We have a small five-game NBA slate on our hands tonight, and I’ll be breaking it down from top to bottom to help you formulate your DFS lineups, and lead you towards ending the night in the green. I’ll review and analyze the top plays of the night, point out the best cheap values on the slate, and then finish with positional rankings. Let’s get right to the daily grind!
There’s zero super-studs going tonight, none. The Kings said that DeMarcus Cousins will only play their remaining home games, so he is not going to play tonight at Denver. With him out, the next highest priced player is Hassan Whiteside who isn’t even $9K. With that being the case, and it being just a five-game slate, a strong balanced lineup may be the way to go tonight.
Damian Lillard – Dame is by far the best guard going tonight, and he gets the Heat who are playing their third road game in four nights at home where he averages six more fantasy points (FPs) per game than on the road. He already tore Miami up for 48 FPs in South Beach earlier this season. He’s had some shooting woes lately, but this is all set up for him to have a big bounce back performance.
Darren Collison – Rajon Rondo is getting the night off for “rest.” Why a team out of contention is resting a player who likely will leave town this summer is beyond me, but here we are. Collison is always a great play any time that Rondo sits, and he played better than Rajon last night anyways. I have DC projected at 28 FPs, but he has upside on that number due to how high his usage will be with Cousins and Rondo both out of the picture.
Reggie Jackson – You may as well call Reggie ‘el matador’ because he has been owning the Bulls this season. In three games against Chicago, Jackson has averaged 45.8 FPs. I don’t expect him to do that great tonight, but with Derrick Rose doubtful, all RJax should have to go at on the offensive end are the likes of Aaron Brooks and E’Twaan Moore. I have Reggie projected at 33 FPs.
Cheap risk option: Tony Parker is a bit under-priced for his upside, but I get it because you never know when Pop will limit his minutes. That said, I like this spot for Parker going up against a good Toronto team after two nights off. I have him at 23 FPs. If Rose is for sure out, Aaron Brooks is worth a glance at near minimum price. Brooks would likely play around 25 minutes and if he does hit that number, my spreadsheet has him at 22 FPs. He’s a streaky shooter, so if he happens to be on tonight, he does have some upside, but he’s also very capable of putting up a total dud. Oh, and Seth Curry is also worth noting as a super cheap option after hitting above value in four of the last five games, including scoring 21 actual points against the Heat last night.
Jimmy Butler – While my spreadsheet doesn’t really agree, I think Butler is one of the top plays of tonight’s slate. My projection sheet puts him just one point over value at 34 FPs, but with Rose out, I think Butler has to step up huge for Chicago in a must-win game against Detroit who they are battling for the final playoff spot in the East. After his return to awesomeness game on Thursday where he put up 45 FPs, Butler seems re-focused and determined to be the star they need him to be. So, screw you spreadsheet, my gut projection for Jimmy B is 41 FPs, and that’s actually 6 FPs less than Butler’s average FPPG against the Pistons this season (3 games).
Will Barton – Coming off a dreadful 0-for-8 shooting night Thursday against the Pelicans, Barton should be poised to return to the form he had the few games prior as they take on the defensively challenged Kings. My analysis puts him at 32 FPs.
Cheap risk option: I don’t love any of them, but E’Twaun Moore, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Gary Harris are all worth consideration as value plays with a little upside. Projections for all three fall in the 18-23 FP range.
Paul George – I’m not overly fond of the options at SF tonight, so most of my lineups will consist of either George or Kawhi Leonard. Both have solid matchups and have been hot recently. George has went for 47+ FPs in three straight games as you can tell Paul is motivated trying to secure a playoff spot. I have George at 43 FPs and Kawhi at 41.
Al-Farouq Aminu – I try not to be overly influenced by recency bias, but Aminu has been looking incredible the past few games, and it’s been welcomed by the Blazers. AFA started the year out strong, but then fell into a slump of mediocrity from a DFS standpoint, but it looks like the stat sheet filler is back. I have Aminu projected at a moderate 28 FPs.
Cheap risk option: Maurice Harkless is the go-to guy here. Mo has hit value (above 20 FPs) in five straight games thanks to a combo of his decent scoring, solid rebounding and swatting one shot in each of those five games.
Nikola Mirotic – While I’m not projecting him to go for a third straight 40+ FP effort, he should still remain a heavy factor in the Bulls offense, and despite the average matchup, he’s my favorite play at PF tonight. He’ll of course be highly owned, so maybe think about tossing out a no-Miro GPP contrarian lineup, but in cash, all day. LaMarcus Aldridge and Mirotic are the only PFs that I have projected for over 25 FPs.
Carl Landry – Check out this game log pattern with the FP from Landry: 36 – 16 – 26 – 16 – 37 – 16 – 32. So, according to that pattern, he should have a 16 FP performance tonight after his 32 last night, but aside from Mirotic and LMA, I just don’t like PF much, and with Landry so cheap and his upside seen above, I’ll hope he breaks the trend and has a back-to-back good effort. All you need is him to get 22 FPs for value.
Cheap risk option: Darrell Arthur (if Nurkic is out again) and Patrick Patterson are really the only two cheap PFs that I will look at. Arthur is the safer play if Nurkic is again sidelined, Darrell has put up 30 and 40 FPs in the last two games with Nurkic out. I have Arthur projected at 24 FPs if Jusuf is out.
Pau Gasol – As long as he stays in this price range, I’m going to love using Pau. He came up a bit short last time out, but still wasn’t bad, and he had back-to-back 40+ FP efforts prior to that. The matchup tonight with Detroit is a good one, and with the Bulls needing the win and Rose out, I have Pau on triple-double watch. Don’t believe me just watch (Trinidad James voice). Oh, and btw, Pau is averaging 57(!!!!) FPs against Detroit after three matchups this season. *100 emoji*
Ian Mahinmi – The Sixers big men are depleted from injuries, and that leaves great matchups for Mahinmi on both ends. He should get a ton of boards and a few blocks in this one. Hitting his 24 FP value-line shouldn’t be a problem as long as Indy doesn’t run away with this one, which they’ve not been playing well enough lately to overly fear.
Cheap risk option: Against a much tougher foe in Miami last night, Kosta Koufos STILL managed to hit well above value with 29 FPs. Tonight against Denver should be much of the same, as Kosta just flat out gets it done when Cousins isn’t playing.
Cash game rankings:
This isn’t necessarily an order of who will score the most DraftKings points. Rather, the rankings are aimed to find the best price, value and production combo to help you win cash games, also taking into account potential ownership levels for each player.
As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 7:30 p.m. EST. I’ll do my best to update this article as news breaks throughout the day, but the best way to get the latest is always to follow me on Twitter @BigZack44, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes.