There are three games on the schedule tonight, including a pair of solid fantasy matchups on national television.
A piece of your core almost has to come from the Thunder-Cavaliers showdown in Cleveland. I recommend picking your stud from this game because the spread is tight (Cleveland is favored by three) and both teams rely on their top two players to do the heavy lifting.
I like picking complementary plays and tournament options from the latter game, which is the Rockets at Lakers. I don’t love Harden due to his price and the risk of a blowout, but guys like Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard and some of the reliable Lakers (is that a thing?) could be usable tonight.
I have thoughts on all my favorite plays after today’s news and notes:
- Nicolas Batum (illness) is questionable. Jeremy Lamb and Jeremy Lin would get the biggest boost if Batum is out, and I’d like Kemba Walker more as well.
- Iman Shumpert (groin) and Kyrie Irving (knee) are both confirmed out for the Cavaliers. Mo Williams (thumb) is questionable for this contest as well. If Williams sits, Matthew Dellavedova could see an uptick in minutes.
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 ($10,300): Westbrook is the premier option tonight for cash games in my opinion, even coming off one of his worst games of the season. The Cavaliers have given up a ton of fantasy points to point guards over the past few weeks, and if Westbrook gets to face off against Matthew Dellavedova, he might just eat him alive.
LeBron James, SF, CLE ($9,900): In my cash lineup – at least as currently constructed – Westbrook is paired with James, who’s somehow under $10K. The crazy-high scores haven’t appeared quite yet for the Cavaliers franchise player, but he’s a near-lock for 40 DraftKings points per contest, with obvious upside.
More studs to consider: Kyle Lowry, PG, TOR ($8,500) – James Harden, SG, HOU ($10,800) – Kevin Durant, SF, OKC ($10,100)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players and Punt Plays
Cory Joseph, PG, TOR ($4,100): Joseph doesn’t do anything to make you get too excited; he just simply plays a lot, which is enough on this slate. His 30+ minutes at his price should allow him to meet value at around 20 DraftKings points.
Dion Waiters, SG, OKC ($4,000): Quietly, Waiters has played an average of 30 minutes per game over his last six, averaging 18 DraftKings points in those contests. At shooting guard, the value is with either him or Terrence Ross, but the volume should always be there for Waiters, so I prefer him. Plus, DION WAITERS REVENGE GAME.
Terrence Ross, SG, TOR ($3,900): Ross is still a value despite not performing well at all in his new role as a starter. At his price, we’re looking for guaranteed minutes, and it seems as though Ross will continue to receive around 30 per game as long as DeMarre Carroll is sidelined.
Trevor Ariza, SF, HOU ($5,700): If you don’t like stars-and-scrubs, Ariza is probably your play at small forward. He plays a ton of minutes and usually produces somewhere between 20 and 30 DraftKings points. He’s the sensible choice tonight if you’re willing to potentially forgo two studs out of the $10K group.
Kevin Love, PF, CLE ($8,000): Love is the only option I’m willing to consider for cash outside of the punt category. I actually will probably punt this position entirely tonight because I don’t like the matchup here – knocking Love’s points-per-dollar – but I feel safe in saying that he’ll be the top guy at his position in terms of DK points.
Larry Nance Jr., PF, LAL ($3,400): If Donatas Motiejunas starts, I may be more inclined to go with him, but the punt option I find myself on the most is Nance Jr., the starter for the Lakers right now. He doesn’t do anything to put himself in the position to contribute a ton of stats, but he plays 20-25 minutes in his role and will face the worst team at defending power forwards. Plus, his small salary makes it easier to get more studs into the lineup.
Dwight Howard, C, HOU ($7,000): Unless you punt, Howard is probably going to be your center. If you like narratives, how about an unhappy Dwight getting force fed against his old team?
LOTTERY TICKETS – 5 Tournaments Options
D’Angelo Russell, PG, LAL ($5,400): Russell has been coming on strong, but is still trapped on the bench because Byron Scott is a maniac. Still, the upside is fantastic for tournaments.
Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL ($6,100): If you get 50 DK-point Kobe, he’s probably going to win you a lot of money. However, you could get 15 DK-point Kobe, so that’s why he’s a tournament-only play.
Corey Brewer, SF, HOU ($4,200): Brewer played 17 minutes against the Lakers about a week ago and scored over 20 DK points. If he sees 20+ minutes tonight – certainly possible in what looks like the best bet to be a blowout – he should provide good tournament value.
Serge Ibaka, PF, OKC ($6,100): Ibaka is only here because he’ll be somewhat contrarian tonight, and the Cavaliers will run a ton of their offense through Kevin Love. If Ibaka shows up tonight, he could get his value on defensive stats alone. Or he could be awful like he’s been for most of the year, fantasy-wise.
Frank Kaminsky, C, CHA ($3,700): Kaminsky is playing well recently, and he has the most scoring upside of any of the center punts.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Nicolas Batum, SF, CHA ($7,500): Batum has been dealing with illness, and may not even play tonight. That’s enough for me not to consider him for this small slate.