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Plays of the Day
Value: James Johnson is coming off his best game of the season (18 PTS, 6 REB, 2 BLK over 25 mins) as he looks to find a role with yet another NBA team. This young Heat roster has need for a veteran role player like JJ, who is better equipped to slow down Dwyane Wade and/or Jimmy Butler than starting SG Dion Waiters or second-year SF Justise Winslow, so he might see a lot of playing time and pay off as a punt play again.
Fade: Kevin Durant is cheaper than he’s been over the past couple of weeks, but he’s still a bit too expensive to fit into some DFS lineups on this short slate. The Nuggets are actually giving up the fewest FPPG (27.05) in the NBA to opposing SFs and Durant might take a backseat to Steph Curry tonight.
Games to Target
- Sacramento Kings (-5.5) hosting Los Angeles Lakers (Over/Under = 208.5)
- Denver Nuggets (+6.5) hosting Golden State Warriors (Over/Under = 210.5)
Stephen Curry (GSW) @ DEN DK:$9,000/FD:$8,900
You don’t have to pay up for an elite PG on this short slate, but Curry remains an appealing option because of his reasonable price tag. Clearly the two-time reigning MVP has a solid floor with at least 35 DK points (31.6 FD points) in all eight of his appearances this season. While he’s really only flashed his tremendous upside once during that span, that’s the type of potential he brings to the table as the best shooter of all time. Tonight he’ll face a Nuggets team that’s giving up the most FPPG (49.43) to opposing PGs this season and plays at the fourth fastest pace in the NBA. Curry suffered a minor ankle injury last night and public perception might predict a blowout win for the Dubs on the road, but Denver (+6) has been good this year and the Nuggets might do enough to force a big second half out of Steph.
Emmanuel Mudiay (DEN) vs. GSW: DK:$6,300/FD:$5,900
You can look for another solid, if inefficient, performance from Mudiay as one of the young Nuggets players who could help keep tonight’s game close in Denver. He’s taken a small step forward with his game this year and is being forced to carry a much bigger load with Will Barton (ankle) and now Wilson Chandler (hamstring) on the shelf. Mudiay has scored 53 points with 9 dimes and 12 rebounds while playing 75 minutes over his last two appearances and he’ll continue to see heavy run with Barton out another week. The Warriors also play with plenty of pace, and give up the seventh-most FPPG (46.22) as well as the second-most APG (9.67) to opposing PGs this season, so feel free to use Mudiay as a mid-tier option.
Tyler Johnson ($4900/$4900) remains a very steady option as the first guard off the bench for Miami.
His production and playing time has fluctuated wildly, but Tim Frazier ($6000/$5500) is still worth a look in tournaments as a longshot threat for a triple double.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) vs. NO: DK:$9,700 as PG/FD:$9,600
He’s coming off his worst statistical performance of the season in a slugfest against Dallas, but Giannis should flourish in a much more fast-paced contest this evening. The Pelicans are the ninth-fastest pace in the NBA and giving up the seventh-most PPG (107.9) this year, while New Orleans has also given up the fifth-most PPG (24.29) to opposing PGs. The Greek Freak can’t be defined by one single position (except on DK apparently), and he represents a nightmarish matchup for the Pels, as evidenced by the 24-9-7-1-2 line he put up in New Orleans for 51.75 DK points (50.3 FD points) last week. Now the Bucks will host the winless Pelicans and Antetokounmpo will look to bounce back with his standard full line.
Dwyane Wade (CHI) @ MIA: DK:$6,500/FD:$6,700
At this age, Wade has to pick his spots for big games, but he’ll almost assuredly be motivated in his return to Miami for the first time as an opposing player. The fact that he’s on the second half of a B2B set and completely flopped with just 4 points over 22 minutes the only time he played on 0 days rest this season makes D-Wade more of a tournament play, but those who live on #NarrativeStreet should be all over him. The Heat is weaker defensively at SG with Dion Waiters replacing Wade, and is accordingly giving up 22 PPG to the position this season. Jimmy Butler and Wade have formed an effective tandem for the Bulls and they should look to make a statement in Miami this evening.
Gary Harris ($4600/$4600) is starting to find his rhythm after missing the beginning of the season and he should play big minutes for Denver tonight.
Lakers sixth man Jordan Clarkson ($5000/$5100) is worth a look in tournaments in a plus matchup against the Kings. Lou Williams ($5100/$4900) is a slightly safer play who could thrive in the same matchup.
Jimmy Butler (CHI) @ MIA: DK:$7,100/FD:$7,600
This is a tricky position to consider tonight with Kevin Durant also reasonably priced as a Warriors superstar with a great floor/ceiling combination, and Rudy Gay sitting next to Butler on both main DFS sites. Yet I would prefer Butler over the Kings secondary scorer after he went off for 39 points last night and continues to assert his standing as the Bulls top dog. Dwyane Wade might get more play than Butler because of the narrative tonight, but the 27-year-old is far more capable of playing big minutes on the second half of a B2B set. Butler averaged 18.9 PPG, 5.6 APG and 4.9 RPG on 0 days rest last season and his usage has not dropped with Rajon Rondo and Wade joining his team, in fact his Usage Rate (26.6%) is the highest it’s ever been through six seasons. Throw out the DvP numbers when it comes to Butler, because he’s simply an elite all-around scorer, who can find a way to keep Chicago in this game on the road.
James Johnson (MIA) vs. CHI: DK:$3,000/FD:$3,700
Out of left field we’re recommending a true punt play that is the bare minimum price on DraftKings tonight. Johnson is coming off his best game of the season (18 PTS, 6 REB, 2 BLK over 25 mins) as he looks to find a role with yet another NBA team. Yet this young Heat roster has need for a veteran role player like JJ, who is better equipped to slow down Wade and/or Butler than starting SG Dion Waiters or second-year SF Justise Winslow. Johnson has a rather low floor and his playing time has not been consistent to this point, but he’s averaging 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per 36 minutes throughout his journeyed career and is a great bet to exceed value if his coach rolls with him for 25+ minutes again.
Brandon Ingram ($3300/$3600) is a punt play with less upside than Johnson, but his playing time is a bit more consistent and he’s slightly safer if Larry Nance Jr. (concussion) is ruled out again.
If Wilson Chandler ($4900/$5200) is cleared to play tonight, he’ll be worth a look in tournaments. If not, consider Danilo Gallinari ($6100/$6300) as a correlation play to either of the Warriors star scorers.
Anthony Davis (NOP) @ MIL: DK:$11,300/FD:$10,900
Davis is so expensive that it might require playing a mid-tier PG and punting the SF position to squeeze him into lineups, but it could be worth that sacrifice in GPP formats. The Brow has been quieter since erupting for 95 points and 32 rebounds in his first two appearances this year, yet it’s hard to call seasonal averages of 30.9 PPG, 11.4 RPG and 3 BPG anything but elite. As predicted in this very column, Davis had a huge game (35 points, 15 rebounds, 69.75 DK points) against the Bucks last week and he should continue to find success against an opponent that simply can’t defend the paint. Milwaukee is giving up the seventh-most FPPG (49.84) to opposing centers this year and Davis is clearly a nightmare matchup for the Bucks frontcourt.
Draymond Green (GSW) @ DEN: DK:$7,800/FD:$8,400
Draymond has been remarkably consistent this season when you think about how the Warriors have been slow to adjust to the presence of Kevin Durant on offense. Since he was never a focal point of the offense, Green continues to put up solid numbers by moving the ball and finishing on the break, which is how I believe he’ll make his hay in a potential track meet tonight. The Nuggets are giving up the third-most FPPG (48.21) and third-most PPG (23.86) to opposing PFs this season, as they can’t seem to play Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic together and are vastly outmatched by the opposition’s quickness when they try. Green averaged 18 PPG, 11 RPG and 8.7 APG with a huge triple double (29-17-14) against Denver last season, but he’s more of a cash game play with backdoor upside as the fourth offensive option this season.
Kenneth Faried ($4800/$5100) is playing more and more at the expense of Nikola Jokic and he would match up far better against Draymond Green tonight.
Terrence Jones ($4700/$4500) bounced back from a dud on Monday to exceed value once again off the bench, so he’s worth a look as a value play with upside.
Hassan Whiteside (MIA) vs. CHI: DK:$8,500/FD:$8,200
Choosing Whiteside over DeMarcus Cousins has been profitable all season and both main DFS sites are making it easy to keep choosing the younger center based on the huge gap in their price tags. Whiteside is averaging 42.6 DK PPG (39.4 FD PPG) and he’s only failed to produce a double double in one of his seven appearances this season. Despite the addition of Robin Lopez, the Bulls are still giving up the ninth-most FPPG (49.0) to opposing centers and they’re really struggling to defend the paint while failing to give RoLo a full slate of minutes. Whiteside will absolutely dominate if the Bulls go small with Taj Gibson playing alongside Nikola Mirotic or Bobby Portis, and Whiteside seems like a prideful young man who might relish in spoiling Dwyane Wade’s homecoming.
Timofey Mozgov ($3200/$3700) completely flopped against the Mavs two nights ago, but he’ll be needed to play big minutes and defend Boogie Cousins tonight.
Jusuf Nurkic ($6000/$5700) remains the preferred option in the Nuggets front court, but he’s a longshot to keep pace with the Warriors tonight.