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Plays of the Day
Value: Derrick Favors (knee) is likely out tonight, opening the door for Trey Lyles to see consistent minutes as a starter. He looked good while hitting 6-of-12 FG attempts for 18 points in a close loss to Memphis earlier this week. Now he’ll face a Bulls team that coughs up the eighth-most FPPG (45.59) to opposing PFs this season and he should see plenty of opportunities with Favors all but ruled out.
Fade: John Wall could play on the second half of a B2B set for the first time this year, but he certainly won’t be trustworthy if he suits up. He’s been limited all year by various injuries and flashed a temper that got him ejected twice, so you can safely avoid the Wizards cranky star when he’s playing on 0 days rest.
Games to Target
- Houston Rockets (-4) hosting Portland Trailblazers (Over/Under = 220.5)
- Minnesota Wolves (-10) hosting Philadelphia 76ers (Over/Under = 212.5)
Damian Lillard (POR) @ HOU: DK:$9,600/FD:$9,600
Lillard and the Blazers laid a collective egg in their last outing against the Clippers top-ranked defense, but clearly draw a more favorable matchup tonight against a Houston squad that’s ranked 20th in defensive rating this season. The Rockets play with plenty of pace and that open style has allowed opponents to shoot 36.3% (fifth-highest mark in the NBA) from downtown, so a sharpshooter like Lillard is bound to find space to fire tonight. He struggled in relative terms with 24.5 PPG on 34.6% FG shooting over 4 meetings with Houston last year, but that was with pesky defender Pat Beverley in the lineup. Even though Beverley (knee) is expected to make his season debut tonight, he’s probably going to be limited while the rest of the Rockets backcourt just chased Russell Westbrook around in a loss last night and should be exhausted. This game has the highest Over/Under (221 points) on tonight’s 5-game slate and that makes Lillard a premier GPP play if you can pay up for him.
Ricky Rubio (MIN) vs. PHI DK:$6,300/FD:$6,600
Rubio remains relatively cheap on both main DFS sites despite establishing his steady role as the architect behind Minnesota’s third-ranked offense. He flirted with a triple double on Tuesday, posting 11 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in a tough matchup against the Hornets, and he should find the sledding much easier at home against the lowly Sixers tonight. Philadelphia is allowing the fourth-most FPPG (47.24) and more importantly for Rubio, the most APG (10.0) to opposing PGs this season, while the 76ers are ranked 23rd in defensive rating and cough up the sixth-most PPG (108.3) this year. The road team is also on the second half of a B2B set and their starting backcourt of Gerald Henderson and Sergio Rodriguez is a little old to function well on consecutive nights. Look for Rubio to run circles around those defenders while dropping dimes.
Jerian Grant ($3500/$4000) played very well in relief of Rajon Rondo (ankle) on Tuesday and he’ll become a great punt play if Rondo is out again. Sergio Rodriguez ($4800/$5000) is a safe mid-tier option to consider as well.
Tomas Satoransky ($4600/$3700 as SG on FD) could draw the start at PG if John Wall sits on the second half of a B2B set and he’s looking at an expanded role with Bradley Beal likely out as well.
James Harden (HOU) vs. POR: DK:$12,400/FD:$11,700
This price tag is crippling to DraftKings lineups and that might lead to a low ownership rate for Harden after he failed to meet value for the first time in 7 appearances last night. Yet he’s facing a team that he’s crushed in recent seasons, as he posted averages of 39.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 8.3 APG over 4 meetings with Portland last season. His role is obviously more lucrative with Mike D’Antoni coaching the Rockets this year and he still leads the league with a 59.4% Assist Rate and remains 7th with a 33.2% Usage Rate on the season. Facing an opponent that’s virtually guaranteed to challenge his squad down the stretch without playing shutdown defense (starting SF Al-Farouq Aminue remains out), Harden should flirt with a triple double and perhaps he can meet value at this exorbitant price tag.
Nik Stauskas (PHI) @ MIN: DK:$3,000/FD:$3,600
Here is a punt play that could afford salary flexibility and allow you to pay up for a stud or two at center this evening. “Sauce Castillo” has played at least 24 minutes off the bench and scored at least 12 points in four consecutive appearances. He’s been very efficient on the offensive end and simply needs more run to pile up peripheral stats, so he might get that chance tonight with starting SG Gerald Henderson might sit more often than usual. The injury-prone Duke product has only managed 17 points while playing 22.5 MPG when the Sixers were playing on 0 days rest twice this season, and Stauskas played 27.5 MPG in those contests, which makes him worth a gamble at the minimum on DK.
Dion Waiters ($4600/$4500) would become more of a GPP play if Goran Dragic (ankle) returns for the Heat, but I like Josh Richardson either way at $4300 on FanDuel. If both Wall and Beal are out, you could consider Sheldon McClellan ($3000/$3500) as a low-upside punt.
If Rondo is out,Dwyane Wade ($6600/$6500) should see more usage as a ball-handler for the Bulls.
Andrew Wiggins (MIN) vs. PHI: DK:$7,300/FD:$7,000
Jimmy Butler has been a beast lately and he’ll be the consensus top play at SF, especially if Rondo is inactive, but you might need to save a little more at this position. Wiggins has emerged as a quality mid-tier option with upside due to his rampant scoring of late. He didn’t really slow down with Zach Lavine (knee) back in the lineup on Tuesday, as he dropped 29 points over 42 minutes of playing time in a tough matchup against Charlotte. Now he faces a 76ers team that gives up the most FPPG (44.73) and fifth-most PPG (21.73) to opposing SFs this season and we’ve already mentioned how some Sixers might be dragging their feet on the second half of a B2B set. Wiggins averaged 24 PPG on solid 46.7% FG shooting in his two meetings with Philly last year and only played 31.7 MPG in those contests, but he’s averaging 40 MPG over his last five appearances and is clearly taking a step forward as a leader this year.
Trevor Ariza (HOU) vs. POR: DK:$5,600/FD:$5,300
The Trevor Ariza Truthers are coming out of the woodwork during his red-hot stretch of play, as he’s been routinely exceeding value with a very solid floor over his last 7 appearances. Long regarded as an elite cash game play when he’s priced in the mid-tier price range, Ariza draws a plus matchup tonight against a Blazers team that coughs up 38.8 FPPG and 2.08 SPG to opposing SFs this season. Both Ariza and his adversary Maurice Harkless ($5100/$4600) are worth a look as excellent role players that have drawn the appreciation of their coaches and are logging 30+ minutes in every game. Even at the age of 30, he was able to play 31.5 MPG on the second half of B2B sets and he’ll be needed in a potential shootout this evening.
James Johnson ($4000/$3800) seems to have a consistent role off the bench for the Heat and he’ll see a boost in value if Justise Winslow (wrist) remains out.
Allen Crabbe ($4100/$3800 as SG on FD) is seeing a spike in playing time for the Blazers lately and he’s worth a look as more of a GPP play, while Harkless is the preferred cash game option on that squad.
Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) @ WAS: DK:$6,800/FD:$6,900
It’s rare that the obvious top play at a position is still only priced in the mid-tier range, but that’s the case with Porzingis this evening. Coming off a career-high 35-point performance against a Pistons team that was ranked 2nd in DvP against opposing PFs coming into the game is a very impressive feat, as PorzinGod continues to log more minutes at center and create mismatches for slower defenders. He’ll face a strong, but slow big man in Marcin Gortat tonight, or he’ll be able to shoot over Markieff Morris, as the surprisingly incompetent Wizards are giving up the fourth-most PPG (22.2) to opposing PFs. Washington (-3) is a mess right now and the Knicks should be expected to keep it close or steal a road win on the back of Porzingis.
Trey Lyles (UTA) vs. CHI: DK:$4,100/FD:$4,000
Derrick Favors (knee) attempted to play through a knee injury on Monday, but quickly tapped out and looks like he’ll be out for a couple of weeks at the very least. That opens the door for promising second-year man Trey Lyles to see consistent minutes as a starter and his ability to stretch the floor from the PF position is invaluable to a struggling Utah offense. Gordon Hayward loves to slash and kick while Rudy Gobert isn’t stepping away from the basket at all, so Lyles fits into the SLU well and he certainly looked good while hitting 6-of-12 FG attempts for 18 points in a close loss to Memphis earlier this week. Now he’ll face a Bulls team that coughs up the eighth-most FPPG (45.59) to opposing PFs this season and he should see plenty of opportunities with Favors all but ruled out.
Ersan Ilyasova ($4200/$3900) is producing steadily as a starter for the 76ers and he’ll be worth a look in any format in a good matchup against the Wolves.
Jabari Parker ($6300/$6400) has popped in 2 of his last 3 appearances and he could succeed as a mismatch for Miami’s frontcourt tonight.
Hassan Whiteside (MIA) vs. MIL: DK:$8,700/FD:$8,900
Do I play Whiteside or Towns tonight? That’s the biggest question of the slate in my opinion, and one that I’m trying to solve by using both young studs where possible on DraftKings. They both draw juicy matchups against teams that are horrible down low, but Whiteside has a bit more upside as a threat to produce a huge double double against the Bucks. Milwaukee allows the fourth-most FPPG (48.87) and BPG (2.80) to opposing centers this year while the Bucks under sized frontcourt has particularly struggled against bigger centers. Whiteside averaged 23 PPG and 15.5 RPG over two meetings with these Bucks last year and he didn’t even start one of those contests. Now he’s locked into a huge role with a 25.7% Usage Rate this season and D-Wade no longer dominating shots in this offense.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) vs. PHI: DK:$8,600/FD:$8,300
I don’t think you can really go wrong with Towns either tonight, and he’s a bit more affordable on FanDuel. While he should face off with formidable post defender Joel Embiid tonight, KAT has established an incredible face-up game that makes him virtually impossible for traditional centers to guard. He only produced 21 points on 23 FG attempts in a close loss to the Hornets on his birthday earlier this week, but his heavy usage and playing time under new HC Tom Thibodeau is quite encouraging. The 76ers still hemorrhage FPPG (47.77) to opposing centers and Towns is an elite cash game play with a slightly higher floor than Whiteside right now.
Joel Embiid ($6100/$5600) sat out last night but he should be good to go for this matchup and he has a solid floor despite the diminished upside created by his minutes restriction.
Robin Lopez ($4700/$4600) has posted solid numbers when given good run in the right matchups, and he’ll be needed to bang with Rudy Gobert down low tonight.