Unfortunately the state of New York has made DFS illegal for the time being, and Chris Tripodi being a New York resident, has been left with zero access to the DFS sites for quick and easy looks at prices, recent stats and other much needed info when doing these write-ups. So, Chris is unable to contribute to our NBA DFS strategy until things change, leaving me with six nights a week of covering content, and Ricky Sanders always handling Friday nights. While I would absolutely LOVE to have the kind of free time to write six nights a week, it’s not realistic for me to be able to balance my day job, family time, seasonal leagues and writing at that capacity.
So, 3-4 days a week I will be doing full write-ups as normal, and other days like today, I will give my top plays, value options and positional rankings still, but the amount of added analysis/reasoning that I type out per player will be MUCH less. I hope that by now you know and trust that I don’t half-ass these write-ups, and I believe in everything I write about here each night. If I have an off night and my write-up just fell flat, you can safely assume that I had a bad DFS night that night. All that said, I trust the process, and am well in the green on the season, so I continually do the research, have faith in my analysis, and keep striving to improve each day. So, while you won’t see me type out everything that I discovered on the 2-3 nights a week that I don’t write extended amounts, I hope that you trust that I still did all of the same prep work before typing up my top plays, values and rankings. Let’s finish the season strong and keep our hopes up that New York and the DFS sites can come to terms sooner rather than later so that Chris and all the other NY residents will be allowed to play once again. #FreeChris
Today will be a day that I don’t give as much added analysis and reasoning — although due to the size of the slate and more free time this morning at work than usual, I did more than I expected — but I did all of the prep work as normal for this massive 12-game NBA DFS slate. Below you will see my top plays, cheap value options and positional rankings that should help you build winning lineups. It’s a big one, so let’s get right to it.
I’ll be honest, I hate slates this big, and I tend to play more of the Turbo (4 games that start at 8pm et) and late (4 games that start at 9pm et) slates personally on these nights. The 12-game slates just give you SO many options that you want to have shares of that you end up either not using a few guys that you liked who end up having big nights, or you play too many lineups and they vary so widely that you end up breaking even at best. So, think about playing the smaller slates some as well tonight, I always do better that way, but this write-up is for the full 12-game slate which is the most commonly played.
Stephen Curry – 50+ fantasy points (FPs) in five of his last seven games. He’s averaging 53 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in three games against the Clippers this season, and he always steps up to protect home court. I’m good with paying up for this elite level of production tonight.
Kyle Lowry – I don’t tend to like point guards against the Celtics, but Lowry has had no issues with them this season, averaging 43 FPPG against over three games. Lowry is always a favorite cash-game play for me, because even when he has an off night, he typically still manages to get close to his value line.
Ish Smith – Need to go cheaper? Look to the starting Sixers point man against the defenseless Nuggets. Ish is at a bargain price, he’s coming off of two ‘meh’ games, but should bounce back to hit over 30 FPs in this one.
Cheap risk option: Patrick Beverley, J.J. Barea, Dennis Schroder and Marcelo Huertas should all be worth consideration as cheap value plays a PG or G tonight. Beverley has the highest ceiling of the bunch, but others should see their usual minutes and hit you around their value lines.
Victor Oladipo – Vic has played at least 39 minutes in five straight games for Orlando, and tonight gets a middle of the pack defensive team, so his penetration and overall usage should hit him nicely above value in this one.
Zach LaVine – He’s hit above value in four straight games, still mid-tier priced, and goes up against the worst defensive guards in the league. He should dominate playing at the Kings extremely fast pace. I have him projected at 33 FPs.
Cheap risk option: Wesley Matthews against his old team is about the only value guy that I have any type of a good feeling on at SG, and even he is so hit-or-miss. I would just pay up a bit at SG tonight.
LeBron James – I don’t always prefer LeBron over Giannis Antetokounmpo, but when I do, it’s for matchup reasons. I still like the Greek Freak tonight — as you’ll see in SF ranks below — but LeBron is trying to make people forget about his twitter drama and has averaged 53 FPs in two games versus the Bucks this year.
Kawhi Leonard – Heat are on the second game of a road back-to-back, but they always step up and play the top teams in the league hard. Kawhi will exploit his matchup advantages all night, and rack up plenty of defensive stats as well. I have him projected at 40 FPs.
Otto Porter – Need a mid-tier guy here? Porter has been pretty Otto-matic when it comes to hitting value at this price lately. 41, 25, 27, 31, 28, 37 FPs over the past six games, and he gets the Hawks tonight who allow the fifth most FPs to opposing SFs on the season.
Cheap risk option: Who is cheap yet has put up between 23 and 27 FPs over the past five games? It’s Omri Casspi and he’s a lineup favorite of mine tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins – If you don’t go with Curry, or if you decide to try a two studs with duds strategy, make Boogie your next choice. He’s ‘questionable’ with a knee bruise, but we’ve seen DMC look like he’s torn his ACL and be back in the game two minutes later, guy is an absolute beastly man. If he’s a go, they play the Wolves who are 24th against PFs, and my projections put him 12 FPs above the next best option (Draymond Green).
Draymond Green – If you go away from Boogie but still have dough to spend up at PF, go with Dray day. His price has gotten low enough that he presents real value and upside for the time being, so take advantage. At worst he’s going to get you in the mid-30s, which is right at his value line, but his upside is in the 50s. In three games against the Clips this year he’s averaging 40 FPPG, and with Blake out, they truly just have nobody that matches up with Green. My projections have him at 43 FPs — if you read above, that should tell you what my Boogie projection is for tonight.
Gorgui Dieng* – I put an asterisk by his name because this is one that my analysis likes to hit five above his value line, but my gut is screaming to me “NO!” I am always scared off of PFs against Boogie due to foul trouble concerns. If I go mid-tier I am taking a shot on the next guy rather than Dieng tonight. But if you like to go by the numbers and projections, Dieng will be a nice play if he gets 32mins of court time as projected.
Kristaps Porzingis – The Zinger! He’s been freed a bit the last couple games, playing 39, 35 and 31 minutes in three of the last four, the one game he played less was against Golden State, so you know why. He’s looked pretty good, going for 28, 26 and 35 FPs in those three games, and the last game where he had 28, he went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc, if he goes 2-for-4 he’s sitting at, you guessed it, 35 FPs. My projection chart has him at 31 FPs against the Bulls tonight, but my gut has him closer to 35 again, because the Bulls don’t have perimeter defending bigs, Taj Gibson is the only one who really plays D at all. Zinger will be my go-to in GPPs, but I’ll mix him in a cash-game or two as well.
Cheap risk option: If Kenneth Faried (questionable) sits out again, Darrell Arthur is set up to play around 25 minutes against the Sixers, which is always a good thing for value targets. Ed Davis is also one to look at. Davis has played just 17, 21 and 20 minutes the last three games but contributed 23, 30 and 23 FPs in those games respectively. The Mavs are kind to opposing bigs generally, so there’s a good chance Davis hits 20+ again at a bargain price.
Karl-Anthony Towns – While I’m not high on Dieng tonight, the other Minnesota big is set up in prime shape to decimate his college teammate Willie Cauley-Stein in a battle of the name hyphens. KAT has continued to show off his intimidating roar to the league in his rookie season, and lately he’s been playing all the minutes he can handle, and it’s paid off for his DFS owners. Towns has put up 40+ in four of the last five games, and my gut and projections are doodling our first names with Towns as the last name all day long in anticipation of his game tonight. I have him at a beastly 49 FPs tonight.
Andre Drummond* – All the numbers say that he’ll go Incredible Hulk mode tonight against the Vooch-less Magic, but you know by now that any time, and I mean ANY TIME that I have written him up this year, he’s been average or worse, so for your sake, I won’t endorse him but will just relay that my chart is a big fan of the value he presents tonight.
Pau Gasol – His price has dropped $1K from where it was earlier in the month due to his injury and concerns that he may play limited minutes, but Pau showed us never to have doubt in him when he was “limited” Monday but still managed 45 FPs. Pau may very well be my highest owned player tonight just due to the value and upside he has at this price. If he plays more than 25 minutes which all signs point to, he should have no problem going for 40+ FPs against the Knicks — or anyone else.
Mason Plumlee – He’s never truly safe, but his price doesn’t punish you if he has a down game, and even those have given at least 20 FPs recently. Mixed in though are the 46 and 32 FP nights in two of the last three games, and looking at tonight’s matchup, he should be poised for another 30ish FP night. The chart sees him as one of the top value plays on the slate.
Cheap risk option: If Kenneth Faried is out, it makes Jusuf Nurkic a terrific value play, and even if Faried does play, I still don’t mind Nurk as a punt option. The Nuggets are trying to get him more run, and his ability to get both steals and blocks really boosts his DFS prospects. 28, 25, 18 and 30 FPs for Nurk over the last four games, and they get the Sixers tonight, so I’ll def have some punt shares of the young Bosnian.
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 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.