Tonight marks the last big slate before the All-Star break. While us DFS players may not be looking ahead to the week off, a lot of players certainly are. Expect the unexpected with some rotations and effort level of certain teams.
SIX INJURIES TO BE AWARE OF
1. Marc Gasol, C, MEM – Gasol broke his foot against the Blazers on Monday and is out indefinitely. See the “Situations” section below for the fallout ahead of tonight’s dream matchup against a Nets team that has given up at least 100 points in six straight games and ranks 28th in defensive efficiency.
2. Jimmy Butler, SF, CHI – Jimmy Minutes is out 3-4 weeks with his knee strain. In the three games he’s recently missed, E’Twaun Moore is averaging 36.0 minutes and scoring 32.6 DK points per game. Note that Derrick Rose rested on Monday but is expected back tonight, dinging Moore.
3. Kevin Garnett and Nikola Pekovic, PF, MIN – Both KG (knee) and Pek (foot) are doubtful. We know that locks Gorgui Dieng into a ton of burn. Over the last six games, Dieng is averaging a whopping 36.1 minutes. This is a guy who is at .939 DK points per minute this year and was at .934 last year.
4. Jameer Nelson, PG, DEN – Nelson hasn’t played since Jan. 30 and is doubtful for the Nuggets’ last game before the break. That’s secured Emmanuel Mudiay’s minutes. Even though he’s really struggling in real-life basketball, Mudiay continues to perform consistently in fantasy thanks to a versatile skill set. He’s at a reasonable .866 DK points per minute in his rookie year.
5. All the Spurs – We know Manu Ginobili (testicle) is out and Tim Duncan (knee) is questionable at best. We also know the Spurs are in a back-to-back road spot after winning in Miami on Tuesday night. Although the All-Star break is nearly here, it’s still possible we could see guys such as Tony Parker, David West and/or Boris Diaw sit. That would open up some serious value in a plus spot at Orlando.
6. Ersan Ilyasova, PF, DET – Ilyasova is listed as doubtful due to an illness. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (abdominal) is already out. Look for Anthony Tolliver to draw the start, just know that he gets just .644 DK points per minute and that number could fall further while playing with high-usage starters like Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond. Stanley Johnson is overpriced at $6000, but is a great candidate to bounce back against the Nuggets tonight.
Adam Levitan dives into tonight’s slate
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Wing players against the Kings
We should be looking to use anyone against the Kings, who have given up at least 104 points in nine straight games. They’re allowing an absurd 118.1 points per game during that span. Ish Smith, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor are certainly all in play. It’s also worth highlighting that the Kings have been especially bad against wing players. Some recent lines against them include LeBron 21-10-10, J.R. Smith 22-4-2, Avery Bradley 25-3-3, Joe Johnson 27-11-6, E’Twuan Moore 24-5-4 and Jeff Green 29-2-1. It’s a spot Robert Covington has an excellent chance to break out of his funk as a high-upside tournament play.
2. DeAndre Jordan against the Celtics
This is an ideal spot for DeAndre. He averages 39.0 DK points with Blake Griffin out vs. 34.0 with Blake in. The Celtics play at the third-highest pace in the league, give up the fifth-most offensive rebounds per game (11.5) and the seventh-most defensive rebounds per game (34.6). Brad Stevens is willing to go to Hack-A-Jordan, as he did in their second meeting last year. And the game projects to be a close, high-scoring affair. Jordan has a floor of 16 rebounds in this spot and serious upside if he can make some free throws.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Marc Gasol’s broken foot
In a devastating blow to the Grizzlies, stud center Marc Gasol broke his foot on Monday. This is a guy who plays 34.4 minutes per game, takes 13.6 shots and has a 22.9 usage rate, so there’s a lot of slack to be picked up. Look for Zach Randolph and Jeff Green to be the main beneficiaries. When Gasol has been off the court this year, the Grizzlies have gone small a lot with lineups that feature Green at the power forward. Green’s usage rate (via nbawowy) with/without Gasol on the floor is 19.1/24.4 and Randolph’s is 22.8/28.8. Note that Mike Conley only goes from 22.6 to 23.0 with Gasol on the bench. Also note that tonight’s opponent, the Nets, are 28th in the defensive efficiency. Only the Suns and Lakers are worse.
2. Derrick Rose not on the injury report
Rose was a surprising late scratch on Monday night due to “general body soreness.” That peeved a lot of DFS players and is sure to depress his ownership tonight even though he’s in a fine spot against the Hawks. With Jimmy Butler off the court this year, Rose’s usage rate has been a massive 33.0. That would be good for third in the NBA this season, behind only Russell Westbrook and DeMarcus Cousins. He’s dramatically underpriced at $7000 assuming he’s healthy.
NEAR MIN-PRICED GPP SHOTS OF THE DAY
1. Mario Hezonja, SG, Magic (if Tobias Harris is ruled out)
Harris (ankle) is headed for a game-time decision. The matchup against the Spurs is awful, but if Tobias sits then the talented Hezonja projects as the sixth man. We know Scott Skiles’ rotations are very volatile, especially in a matchup against the Spurs that has the potential to get ugly. If Hezonja can play well though, he has a great shot at 20-plus minutes in a close game. If the game turns into a blowout, we could see him push toward 30. It’s a rarity on DraftKings that we can find someone with a ceiling at $3700.
WHO I’M CONSIDERING IN DRAFTKINGS CASH GAMES
(No particular order)
PG: Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, Ish Smith, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo
SG: Rodney Hood, Evan Fournier (if Tobias Harris is out), E’Twaun Moore, James Harden, Avery Bradley
SF: Jeff Green, Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris, Paul George, Danilo Gallinari, LeBron James
PF: Zach Randolph, Nerlens Noel, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Tolliver (if Ersan Ilyasova is out), Thaddeus Young, Paul Millsap
C: DeAndre Jordan, Gorgui Dieng, Karl-Anthony Towns, Brook Lopez, Pau Gasol