With the Elite Eight beginning to square off on Saturday, the NBA has a light four-game “main” slate tipping off at 7:30pm ET. On contest sets like this, things tend to fill up earlier than normal, so don’t forget to reserve your entries in the large field tournaments. This article will focus on the eight teams making up that player pool.
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Damian Lillard – POR vs MIN – $9,100 – Lillard has been outstanding since the beginning of March and over his last half dozen games he is averaging 33.7ppg, 3.7rgp, 4.7apg and 1.9 combined steals/blocks for a tick shy of 50 DraftKings points in just 34.2 minutes per game. The Timberwolves will be on a back-to-back after battling the Lakers in Los Angeles last night and this will be the fifth game in their last six on the road. Portland is dueling with Denver for the final spot in the Western Conference playoff bracket, so they should be raring to go having won seven of their last ten games.
John Wall – WAS at CLE – $9,700 – Wall has been battling a sore knee, a tweaked ankle and now migraine headaches on top of having carried the Wizards all season after double knee surgeries last summer. He is on a back-to-back, but with Washington controlling the game last night against the Brooklyn Nets, he was able to mostly take it easy playing just 24 minutes with 22 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds. This is a lofty price point for this slate and a lot of gamers will shy away, which keeps the former University of Kentucky star firmly in consideration as a tournament option.
Other Options – Ricky Rubio ($7,800)
Patty Mills – SAS vs NYK – $3,900 – With the Knicks on the road for the fourth straight game and already saying they will limit Carmelo Anthony’s playing time down the stretch, this is a good spot for head coach Gregg Popovich to rest some of his veterans in what should be an easy win. This ought to open up extended minutes for Patty Mills who does have 25+ DraftKings point upside when he gets sufficient run.
Other Options – Cory Joseph ($4,800), J.J. Barea ($4,300), Ron Baker ($3,300)
DeMar DeRozan – TOR at DAL – $8,700 – Double D has racked up 63 field goal attempts in his last two games and should continue to see heavy volume with Kyle Lowry likely to miss another couple games. He is going to be a popular option, but from a “raw points” perspective, it will be hard to match his projected 50 DraftKings points.
Other Options – C.J. McCollum ($7,200)
Seth Curry – DAL vs TOR – $5,200 – While he is not a flashy play, even with most of the Dallas guards back in the rotation, he is still seeing 27-30 minutes and is a building block that should be in the mix for 25ish DraftKings points.
Shabazz Muhammad – MIN at POR – $4,800 – His price is creeping up, but we can slot in Shabazz at either the two-guard or small forward positions Saturday night for some salary relief.
Other Options – Wesley Matthews ($5,100)
LeBron James – CLE vs WAS – $10,400 – With the Wizards trying to chase down the Cavs for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, this is the perfect spot for a signature King James performance. This is the third game in four nights for Cleveland who played in Charlotte on Friday. They play again on Monday in San Antonio, but then not until Thursday of next week in Chicago. As long as LBJ is in the Cleveland lineup, we have to give strong consideration to rolling with him in ours.
Other Options – Andrew Wiggins ($7,000)
P.J. Tucker – TOR at DAL – $4,200 – While he is more of a hustle stats guy (he has not topped double-digit scoring in a game since February 13th, back when he was a member of the Phoenix Suns), he has been a steady performer with nearly 25 DraftKings points per game over his last four outings. The Raptors will need his services guarding a plethora of Mavericks’ wing players.
Other Options – Shabazz Muhammad ($4,800), Wesley Matthews ($5,100)
Karl-Anthony Towns – MIN at POR – $10,700 – The last time Karl-Anthony Towns scored less than 35 DraftKings points was on Christmas Day against the Thunder in Oklahoma City (34.5). In the ensuing 42 games he has been below 40 DraftKings points four times (39.25, 36.75, 39.5 and 38.25) with the most recent being 16 games ago in mid-February. For additional perspective, he has been over 50+ DKPTs 24 times during this stretch. There is some cause for concern since he played 43 minutes last night in Los Angeles with the Timberwolves losing by 11 in overtime. With the shallow player pool tonight there is both merit for “fading” him or for throwing caution to the wind and loading up in tournaments. This looks like a good spot to plant our flag on one strategy or the other.
Kevin Love – CLE vs WAS – $7,300 – The importance of this game has already been mentioned, but at this price point Love really stands out. In two previous meetings with the Wizards, he is averaging 26.5ppg, 14.0rpg, 2.0apg, and 2.0spg for 52.3 DraftKings points. While we certainly cannot ink that number on our tally sheets, Washington has really struggled against mobile power forwards and this is a great spot for the former UCLA star, as long as we hear he should see close to 30 minutes in this back-to-back matchup.
Other Options – Kristaps Porzingis ($7,100), Markieff Morris ($5,700)
David Lee – SAS vs NYC – $4,500 – Lee should see some extra run in this laughable matchup against the team that drafted him back in 2005 after he left the University of Florida. He should be in the mix for a double-double and is a nice discount dandy.
Noah Vonleh – POR vs MIN 0 $4,100 – Don’t look now, but Vonleh has four straight games with at least 21+ DraftKings points. With Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng roaming the paint for the T-Wolves, Portland is going to need him for 25-28 minutes once more. Yeah, it doesn’t feel good, but the results are hard to ignore on this short slate.
Other Options – Patrick Patterson ($3,300), Serge Ibaka ($5,500)
Dirk Nowitzki – DAL vs TOR – $6,000 – The Mavericks still have playoff hopes and will need a big performance from David Hasselhoff’s tallest fan. It also helps that this is only the second game in the last four days for Dallas and the Raptors have struggled with “stretch” fours and fives who have a mid-range jump shot.
Kristaps Porzingis – NYK at SAS – $7,100 – This is not an easy matchup for opposing big men, however, Tim Duncan and David Robinson are not on the court and LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol can be exploited. At this price, if The Zinger gets at least 35 DraftKings points he won’t crush our dreams of glory and that is his season average. If his shot is falling, there are 45+ points of fantasy goodness available.
Other Options – Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,700), Jusuf Nurkic ($7,400)
Tristan Thompson – CLE vs WAS – $4,400 – The Wizards are struggling against opposing bigs with Marcin Gortat clearly gassed from so many minutes in the first two-thirds of the season and Ian Mahimni working his way up to 20+ minutes. Even with both teams coming in off a game Friday night, this is a good matchup for Thompson who has a nice history against Washington.
Guillermo Hernangomez – NYK at SAS – $4,300 – The Knicks need players to man the frontcourt and the young Spaniard has seen his salary drop nearly $2,000 in the last four days. Do not be shy about enjoying this discount!
Jonas Valanciunas – TOR at DAL – $4,900 – The game logs are not for the faint of heart, however, the upside is there in this matchup for JoVal.
Other Options – Marcin Gortat ($4,300)
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.