It is the time of year where most of the NBA teams are out of the running or they have locked in their playoff seeding. This means we will see a lot of veterans rest down the stretch on both teams that have clinched a post-season berth and those that are trying to “improve” their lottery odds. This article will be focusing on the 10 teams tipping off for the 7pm ET “main” game set.
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Miami Heat at Washington Wizards – The Heat are battling for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and they are one game out and the 6-7-8 seeds are all within two games of their grasp. They played last night in Toronto losing a heartbreaker by two points to the Raptors. The Wizards are half a game behind the Raptors for the three seed in the East, and whomever is in the four seed will likely see the Cavaliers in the second round instead of the Celtics. Verdict – Both teams will be playing hard.
Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers – While the Bucks are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, they cannot be lackadaisical since they are in the scrum with Atlanta, Chicago, Indiana, Miami, Detroit and Charlotte. Milwaukee should be in, but another victory will all but lock things up. The ‘Sixers are mailing things but they still offer value with their backcourt and their third tier post players. Verdict – I trust the Bucks, as much as one can trust a Jason Kidd coached team.
Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs are locked into the #2 seed in the Western Conference, so there is a very good chance they will again rest half a dozen of their key contributors much like they did on Friday night. On the other hand, the Clippers can still minnow their way into the #4 seed as the less-than-full-strength Utah Jazz continue to struggle. Verdict – The Clippers stars look like solid options as do the Spurs understudies once we get news from Coach Gregg Popovich.
Utah Jazz at Portland Trailblazers – As mentioned in the Clippers writeup above, the Jazz need to keep winning to hang onto the fourth best record and host the Clippers in the first round. Portland is one game ahead of Denver for the final Western Conference spot so they will be going hard. Verdict – Both teams need a win, so this should be a good game to target the top options.
New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors – The Pelicans have been eliminated and they will be without DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and E’Twaun Moore tonight. The Warriors are locked into the top seed in the Western Conference, so they are likely to have a few of their stars take it easy. Verdict – Keep an eye on the news to find out who is going to ultimately be starting for both squads.
John Wall – WAS vs MIA – $9,500 – As mentioned above, the Wizards would like to move up and will likely need to win out to accomplish this feat. They last played on Thursday and do not play again until Monday, so this is an “island” game which means that Wall should be a full go for the high end of his minutes range. As a bonus, the Heat played last night in Toronto and should be a little fatigued. Advantage Wall.
Goran Dragic – MIA at WAS – $7,300 – Through two meetings this season with the Wizards, The Dragon is averaging 43 DraftKings points, and that seems like an achievable target tonight which would be a nice return on his current price tag.
Other Options – Damian Lillard ($8,000), Chris Paul ($7,900), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($9,800)
T.J. McConnell – PHI vs MIL – $6,000 – The Bucks are solid against opposing point guards, but “pass first” point guards do tend to perform solidly as long as they have wingmen who can hit the three. Even though his price is creeping up, there should be enough “value” options from the Spurs tonight that this is a decent spot to employ McConnell.
Other Options – Tyler Johnson ($5,000), Shelvin Mack ($4,000)
Jrue Holiday – NOP at GSW – $7,400 – This is a nice spot to take advantage of Holiday’s multi-position eligibility and work in another point guard at the shooting guard slot. Holiday should see a heavy dose of minutes with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins both out, and it should bump his usage and production up as well.
Other Options – Bradley Beal ($7,000), C.J. McCollum ($6,400)
J.J. Redick – LAC at SAS – $4,700 – I think Redick is a sneaky tournament option who can get it done as evidenced by his three 30+ DraftKings point outings in three of his last four games. He should have an easier time than normal against the Spurs who are likely to be resting key contributors once again.
Jonathon Simmons – SAS vs LAC – $4,300 – If Simmons draws another start for the Spurs, he should be in the mix for 20-25 DraftKings points, and he also qualifies as a small forward which gives us additional flexibility to take advantage of his newfound production.
Other Options – Bojan Bogdanovic ($4,100), Jordan Crawford ($4,100)
Giannis Antetokounmpo – MIL at PHI – $9,800 – As I talked about above, the Bucks need to secure another win or two, and I think this is a fine time to use The Alphabet in tournaments.
Kevin Durant – GSW vs NOP – $8,700 – Stephen Curry is likely to sit this one out, and word is that Durant will not have a minutes cap, though it is hard to believe he will play more than 25-28 minutes. He can put up some serious numbers, and at this price point he is definitely an option in GPPs in my opinion.
Other Options – Gordon Hayward ($7,200), Josh Richardson ($5,700)
Kyle Anderson – SAS vs LAC – $4,100 – If Anderson again finds himself in the starting five for the Spurs, he’ll be in yet another favorable position. He has proven he can produce when given minutes and usage.
Other Options – Matt Barnes ($3,900)
Blake Griffin – LAC at SAS – $7,900 – If the Spurs once again turn to their understudies at most positions, The Blake Show should receive rave reviews in this game with playoff implications for the Clippers.
Draymond Green – GSW vs NOP – $7,400 – Even if he is just in tune-up mode, this is a delicious price point for Draymond. If he plays, he is capable of producing enough peripheral stats in short amounts of time to garner a decent fantasy total.
James Johnson – MIA at WAS – $6,600 – The Wizards have struggled against opposing frontcourt players, and even though this is a back-to-back for the Heat, I think he is a strong tournament option who could go overlooked tonight.
David Lee – SAS vs LAC – $5,100 – If Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are out of action, Lee should again be able to flirt with a double double and the thirty fantasy point plateau against the Clippers who are not nearly as active on the boards as people believe.
David West – GSW vs NOP – $3,700 – West moves into consideration if Draymond Green receives the night off. He’d likely see a big minutes bump, and he should be capable of a decent fantasy total with added opportunity.
Other Options – Matt Barnes ($3,900), Jason Smith ($4,100)
Rudy Gobert – UTA at POR – $8,600 – The Stifle Tower is my top option at the pivot position, particularly since he will not have to deal with Jusuf Nurkic in this near must-win game for both teams.
DeAndre Jordan – LAC at SAS – $6,600 – This price point is just too good to pass on for me, particularly when you see Jordan’s recent game logs (just go take a peek and see for yourself).
Hassan Whiteside – MIA at WAS – $7,700 – Whiteside severely disappointed his supporters last night with a lackluster showing in Toronto. He has a chance to redeem himself tonight since the Wizards really do not have a defensive answer, other than Ian Mahinmi.
Other Options – Richaun Holmes ($6,000)
Greg Monroe – MIL at PHI – $5,200 – The ‘Sixers have been horrible against opposing bigs ever since Joel Embiid was shut down for the season. Monroe has been awful himself, so something has to give in this matchup. I think Monroe will have a solid showing, and could prove to be a steal at his current price tag.
Other Options – David Lee ($5,100), Dewayne Dedmon ($3,800)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is emac) 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.