A 12-game slate can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of options. The good news is that we are getting plenty of crucial news early. DeMarcus Cousins, Nikola Vucevic, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, and Meyers Leonard are among the players that have already been ruled out. Starting rosters with the benefactors of these injuries and building from there is a great way to secure a solid foundation.
|Probable||Kevin Love (CLE), Jusuf Nurkic (DEN), Jeff Green (LAC), Carmelo Anthony (NYK), Allen Crabbe (POR)|
|Questionable||Dennis Schroder (ATL), Jonas Jerebko (BOS), Kenneth Faried (DEN), Jakarr Sampson (DEN), Kevin Seraphin (NYK), James Johnson (TOR), Jonas Valanciunas (TOR), Patrick Patterson (TOR), Alan Anderson (WAS), Robert Covington (PHI), Richaun Holmes (PHI), Goran Dragic (MIA), Kobe Bryant (LAL), D'Angelo Russell (LAL)|
|Doubtful||Andrew Bogut (GSW)|
|Out||Jae Crowder (BOS), E'Twaun Moore (CHI), Chandler Parsons (DAL), Andre Iguodala (GSW), Jahlil Okafor (PHI), Ben McLemore (SAC), DeMarcus Cousins (SAC), Tyson Chandler (PHX), Ryan Kelly (LAL), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (DET)|
1. Portland Trailblazers
Meyers Leonard’s shoulder injury continues to fly far under the radar. In the 10 games Leonard has missed this year, Mason Plumlee has averaged 30.5 minutes per game. In the 61 games both big men have been active for, Leonard is down at 24.6 minutes. So Plumlee comes into tonight’s game against the Mavs with a 28-32 minute projection, and he averages exactly 1.00 DraftKings points per minute. A baseline projection of 30 DK points at $4,600 is the kind of 6.5x spot we have to be all over.
2. Phoenix Suns
Tyson Chandler, already dealing with a shoulder injury, left Monday night’s game due to back spasms. With the Suns’ season in the toilet, he should be considered very questionable for tonight’s game against a lowly Lakers team playing on a back-to-back. If Jon Leuer ends up starting at power forward, he will be a near must-play at $3,600 in this matchup. Leuer averages 1.01 DK points per minute, a better number than the likes of Nerlens Noel, Marc Gasol, and Thaddeus Young. Alex Len and Mirza Teletovic will also get significant bumps.
3. Sacramento Kings
The biggest injury tonight is DeMarcus Cousins, who is out due to a bruised knee. Kosta Koufos will be an easy plug-n-play at minimum $3,000 — in the 10 games Boogie has missed this year, Koufos is averaging 27.3 minutes and 26.0 DraftKings points. In theory, Rudy Gay should get a big bump, as well, because his Usage Rating goes from 22.1 to 28.7 without Cousins. But it’s been a rocky road for Gay, as he averages 31.6 DraftKings points per game in 51 with Cousins and 31.6 in the 10 without.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Andrew Wiggins against the Kings
All five Timberwolves starters are in play for a home game against a Kings team that leads the NBA in pace, ranks 24th in defensive efficiency, and gives up the most raw PPG in the league (109.2). Ricky Rubio should feast on Rajon Rondo and a Kings PG defense that gives up 4.59 more DK points than salary-based expectation. Same for Karl-Anthony Towns, Zach LaVine, and Gorgui Dieng. The one I’ll be starting a lot of lineups with is Andrew Wiggins, who is averaging 35.3 minutes in March and gets a Kings wing defense that I’ve been attacking all year.
2. Derrick Favors against the Rockets
The Rockets expended a ton of energy on Tuesday night in a 111-107 loss at Oklahoma City. Now they face a difficult spot against a rested Jazz team that has won five of six games, as they try to catch the Rockets for the final playoff spot in the West. Using power forwards against the Rockets has been profitable all year, to the tune of 4.45 more DraftKings points than salary-based expectation. In perhaps the biggest game of the year for Utah, expect Favors to push toward the top of his minute and production range.
|Player Targets||Levitan's Leverage||Cheat Sheet|
|Game Breakdowns||Tournament Plays||Top 5's by Position|
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Brandon Knight’s cold shooting
In six games since coming off injury, Brandon Knight is shooting a horrific 33.0 percent. But he’s still averaging 34.1 DraftKings points per game during that stretch thanks to shot volume and secondary stats. Because Knight is a career 41.6 percent shooter, we can expect his make rate to positively regress. A home game against a Lakers team on a back-to-back that ranks T-28th in defensive efficiency is a great place to get hot. If that happens, Knight’s $7,300 salary will look like a joke.
2. Sudden injuries hitting Detroit wings
Kentavius Caldwell-Pope (illness) was surprisingly ruled out Wednesday morning, Jodie Meeks (shoulder) remains doubtful, and Reggie Bullock (illness) is questionable. So all of a sudden we are staring at big minutes for athletic rookie and likely starter Stanley Johnson. He’s started five games this year and averaged 38.2 minutes per game in them — we know Stan Van Gundy likes to keep his rotations tight. Johnson, who gets 0.760 DK points per minute, has a baseline projection of 24.3 DK points even if we only give him 32 minutes. That’s also before we adjust for a Magic defense that has given up a wildly high 109.4 points per game in the nine since Nikola Vucevic (groin) went down.
Cash Game Thoughts
Who I’m Considering in DraftKings H2H, Double-Ups, and 50/50’s Games
(No particular order)
|PG||Brandon Knight, Ricky Rubio, Isaiah Thomas, Chris Paul, John Wall, Damian Lillard, Jordan Clarkson (if D’Angelo Russell is out)|
|SG||Bradley Beal, Evan Turner, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Devin Booker, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Victor Oladipo|
|SF||Stanley Johnson (if he starts), Gordon Hayward, Tobias Harris, Rudy Gay, Marcus Morris|
|PF||Dirk Nowitzki, Gorgui Dieng, Derrick Favors, Draymond Green|
|C||Kosta Koufos, Mason Plumlee, Karl-Anthony Towns, Alex Len, Marcin Gortat|