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Plays of the Day
Value: Trey Lyles is a super value play who can help you to try and fit Westbrook, Davis and/or Harden into your lineups this evening. With Derrick Favors (knee) and veteran backup Boris Diaw (leg) both on the wrong side of questionable tonight, Lyles could be looking at a start and big minutes for the Jazz against a Grizzlies team that's suddenly average in nearly every defensive category.
Fade: Blake Griffin and Chris Paul could both have big first halves in what should be an absolute beatdown of the Nets (+14.5) at home tonight, but it’s hard to trust them to meet value if this game is out of hand early, as it’s one of the biggest possible mismatches in the NBA right now.
Games to Target
- Houston Rockets (-11.5) hosting Philadelphia 76ers (Over/Under = 214.5)
- New Orleans Pelicans (+4) hosting Boston Celtics (Over/Under = 211.5)
Russell Westbrook (OKC) @ DET: DK:$10,800/FD:$11,600
This is by far the cheapest Westbrook's been all year on DraftKings and it's hard to understand why. If you're telling me it's because the Pistons allow the fewest DK PPG to opposing PGs early in the season I'll laugh and reply that Westbrook is hardly a normal PG, as he's grabbed 33 rebounds and scored 106 points over his last three appearances. He's coming off a monster triple double (41 points, 12 rebounds, 16 assists) in a close game against the Magic yesterday and he’s been just fine on the second half of B2B sets with averages of 22.8 PPG and 10.1 APG on 0 days rest last season. Pistons HC Stan Van Gundy might be drawing up his defensive plans right now, but he's not going to be able to stop this one-man wrecking crew and the Thunder (+3) should require another heroic performance from the MVP candidate on the road.
Isaiah Thomas (BOS) @ NOP DK:$7,800/FD:$8,100
IT4 jammed a finger on his shooting hand last Saturday, and I wouldn’t worry about that injury for a second. He’s tough as nails and will almost certainly be in the starting lineup tonight for a shorthanded Celtics team that badly needs his scoring and playmaking ability right now. Thomas will look to run circles around fill-in PG Tim Frazier and a Pelicans team that ranks 26th in PPG allowed (106.5) while coughing up the third-most PPG (26.75) to opposing PGs this season. New Orleans ranks 27th in 3PT defense (.371%) as well, which gives Thomas and backcourt mate Avery Bradley a great chance to pile up points by draining open shots from beyond the arc in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Sergio Rodriguez ($5300/$5100) remains a solid value play for cash games with the Sixers visiting the fast-paced Rockets tonight.
Tim Frazier ($6100/$5500) is still a threat to produce big FP totals with Jrue Holiday (personal) not with the team and Anthony Davis (back) potentially limited this evening.
James Harden (HOU) vs. PHI: DK:$12,000/FD:$11,700
While it’s become increasingly challenging to afford Harden and damn-near impossible if you want to pay up for Westbrook or Davis in GPP formats, The Beard remains the best cash game play in DFS. He posted yet another triple double against the Spurs vaunted defense on Saturday and now he takes on a Philly team that’s been a defensive bottom-feeder for years. The Sixers cough up the most APG (10.22) to opposing PGs this season and Harden is obviously running the show with a league-high 13 APG so far this year. The spread is a concern with Houston (-11.5) heavily favored at home, but Philadelphia has been pretty competitive this year and much more so when Rookie of the Year candidate Joel Embiid is active, so it’s worth paying up for Harden and hoping for a full slate of minutes, which would almost guarantee double-digit points and assists from the MVP candidate.
Josh Richardson (MIA) @ SAS: DK:$4,400/FD:$3,800
It was Richardson, and not 50-million dollar man Tyler Johnson, who started at PG for Miami last Saturday, and that trend should continue with Goran Dragic (ankle) ruled out again tonight. Richardson carries value on his own now that he's overcome an early-season injury and is ready to play heavy minutes for a Heat team that's moving on without D-Wade, but his Usage Rate (25.5%) and Assist Rate (20%) spiked significantly with Dragic out in a tough matchup against the Jazz. The Spurs pose an equally difficult matchup, but are not quite as defensively sound as they've been in the past under Popovich, and Richardson's volume should carry him to value at this near-minimum price tag.
Danny Green ($4100/$4300) fell short of value in a quiet game on Saturday, but I still trust him to meet value at this modest price tag. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5000/$4700) is a bit safer and comes with more upside if you can afford the pay jump.
J.J. Barea ($6800/$5800 as PG on FD) is always worth a look with Deron Williams and Dirk Nowitzki likely out tonight, and he’s very cheap on FanDuel.
Harrison Barnes (DAL) vs. NYK: DK:$7,100/FD:$6,000
I’d only recommend Barnes as a GPP play on DK at that price tag, while Kawhi Leonard ($8900) stands out as the obvious cash game option for those who can afford him tonight. Yet on FanDuel, where points are arguably more important than peripheral stats, a player like Barnes is a steal at $6K. He’s dropped 90 points while playing a whopping 41.2 MPG and seeing a 29.7% Usage Rate over his last three appearances with Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, and at times J.J. Barea inactive for the aging Mavs. Barea and Andrew Bogut are expected to return tonight, but that hardly hurts Barnes’ juicy matchup against a Knicks team that’s coughing up the fourth-most FPPG (44.17) to opposing SFs this season.
Robert Covington (PHI) @ HOU: DK:$5,500/FD:$4,800
With one of the highest Over/Unders of the night (214.5 points), this matchup should be very fast paced and provide plenty of opportunities for shooters to hit transition threes. That is Covington’s specialty, and he’s overcome an early-season slump to go 13-for-29 (45%) from deep over his last four appearances. Houston ranks 24th in 3PT defense (.363%) and 27th in defensive rating while coughing up the most PPG (25.11) to opposing SFs this season. While Covington saw his minutes drop in a blowout loss in Atlanta on Saturday, he logged 40 minutes in the Sixers’ OT win over the Pacers the night before, so he’s a great correlation play if you want to use Harden and hope for a close game in Houston this evening.
James Johnson ($3500/$3800) is seeing a rise in playing time with Dragic out and he’ll probably log big minutes tonight in an effort to match up with Kawhi Leonard.
C.J. Miles ($5500/$4400) is a solid value on FD regardless, but he could emerge as an elite play if Paul George (ankle) is inactive for the Pacers tonight.
Anthony Davis (NOP) vs. BOS: DK:$11,300/FD:$11,600
Davis gave seasonal owners a scare and made DFSers roll their collective eyes by departing Saturday’s game with a back strain, but he returned and finished with his usual 34 points and 50+ FPs in a bad loss to the Lakers. Tonight represents a far better matchup for The Brow against a Celtics team that might still be without starting center Al Horford (concussion) and has been absolutely awful on the boards even when the big man is active. Boston ranks 29th in total rebounding rate (.467%), 28th in defensive rating and gives up the third-most offensive RPG (13.4) in the NBA this year. Davis has ripped through much tougher front lines on his way to a bigtime bounce back season, and when he was healthy during the 2014-15 season he averaged a whopping 31.5 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 3.0 APG and 3.0 BPG over 2 meetings with these Celtics.
Trey Lyles (UTA) vs. MEM: DK:$3,300/FD:$3,600
Lyles is a super value play who can help you to try and fit Westbrook, Davis and/or James Harden into your lineups this evening. With Derrick Favors (knee) and veteran backup Boris Diaw (leg) both on the wrong side of questionable tonight, Lyles could be looking at a start and big minutes against a Grizzlies team that's suddenly average in nearly every defensive category. The Michigan product is an excellent shooter from mid-range and beyond the 3PT line, while Memphis PFs JaMychal Green and Zach Randolph are hardly comfortable contesting shots that far from the basket. If both Diaw and Favors are inactive, Lyles will be safe to use in any format, but he's worth a look in GPPs regardless.
Dwight Powell ($4300/$4100) is finding a role with Dirk Nowitzki on the shelf and he’ll be needed to play big minutes against Porzingis and the Knicks tonight.
Ersan Ilyasova ($4200/$3900) bounced back from a couple of quiet games to post solid numbers over the weekend and he’s a candidate to heat up in a potential track meet in Houston. The same thing applies for Rockets sharpshooter Ryan Anderson ($5600/$5100) to a degree.
Joel Embiid (PHI) @ HOU: DK:$5,600/FD:$6,000
DraftKings is starting to adjust his price tag accordingly, but Embiid is still almost a free square on FanDuel at just over $5K. The supremely talented big man should be back in the starting lineup after resting on Saturday and he's coming off another huge performance (25 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block) while logging just 26 minutes in an OT win last Friday. The minutes cap is certainly a drag, but it can be a blessing for a rookie who is now able to go as hard as possible when he's on the floor and therefor remains a steal on both main DFS sites. Tonight Embiid will line up against frail center Clint Capela and a Rockets team that ranks 27th in defensive rating and coughs up the seventh-most RPG (15.75) to opposing centers because of their blinding pace of play, so he'll be worth the risk of using an elite center that is on a minutes restriction.
Pau Gasol (SAS) vs. MIA: DK:$5,600/FD:$6,000
Going somewhat contrarian with a veteran like Pau could pay off in GPP formats tonight. The versatile big man has exceeded value in consecutive outings with a combined 36 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists and 4 blocks during that span and he's suddenly playing 34 MPG for a Spurs team that didn't know how to incorporate his skills at first. It didn't come as a huge surprise that he logged 36 minutes against Andre Drummond and the Spurs, but playing 32 minutes on the second half of a B2B set against fast-paced Houston is a very encouraging sign. Now he'll be asked to shoulder a heavy defensive load against Hassan Whiteside and the Heat, while drawing Miami's big man away from the basket with his face-up game, and so far that's been successful against Whiteside, as Miami gives up the sixth-most DK PPG to opposing centers this season.
Be bold, predict a blowout and use Nets bench players such as Justin Hamilton ($3900/$4400) based on the expectation that he’ll pile up garbage-time points against the Clippers backups.
Kelly Olynyk ($4800/$4000) has been hot with Horford and Jae Crowder (ankle) out for the Celtics, so give him a look if both players are ruled out tonight.