After the last two nights had 18 games spread nicely across the ledger, Sunday brings us just five, and that’s only if you’re playing the all-day slate on DraftKings. The picks below will assume you have access to all the games. It’s a somewhat ugly slate, so be prepared.
Vegas lines and totals
Los Angeles Lakers @ New York Knicks (-4.5) – total of 209
Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers (-7) – total of 198.5
Toronto Raptors @ Miami Heat (-2.5) – total of 190.5
Phoenix Suns @ Oklahoma City Thunder (-8) – total of 212
Detroit Pistons @ Portland Trail Blazers (-1.5) – total of 197.5
Raptors-Heat is somewhat ugly from a fantasy perspective, while Lakers-Knicks and Suns-Thunder are the potential high-scoring games to target. You’ll notice most of the top plays below are concentrated between those two games, even when it comes to bench players. Sometimes, your hand is forced on a short slate. As always, here’s a reminder of the DraftKings scoring system.
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 ($10,800) – Westbrook’s price has gone up almost $1,000 since opening night, but he’s still outperforming his current level. He’s been the No. 1A to Kevin Durant‘s No. 1B so far this season, and Sunday’s game sets up to continue that trend. Even though Eric Bledsoe will likely spend a lot of time on Westbrook, Bledsoe’s defensive skills haven’t translated to an ability to keep fantasy points off the board this year.
Jordan Clarkson ($5,700) – Relying on the Lakers’ backcourt is a risky proposition but again, it’s a short slate. Clarkson is outplaying all of Kobe Bryant, D’Angelo Russell and Lou Williams, and a matchup against Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic is possibly the NBA’s best. The Knicks have played solid team defense on point guards this season, but Clarkson should return value.
Cheap risk option: Jerian Grant ($3,600) – There’s been talk of late about moving Grant into the starting lineup, but it doesn’t seem like something that will happen Sunday. If Calderon continues to struggle when Arron Afflalo returns, a changing of the guard wouldn’t shock me. For now, Grant is just a high-upside flier, albeit one who needs work on his jump shot.
Eric Bledsoe ($7,800) – Bledsoe is my second-favorite play on Sunday’s slate, as the Thunder haven’t defended shooting guards very well this season. While he should see his share of Westbrook defensively as both Bledsoe and Brandon Knight share ball-handling duties, Bledsoe is clearly the lead dog in the backcourt. He’s worth paying up for considering how ugly shooting guard is Sunday.
C.J. McCollum ($6,400) – McCollum is still underpriced for a player who has between 34 and 34.5 DK points in each of his past three games. The total on this game is low thanks to neither team ranking in the top 13 in pace, and Detroit has played good defense so far this season. I’ll pay the extra $1,400 for Bledsoe but if you don’t want to, McCollum is fine as a mid-tier option.
C.J. Miles ($4,200) – Miles would obviously need to return to the starting lineup Sunday to make this pick viable but if he does, he will be matched up with J.R. Smith, who has never been known as a defensive marvel. Miles sees almost 30 minutes per game and is underpriced even while shooting just 37.5 percent from the field. He’ll disappear occassionally, but he provides nice value and salary-cap relief on a small slate.
Cheap risk option: Tyler Johnson ($3,000) – Johnson has at least 12.25 DK points in all four games in which he’s seen legitimate playing time, and the Heat love him as a player. The return of Mario Chalmers to the lineup hasn’t been a big hindrance to Johnson, who can contribute across multiple categories.
Carmelo Anthony ($8,400) – Anthony is shooting under 37 percent from the field this season, but a primetime matchup on Sunday against the Lakers has the makings of a “get-right game” for the Knicks star. Los Angeles is terrible at defending opposing small forwards, and Anthony scored 37 points in his last juicy matchup against the Wizards.
P.J. Tucker ($3,300) – Small forward is rough Sunday, just like shooting guard is, which is nothing new for short slates. In cases like this, I often look for cheap starting options who can get 15 fantasy points and allow me to stock up at other positions I like more. After not topping 13.5 fantasy points in his first three games, Tucker has three straight with at least 15, a streak that should continue in a high-paced matchup with the Thunder.
Cheap risk option: Derrick Williams ($3,200) – Williams has come crashing back down to Earth after going big in the opener and hasn’t scored over 20 fantasy points in a game since. Sunday’s game should give an opportunity to see 20 minutes of floor time, which comes with a chance at 20 fantasy points as well. He could also play just 10 minutes and bust completely; hence “cheap risk.”
Kristaps Porzingis ($5,600) – Porzingis is my top play of the Sunday slate, as he’s underpriced and draws a pristine matchup against the Lakers frontcourt. Julius Randle has played well on offense but his defense is a work in progress, and Porzingis has exceeded any hype thrown his way so far this year. Only one of his six games this year has resulted in less than 26 fantasy points despite playing a shade under 24 minutes per game. Foul trouble is the only thing that could hold Porzingis back, but I’m not messing with anybody else at PF on Sunday.
Cheap risk option: Kyle O’Quinn ($4,000) – Knicks stack at power forward! If Porzingis is felled by the aforementioned foul trouble, O’Quinn becomes the immediate beneficiary and a dark horse for a 30-FPG game. Even if Porzingis stays on the court he’s yet to reach 30 minutes in a game this season, leaving plenty of available time for O’Quinn in a great matchup.
Andre Drummond ($9,000) – Drummond has double-doubled in all five games this season, including four games over 18 points and four with 17 or more rebounds. Mason Plumlee doesn’t stand much of a chance against Drummond, and the center’s price will likely jump into the $10,000s before all is said and done. He’s my No. 3 play of the night right now.
Robin Lopez ($4,600) – The start of Robin Lopez’s career with the Knicks has been disappointing, and his price has been steadily declining as well. Fortunately, it’s put him back into the usable range as a solid bet for 20 fantasy points against a porous Lakers interior defense.
Cheap risk option: Meyers Leonard ($3,900) – I flirted with putting Myles Turner ($3,300) here but if he’s not going to play more than 15 minutes in a game, it’s awfully tough to pay any price, even one just $300 over minimum. Leonard bounced back nicely Thursday night with 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting, and could produce a similar line for 25-30 DK points if he stays out of foul trouble.
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 game tips at 3:30 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 @christripodi, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes.