It’s the final night of the regular season, and we’ve got a one-of-a-kind, 14-game slate. With SO much value everywhere, the real question becomes: Which studs are safe to play?
If you’re playing fantasy hoops tonight, I’ll touch on a player at each position that I think is in a good and bad spot, but first we need to cover the insane news.
The following studs have already been ruled OUT for rest: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Wall, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Draymond Green, Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, Dennis Schroder, Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes and many more mid-tier players.
UPDATE: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and D’Angelo Russell have all be downgraded to OUT tonight.
Then there’s this group of studs, who haven’t officially been ruled out, but their statuses are in doubt to say the least:
Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell, Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook and James Harden both have nothing to play for tonight, although at this time we have no reason to believe they’ll sit out. That said, I find it hard to trust either of them to go “all out” for a win tonight.
It’s worth pointing out that there are six teams with something to play for tonight, whether is be playoff seeding, or the battle for those last two spots in the Eastern Conference: Celtics, Pacers, Bulls, Heat, Clippers and Jazz (while the Cavs could get the 1-seed if they win and the Celtics lose, but they’ll be without LeBron, and possibly more).
Be sure to check in on the DK Live app throughout the day to monitor injury and lineup news, as there should be plenty more.
Hit me up on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Chris Paul ($8,800) vs. Sacramento Kings – I’d fully expect the Clippers to come out and pound the shorthanded Kings to clinch the 4-seed, giving them home court over Utah. Paul should play a large role in that. Isaiah Thomas ($8,400) will also be full steam ahead against the Bucks, who will be resting their best players, to try and lock down the 1-seed for the C’s.
WORST – Russell Westbrook ($13,600) vs. Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets rank worst in the league defending guards, and just allowed 93 DKFP to Russ. But like I said, I’m not sure you can trust this guy to get the minutes tonight (or even play at all). At his salary, you need to be sure he’s going to get his normal usage, which would be surprising.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Buddy Hield ($6,300) vs. Los Angeles Clippers – There aren’t many solid options you can trust at SG tonight. The Kings are running Hield out there for as many minutes as they can, and letting him get his shots up. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot ($5,900) is in a similar spot for the 76ers.
WORST – Jrue Holiday ($8,100) vs. Portland Trail Blazers – Even if Davis and Cousins sit out, I wouldn’t want to roster Holiday. The Pelicans are clearly tanking, which means Holiday probably won’t play many minutes, yet comes at a steep price tag.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Jimmy Butler ($10,200) vs. Brooklyn Nets – The Bulls are playing for their lives against a Nets team that could care less and is resting its stars. This situation backfired on Butler in Chicago’s last game, as the Bulls blew out Orlando and Butler hardly had to play the second half. Tough not to like this spot for Jimmy, though.
WORST – Kawhi Leonard ($8,100) vs. Utah Jazz – The Spurs are taking the old school approach of resting Kawhi without actually giving him the night off. He’s played 20 or fewer minutes in two of his last three games, and I’d expect he doesn’t see the floor much tonight against the Jazz — who have plenty to play for and are great defensively to begin with.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Paul George ($9,700) vs. Atlanta Hawks – If the Pacers win tonight, they lock up the 7-seed in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta will be resting its starters, so George shouldn’t have a problem getting big numbers, as he’s been rolling lately. James Johnson ($6,900) is also in a good spot with Miami trying to break into the playoffs if the Bulls somehow lose. The Heat will be facing the Wizards — who are also resting their starters.
WORST – Serge Ibaka ($5,400) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – Out of the guys we know aren’t resting, I don’t see any guys to definitely avoid at PF. Ibaka is questionable tonight, but if he does play I wouldn’t count on much from him. The Raptors are locked into the 3-seed, and want to get into the postseason rested, despite playing some of their key players tonight.
BEST – Blake Griffin ($8,400) vs. Sacramento Kings – As I mentioned, the Clippers have something to play for, and the Kings are pitiful. I also like DeAndre Jordan ($7,300) here too. Other centers with something to play for: Rudy Gobert ($8,300), Hassan Whiteside ($8,200), Myles Turner ($6,800), Al Horford ($6,400) and Robin Lopez ($5,000).
WORST – Nikola Jokic ($9,300) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – As one of the high-priced studs that should be playing on this slate, Jokic becomes an option for everyone building a lineup. But after Denver got eliminated on Sunday, he only played 20 minutes and scored 23 DKFP in last night’s game. You can’t pay up for that production.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Jimmy Butler ($10,200)/Paul George ($9,700) – I jut feel these two guys have the most to play for and will step up to the challenge. Simple as that. All you have to worry about is a blowout, but both of them would likely be prime contributors even if that’s the case.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Shabazz Napier ($5,000) – There are almost too many players to choose from, but Napier has been fantastic when Lillard and McCollum are off the floor. He dropped 47 DKFP in 37 minutes against the Spurs on Monday, and will have the same opportunity tonight.
Next Man Up
Follow DK Live! – It’s the end of the season and plenty of players are going to wind up sitting out tonight that we didn’t expect. Follow the news and plenty of value will be made available so you can fit your studs battling for playoff position.
*DKFP DraftKings Fantasy Points
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) 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.