I will go over tonight’s slate as someone that plays on Draftkings. If you have any additional questions or want to see guaranteed updates in regards to breaking news.
It also should go without saying, this is just a preliminary analysis of the slate: everything can change throughout the day, so make sure you are staying on top of any and all injury news and change your lineups accordingly! I am always available to help with any questions there, as well, even if I can’t do a second article. Let’s get started with the Review!
The Daily Slate:
Normally I am someone who likes almost every slate, especially when the slate is only 6 games. But this slate? Yuck. A slow, defensive Magic team that should be able to shut down a poor Wizards team? The slow as anything Pistons and Heat facing off? The Grizzlies playing? I mean, sure there are plenty of spots to attack. But tomorrow is not a day I will enjoy watching a full night of basketball. But there is a little thing I’ve left out. We’ll get there soon enough.
Situations to take advantage of (in no particular order):
Vucevic - So, if you’ve been reading this article since I started, I have spent almost 3 months now harping on the best Center matchups in the NBA. One of them has been, and will continue to be, the Dwight Howard-less Wizards. They tried to improve on it by getting Bobby Portis, apparently unaware that, just cause he is tall doesn’t mean he can defend. Because, quite frankly, he can’t. Right now he is ranked as the 4th worst PF in terms of DRPM with a score of -1.57. If we look at Centers, the current worst Center is Julius Randle at -1.54. Meaning that, if he were ranked correctly, he would be the worst defensive Center in the NBA. And Vuc gets to go against him in a game that Magic need. If they win and the Heat lose, they will enter a tie with them for the last playoff spot. I have watched him lately look almost lackadaisical. Playing down to his competition. But, given how bad the Wizards D is, and how important this game is, and the fact Aaron Gordon is QUESTIONABLE, I can’t imagine Vuc doesn’t absolute crush the Wizards by himself. The only concern we need to have is that he does so well the game is over by halftime. The Magic have the biggest pace up spot against the worst defense on the slate. Do not overthink this.
If Gordon does wind up missing, I will love taking Isaac (5000) and Ross (4900) who would get more minutes and more usage. Fournier (5400) would be a good play as well, but, with the Wizards the WORST TEAM in the NBA against PF, I would want to prioritize whoever ends up there (after Vuc). Lastly, if you think this game blows out, or are looking for a punt no one will be on, take Jerian Grant (3300), watch him get 20 minutes and 25 DKP against this horrid Wizards D, and thank me later.
Beal??? - It’s tough for me to wholeheartedly recommend Beal (9800) here but, honestly, I can’t NOT recommend him given all of the other factors. So yeah, this is a massive pace down spot against one of the, if not the best, defense in the NBA over the last month plus. They give up the least DKPPG and they are 2nd best in the NBA against both SFs and PFs. On top of that Vuc is one of the best defenders among Centers in the NBA. Quite frankly, there’s not a lot that people have been able to do against this Magic team, especially given how much they limit fantasy production due to their insanely slow pace (they make the Grizzlies look like the Sonic the Hedgehogs). All that considered, the Magic have been mediocre against SGs due to the shortcomings of Fournier in that capacity. The Magic give up 1% more than the average points to SGs, 5% more rebounds, a 1% increase in fg%, and 16% less turnovers. So, with all that considered, I will take the only person on this team that will have a chance at keeping this close, in the only spot that he would be able to do so, trying his damndest to make it happen. Right now the Wizards are only 2.5 back of the Magic and 3.5 back of that last playoff spot. If you don’t think Beal has his sights set on that, you are fooling yourself. And you clearly haven’t watched the way he played the last couple games, at similar pricing and no ownership.
Nets Guards - The Thunder have one glaring hole in their D, and that is at SG. I say that, but, given how people rotate, any of the guards are able to take advantage of it, if the play works out a certain way, or if someone else runs the ball up the court. So, I will start here with Allen Crabbe (4000), who has shown he will get the run AND be safe when blowouts happen. Last game, even though the Nets won by 30, he still got 35 minutes and 36 DKP. And he only had 14 real points, meaning he put up a lot of other stats. In this game, he would be asked to shoot more and, if he gets hot there, he could easily get you more than his value in just raw points. While Harris will be stuck with PG13, and Russ will spend most of his time on D Lo, Crabbe will be the forgotten open shooter the Thunder challenge to beat them. We will see how up to the challenge he is.
For the same reason, I will take Dinwiddie (6100) who will get his first rotation against Dennis Schroder, who is an awful defender, and then play SG in place of Crabbe for large portions of the game. LeVert (4800) has been, quite frankly, fucking awful lately. But, given that he will also get a lot of run against the backups, in a game that will be run at a breakneck speed, it’s worth taking a chance.
The last thing I will add is, with DeMarre Carroll and Treveon OUT, Kurucs (4600) is going to be asked to play as many minutes as he can at PF, given the Nets would rather have him out there than Jared Dudley or RHJ. Considering that Jerami Grant is the 2nd weakest defender on this team, I would also be ok taking a chance on Kurucs and his 30 or so minutes.
PG13 - Let’s start off by not talking about PG13. Steven Adams (6300) is a Center going against the Nets. But you know what?? Last game he was a C going against the Jazz, got 33 minutes, at 6100, and only got 27.25 DKP. And you know what? Two games ago, against the CLIPPERS he got 32 minutes, at 6200, and only managed 22.5 DKP. So, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 3 times, and I must be playing Steven Adams again. Adams should have a 20/10 today just in putbacks and I don’t even know if I can play him. That’s how little production you get out of him now, even in GREAT spots.
Westbrook (11000) is a great play, every time. No one would argue if you took Russ, in this matchup against the Nets and D Lo, where he could add 5 steals to his 3x2. Especially with the Thunder having a chance to move into a tie with the Rockets for 3rd if they win and the Rockets lose, but could also fall to 5th if the Thunder lose and Portland wins. So, yeah, Russ will be super motivated and he’s awesome.
But PG13 (9600) is just far, far too under priced here. First, he may be playing injured. The fact he played 25 min against Utah and only shot the ball 8 times, total, is a cause for concern. But, it may have been a combo of Russ being Russ and PG13 getting fouled (he shot 12 FT). I have to trust that, in this game, he will be back to firing on all cylinders unless we hear otherwise after shoot around. He will be matched up against Joe Harris who has no business guarding him (on top of the fact Harris is the 5th worst defender at his position). Carroll is a decent defender, but he’s out. Leaving the Nets with absolutely 0 people who will be able to deal with PG13 tonight. If he shoots the ball 23 times like he did against Portland, he could get you that 65 DKP that could win you a tournament tonight. Especially if everyone is scared off.
Blake - This game is awful. No one is going to look you in the eye with a straight face and tell you otherwise. If they do, they are trying to sell you something and you should just stop trusting their advice, or they are huge fans of the Heat or Pistons, at which point, the same. Yeah it has a 211 total, which is the lowest on the slate by 10 (on a slate where the Grizzlies are playing). The Pistons and Heat are 30th and 27th in pace and give up the 29th and 28th least DKPPG. They both are clinging on to their playoff seeds. And, given how the “slow, defensive” gameplan has worked so well for both, I would expect nothing less than a snoozefest. On top all of that, the Heat are best in the NBA against C, meaning Drummond, someone you normally count on for a ton of production, will be hampered. On top of that, the Heat have been weaker than average against one position- PF. So that leaves Blake (8100) to carry the weight of this offense today. In their last game, against BK, Blake shot 1-10, only got 26 minutes, and still managed almost 30 DKP. This is another matchup that favors Blake getting a 3x2, and I will take all of the rebounds and assists Blake is forced to add on to all the shots he’s forced to take. He’s not the safest play, given all the other factors, but in a game with a 1 point spread, you know you’re gonna get max minutes, and max efforts, from two playoff-hopeful teams. And Blake will be the the one in the best spot, with the best price, to pay that off in this game.
Mike Conley - If you don’t think Mike Conley isn’t in the running to be the best play on the slate, you haven’t been paying attention to how he has been playing lately. In 3 REALLY TOUGH matchups, Conley has put up 46.75, 53.75, and 55.5 DKP his last 3 games. Now he gets matched up with Trae Young, worst defender in the NBA. In a huge pace up spot. Against a terrible TEAM D as well. If he doesn’t shoot the ball almost 20 times again, and get you in the ballpark of a 2x2 I will be surprised. My lineups will start with Conley. I don’t know how popular he will be. But I sure as hell won’t build a lineup without him.
For that reason, I will also lock in either Bradley (4800) or Delon (4600) as well. It’s hard to play both because, generally, when one of them has one of those slate breaking games, the other is barely heard from. Both both are in a fantastic spot. I like Bradley more, but I will probably base it on ownership projections tomorrow. Either way, if I do a multiple lineup thing for some reason, I will have exposure to a lot of both across the lineups.
The Warriors - If you didn’t see the news, Durant has already been ruled OUT for tomorrow. That means that this game, the Warriors vs the Rockets, with it’s incredible importance in terms of the seeding implications, is going to have a ton of usage that will now be split among 4, now underpriced, starters. Curry (9300) draws the most difficult matchup against CP3. That might matter if Curry was 11000. In this matchup, with the amount of times he’s going to need to shoot, or the assists he will get if CP3 does get to him, he should easily pay this off. Cousins (7400) has seen his price fall to the point he is now only 200 more expensive than Klay (7200). Klay has been on fire (3 of his last 4 games have been for over 48DKP) lately causing his price to spike 1100 in 2 games, but will see the underrated D of James Harden. Cousins will get 33 minutes tonight, and almost all of it will be against Clint Capela, one of the single worst defenders in the NBA. I know where I’m going to go (to both). Dray (5900) will also see some extra shots, rebounds, and assists with Durant off the court, so his price is far too cheap here. He’s always tough to go to, but, with Durant out, he has a real chance of getting a 3x2. Especially in what amounts to a must win game, in Houston. Apart from Iguodala (4000), for whom we know what we’re getting, I will not go to any of the other cheap Warriors, who will have their usage permanently sucked away by the all-stars.
James Harden - Sure, you can play CP3 (6900) who is laughably priced for the 50 DKP he could put up in this matchup. I assume most of the field is going to do that, though. I am going to go all in on Harden (11200), instead, as the only player on this team I am going to roster. He is going to get matched up against Klay, one of the worst SG defenders in the NBA (4th worst). He is going to have a much easier run with Durant out, and should be in line to fight for a 3x2. He is, personally, going to do whatever the Rockets need to do to win this game. If he needs to take 15 shots in the 4th quarter, he will. There’s no reason to even consider anyone else when this game will come down to the Monstars vs James Harden like a real life movie of some sort.
Donovan - You know who’s worst in the NBA against SGs? The Suns. You know who is the worst defensive SG in the NBA? Devin Booker. You know who is 4th in the NBA in usage lately, recently peaking as high as 2nd? Donovan Mitchell (8500). Now, I will say I don’t expect this game to stay close. The Jazz are clinging on to the 8th seed, in a must win game, and the Suns are dreadful. But they shouldn’t have beaten the Warriors or Bucks either, so we can’t really count anything out at this point. What we DO know is that this is, literally, as good as spot as an SG can be in, and we have, the SG with the 2nd highest usage in the NBA in that spot. Do not overthink this either. People won’t be on him cause Rubio is back, and they will think that this kills his ceiling. Those people don’t understand that, in this matchup, Donovan could put up 50 real life points. And Rubio will just make that easier for him to do.
I will also take a long, hard look at some other Jazz players in an amazing matchup. First, the Suns are 2nd worst in the NBA against Centers. So Rudy Gobert (8200), who has been priced up for this matchup, and from his recent production, is in play as one of the best C plays of the day, hands down. He should almost be guaranteed a 2x2 here, unless this game does manage to get out of hand.
If Rubio (5600) is expected to play 25-30 minutes, even, I would have a hard time not locking him in at that price. Someone is going to be passing that ball to Mitchell and Gobert all game, and it will be Ricky. If he shoots the ball another 12 times, like in his last game, he should easily pay this off, with the ceiling to win you a tournament.
Ayton - So, yeah, Booker (8400) is underpriced and commands a lion’s share of the usage on this team. Regardless of how hard it will be for him to find a shot against this stellar D, he will try. Over and over. Like a basketball Sisyphus. But don’t sleep on the fact that, as I have said on many occasions, as good as Gobert is at defending against Booker-types, he is dogshit at defending against Ayton (6300)-types. With a 222.5 total, and a spread of only UTA -7, if this game stays that close, and that many points are, indeed, scored by the Suns, I can’t help but feel like a lot of that will have to do with a severely underpriced Ayton, who has been getting run into the mid-30s, with some games over 40 DKP. He could easily do that in a matchup where most people will be looking the other way.
Situations to monitor:
Josh Richardson QUESTIONABLE - Considering the only real place to attack the Pistons is with guards, this is one of the most significant pieces of news we will get today. If he is out, we can expect Dragic (4500) to push past 20 minutes, which makes him near a lock with the usage he’s been getting. We can expect Wade (5300) to get extra run and will be asked to do a lot more for a Heat team holding on to the 8 seed. It would also make both Waiters (4800)and McGruder (3600) under priced punts with a real chance to pay off. I would pick one, and not both, given the game environment.
Dedmon LIMITATIONS - In his first game back, Dedmon only played 20 minutes. If he has a similar minutes restriction tonight, it would mean Len (5200) would get 28 or so minutes against a Memphis team that can’t defend Centers anymore. If Dedmon (5500) is going to play with no limitations, and we can expect him to get 28 minutes, he becomes a really sneaky play, though not as much of a slam dunk as a Len vs the 2nd unit would be. Either way, Collins (7600) will be lined up against a terrible defender as well, and he should be able to exceed value in his 30-33 minutes. I would like him more were he forced to get some run at C but, honestly, he should be in line for an easy 2x2 tonight, at the very least. I will also add Trae Young (7700) has seen his price fall 1600 in the last 4 games. I know he has been shooting cold as ice, but that is something that does, and will change. Against a now-terrible Memphis team, he could get the ball rolling again (even though he couldn’t in pace up spots against BK and NO).
Alright that’s it! This isn’t as bad as I thought, it’s just gonna be hard to fit all the players we want in there. I’m sure some crazy injury/rest news will break tomorrow that will make it so much easier, but, until then, best of luck!!