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Plays of the Day
Value: Jared Dudley is unlikely to play most of his minutes at PF in a tough matchup against Blake Griffin and the Clippers, but he should see plenty of time on the wing with Devin Booker and Leandro Barbosa both in danger of missing another game. The crafty veteran has exceeded value in 3 straight appearances and is bringing important experience to the youngest team in the league.
Fade: While he’s always a good bet for solid production in good matchups, James Harden is extremely expensive right now and hard to justify at that price especially on FanDuel. He’s struggling with his shot due in part to a wrist injury and Portland’s been better about defending penetration of late.
- Portland Blazers (+2) hosting Houston Rockets (Over/Under = 230)
- Chicago Bulls (+5.5) hosting Cleveland Cavs (Over/Under = 212)
Damian Lillard (POR) vs. HOU DK:$9,200/FD:$9,300
While he’s only averaging 22.5 PPG on 37.8% FG shooting over 2 meetings with Houston this year, the Rockets were fortunate enough to catch Lillard in a bit of a slump during those contests. Now he’s red hot with averages of 28.9 PPG and 5.7 while shooting a scorching 47.9% from the floor and 41.5% from downtown over 15 March games. Despite the efforts of pesky defender Patrick Beverley, the Rockets are giving up the most FPPG (49.07) to opposing PGs over the last month since their blinding pace of play leads to plenty of easy assist opportunities and open looks. Dame should keep the Blazers in this game at home after Jusuf Nurkic carried the offense in a revenge match on Tuesday.
Ish Smith (DET) vs. BKN DK:$6,100/FD:$5,200
Since the ASB, Ish Smith and Reggie Jackson have combined to put up huge numbers as a PG tandem, but the problem has been that they’re sharing minutes as part of an unreliable rotation. Yet with R-Jax sitting out two games due to a sore knee, Ish has become the darling of DFS circles with 34 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds while playing 66 minutes. Jackson is headed towards a game-time decision but with the lowly Nets coming to town, it wouldn’t be surprising if he sat another contest or played limited minutes while resting his ailing knee. Brooklyn is giving up the most FPPG (48.08) to opposing PGs this season and most PPG (114.2) overall, so Smith stands to exceed value once again if he doesn’t have any competition for minutes at the point.
Spencer Dinwiddie ($3900/$3600) continues to produce modest numbers for the Nets and will face his former team in the Pistons tonight, while Jeremy Lin ($6200/$5900) represents more of a risk-reward option in the Nets backcourt.
Rajon Rondo ($6600/$6500) flirted with a triple double in his last appearance and always gets up for matchups against a LeBron-led team.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (DET) vs. BKN DK:$5,200/FD:$4,700
The Pistons backcourt is clearly worth targeting in a dream matchup against a Brooklyn squad that plays at the fastest pace in the league and coughs up the most FPPG to opposing SGs (41.1) this year. KCP remains more of a GPP play because he mixes quiet games in with the occasional explosion, yet he attempted a whopping 22 shots with Reggie Jackson out on Tuesday and is sporting a 22.6% Usage while averaging 0.49 points and 0.78 FPs per minute with R-Jax off the floor this season. He’s averaging 17 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 2 SPG over 2 meetings with Brooklyn and should serve as a quality mid-tier option if you’re willing to fade Harden at the top of this position.
Lou Williams (HOU) @ POR DK:$5,400/FD:$4,600
While James Harden is fully expected to suit up and should continue to orchestrate Houston’s high-powered offense, he’s reportedly fighting a jammed wrist that contributed to his 5-for-20 shooting performance on Tuesday and could limit him again tonight. If he becomes more of a passer than a scorer, Williams could take over a more prominent role as a playmaker off the Rockets bench. We’ve already seen Sweet Lou take on more responsibilities, as he’s produced 48 points on 16-of-29 FG shooting while topping 31 minutes in each of his last 2 appearances. Tonight he’ll face a fast-paced Blazers team that coughs up the fifth-most PPG (109) in the NBA and ranks 28th in opposing teams’ 3PT shooting (.373%), so he should be free to fire away along with the other Rockets guards.
J.J. Redick ($4300/$4300) is a strong cash game play at this price tag and honestly may be safer than KCP in another juicy matchup at the Suns. Austin Rivers ($4000/$4200 as PG on FD) is questionable to suit up with a hamstring injury but would be worth a look in a potential blowout if active.
Eric Gordon ($5300/$4800) is right there with Lou Williams as a high-upside gunner for the three-happy Rockets tonight.
LeBron James (CLE) @ CHI DK:$10,100/FD:$10,700
The Cavs essentially hit rock bottom in a 103-74 loss at San Antonio on Monday to lose their grip on the top spot in the ECF. Those 74 points is the lowest total on a LeBron-led team in several years and you can bet that The King laid into his teammates during practices over the last 2 days. The Cavs are in a get right spot tonight on the road against a Bulls team that’s lost 9 of their last 13 games and is giving up an above average 202.16 FPPG to opposing teams over the last month. LBJ is averaging 29 PPG and 10 APG over 2 meetings with Chicago and shooting 58% (25-of-43) from the floor during those tilts, so he shouldn’t have much trouble leading his squad to a much needed road win tonight.
Trevor Ariza (HOU) @ POR DK:$5,700/FD:$5,600
The Rockets are now the second-ranked offensive team in the NBA and you can’t fade them entirely in such a juicy matchup, but you often have to choose between playing Harden and crafting a balanced lineup with their value plays. Ariza stands out as a solid mid-tier option with plenty of upside, as he’s suddenly seen a big rise in production with Ryan Anderson (ankle) on the shelf. The veteran SF is averaging 0.74 FPS per minute with Anderson off the floor this season and draws a plus matchup tonight against a Portland team that gives up the seventh-most RPG (8.37) to opposing SFs this season. Ariza is averaging 17 PPG on 11-of-15 FG shooting over 2 meetings with Portland this year and should get more looks given the circumstances for Houston.
Paul Zipser ($4000/$3600) is still a solid value play for the Bulls after meeting or exceeding value in 5 of his last 6 appearances.
T.J. Warren ($7500/$6600) is a bit expensive on DK, but he’ll have to draw consideration if Devin Booker (ankle) is out in addition to several other Suns players tonight.
Blake Griffin (LAC) @ PHO: DK:$8,100/FD:$8,600
Blake had a huge game in a shootout win over Washington last night and it’s worth hoping that a coach, player, or equipment manager (too soon?) found a way to motivate him. Few supreme athletes have disappointed as consistently as Griffin throughout his NBA career and he’s often quiet in blowouts, so I would be wary of your exposure to him with the Clippers (-10.5) checking in as big favorites on the road. Yet if he logs a full slate of minutes, he should rip through rookie Marquess Chriss or natural SF T.J. Warren should the Suns try to use him as his defender. Griffin is averaging 25 PPG, 10 RPG and 5 APG over 2 meetings with Phoenix this year and the Suns have really fallen apart defensively while coughing up the fourth-most overall FPPG (215.8) over the last month.
Nikola Mirotic (CHI) vs. CLE: DK:$5,800/FD:$5,200
The Bulls will be led by the pricey Jimmy Butler, but he’ll have to contend with LeBron on both ends of the floor and they have a couple of mid-tier options that are more appealing in a fantastic matchup tonight. Mirotic has caught fire since drawing a much bigger role when Robin Lopez was suspended and is averaging 19.8 PPG on scorching 63% shooting from the field and 57% (16-of-28) from downtown over his last 4 appearances. He should see more minutes than the slow-footed Lopez in a matchup with a small-ball Cavs team that can score with anyone, but ranks 29th in defensive rating since the ASB and coughs up the fifth-most PPG (110.79) over the last month. Cleveland gives up the ninth-most FPPG (45.52) to opposing PFs during that span and is doing a very poor job of defending the 3PT line right now.
Jared Dudley ($4200/$3900) will be safe to use as a replacement on the wing for Phoenix if Devin Booker (ankle) and/or Leandro Barbosa (hamstring) remain out.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($5500/$4900 as SF on FD) has been coming on strong for the Nets over his last 4 appearances but is still hard to trust. Al-Farouq Aminu ($4500/$4600) is worth a look as a safer mid-tier value.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) vs. LAL: DK:$10,900/FD:$10,100
The obvious play tonight at a monstrous price tag, Towns is extremely safe to deploy in a matchup against the hapless Lakers, although the potential of a blowout win could limit his upside. Minnesota (-10.5) is heavily favored at home, but isn’t playing great defense either, while the Lakers have opened the Red Carpet to the opposition in coughing up the most overall FPPG (224.58) and PPG (118.31) by far over the last month. The Lakers also give up the second-most FPPG (52.63) to opposing centers this season and recently allowed KAT to go for 25 points and 13 boards while shooting 11-of-19 from the floor. Needless to say, he’s going to eat tonight.
It’s worth taking a chance on Ivica Zubac ($5000/$4400) if you need salary relief while Alex Len ($4700/$5000) should also see steady playing time as the Suns best chance of containing DeAndre Jordan on the boards.
Jusuf Nurkic ($8000/$7500) is a potential fade after he turned up for a revenge match on Tuesday but he could also put up another big line in a fast-pace matchup with Houston.