It’s Live Final night on DraftKings, as the 100-entry tournament paying $1M to first is going down in San Diego. We have a great slate for it as well thanks to eight guys in the $9K plus range that are all at least in reasonable spots. Can’t wait to see how this contest unfolds.

INJURY BOX

StatusPlayers
ProbableReggie Jackson (DET), Marcelo Huertas (LAL), Gorgui Dieng (MIN), Nerlens Noel (PHI), Marco Belinelli (SAC), Ersan Ilyasova (ORL)
QuestionableBrandon Bass (LAL), Kobe Bryant (LAL), Norris Cole (NO), Elfrid Payton (ORL), Omri Casspi (SAC), Rajon Rondo (SAC), Jonas Valanciunas (TOR), David Lee (DAL)
DoubtfulJodie Meeks (DET), Richaun Holmes (PHI), Robert Covington (PHI), Kyle Lowry (TOR)
OutJae Crowder (BOS), Andre Iguodala (GSW), Anthony Brown (LAL), Nikola Vucevic (ORL), Jahlil Okafor (PHI), Meyers Leonard (POR), Ben McLemore (SAC), Jonas Jerebko (BOS)

INJURY IMPLICATIONS

1. Toronto Raptors

If Jonas Valanciunas (hand) can’t go again, the most popular play of the night will be former No. 7 overall pick Bismack Biyombo. Over the last two games, Biyombo has posted 35.25 and 52.75 DraftKings points against the Bucks and Pacers. Now he’d get one of the best possible matchups for a big man as the Celtics give up the fifth-most rebounds and the fourth-most offensive rebounds per game. It’s tough to fade a talented player averaging 0.875 DraftKings points per minute when costs $4600 and projects for 30+ minutes in a soft matchup.

2. Sacramento Kings

Rajon Rondo (toe) and Omri Casspi (ankle) is questionable. Darren Collison gets 0.82 DraftKings points per minute with Rondo on the floor vs. 0.99 when Rondo is off it. More importantly, he plays 38.2 minutes per game when Rondo is inactive vs. 28.8 when Rondo plays. Also note that the Kings will have to play bigger if Casspi can’t go, which would be good news for Willie Cauley-Stein.

Mar18 - Darren Collison Leverage


MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT

1. Brandon Knight against the Lakers

The Suns have given Brandon Knight massive opportunity since coming off his groin injury. Over the last three games, he’s averaging 37.0 minutes and getting 18.0 shots up a night. Knight hasn’t exactly capitalized as he’s shooting just 37 percent during that span, but that has an excellent chance to change tonight because he’s facing the Lakers. This is a “defense” that ranks dead last in defensive efficiency and 26th in raw points allowed. Knight’s role on this woeful Phoenix game is worth significantly more than $7000.


Continue your Friday Night NBA Research Journey

Player TargetsLevitan's LeverageCheat Sheet
Game BreakdownsTournament PlaysTop 5's by Position


SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON

1. Russell Westbrook despite playing in a potential blowout

Many of the NBA’s top stars suffer sharp statistical decreases when their games turn into a blowout. For example, Steph Curry scores 0.13 fewer DraftKings points than salary-based expectation when the Warriors are favored by at least 10 vs. 5.95 more than salary expectation when the Warriors are favored by somewhere between one and nine. However, this “blowout decrease” does not apply to Russell Westbrook. Since virtually all of the Thunder’s offense flows through Westbrook and Durant, they are almost always the reason for a blowout. Note that Westbrook actually fares better (+5.82) when the Thunder are favored by at least 10 than he does when they’re favored by 1-9 (+4.97). His floor/ceiling combo in this matchup with the defensively inept Sixers is the best on the slate.

2. DeMar DeRozan with Kyle Lowry possibly resting

The Raptors have been talking about resting their players as they coast to the No. 2 seed in the East. Tonight is a great time to rest Kyle Lowry, who has played three games in the previous four nights and logged 43 minutes in Thursday night’s overtime win. Note that with Lowry off the floor this season, DeRozan’s usage rate soars to 37.0% — a number that would lead the entire league. And although Boston’s guards are very strong defensively, they commit the second-most fouls per game (22.3) and play at the third-fastest pace in the league. Free throws are a huge part of DeRozan’s game, as he attempts 8.7 per game (third-most in the NBA behind only DeMarcus Cousins and James Harden).

Mar18 - DeMar DeRozan

UNDERPRICED ASSET

1. Mason Plumlee with Meyers Leonard hurt

In nine games without Meyers Leonard this season, Mason Plumlee is averaging 30.0 minutes per game. When Leonard suits up, the Plumdog Millionaire is at 24.6 minutes. Note that he averages 0.995 DraftKings points per minute, so we have a baseline of 29.8 projected points. At just $4000, that’s an elite 7.4x projection. Then we throw in a dream matchup with a Pelicans team that ranks ninth in pace and 26th in defensive efficiency and we have a very safe option given the outrageously low price.


Cash Game Considerations

Below are players that I am most considering for head-to-head and 50/50 style games tonight (in no particular order).

PositionPlayers
PGRussell Westbrook, Tim Frazier, Cory Joseph (if Kyle Lowry is out), Darren Collison (if Rajon Rondo is out), Brandon Jennings (if Elfrid Payton is out), Damian Lillard, Brandon Knight
SGKentavius Caldwell-Pope, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Devin Booker, DeMar DeRozan (if Kyle Lowry is out), James Harden, Victor Oladipo
SFKevin Durant, LeBron James, P.J. Tucker, Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, Chandler Parsons
PFJulius Randle, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, Draymond Green
CBismack Biyombo (if Jonas Valanciunas is out), Alex Len, Mason Plumlee, Karl-Anthony Towns