Greetings Gamers! We have an early “main” game set on Sunday with six games tipping off at 5pm ET. Only the New Orleans Pelicans and the Charlotte Hornets played on Saturday, so most players should be well rested and ready to go in what is only the second or third game back from the All-Star Break. Let’s get into the fun.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to me on Twitter @EmacDFS.
Russell Westbrook – OKC vs NOP – $12,900 – The fun part about writing on the weekend is that I’m almost always guaranteed one Russell Westbrook game. With 28 actual triple doubles this season (which is already the third most of all time) and averaging 64.3 DraftKings points per game on the strength of 31.0ppg, 10.5rpg and 10.3apg with 2.0 combined blocks/steals, what more can I say? If you find the appropriate value options, I think Westbrook is a viable play in all formats on Sunday.
Isaiah Thomas – BOS at DET – $8,700 – IT2’s price is slipping along with his production, but this is a fine matchup for him against Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith. In the three previous meetings, he has been right in line with his season long averages with 35.3mpg and 45.0 DraftKings points which makes him a nice option since most gamers are beginning to grow disenchanted with the former University of Washington star.
Other Options – Chris Paul ($8,300)
Ish Smith – DET vs BOS – $4,500 – While we can’t expect another 40 burger like he posted on Thursday against Charlotte, Smith has been pressing for more minutes, and he has been a better defender than Reggie Jackson, so it would not be a surprise if he matched his production from the three previous tilts between these two teams where he tallied 29.2mpg, 14.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 5.7apg and 1.6 combined blocks/steals for 32.3 DraftKings points. Most gamers shy away from taking bench players, which makes Smith an intriguing tournament option.
Other Options – Austin Rivers ($4,700)
DeMar DeRozan – TOR vs POR – $8,800 – There is a very good chance that Kyle Lowry (wrist) will be out again on Sunday, and with Double D coming off a career high 43 points on Friday, he will likely be a popular option. In the last game against Portland in late December, with Lowry playing, DeRozan was stellar with 20 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Targeting the Trailblazers’ lackadaisical backcourt defense has been a lucrative choice over the last couple of seasons and there is no reason to see that changing Sunday.
Other Options – Nicolas Batum ($6,900), Jrue Holiday ($7,000)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – DET vs BOS – $5,600 – It looks like we will want to be down with KCP on Sunday since he has performed 11% better from a fantasy perspective against the Celtics, versus his season average in three prior meetings. As we have seen over the last two plus seasons, the minutes will be there for Caldwell-Pope, but the unknown is his shot attempts and success. He has the ability to reach the 40 fantasy point plateau, but a more realistic expectation would be something in the 25-30 DraftKings point range with a half a dozen very attainable upside points.
Cory Joseph – TOR vs POR – $4,500 – Regardless of Kyle Lowry’s status, CoJo is in play because even in the worst case scenario he should see 21-24 minutes off the bench as the main backup at both guard positions. His price hopped up $1,300 since Friday, but if Lowry is out, we can employ his services once again with impunity.
Other Options – Gary Harris ($5,600), Joe Ingles ($4,000), Jaylen Brown ($3,900)
Gordon Hayward – UTA at WAS – $7,500 – With most of the Jazz healthy, we have seen Hayward’s upside somewhat capped, but this is a good matchup for him against the Wizards, and he has a solid 30ish DraftKing point floor in this matchup. Since there really are no sexy options at small forward on Sunday, he should make for a nice differentiation play in “cash games” (H2Hs, double-ups, 3-mans, etc.).
Danilo Gallinari – DEN vs MEM – $5,700 – The Rooster is an intriguing play after missing the better part of three weeks, as he has fallen off the radar of the most fantasy gamers. Denver wants to make a run for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. Depending on how long it takes for Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins to mesh, Denver needs to ride their core guys into the ground since they are hanging on to the eighth seed with their fingernails, and they are seven games out of the seventh spot which will likely be the Thunder or Grizzlies.
Other Options – Nicolas Batum ($6,900)
Tobias Harris – DET vs BOS – $5,300 – Harris has been incredibly volatile over his last four games with two 40 burgers, but also a single digit fantasy point performance. In three meetings against the Celtics this season he is averaging 27.8 DraftKings points which is right on the nose for the season average and also getting him to the magic 5x salary figure we are looking for as a baseline. I think he is an excellent option to plug in at either forward slot on Sunday.
Other Options – Maurice Harkless ($4,800), Marcus Morris ($5,600), Doug McDermott ($3,600)
Blake Griffin – LAC vs CHA – $8,600 – The Hornets are on a back-to-back and really do not have anyone who can cover The Blake Show who will benefit from the return of point guard Chris Paul. This should be the first game in a while where the Clippers have everyone at full strength and they are just one game out of the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference, which would grant them home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Yes, this is not the most scientific recommendation, but the last time Griffin faced the Hornets just two weeks ago, he rolled his way to a 50 DraftKings point outing… anything less than 40 will be a severe disappointment.
Other Options – DeMarcus Cousins ($10,500), Anthony Davis ($9,500)
Derrick Favors – UTA at WAS – $5,100 – As Favors works back from his knee issues, we are best served to look at him when he has had some rest. He played on Friday and was magnificent with 19 points and 7 rebounds against Milwaukee. This is an “island game” with the Jazz playing next in Oklahoma City on Tuesday in the final game of their road trip. The Wizards have struggled this season against active bigs since they really only have Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris and Jason Smith as their main front court crew with off-season acquisition Ian Mahinmi playing in just six games this season (including the last five) but not topping fifteen minutes. Favors should “eat” in this matchup, and the Jazz are going to need to battle with everything they have to hang on to the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference with a now fully healthy Clippers squad just one game back.
Other Options – Jon Leuer ($4,800), Marcus Morris ($5,600)
Rudy Gobert – UTA at WAS – $7,100 – The Stifle Tower continues to go overlooked, which is a shame since he is averaging 36.8 DraftKings points per game this season. Yes, he does not put up a lot of points, but he is averaging 13.0 points and 12.7 rebounds per game along with making 64.1% of his field goal attempts.
Andre Drummond – DET vs BOS – $7,800 – This just in… Boston is HORRIBLE at keeping opposing bigs off the glass. Need more proof? Through three games against the Celts, Drummond is averaging 22.7 points and 18.7 rebounds with a robust 54.0 DraftKings point average. Enjoy!
Other Options – DeMarcus Cousins ($10,700), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,500), Anthony Davis ($9,500)
Jusuf Nurkic – POR at TOR – $5,600 – With the dearth of post players on the Portland roster, Nurkic should see as many minutes as his conditioning and fouls allow. He should be in the 25-30 DraftKings point range with double double potential against the weak Raptors’ front court.
Other Options – Mason Plumlee ($5,600), Domantas Sabonis ($3,300)
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.