Our tournament mindset for NBA should be different than NFL since the range of outcomes is narrower. A “sure thing” doesn’t exist in the NFL; even elite stars like Julio Jones have floors of 10 fantasy points. In the NBA, fading the chalk is harder because we generally know where a player will land assuming he gets his usual minutes. A better way to be contrarian in GPPs is to find spots where minutes are possibly shaky, as shown last night in Orlando.
|Questionable||Anthony Davis (NO), Kenneth Faried (DEN), Jameer Nelson (DEN), Clint Capela (HOU), C.J. Miles (IND), Gorgui Dieng (MIN)|
|Doubtful||Evan Fournier (ORL), Rudy Gay (SAC), Seth Curry (SAC), Taj Gibson (CHI)|
|Out||Lou Williams (LAL), John Henson (MIL), Larry Nance (LAL), Kevin Garnett (MIN), Nikola Pekovic (MIN), Nemanja Bjelica (MIN), Omer Asik (NO), Tyreke Evans (NO), Kelly Olynyk (BOS), Danilo Gallinari (DEN), Stanley Johnson (DET), Jahlil Okafor (PHL), Michael Carter-Williams (MIL)|
|Probable||Rajon Rondo (SAC), DeMarcus Cousins (SAC), Kobe Bryant (LAL), Trevor Booker (UTA)|
1. Taj Gibson, PF, Bulls – Taj pulled his hamstring on Tuesday night and was unable to return to the game. He’s doubtful for tonight’s matchup at Orlando, meaning it could very well be time to #freebobbyportis. Portis, the No. 22 overall pick in the draft, has been very impressive ever since preseason as he’s averaged 0.951 DraftKings points per minute. If Taj sits, Portis will almost certainly start and project for 30-33 minutes at $4,800.
2. Jahlil Okafor, C, Sixers – We saw what happened on Monday night when Okafor (shin) sat out. It allowed a much more free-flowing offense, one that ran more pick-and-rolls instead of post-up isolations. Ish Smith had his best game since Jan. 18 (43.3 DK points), Nerlens Noel had 27.0 DK points in 25 foul-plagued minutes and plug-n-play starter Jerami Grant predictably went for 30.5. Okafor is questionable for tonight’s home game against the Hornets.
Editor’s Note (5:25 PM ET): Jahlil Okafor has been ruled out for tonight. Okafor’s missed the 76ers game on Monday night and the primary beneficiary was Jerami Grant who played 35 minutes with 30.5 DraftKings points. Okafor’s absence should also open up some rebounding and scoring opportunities for Nerlens Noel who is really the only post option left on this Sixers roster. Both get nice production bumps with the Okafor news.
3. Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Bucks – When Jason Kidd moved MCW and Greg Monroe to the bench, it had a massively positive impact on the production of Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Then Carter-Williams (knee) missed Monday’s game against the Rockets and a ripple was felt. If he sits again, Jerryd Bayless, Parker, Giannis and Khris Middleton all become safer plays even in a reasonably tough matchup with the Pacers.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Chris Paul against the Thunder
Russell Westbrook gets a lot of steals and is physically imposing. But he bleeds fantasy points to opposing point guards at a slate-high rate of 5.48 more than salary-based expectation. We saw Paul go for 32-10-5 when these teams met in December — and that was with Blake Griffin active. Note that Paul averages 38.7 DraftKings points per game with Blake this year vs. 47.5 without. A very high-scoring, playoff-like atmosphere at home is a perfect game environment for Paul.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Will Barton coming off a dud as the chalk
Everyone — including myself — was on Barton Monday night in the wake of the Danilo Gallinari (ankle, out indefinitely) news. He put up a dud with just 21.0 DK points. But note that he was facing a slow-paced Grizzlies team with capable wing defenders and also note that he logged 34 minutes. Now comes a dream spot at home against an inept Lakers defense that should have tired legs after beating the Nets last night. Hopefully there’s a lot of receny bias that keeps people off Barton tonight, he’s in a great bounce-back spot.
1. Dwight Howard against the Pelicans
Howard is averaging 41.9 DK points per game over his last eight games, yet his price has barely moved during that span ($7300 to $7600). Tonight is an opportunity to pounce as Dwight is involved in arguably the most DFS-friendly game of the night. The Pelicans rank 27th in defensive efficiency and won’t have Omer Asik (ankle). Howard, engaged mentally and looking very healthy of late, played 35.8 minutes per game in February.
1. Aaron Gordon and Victor Oladipo after getting Skiled
The minutes for both Gordon and Oladipo appeared to be secure heading into last night’s game at Dallas. Then Scott Skiles happened. The coach, notorious for his inconsistent and rash rotations, gave Gordon just 19 minutes and Oladipo just 24. No one in the entire starting five played more than 24 minutes as they simply didn’t play well and got punished for it. It’s a new day, however, as the Magic are now home against a Bulls team whose defense has hit rock bottom. They’ve allowed at least 102 points in all 11 games Jimmy Butler has missed, an average of 109.1 per night. The ownership off all Magic players will be down tonight, making it a nice time to jump on board.
Cash Game Thoughts
WHO I’M CONSIDERING IN DRAFTINGS H2H, DOUBLE UP and 50/50 GAMES
(No particular order)
PG: Chris Paul, DeAngelo Russell, Kemba Walker, Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley
SG: Will Barton, Zach LaVine, James Harden, Nicolas Batum, Victor Oladipo, Khris Middleton (if MCW is out)
SF: Jerami Grant (if Jahlil Okafor is out), Trevor Ariza, Kevin Durant, Matt Barnes, Robert Covington (if Jahlil Okafor is out)
PF: Anthony Davis, Zach Randolph, Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel (if Jahlil Okafor is out), Gorgui Dieng (if he plays), Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon
C: Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeAndre Jordan