WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – MASON PLUMLEE
The NBA rolls on tonight with an entertaining five-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.
Russell Westbrook – OKC vs. CLE – $12,700 – The Cleveland big three may rest, but we have seen in the NBA this season that players missing does not automatically mean blowout, as the Kings handled the Celtics last night without DeMarcus Cousins. The rest of the stud tier is so appropriately priced in relation to their production, so Westbrook’s 40% raw usage and guaranteed role makes him the safest play on the board in my opinion.
Damian Lillard – POR vs. BOS – $8,900 – The Celtics are on a back-to-back and this one has a projected game total of 220.5. I think Lillard is likely to finish with the same fantasy points as Isaiah Thomas for $1,100 less. Lillard has gone over 20 shots in his last three games, underlining his recent production surge.
Other Options – Isaiah Thomas ($10,000)
Kay Felder – CLE at OKC – $3,000 – With Ty Lue suggesting that Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will rest for this one, it leaves the Cavaliers with few options to produce points. Felder is the minimum price and likely to use possessions, based on his past performance and role as a primary ball handler.
Elfrid Payton – ORL vs. PHI – $5,700 – The Sixers without Joel Embiid have dropped to the fourth worst defense in the league. I think Payton has the upside to get to 40 fantasy points in this matchup, even in his 28-30 minute role.
Other Options – Patrick Beverley ($5,300)
James Harden – HOU at CHA – $12,300 – With the biggest projected total of the night at 224, James Harden is likely going to be a busy guy out there. Charlotte is only average against the pick and roll, and Harden is showing his usual 70+ DK point ceiling lately.
Nicolas Batum – CHA vs. HOU – $7,600 – Wings against the Rockets have had success, and the visitors have been playing at the fourth fastest pace over the last five games. Batum has been playing high 30s minutes in non blowouts, registering low 20s raw usage.
Other Options – C.J. McCollum ($7,800)
Jordan McRae -CLE at OKC – $3,000 – Another min-priced Cavs value play, McRae’s raw usage goes to 26% and Fantasy Points/MIN 0.9 when the Big 3 are off the floor. A 30 minute outing would mean we’d need 27 DK points for solid tourney value.
Seth Curry – DAL vs. UTA – $4,900 – Curry is probable after a shoulder stinger and is expected to play against Utah. The Jazz matchup could deflate ownership on Curry, despite the absence of Deron Williams and J.J. Barea. Curry has been in the mid 20% raw usage range over his last seven games, meaning, I think he can hit the 30-35 DK point number here, despite the slow paced game.
Gordon Hayward – UTA at DAL – $7,300- Hayward has already lit up the Mavericks, in Dallas, for 44.75 DK points a few weeks ago, so he can hit the target, even in this sluggish matchup. Hayward’s usage has been very strong recently, too, going for 31.4, 35.5 and 29.6% over the last three games.
Jae Crowder – BOS at POR – $6,200 – Crowder, like the rest of the Celtics last night, took a production beating, but he’s in a good bounce back spot against Portland. He did not blister the box score the last time out against POR, but he did play 40 minutes. With not much to choose from on the top line, he can get a FP per minute in this matchup, making value for him.
Other Options – Harrison Barnes ($6,000)
Robert Covington – PHI at ORL – $5,400 – With no Joel Embiid, Covington continues to produce, getting high 30s minutes and producing 55, 49, 24 and 32 DK points his last four times out.
Sam Dekker – HOU at CHA – $3,100 – He’s a tourney play for me, as he will come off the bench, but Dekker has averaged 24 minutes and 0.9 fantasy points per minute with Eric Gordon (questionable) missing games. At $3.1K, all he needs is a mid 20s minutes game, and he can produce value as an extreme tournament punt play.
Other Options – Kyle Korver ($3,300), Maurice Harkless ($4,000)
Serge Ibaka – ORL vs. PHI – $6,800 – Serge has been getting the minutes from Frank Vogel, logging 40 against Houston and 34, 35, 38 and 33 in the four games prior to getting rolled by Atlanta. In four of the last five games, he has over 40 DK points and there is no Aaron Gordon tonight.
Ersan Ilyasova – PHI at ORL – $5,600- Ersan has struggled recently, in two tough matchups, but he has a low 20s usage rate and a ceiling that is hard to find at the position tonight.
Channing Frye – CLE at OKC – $3,400- Frye is listed here with warning: Without a true facilitator like LeBron, Frye struggles, as a large majority of his hoops are assisted. Still, at $3.4K, he will not need much to be a cash game value, but he’s certainly a fadeable option in tourneys.
Dirk Nowitzki- DAL vs. UTA – $5,000 – Another caveat heavy call here, as Dirk has been dominated by the Jazz defensively in both matchup this season. However, when Dirk is on the floor, and getting 28-30 minutes, he will shoot a lot, making his ceiling enticing at $5K.
Mason Plumlee – POR vs. BOS – $6,400 – Plumlee has the high projected game total and strong matchup in his favor, as he has a high 40s ceiling against the rebounding weak Celtics team. He scored 37.75 in 27 minutes against the C’s in Boston just a few weeks ago and should not get into foul trouble with the perimeter-based Al Horford as his assignment.
Rudy Gobert – UTA at DAL – $6,700 – Against Dallas last time, Gobert got rebounds almost unopposed, scoring a career-high 25 and coasted to a 65.75 DK point game. He has been rock solid in minutes played for 20 games now, and this one should stay close.
Other Options – Nic Vucevic ($7,700), Al Horford ($7,200)
Cody Zeller – CHA vs. HOU – $4,800 – Cody Zeller returns from a concussion to get the upbeat Rockets in Charlotte. Zeller has no posted restrictions as of this writing, so his usual 30 minutes could produce about 30 DK points, based on his track record and the Rockets’ defense.
Jahlil Okafor – PHI at ORL – $4,400 – With Embiid out and the Sixers showcasing Okafor for a trade, he should be able to put up the raw points needed for value tonight. Okafor’s usage in his last five games: 31, 38, 21, 26 and 29%.
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.