Tonight’s NBA slate features a solid seven-game schedule. After last night’s strategy-altering news – DeMarcus Cousins was upgraded to questionable, but ended up sitting anyways in one of the latest games of the night – it looks like we’re going to be dealing with a few more injuries to keep our eyes on.
I’ll detail who’s questionable and such in the news, but I want to take a quick second to discuss injuries.
Many of our value plays come from injuries, and many nights cash lineups can be derailed by them. The best philosophy is to remove ambiguity from consideration. If a player is questionable, discard them from your potential options in cash plays.
The downside is that you may miss out on some values. I had plenty of Kosta Koufos when Cousins was considered doubtful, but removed him when Cousins was upgraded. Koufos had a fantastic game for his price tag, and I missed out on that production, but I needed to alter my strategy in order to prevent a potential “dud” night across the board for cash games.
These kinds of strategy changes can make or break your night, as a late swap can save you or destroy you in many situations. Make sure to keep this in mind as you consider players who are injured and play later, when your lineup maneuverability may be more restricted.
Today’s news and notes:
- Nene (calf) is out tonight against the Raptors. I doubt you were considering him anyways, but this means that we could see either more Kris Humphries or more Jared Dudley at the 4.
- In the Hawks-Spurs game the status of Thabo Sefolosha, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will likely not be known until game-time. This isn’t a game I’m very excited about targeting outside of Kawhi Leonard.
- For the Nuggets, Kenneth Faried (ankle), Joffrey Lauvergne (back( and Gary Harris (concussion) are all listed as game-time decisions. Will Barton becomes a great play if Harris sits out, while Darrell Arthur could be fine if Faried and Lauvergne take a seat.
- In the Pelicans-Jazz game, Anthony Davis (knee), Tyreke Evans (knee), Trey Burke (back) and Rodney Hood (back) are all game-time decisions. I’m off of the Pelicans tonight, but Alec Burks is a great play for the Jazz if either Burke or Hood miss.
- Lou Williams (personal) is away from the team for family reasons, so D’Angelo Russell could see extended time. It’s tough to trust Byron Scott, but I like the play for GPPs.
- DeMarcus Cousins (back) is out tonight. I’m not too excited about any of the Kings outside of GPP formats.
- Harrison Barnes (ankle) is a game-time decision tonight. If I had to bet on it, I would say he sits. I have thoughts 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
Damian Lillard, PG, POR ($9,100): Lillard’s usage and matchup are simply too good to pass up on this slate. Last time against the Lakers, he put up 65 DraftKings points, which shows you his upside if the Lakers compete on the road. Even if this game turns south, Lillard has a fantastic floor.
Zaza Pachulia, C, DAL ($5,600): There’s a load of value at the center position today, but Pachulia sticks out because of price, production and matchup. I’m not a huge fan of Zaza as a player, but I can trust him given his track record so far this season and the phenomenal matchup with the Nuggets at home.
Three more studs to consider: Stephen Curry, PG, GS ($10,900) – Kawhi Leonard, SF, SA ($8,400) – Kevin Love, PF, CLE ($8,300)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players & Punt Plays
Deron Williams, PG, DAL ($5,800): Pick a Maverick, any Maverick! Honestly, you could talk me into pretty much any player on Dallas expected to play big minutes against Denver. Williams is climbing in price a bit, but works as a second guard if you need him.
Wesley Matthews, SG, DAL ($4,200): See what I mean? The Nuggets could be without a solid perimeter defender in Gary Harris, which could give Matthews free reign on the outside. The best part is that he’s finally back to playing heavy minutes, giving him a better base of points.
C.J. McCollum, SG, POR ($6,500): I like McCollum for the same reasons I like Lillard. The Lakers have been bad as a defense overall, so loading up on Trail Blazers is a strategy that I can’t poke too many holes into.
Jared Dudley, SF, WAS ($3,000): Dudley is a true punt option at small forward with a minimum price. His production is going to be unreliable, but if you need the flexibility, he’s an option that has solid upside given his matchup.
Andre Iguodala, SF, GS ($5,200): Harrison Barnes might miss tonight’s game, so Iguodala gets a minutes bump against the Kings, at least in theory. The 2015 Finals MVP has been pretty good this year in his sixth-man role, but more minutes would make him a fine play at small forward in all formats.
Derrick Favors, PF, UTA ($7,100): Another day, another Favors recommendation. This time I want to use him against the ailing Pelicans who might be missing Anthony Davis inside. Favors should have a solid day, especially if Ryan Anderson is tasked with guarding him.
Julius Randle, PF, LAL ($5,900): One disturbing trend is that Randle has played significantly better at home than on the road. Unfortunately, he’s on the road for this one, but I still like him as a mid-tier power-forward option if you need it. His floor is lower than you’d like for cash, but the Portland interior isn’t good defensively.
Mason Plumlee, C, POR ($6,000): Meyers Leonard is back, but Plumlee has played well enough to earn minutes consistently in the 30s. He’s still underpriced given his production, and a matchup with the Lakers is reason enough to consider him at center or your utility spot.
Rudy Gobert, C, UTA ($6,100): Gobert’s price is falling, but his matchup is fantastic. He should be able to gobble up a ton of rebounds against a tired Pelicans team that may be without Anthony Davis.
LOTTERY TICKETS – Five Tournament Plays
Jarett Jack, PG, BKN ($6,200): If this game stays close – the Vegas spread indicates it will not – then Jack should easily repay his price tag. I would expect low-ownership considering his team’s spot.
Klay Thompson, SG, GS ($6,300): This is another game where I expect the Warriors to absolutely destroy the other team. Thompson gets a great matchup though, and should have a big night if this game is competitive for more than a quarter or two.
Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA ($6,500): I like Hayward’s price, and the Pelicans are an atrocious defensive squad. The only concern here is a blowout if Anthony Davis is unable to go, but I don’t care about blowout potential as much for tournaments.
Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL ($6,200): A matchup with Denver seems like a prime spot for Dallas to rest Nowitzki, especially if the game gets out of hand in favor of the Mavericks. The Nuggets have been feisty at times, though, making Dirk an intriguing play if this game is competitive.
Bismack Biyombo, C, TOR ($4,300): Biyombo is a fine punt option in cash too, but given the value at center on each tier, he could be under-owned in tournaments.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Rajon Rondo, PG, SAC ($9,300): I can’t pass up on Damian Lillard for $200 less, and Rondo gets a terrible matchup on the second night of a back-to-back.
Anthony Davis, PF, NO ($10,600): I was torched by my decision to roll with Davis over Stephen Curry yesterday, but this is more about the fact that Davis will be smothered by Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert even if he gives it a go.