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Plays of the Day
Value: With Nikola Jokic out, Jusuf Nurkic is expected to step out of the shadows of irrelevancy and play significant minutes for the first time in weeks. Nurkic is sporting a 23% Usage and averaging 1.01 FPs per minute with Jokic off the floor and he averages 16.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes this year, so he’s clearly a good bet to exceed value if he plays anywhere close to 30 minutes.
Fade: I don’t think I would trust any Clippers players at Oracle Arena tonight in a potential blowout. Austin Rivers stands out as the most appealing option in the mid-tier range but he should be hounded by the Warriors top-rated defense all night and could come up short of value.
Games to Target
- Milwaukee Bucks (PK) hosting Boston Celtics (Over/Under = 218.5)
- Phoenix Suns (-3.5) hosting Denver Nuggets (Over/Under = 231)
Isaiah Thomas (BOS) @ MIL DK:$9,400/FD:$10,000
His price tag has reached ridiculous levels on FanDuel but for good reason, as Thomas is easily the safest play at PG on that DFS site tonight. The fact that he managed to produce 21 points and 41.25 DK points (38.6 FD points) over just 25 minutes in a huge blowout win over Orlando last night shows the kind of lofty floor that he has right now and he should be much more productive in a game with a “Pick ‘Em” line tonight. The Bucks defense should be more exhausted on the second half of their B2B set than the C’s and Thomas, aka Mr. Fourth Quarter. Now that he should get into his usual heroics down the stretch, IT has a great chance to meet value at this lofty price tag.
Goran Dragic (MIA) @ DET DK:$7,500/FD:$7,500
Dragic came through as an elite option last night and his price tag remains very reasonable in the upper-tier range. Tonight he’ll face a Pistons team that gives up the eighth-most FPPG (44.58) to opposing PGs and he’s back home, where he’s averaging 22.1 PPG and 39.5 DK PPG (compared to just 17.7 PPG on the road) this season. The Dragon continues to roll with averages of 23.3 PPG and 6.8 APG over his last 6 appearances and the expected absence of Hassan Whiteside (ankle) in a second consecutive game should dramatically increase his usage and therefore his upside once again.
Jameer Nelson ($5300/$4700) remains a solid mid-tier option with Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic inactive for the Nuggets. Randy Foye ($3000/$3500) finally came alive for the Nets last night and he’s worth a look as a minimum-priced punt in Minnesota.
Darren Collison ($4900/$4900) played a whopping 46 minutes last night and he’s spending plenty of time at SG alongside Ty Lawson, which secures his usage.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) vs. BOS DK:$10,300 as PG/SF/FD:$10,500
Giannis can serve as a staple in cash game lineups along with IT tonight as the Bucks and Celtics battle in what should be a very close and high-scoring affair. Boston is giving up the most FPPG (44.69) and PPG (27.17) to opposing SGs over the last month and should continue to struggle defensively with Avery Bradley (Achilles) out tonight. The Greek Freak averaged 17.8 PPG, 5 RPG and 4.3 APG while shooting 53% from the floor over 4 meetings with AB and the Celtics last season while posting a modest 25.1% Usage Rate in those games and he’s sporting a career-high 28.7% Usage Rate this season along with lofty averages of 23.7 PPG, 8.9 RPG and 5.5 APG over the last two months.
Dion Waiters (MIA) vs. DET DK:$6,900/FD:$6,500
He fell slightly short of value last night on DraftKings, but was still a solid play on FanDuel with 19 points over 34 minutes of playing time. Waiters remains an excellent option with Josh Richardson (foot), Tyler Johnson (shoulder), Justise Winslow (shoulder) and potentially Hassan Whiteside (ankle) all inactive tonight, as he boasts a 34.7% Usage Rate and averages 1.46 FPs per minute with those players off the floor this season. He’s become a fourth-quarter specialist in his own right, but his heroics weren’t required in an easy win over the dysfunctional Bulls last night. With the feisty Pistons visiting Miami tonight, Waiters could prove once again that it’s “his town” by hitting some big shots down the stretch.
Alec Burks ($3200/$3700) is a low-upside punt play to consider with the Jazz hosting the Grizzlies. Garrett Temple ($4300/$4500) failed to hit a FG last night but still played 33 minutes and he could bounce back in a plus matchup at Charlotte.
Two nights ago, Brandon Knight ($3700/$4200) stole a good portion of Eric Bledsoe’s minutes by playing superior defense against the quick Nuggets and he might see enough playing time in the same matchup to exceed value this evening.
Kevin Durant (GSW) vs. LAC: DK:$9,500/FD:$10,400
Even the possibility that Steph Curry might be inactive or somewhat limited tonight makes Durant a virtual must play. The Warriors superstar is putting together one of the most efficient seasons in NBA history and he’s still capable of putting up huge numbers when the Dubs are tested by a capable opponent. With Blake Griffin back in the fold, the Clippers (+12.5) are a little more dangerous, and they’re still vulnerable on the wing without a legitimate starter at the SF position. Durant had a quiet game with just 16 points on 5-of-17 FG shooting against the Clips earlier this season, but he torched the Clips with averages of 28.8 PPG, 10 RPG and 6 APG over meetings as a member of the Thunder last year and he could see much higher usage tonight if Curry is hobbled.
Andre Iguodala (GSW) vs. LAC: DK:$3,700/FD:$4,200
Iggy remains so cheap on DraftKings that he’s a relatively easy choice for cash game lineups on that DFS site and he becomes even more appealing with news that Curry is a GTD tonight. The versatile Sixth Man is averaging just 4.5 PPG, but adding 6.8 RPG, 3.8 APG and 1.8 SPG over his last 4 appearances and he’s met value in 7 consecutive appearances off the Warriors bench. Tonight his team is expected to run away from a so-called contender in the WCF and if the Warriors cover the spread, Iggy might wind up as a better per dollar play than Durant, while they both should do just fine as cash game plays on a relatively short slate.
Wayne Ellington ($4300/$4000 as SG on FD) is a value play with decent upside for the shorthanded Heat.
Andrew Wiggins ($7100/$7300) should meet little resistance at home tonight against the Nets league-worst scoring defense.
Jabari Parker (MIL) vs. BOS: DK:$7,100/FD:$7,900
Parker and Giannis are two of the most reliable duos on the board on any given night and they can be used side-by-side in cash games tonight in what might be the closest game on the slate. Boston struggles to defend quicker PFs and coughs up the fifth-most PPG (22.08) to that position this season, while Parker has come alive lately with averages of 20.8 PPG and 7.3 RPG over his last 6 appearances. He averaged a solid 14.5 PPG over 4 meetings with the C’s last year, but has taken a significant leap forward this season and has a legitimate chance to double double tonight against the third-worst rebounding team in the NBA.
James Johnson (MIA) vs. DET: DK:$5,600/FD:$5,900
Rumors of Johnson’s demise were apparently exaggerated, as he bounced back from getting bench for 10-day Contract recipient Okaro White on Wednesday by flirting with a triple double against the Bulls last night. JJ only scored 6 points on 3-of-15 shooting, but added 9 rebounds and 9 assists for a full line and he clearly earned his 33 minutes of playing time. With Whiteside almost certainly out again tonight, Johnson should have more responsibilities on both ends of the floor against a Pistons team that he’s already averaged 17.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 3 STL/BLK per game over 2 meetings this season.
Darrell Arthur ($3000/$3800) is a sneaky punt play as a potential replacement for Nikola Jokic over the more popular option in Jusuf Nurkic, while Kenneth Faried ($5000/$5700) should also see a spike in usage and playing time with The Joker inactive.
Jonas Jerebko ($3000/$3500) is worth a look if he continues to start for the Celtics. Also consider Quincy Acy ($3000/$3900) as a punt play if Trevor Booker is out again with an illness for Brooklyn.
Andre Drummond (DET) @ MIA: DK:$7,400/FD:$7,700
Big Dre has been very productive lately with averages of 14.9 PPG and 13.7 RPG over 11 appearances this month and he draws a juicy matchup tonight against a Miami team that should be without it’s starting center. Even with Hassan Whiteside active this year, Drummond has burned the Heat with averages of 21.5 PPG and 16.5 RPG over 2 meetings and he should have a much easier time scoring on Willie Reed than the lengthy Whiteside. Miami is giving up the eighth-most RPG (15.25) to opposing centers over the last month and missing the league’s leading rebounder in Whiteside can’t help them match up with Drummond.
Jusuf Nurkic (DEN) @ PHO: DK:$4,300/FD:$4,000
With Jokic out, Nurkic is expected to step out of the shadows of irrelevancy and play significant minutes for the first time in weeks. The Bosnian Beast has received several DNP-CDs and played under 16 MPG over each of the last two months, but he might receive a couple of spot starts with Jokic on the shelf and the Nuggets presumably shopping him ahead of the trade deadline. Nurkic is sporting a 23% Usage and averaging 1.01 FPs per minute with Jokic off the floor and he averages 16.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes this year, so he’s clearly a good bet to exceed value if he plays anywhere close to 30 minutes.
Willie Reed ($4800/$4300) will look to bounce back from getting owned by Drummond in a spot start against the Pistons last month. Luis Scola ($3000/$3500 as PF on FD) came out of nowhere to produce a great line for the Nets last night and he might have a path to steady playing time if Booker remains out.
Greg Monroe ($5400/$5800) struggled in a low-scoring loss to the Raptors last night but he could be a real problem for the Celtics poor interior defense in a game to target this evening.