The NBA rolls on tonight with a six-game slate, so here are my favorite studs and values for tonight’s action. If you have any questions, reach out to me on Twitter @JasonWalkerDFS.
Isaiah Thomas – BOS at CLE -$7,700 – The best of the second tier point guards tonight, Thomas’ game script should call for Boston (a 6.5 point underdog) to lean on him for scoring, giving him the most upside in this tier with his 33% raw usage rate.
Kyrie Irving – CLE vs. BOS – $7,600 – With the high projected total in this game, if the Cavs do jump out on the Celtics, then it is likely that Irving, and his 28% raw usage, was a big reason why.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook ($12,700)
D’Angelo Russell – LAL vs. DAL – $5,300 – Russell has been averaging nearly 30 DK points per game at home as a favorite, and that is with his current 26-28 minutes per game rate. Russell is a high usage, high pace player when in the game, and you get a similar ceiling to the medians of the point guards $2K and higher from Russell.
Deron Williams – DAL at LAL – $5,900 – The Lakers are a bottom five defense and the projected total is high enough to consider Williams, who averages 30 DK points per game in games with a total of 200 and the spread less than five. The ceiling is not as high as Russell, because he plays slower and uses less possessions, but Williams has a solid floor and allows you to spend elsewhere.
DeMar DeRozan – TOR at PHO – $8,300 – It is the back half of a back-to-back, but that has not hindered DeRozan this season, as he has scored over 40 DKPPG on the second half of back-to-backs this season. DeRozan, a 34% raw usage player this season, has consistently been a high free throw rate player, and is in the top ten this season in raw free throw attempts per game. Phoenix leads the league in opponent free throws allowed per game, indicating that DeRozan should be leading the way.
Avery Bradley – BOS at CLE – $6,100 – Nicolas Batum ($7,800) offers a higher ceiling, but Bradley offers better bang for the buck, as the C’s will certainly need his defense. He has averaged over 40 DKPPG in games where the Celtics have been projected to lose by as much as they are tonight (three game sample this season).
Other Options – Nicolas Batum ($7,800)
Wesley Matthews – DAL at LAL – $5,700 – Matthews is playing heavy minutes, almost 36 per game lately, and the Lakers are giving up over 10 three-pointers per game, Matthews’ speciality (6th in the league with 3 per game).
Lou Williams – LAL vs. DAL – $5,200 – Lou’s raw usage is nearly up to 30%, he is playing between 25-30 minutes and averaging 30 DKPPG at home when the Lakers are projected to win.
Other Options – Brandon Knight ($4,200)
LeBron James – CLE vs. BOS – $10,100 – Averaging over 50 DKPPG in home games where the Cavs are favored, James is cash game ready to deliver with his 30% raw usage and tremendous peripherals (39% AST%, 11.2% REB).
Gordon Hayward – UTA vs. PHI – $8,100 – Gordon has snuck all the way into the top 20 in raw usage this season, with a 28.7% mark. Assuming George Hill is out again (he may play, so check his status closer to game time), Hayward will have the ball a ton while on the court, making a 40+ DK game possible. Even if the game gets away from Philly, Hayward would likely be the main reason why.
Other Options – Harrison Barnes ($6,800)
Norman Powell – TOR at PHO – $4,300 – After a long game Wednesday night, it is likely that DeMarre Carroll takes the night off, leaving Powell in play here. He should be lower-owned because folks will likely flock to last night’s hero, Terrence Ross, who is cheaper. Phoenix is in the bottom ten in giving up three-pointers to the opposition, leaving Powell to take/make the shots needed to make value here.
T.J. Warren – PHO vs. TOR – $4,900 – Warren has the usage (23%) and is getting more minutes (over 30 in each of the last three games), so he will likely be a big part of the scoring for the Suns.
Other Options – Terrence Ross ($3,600), Robert Covington ($4,800)
Julius Randle – LAL vs. DAL – $6,500 – A double-double threat every time out, Randle has averaged over 31 minutes per game in his last three games. His last two efforts, against Utah and the Clippers, have resulted in 37.75 and 47.50 DK point games and tonight he gets a Mavericks defense tied for the third worst defensive rating over the last 10 games.
Kevin Love – CLE vs. BOS – $8,200 – Another cash game ready Cavalier, Love has been a 26-28% raw usage player, even with LeBron and Kyrie. Love has not scored less than 30 DK points since 12/1 against the Clippers (24 minutes) and he has cleared 30 in every single game this season in which he has played 30 minutes.
Zach Randolph – MEM vs. OKC – $5,200 – With Mike Conley out last game against the Celtics, Randolph played nearly the whole fourth quarter, pushing his minutes closer to 30. With the same type matchup here, and Conley questionable, Z-Bo would be a solid play for 6x his salary here.
Derrick Favors – UTA vs. PHI – $3,900 – His minutes are starting to inch upward, and the word coming into today was that Favors would start against the Sixers. This means he would be likely play for 20-23 minutes, which against an Embiid-less Sixers frontcourt, could be the 30 DK points he would need for tourney value.
Other Options – Justise Winslow ($5,600)
Marc Gasol – MEM vs. OKC – $7,900 – Not a great night to pay up for centers, but if Conley misses, we could see a reprisal of the last game against Boston, where Gasol dominated usage and scored 54.50 DK points.
Tyson Chandler – PHO vs. TOR – $4,500 – He will be needed up front to defend Jonas Valanciunas and can hit 30 DK points in this matchup with extra possessions, leading to more rebounds, and Chandler is fifth in the league in rebounding rate.
Jahlil Okafor – PHI at UTA – $4,600 – No Embiid, No Holmes, and Noel on a minutes limit means that Okafor will push 30% raw usage tonight, which could get him to 30 DK points and make him a solid value tonight, even in the tougher matchup.
Other Options – Jonas Valanciunas ($5,300), Cody Zeller ($4,900)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jaywalker72) 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.