Tuesday has rolled in and the load is very light, a bunny rabbit of a four-game slate for us to digest and pick through today. In smaller slates, you want to make sure you have access to the few players who can really make a difference and surround them with solid plays, so let’s figure it all out! As always, if you have any questions, find me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72 or on Swayy @jaywalker72.
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Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics
Line: Cavs -2
Pace: Cleveland (29th), Boston (4th)
Offensive Rating: Cleveland (4th), Boston (18th)
Defensive Rating: Cleveland (11th), Boston (4th
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 1.0 in favor of the Cavs
Matthew Dellavedova is expected to play despite being questionable with back spasms. Marcus Smart is still out for the Celtics.
On a slate like this, there are few top targets, but this game has one of them in LeBron James ($10,000). He has been fantastically consistent all year, has a plus matchup against the Celtics SF defense and the game total and spread, as well as the Net Rating Differential all indicate a close game on the road. They’ll need LeBron tonight and he will deliver. Elsewhere on the team, the PG situation is meh, as Delly is hurt, but expected to play, but really doesn’t convert a lot of value even with starter’s minutes right now. Kevin Love ($8,000) is the only other Cavs player that can be counted on for consistent production right now and is a solid play against the Celtics. If you want to go mid-tier, Giannis Antetokounmpo ($6,800) and Khris Middleton ($5,300) are in play at SF and SG, respectively.
For Boston, there aren’t many places to attack Cleveland, but SG is a slight area of weakness, though that could change with more minutes from Iman Shumpert and less from J.R. Smith. So, as always when there is some ambiguity about a clear matchup advantage, you look at minutes and usage and Isaiah Thomas ($7,700) has the clear advantage there. Brad Stevens blends the minutes all throughout his rotation, except when it comes to Thomas, so he’s the solid play for the C’s tonight. If you felt strongly about another Celtic tonight, go lower by default and there you can take a shot on Evan Turner ($4,900), who will get some of those SG minutes tonight.
– LeBron James ($10,000)
– Kevin Love ($8,000)
– Isaiah Thomas ($7,700)
– Evan Turner ($4,900)
Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Timberwolves -5
Pace: Denver (19th), Minnesota (14th)
Offensive Rating: Denver (26th), Minnesota (15th)
Defensive Rating: Denver (22nd), Minnesota (17th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 4.5 in favor of the Timberwolves
Emmanuel Mudiay is doubtful with an ankle injury and Darrell Arthur is questionable.
With Mudiay out, Jameer Nelson ($4,500) started, played 37 minutes and was rostered by almost everybody Monday night. He delivered a value-grabbing night, but 25.75 DK points on a 37 minute game wasn’t awesomely awesome. Still, if he gets the call again tonight for that, he should find it somewhat easier against Ricky Rubio than it was against Patrick Beverley (42 DK points against Rubio on 12/11) and will almost certainly be rostered by everyone again. Suddenly, Will Barton ($6,100) has become the second most expensive player on the Nuggets. Barton has turned out 17.7 DK Net Points per 36 minutes, meaning he has been supplying a lot of DK points above and beyond simply putting the ball in the basket. Barton has two 40 DK point games in his last three and scored 32.25 his last time out against the Timberwolves four days ago. Also, Gary Harris is back ($4,100) and gets major minutes from Michael Malone when he’s healthy. Harris scored 30.5 DK points Monday night against the Rockets.
In Minnesota, suddenly Kevin Martin ($4,700) has found his mojo, scoring 47.3, 32.5 and 26 DK points in his last three games. Good value tonight again vs the Nuggets as long as he gets the minutes. Elsewhere, the value is harder to come by, with Rubio, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins all priced around the 7K mark but none of them getting enough DK points to be effective at that price. Zach LaVine ($5,400) is the only one providing value other than Martin and he does get a positive matchup. He’s in play if he continues to get 25-30 minutes.
– Jameer Nelson ($4,500)
– Gary Harris ($4,100)
– Kevin Martin ($4,700)
– Zach LaVine ($5,400)
Houston Rockets @ Sacramento Kings
Line: Kings -2
Pace: Houston (6th), Sacramento (1st)
Offensive Rating: Houston (11th), Sacramento (13th)
Defensive Rating: Houston (27th), Sacramento (28th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 0.8 in favor of the Kings
Rajon Rondo is suspended for this game. Terrence Jones is questionable as is Clint Capela for the Rockets.
The Rockets are already shaky defending SF/PF and now Terrence Jones is questionable with a lacerated eyelid and Capela is still woozy from his bout with food poisoning. My guess is that Capela will play and Jones won’t, leaving Clint the starter, getting the majority of the minutes and Donatas Motiejunas will get about 20-22 minutes in relief there. What that means for the Kings is that DeMarcus Cousins gets a good matchup, which is excellent. If he’s matched up with the athletic Capela, Boogie has him in size and Capela’s not an offensive threat like Dwight Howard, so maybe that helps the Boogie with foul trouble. Omri Casspi has jumped to 5.6K, but would still be in play here if starting, given the Rockets troubles with defending the SG/SF/PF positions. Rudy Gay ($6,900) could be considered here, too. Get the picture? Everybody is in the goodness in this matchup and now that Rondo is going to miss, Darren Collison ($4,900) should pick up the slack and since this is a short slate and you are looking for some lower owned players that could contribute in a tourney shot, how about Seth Curry ($3,000) possibly getting minutes behind Collison and perhaps gleaning some of the off guard minutes Collison was getting.
Trevor Ariza came back last night against Denver and immediately made value for his 5.5K salary, getting 35.3 DK points. It’s a positive matchup for Ariza, who gets heavy minutes for the Rockets. Dwight Howard is certainly in play as well in this matchup against Kosta Koufos, presumably, and has been solid with his 7.2K salary. Of course, James Harden ($10,800) has got to be looked at here in the short slate and targeting the Kings, while not being as generous as in past seasons, is a tradition unlike most others. If both Capela and Jones are out, I would expect the Rockets to go smaller, but they could also increase the minutes for Motiejunas, leaving him a fantastic value at 3.4K.
– DeMarcus Cousins ($10,200)
– Darren Collison ($4,900)
– James Harden ($10,800)
– Trevor Ariza ($5,500)
Milwaukee Bucks @ Los Angeles Lakers
Line: Bucks -3.5
Pace: Milwaukee (28th), Los Angeles (11th)
Offensive Rating: Milwaukee (25th), Los Angeles (29th)
Defensive Rating: Milwaukee (26th), Los Angeles (30th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 6.1 in favor of the Bucks
Jordan Clarkson is expected to play tonight. Jerryd Bayless and Greivis Vasquez are out for the Bucks.
Ugly game here, but not one without some targets. How many nights is Greg Monroe ($7,100) far and away the best center option of the night? Howard might give him a run, but the Lakers are plus matchup against every team and the game projects to be close, thanks to the Bucks’ own poor play. With Bayless and Vasquez definitely out that means another night of O.J. Mayo ($5,700) starting at the point, but with his current cost, he’s breaking even at best here, even against the Lakers. It’s Michael Carter-Williams, off the bench, that is more interesting, given that he’s had two spike games (37.8 vs. Warriors, 40.3 vs. Clippers) in his last three games. On a tourney night like this, you want to target higher upside like that, even though he won’t be as consistent.
When Kobe plays, he’s in line first and everybody else has to take a number behind him. Bryant ($6,000) is coming off a 50 burger against Houston, but the pace won’t be as high against a plodding Milwaukee team, even if the matchup is a neutral one for Kobe. One would think that Roy Hibbert ($4,400) would get extended run against Dwight Howard. Hibbert is averaging a solid 27 minutes per game and getting 22 DK points per game as well. He’s a target for a 6-7x game at his current salary and nobody likes to roster him.
– Greg Monroe ($7,100)
– Michael Carter-Williams ($5,800)
– Kobe Bryant ($6,000)
– Roy Hibbert ($4,400)