Wow, was last night ever tilting? Two of the plays I wrote up here were ruled out well after lineup lock. Draymond Green was listed as probable and then ruled out, while Danilo Gallinari wasn’t even on the injury report and then ruled out after lock. He is now expected to miss a couple of games because of the severity of his injury, but there was no reporting on it whatsoever beforehand. I had both of those guys locked into my one and only lineup for the night. Between the lackadaisical nature of NBA teams injury reporting and no late swap, something has got to give. Unfortunately we’re at their mercy, but with the majority of the industry mean tweeting DK last night, hopefully they will listen and give us some options.
I understand what they’re trying to do with late swap and I do appreciate it somewhat. They want the casual player to not have to be glued to their phone or computer all night waiting for injury news to react. However, I personally think there is a viable alternative. It’s actually quite simple. If a player you have rostered is ruled out after lineup locks, you may then replace that player with someone of equal or lesser value. We’ll see if that changes in the near future, but for now, it’s the hand we’re dealt. The best thing about basketball is that we get to bounce back quickly and it’s on to the next slate. Much like yesterday, my time is somewhat limited (especially after this two paragraph opening rant), so I’ll list the plays and a small blurb.
This slate looks like it’s going to force us to go with a balanced lineup. The value out there is not very appealing and we only have LeBron James ($11,800) and Joel Embiid ($10,100) priced above $10,000. My advice for tonight would be to make sure you 40-50 point upside at every position in your lineup. If at all possible, try not to roster a guy who you reasonably expect 15-20 points, unless you have 50+ upside at almost every other position.
SG/SF: Will Barton – Denver Nuggets
Barton is playing SOOOOO many minutes right now. He’s topped 41 in three of his last four games. One of those was overtime, but he played 45 in that one, so he was still at 40 in regulation. The Pistons are allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards on the season. He’s averaged a DK point per minute on the season and playing upwards of 40 minutes against the team allowing the most FP’s, he’s impossible to ignore.
PG: Lonzo Ball – New York Knicks
Ball is the exact kind of play I was talking about on this slate. You can get him at a reasonable price, but he has 40-50 point upside. On the season, the Knicks are giving up the fourth DraftKings fantasy points to opposing point guards. It’s no secret that Ball’s shooting percentage is an issue. For what it’s worth, he’s shot 10 percentage points better on the road, 16% better from three on the road, and 23% better from the free throw line. It makes a little sense. He doesn’t have near the pressure on the road that he has playing in the Staples Center.
SG: Jimmy Butler – Minnesota Timberwolves
It’s almost impossible not to play Butler every night. Granted, his price has climbed over $1,000, but he’s still worth the price in my opinion. Over his last five games, he’s averaged 46.3 DK points, which is almost six times his current salary. He doesn’t have a game in his last five with fewer than 40 DK points. That kind of consistency and upside is no where else to be found on this slate.
There are a lot of injury issues with the 76ers tonight, so I wanted to be proactive in trying to figure out where we should go here based on who’s in and who’s out. At this time, Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, and TJ McConnell are all questionable. If Embiid and Covington are out, I really like Dario Saric. Saric has topped 34.75 DK points in four of his last six games, and in all three games that Embiid sat out during that span. You would also have to consider Trevor Booker, who played nearly 20 minutes in his first game with the 76ers, scoring 26 DK points, and he played almost 25 minutes in his second game, scoring just over 30 DK points. Lastly, if McConnell is ruled out, JJ Redick becomes a solid play as he should play around 35 minutes and while somewhat volatile, he has 40 point upside at just $5,400.
PF/C: Zach Randolph – Sacramento Kings
This play hinges on the status of Willie Cauley-Stein. In the past three games, when WCS sat out, Randolph has averaged just over 47 DK points per game and roughly eight more minutes per game above his season average. His price has risen up to $7,100, but it’s still too low for that kind of upside, if WCS does not play.
FADE OF THE DAY
SF/PF: TJ Warren – Phoenix Suns
Warren is likely to be highly owned tonight due to his sub $7k salary and the upside he usually possesses. However, I want to caution you a bit on him, as he’ll be my full on fade. And I will note, I’ve possibly rostered Warren more than any other player in DFS this season. Warren has averaged 0.97 DK points per minute when on the court with Devin Booker, and just 0.85/min without Booker. Those numbers make complete sense. With Booker on the floor, he is the primary focus of opposing defenses, on an otherwise weak offensive team. Warren is able to benefit from that. Without Booker, he is the defacto top option for opposing defenses to focus on. In his three games without Booker this year, Warren has scored 25, 34.5, and 30.75 DK points. That’s not the type of upside we’re looking for. Could he go off? Sure. But more times than not, he probably won’t. And on slate that forces us to roster mid tier guys, Warren is the perfect fade candidate.
That’s it for today. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @mrclutchdfs so you can stay up to date on any changes to my plays based on late information.
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