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Well, yesterday was off to a rip-roaring start before I got Nicolas Batum-ed, so let’s get it in the rearview mirror. Tonight looks like a really fun studs-n-duds night, and some decisions will have to be made. I’ll be back in chat helping our loyal subs rock the winning ways, and make sure to follow me on twitter @jac3600.
FANDUEL TOP POINT GUARD
Damian Lillard, POR ($9700)
I’d like to put Ben Simmons here, but the 14-point spread for PHI-CLE is trumped by the 2.5-point one in LAC/POR, and the game environments really aren’t all that different. Portland is tied with Philly for the second highest team total of the night at 117.5 points, and the Clippers are ninth in pace and 20th in overall team defense. Before the recent blowout against the Suns, Lillard had played 36 minutes or more in six straight games, which we can expect tonight in a close game with a 233 O/U. He’s back under 10k which makes him a strong target on FD.
Other options – Ben Simmons
Mid-tier options – Eric Bledsoe, Rajon Rondo, Elfrid Payton, Darren Collison
FANDUEL TOP SHOOTING GUARD
Lou Williams, LAC ($7300)
I want to put Doncic here with his elite rates, but I really have a feeling he won’t play tonight. Lou has taken on massive rates with the Clippers, and they’re unbelievably the sixth seed in the playoffs despite continuing to sell their players. Lou has a 34% UR and 34% AR since Tobias Harris was traded away and is averaging a career high 1.28 FPPM this season. He’s on the second game of a b2b but this is a big game for both teams and it carries the slate-high O/U of 238.
Other options – Luka Doncic, DeMar DeRozan
Mid-tier options – CJ McCollum, Khris Middleton
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID GUARDS
Ben Simmons ($8600) is not priced where he should be on DK, and could see 38-40 minutes (if Cleveland keeps it close) along with ample rate boosts without Jimmy Butler. The Cavs rank dead last in defensive efficiency against PGs. Luka Doncic ($8800) felt a “pop” in his knee so I’m assuming him out, but that’s based on me and no report. If he does play with no limitations, he’s about $1500 too cheap given his ballistic rate increase in the second half. San Antonio is 18th against guards the last ten games. Damian Lillard ($9200) is finally seeing his price tag rise on DK, but he’s still in play in the top game environment of the night, I’d just rather play the aforementioned guys at cheaper tags on DK (FD is goes the other way).
Zack LaVine has officially been ruled out for Chicago, which means we get chalk Bulls guards as core options in cash. Kris Dunn ($5900/$5200) was maddeningly horrible in only 22 minutes last game with LaVine out, but he’s even cheaper now and the Lakers rank 27th in overall team defense and 27th against PGs. Dunn can be used in all formats. The even chalkier play is Ryan Arcidiacono ($3500/$3300). Arci only played 26 minutes last game but he’s averaged 32.3 MPG with LaVine out and is basically a free square with upside against the porous Lakers D. Shaq Harrison ($3600/$3100) is the GPP pivot off Arcidiacono. We also can’t forget T.J. McConnell ($3600/$3200) who should take on a bigger role with Jimmy Butler out. Even if he only plays 20 minutes, McConnell has a 15% UR and a 33% AR with no Butler.
Other options – Derrick White, Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, Malcolm Brogdon, Wesley Matthews, Wayne Selden
FANDUEL TOP SMALL FORWARD
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($12,000)
I think Giannis is the “spend” tonight, and with all the values we already have he’s rather easy to fit. The Bucks are favored by 9.5 points on the road but they’re also 3-3 over their last six games. The Bucks have by far the highest implied total on the slate at 124 points and this game has an O/U of 239 which is also the highest number. The two teams rank fifth and sixth in pace and New Orleans has been last against SFs the entire season. Blowouts have cost Giannis some serious minutes in past game, but his amazing 1.74 FPPM makes him worthy every night.
Other options – LeBron James
Mid-tier options – Otto Porter, Danilo Gallinari, Bojan Bogdanovic
FANDUEL TOP POWER FORWARD
Lauri Markkanen, CHI ($8300)
Markkanen goes from a 23.7% usage rate to a 26.5% mark with LaVine off the court which doesn’t account for the cheap price tags we’re seeing for him. The Lakers are ninth against PFs over the last ten games but they’ve also allowed the second most rebounds per game and the third highest FG% from within six feet of the rim. Markkanen has an excellent 18% RR in the second half of the season which is trending up with Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker out of Chicago. He’s the top play and top value at PF on FD>
Other options – Julius Randle, LaMarcus Aldridge
Mid-tier options – Anthony Davis, Tobias Harris, Thaddeus Young, Damontas Sabonis
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID FORWARDS
Giannis ($11,500) is the top overall play on DK in my opinion and (like FD) can easily be it into cash games. There are some high-priced centers that may have some say, but Giannis is averaging 29/14/6.5 per 36 minutes this year. He could go for 70 if the game is close. Markkanen ($8200) also represents a top value at PF on DK. His price is down because he’s shot poorly in recent games, but he’ll have all the opportunity tonight with LaVine out. Julius Randle ($8700) also continues to be a viable source of value on DK with his price below 9k. Even 20 minutes out of Anthony Davis is keeping Randle from realizing his true ceiling, but Randle has only been under 32 minutes once in the second half this season, and Jrue Holiday’s absence is enough to bump his usage 3%. If Anthony Davis ($6800) somehow sits, Randle would be tough to fade. On DK in general, Otto Porter ($6400) is looking like someone who is difficult to fade on this slate as well. He’s playing massive minutes for the Bulls and looks like a solid bet to gain as much in usage with LaVine out as the rest of the Bulls.
Cedi Osman ($5800/$5300) is someone who could be in line for major minutes with the Cavs missing Kevin Love, Larry Nance, and possibly Marquese Chriss (suspension for fighting with Ibaka). Osman has a 20% UR and 17% AR in a small sample size without Love in the second half, and Philly ranks 20th against wing archetypes. J.J. Redick ($5500/$5200) is someone who can fit as a last cash piece as well. His minutes are super secure with Jimmy Butler and the Cavs rank 28th in defensive efficiency against 3-pointers. Kyle Kuzma ($6000/$6400) is also someone to keep an eye on with regards to his injury status. If he plays with no limitations he’s fine to roll out there with Brandon Ingram out for the year and LeBron James “limited”. If Kuzma sits again, we can give Moritz Wagner ($3300) a look on DK (his price of 5k on FD is ridiculous) with the expectation of 25 minutes and his 1.01 FPPM in limited time this year. He played 34 minutes against the Celtics and went off, so there’s upside for more here.
Other options – Will Barton, Gary Harris, Nikola Mirotic, Noah Vonleh, Al-Farouq Aminu
FANDUEL TOP CENTER
Joel Embiid, PHI ($10,300)
Center is giving me fits tonight, as there are so many good ones at the top but at the same time we have a key value sitting in our laps as well. I need to hear some news about Embiid to fully endorse him as far as minute limitations go, but he should absolutely feast on the Cavs who are dead last against centers over the last ten games. Embiid’s 1.52 FPPM is tops among all who play his position, even Jokic who can rack up the assists.
Other options – Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jusuf Nurkic
Mid-tier options – Myles Turner
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID CENTERS
As usual, DK is a different story where some severely mispriced guys stand out. First of all, the usual suspects of Embiid ($10,200), Jokic ($10,000), and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,400) are all below where they should be and are viable in all formats. I think Jokic is the best value with no limitations expected and with the Nuggets battling for the top spot in the West. He’s the only center with true nightly triple-double upside as well. That said, how do you fade Nurkic at the price tag of $7100? He was only needed for 22 minutes in the blowout win against Phoenix, but he’d played 30 and 33 the two games before that in close games and tough matchups. This one should also feature a close game, but not by any means a difficult matchup as the Clippers are 29th against opposing centers while allowing the second most blocks per 48 minutes. He’s even viable in cash at his $9000 tag, but at $7100 on DK I don’t see any way I can let him slide.
With all the glitz and glitter up top at the center position, you can make the argument for fading all of them in favor of Ante Zizic ($4400/$3700). It’s a tough call on FD where you have to play one center, but Zizic is a core play for me on DK where you can roster multiple centers. The matchup is a nightmare for Zizic against Embiid, as Philly was the second ranked team against centers before Embiid went down, and Embiid also led the NBA in free throw attempts before Harden passed him during this recent injury. That said, Zizic is absolutely necessary for the Cavs tonight as Cleveland will be without Nance, Love, and possibly Chriss. Zizic is right at 0.99 FPPM for the season and there’s a good chance he sees minutes into the mid-30s this evening.
Other options – Robin Lopez, JaVale McGee, Mason Plumlee, Moritz Wagner, Brook LopezFantasy Basketball