Another week, another Sunday slate.
This one in particular is separated a bit differently than we have seen so far. The “main” slate begins at 5 p.m. EST, though we have games starting from noon EST. This column will focus on the biggest chunk of games, which is on the lighter side at five tonight.
Between all-day basketball and a full schedule of football (if you’re into that) I’m sure you’d like me to get straight to the point, so I’ll oblige. Today’s news and notes:
- Rudy Gay (illness) should be back tonight. This doesn’t change much for me on the Kings side of things.
- Rodney Hood (foot) and Rudy Gobert (ankle) were present at shootaround but remain questionable for tonight’s game. I will probably be staying off both of these players tonight if they play.
- Jeff Teague (ankle) is doubtful against the Jazz. More on his replacement below.
- Avery Bradley (calf) is questionable, but it sounds like he is close to playing. That dings Evan Turner’s value quite a bit.
- Kevin Durant (hamstring) remains out of the lineup for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook remains a fantasy deity in his absence.
- Meyers Leonard (shoulder) is out for the Trail Blazers. More on his potential replacement below.
Remember to check the news up until tip-off:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Dennis Schroder, PG, ATL ($4,300): With Jeff Teague (ankle) doubtful, Schroder’s value sees a massive bump, and arguably makes him the most valuable point guard on this slate in relation to price. On a short main slate, I’m not sure you can afford to pass up on him for one of your guard slots, as his price will open up a ton of options for you elsewhere. A Schroder-Westbrook lineup would cost a total of $8,250 per point guard, if you want to go that route.
DeMarcus Cousins, PF, SAC ($10,200): There’s really not much to say about Boogie besides this: he’s an absolute monster. He should challenge Westbrook for the top scoring player of the night, as I’m not sure the Raptors have a player on their roster capable of slowing the big guy down. The downside is that DraftKings moved him to power forward rather than center, but his upside remains the same.
Chris Kaman, C, POR ($3,000): I won’t feel great about this selection until I know if he will get his second-consecutive start, but Kaman is the punt play at center tonight if he does. At minimum price and potentially a starter (for the injured Meyers Leonard), I like Kaman’s scoring potential in what could be a slower paced matchup. He only needs around 15 DraftKings points to meet value.
Three more studs to consider: Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC ($12,200) – Damian Lillard, PG, POR ($8,700) – Paul Millsap, PF, ATL ($7,900)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players & Punt Plays
Isaiah Thomas, PG, BOS ($7,000): Thomas is one of the more reasonably priced point guards on this slate, and is staring at what should be a fast-paced game against the Thunder. It’s tough to turn down a high-usage player in a fast game, so Thomas will certainly deserve consideration tonight.
Dion Waiters, SG, OKC ($4,400): I’m not thrilled with the fact that I’m mentioning Waiters either, but his production over his last few games is undeniable. He’s hit 20 DraftKings points in four-of-five games, and should get plenty of opportunities to hoist up shots with Kevin Durant (hamstring) still sidelined. He’s a solid punt play at shooting guard.
C.J. McCollum, SG, POR ($6,500): McCollum’s price has remained stagnant, even though he usually puts up points that would suffice for a player about $500 more expensive. I like him on this slate due to his relatively safe floor and high upside at his price point.
Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA ($6,400): I’m going to mention Hayward in this space every day until his price rises to where it should be. He looks to be getting into form after a shaky start to the season, and is one of the best options at a shallow position.
Stanley Johnson, SF, DET ($3,400): The punt play at small forward is Johnson, who tore apart the Clippers off the bench yesterday. I usually try to avoid playing guys on the second night of a back-to-back if I can, but he represents the cheapest option at his position that I expect to produce. Stan Van Gundy has stated he wants to cut Marcus Morris’s minutes a bit to save him during the long season, and Johnson could be the beneficiary on the tail end of this back-to-back.
Derrick Favors, PF, UTA ($7,300): See: Hayward, Gordon. Favors’s price is simply too low for his potential production, albeit not as out of whack as Hayward’s. I’m willing to overlook his dud in his last time out as it came on the second night of a back-to-back, and have no fear deploying him against the Hawks.
Patrick Patterson, PF, TOR ($3,100): This should be a fast-paced game against the Kings, and Patterson’s game fits an offensive showdown more so than Luis Scola’s. It’s not a pretty play, but Patterson does have some serious punt play potential if he can get a few shots to go down.
Roy Hibbert, C, LAL ($4,800): Hibbert is another solid option if you don’t want to pay up at center. He’s hit 25 DraftKings points in three-of-four games, and that’s all he should need in order to pay back his salary.
LOTTERY TICKETS – Five Tournament Plays
Kyle Lowry, PG, TOR ($8,200): I like Lowry in cash games too, but I don’t see him being highly owned in tournaments given Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook being available in the midst of their triple-double extravaganza. If this game is played at the Kings’ pace, Lowry could join them.
Alec Burks, SG, UTA ($5,300): Burks is a fine tournament play if Rodney Hood (foot) is ruled out. He’s a little too reliant on scoring, but has massive upside if he plays like a true point guard. The matchup against the Hawks isn’t bad, either.
Jae Crowder, SF, BOS ($5,300): Crowder is an interesting mid-tier small forward because of the projected pace of this game. His ability to generate steals should show up here, and if he can get going offensively, he could produce very nicely for those willing to take a shot on him.
Serge Ibaka, PF, OKC ($6,700): Ibaka’s usage should be higher with Durant out, and I like the matchup against a rather soft Boston frontcourt. His defensive stats give him an excellent ceiling when he gets hot on offense.
Andre Drummond, C, DET ($9,700): Drummond is truly elite, and I get it if you want to play him in cash. I do have some trepidation with him coming on the second night of a back-to-back, but he should absolutely crush the Lakers on the boards. A 20-20 game could be imminent.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Rajon Rondo, PG, SAC ($8,500): This is kind of cheating, because I will have some Rondo tonight. I just can’t be all-in on him with the unsustainable workload he’s getting and his aggressive uptick in pricing.
Al Horford, C, ATL ($7,100): I normally like Horford in cash, especially when his price is around this area on a short slate. Not against the Jazz, though.