THE NBA IS BACK!!! I hope you’re as excited as me to have the NBA back in action. It was a long week off. I spent my time playing Golf, Nascar, and NHL, while even throwing some money into the NBA All-Star Weekend competitions. Anything for a fix I guess.
I was on the best hot streak of my NBA DFS career going into the break, so I’m looking forward to hopefully picking up where we left off. We have 11 games on Friday, which is always my favorite slate of the week. Let’s get into my five core plays.
PG/: Elfrid Payton – Phoenix Suns
We’ve always known that Payton could stuff the stat sheet, and now that he has been unleashed since being traded to the Suns, he is doing just that. It appears he will be playing 35-40 minutes in games that are close, as I expect this one to be. His price is getting pretty high, but I love him in this matchup against the Clippers. We should expect plenty of possessions for both teams, as they are both in the top three in terms of pace on this slate. Payton gives us realistic 50+ point upside at sub-$8,000.
PG/SG: Eric Bledsoe – Milwaukee Bucks
Bledsoe has been on a tear over his past six games, scoring no fewer than 35.25 DK points, while topping 43.25 four times. Now, for some reason, his price has dropped back below $7,000 for the first time in four games. Bledsoe has experienced quite a bit of success against the Raptors over his career. He topped 50 DK points earlier in the season against them in an overtime loss. Just two games after that, he had a down outing against them, but the Bucks got blown out, so I’m not going to let that deter me here. Last season, Bledsoe put up 51.25 and 68.5 DK points against the Raptors. In fact, the three games before those two, he scored 40+ in all, and topped 49 in two of them. Lock Bledsoe in for big upside with a solid floor.
SF/PF: Ersan Ilyasova – Atlanta Hawks
I wrote up Ilyasova before the All-Star break and he ended up getting scratched. He has been announced the starter for Friday’s game and I expect him to continue seeing 25-30 minutes and provide a solid source of offense for this team. At just $4,500, he gives you salary relief, but also poses the tournament winning upside that we need.
PF/C: Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers
I’ve targeted Randle in this matchup each time this season, and it’s paid off nicely. I’m not going to stop here. Randle put up 44 DK points against them earlier this month, to follow up the 42.75 he scored in January. The Mavs struggle to rebound and Randle excels in that department. What I also like is that he scored 49 combined points in the first two meetings, which gives him massive upside with his high rebound projection. No one on the Mavs can cover him, so he’s another play that you lock in.
C: Hassan Whiteside – Miami Heat
I just don’t see a way around playing Whiteside on this slate. I have an unspoken rule in DFS and it’s this: If a player seems blatantly, obviously too cheap, just play him. More times than not, it ends up working out. And for those times I don’t go with my gut in these situations, it ends up burning me. Whiteside is priced the lowest he’s been since January 10. I know his minutes can be hard to trust, but in his last six games, he’s only scored fewer than 37.5 Draftkings points once, and that was still 31. Over his last three meetings with the Pelicans, Whiteside has averaged 45.5 DK points and in six career games against them, he’s never scored fewer than 34.75. For what it’s worth, he has also averaged six more DK points on the road this season than at home.
That’s the first part of this equation, now let’s dive into the second. The Pelicans interior defense has atrocious lately. Since January 1, the Pelicans have played 15 Draftkings eligible centers over $7,000. A couple of those 15 are the same player twice, but we’ll treat them as 15 separate instances. Here’s the breakdown of those 15 instances by fantasy points scored:
- 30 DK points – 1 time
- 30-40 DK points – 5 times
- 40-50 DK points – 4 times
- 50+ DK points – 5 times
As you can see, they are hemorrhaging fantasy points to centers and Whiteside has tournament winning upside.
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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