Editor’s Note: Paul George will make his Clippers debut tonight vs. the Pelicans. Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley will both rest.
There are essentially two injuries that we’re tracking early in the morning Thursday that should have a decent impact on tonight’s five-game slate. The first is Nets PG Kyrie Irving (shoulder), who was deemed questionable on Wednesday for tonight’s game vs. the Nuggets. The second, is Pelicans SF/PF Brandon Ingram (knee), who was considered a game-time decision, but is more or less questionable for tonight’s game vs. the Clippers.
I’m going to take you through a handful of cash-game options to get your lineups going early on for the five-gamer.
Trae Young, ATL at PHX, $9,600
I can’t think of a better game environment for Trae Young than a road contest in Phoenix. On paper, playing the Rockets or Pelicans, sure, but the Suns are still top 10 in pace and generally play in games that are high scoring. Young is essentially making up for Steph Curry’s injury, giving us a long-range sharp-shooter who can distribute. His usage rate has been up over 32% the past three games and he’s dropped at least 61 DraftKings fantasy points in each contest. This has moved his price a bit up $700 from last week, but that’s a good indication of production. Normally a GPP play, I think Trae is fine in cash as well.
I’d say pay up for Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,700) or Luka Doncic ($10,000), but that’s obvious, plus I worry about both those games being blowouts.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. BKN, $8,600
We’re going to slowly start to see Jokic’s price fix itself thanks to his play. He’s now gone back-to-back games with at least 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists. The Nuggets have their own issues, but the offense should still run through Jokic and Denver underperforming may actually help tonight. If Irving sits for Brooklyn, the game should be close considering how poor the Nuggets have been on offense. But that same offense put up 121 in a high-paced matchup vs. the Hawks earlier in the week. This is a similar spot and Jokic’s price has only gone up $300 since then. I think it’s a good night to stick in the mid-range for cash lineups.
Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN at DEN, $5,700
This is widely a pick to capitalize on Irving being ruled out later tonight, but I don’t mind Dinwiddie regardless. We already know Caris LeVert (thumb) is going to be sidelined for a while and Dinwiddie’s role off the bench is secure as one of the top sixth men in the NBA. If Irving is out, Dinwiddie should start and see around 30 minutes. His usage topped out at 38.2% vs. the Jazz the other night, so we could see similar numbers if Irving sits. I’d normally say GPP for a player like Dinwiddie — more of a streaky scorer type — but the volume should be there and his sub-$6K price should make up for the lack of peripheral stats.
Derrick Favors, NOP vs. LAC, $5,500
Again, we’ve got a couple injuries to watch on the Pels side and I think Favors stands to benefit big time. Ingram may not play again and Jahlil Okafor (ankle) is questionable as well. Guard Josh Hart (knee, ankle) has already been ruled out, so we could essentially be down to the Jrue Holiday ($8,200) and Derrick Favors show in New Orleans. If Okafor sits, perfect, Favors would almost be a mortal lock for at least a double-double. Los Angeles should get Paul George back in the lineup, but the Clippers are also coming off a tough loss to Houston last night and Kawhi Leonard is a candidate for load management. I like Favors’ spot more if Jahlil sits, but even so, not many fresh bodies to go around in New Orleans.