UPDATE: Kyrie Irving (shoulder) has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Pacers.
For a nine-game slate, I feel like the plays are very simple on tonight’s nine-game main slate on DraftKings. Usually we’re waiting and rushing to find out which players will sit and which players will return, but really there isn’t much to it tonight. Outside of two high-profile studs — who we probably aren’t considering anyway — there isn’t much to look for.
In this article, I’ll get you ready for the slate as best I can, with some tournament plays, potential game stacks and how to approach injuries.
Injuries to Capitalize On
We’ve got two big names in Kawhi Leonard (knee) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder) both listed as questionable to play. Let’s start with Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers. I think if Kawhi sits again, Paul George ($8,100) is a very interesting GPP play again.
We’ve seen his insane ceiling despite limited minutes in two games back: 70 total points in just 44 minutes on the court. What’s even more nuts is his usage rate was 46% in both those games. Sure, it has a lot to do with Kawhi being out — plus Patrick Beverley — but I also think PG-13 is just on another level right now.
The Thunder are a tougher matchup than the Hawks and Pelicans, but we’ve got the revenge narrative here people! This is the first time PG will play OKC since being traded to LA. We’ve seen a motivated George in back-to-back games coming off the injury and now we get him wanting to stick it to his former team. Maybe not stick it, but he knows what this game means. If Kawhi is back, I still like George in tournaments given his price and we should start to see Doc Rivers extend him a bit. I’m not crazy about Montrezl Harrell ($6,200) and Lou Williams ($7,400) given the matchup and lack of usage.
If Irving sits again, Spencer Dinwiddie becomes a great overall play at $6,000. I’d lean he’s more of a cash-game option since his ceiling isn’t anything close to Irving’s, but really all he needs to do is get to around 35-40 fantasy points and we’re golden at that price. Dinwiddie’s usage rate has always been high coming off the bench, but in the starting lineup we at least know he’ll see around 30+ minutes. He scored 24 points with four dimes vs. the Bulls with Irving out last week and won’t have Malcolm Brogdon chasing him around all night vs. Indiana.
This game should be close but lacks scoring upside for GPPs. Still, there are some decent values opening up. I think Jarrett Allen ($4,900), Joe Harris ($5,400) and Taurean Prince ($5,300) are all viable tournament plays. Each has a decent ceiling we’re looking for and each is cheap.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN at UTA, $10,200
I think James Harden ($12,000), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) and Luka Doncic ($9,800) are all better plays overall, but KAT is where we can get some leverage. He shouldn’t be highly owned in tournaments, mostly because he’ll have to deal with Rudy Gobert and the Jazz in Utah. It’s a tough matchup, but the Timberwolves will also be without Andrew Wiggins (illness) and Shabazz Napier (hamstring). So if nothing else, KAT will be the focal point of the offense as always and will likely go overlooked.
Russell Westbrook, HOU vs. POR, $8,300
It’s rare we get Russ at this price point and he’s coming off rest over the weekend. We’ve seen Harden put the Rockets on his back during their seven-game winning streak, but I think this is a Westbrook night. He’ll relish the chance to play vs. Damian Lillard ($8,600) and the Trail Blazers have struggled on defense. We don’t often get a triple-double ceiling for under $9-10K, so this is time to take advantage on the discount for Russ. FWIW, I also love Dame tonight.
Chris Paul, OKC at LAC, $6,600
If you know anything about CP3 it’s that he’s probably the most competitive player in the NBA. So yes, the narrative of him heading back to Staples Center to play his former team and Doc Rivers matters and Paul’s recent performance also doesn’t hurt. CP3 is coming off his best game of the season, scoring 27 points with eight boards and five assists for 45 DKFP vs. the 76ers. If Patrick Beverley remains out, this matchup is even better. I think this is where we see POINT GOD Chris Paul and he gets his first double-double of the season.
R.J. Barrett, NYK vs. CLE, $5,600
It’s been an up-and-down rookie season so far for Barrett, but up-and-down screams GPP. We’ve seen Barrett’s price reach close to $7K and now we get him at a pretty solid discount for what is supposed to be a good matchup vs. the Cavaliers. That didn’t hold true the last time the Knicks played Cleveland, but the Cavs have lost three straight and New York is getting sort of healthy. Again, we’re looking for upside and Barrett has a ceiling in the 40-45 range at a discount.
Others to consider: Devin Booker, PHX vs. BOS, $8,000; Clint Capela, HOU vs. POR, $7,700; Devonte’ Graham, CHA at TOR, $6,900; Robert Covington, MIN at UTA, $5,500
Top Game Stack: SAS-DAL (225 O/U)
There are two games with higher projected totals: POR vs. HOU and MIL at CHI, both above 230 points. But I think Spurs vs. Mavericks is a sneaky good stack and the salary distribution will work out much better. If you’re targeting those other two games, you’re likely shelling out a lot of salary for 2-3 players. In San Antonio-Dallas, you’re really only paying up for Luka Doncic at $9,800, with the rest of the better options in the mid-range. Kristaps Porzingis ($7,500), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,300) and DeMar DeRozan ($7,100) are all good options, particularly in GPPs. Your clear-cut values would be Dejounte Murray ($5,200), Dwight Powell ($4,500) and Maxi Kleber ($4,200). Both teams rank in the bottom third in defensive efficiency and top 10 in offensive efficiency.