What is up, DEGENS! NBA is back baby, and with that so is NBA DFS! I couldn’t be more excited for the first medium-sized slates of the restarted season, and it is a good one at that! Tonight, we have six games on tap with lots of nice options to pick from. Also, with player injuries, and COVID-19 allowing players to opt out of the restart, this will open up a lot of playing time for new players in certain areas for teams. Enough talking, what I wanted to do with this article is feature a top, middle, and value play for each position on today’s slate, so let’s get to it! (DraftKings focus, sorry Fanduel players – just in terms of what position players are listed as on the different sites)
TOP: Luka Doncic ($10,500) – There are some absolute studs sitting in this category with the likes of Harden, Doncic, Westy, and Dame. I think the contrarian look will be Dame, with Harden and Luka getting most of the attention in this top-tier. However, I am going to side with Mr. Doncic tonight. We all know how badly, and poorly the Houston Rocket’s defense was before the virus hit. It wasn’t a secret, and guess what, it didn’t get any better, and if anything, the Rockets are down Eric Gordon now for a week or two due to an ankle injury in which he was arguably one of their best guard defenders. Luka’s match up will be quite the cake-walk tonight. Let’s us also not forget to mention that both of these teams were hovering right inside the top ten in terms of PACE for the last 15 games of the season before the shut-down DAL -12th, HOU – 8th), so we can easily expect a faster-than usual PACE. Houston allowed the 10th most fantasy points to the PG position for the regular season, and in the lone game that Luka faced Houston before the shut-down, he had 41 points, six boards, 10 dimes, two steals, and one block with a 42.5% usage with 34 minutes on the floor.
MID ($6.5K-8.0K range): Ja Morant ($7,000) – This is just a silly price on Ja Morant tonight. Morant was just starting to ramp up his minutes into the thirties range consistently before the league shut-down, and I still feel we could easily see him playing into the upper twenties, if not hit thirties for tonight as the Grizz fight for the playoffs. We all also should remember how poorly the Blazers were against defending the PG spot, as they were allowing the third most to the position for the regular season. This also should be quite the up-tempo match-up, as we know both of these teams like to get up and run with MEM sitting 5th in PACE for the 15 prior games before the shut-down, with POR sitting in a three-way tie for 12th with DAL and GS. In the lone clash with the Blazers earlier this season, Morant played 32 minutes in route to a 20-point, five board, nine dime, with one steal and a 33.1% usage rate performance on the night. I think there is massive value at his price point tonight in a lovely match-up.
VALUE ($6K and Below): Patty Mills ($3,500) – With Bryn Forbes already listed as OUT with quad tightness, the backcourt for the Spurs already starts out one man down. Not to mention they don’t have LMA, or Trey Lyles for the restart. We should see some of the secondary guys for the Spurs get some extended run here, and I am pretty certain that Patty Mills should be a huge beneficiary, as he will pretty much run the 2nd unit for the Spurs tonight. SAC isn’t the greatest defensive team, and they struggled a bit last season in defending guards. I do not think that Mills will be a slate-breaker, but if he his shot is falling, we could easily see a 10-12 point, a board or two, and a handful of assists, with maybe steal tonight against the Kings. In two games vs Kings earlier this season, Mills avg 24 mpg, 7.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, and 1.0 steals per game as well, so given the fact that White will likely be starting alongside Murray tonight, give me Patty at his price as the 2nd unit floor-general. It is also worth mentioning, without Forbes, LMA, and Lyles on the floor, Mills sees the 2nd highest usage boost up to 23.6%, an addition of 3.6% to his overall usage.
TOP: Caris LeVert ($7,800) – Look, I shouldn’t have to list Harden in here just because it is James Harden. If you follow basketball at all, you know that Harden is in play in DFS on just about every given night, and tonight is no different. However, in this top spot I am looking at one key factor – opportunity. LeVert will be the main guy for the Nets tonight, and everyone knows this. The Nets are down Kyrie, Dinwiddie, DAJ, Chandler, and Beasley. This is going to be LeVert’s team now, and his usage rate should literally be through the roof tonight. Don’t over-think this one. In the Net’s prior ten games before the shut-down, LeVert was averaging the highest usage rate on the team at 29.1%, he also played in one game against the Magic during the earlier season where he managed a 32.1% usage, played 34 minutes, and put up 19 points, five rebounds, eight assists, and a steal. He will be popular, but I am not sure you can fade this kind of value.
MID: C.J. McCollum ($7,500) – I know there isn’t really much of a middle-tier here for the SG spot, but I do really like C.J. McCollum here. Everyone always thinks of Lillard when they think of POR, but this guy led the team in usage rate for the prior ten games at 30.8% before the shut-down. We know the PACE will absolutely be there tonight with these two teams, and I hate to say it, but Dillon Brooks is not the best defender. There are always a couple things that you can pretty much bank on with C.J., one – he is going to play lots of minutes, if not the most on the team, and two – He is going to take shots. We saw C.J. chuck up at least 20+ FGAs in his last eight of ten games before the shut-down, and these games did have Dame in them as well. If you want a decently contrarian look at the guard spot tonight, C.J. is your guy.
VALUE: Austin Rivers ($3,300) – I think Austin is more of a cash game lock rather than a nice gpp flier, but nonetheless, he is near minimum pricing here tonight. As already mentioned above, Eric Gordon is set to be side-lined for a week or two at the least, so this should allow some extended run for Rivers at both guard spots tonight. We could have already slotted Rivers in for 25 or so minutes tonight, but now we can safely say he should be a lock to see minutes in this range, and in the event that he gets most of the run with the 2nd unit, he could be very productive as well. The price is more what makes this a “free-square” play in cash games, but in gpps I may look to take a bit more risk.
TOP: DeMar DeRozan ($7,700) – As also mentioned above, we know the Spurs are without a few key names for the restart. Why not plug their top usage rate player even when those guys were on the floor with him? DDR will likely be quite over-looked on tonight’s slate, especially on DraftKings where he is competing against guys like Tatum and Middleton in his price-range. DDR sees a pretty hefty 5.7% usage bump up to 32.7% overall without the likes of Forbes, LMA, and Lyles on the floor. In two games against SAC earlier this season, DDR averaged 34 mins per game, 14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 6.5 apg, and 1.0 spg, all the while only averaging 21.5 usage rate. That was also with those guys playing. You can imagine the usage he will have tonight without them, also we put context to that above with his almost 6% bump. Love DDR in this one tonight as a contrarian gpp play.
MID: Robert Covington ($6,100) – One spot on the Rockets that we can feel very confident in tonight is RoCo. He is often over-shadowed by both Harden and RWB, but without Gordon, we could see him have an up-tick in usage and production. He is already a talented rebounder and defensive player, but when he adds in his three-point shot dropping, he can really put up some good numbers fantasy-wise. This should be a high-tempo affair, and we will want to get as much high-upside exposure to it as we can. Covis a lock for 25+ minutes, and they will need him with Gordon out on the offensive side of the ball as well.
VALUE: Mikal Bridges ($5,600) – I know he doesn’t present much value in terms of price, but I still think there is value on Bridges tonight. He gets a pretty thin Wizards team, who are missing many key players for this restart. Before the shut-down, we saw Bridges minutes go up tremendously in February and March. He was avg 33.4 mpg in 13 starts in Feb, and a massive 40.4 mpg in four starts in March. I don’t really believe we will see this trend go south much, if any at all. Especially since Oubre is not back for the restart just yet with his knee injury. Mikal isn’t a high usage play alongside Booker, Ayton, and Rubio, however, we have seen him pop-off with some pretty nice games, and if there is anything we know about fantasy it is this – opportunity (minutes) is a huge factor in fantasy production, and he isn’t really competing with much behind him in terms of his role.
TOP: Giannis Antekounmpo ($10,500) – There is no denying Giannis tonight. With Bledsoe off the floor, he gets an additional 1.6% usage bump (like he needs it), that translates into an overall average usage of 38.7%. In two games earlier this season against Boston, he averaged 34 mpg, 34.3% usage, 27 ppg, 15.5 rpg, 6.0 apg, 0.5 spg, and 2.0 bpg. Id say he should be a lock in all formats.
MID: Jayson Tatum ($8,700) – No need to look much further down the list for the next best option at PF, as it is Giannis’s counter-part in Tatum. Tatum was really picking up steam before the shut-down and was averaging the highest usage rate in the prior ten games before the break at 30.6%. Kemba is not going to play a full allotment of minutes, so this will once again leave the load to be taken on by the other three key players for Boston in Tatum, Hayward, and Brown. MIL was allowing the 9th most fantasy points to the PF position earlier in the season, and in the two games Tatum faced MIL he averaged 39 mpg, 21 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, and 1.0 bpg with a 25.1% average usage for those two as well. His price is up there, but he should be the main guy tonight for BOS.
VALUE: Maxi Kleber ($4,700) – I know this is turning out to be a HOU/DAL stack, but I just can’t help but love the value on a lot of these players. One big thing to watch here is if Dorian Finney-Smith is out tonight, as he is listed as questionable at the moment. Kleber was already getting loads of run earlier this season, especially when Porzingis was dealing with injury, but we also have to remember that Dwight Powell is out now as well. There should be plenty of run opportunity for Kleber, who is actually slotted as the starting PF for the Mavs on their depth chart currently. I think there is massive value on Kleber tonight, especially if DFS is not able to take the floor. Like the price and the value here on Kleber against a fast-paced, not great defensive Rockets team.
TOP: Nikola Vucevic ($8,500) – Not going to lie, I laughed a little when I saw this pricing on Vuce today against the Nets. If there has been one on-going fade year-in and year-out – it has been to fade the BRKN Bigs. Well, tonight, this is no different and I love the price on Vuce in this match-up. The Nets were allowing the 8th most fantasy points to the Center position earlier this season, and Vuce is one of the only Centers in the league that leads his team in usage rate at 24.6%. In two games against the Nets earlier this season, Vuce averaged 32 mpg, 21.1% usage, 13.5 ppg, 17.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, and 0.5 bpg. He is a lock for a double-double, and we could even see a 20-20 vision game here from Vuce.
MID: Richaun Holmes ($5,100) – It has been deemed that Holmes is fully back to full health and he is ready to go without any restrictions. That is great news for us as fantasy players, and also for the Kings who were dearly missing him at the Center position. The Spurs will be rolling with Jakob Poeltl tonight at Center, and this should be a plus match-up for Holmes. Richaun only was able to play 39 games due to injury in the early part of the season, however, he still averaged 28.9 mpg, 12.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 spg, and 1.7 bpg over that span. I really like the value here on Holmes tonight.
VALUE: Zach Collins ($3,000) – I know that Stotts was running both Whiteside and Nurkic at the four and five in the scrimmages before the regular season restart, but I don’t believe we see this much during the actual games. I am not ruling it out by any means, however, I feel that Collins will still see ample run at either of those positions, and he was the starting PF before the addition of both Carmelo and Hassan before his injury that side-lined him for most of the earlier season. Collins is fully healthy, and I expect him to still see 20-22 minutes on the floor tonight in an up-tempo affair with Memphis. Don’t really think you can over-look this kind of value at minimum pricing!