The trade deadline and long layoff yielded a pristine stars-and-scrubs spot on Thursday night. Jusuf Nurkic, Tyreke Evans, E’Twaun Moore, Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein were all in new roles at old prices, giving us access to the likes of LeBron James and James Harden. Friday night is a bit different as players such as Bobby Portis, Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor are priced up.
INJURY/TRADE DEADLINE IMPLICATIONS
1. Deron Williams, PG, Mavericks: WAIVED – The Mavs had enough of veteran point guard Deron Williams, waiving him on Thursday. Sources told ESPN one of the reasons for the move was because Dallas wanted to hand the starting point guard reigns to undrafted rookie Yogi Ferrell. In the seven games Yogi has played this season without Deron and J.J. Barea (calf, out), he’s averaged 35.1 minutes with a 20.3% usage rate and is at 29.5 DK points per game despite shooting just 42.7 percent. He’s no bargain at $5,300, but he has a high minute and usage floor Friday night. A cheaper option in this thinned-out backcourt (Justin Anderson was traded Thursday) is Seth Curry at just $4,500. In 13 games without Deron and Barea this year, Curry is averaging 25.3 DK points per game.
2. Taj Gibson, PF, Bulls: TRADED – The Bulls sent Gibson, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick to the Thunder for Cam Payne, King Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow. It’s unlikely the latter trio will play Friday night, but even if they do the spot is set up nicely for Bobby Portis. Nikola Mirotic has been playing horrifically and nursing a back issue, so it’s not a surprise Portis worked with the starters during Friday’s shootaround. A capable rebounder and scorer, Portis is at .842 DK points per minute this year and was at .925 last year. The problem is his price, as he’s up at $5,000 after being $3,400 before the break. He’s a middling play at that tag, certainly not a candidate to smash value.
3. Dennis Schroder, PG, Hawks: SUSPENDED – Schroder was late getting back to the Hawks following the All-Star break and was therefore suspended for Friday night’s game against the Heat. There’s a lot of usage and minutes to spread around here as Schroder is playing 30.9 minutes per game with a hefty 27.4% usage rate (21st in league). The easy play is backup Malcolm Delaney, who costs stone minimum and is looking at 25+ minutes to go with his .726 DK points per minute rate. Tim Hardaway Jr., Kent Bazemore and Paul Millsap also get bumps.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Sixers Trade Away Noel, Ilyasova
What was once a crowded frontcourt in Philly is now extremely thin. Nerlens Noel is in Dallas, Ersan Ilyasova is in Atlanta and Joel Embiid (knee) remains on the bench. I’m expecting just three true bigs in the rotation Friday night against the Wizards: Jahlil Okafor (.922 DK points per minute), Dario Saric (also .922) and Richaun Holmes (.968). It reminds a bit of Thursday night’s Sacramento situation where Kosta Koufos, Anthony Tolliver and Willie Cauley-Stein combined to play 87 of 96 available minutes at the PF/C spots. The difference is big usage rates for Okafor and Saric, who have averaged 24.8 and 27.0 DK points per game respectively when Embiid and Noel have been out this season.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
UPDATE: Kyle Lowry is OUT tonight against the Celtics.
1. Kyle Lowry Against the Celtics
I’ve been attacking the Celtics with point guards all season, especially with Avery Bradley (doubtful, heel) sidelined. There’s just nowhere for them to hide Isaiah Thomas, who ranks 89th among 89 qualifying point guards in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus metric. On the season, they’re giving up a whopping 6.03 more DK points per game than salary-based expectation to PGs who cost at least $7,000 (via Fantasy Labs). Kyle Lowry has taken advantage of this before, averaging 30.0 points, 5.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 treys and 2.3 steals in three meetings with the Celtics so far this season.
1. Marcin Gortat Against the Sixers
Centers are typically underpriced relative to other postions on DK and Friday is no different. That’s especially true with Brook Lopez ($6,900), Myles Turner ($5,500) and Hassan Whiteside ($8,000). But the center that stands out the most as a safe play is Marcin Gortat, who is averaging 34.4 minutes per game across the last seven and gets a plum matchup Friday night. The Sixers are typically strong in the interior, but that’s only due to the presence of rim-protecting athletes Joel Embiid and/or Nerlens Noel. They won’t have either of them Friday night, leaving Jahlil Okafor as the primary defender on Gortat. Okafor ranks 71st among 71 centers in Defensive Real Plus-Minus and is 40th among 57 qualifiers in rebounding rate. The Wizards have the fourth-highest implied team total on the slate at 112 points despite being on the road.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Yogi Ferrell,
Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Malcolm Delaney
SG: Seth Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Tyler Johnson, Bradley Beal, Wes Matthews, Jimmy Butler
SF: Dario Saric, Kawhi Leonard, Gordon Hayward, Caris LeVert (if he starts), Harrison Barnes, Jae Crowder
PF: Bobby Portis, Paul Millsap, Julius Randle, Gorgui Dieng, Blake Griffin, Karl-Anthony Towns
C: Marcin Gortat, Brook Lopez, Hassan Whiteside, Myles Turner, Dwight Howard, Rudy Gobert
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.