Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day. For many NBA daily fantasy players, it came a day early.
Last night, a flurry of inactives and strange injuries plagued lineups. Dwyane Wade, earlier reported to be playing despite missing shootaround, was inactive. So too was Rudy Gobert, who was long questionable with an ankle injury; Ricky Rubio, J.J. Redick and Chris Paul would follow.
Finally, when all the inactive shenanigans had finally subsided, Markieff Morris left his game with a knee sprain and Blake Griffin was tossed from the same contest in the first half. All of this on a mere three-game slate, which surely devastated multiple lineups.
Can we all agree to call off any mysterious happenings tonight?
Today’s news and notes:
- Joffrey Lauvergne (back) remains out against the Rockets tonight. This is a prime matchup to use Dwight Howard, who’s the confirmed starter tonight against a bad Denver interior.
- Rudy Gobert (ankle) and Rodney Hood (foot) are questionable against the Magic. If Gobert is out, Derrick Favors is even more intriguing and Alec Burks is a great play if Hood misses.
- Ed Davis is going to start for Meyers Leonard (shoulder). More on him below.
- Ricky Rubio (hamstring) is questionable against the Pacers. Zach LaVine is a nice punt play if Rubio sits.
- Kobe Bryant (back) missed shootaround and is questionable after missing the last two games. Metta World Peace and Jordan Clarkson should get nice boosts if Kobe is out.
- Cody Zeller (ankle) and Spencer Hawes (ankle) are both questionable tonight. Marvin Williams has the most to gain from either absence.
- Nerlens Noel (wrists) will return against the Thunder. More on him below.
- Joakim Noah will move back to the bench. This situation is still one to avoid for now.
More on Victor Oladipo and DeMarre Carroll replacements below; make sure to check the news up until tip:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC ($11,600): I have to mention Westbrook in this space in addition to players who should be cheaper to add to your core, because he has a clear path to all the fantasy points he can muster. Kevin Durant is out; that means Westbrook is a lone wolf once again, and should have a fantastic shot at racking up a monster triple-double against the lowly 76ers at home. There are only two drawbacks here: his price and the blowout factor. He needs about 55 DraftKings points to simply meet value, which is absurd, but there’s no player with a higher ceiling given the spot. I’m not sure if he’ll be in all of my lineups, though he deserves great consideration if you think you can find value elsewhere.
Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA ($6,300): Hayward’s play seems to have corrected itself; his price on DraftKings has not. He was up around 30 DraftKings points in three straight games until yesterday’s showing of 40 DraftKings points, so he won’t be this cheap for long.
Ed Davis, PF, POR ($4,100): A major source of value tonight could be Ed Davis, who will fill in for the injured Meyers Leonard (shoulder). Davis’s tendency to get himself in foul trouble makes him risky against Memphis, but he should see plenty of minutes otherwise, giving him a ton of upside based on his per-minute production.
Marc Gasol, C, MEM ($6,700): If I’m nominating under-priced stars, Gasol has to be 1B to Gordon Hayward’s 1A. After a bad start to the season, Gasol turned it up last game to the tune of 42 DraftKings points. He’s at home against the Trail Blazers, so a repeat performance is certainly within the realm of possibility.
More studs to consider: James Harden, SG, HOU ($10,100) – Derrick Favors, PF, UTA ($7,100) – DeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC ($9,900)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players and Punt Plays
Rajon Rondo, PG, SAC ($7,600): With Darren Collison (hamstring) out, Rondo has absorbed essentially all of the point-guard minutes for the Kings. The result: two triple-doubles and no less than 35 DraftKings points in any contest over his last three games.
Shabazz Napier, PG, ORL ($3,200): Victor Oladipo (concussion) is out, and so is C.J. Watson (calf). That means that Napier should see heavy minutes, making him a solid punt play with a price tag near the minimum salary.
Andrew Wiggins, SG, MIN ($6,400): Wiggins has been good after a slow start to the season, averaging over 30 DraftKings points per game over his last three. The game against Indiana should be fast-paced, which bodes well for Wiggins’s potential production.
Evan Turner, SG, BOS ($4,900): I don’t like this pick as much if both Marcus Smart (toe) and Avery Bradley (leg) play. It sounds like Smart will, but if Bradley is out, Turner should see the boost in minutes he needs to take his place in your fantasy lineup.
James Johnson, SF, TOR ($3,700): Johnson is the punt play at small forward if DeMarre Carroll (foot) misses another game. In three games of increased minutes, Johnson has put up an average of just over 20 DraftKings points.
Ryan Anderson, PF, NO ($6,000): Anthony Davis (hip) is doubtful, so that should mean an extended workload for Anderson, who has a three-game streak of over 30 DraftKings points. The matchup of either Luis Scola or Patrick Patterson should lean in favor of Anderson, so it’s just a matter of getting his shot to fall for a big fantasy day.
Ian Mahinmi, C, IND ($3,800): Mahinmi has been a near-lock for 20 DraftKings points when healthy this season, and nothing should change here. The Timberwolves are much improved on the interior with rookie Karl-Anthony Towns emerging, but Mahinmi’s low price means he doesn’t need to go off to be profitable.
LOTTERY TICKETS – 5 Tournaments Options
Kyle Lowry, PG, TOR ($8,100): Lowry is in a dead-zone of sorts in regards to salary-tier, and is a tournament option because of it. I don’t mind him in cash with the matchup against New Orleans, but in GPP formats he likely won’t be among the top-owned point guards.
C.J. McCollum, SG, POR ($6,500): A date with the Grizzlies in Memphis is always reason to be skeptical of players, but McCollum provides excellent upside at a mid-tier price. If Tony Allen gets sent to stop Damian Lillard, McCollum could be a big beneficiary, making him a fantastic tournament option.
Joe Johnson, SF, BKN ($5,200): The Kings like to play fast, and that should mean good things for Johnson, who’s come on as a distributor for this Nets team. He’s registered at least six assists in three-of-four games, and he’s put up at least seven rebounds in each of his last two. That type of all-around production in a fantasy-friendly matchup is tournament worthy.
Nerlens Noel, PF, PHI ($7,000): Noel is slated to make his return after missing the last two games with sore wrists. Not many people will be on him coming off the injury, and his always high ceiling is worth a shot in tournaments when his price is this low.
Enes Kanter, C, OKC ($5,200): Kanter is never a guarantee to see extended minutes, but the Thunder may require his offense with Kevin Durant (hamstring) out. It’s tough to look past the type of production he had when he came over during Durant’s last absence, and taking a dice roll on him against the 76ers tonight is a good spot.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Marcus Thornton, SG, HOU ($5,500): The days of using a red-hot Thornton at bargain values are over; he’s priced ahead of guys I like more like Alec Burks and Evan Turner.
Nikola Vucevic, C, ORL ($7,500): Vucevic only played 26 minutes against the Lakers after returning from injury, and a matchup with the Jazz isn’t the spot where I want to find out if he’s truly healthy.