less exciting Ersan Ilyasova and Jason Smith.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Reggie Jackson against the Wizards
We’re not sure if John Wall (game-time decision, knee) is going to play. Either way, it’s a nice spot for Reggie Jackson again. The Wizards play at the fifth-fastest pace in the league and give up an embarrassing 4.0 more DK points than salary-based expectation to point guards. Perhaps most importantly, Jackson’s minutes have grown more secure as the Pistons try to clinch a playoff berth and avoid the top-seeded Cavs in the first round. Jackson has seen 32, 35, 32 minutes in his last three non-blowouts and will go lightly owned tonight thanks to the plethora of cheap options.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Spurs resting everyone against the Nuggets
San Antonio is expected to sit a host of their players as they can no longer catch Golden State for the West’s No. 1 seed and are on a back-to-back. I’m not expecting to see Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and possibly others. Patty Mills, Kyle Anderson, David West and Kevin Martin project for big minute bumps, but the star of the show will likely by Boban Marjanovic. He’s started three games earlier this season, averaging 21.3 minutes per game in them. That doesn’t sound too exciting until we realize he’s 12th in the entire NBA in DK points per minute at 1.259 — more than Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, Karl-Anthony Towns, Paul George and other stars.
2. Clippers resting everyone against the Jazz
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Wes Johnson are all resting tonight. Austin Rivers (ankle) and Jeff Green (knee) are questionable. So the Clippers projected starting five is Pablo Prigioni, Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce, Luc Mbah a Moute and Cole Aldrich. The problem is they’re facing a motivated Utah team at home which plays at the slowest pace in the league (by a wide margin) and is top-7 in defensive efficiency. The Clipper I’m most interested in is Aldrich, who has a history of being extremely productive when given opportunities (1.171 DK points per minute) and costs just $3,500. Crawford is scarier because he’s unlikely to play deep into a blowout, and the Jazz are capable of suffocating wing players.
1. Jabari Parker against the Celtics
The Bucks continue to play Jabari Parker and Giannis Anteokounmpo deep into blowouts as they wisely give their promising young core experience down the stretch. Both players are averaging a whopping 36.5 minutes per game over his last six. The difference is that while Giannis’ price is a slate-high $9,700, Parker is way down at $5,900. That’s simply far too cheap for a player seeing that many minutes — especially with Khris Middleton (thigh) out again. It’s not a coincidence that Parker has gotten 40 shots up with Middleton sidelined the last two games.
Cash Game Thoughts
WHO I’M CONSIDERING IN DRAFTINGS H2H, DOUBLE UP and 50/50 GAMES
(No particular order)
|PG||Goran Dragic, J.J. Barea, Ramon Sessions/John Wall (whoever starts), Reggie Jackson, Tim Frazier|
|SG||Bradley Beal, Rodney Hood, Dwyane Wade, Avery Bradley|
|SF||Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Tobias Harris, Derrick Williams|
|PF||Thomas Robinson, Jabari Parker, Zach Randolph, Andrew Nicholson (if he starts)|
|C||Boban Marjanovic (if he starts), Cole Aldrich, Andre Drummond|