You have got to love the way that the NBA switched up their scheduling this season. Over the past few years we grew accustomed to having at least two nights a week with two or three game sets, but this week shows how the game has changed for the better of DFS with at least five games all seven days of the week. I’ll be breaking down DraftKing’s 7-game NBA DFS slate here, giving you the top plays and values at each position to help you win cash tonight. Most of this content is geared towards cash games, but there will be points where I mention nice GPP plays also. So let’s get to it.
Vegas lines and totals
Cleveland (-12.5) @ Philadelphia – 195
Milwaukee (+1.5) @ Brooklyn – 197
San Antonio (-7.5) @ New York – 203
Oklahoma City (-1) @ Houston – 215
Portland (-5.5) @ Minnesota – 202
Golden State (-8.5) @ Memphis – 201
Phoenix (+9) @ LA Clippers – 212
The Thunder/Rockets and Suns/Clippers games are the two that standout as far as point totals, which is rare on a night that includes the offensive juggernaut Warriors, but with the Ws taking on the slow paced, defensively strong Grizzlies, it holds them to a more average number. The only game I have any concern of a blowout is the Cavs/76ers, and the spread shares that sentiment a bit. So, a slate like this, we may look heavier at two games but none are worth fading, although there’s definite reason to be timid with the Cavs game. One rule that has become clear to follow this season is to not play small forwards against Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs, so no Melo for me tonight.
Here’s a quick reminder of the scoring on DraftKings:
Point = +1 PT
Made 3pt. shot = +0.5 PTs
Rebound = +1.25 PTs
Assist = +1.5 PTs
Steal = +2 PTs
Block = +2 PTs
Turnover = -0.5 PTs
Double-Double = +1.5PTs (MAX 1 PER PLAYER: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals)
Triple-Double = +3PTs (MAX 1 PER PLAYER: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals)
Now, for the top options and values at each position:
Russell Westbrook (10,300) – You need to have full confidence to use the guy with the highest salary in a slate, and I have nothing but that with Russ tonight at Houston. Both teams played last night, both were involved in blowouts, the only difference being that the Thunder were on the winning side of theirs. The Rockets are the first team to ever lose their first three games by 20+ points. Westbrook only had to play 25 minutes last night and should be fresh for this one, and I’d actually be more surprised if Westbrook didn’t get a triple-double than if he did. 50+ DK points feels certain here.
C.J. McCollum ($6,700) – The price is slowly rising, but not enough to stop us from automatically targeting him yet. McCollum’s usage and scoring just make him way too attractive an option to fade at this mid-level price. There’s plenty of good PG options tonight, so I’ll likely try to fit at least two, maybe three into my lineups tonight, and CJ will be in all of them.
Cheap risk option: Matthew Dellavedova ($3,200) has seen increased minutes in each game and his DK points have done the same at 17 – 23 – 29, all from minimum salary. Well, they bumped him up a couple hundred bucks, but in a game that is expected to be a blowout, there could be added incentive to use Matt as a punt option tonight.
James Harden (9,900) – I’m not going to be using Harden in cash games tonight, but if I’m putting in a couple of GPP lineups, I think he’s the contrarion play we’re looking for. Nobody will want to touch him at $9.9K shooting less than 25% from the field through three games, yet he has the ability to live up to that price and then some if he flips that switch. Everything adds up right here, too. “Revenge game” against OKC, and OKC has been poor at defending the shooting guard. Going chalk rarely scores you a win in a big NBA DFS tournament.
Eric Bledsoe ($7,500) – Bledsoe has looked really good thus far, and despite struggling to score the ball last season in four matchups against the Clippers, he still managed to get his DFS points up by loading up elsewhere. This season though, Bledsoe looks to have taken a step as a scorer, smarter with the ball and like a kid turning into a man. I like EB to go for 35+ tonight, and I’m not crazy about the other SG options, so he may be my go-to at this spot in cash games.
Cheap risk options: Update- With Covington active, Thompson is no longer an option for me. It’s time for everyone’s favorite game! PICK. YOUR. SIXERS. POISON! *crowd cheers* OK, this tonight, we have two options in Nik Stauskas ($3,300) and Hollis Thompson ($3,700). Both guys should see a fair share of minutes, but Stauskas is likely the way I’d lean strictly because he has more upside and Hollis should see LeBron on both sides of the floor, that’s never an easy task.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($6,400) – Much like McCollum, DraftKings is leaving us no choice on this one, Giannis has to be put into our lineups at this mid-level price. The Greak Freak is averaging over 40 DK points in two games played this season and now faces a middling Nets team that he should have his way with. Giannis has too much upside with his ability to not only score but filling the whole stat sheet to look passed tonight. Don’t get cute here.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($4,800) – Yep, I’m going the cheap routes at SF tonight, no question. I don’t like LeBron in a blowout game, Melo facing Kawhi and while you can never dislike Kevin Durant, at his salary in his first back-to-back of the year, I’m just a little hesitant when there’s other money saving but still good producing options. Aminu is a nice value because much like Giannis, he can fill the stat sheet adding some blocks and steals. I like him to be a safe 28+ DK point bet tonight, which is safely above value at his price. Take advantage.
Cheap risk option: I’m very hesitant to go cheap here, but if you want to gamble and need a guy under $4K, Bojan Bogdanovic ($3,900) has seen increased minutes in each of the Nets three games and had a big 19-point showing in the last game. With other options of Wayne Ellington and Markel Brown, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that Bojan possesses the most upside of that bunch, the Nets seem to be catching on as well. Hopefully he can build on his last game where he went for 26 DK points.
Serge Ibaka ($6,200) – It’s simply too cheap for a guy that blocks shots and is as efficient as Ibaka. I know he’s less appealing with both Westbrook and Durant healthy, Kanter taking some shots as well, but as he showed last night, Ibaka can’t be totally forgotten. Last night in 30 minutes Serge went for 18pts – 7rebs – 4asts – 5blks(!!), for one helluva fantasy evening. I love Ibaka as a cash play tonight at his undervalued salary.
Kevin Love ($7,500) – As much as I love Blake Griffin, between his high salary tonight and me really wanting to get Westbrook and a lot of mid-level priced options into my lineups, I just can’t seem to fit him in. Kevin Love is the PF out of the top six that really jumps out at me. Nerlens Noel is a good shot blocker but Love is going to keep him moving and outside on the perimeter a lot, so Love should see a lot of good looks until this game gets ugly.
Cheap risk option: Boris Diaw ($3,500) is as un-fun of a play as it gets, but he’s getting right around 20mins a night and producing decently with it. There’s not much upside here but 18-22 DK points is what I’d be hoping for, which makes you not want to go cheap at PF tonight, huh?
Karl-Anthony Towns ($6,100) – This play reminds me of the movie “The Town” because this is like stealing money from the bank. DK really giving out gifts tonight with a few of these prices, I’m sure one will end up looking like it was a trap, but I’m taking all of the bait in cash games and worrying about the rest later. Towns has been terrific in his first two NBA games, and this matchup against Mason Plumlee and Ed Davis isn’t going to be his first dud. 30 DK points is his floor and even that would be narrowly above value at this price, I’m projecting him at 38, but after 57 in his last game, I may just be playing it safe with that number.
DeAndre Jordan ($8,000) – Remember what I said two days ago about DeAndre always being a terrific cash game play, nothing has changed but the day and the weather. Dre owned Tyson Chandler and the Mavs last year, too, so despite Chandler’s rep as a good defender, he’s no match for Jordan’s freakish athleticism. The price is high, but DJ is going to deliver the production as always.
Cheap risk option: Festus Ezeli ($3,400) is once again my go-to if you need to go super cheap at C tonight, starting once again for Andrew Bogut. The Warriors will need his defensive presence against Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies. He should be good for around 20 DK points as long as he gets above minutes as expected.
Cash Game Ranks
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 games tip at 7:00pm 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.