WATCH: PICK & ROLL
The NBA rolls on tonight with a five-game slate, so here are my favorite studs and values for tonight’s games. If you have any questions, reach out to me on Twitter @JasonWalkerDFS.
Damian Lillard – POR vs. NYK – $9,800- Portland is fighting for the playoffs and playing the listless Knicks on the back end of a road back to back. This game could be a blowout, so you want the Portland players who have the most early usage, and Lillard leads the team in 1st quarter raw usage with 28% for the season, but it has been 31% over the last 10 games as the Trail Blazers have been desperate to make the playoffs.
Tyler Ulis – PHX at BKN – $7,100 – I think the price is too high here in regular circumstances, but the matchup with BKN should be fine, especially against Jeremy Lin. Earl Watson has Ulis playing 40+ minutes right now, so even at a DK point per minute, Ulis should get close to even tournament value at this price.
Jeremy Lin – BKN vs. PHX – $5,600 – Lin is expected to start tonight against Phoenix, who is the fourth worst pace adjusted defense over the past seven games. Lin has maintained a very high raw usage rate over the last two weeks, going over 30% in five of his last nine games.
J.J. Barea – DAL vs. LAC – $4,500 – The Clippers can be tough, but Doc Rivers may unofficially pull back minutes for Chris Paul in prep for the playoffs since they missed their stated goal of the 1 or 2 seed. Barea should see plenty of Austin Rivers/Ray Felton already, but more exposure to that crew, the same that dragged the Clippers to the bottom of the defensive rankings even with Blake healthy while CP3 was out, would be a boon to the high usage Barea, a guy Rick Carlisle trusts down the stretch too, as they try to make the playoffs one more time for Dirk.
DeMar DeRozan – TOR at MIA – $8,700 – This is a raw points play here, as DeRo has seen his usage spike and is eighth in the league in raw usage for the month of March. They are hanging onto the fourth seed, and, like we saw in his epic 38 shot effort against Chicago, he is relied on considerably for the team’s offense. His fourth quarter usage over the past six games has been 37.4%.
Devin Booker – PHX at BKN – $6,900 – Booker’s usage hasn’t been in trouble since Tyler Ulis started playing a lot of minutes, but he has not shot well, going 13-54 over the last three games. He is getting the opportunities and has a great matchup with Brooklyn, who has given up the fifth most threes in the last seven games and the seventh highest 3FG% over the same span.
Justin Holiday – NYK at POR – $3,100 – Either the story about limiting minutes of Carmelo Anthony is not true, or they will start to hold back here late in the season, especially on the back end of a road back to back. In the one game that both Rose/Anthony missed this season, Holiday played 23 minutes, had 22% usage and erupted for 35.75 DK points.
Austin Rivers – LAC at DAL – $3,900 – He played 31 minutes the last game and has played 33, 29 and 23 in the previous three. He is a high usage play that should see a lot of J.J. Barea, which would be just fine for Rivers, as the Mavericks have not been as stingy defensively over the last seven games. Rivers could see extra time if Doc wheels back some playing time on Blake/CP3 tonight.
Kawhi Leonard – SAS vs. MEM – $9,200 – I’m not crazy about paying up in this matchup, as he only scored a DK point per minute against this team five days ago, and that is without the specter of extra rest heading into the playoffs. However, there is little to choose from above the line tonight, so if you are being contrarian and paying up at SF, you have to consider Kawhi. Leonard has had monster raw usage over the last month, ranking 10th in the league with 31.9% and his fourth quarter usage over the last six games is a massive 42.5%, second only to Russell Westbrook.
K.J. McDaniels – BKN vs. PHX – $3,000 – KJMC had 20 minutes against Detroit in a 98-96 game, so there is some slight precedent for him getting run tonight in a much, much more offensively friendly matchup. He has the type of hustle, athletic box score stuffing game that we can enjoy in our games, and showed 26.8% raw usage against the stingy Pistons. He’s a tournament min-priced flyer but could be fun in a lineup if he pays off.
Vince Carter – MEM at SAS – $3,900 – I recommend him only if Tony Allen is out, because then Carter can get to the 30 minutes we’ll want him at this price and look to get 26-30 points, like he did against MIL (41.75) and the 23.50 he got against these Spurs in 30 minutes last week.
LaMarcus Aldridge – SAS vs. MEM – $6,500 – Assuming normal minutes/rotation, this is the same matchup LMA just exploited for 39.25 DK points in 33 minutes five days ago. Aldridge has been picking up the production pace lately, as his usage has sprouted to 33.8, 31.1, 28.3 and 33.4 over his last four games.
Kristaps Porzingis – NYK at POR – $6,900 – He’s risky given the ‘resty’ environment among the Knicks, allegedly, but if it’s just Rose/Melo that rest, then Zingis could see his usage really rise in a very positive positional matchup against the Blazers. He scored 46.25 DK points in a whopping 39 minutes in November against this team, though things have changed significantly since they played then.
Other Options – Dirk Nowitzki ($6,200), Blake Griffin ($8,200)
Zach Randolph – MEM at SAS – $4,700 – The raw usage is still just fine for Z-Bo, with nothing less than 26% over the last eight games. The minutes are a different story, but the Grizzlies played him 26 minutes in the win over the Spurs last week, with Randolph scoring 29.75 DK points.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – BKN vs. PHX – $4,400 – The raw usage has sagged for RHJ recently, after a strong run of mid 20s% performances, but looking at the individual matchup, it is a positive one and one that he exploited for 46.25 DK points in November.
Other Options – Marquese Chriss ($5,800), Lance Thomas ($3,900)
Brook Lopez – BKN vs. PHX – $6,900 – The best matchup of the night belongs to the Nets, and Lopez is the undisputed scoring leader here. He has routinely scored between 35-41 DK points and has the plus matchup to exceed that tonight.
Jusuf Nurkic – POR vs. NYK – $7,600 – Nurkic has been piling up the rebounds since becoming a Blazer, giving him a strong floor, especially against a weakened Knicks team wobbling in on the back end of a road back to back. Nurkic has also been second on the team in early quarter raw usage, so he and Lillard should take turns piling up the fantasy points here in this matchup.
Other Options – Hassan Whiteside ($8,300)
Alan Williams – PHX at BKN – $5,700 – Great matchup here for Williams, returning from an illness that sidelined him. He has been a 1.28 DK point per minute player and should get a boost here against Brooklyn.
Alex Len – PHX at BKN – $4,500 – The price is still strong enough, even if sharing with Williams, for both to have good nights in a game that has the highest projected total of the night at 226.
Other Options – Guillermo Hernangomez ($4,700)
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.