We have a nine-game slate and it’s the middle of March. In other words, we need to expect the unexpected. That’s especially true for teams like the Knicks, who are out of the playoff chase and on a back-to-back. One thing we can be sure of is that some of the league’s best centers will continue to be underpriced. Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond and Alex Len are all viable options for both the C and UTIL spot tonight.
1. Jahlil Okafor, PF, Sixers — Okafor is going to miss his fifth straight game tonight with a shin/knee issue. It means Jerami Grant will start at power forward and Nerlens Noel will slide over to center. Although Noel comes with risk as he comes off a minor knee issue of his own, note that his DraftKings points per minute (ppm) jumps from 0.99 to 1.12 with Okafor off the court. Grant’s usage and ppm projection barely moves when Okafor sits, but he does project to play at least 30 minutes.
2. Jared Sullinger/Kelly Olynyk, C, Celtics — Both Sullinger (skin infection) and Olynyk (shoulder) were questionable as of Wednesday morning. It potentially leaves the Celtics very thin against a Grizzlies team has struggled defensively since losing stud big man Marc Gasol and won’t have rim protector Chris Andersen (shoulder). Amir Johnson, who averages a very respectable .905 DK points per minute, would be staring at a floor of 25 minutes if both Sully and Olynyk are forced to sit. He costs $3900.
“At 1.15 DK points per minute on the season, Jrue is still in play even at a rising tag of $8100.”
3. Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans — The injury situation in New Orleans over the last couple years has been absurd. Nothing is new now, with Gordon recently joining Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter and Bryce Dejean-Jones as bystanders for the rest of the season. So whereas we used to have a 29-32 minute projection for Jrue Holiday, he’s now looking at 35-38 minutes nightly. At 1.15 DK points per minute on the season, Jrue is still in play even at a rising tag of $8100. Also note that Norris Cole (back) is questionable, meaning the Pels could be down to just Jrue, Toney Douglas and Alonzo Gee and newly signed Orlando Johnson at the guard spots.
|Out||Eric Gordon (NO), Dion Waiters (OKC), John Henson (MIL), Stanley Johnson (DET), Ben McLemore (SAC)|
|Doubtful||Kelly Olynyk (BOS), Luc Mbah a Moute (LAC), Mike Conley (MEM), Chris Andersen (MEM), Lance Thomas (NYK), Jahlil Okafor (PHI), Zach Randoloh (MEM)|
|Questionable||Terrence Jones (HOU), Andre Iguodala (GSW), Timofey Mozgov (CLE), Marco Belinelli (SAC), Rodney Hood (UTA)|
|Probable||Hassan Whiteside (MIA), Kendall Marshall (PHI), Nik Stauskas (PHI), Nerlens Noel (PHI), Matt Barnes (MEM), Jared Sullinger (BOS)|
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Dwight Howard against the Sixers
Using centers against the Sixers has been an ATM machine all year as they give up a league-worst 4.81 more DraftKings points than salary-based expectation to the position. Combine that with a healthy Dwight Howard, who has played at least 32 minutes in seven straight games and hasn’t sat out since February 2, and we have the makings of a perfect storm. Although Jahlil Okafor (out, knee) is a poor defender, the Sixers could have used his size in this matchup. Instead, they’ll rely on a “big” man combo of Nerlens Noel, Elton Brand, Carl Landy and Richaun Holmes.
Situations TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Grizzlies injury situation
On Monday, the Grizzlies played with eight guys and beat the Cavs in Cleveland. They should have nine tonight as Matt Barnes returns, but Mike Conley (foot) is out and Zach Randolph (hamstring) is doubtful. Without a true backup ballhandler on the roster, Mario Chalmers will be the mega-chalk again and a difficult fade at $5,200 with a 35-minute floor. JaMychal Green, he of the 50.5-burger from Monday, is also set up well again. Bigs have far more success against the Celtics than guards, as they give up the sixth-most raw rebounds per game (46.1) and play at the third-fastest pace in the league.
1. Patrick Beverley – Houston vs. Philadelphia – $4,800
There are often seemingly minor moves across the NBA that have major impacts. For example, Ty Lawson falling out of the rotation in Houston and then getting waived has taken the cap off Patrick Beverley’s minutes. Although Lawson was clearly an awful fit, the Rockets were forced to give him around 20 minutes per game for the first three months of the season as they had no backup. Now they’ve decided they’ll just play Beverley 36.2 minutes a night as they have over the last four games. That gives him a baseline projection of 27.6 DK points, a very strong number at just $4,800. Throw in a plus matchup with the Sixers and we have an even stronger play that will fly under the radar.
PLAYER TO FADE
1. David Lee at an elevated price tag
David Lee’s production since joining the Mavericks has been wildly impressive. The problem is that it’s unsustainable because he’s averaging an absurd 1.43 DK points per minute. For reference, that’s better than guys like Kevin Durant, James Harden and Chris Paul. So now we have a situation where Lee’s price tag has jumped to $5100 but we’re expecting a regression in ppm and the minutes projection hasn’t changed. Lee has averaged just 19.2 minutes per game over his last five. In a poor matchup with the Pistons, it’s easy to let our opponents chase Lee.
Cash Game Considerations
Below are the players I’m considering using most in head to head or 50/50 style contests tonight:
No particular order
|PG||Kemba Walker, Jrue Holiday, Chris Paul, Mario Chalmers, Patrick Beverley|
|SG||James Harden, Devin Booker, Nicolas Batum, Dwyane Wade|
|SF||Jerami Grant, Rudy Gay, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, LeBron James|
|PF||Nerlens Noel, Jabari Parker, DeMarcus Cousins, JaMychal Green, Amir Johnson (if both Sullinger and Olynyk sit), Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki|
|C||Alex Len, Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside|