WATCH: PICK & ROLL – 2 PLAYER STACK
We have an unusually light eight-game slate on Friday night and it also doesn’t include the Russ Westbrook conundrum. What it does have is sneakily important injury news coming out of Brooklyn and Charlotte, two places many folks don’t typically look.
1. Brook Lopez, C, Nets: OUT – Lopez will rest in Friday’s game at Dallas. The Nets are still likely to play at least 10 guys, but we do have an opening for Justin Hamilton. In the last three games Lopez has missed, Hamilton has logged 23, 18 and 23 minutes. On the season, he gets .834 DK points per minute. Given that Hamilton costs minimum $3,000, he carries a very positive projection even if we can only give him a floor of 18-22 minutes. The same can be said for Quincy Acy, who did get 22 minutes last game and had a reasonable .781 DK points per minute rate last year.
2. Ryan Anderson, PF, Rockets: QUESTIONABLE – Anderson, the Rockets’ starting power forward, sat out Wednesday’s loss to the Jazz. The Rockets surprisingly chose to go with a small-ball starting lineup which featured Eric Gordon at the small forward spot and Trevor Ariza at power forward. The end result was a whopping 40 minutes for Gordon and just 23 for slumping Lou Williams off the bench. Gordon only finished with 24 DK points, but that was in one of the worst possible matchups against Utah. Now he gets a plus matchup against the Bulls as Jimmy Butler will likely focus his attention on James Harden. If Anderson ends up playing, Gordon’s minute floor will be a bit too low.
3. J.J. Barea, G, Mavs: PROBABLE – Barea (calf) has been out six weeks. Expect him to be eased in slowly Friday night, likely for 10-15 minutes off the bench. Barea’s return will eventually be a concern to the minutes of Yogi Ferrell and possibly Seth Curry, but for now, projections don’t change. All Mavs are green-light matchup plays against a Brooklyn team which ranks first in pace and 28th in defensive efficiency. Nerlens Noel’s (knee) absence ensures a nice minute floor for the bigs as well – we’ll see plenty of Dirk Nowitzki at the 5 and Harrison Barnes at the 4.
4. Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets: QUESTIONABLE – Jokic has a nasty flu bug that left him too weak to even stay at the practice facility Thursday. If he’s forced to sit again, Mason Plumlee will immediately enter the cash-game conversation at $5,900 – he’s averaging 37.7 DK point per game while Jokic has sat out the last two. Wilson Chandler (34.5 DK ppg without Jokic this year) also gets a big boost if the big man is out. We also need to keep an eye on the status of Danilo Gallinari (questionable, vertigo) – Juancho Hernangomez started at small forward last game and gets .813 DK points per minute on the year. He remains just $3,900.
MATCHUP TO EXPLOIT
1. Willie Cauley-Stein Against the Wizards
Playing power forwards against the Wizards has been profitable for the entire season. They’ve allowed the fifth-most DK points per game to the position on the year, better than only the inept defenses of the Lakers, Nets, Suns and Blazers. Willie Cauley-Stein will log some minutes at center but he has a chance to start at power forward, something he’s done in two of the last three games. Either way, Cauley-Stein has played at least 24 minutes in eight straight games and ticks into the mid-30s when he’s playing well. That makes him a nice GPP option in a game with the third-highest projected total on the slate.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Hornets’ Razor Thin Frontcourt
First, the Hornets traded away Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert. Then they lost Frank Kaminsky (shoulder) and Miles Plumlee (calf). And on Wednesday, Johnny O’Bryant (ankle) went down. It leaves the Hornets absurdly thin up front with only newly signed Christian Wood to back up starters Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams. Those two are growing accustomed to big workloads as Williams has played at least 37 minutes in three straight games and Zeller was in for 42 minutes last time out. Friday’s matchup at home against the Magic is a good one as they rank 24th in rebounding differential and 21st in field-goal percentage allowed. Kemba Walker also remains underpriced at $8,100 as usage naturally funnels to him – the Hornets don’t run plays for Zeller or Marvin. Jeremy Lamb ($3,300) and his .977 DK points per minute are in play as a punt with the Hornets likely to extend his minutes in small lineups.
1. Ricky Rubio Against the Warriors
As noted in this space on Wednesday, the Wolves are scraping for their playoff lives. After booking a nice win over the Clippers, they’re 2.5 games out of the West’s No. 8 seed. So once again, they’ll have it all on the line in a big home game – this time against a Warriors team which plays at the second-quickest pace in the league. We know Rubio is going to play at least 32 minutes and there are situations where coach Tom Thibodeau could extend that toward the 36-38 minute mark as he did in a tight game against the Spurs six days ago. Rubio continues to flourish without Zach LaVine (ACL), averaging 39.0 DK points per game across his last 10. Yet his price has barely moved, as he was $6,400 when that run started and is just $6,900 Friday night.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Ricky Rubio, Kemba Walker, Isaiah Thomas, Dennis Schroder, John Wall
SG: James Harden, Avery Bradley, Bradley Beal, Evan Fournier, Jeremy Lamb
SF: Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Wilson Chandler (if Nikola Jokic is out), Trevor Ariza
PF: Harrison Barnes, Juancho Hernangomez (if Gallinari and Jokic are out), Serge Ibaka, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap, Quincy Acy
C: Justin Hamilton, Karl-Anthony Towns, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee (If Jokic is out)
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.