Now that we are just down to a couple weeks left of NFL playoff football, we can really get down to business with NBA gaming for the remaining long cold winter. Saturday has a robust eight game schedule with the main slate tipping off at 7:00pm ET and then with three other game sets following at 7:30pm, 8:00pm and 8:30pm. This article will focus on the full slate.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to me on Twitter @EmacDFS.
Russell Westbrook – OKC vs DEN – $12,900 – This is the highest we have seen Westbrook’s salary since the first week of November when it equaled this lofty height. Once again he projects as the highest scoring player from a raw points perspective against the outmatched Nuggets backcourt, but there are easily a dozen viable alternative options who have a better points per price ratio. While it is always fun to watch the pinball scoring on the DK Live app when rostering Westbrook, that does not seem to be the most prudent course of action tonight. If you are comfortable with your lineup, by all means roll with Westy, but do not feel compelled to force him into your lineups.
Kyle Lowry – TOR at CHI – $8,400 – Regardless of the dysfunction going on in Chicago involving Rajon Rondo and his ego, Lowry is an intriguing alternative to Russell Westbrook with 50+ DKPTs in four of his last seven games and a $4,500 savings that can be allocated to upgrading several other positions.
Other Options – Isaiah Thomas ($8,500), Reggie Jackson ($7,000)
Deron Williams – DAL vs ATL – $6,000 – The handful of duds in his last dozen games have helped suppress Williams’ price tag, but he has surpassed 30+ fantasy points more often than not over that stretch of games. Selecting point guards opposite Dennis Schroder has been a lucrative strategy this season and that should continue on Saturday night.
Other Options – Cory Joseph ($3,500), Emmanuel Mudiay ($4,600)
C.J. McCollum – POR vs DET – $7,800 – The $1,200 price drop since his last game has McCollum firmly in play as a tournament option against the Pistons now that his backcourt running mate has rejoined him. Hopefully enough gamers shy away now that Damian Lillard is back and we can get C.J. at a suppressed popularity point.
Jimmy Butler – CHI vs TOR – $8,900 – This will be the first time this season that Butler gets to square off against the Raptors and if Rajon Rondo remains out he is a solid play in all formats, even if Dwyane Wade plays again (knee swelling) with three days since the Bulls last contest.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – DET at POR – $5,500 – The court time is still there for him at 38 minutes per game but his shot has not been dropping as he has tallied 38% or less from the field three times in his last four outings. This is a great matchup to take advantage while so many of his recent backers are feeling left out in the cold.
Other Options – Gary Harris ($4,700), Rodney Hood ($4,500), Seth Curry ($4,300)
Gordon Hayward – UTA at MIN – $7,400 – Hayward has been a steady option against the Timberwolves with 35.8, 36.3 and 37.3 DraftKings points in his last three games which makes him a fine selection in “cash games” (H2H, 50/50s, double-ups, 3-mans) and if point guard George Hill (concussion) is out again, he moves into a strong tournament play with his ability to surpass the forty fantasy point plateau.
Other Options – Paul George ($8,000), Kawhi Leonard ($8,000)
Danilo Gallinari ($5,400) and Wilson Chandler ($5,600) – DEN at OKC – This Denver duo is in play against the Thunder who have been a middle of the road team against opposing swingmen in what should be a freewheelin’ affair with a projected 219 combined points, which is the highest game total of the night.
Nikola Mirotic – CHI vs TOR – $4,500 – Mirotic has been very steady with 20+ DKPTs in eight of his last ten outings and he slots in nicely as a discount dandy at all three forward positions tonight against Toronto.
Tobias Harris – DET at POR – $6,200 – Harris is another versatile forward option who has been outstanding coming off the bench for the Pistons. A lot of casual gamers do not realize someone getting steady minutes against the reserve unit of opposing teams holds a lot of sneaky fantasy upside, particularly in a matchup against a Portland squad more focused on their own offense than anything else.
Other Options – Will Barton ($4,800), Jae Crowder ($5,300)
Anthony Davis – NOP at BOS – $10,600 – This is a terrific matchup for Davis against the Boston frontcourt that has struggled against opposing BIGs all season and is not equipped to deal with The Brow. Davis is a tremendous alternative to Russell Westbrook since he has the ability to surpass 60 DraftKings points in any matchup that slants in his favor.
Other Options – Paul George ($8,000)
LaMarcus Aldridge – SAS vs CHA – $7,100 – Don’t sleep on LMA who has hit his stride over the last five games with 33.4mpg, 22.6ppg, 7.8rpg, 2.4apg and 1.8 combined blocks/steals on his way to a healthy 39.5 DKPTs. If Cody Zeller is out again as he works his way through the NBA’s concussion protocol, Aldridge is a spectacular mid-tier option at power forward or center with his multi-position eligibility on DraftKings.
Jon Leuer – DET at POR – $4,900 – If you are looking to save a little dough, then Jon Leuer is an alluring options (pun intended) against the toothless Portland frontcourt. He does have the ability to flirt with 30 fantasy points, however, he is a pretty steady option and should be in the 22-25 DKPT range with about a 70% probability in most projection models. Remember, a balanced approach is a very viable strategy in all formats as opposed to the more popular stars and scrubs lineups employed by most casual gamers.
Other Options – Nikola Mirotic ($4,500), Derrick Favors ($5,200)
Rudy Gobert – UTA at MIN – $7,100 – In his last sixteen games, the Stifle Tower has failed to reach 30 DraftKings points just once and he has topped 40+ nine times. That is tremendous consistency and production for his very reasonable salary. When these two teams squared off the Monday after Thanksgiving, Gobert was outstanding with 16 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots on his way to 45.3 DraftKings points.
Karl-Anthony Towns – MIN vs UTA – $8,700 – While I typically prefer to avoid players going against the Jazz, especially post players, KAT is a special case. The last four times he has faced Rudy Gobert he has averaged 42.4 DKPTs and his lowest output was a still solid 37.8 DKPTs. Tournaments only, but there is a very good chance that Towns’ popularity will be down in the 15-20% range tonight which makes this an interesting gambit.
Andre Drummond – DET at POR – $7,600 – Drummond always has phenomenal upside, but he can get taken out of games with his propensity for silly fouls. The Trailblazers do not have anyone equipped to deal with him on the boards and when he was in Portland last season he dropped a 29 point, 27 rebound masterpiece with five combined blocks/steals on his way to 73.7 DraftKings points. While we cannot bank on anything like that tonight, a 50 burger is definitely on the menu.
Other Options – LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,100), Al Horford ($6,700)
Jusuf Nurkic – DEN at OKC – $3,600 – With Nikola Jokic dealing with an illness, Nurkic may be called on more in this matchup considering the Thunder nearly always have one big man on the court between Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.
Other Options – Steven Adams ($5,700), Enes Kanter ($5,200), Joffrey Lauvergne ($3,600)
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.