A close examination of DraftKings salaries tonight will reveal a softening across the board. For example, Damian Lillard went from $9500 to $9000, Karl-Anthony Towns is down $300 to $9200 and Paul George dropped $500. Even low-end guys, such as D.J. Augustin, only went up $100 despite coming off a 39.5-point outing. It means we should be less likely to punt a position, especially with no one more expensive than $9600 on the entire board tonight.
|Questionable||Evan Fournier (ORL), Michael Carter-Williams (MIL), Jahlil Okafor (PHL), Jordan Clarkson (LAL), Kobe Bryant (LAL), Tony Allen (MEM)|
|Probable||Nerlens Noel (PHL), Larry Nance (LAL), Rodney Hood (UTA)|
|Out||Kevin Love (CLE) Lou Williams (LAL), John Henson (MIL), Kevin Garnett (MIN), Nikola Pekovic (MIN), Nemanja Bjelica (MIN), C.J. Miles (IND), Kelly Olynyk (BOS), Danilo Gallinari (DEN), Brandan Wright (MEM)|
Editor’s Note (5:20 PM): Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Kendall Marshall and Nik Stauskas are all OUT tonight for the Sixers. Philadelphia will start Ish Smith, Robert Covington, Hollis Thompson, Jerami Grant and Carl Landry. Of that group, Landry is the only one who might not see a ton of minutes tonight against Miami and the other four are all viable options on an extremely depleted roster. Grant and Smith are the two biggest beneficiaries as both should see more shot opportunities with Noel (around 8 FGA per game) and Okafor (around 15 FGA per game) out.
1. Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Bucks — MCW has missed the last two games and is questionable for tonight against the Wolves due to left patellar tendinitis. His absence has caused Jason Kidd to essentially run an eight-man rotation, with four guys (Jerryd Bayless, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker) doing the majority of heavy lifting. In a plus matchup against a Wolves team that ranks 28th in defensive efficiency, all four will be solid plays if Carter-Williams sits again.
2. Jordan Clarkson and Kobe Bryant, G, Lakers — Clarkson strained his patellar tendon on Wednesday night and Kobe’s shoulder is still bothering him — they’re both questionable. We already know Lou Williams (hamstring) is out. It means the Lakers could have no choice but to ride red-hot rookie DeAngelo Russell, which they’ve been doing anyway. Over the last four games, DAR is averaging 33.5 minutes which has predictably led to 41.8 DK points per game. I expect him to be the highest-owned player on the slate tonight.
3. Evan Fournier, SG, Magic — Scott Skiles’ rotations can be volatile, so the fewer toys he has to play with the better. Fournier’s expected return from his wrist issue is bad news for just about all parties involved. He’ll likely slide right back into the starting five, squeezing out Super Mario Hezonja leaving Elfrid Payton with a far lower minute projection. There are also blowout concerns as the wretched Suns are in a back-to-back road spot.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Julius Randle against the Hawks
The Hawks are one of my favorite teams to use rebounders against. They are undersized and it shows in the numbers, as they are 29th in Rebound Rate, 29th in Rebound Differential, allow the fifth-most offensive rebounds per game and the 10th-most defensive boards. So it’s an almost perfect spot for Julius Randle, who is 10th in the league at 13.1 rebounds per-36 minutes. Although Randle’s ceiling is capped by his two-category limitations, he has an extremely strong shot at a double-double bonus tonight. His field-goal attempt and usage projection will rise if Kobe and Clarkson end up sitting.
Hear Adam Levitan Break Down Tonight’s NBA Slate
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Kevin Love resting against the Wizards
Rostering Cavs players has been a bit of an adventure this season as it can be hard for three stars to get fed on a given night. Figuring out which two would go off has been a struggle for me. We don’t have to worry about that tonight, as Love will rest in a massive up-pace spot for the Cavs (they rank 29th in pace, Wizards are 5th). Note that LeBron James’ usage rate jumps to 36.5 with Love off the floor vs. 20.9 when on, via NBAWowy. Kyrie Irving goes to 35.9 from 27.5 and J.R. Smith bumps up to 21.4 from 17.7. They’re all solid plays now that Love is out.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns against the Bucks
As noted in the intro, Towns’ price has dropped to $8200 after being at $8800 just nine days ago. It’s too cheap relative to his baseline projection, which can be simply calculated by multiplying his DK points per minute times his projected minutes. That’s 1.219 times 35.8 (what he’s averaged since All-Star break) for a baseline of 43.6 — more than 5x value. KAT will have a great shot at 6x or 7x in a matchup with a Bucks team that gives up 1.53 more points than salary-based expectation to centers. Note Kevin Garnett (knee) and Nikola Pekovic (foot) remain out for the Wolves.
1. Jeff Teague against the Lakers
Teague was benched for ineffectiveness against the Warriors on Wednesday, leading to just 24 minutes. We know this is a possibility nightly with backup Dennis Schroder playing so well. But we also know that when Teague is on, he can see his minutes extended in the 30-33 range — where he was in the three games before the GSW debacle. He’ll have a great chance to be “on” tonight against a Lakers “defense” that gives up 4.2 more DK points than salary-based expectation to point guards. This is exactly what we look for in tournament players: Depressed ownership despite a high ceiling in a plus matchup.
Cash Game Thoughts
WHO I’M CONSIDERING IN DRAFTINGS H2H, DOUBLE UP and 50/50 GAMES
Editor’s Note (5:55 PM ET): Victor Oladipo is OUT tonight for the Magic. Evan Fournier will return but look for Mario Hezonja to draw the start again (as he did for Fournier on Wednesday). Hezonja ($3900) had a big night on Wednesday, scoring 35 fantasy points in 37 minutes. He does come with some risk though as he’s heavily dependent on getting shot attempts and the rotations for Scott Skiles and the Magic are always tumultuous but at that price he’s a very strong value option tonight.
(No particular order)
PG: DeAngelo Russell, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry, Kyrie Irving, John Wall
SG: Zach LaVine, Bojan Bogdanovic, Khris Middleton, Victor Oladipo, Andrew Wiggins, Nicolas Batum
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Gordon Hayward, Jerami Grant (if Jahlil Okafor is out), Paul George
PF: Paul Millsap, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Thaddeus Young
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Alex Len, Hassan Whiteside