WATCH: SMALL SLATE STRATEGY
The NBA rolls on tonight with a 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.
D’Angelo Russell – LAL at PHX – $7,100 – Russell is playing in a matchup between the first and fourth fastest paced teams and the second and 10th worst defensive teams over the last seven games. So in this matchup, who controls the most possessions? For the Lakers, it is Russell, who has 28.7% raw usage and a 30% assist rate. He is also playing 33 minutes per game, no matter the circumstance, as Luke Walton wants to build rhythm and familiarity with his starters.
Mike Conley – MEM vs. LAC – $7,400 – Conley has torched the Clippers with and without Chris Paul this season, and he’s reached 40+ DK points in his last five. The Clippers have not been defending well, even with Paul back in the lineup, and the game at home is a plus for Conley.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook ($12,500), Chris Paul ($8,000)
Reggie Jackson – DET vs. CLE – $5,100 – As inconsistent as they come, he will still likely draw Kyrie Irving defense and should play longer than normal because the Cavs will be without Kyle Korver, meaning the Pistons can hide Jackson on Iman Shumpert or DeAndre Liggins.
Tyler Ulis – PHX vs. LAL – $5,000 – Ulis did not respond to being chalk very well, but if Eric Bledsoe does indeed sit (questionable right now), Ulis is likely to draw the start as Earl Watson wants to know if he can handle being a playmaker on the first unit.
Other Options –Sergio Rodriguez ($3,300)
C.J. McCollum – POR vs. PHI – $7,200 – As usual, there is little to choose from in the shooting guard position over $6K, so I will look at the two guys who are above that mark (and are likely to play). McCollum has a positive positional matchup and the raw usage to succeed. His raw usage has not been below 20% in any single game since November 23rd. In Philly earlier this season, he played 35 minutes, had 28.5% raw usage and scored 32 DK points despite a 5-18 shooting night.
Devin Booker – PHO vs. LAL – $6,600 – Booker has a slightly negative positional matchup tonight and has seen a hit on his raw usage since the latest lineup changes have put higher usage players into the rotation. Over the last seven games, Booker’s raw usage has dropped four percent to 24%. It is still solid, but he is priced as if he is still a 28% raw shooter. Moreover, his assist rate, likely due to playing more with facilitator Tyler Ulis rather than Brandon Knight, has dropped 2% as well.
Jordan Clarkson – LAL at PHO – $5,300 – Clarkson has played 33, 29, 23 and 34 minutes his last four games, all with mid-20s or higher raw usage. Walton clearly looks at him as a core rotational play, and as such he will be sure to get 30 minutes at least.
Victor Oladipo – OKC vs. SAS – $5,200 – I think Oladipo is a solid play as Kawhi Leonard will likely be attached to Russell Westbrook tonight. Danny Green, who will likely cover ‘Dipo, is no bargain, but Oladipo did score 32.50 DK points in SAS last time out, so he can get the number, even against the Spurs.
Other Options – Leandro Barbosa ($3,000), Danny Green ($3,600)
LeBron James – CLE at DET – $10,900 – No Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving will likely see a lot of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to slow him down, forcing the scoring/playmaking even more to James, who has four 64.25 DK points or better nights in his last five.
Kawhi Leonard – SAS at OKC – $9,700 – He rested last night so he could beast in this game, the same matchup in which he posted 55 DK points on 1/31. In his last four games, Kawhi has scored 54.20, 54.75, 69.50 and 61.50. He scored 55 against OKC last time without the benefit of a single steal, despite the presence of turnover leader Russell Westbrook. That should change tonight.
Other Options – Robert Covington ($6,900)
Tobias Harris – DET vs. CLE – $5,400 – Cash game ready at a consistent 28-35 DK points, Harris scored 35.50 DK points in 29 minutes in the last matchup against the Cavs. The offense works best when the Pistons have shooters on the floor, and Harris is a large part of that, averaging over a point per possession on shots from the corner three this season.
Justin Anderson – PHI at POR – $4,000 – A stronger play if Gerald Henderson decides to sit again, Anderson shows high usage at times, going for 35.7% raw usage against Milwaukee the last game out. I think he is strictly a tournament option here, as you are looking at 22-26 minutes tops.
Other Options – Brandon Ingram ($4,900)
Dario Saric – PHI at POR – $7,700 – He’s cash game consistent right now, as Saric has been between 26-40 minutes since February 6th. In the last seven games, since Ersan Ilyasova was sent to Atlanta, Saric has carried 26.1% raw usage, a 26.3% assist ratio, a 22% defensive rebounding ratio and an average of 32.2 minutes per game.
LaMarcus Aldridge – SAS at OKC – $6,400 – In his last matchup against OKC, Aldridge dropped 37.50 DK points in 27 minutes, indicating a 40-burger was cooking if he had played his usual 32-34 minutes for the game. He is coming off a rest game and a less-than-stellar outing against Houston, so the attention will not be as bright here.
Other Options – Julius Randle ($7,000), Blake Griffin ($8,100)
Jon Leuer – DET vs. CLE – $4,600 – Leuer has been a DK point per minute player against Cleveland this season, logging 26 minutes in those outings. It will likely be more of the same as Marcus Morris/Harris/Andre Drummond eat up most of the big minutes. However, do consider that backup center Aron Baynes got hurt last night and they have used Leuer to play some backup center minutes this year, which could bump him to 29-31 minutes.
Zach Randolph – MEM vs. LAC – $5,800 – Randolph is scoring 1.17 DK points per minute this season, and while he has not fared well against the Clippers this season, his 27% usage affords him tourney upside in every game.
Other Options – Larry Nance ($3,500)
Jusuf Nurkic – POR vs. PHI – $7,000 – Not exactly breaking news, but Philly is terrible at defending centers. Nurkic has established himself as the third highest usage player behind Lillard/McCollum and his 19.7 assist% is behind only Lillard among main rotation players tonight. It certainly isn’t out of the questions that he ends up with 40-45 DKFP tonight.
DeAndre Jordan – LAC at MEM – $6,200 – I think this is an extremely low price for Jordan, who posted 47.50 DK points against Gasol earlier this season. Even with Blake back, Jordan continues to succeed, including a 13 rebound, 20 point, 41.25 DK night against Karl-Anthony Towns in Minneapolis last night.
Other Options – Marc Gasol ($7,600), Alan Williams ($6,500)
Pau Gasol – SAS at OKC – $5,200 – Pop saves him for longer run in big games and considering he rested Kawhi and LaMarcus for this game, this would look to be the game Pau stretches out a little bit more.
Tristan Thompson – CLE at DET – $4,700 – Thompson was not great against DET last season, but in two games this season, he has 51 DK points in 55 minutes. Additionally, there is no Kevin Love to grab rebounds, and Thompson’s rebounding rate has ticked up 1.2% with Love out.
Other Options – Steven Adams ($4,500)
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.