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Happy Monday DFS-ers! We have an absolutely bonkers 11-game slate for you this evening with some of the biggest stars in the galaxy coming in with injury tags. A few notes on this: In this article, Giannis (doubtful) will be treated as OUT, Towns (probable) will be treated as IN, and Harden (questionable) I’m also treating as OUT for this writing but this is easily the biggest game-changer on the slate. Supposedly his pain hasn’t improved so I’m taking that as a sign of sitting, but if Harden suits up you can really remove the Houston plays from this article. All right, enough talk. Let’s get down to it. Follow me on twitter @jac3600.
FANDUEL TOP POINT GUARD
Chris Paul, HOU ($8400)
As I said, this article assumes Harden out, which makes Chris Paul the lock of the slate. Paul went for 23 points and 17 assists in Houston’s upset of the Warriors the other night, and he sees his assist rate balloon to an amazing 53% with Harden off the court, along with a solid 29% usage rate. The gravy on top? He plays the Hawks, who run at the fastest pace and have allowed the most FPPG to opposing PGs this season. Honestly, Paul is a solid play anyway, but he’ll be in 100% of my lineups if Harden is indeed out.
Other options – Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, Kemba Walker, Ben Simmons
Mid-tier options – Eric Bledsoe, DeAaron Fox, Mike Conley, Jeff Teague
FANDUEL TOP SHOOTING GUARD
Luka Doncic, DAL ($9500)
Luka is a tricky, tricky play tonight. It seems his ankle injury isn’t serious, but the Mavericks (who aren’t making the playoffs this year) are playing it extra cautious with him, which means he looks like a true game-time decision. With the Mavs playing in the last game of the night, you can’t roster Luka in cash on FD with no late swap unless we get positive news early on. However, Doncic has a terrific matchup against the Clippers who rank ninth in pace and 27th against opposing PGs. Doncic has a 32% UR and a 37% AR since the Mavs gutted their roster seven games ago.
Other options – James Harden (GTD), D’Angelo Russell, Jimmy Butler
Mid-tier options – Lou Williams, Khris Middleton, Zack LaVine, CJ McCollum
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID GUARDS
Chris Paul ($8300) can comfortably be played in any format on DK at his price, and (like FD) becomes the best play on the slate if Harden is ruled out. Doncic ($8800) is also too cheap on DK and he’s a lot easier to play with the prospect of late swapping, as you can plug in Lou Williams ($7800) in the UTIL spot if Doncic can’t go. D’Angelo Russell also seems to have room for value in his price tag on DK at $8400. The Spurs rank 23rd in defensive efficiency against PGs and are on the second game of a b2b. Russell’s floor can sometimes be shaky, but his ceiling is astronomical with his 32% UR and 40% AR over his last 15 games. Finally, Eric Bledsoe ($6400) is someone you almost have to roster in cash at his prices. With Giannis off the court, Bledsoe’s usage rate goes up 6% and his assist rate climbs over 9%. The introduction of Mirotic could muddy this a bit, but the Bulls are 28th against PGs and 27th in overall team defense. Bledsoe is too cheap.
As long as Harden sits, Eric Gordon ($5600/$4600) is another core play for me tonight, especially on DK where his price is silly. Gordon has a 28% usage rate with Harden off the court and he also averages over 20 shots per game. Against the Hawks who rank 27th against SGs and allow the highest 3PT%, this is a dream matchup for Gordon. The Rockets have the highest implied total at 121 points, and that’s with Harden iffy. Malcolm Brogdon ($6200/$5400) is another strong value play tonight (again, moreso on DK). He has a 22% UR and 26% AR with Giannis off the court, and the Bulls allow the second most steals per game to opposing guards. Keep an eye on the injury news on the Hawks’ side of the ball as well. If Kevin Huerter sits again, Kent Bazemore ($5600/$5400) would be in a nice position to continue his recent success against Houston who lacks any perimeter defense outside of Chris Paul (and he’ll be guarding Trae Young). Houston has the fourth highest TO rate in the league which helps Baze on FD. Darren Collison ($6300/$5800) can also continue to be deployed with the added rate boosts with Oladipo out, and Detroit ranks 27th against opposing PGs.
Other options – Kris Dunn, Elfrid Payton, Goran Dragic, Landry Shamet, Dwayne Wade, Dion Waiters, Caris Levert, Wayne Selden
UPDATE: HARDEN IS NOW PROBABLE. CHRIS PAUL IS STILL A GOOD PLAY BUT IS BY NO MEANS A LOCK ANYMORE, AND ERIC GORDON IS OFF THE LIST EXCEPT AS A GPP DART. HARDEN HIMSELF IS NOW AN ELITE VALUE ON DK, RIVALS LEBRON AS THE TOP OVERALL PLAY.
FANDUEL TOP SMALL FORWARD
LeBron James, LAL ($12,000)
With all the value plays popping up at forward, you don’t NEED to spend for LeBron tonight, but he’s really the top overall player this evening at any position. Memphis is ranked dead last in pace factor which hurts, but they’ve also fallen to 19th in overall team defense and 24th against forwards. LeBron is averaging a triple-double since returning from injury and seems to be pushing 40+ minutes every game now as the Lakers battle to make the playoffs. If you pay up, I don’t argue.
Other options – Kevin Durant
Mid-tier options – Danilo Gallinari, Kelly Oubre, Josh Richardson
FANDUEL TOP POWER FORWARD
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA ($8000)
Aldridge looks like a fantastic play this evening. The Spurs dumped game to the Knicks last night (and allowed 130 points!) so they’ll be hungry as they play the other NY team this evening. The Nets have constantly been an amazing attack point for centers this season, allowing 10% more scoring and 12% more rebounding to the position than the rest of the league. Aldridge should be rested after playing only 21 minutes last night, and Rudy Gay has a questionable tag (second night of a b2b). He’s worth his price in all formats.
Other options – Lauri Markkanen, Blake Griffin
Mid-tier options – Julius Randle, Tobias Harris, Marvin Bagley, Kevin Love, Kenneth Faried
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID FORWARDS
As usual on DK, the top stars are priced far less aggressively, with the case in point being LeBron ($11,200). This price is too cheap for him and you can pursue him in all formats with the values that already exist tonight. LeBron is not only too cheap, but he gains even more value on DK with the double- and triple-double bonuses. Lauri Markkanen ($7900) is $1000 cheaper on DK than he is on FD which makes him a really enticing target. With Giannis likely to sit, the blowout risk for the Bulls lessens a great deal, and Markkanen has a 27% UR and 19% RR since Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker were traded. Milwaukee ranks first in overall defense and first in rebounding rate, but they’re also fifth in pace and 27th against opposing centers (where Lauri has been getting ample time). The loss of Giannis will really hurt the Bucks’ positive stats as well.
With Justise Winslow, James Johnson, and Rodney McGruder all out, the Heat are super thin on the wing. Last game Derrick Jones ($3500/$3400) took over McGruder’s role and wound up playing 27 minutes. If he does that again (I’d like to see him starting), he’s a phenomenal value on all sites, but especially on FD where his score can be dropped if he busts. He gets a great matchup against the Suns who rank 28th in overall team defense and 23rd against wing-type players. Jones averages 14 points and eight rebounds per 36 minutes, which is more than enough for minimum prices. In the same game, Kelly Olynyk ($4600/$3900) can also be used. His floor would be a bit more volatile since he likely won’t start, but the matchup against Phoenix fits him perfectly and Olynyk averages 0.91 FPPM. On the Bucks’ side of things, Nikola Mirotic ($5600/$5400) is super intriguing if he draws the start for Giannis. We have no usage baselines with his new team it’s tough to pin him down, but Mirotic has averaged 1.09 FPPM this year and Chicago is a terrible defense. Ersan Ilyasova ($3800/$3400) is also available at near minimum prices, but with a lower floor.
Other options – Nicolas Batum, Miles Bridges, Cedi Osman, JJ Redick, Moe Harkless, Ivan Rabb, Bam Adebayo, Maxi Kleber, Dirk Nowitzki
FANDUEL TOP CENTER
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN ($10,800)
KAT is expected to return tonight for Minnesota, meaning he’s passed the concussion protocol. Assuming there are no ill effects, Towns launches right into an elite matchup against a Kings squad that ranks 24th against centers and 24th in rebounding rate. Towns’ rates are elite over the last month and a half, and he might be passed over for some of the solid mid-tier plays, making him an elite GPP option.
Other options – Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins
Mid-tier options – Clint Capela, Jonas Valanciunas, Hassan Whiteside, DeAndre Ayton
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID CENTERS
DraftKings is going to give you fits about all the centers you want to roster tonight. Towns ($10,100) goes from an OK value on FD to an elite one on DK at $700 less, and he’s a near lock for the double-double bonus. That mid-tier, however, is where the REALLY enticing plays enter the fray. Jonas Valanciunas ($6400) is looking like a core option for me on DK, and honestly he’s even the best center value on FD even at a more aggressive price tag ($7600). Jonas played 30 minutes the other night when he was supposed to be “limited”, and even if he only plays 25 tonight he needs to be aggressively put in your lineups. Jonas has a 27% UR, 19% RR, and 10% AR with his new team so far, and he gets an incredible pace up game against the Lakers (fourth) who also rank 25th against centers. Jonas’ 1.36 FPPM is FAR too cheap around the industry. Clint Capela ($7000) is the other super intriguing option on DK, even with Harden back. He was at 1.18 FPPM prior to his injury, and the Hawks rank 26th against centers while allowing the most blocks and offensive boards per 48 minutes. The beauty of DK is that you can roster them both.
From a value standpoint, Dwight Powell ($5400/$4000) looks like a solid play, especially on DK, and he’ll gain an even bigger boost if Maxi Kleber and/or Luka Doncic continue to sit. The Clippers have allowed the most FPPG to opposing centers, and Powell is sitting pretty at 1.03 FPPM since the beginning of last season. He’s only played under 25 minutes once in February. Brook Lopez ($5700/$4600) also seems underpriced for the amount of minutes he’s been playing lately. He’s now logged four straight games over 30 minutes and Giannis’ absence should make tonight a fifth straight. Brook can rack up blocks in a hurry, and the Bulls allow the third most blocks per 48 minutes while also ranking 29th against centers. He’s a good play in all formats.
Other options – Jarrett Allen, Boban Marjanovic, Ivica Zubac, Joakim NoahFantasy Basketball