There’s a 10-game NBA slate on deck for tonight, which brings with it only two games with double-digit spreads. Out of the eight games projected to be competitive by Vegas, two games sport totals of 209.
The first one, the Rockets at the Nuggets, features a few excellent options – James Harden, Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson – as well as a few tournament plays across the board. The second, the Suns at the Mavericks, has a load of guards that are usable (any of the starters) and a pace that could provide a ton of fantasy value.
I have my picks from those two games, as well as the rest of the slate, but first let’s get a rundown of the news for today’s games:
- Tobias Harris (leg) will play versus the Nets. I’m not using him, but it’s worth noting that Harris will be in the lineup.
- Shane Larkin (eye) will play against the Magic. His presence still makes me nervous about using Jarrett Jack, but it looks like they’re willing to play Larkin off the ball, so those worries are slowly diminishing.
- Nerlens Noel (eye) is out against the Bulls. You’ll likely see Jerami Grant slide into the starting five, and he’s a decent play at small forward. Jahlil Okafor could see a bump in minutes with very few options at center for the 76ers.
- Tony Allen (knee) is a game-time decision for the Grizzlies, but would come off the bench anyways. In case you missed it, Memphis is now starting Matt Barnes and Jeff Green, relegating Allen and Zach Randolph to the bench.
- Deron Williams (illness) will play. I like him in this matchup, and I don’t think this affects Raymond Felton’s rising fantasy value all that much.
- Clint Capela (illness) is a game-time decision. More on Terrence Jones down below.
- Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle) is out. More on Jameer Nelson down below.
- Ryan Anderson (illness) is a game-time decision. Alexis Ajinca would get a modest boost if Anderson is out.
Make sure to check the news up until tip:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Jameer Nelson, PG, DEN ($4,200): Emmanuel Mudiay is out tonight, so Nelson will start against the Rockets. He’s definitely past his prime, but he’s still capable of handing out assists and chipping in a handful of points. He only needs around 20 DraftKings points at this price and he’s scored 22 DraftKings points per game against the Rockets in only 26 minutes per game.
Jahlil Okafor, C, PHI ($6,400): With Nerlens Noel out, Okafor becomes all the more intriguing. His usage rate without Noel is slightly higher, as is his field goal percentage. There aren’t many options for the 76ers at center, so Okafor’s minutes are quite secure against a team that gives up a ton of fantasy points to opposing bigs.
More studs to consider: John Wall, PG, WAS ($9,700) – James Harden, SG, HOU ($10,800) – Andre Drummond, C, DET ($9,300)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players and Punt Plays
Deron Williams, PG, DAL ($6,600): Williams was announced as in, so I don’t have any concerns about him with regards to his illness. The Suns are one of the worst teams against opposing point guards, and Williams has been a pleasant surprise this year. I like him as a mid-tier option.
Courtney Lee, SG, MEM ($3,900): Lee is a key piece to the Grizzlies’ new small-ball movement. He’s also the team’s best three-point shooter as a 38 percent shooter from beyond the arc, so his minutes should be fairly secure as long as Memphis desires to space the floor. There’s a bit of concern with using a shooter on the second night of a back-to-back, but his price is so cheap that he’s worth a look.
Tyreke Evans, SG, NO ($7,000): The Trail Blazers have been pretty good against opposing point guards from a fantasy perspective, but Evans’s upside and price are too good to pass up in this high total game. Whenever you can get a point guard at the shooting-guard position it’s a good idea, and Evans has been mostly good since his return from a knee injury.
Robert Covington, SF, PHI ($7,000): The Bulls haven’t been good at limiting the fantasy performances of opposing small forwards, and Covington should get all the shots he wants as long as he plays for the 76ers. There are safer options in relation to price, but the upside for Covington is very good.
Jeff Green, SF, MEM ($4,600): You can use new starter Matt Barnes as well, but I prefer Green, who should continue to be an offensive focal point for Memphis as long as he’s starting. His 40 minutes last night are bit of a deterrent, but he doesn’t have to do much at his price, and gets to take on a Wizards squad that struggles defensively.
Jon Leuer, PF, PHX ($5,900): Leuer is no longer a value play, having worked his way up into the mid-tier price range, but he’s still a solid option as long as he sees the 28-30 minutes he’s been getting. The Mavericks have trouble slowing down frontcourt guys, so Leuer could achieve a double-double performance tonight.
Paul Millsap, PF, ATL ($7,900): Millsap has been excellent so far this season, so I don’t mind using him in an unappealing matchup against the Heat. In an uninspiring pool of power forwards, Millsap provides the best combination of floor and ceiling at his price.
Nikola Vucevic, C, ORL ($6,800): I’ll probably use an Okafor-Vucevic combo in plenty of lineups tonight, because Vucevic is still underpriced. At less than $7K you can get a likely double-double with the potential for more against a poor rebounding center in Brook Lopez.
LOTTERY TICKETS – 5 Tournaments Options
Brandon Knight, PG, PHX ($7,600): There are safer options for cash games, but the upside with Knight has been extremely high this season. The matchup with Dallas should have Knight squaring off against Raymond Felton, which means there could be a massive profit here.
DeMar DeRozan, SG, TOR ($7,100): Kyle Lowry will likely be guarded by George Hill, which leaves DeRozan to be guarded by Monta Ellis. If that scenario occurs, DeRozan is a fantastic play, and his upside is only dinged by the threat of Paul George sliding over to check him.
Danilo Gallinari, SF, DEN ($6,900): Gallo has averaged over 40 DraftKings points against the Rockets in two games this season. I’d rather go elsewhere in cash (either Memphis player) but I can see using him in any format tonight.
Terrence Jones, PF, HOU ($4,900): Clint Capela is sick, so if he misses, Jones will vault up the ranks in value. Even if Capela plays, he could be limited, making Jones a nice flier for tournaments.
Pau Gasol, C, CHI ($7,900): Gasol’s price is in a spot where I’ve begun to feel uneasy about using him, given how his minutes have been limited this year. Still, he dropped 40 DraftKings points in 29 minutes against the 76ers in their last matchup, so there’s tournament upside here.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Kyle Lowry, PG, TOR ($8,900): There are much better values at point guard, and I respect the Pacers’ point-guard defense led by George Hill.
The Utah Jazz: The Spurs are scary-good. Their defensive rating is 91.9 this year – that’s best in the league by nearly five points per 100 possessions – and over the last two weeks that number has been 89.4. Oh, and over that same two-week span, their net rating is 18.9. So this game could be over rather quickly, making the Jazz a clear avoid for me.