Including tonight’s seven-game featured slate on DraftKings, there are only four Saturdays left in basketball’s regular season. It seems crazy to type out, but the time has truly flown by so far in 2018-19. Still, being this close to the start of the playoffs doesn’t mean our job gets any easier. There’s still matchups to exploit and injury reports to sweat out. For the latter, make sure you download the DK Live app, which features up-to-the-minute news and analysis from all around the NBA. For the former, let’s dive into this evening’s contests.
Mike Conley, MEM at WAS, $7,900 — If any team in the NBA were to raise the ceiling of a methodical Grizzlies’ offense, it’d be the Wizards. It’s possible we see Washington slow things down a tad on the second night of a back-to-back, but it’s an indisputable fact that Memphis has run the Eastern Conference’s highest-paced offense across its past 15 games at 103.8 possessions per 48 minutes. It’s one of the main reasons that the Wizards have surrendered an average of 120.8 points to their opponents since the beginning of February. These seem like perfect conditions for a red-hot Conley to thrive. Over Memphis’ past four contests, Conley leads the injury-depleted squad in minutes (128), usage rate (30.8 percent), and DKFP per minute played (1.50). That’s a beautiful mix of efficiency and volume.
Other Options — Damian Lillard ($8,800), Elfrid Payton ($6,900)
Frank Jackson, NO vs. PHO, $4,800 — Jackson’s DFS viability hasn’t been a slam dunk every night he’s started in place of the injured Jrue Holiday, but his opportunity has been incredibly consistent within that span. Jackson has logged at least 32 minutes in all four of his recent starts, averaging 18.3 points on 17.3 field goal attempts. Really, the lone issue has been Elfrid Payton ($6,900) hogging all the rebounds and assists, while Jackson’s left to operate out of a far more off-ball role. That hierarchy likely won’t change this evening against the Suns; however, it’s hard to ignore a player with such an established level of responsibility in a game script this enticing. Both New Orleans and Phoenix sit inside the league’s five highest-paced offenses across their past 10 contests, equating out to the largest implied total on the slate.
Other Options — Collin Sexton ($5,500)
Klay Thompson, GS at OKC, $7,400 — With Steve Kerr revealing last night that Kevin Durant ($9,000) is closer to doubtful than questionable for tonight’s tilt against the Thunder, value on the Warriors could open up across the board. Steph Curry ($9,200) would be in a much better spot, DeMarcus Cousins ($7,600) would be in a more favorable situation, too; yet no one stands to be quite as affected as Thompson. In the 550-plus minutes Thompson has played this season without Durant by his side, his usage rate is at 34.8 percent. When the duo are sharing the court? That number falls all the way down to 23.0 percent. It helps matters that Thompson’s simply averaging 32.3 points on a pristine .679 true shooting percentage over his most recent three games; but make no mistake, he’s a completely different DFS asset when Golden State is missing Durant.
Editor’s Note: Durant has been ruled out for tonight’s game.
Other Options — Devin Booker ($8,000)
Chasson Randle, WAS vs. MEM, $3,100 — Here’s the thing: the Wizards don’t have a lot of depth at guard. Randle, who was recently recalled from the G League, is almost simultaneously the team’s backup point guard and back-up shooting guard with little left behind him on the roster. The reason this is important is two-fold. First, Tomas Satoransky ($5,800) left last night’s loss against the Hornets with a head injury and his status for this evening’s game is unknown. Secondly, Bradley Beal ($9,300) is going to need to sit down at some point. The All-Star is the NBA’s lone man logging over 40 minutes across his past 10 games, and he’s also coming directly off playing the entire second-half on Friday. If Satoransky’s unavailable, someone’s going to inherit a large amount of run. There aren’t many options not named Chasson Randle.
Editor’s Note: Satoransky (head) will play tonight vs. the Grizzlies.
Other Options — Delon Wright ($5,000)
Luka Doncic, DAL vs. CLE, $8,700 — Though the efficiency of his shot has waned slightly in recent games, Doncic is still operating at a level of volume that few players could even imagine on a free-falling Mavericks squad. In fact, over his past 10 contests, the rookie is receiving 97.3 touches a night — easily the highest figure in the entire NBA. So, what exactly does that level of involvement equate out to? How about a whopping 36.0 percent usage rate with an average of 1.42 DKFP per minute played. Doncic’s current price point is also far more acceptable than it was at its peak of $9.6K just a couple weeks back. Really, everything lines up for a great DFS performance this evening.
Editor’s Note: Doncic has been ruled out for tonight’s game.
Other Options — Kelly Oubre Jr. ($6,100)
Joe Ingles, UTA vs. BKN, $6,000 — The Jazz have had problems with their point guard position all season long. The trio of Ricky Rubio ($4,900), Raul Neto ($3,100) and Dante Exum have been banged up constantly, with the latter once again out indefinitely after partially tearing his patella tendon earlier this week. No matter. Utah has Ingles. The veteran has been doing his best point-forward impression across the Jazz’s past 10 games, averaging 15.8 potential assists across that span of time. Now, if the number alone doesn’t impress you, maybe the juxtaposition will. Over that same 10 contest sample, Ingles is tied in the category with LeBron James; only trailing the likes of Russell Westbrook, Trae Young, and Elfrid Payton. Not surprisingly, during this run, Ingles has only failed to reach at least 5x value twice. His floor is rock solid. There’s value in that reliability.
Anthony Davis, NO vs. PHO, $7,100 — It might sound insane, but Davis presents himself as one of the better cash game plays on this slate. Despite a minutes restriction, the All-Star has actually brought back 6x value in four of his past five games; the lone exception being a tough matchup against a Utah team that has been among the stingiest in the league in allowing opponent points in the paint this season. In the Suns, Davis will see the exact opposite this evening. Phoenix has surrendered the most points in the paint in 2018-19 on a per-game basis (52.7), while also giving up the most made field goals inside five feet of the rim (22.1). Oh, they possess the NBA’s worst rebounding rate, too (46.6 percent). Davis is putting up 1.88 DKFP per minute played so far in March and with his price point finally reflecting his reality, he’s viable once again.
Other Options — Paul George ($9,700)
Derrick Favors, UTA vs. BKN, $5,600 — To put it lightly, Favors has been a beast on the glass in 2018-19. At 17.0 percent, his total rebounding rate is the highest it’s been since 2012-13, the veteran forward’s third season in the NBA. Somehow, the figure gets even better when we isolate Favors’ production since Feb. 9. In that 13-game sample, Favors sports a massive 18.3 percent rate, with the former lottery pick collecting boards at a clip of 12.7 per 36 minutes. Anyway, to get to the point, this is a very important trait to possess against a Nets team that is allowing 49.2 opponent rebounds per game over their past 15 contests — the most of any squad in the Eastern Conference. With Brooklyn consistently getting destroyed by strong interior players all year long, Favors is easily identifiable value on this evening’s slate.
Other Options — Al-Farouq Aminu ($4,200)
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM vs. WAS, $6,500 — Just like with his teammate Conley, Washington is a tide that rises all boats. This is especially true when the “boat” in question is a rather accomplished interior scorer. No Eastern Conference team has surrendered more points in the paint per game (51.5) than the Wizards have in 2018-19; a statistic that makes sense when you consider that Washington is one of only three teams allowing its opponents to shoot above 60.0 percent within eight feet of the basket. That could be a problem when facing Valanciunas. In fact, among players averaging in excess of 6.0 paint touches per contest, the lone player scoring at a more efficient clip than the former Raptor is the aforementioned Davis. That’s pretty good company. It doesn’t help matters that the Wizards also own their conference’s lowest overall rebounding rate. Valanciunas is in store for a bounce-back tonight.
Other Options — Rudy Gobert ($8,000), DeMarcus Cousins ($7,600)
Jakob Poeltl, SA vs. POR, $4,400 — Its difficult to expect Poeltl to recreate his season-high 40.3 DKFP performance on consecutive nights, but the young big should once again have an opportunity to thrive against the Blazers on Saturday. It’s really just a matter of logistics. Since buying out Pau Gasol, the Spurs have been left with very little depth at the center spot, a situation that’s allowed Poeltl to showcase his skills. The Austrian import has actually hit at least 5x value in seven of his past eight starts for San Antonio, averaging 25.9 DKFP in the process. With Portland rostering both Jusuf Nurkic ($7,200) and Enes Kanter ($4,400), the Spurs will need the size of Poeltl to matchup.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.