Written by: Robert Rotty – Staff Writing Intern (@GrandstandRotty)
New York Knicks at Washington Wizards
Over Under 217.5; Wizards -8
With Derrick Rose already ruled out for tonight’s game, some value opens up on the Knicks. Brandon Jennings should draw the start against the Wizards here. He’s affordable on both sites and is both a great cash option. He’s viable in tournaments as well, but there’s so many great guard plays tonight that I don’t think he’s an automatic lock. I actually prefer to look elsewhere on the Knicks. Without Rose, Carmelo Anthony gets a 7.1% bump in usage, which puts him around 39% usage right in total. That’s elite. I think he’s viable in all formats. I also like Kristaps Porzingis in tournaments. He gets a 2.2% bump in usage without Rose, is at his cheapest price all season, and gets a matchup against the Wizards who rank 27th in Fantasy Points per game to Power Forwards this season. Sign me up.
On the Wizards side, they get a great matchup against the New York Knicks. Their defensive efficiency has been in the bottom 10 in the league this year, and actually should be worse without Derrick Rose. The only problem is that all of the Wizards players seem to be priced up across the industry. This makes John Wall a great tournament play, but I probably won’t be trying to jam him into my cash lineup with Harden and Westbrook on this slate. I also like Beal in tournaments as he should see a full complement of minutes against Courtney Lee’s defense. Other than these two guys, I’m probably staying away.
New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors
Over-Under 216.5; Raptors -8
The only player that I’m actively trying to fit into my lineups is Anthony Davis, and this is in tournaments only. He isn’t cash viable just because of how often he gets injured, but will probably be the lowest owned of any of the big name players tonight. The Raptors are middle of the road in pace and overall defensive efficiency, but are actually weakest against power forwards. Interesting enough, Draftkings moved him to Center eligibility only, which hurts his value slightly. On any night he has the ability to drop 70+ points (as he did against the Wizards a few days ago), and has a chance to do that tonight.
On the Raptors side, I think we can continue to look at Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. While Lowry has a better individual matchup, DeRozan is just severely underpriced on Draftkings. He has a 36.5% usage rate this year compared to Lowry’s 27%, and averages about .07 more fantasy points per minute as well. On Draftkings, I think DeRozan is viable in all formats, while Lowry is more of a tournament play. On FanDuel, however, they are both just tournament plays for me because of the pricing differences. No one jumps off the page for me besides these two.
Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets
Over-Under 224.5; Rockets -10
For Sacramento, this is a huge pace up game for them. They are a bottom five team in pace, while the Rockets are top 3, and usually the home team controls the pace. DeMarcus Cousins sees a 41.9% usage rate and averages 1.44 fantasy points per minute without Rudy Gay on the floor. With Gay done for the season, this offense runs through Cousins. The only concern here with Cousins is that the Kings are on the second night of a back-to-back and on their 8th straight game on a road trip. If anything, the fact that is that his ownership should be relatively low compared to what it should be. He ended up putting up 75.75 Draftkings points last night against Philadelphia in only 32 minutes because he fouled out. I have no problem with Boogie in all formats as the increased pace should help make up for any potential limit in minutes. Garret Tempe can also be looked at in tournaments because he’ll see Harden’s defense (or lack thereof), and should also see around 30 minutes. I don’t like Darren Collison because of Pat Bev’s defense, and I’m not going to look elsewhere on the Kings tonight.
For the Houston side, it’s James Harden. I shouldn’t have to explain this one. He is average 60.8 fantasy points per game this year, and is probably front runner for MVP. He gets a nice matchup against Sacramento, who give up the 23rd most fantasy points per game against shooting guards. If I knew Eric Goran was going to play 30 minutes tonight, he’d be in play as well, but his minutes have been down lately. There’s also merit to both Trevor Ariza and Sam Dekker tonight, but I’m not sure how the minutes are going to be spread around. If Dekker sees around 25 minutes, he should be able to get you 20 fantasy points and be a fine option at a cheap price. Ariza just hasn’t been producing lately, making him tough to play. Also Ryan Anderson has been awful at home this season for whatever reason, and I highly recommend not playing him.
Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs
Over-Under 211; Spurs -8.5
With Enes Kanter out after fracturing his hand by punching a chair, it’s all about Westbrook. Okay, it always has been about Westbrook, it’s just still hilarious how Kanter did that. Anyways, playing on the road against the Spurs is a brutal matchup for any team. WE can still play Westbrook in any format though, as he’s averaging 1.60 fantasy points per minute without Kanter and still has a good chance at a triple-double tonight. Because Domantas Sabonis is so cheap, however, if he draws the start he’s definitely playable. I would avoid everyone else.
With everyone besides Pau healthy on the Spurs, it’s hard to excited about anyone. With Aldridge, Kawhi, and David Lee all priced up, I think there are better option at similar or even lower price points. Play at your own risk.
Charolette Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers
Over-Under 214; Trail Blazers -2
This should be a pace up game for the Hornets against a Portland team that isn’t very strong defensively. Usually we would like a few players in this situation, but not so much here. With Zeller ruled out, There should be more minutes opened up for Kaminsky, Hawes, and Hibbert. Normally Hawes would be a great play, but now Jeremy Lamb is back. Lamb should eat up much of the usage on the second unit and make everyone a secondary play at best. The one guy we can count on is Kemba Walker. His home/road splits have been much better this year, and should be a guy that the Hornets will have to rely heavily on tonight. He’s in play in all formats.
On the Trail Blazers side, I like almost everybody on their team. Mason Plumlee is a great option in all formats tonight as he should be able to destroy the Hornets frontcourt. Evan Turner should continue to see around 33 minutes and should get 25-30 fantasy points, making him a solid cash game option. The 2 guards are also in play, but tournament only. At point guard we have Damian Lillard, who sees the highest usage on this team, but I’d rather pay down for Kemba. And at shooting guard we have C.J. McCollum, but I’d rather pay up for DeRozan, at least on Draftkings. This makes them both low-owned tournament options that have solid upside on this slate, especially with a high chance that this game stays close.
Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers
Over-Under 228; Lakers -3.5
This game is where I’m going to grab a couple players from each side for most of my teams tonight. On the Denver side, Jokic and Mudiay continue to be out. This leaves a ton of usage and minutes to go around. My favorite play is Kenneth Faried, who played 37 minutes against the Suns with Jokic out last time. He should be able to feast tonight with a similar workload against a weak frontcourt. Gary Harris should also see somewhere around 30 minutes. He hasn’t been shooting well lately, but tonight he should be able to get back in track and he’s in play in all formats. Jameer Nelson’s price has started to rise lately, and he’s borderline unplayable for me. I’d rather take Brandon Jennings at a cheaper price, but Nelson is still fine for cash games. Danilo Gallinari should also see about 35 minutes minimum tonight, but he is still just a cash game play for me as he isn’t a high fantasy point per minute player. And the ultimate tournament play is Josuf Nurkic. He averages over a fantasy point per minute with Jokic and Mudiay out, but the problem is he’s struggled lately. If he can stay on the court for 25 minutes tonight, he should be able to crush value. This is a huge if, however. His range of outcomes is literally -2 to 45. I’ll have exposure to him for sure, but not comfortably.
On the Lakers side, we know that Julius Randle is going to be out, but apparently D’Angelo Russel is going to draw the start after missing the last few games. I haven’t heard anything on how many minutes he’ll play tonight, but he’ll be in play if we know he’s going to see 28+ minutes. With Randle out lately, we’ve seen Tarik Black, Ivica Zubac, and Larry Nance see a bigger role. All 3 of these guys are cheap tournament options. Pay attention to who ends up starting, because whoever does would be the one who strikes my interest, and two of them may be playable together.