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Plays of the Day
Value: J.J. Redick always comes with some risk because of his lack of peripheral stats, but he could wind up as a slam dunk play tonight with Griffin out and the Clippers poised to put up 120-plus points on a weak Nuggets defense. When Griffin is off the court, Redick sports a 23.6% Usage Rate and he should become much more of a focal point in the Clippers’ PnR-centric offense.
Fade: Anthony Davis is an intriguing target in tournament formats because he’s been so quiet over his last 2 appearances, but his matchup is far from ideal with Joel Embiid poised to guard him over at least 25 minutes tonight. The 76ers held The Brow in check a couple of weeks ago and his astronomical price tag makes it difficult to use him in most formats.
Games to Target
- Houston Rockets (+1) hosting San Antonio Spurs (Over/Under = 214.5)
- Sacramento Kings (-1.5) hosting Portland Blazers (Over/Under = 217.5)
Giannis Antetkounmpo (MIL) vs. CLE DK:$9,800/FD:$10,200 as SG
The Bucks should be brimming with confidence after destroying the Bulls in B2B games over the weekend, and Giannis was at the center of both of those decisive wins. The Greek Freak is averaging 25 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 6.5 APG over 4 appearances since he struggled due to foul trouble against Atlanta, and three of those four games were played on the road. He’s averaging 23.4 PPG and 51.8 DK PPG at home this season, which includes a 34-point performance with a full line (12 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, 2 blocks) to lead the Bucks in a blowout win over these Cavs. Cleveland (-4) is unlikely to run away tonight with Kevin Love (knee) ruled out, and the Cavs have been very vulnerable against athletic guards all season.
Chris Paul (LAC) vs. DEN DK:$9,200/FD:$9,600
With news that Blake Griffin will miss the next 3-6 weeks due to a knee injury, Paul and teammate DeAndre Jordan immediately vault into the circle of trust as safe DFS plays. CP3 is sporting a 27.4% Usage Rate and averaging an impressive 1.54 FPs per minute with Blake off the court this year. He went on a tear with averages of 22.8 PPG and 10.2 APG while Griffin was out in January and February of last season, and he should get off to a hot start tonight while facing a Nuggets team that coughs up the third-most FPPG (47.54) and SPG (2.50) to opposing PGs this season. Denver is on the second half of a B2B set and is giving up the fifth-most PPG (106.9) in the NBA, so the Clippers offense should have a great night with Paul engineering everything.
Goran Dragic ($7600/$7500) is an upper-tier option worth considering given his lofty floor and decent ceiling. Austin Rivers ($4400/$3900) should see more opportunities with Griffin out and he’s worth a look as a punt play.
Emmanuel Mudiay ($5300/$5000) certainly isn’t back in the circle of trust, but he’s been playing well for Denver and he could thrive in an up-tempo game at Staples Center. Shelvin Mack ($4800/$4200) seems like a safer value with upside in a potential blowout at the Warriors.
James Harden (HOU) vs. SAS DK:$11,100/FD:$11,000
Instead of struggling against the perennially-tough Spurs defense, Harden has flourished in this matchup. In 2 meetings with San Antonio this year, the MVP candidate is averaging 24.5 PPG, 11.5 RPG and 14 APG to post a triple double in both outings. The Rockets put their 10-game winning streak to the test and Vegas expects the Spurs to have a very good chance of ending the success of their rivals considering the “Pick ‘Em” line on this contest. That means we should see a full slate of minutes from The Beard, who is sporting a monstrous 33.1% Usage Rate and 52% Assist Rate on the season and remains one of the safest plays on the board regardless of his matchup.
J.J. Redick (LAC) vs. DEN DK:$4,300/FD:$4,100
Redick always comes with some risk because of his lack of peripheral stats, but he could wind up as a slam dunk play tonight with Griffin out and the Clippers poised to put up 120-plus points on a weak Nuggets defense. When Griffin is off the court, Redick sports a 23.6% Usage Rate and becomes much more of a focal point in the Clippers’ PnR-centric offense. When CP3 comes off a pick, he’ll look to sling a pass to a curling Redick, who managed to average 16 PPG on 44.7% FG shooting over 3 meetings with the Nuggets last year. Denver is ranked 25th in defensive rating and 26th in opponents FG shooting (.466%), so give the Clippers SG a look in a potential shootout.
Garrett Temple ($4700/$4300) is a great cash game play, as he just met value despite shooting 1-of-10 from the floor in his last game. Gary Harris ($5000/$4800) remains a steal on FD and he’s worth using despite his tough matchup against the Clippers.
C.J. McCollum ($7000/$7300) banged on the Kings for 31 points in a meeting earlier this season and he could benefit if Sacramento sells out to stop Damian Lillard again.
LeBron James (CLE) @ MIL: DK:$9,600/FD:$10,400
It’s hard to imagine LeBron or Giannis flopping in what should be a much more competitive game than the last meeting between the Cavs and Bucks. For his part, LBJ should be highly motivated to avenge a 20-plus point loss in Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago that was part of a three-game losing streak for Cleveland. Since then, he’s averaged 27.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 8.4 APG while shooting 54.9% from the field and leading Cleveland to 6 straight wins after dropping two more contests to the Bulls and Clippers. James averaged 26.8 PPG, 8 RPG and 7 APG over 4 meetings with the up-and-coming Bucks last season and he should have success against a Milwaukee team that gives up the eighth-most FPPG (40.02) and PPG (20.25) to opposing SFs this season. Not to mention the absence of Kevin Love (knee), which should increase LeBron’s usage and rebounding rates.
Kawhi Leonard (SAS) @ HOU: DK:$8,600/FD:$8,400
Kawhi was quiet in his last appearance and didn’t play many minutes in the game before that either, so perhaps San Antonio HC Gregg Popovich has been saving his best player for a matchup against James Harden and the Spurs divisional rivals. The two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year has not been able to shut down Harden in 2 meetings this year, but he has managed to average 27 PPG and 2.5 SPG over those clashes. Harden is turning the ball over 5.6 times per game and Leonard is very adept at getting his hands in passing lanes for easy transition opportunities. He should carry the Spurs offense against a Rockets team that coughs up the most PPG (22.19) to opposing SFs this year and this is definitely a game to target.
Luol Deng ($4700/$4500) is expected to play through a sore back tonight and he’s still much safer than rookie Brandon Ingram in a tough matchup at Charlotte.
Robert Covington ($5700/$5200) is heating up from the perimeter for Philadelphia and he could have another good game against the fast-paced Pelicans tonight.
Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) vs. IND: DK:$7,800/FD:$7,800
Anthony Davis remains an incredibly risky play at his price tag and Porzingis is a much safer alternative at approximately $4,000 cheaper on both main DFS sites. The talented young PF is capable of putting up similar lines to The Brow and he’s been very solid lately with the exception of his dud in Golden State during a blowout loss. The Unicorn bounced back with 22 points and 39.75 DK points (38.9 FD points) in a win over Denver two nights later and he’ll be well rested ahead of tonight’s home game against a Pacers team that could be tired after battling Washington for a narrow win last night. Indiana gives up the second-most RPG (13.72) and fourth-most BPG (1.69) to opposing PFs this season, so Porzingis might be able to supplement his usual scoring output with great peripheral stats.
Monterzl Harrell (HOU) vs. SAS: DK:$3,300/FD:$4,000
The Rockets lost an integral piece when Clint Capela fractured his fibula the other night, and they’ll have to move forward with their two remaining bigs entering the rotation. Harrell and veteran Nene Hilario ($3000/$4100 as C) are the two primary candidates to soak up Capela’s minutes, but Nene has been made of glass throughout his career and it’s hard to imagine him playing over 25 minutes in any appearance going forward. Harrell has flashed upside and been capable on both ends of the floor when HC Mike D’Antonio calls upon him, and he’s a better candidate to match up with the Spurs flex offense because he’s much more agile than Nene at this point in their respective careers. Feel free to punt with Harrell while others pray that Channing Frye steps up in the absence of Kevin Love.
The aforementioned Channing Frye ($3600/$3800) is in line to start with Kevin Love out tonight, but he draws a tough matchup against the Bucks and is by no means a lock to produce if he can’t hit his three-point attempts.
Maressee Speights ($4200/$4400) might not play anywhere close to 30 minutes in the absence of Griffin, but he’s still a candidate to score double-digit points in limited action with his impressive offensive repertoire.
Marc Gasol (MEM) vs. BOS: DK:$7,300/FD:$8,100
DeMarcus Cousins is definitely worth a look in a plus matchup, but his astronomical price tag ($11,200 on both DK and FD) makes it difficult to pay up for him on a night where there are excellent mid-tier and value options at center. Gasol is coming off his worst game of the season in which he shot 4-of-22 from the field and cost his team a chance to win against Utah’s elite defense. Yet now he faces a Celtics squad that coughs up the ninth-most FPPG (48.05) and PPG (21.44) to opposing centers while ranking 27th in overall rebounding this year. Boston struggled to deal with Gasol when he was healthy two seasons ago, as he dropped 20.5 PPG on 54.8% FG shooting over 2 meetings with the Celtics in the 2014-15 season. While Mike Conley’s return slightly diminishes his upside as a true “point center,” Conley is still very limited and Gasol is still the Grizzlies best bet to burn the Celtics vulnerable interior defense tonight.
Nikola Jokic (DEN) @ LAC: DK:$6,400/FD:$5,900 as PF
Those who stuck with Jokic after he struggled with foul trouble in consecutive games were handsomely rewarded, as the big man came one assist shy of a triple double and produced 59.75 DK points (55.5 FD points) in a tough matchup against Dallas last night. He’ll draw another tough test against DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers tonight, but you have to trust Jokic at this price tag now that his coach has committed to the talented young center. Jusuf Nurkic has been phased out to the point that he received a DNP-CD last night and Kenneth Faried played just 2 minutes while Jokic logged 38 minutes in a winning effort. Denver should stick with its small ball approach and the absence of Blake Griffin makes that much more feasible in this matchup.
Guillermo Hernangomez ($4200/$3700) is thriving with Joakim Noah (old) and Kyle O’Quinn (ankle) operating at less than full strength for the Knicks. Kosta Koufos ($4000/$4200) is also worth a look against the Blazers awful defense against PFs with Rudy Gay (hip) and Omri Casspi (illness) unlikely to play for Sacramento.
Hassan Whiteside ($8700/$9000) is a high-upside play as per usual in a plus matchup against Orlando, while DeAndre Jordan ($7200/$7700) could serve as a pivot play in tournament formats.