With just over a month left in the NBA regular season, it’s now or never for fringe playoff teams. We’re likely to see some stars get extended minutes as their coaches try to make a push. Getting in on these situations before the prices adjust on DraftKings is one way to roster players with positive projections.
1. Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic: OUT – Bismack Biyombo’s price has risen to $5,500, but he’s still a bit too cheap thanks to a lack of frontcourt depth. The Magic have traded away Serge Ibaka and have no faith in second-round rookie Stephen Zimmerman. That’s led to Biyombo playing 38.0 minutes per night in the last two that Vooch has missed. Given that Bismack gets .832 DK points per minute on the season, he still has a 5x salary projection with room for more. Also note that Aaron Gordon, clearly more comfortable in his natural power forward role, is at 1.01 DK points per minute in six games since the All-Star break. Vooch’s absence cements Gordon’s minute projection in the 32-35 range.
2. Ryan Anderson, PF, Rockets: DOUBTFUL – Anderson is the Rockets’ starting power forward, playing 30.3 minutes per night and taking 10.9 shots. In the three games he missed earlier this year the biggest beneficiary was Sam Dekker, whose minutes jumped from 18.8 to 28.3. With Corey Brewer now gone, Dekker will likely get a significant amount of PF minutes whether he starts or not. Dekker ($3,500) is at .798 DK points per minute on the season. If Eric Gordon ($4,300) starts in a small-ball lineup, he’d come into play thanks to an elevated minutes floor.
3. Dwyane Wade, SG, Bulls: DOUBTFUL – Wade’s thigh continues to bother him and Rajon Rondo (ankle) is also a game-time call. The obvious winner if they both sit again is Jimmy Butler (assuming he plays through his illness), who has an outrageous 38.1 percent Usage Rate and is getting 1.50 DK points per minute with those two off the floor. Even at $9,200, there’s room for Butler to profit. The rest of the Bulls are much higher risk as they are a threat to play 12 guys. Cam Payne flashed his sizable offensive ability last time out, going for a 14-3-3 line in 23 minutes off the bench while playing the Rondo role. He remains minimum $3,000.
4. DeMarre Carroll, SF, Raptors: QUESTIONABLE – Carroll is not a high-usage player, taking just 7.9 shots per game and posting a 14.5 percent Usage Rate. But his potential absence would open up significant minutes and opportunity, especially when we factor in Kyle Lowry’s (wrist) continued absence. P.J. Tucker ($4,000) and Norman Powell ($3,700) would both be looking at 27+ minutes. It’s especially intriguing for Powell, who gets .790 DK points per minute on the year.
MATCHUP TO EXPLOIT
1. Paul Millsap Against the Nets
Wednesday night marks the fifth game in a six-game homestand for the Hawks, who continue to jockey for playoff seeding in the East. They’ve used this positive scheduling flow as an opportunity to extend the minutes of Paul Millsap, who has played at least 37 minutes in four straight games. Wednesday night’s matchup with the Nets is ideal as they rank first in pace and 28th in defensive efficiency. The Nets have given up at least 109 points in 10 of their last 11 games. So we have a situation where Millsap’s DK points per minute average (1.115) gets a boost due to pace/matchup and his minutes get a boost as well (barring a blowout).
SITUATION TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Rested Wolves Fighting for Playoff Lives
The young Wolves are currently 3.5 games out of the West’s final playoff spot. If they’re going to make a move, the time is now. So I suspect we’ll see a very tight, playoff-esque rotation out of Tom Thibodeau Wednesday night in what should be a hotly contested game against the Clippers. That’s especially viable since the Wolves haven’t played since Saturday (thanks to Modnay’s wet-court cancellation) and have Thursday off. Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, and Gorgui Dieng are all priced as if they’ll play 32-35 minutes, so if they do get into that 38-41 range we’ll see a lot of profit.
1. Cody Zeller in a Thin Hornets Frontcourt
With Frank Kaminsky (shoulder) plus Miles Plumlee (calf) out and Spencer Hawes/Roy Hibbert traded away, the Hornets are extremely thin up front. They only have journeyman Johnny O’Bryant as a true big off the bench, leaving Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller to log all the minutes they can handle. Since coming back from injury four games ago, Zeller has posted .963 DK points per minute. And with the Hornets trying to hang onto playoff hopes, they’re going to keep extending his minutes – he logged 34 of them against the Pacers on Monday night.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: John Wall, Ricky Rubio, Dennis Schroder, Steph Curry, Chris Paul
SG: Jimmy Butler (if healthy), Evan Fournier, Gary Harris, Norman Powell (if DeMarre Carroll is out), Eric Gordon (if he starts)
SF: Sam Dekker (if Anderson is out), Andrew Wiggins, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Wilson Chandler (if Jokic is out)
PF: Paul Millsap, Aaron Gordon, Gorgui Dieng, Serge Ibaka, Marvin Williams, Anthony Davis
C: Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard, Mason Plumlee (if Jokic is out)
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.