This may be the best slate all year long. It also may be the hardest. The best because there are so many good plays. The hardest because it’s going to be really hard to narrow down our plays. Whereas Thursday night’s slate barely had enough guys worth playing to fill out an entire roster, Friday is overloaded with plays that would be a no brainer on any other night. I’ll do my best to navigate through these plays and tell you who I think should be on your short list. Keep in mind, I’m writing this on Thursday night, so chances are a lot could change throughout the day. I’ll be on twitter to answer questions and provide updates throughout the day.
PG: Frank Mason III – Sacramento Kings
PG/SG: Shelvin Mack – Orlando Magic
This is a two-fer-one special. Both could be in line for big minutes due to injury. Mason will benefit if De’Aaron Fox sits this one out, which I think there is a good chance of. Mason averaged a bit less than a point per minute on the season and he should play around 30 minutes without Fox. That would put his projection in the mid-20’s, which would be plenty of value on his $3,800 DraftKings price tag.
Mack would step into a massive role if DJ Augustine does not play. If it weren’t for a 10-day contract signee on Wednesday, the Magic wouldn’t even have another point guard on the roster. They are banged up across the board, with Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon already ruled out. If Augustine is out too, the Magic would be our top source of value on this slate, and you could roster three to four Orlando players.
To sort it all out, if both Fox and Augustine are out, you can play both Mason and Mack. However, Mack would be the much better play as he could play minutes in the high 30’s.
SG/SF: Jonathon Simmons – Orlando Magic
Simmons is the next cog in the value tree for the Magic. With Gordon and Fournier out, he should play massive minutes on the wing. I fully expect him to see minutes in the high thirties as well and has the upside to score 40+ fantasy points. He’s one of the no-brainer value plays on the slate, as he has a solid floor for cash games and massive upside for tournaments.
SF/PF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors
(NOTE: I wrote everything below before Steph Curry rolled his ankle on Thursday night. Assuming he doesn’t play tonight, everything below is still relevant and Durant is an even better play now. However, the ownership will likely not be as low as I first assumed, with him becoming one of the chalkier plays on the slate.)
I think the masses are going to flock to Lebron James on this slate after his Wednesday night performance is fresh on everyone’s mind. While I think he’s a solid play, I think Durant is an amazing pivot. First off, Lebron needs 69 DraftKings points to hit 6X value. He missed that by half of a point in that big game the other night. Just watching the game, you would have thought he crushed value with the way he dominated the game. Of course there’s a realistic chance that he does hit 6X, but Durant only costs $8,900. That’s $2,600 less than Lebron and Durant could outscore him on any given slate.
The other enticing thing about Durant is his matchup with Portland. There’s just something about them that brings out his best. In his last 17 regular season matchups against them, he’s topped 50 DK points in 10 of them. In fact, he’s scored 50 or more in each of the last five, including the massive 72.75 DK points just last month. I think Durant makes a ton of sense and unless his depressed price is too enticing for the masses to pass up, he’ll likely be lower owned than he should be.
PF/C: Larry Nance – Cleveland Cavaliers
I will have exposure to the Cavs with Nance. His price is up to $7,100, but that’s still not high enough. He’s going to play 35-40 minutes and has proven himself as better than a point per minute fantasy producer. He is flourishing in this starting role, as are the Cavs. I don’t know how they could ever go back to Tristan Thompson in the starting lineup. Anyways, Nance has averaged 1.31 DK points per minute in those two games, and has averaged 1.20 DK points per minute in three games against the Clippers this season. In his return to Los Angeles, I fully expect him to show out in the Staples Center, where he should be very comfortable. I’m hoping that people will let his price increase keep them off of him, which would make him a phenomenal play.
PG: Damian Lilard – Portland Trailblazers
If you’ve read my article more than once this season, you probably expected to see Lilard in here. When I got my midseason DraftKings report, Lilard was one of my top three highest owned players from the first half of the season. That percentage has only risen since then, as I’ve rostered Lilard nearly every time he’s on a slate over the past three weeks. And I’m a single lineup player, so that doesn’t mean I script him in and claim to play him every night. He is simply on a tear right now and I’m going to continue to tag along for the ride. On top of his current form, this matchup couldn’t be any better. Just as Durant has dominated against the Blazers, Lilard has returned the favor against the Warriors.
Two seasons ago, he was at 49.75 DK points or better in three out of four of their matchups. The two high games of the three were 69.75 and 78. Last season, for whatever reason, he struggled a bit against them, scoring just 33 DK points per in three games against. Fast forward to this season, and he has returned to form, averaging 58.6 DK points in two games, after his 63.75 in that matchup last month. Throw in his current form and I think he is an exceptional play. I keep going back to ownership, but I think that it will be diluted on this slate because there are so many solid options. Therefore, I’ll be happy hitching my wagon to Lilard opposite of Durant, when more people will probably be on the pieces of the Cavs/Clippers game.
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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