We have a nine-game NBA slate tonight — one of the larger schedules as of late — and that means plenty of diverse lineups for tonight’s contests. That also means we have a ton of injury news to go over, so I’ll try to make this quick and easy for everyone.
The game to target tonight, if you need only one, is Boston at New Orleans. The over/under total is 211.5, which is the highest among the games. With Anthony Davis in a good spot against the likes of Jared Sullinger and Amir Johnson, and Tyreke Evans back from injury, the Pelicans should make this a very competitive tilt. Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Evan Turner are a few of my favorite plays from Boston’s side of things.
Today’s news and notes:
- Jahlil Okafor (illness) and Isaiah Canaan (ankle) are both game-time decisions tonight. Hollis Thompson becomes an interesting cheap flier if Canaan is out.
- Kemba Walker (illness) is doubtful tonight, making Jeremy Lin a great value play. Nicolas Batum is also a very intriguing play at shooting guard with more ball handling duties.
- Kobe Bryant (illness) is a game-time decision for tonight in Toronto, but considering it’ll be his last stop in Canada as an NBA player, I’d expect him to give it a go. I still don’t think you can play him in any format.
- John Wall (knee) is a game-time decision after sustaining what seems to be a knee contusion last night. Ramon Sessions is a great value play if Wall sits.
- Luol Deng (hamstring) is a game-time decision again tonight. Gerald Green will likely take the starting role again if Deng doesn’t go.
- Chris Paul (ribs) is out and J.J. Redick (ankle) is questionable. Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford have the arrow pointing up, but there are better plays than both.
- Avery Bradley (illness) is a game-time decision tonight against the Pelicans. Evan Turner becomes a great cash play if Bradley doesn’t play.
Remember to check the news up until tip:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core
Isaiah Thomas, PG, BOS ($7,700): Kyle Lowry is probably my favorite point guard play of the night, but Thomas isn’t far behind — and he’s $1.2K cheaper. For that reason, I’m building around the Celtics’ point guard against New Orleans in a game with the highest over/under total of the day.
O.J. Mayo, SG, MIL ($4,900): Mayo took on the point-guard role for the Bucks in their last game, and should see big minutes again tonight with their mounting number of injuries. The Trail Blazers have been awful against opposing guards, so he gets a further boost as well.
Three more studs to consider: Kyle Lowry, PG, TOR ($8,900) — Anthony Davis, PF, NO ($10,700) — Andre Drummond, C, DET ($9,300)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players & Punt Plays
Jose Calderon, PG, NY ($4,100): Calderon has been a capable fill-in at this salary, and I’ll continue to recommend him. If you need a guard option at a punt price, he’ll keep you afloat for cash games.
Jeremy Lin, PG, CHA ($4,100): As I was getting ready to put the finishing touches on this article, it was announced that Kemba Walker is doubtful tonight due to illness. That makes Lin a fantastic play — more so than Calderon — if he gets the start. Watch that news.
Khris Middleton, SG, MIL ($5,300): Middleton is never one of my favorite plays because he’s quite scoring dependent, but the Trail Blazers give up quite a bit of fantasy points to wings and guards. Middleton should see some time at the 2, which boosts his potential productivity in this matchup.
Nicolas Batum, SG, CHA ($7,500): Batum makes the shift to shooting guard on DraftKings, which makes him an intriguing option every night given his production. In this matchup he should have no problem against a Detroit team that struggles against wings.
Jae Crowder, SF, BOS ($5,500): Crowder’s upside is always intriguing because he can supply defensive stats, knock down threes and grab boards. For that reason, I’m always looking towards him when his team plays in a high-octane matchup. His price is good for a weak position, too.
Carmelo Anthony, SF, NY ($7,900): Kawhi Leonard is the safest play of the small-forward group, but I’d rather have Anthony because of his combination of safety and upside. I don’t expect Leonard to play the entire game against Philadelphia, whereas Melo could be carrying his team throughout.
Jon Leuer, PF, PHX ($4,400): Leuer is the chalk value play tonight, but beware of this situation. I don’t believe his minutes will evaporate entirely — it’s just that I don’t expect Markieff Morris to play 0 minutes every night going forward.
Chris Bosh, PF, MIA ($7,300): Bosh against the small-ball Wizards is a fairly good spot. The stretch big shouldn’t be in any trouble of getting benched should the Heat go smaller, and he could dominate the glass given the Wizards’ depth down low.
Greg Monroe, C, MIL ($6,900): The Trail Blazers have been eaten alive by opposing bigs, and Monroe is one of my favorites to use in such situations. He sees solid volume as the top option of the Milwaukee offense.
LOTTERY TICKETS – Five Tournament Plays
Damian Lillard, PG, POR ($8,800): I think paying $100 more for Kyle Lowry is the way to go in cash, but Lillard is a nice pivot for tournaments. The Bucks are solid against point guards, but Lillard’s volume typically trumps any matchup deficiencies.
Evan Turner, SG, BOS ($4,900): Turner’s triple-double upside in a fast-paced matchup makes him a nice value play for tournaments tonight.
Doug McDermott, SF, CHI ($3,400): McDermott doesn’t really do much on the stat sheet except for hit threes, but a matchup with the Suns could provide ample opportunity for him to do so. His floor is low, so I’ll be avoiding him in cash, but his tournament value is still solid.
Nikola Mirotic, PF, CHI ($5,000): Mirotic’s price is very low, but his upside is north of 30 DraftKings points. A matchup with Phoenix is conducive to small-ball, so Mirotic could shine tonight.
Tim Duncan, C, SA ($5,800): Duncan could have a nice day if Gregg Popvich lets him loose against the 76ers. Anything near 30 minutes would make Duncan a great play for tournaments.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Derrick Rose, PG, CHI ($6,400): I like plenty of Chicago guys tonight, but I can’t get on board with Rose quite yet. I need to see consistent performances like his last game before using him.
Pau Gasol, C, CHI ($7,500): I like Mirotic, but can’t get on board with Gasol. His price is up, his minutes are down, and I think Joakim Noah is playing well enough for Fred Hoiberg to continue being cautious with Gasol.