Things are about to get tricky.
With three excellent defensive teams taking the floor tonight (Golden State, Utah, Miami), an emerging force (Minnesota, 6th in defensive rating this season), and only one game looking like a shootout (LA Clippers at Phoenix), it’s going to take some creative lineup construction to put up a big score.
I have got some ideas on which route to go, but let’s take a look at today’s news and notes before we dive in:
- Rudy Gobert is dealing with an ankle injury and is questionable for tonight’s game against the Heat. I like him as a potential building block if he is good-to-go, but it is beginning to look like he may not be.
- Dwyane Wade missed shootaround for personal reasons but is expected to play against the Jazz. Wade’s price makes him attractive, but the matchup against Utah isn’t great.
- Gerald Green (suspension) will be out against the Jazz. Tyler Johnson sees a boost, but this slow-paced game doesn’t offer a ton of value for the peripheral guys.
- Andrew Wiggins (knee) and Ricky Rubio (hamstring) are both probable against the Warriors. Both sat out last game, but that now looks to be more precautionary than anything else.
- Draymond Green is dealing with flu-like symptoms and is questionable for the game against the Timberwolves. It sounds like he will play through it, but it’s not a great spot to trust his workload on the second night of a back-to-back.
- J.J. Redick (back) is likely out against the Suns. Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers are my favorite candidates to use in his absence.
Make sure to check the news up until tip:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Chris Paul, PG, LAC ($8,600): With Stephen Curry available on this short slate, plenty of people will be plugging him into their lineups, and rightfully so. However, Paul’s price tag screams value, and it’s going to be tough for me to pass him up in this spot. His inconsistency this season is worrisome, but not enough so to not take a hard look at the value on a short slate.
Jamal Crawford, SG, LAC ($3,500): Speaking of value, it’s almost impossible to win on these small slates without finding a punt option that works. Crawford is my go-to tonight, with J.J. Redick looking doubtful for this contest. Even if he doesn’t start, it’s tough to see Crawford not getting significant run.
Derrick Favors, PF, UTA ($7,100): Favors has been the model of consistency when he has been healthy, and the matchup with the Heat is favorable despite their solid defense. Miami likes to play a deliberate pace, and Chris Bosh shouldn’t be all that imposing on the boards for a presence like Favors. There is no reason to think that Favors cannot reach 35 DraftKings points once again.
More studs to consider: Stephen Curry, PG, GS ($10,600); Blake Griffin, PF, LAC ($9,400)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players and Punt Plays
Brandon Knight, PG, PHX ($7,000): Instead of going with Curry, it’s intriguing to go with a combination of Chris Paul and Knight, who is coming off a dud against Oklahoma City. Expect him to get back up around the 35 DraftKings points mark in what should be a fast-paced contest.
Trey Burke, PG, UTA ($4,500): This is your punt play at point guard tonight. It’s hard to feel great about Burke in any matchup, but he has hit 20 DraftKings points in five-of-six games. I don’t mind pairing him with Stephen Curry if you choose to go that route.
Andrew Wiggins, SG, MIN ($6,400): Ride the hot hand! Wiggins has put up back-to-back games with at least 40 DraftKings points and is probable to play after sitting out last game for what seems to be a precautionary move to rest the youngster. A matchup with Golden State isn’t the best spot, but options are limited on this three-game schedule.
Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA ($6,300): After Hayward, this position falls off a cliff entirely. It’s tough to see a scenario that I don’t roll with him, especially considering he has been up around 30 DraftKings points per game over his last three.
Andre Iguodala, SF, GS ($4,800): If Draymond Green (illness) is ruled out tonight, Iguodala becomes an excellent punt option at small forward. If Green plays, Iguodala becomes a solid tournament dart throw.
Nemanja Bjelica, PF, MIN ($4,700): Bjelica has become a fixture for the Timberwolves off-the-bench, playing an average of 30 minutes over his last five games. He is averaging nearly 28 DraftKings points over that span, so he presents an option that could return value if you want to go cheap at power forward.
DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC ($7,700): If Rudy Gobert (ankle) doesn’t play, Jordan is probably the safest top-tier option at center. I would still go with the next guy on this list, but Jordan offers a fairly safe floor and big upside each night.
Tyson Chandler, C, PHX ($5,400): On a night with murky center options, and little value, Chandler emerges as one of the more sensible buys. His last game against the Clippers resulted in a 38 point effort on DraftKings, and all he needs this time is about 25 DraftKings points.
LOTTERY TICKETS – 5 Tournaments Options
Goran Dragic, PG, MIA ($5,400): Dragic has been brutal over the last five games, averaging a mere 20 DraftKings points. Now, he gets a Utah defense that will have people skipping over him while creating their lineups. I like him as a tournament play because you can beat the Jazz from the outside, and Dragic is one of the best three-point shooters on the Heat.
Austin Rivers, SG, LAC ($3,100): For tournaments, I like Rivers over Crawford, because of his near-minimum salary and guaranteed minutes at both guard spots. Normally that would result in a cash game nomination, but Rivers’ floor is simply too low—his best two games have come against Dallas this season, with his highest score being 15 DraftKings points outside of those contests—with relatively volatile production no matter his workload.
T.J. Warren, SF, PHX ($3,500): This is how bad the small forward pool is. I like Warren as a tournament play because he can score at a pretty high clip, and his salary opens things up at other positions.
Chris Bosh, PF, MIA ($7,200): Bosh is another guy the Heat may have to rely on to solve the great Utah defense, and I would be surprised if a lot of people are on him with his matchup against Derrick Favors looming. Bosh has been hot recently, and his outside shooting touch could pose some serious problems for the Jazz.
Hassan Whiteside, C, MIA ($8,100): Notice a trend? The Jazz are a team that people usually try to avoid, so their opponents become intriguing for tournaments. Whiteside has been on fire the past two games (45+ DraftKings points in both), but he has a tough matchup against Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, so there’s a risk-reward factor here that could make him valuable in tourneys.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Zach LaVine, PG, MIN ($3,500): I have trouble buying into his two straight 30-point games on DraftKings, so I won’t be playing him unless Ricky Rubio is declared out.
Draymond Green, PF, GS ($6,900): Green is dealing with a bout of the flu, and is on the second night of a back-to-back; I prefer the safer Favors for only $200 more.