Last night was the first NBA slate that featured a handful of lineup crushing pitfalls, many of which were unavoidable.
First, the Minnesota Timberwolves sat out Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins at the last minute, before a game that wasn’t a part of the early slate. I personally had Rubio in a tournament lineup, and failed to get him out once I saw the news.
Then, Kevin Durant went down with another injury, this time a hamstring strain. He provided fantasy owners with 34 DraftKings points before his departure, but only played two quarters – not what you were looking for at his $9.7K price tag.
Finally, Anthony Davis exited the contest against the Mavericks with a hip injury. He put up 32 DraftKings points in 19 minutes before the injury, but is now listed as doubtful for his team’s matchup with the Hawks.
If you didn’t roster any of these players, congratulations. If you did, it’s time to get back on track tonight.
Today’s news and notes:
- Anthony Davis (hip) is doubtful tonight against the Hawks. I have some suggestions on who to target down below.
- Darren Collison (hamstring) will remain out against the Pistons. Rajon Rondo should see more minutes, but I don’t love the matchup.
- Festus Ezeli will remain a starter, even though Andrew Bogut (concussion) is healthy. This could mean that the duo mutes each other’s fantasy value, but Ezeli is the more intriguing guy long-term.
- Marcus Smart (toe) and Avery Bradley (leg) are both questionable against the Pacers. Suggestions for this situation are below.
- Jrue Holiday (rest) is doubtful to play against the Hawks. Toney Douglas and Ish Smith both played well last time out. Smith is the better option, as he’s listed as the starter.
- Nerlens Noel (wrist) is out again tonight against the Raptors. JaKarr Sampson is slated to start.
- Arron Afflalo (hamstring) is probable to play against the Hornets, but I wouldn’t play him until we see how he looks.
- Nikola Vucevic (knee) is still questionable for tonight against the Lakers. If he doesn’t play, Channing Frye and Dewayne Dedmon are interesting options.
Remember to check the news up until tip-off:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Reggie Jackson, PG, DET ($7,300): The price on Jackson is sweet at only $7.3K, and he’s shown some immense upside when he gets it going offensively. Better yet, his floor looks like it’s around 30 DraftKings points so far this season (his lowest score was 26 DraftKings points against Utah), so he’s a relatively safe play for cash.
James Johnson, SF, TOR ($3,100): Want to punt small forward? Hop on the James Johnson bandwagon. I was skeptical to buy into Johnson, because it seemed as though the Raptors weren’t interested in playing him big minutes, but two straight games over 25 minutes say otherwise. He fills in for DeMarre Carroll and should make value with his cheap salary.
Zach Randolph, PF, MEM ($6,100): Randolph had a great game against the Clippers, racking up 49.25 DraftKings points, his highest total of the season. While slotting him into your lineup could look like chasing points, his price point is too low for his talent and role, even against a tough Golden State team.
Three more studs to consider: Kawhi Leonard, SF, SA ($8,200) – Greg Monroe, PF, MIL ($8,300) – DeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC ($9,800)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players & Punt Plays
Elfrid Payton, PG, ORL ($5,600): Point guard, playing the Lakers, who’s a triple-double threat. Sold.
Jose Calderon, PG, NY ($3,200): Calderon has looked absolutely done at times this season, but he’s played better as of late, and is still getting big minutes. I like Jerian Grant a great deal better, but until the Knicks do, Calderon makes for a decent punt play.
Eric Gordon, SG, NO ($6,000): No Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday tonight should mean that Gordon’s usage rate jumps through the roof. Not a bad deal for a guy who’s scored 30 DraftKings points in three straight games.
Evan Turner, SG, BOS ($4,600): Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley both could be out in this game, and Evan Turner has 30 DraftKings points in back-to-back games. He’s done so without having a monster night in any one area, and he gets a Pacers team that wants to play fast; there’s upside here.
Trevor Ariza, SF, HOU ($5,600): James Johnson is the punt play, and Kawhi Leonard is my elite option at the position, so Ariza is a happy medium pick. He could have a good game against one of the worst teams in the league, and is at a moderate price point.
Ryan Anderson, PF, NO ($5,700): Another beneficiary of Anthony Davis’projected absence, Anderson makes for an intriguing, lowpriced option at power forward. He’s put up big numbers in his last two games (35 and 43 DraftKings points) and should now get a boost in usage.
Ian Mahinmi, C, IND ($3,800): I love targeting bigs against the Celtics, and Mahinmi is priced as a punt option in this one. He’s put up 20+ DraftKings points fairly routinely when healthy so far this season, so I feel pretty good about using him in this spot.
LOTTERY TICKETS – Five Tournament Plays
Isaiah Thomas, PG, BOS ($7,200): I trusted Thomas last night and got burned, but as long as he’s starting he’s worth consideration. If his teammates can hit outside shots, and his shot falls more often than it did yesterday, he could be in line for a big night.
Victor Oladipo, SG, ORL ($7,500): Oladipo hasn’t shot well this season, but wings seem to get going against the Lakers more often than not. If his shot drops, a big game could be coming due to his fantastic contributions elsewhere.
Paul George, SF, IND ($8,800): George has been phenomenal, even with his slow shooting start to begin the year. He’s still under-priced, and his upside makes him a fantastic tournament option. He’s cash worthy as well, but I like Leonard for $600 less.
Channing Frye, PF, ORL ($3,100): This is a wildly speculative play, but Frye got it going a bit against the Pacers in his last time out, and finally scraped together some minutes. Chris Bosh cooked the Lakers from three last night, and there’s a chance Frye could do the same with Nikola Vucevic potentially limited or out.
Jonas Valanciunas, C, TOR ($6,100): No Nerlens Noel means Jahlil Okafor defense for Valanciunas. I’ll take the Raptors’ big guy over the 19-year-old rookie.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Carmelo Anthony, SF, NY ($8,500): Paul George is only $300 more; Kawhi Leonard is $300 less. It’s a tough spot for someone to settle on Melo on the second night of a back-to-back.
Kenneth Faried, PF, DEN ($6,500): Faried is, at times, an appealing tournament play. I just haven’t seen it this year aside from the opener and the explosion against the Lakers.