Salutations Gamers! Yes, it is the first day of the NFL Playoffs, however, DraftKings has not forgotten about their round ball rabble rousers. There is a seven game split slate schedule with the first game tipping off at 3:30pm ET, followed by another at 5:00pm and then the “main slate” of five games begins at 7:00pm. Most of the larger prize pools will be concentrated with the 7:00pm games, however, I have included an early game recommendation for each position.
Chris Paul – LAC vs CHA – $9,200 – (EARLY) in the all day games, I have no issue rolling with CP3 against Kemba Walker. The Clippers need to get as many wins as they can in the bank as the Western Conference is once again the tougher conference. Los Angeles is a six point favorite at home, which means this very well could be a close game into the fourth quarter. Paul can get a breather in two weeks when Blake Griffin returns, until then, Steve Ballmer’s squad is best served trying to keep holding onto the 4th seed in the West.
John Wall – WAS at ORL – $9,400 – This will be the fourth time this season that the Wizards are facing the Orlando Magic. They seem to have their number as they have now won 11 in a row. Over the previous three meetings, Wall is averaging an outstanding 20.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 10.0 APG and 4.3 combined blocks/steals. The Orlando back court is a little dinged up so that offsets Wall being on the road. Plus, Wizards control magic…duh!
Corey Joseph – TOR at PHI – $3,600 – The Raptors are on a back-to-back Saturday after besting their Wizard rivals in Washington on Friday night. This is their fifth game in seven days and fourth of the road trip, so there is a good chance we see CoJo get some extra run if Toronto gets their inevitable lead.
Jimmy Butler – CHI at ATL – $8,300 – (EARLY) There has been a changing of the guards for the Bulls and it is clear that Jimmy Butler is the go-to guy now that Derrick Rose has seen his skills diminished by a myriad of injuries. Butler has topped 37.5 DraftKings points in 8 of his last 9 games and is averaging 42.8 fantasy points over the same stretch. Atlanta is really missing the defense of DeMarre Carroll and we should not be afraid to spend on Butler in this road match up.
Klay Thompson – GSW at SAC – $8,000 – This is a glorious match up and one where we have seen Thompson go nuts more than once, including the glorious game where he set an NBA record with 37 points and an astounding nine three-pointers in a single quarter. The Kings will do their part to facilitate another great performance as they are the worst in the league again against opposing two-guards from a fantasy perspective. Enjoy!
Ian Clark – GS at SAC – $3,600 – Doubling down on the great match up for Thompson, we can look to Ian Clark who should likely see extra minutes in this contest. He has posted 16+ fantasy points in six of his last seven games and in two games against the Kings this season, he has seen a stat line of 15 MPG, 10.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.5 APG and 1.5 combined blocks/steals for a very solid 17.6 DraftKings points. He should be right around that number again on Saturday if the trends continue.
Rudy Gay – SAC vs GS – $6,900 – In the previous three meetings this season between these teams, Rudy is averaging 19.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 0.7 APG and 1.0 combined blocks and steals for 31.5 DraftKings points. There are not many small forwards that jump off the page tonight, however, Rudy is a steady option at the very least.
James Johnson – TOR at PHI – $3,700 – The player affectionately known in DFS circles as “Neck Tat” can be infuriating with his playing time, however, in a fast and sloppy game like the 76ers provide, he is a fine punt option who should have 20 fantasy point potential and at his price he will facilitate a major upgrade at another position.
Kent Bazemore – ATL vs CHI – $6,400 – (EARLY) Bazemore does not qualify as a stud, but he is not quite a true value either, so he is a touch behind Johnson. Over his last five games, he has proven invaluable to the Hawks with a stat line of 30.3 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.6 APG and 2.0 combined blocks/steals for a very solid 34.3 DraftKings points per game. He is a sneaky play in the all-day slate as most gamers will be looking for something more spectacular. Don’t be fooled, he is worth rostering Saturday in the early lock contests.
DeMarcus Cousins – SAC vs GS – $10,200 – Most will remember the last meeting between these two teams, 12 days ago, just after Christmas. Speaking of 12, that is how many minutes it took Cousins to accumulate 5 personal fouls…and an ejection. If you are feeling bold, then yes, this is a tremendous opportunity as most gamers are going to be second guessing themselves on this decision. In four meetings last season against the Warriors, it was Boogie who came out to play with 34.3 MPG, 24.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 3.3 APG and 3.3 combined blocks/steals. The daring will likely be rewarded in this rematch…well, if Cousins can stay focused.
Paul Millsap – ATL vs CHI – $8,400 – (EARLY) Millsap has to be one of the steadiest players this season in the H2H format with his consistency of nearly 40 DraftKings points every game and his potential 50 fantasy point upside. The Chicago Bulls no longer present the fearsome defense we grew accustomed to over the last few seasons under Coach Tom Thibodeau. Most gamers will be looking to Draymond Green or going for a discount option, making ‘Sap a fine differentiation option Saturday afternoon.
Patrick Patterson – TOR at PHI – $3,700 – This play is not for the faint of heart as Patterson is coming off a horrible game against the Washington Wizards where he managed just one single solitary assist in 28 minutes…that was it for his fantasy scoring. The Wiz seem to have his number as he only posted two rebounds in their last meeting on December 30th. During the five games between those book-ended by Washington, he was a fine discount dandy averaging 22.2 DraftKings points. Of course this is a buyer beware recommendation, however, I am going to succumb to the siren song of 6x value on Saturday!
Andre Drummond – DET vs BKN – $8,900 – This could very well be a “No Drummond, no cash!” kind of slate. We are all aware of the fact that Brook Lopez is a little bit of a soft presence in the paint and that Drummond is capable of a 20/20 outing in this type of scenario. During the first meeting between these two teams, Drummond posted a fifty burger with 20 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. Fade at your own risk.
Pau Gasol – CHI at ATL – $8,200 – EARLY Boom Boom Pau has is once again a player that warrants strong consideration on the all-day slate Saturday. Over his last three games he is averaging 52 DraftKings points. #Analysis!
Marreese Speights – GSW at SAC – $3,400 – This is a highly risky play, however, Speights is the king of garbage time and has a crazy usage rate when the Warriors top guards are off the court. However, on the downside, he can receive the dreaded DNP-CD (did not play, coaches’ decision) at inopportune moments. In a tournament however, his backers will be a very small population.
Jonas Valanciunas – TOR at PHI – $5,500 – For $2,100 more, we can look to Big Val who has now been back for seven games after missing five weeks with a fractured hand. He should provide 20-25 DraftKings points in this match up and he does have double double upside.