The story of Thursday night’s slate was a thinned-out Suns roster in a short slate facing the Nets. The Suns will again be thinned out Friday, but this time they’re on a back-to-back and facing the Celtics. Getting this situation right will be a key to Friday’s action.
*Note the following refers to only the DraftKings Main Slate, aka the first eight games of the night.
1. Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks: OUT – Millsap (knee) and Kent Bazemore (knee) will once again sit out for the Hawks when they face the Bucks in Milwaukee. Expect Tim Hardway Jr. and Ersan Ilyasova to start. We’ve seen Hardaway’s aggression this month – he’s taken at least 14 shots in seven of his last 11 games and is averaging .972 DK points per minute this month. But he’s priced accurately at $6,000 given a 32-35 minute projection. The player still underpriced in Atlanta is Dwight Howard, who has played 34, 33 and 36 minutes in the three games since Millsap went down. That’s way up from his season average of 29.8. However, Howard’s price has only gone from $6,500 to $7,300 during that span – a small jump relative to his increase in minutes and production.
2. Danilo Gallinari, F, Nuggets: PROBABLE – With Wilson Chandler (groin) and Darrell Arthur (knee) also probable, the Nuggets are finally back to full strength. And that’s bad news for us as minutes will be spread out. Whereas we had very tight eight-man Nuggets rotation a week ago, we now will see at least nine and possibly 10 guys get on the court. It leaves names such as Will Barton, Wilson Chandler and Gary Harris teetering on the edge of value instead of showing up as strong plays – especially when we consider the Pacers rank a middling 17th in pace and 17th in defensive efficiency. Nikola Jokic, whose price has sunk to $9,400 after topping out at $10,700 a week ago, remains in play as a price-specific tournament option. The Pacers have given up more DK points than salary-based expectation to centers priced over $6K in six straight games.
3. Jahlil Okafor, C, Sixers: DOUBTFUL – Okafor (knee) did not participate in shootaround ahead of Friday’s game at Chicago. If he can’t go, it’s time for the Holmes show once again. Richaun Holmes’ only backup would be Shawn Long unless Tiago Splitter gets called up from the D-League (unlikely). So we have a guy in Holmes who is averaging 1.11 DK points per minute this month and is ticketed for at least 32 minutes. Even at an elevated price tag of $5,600 and a middling matchup against Robin Lopez, there’s a lot of room for profit here.
MATCHUP TO EXPLOIT
1. Kemba Walker Against the Cavs
It’s been a cold run for Kemba, who is shooting a brutal 35.1 percent over his last six games. That’s resulted in a significant price dive, as he now costs $7,700 after being up at $8,600 nine days ago. So it’s an ideal time to buy low on Walker for a few reasons. First, he’s facing Kyrie Irving who ranks 76th among 90 qualifying point guards in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus metric. The Cavs allow 3.17 more DK points than salary-based expectation to points guards, second-most on the slate behind only the Nuggets (via Fantasy Labs). Furthermore, the Hornets trying to claw into the East’s final playoff spot – they’re currently 2.5 games out. A huge game against the defending champion Cavs leaves Kemba with an elevated minute projection. And finally, Walker has always fared better at home (36.6 DK points per game in career) than on the road (32.3).
1. Alex Len for the Thinned-Out Suns
The Suns will likely have just eight bodies available Friday night as T.J. Warren (foot), Derrick Jones (hand) and Ronnie Price (leg) are all doubtful. One of those eight is Alan Williams, the backup center who is still coming off an illness. So although we’ll likely see Marquess Chriss play some five and get a ton of minutes at $5,900, the sneakier option is Alex Len. Always long on offensive talent, Len is at .982 DK points per minute this year and put up .960 last season. Even if we can only project 25 minutes, that’s a baseline around 24.5 points or 5.4x his $4,500 salary. Given the Suns’ situation and likely blowout, it’s possible Len can get toward 30 minutes against a Celtics team which ranks 26th in rebounding differential and gives up the ninth-most raw rebounds to opponents.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Ish Smith Moving into Starting Role
The Pistons are employing a true hot-hand at the point guard spot between Ish Smith and Reggie Jackson. That lowers the floor on both as minutes can get sucked down quickly. But with Ish now starting, he’s the one that gets the first crack at the hot hand and therefore has the higher ceiling. In 22 starts this year, he’s averaged 26.4 DK points per game while playing 29.4 minutes. That’s solid for someone who costs $4,800. But in the event Ish gets hot and reaches the 31-33 minute range, he’ll be a smash as he’ll likely be producing at a rate higher than .922 DK points per minute on the season.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
UPDATE: Avery Bradley is OUT tonight.
PG: Kemba Walker, Jeff Teague, Ish Smith, Tyler Ulis, Rajon Rondo
SG: Devin Booker, James Harden,
Avery Bradley, Bradley Beal, Jrue Holiday
SF: Jimmy Butler, Paul George, LeBron James, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo
PF: DeMarcus Cousins, Marquess Chriss, Anthony Davis, Tobias Harris, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
C: Alex Len, Richaun Holmes (if Jahlil Okafor is out), Dwight Howard, Robin Lopez, Myles Turner
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.