WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – DWIGHT HOWARD
Russell Westbrook is the clear star of Wednesday’s manageable eight-game slate. He comes in off a stinker against the Warriors and now gets a tasty home matchup against the Sixers. Of course, the challenge (as always) is if we can fit him in our lineup at $13,100 without making too many sacrifices.
1. Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks: OUT – Millsap (knee) and Kent Bazemore (knee) are both out again, leaving Ersan Ilyasova and Tim Hardaway Jr. to start. The problem here it two-fold: First, the Hawks average 104.2 ppg and shoot 45.8 percent as a team in 65 games with Millsap this season vs. 92.6 ppg and 41.4 percent in five without. Their offensive efficiency is a mess. Second, the prices on Ersan ($5,500) and Hardaway ($5,900) are tough to profit on. The biggest winner here when price is factored in is Dwight Howard, who has played 34 and 33 minutes the last two games – well above his season average of 29.7. That’s not reflected in his price of just $7,000. Howard has also owned the Wizards, in three meetings earlier this year, averaging 14.3 points, 14.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks in just 29.5 minutes per night.
2. Danilo Gallinari, F, Nuggets: OUT – Gallo (knee) is out while Wilson Chandler (groin) and Darrell Arthur (knee) are both probable. That’s a problem because the likes of Will Barton, Gary Harris, Jameer Nelson and Juancho Hernangomez are all priced at least 10 percent higher than normal – a product of all the extra minutes they’ve been playing lately. Until prices come back down, the Nuggets will be tournament plays only, assuming Chandler and Arthur do play.
3. Jahlil Okafor, C, Sixers: QUESTIONABLE – Okafor’s knee soreness kept him out of Monday night’s game, allowing Richaun Holmes to go ham as the starting center. With only Shawn Long as a backup, the impressive 2015 second-round pick played 42 minutes and scored 53 DK points. It wasn’t a huge surprise, as the athletic Holmes averages 1.049 DK points per minute on the year. If Okafor is out again, Holmes will still be in play but the matchup (at OKC) is far, far more difficult and his price has gone from $5,100 to $6,200. I’d be more inclined to use him in tournaments.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Robin Lopez’s Suspension
Robin “Mike Tyson” Lopez came an inch from connecting with Serge Ibaka’s face on Monday night and will likely be suspended for Tuesday night. That leaves the Bulls in new territory as Lopez has played in every single game this year. They’ll be forced to roll with a lot of Cristiano Felicio (probable, back) at the center spot, which gives us an opportunity to get a stone minimum $3,000 player into our lineup. Lopez was averaging 27.7 minutes per game, so even if Felicio only gets 24 he’ll still be a strong play given his DK points per minute average of .806. The other half of the center equation will likely be King Joffrey Lauvergne, who gets .856 DK points per minute.
2. Playoff Atmosphere in Pistons vs. Bulls
Speaking of the Bulls, the game with the heaviest postseason implications on the night is Pistons at Bulls. They’re both battling for the final playoff spot in the East, with Detroit currently in the ninth spot and Chicago in the tenth. That will create a playoff atmosphere, which means elevated minutes for key players. Over the last five games, Jimmy Butler is averaging 39.6 minutes per night with a usage rate of 25.9 percent and Rajon Rondo is at 33.0 minutes with 19.6 percent usage. It’s hard to fail with that kind of workload. On the other side, the Pistons have tightened things up lately with Tobias Harris (34.3 minutes per game in last three), Kentavius Caldwell-Pope (34.6), Marcus Morris (36.3) and Andre Drummond (31.6) all in playoff mode. In a time of resting players and blowouts, Wednesday’s Pistons at Bulls game will be clean.
1. John Wall Against the Hawks
Just three weeks ago, John Wall was $11,000 on DraftKings when the Wizards played at Phoenix. He hovered in the $10,000 range for a while before sinking down to $9,300 for Wednesday’s home game against the Hawks. Dennis Schroder has been a sieve this season on defense, ranking 84th among 90 qualifying point guards. So we get a chance to grab the ultra-consistent Wall on the cheap in a very plus matchup where the Wizards are implied to score 2.45 more points than their season average.
MATCHUP TO EXPLOIT
1. Kyrie Irving Against the Nuggets
The Nuggets are a dream for opposing offenses as they rank eighth in pace and 29th in defensive efficiency. They’re especially poor against point guards, giving up a slate-worst 4.32 more DK points than salary-based expectation to the position (via Fantasy Labs). We also get the Cavs in a strong scheduling spot as they haven’t played since Sunday and are off on Thursday. With the Nuggets scraping for a playoff berth, the game has a good chance to be competitive. It’s a lot of factors in the “pro” column for Kyrie Irving, who hit Denver for 27 points, five assists, four rebounds, one steal and one block when these two teams met on February 11th.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Kyrie Irving
SG: Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler, Gary Harris, Victor Oladipo, Avery Bradley
SF: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Khris Middleton, Paul Zipser
PF: Tobias Harris, Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris, Willie Cauley-Stein (if he starts)
C: Cristiano Felicio or Joffrey Lauvergne (whoever starts), Dwight Howard, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Vucevic
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.