Jabari Parker’s truly unfortunate season-ending knee injury is the latest injury to rock the NBA. The tricky part for us is Jason Kidd’s rotations are among the most difficult to predict in the entire league. So while all of Parker’s backups remain underpriced, a key to tonight’s slate is figuring out which ones will be priced significantly higher in a week or two.
1. Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets: OUT – Faried (ankle) joins Emmanuel Mudiay (back) and Danilo Gallinari (hamstring) on the sideline for Friday’s game against the Knicks. We can expect Wilson Chandler and Will Barton to start again, roles their fantasy-friendly games have flourished in. When the aforementioned trio have been off the floor this season, the Nuggets’ qualified leaders in DK points per minute are: Nikola Jokic 1.30, Chandler 1.14, Barton 1.07, Jamal Murray .94. Chandler has played at least 36 minutes in three of last last four games, and Barton is averaging 37.5 over the last two.
2. Ty Lawson, PG, Kings: DOUBTFUL – Just as the Kings get DeMarcus Cousins back from a one-game suspension, they lose Lawson to a hamstring pull. With Rudy Gay/Garrett Temple out and Omri Casspi questionable, this team is once again very thin at the wings heading into Friday’s game against the Hawks. Darren Collison is averaging 36.2 minutes per game over his last four and will likely be in that range again as he has no true backup. It’s a big number for a player priced at $5,400 and averaging .792 DK points per minute on the year.
3. Dion Waiters, SG, Heat: OUT – Waiters’ ankle sprain doesn’t sound overly severe, but he’ll miss again Friday night. That means we have to consider a whole slew of Heat given the condensed rotation and matchup against Brooklyn. The Nets are the best possible spot for an opposing offense, ranking first in pace and 26th in defensive efficiency. Without Waiters last game, coach Erik Spoelstra only gave seven players 27+ minutes: Rodney McGruder, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Wayne Ellington, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson. McGruder led the way with 36 minutes and remains just $3,900 on DK. Johnson averages a strong 1.09 DK points per minute with Waiters, Josh Richardson (out) and Justise Winslow (out) off the floor this season.
SITUATION TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Jabari Parker Reinjuring Knee
Parker sadly re-tore his left ACL on Wednesday night and will miss the rest of the season. Parker was sporting a big 24.6 usage rate, playing 33.9 minutes a night and taking 16.0 shots per game this season, so there’s a lot of opportunity to spread around. I’ll be keeping a close eye on who starts at power forward against the Lakers Friday night as erratic head coach Jason Kidd has at least three options: Michael Beasley, Mirza Teletovic and Thon Maker. Note that Khris Middleton (hamstring) finally returned last game, but likely remains on a 15-20 minute cap. Beasley, who averages .989 DK points per minute and has actually been in the rotation lately, is my lean for value here at $3,900. Maker has played a total of seven minutes the last three games and although Teletovic is the stone minimum, he has only averaged .746 DK points per minute on the season. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greg Monroe and John Henson also get bumps of varying degrees. Note that the Lakers rank 6th in pace and 29th in defensive efficiency – it’s a very good spot for all Bucks.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Hassan Whiteside Against the Nets
The Nets give up an absurd 6.44 more DK points per game than salary-based expectation to centers (via FantasyLabs). Meanwhile, Hassan Whiteside has played 34 and 36 minutes the last two games as the Heat have been thinned out by injuries (see above). So it’s a bit of a perfect storm where we get Whiteside with an elevated minute projection in an elite matchup. Brook Lopez ranks 58th among 70 centers in defensive real plus-minus (via ESPN).
1. Kawhi Leonard Against the Pistons
This is the second straight time I’m featuring Kawhi in this space. On Wednesday, he was just $8,300 against the 76ers and posted 47.5 DK points. His price has somehow gone down for Friday’s slate as he’s just $8,200 against the Pistons. Note that Leonard has now scored at least 39 DK points in 12 straight outings, averaging 47.9 DK PPG during that span. If Kawhi simply gets his season average (42.9 DK points), he’ll return elite 5.23x value.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Darren Collison, Goran Dragic, Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroder, Jrue Holiday, John Wall
SG: Will Barton, Tim Hardaway Jr., Brad Beal, Gary Harris, Devin Booker, Klay Thompson
SF: Kawhi Leonard, Michael Beasley, Andrew Wiggins, Paul George, Rodney McGruder, Wilson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony
PF: Mirza Teletovic (if he starts), James Johnson, Kristaps Porzingis, Paul Millsap
C: DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Hassan Whiteside, Marcin Gortat, Nikola Jokic
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.