Four. That’s how many games we have. Is it ideal? Far from it but when you sit back and think about it, it’s not so bad. Especially when you add in the fact that you can conceivably increase the bag. Post the score on Twitter and see all the replies of “Damn! You the man!”
DEN and LAC are playing the first leg of a back-to-back set. MIL and TOR played last night.
Paul George is the only notable player who is questionable. Keep abreast of all the injury news @dklive.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, two of the games have totals over 230 — BKN/SA (232) and POR/DEN (238.5). The widest spread is DEN -6.5 over POR while the PHI/LAC game is a pick ‘em. SA is the only home dog on the slate.
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio Spurs ($9,900) – Irving has been a “This porridge is slightly cold” fantasy player over the last 10 games, as he’s finished in the 30 to 40 DKFP range. Surprisingly, he’s only scored 34.5 and 40 DKFP without Kevin Durant. It’s not for a lack of trying, though, as he’s attempted 20 and 24 shots with seven and 11 from downtown. He just hasn’t hit his shots, which makes sense since it’s an adjustment period being THE guy.
The breakout game could be tonight. The third time’s a charm, right? The Spurs play at the eighth-fastest pace and are dead last in defensive rating. Against point guards, they have boosted the FPPM by a whopping, league-leading 15.31% above the league average.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets ($9,500) – On the season, Denver has done a fantastic job defending point guards, as they have neutralized the FPPM by 10.37% below the league average. Lillard is not a normal point guard, though. He’s exceeded points expectations 60% of the time this season and has put up 56.25, 60.25 and 61 DKFP in the last three games. Against the Nuggets this season, he’s gone for 56.75, 72.5 and 54 DKFP.
Other Options - James Harden ($10,000), Jamal Murray ($7,500), Tre Jones ($6,500)
Josh Richardson, San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets ($4,500) – Richardson doesn’t start, but he’s an integral part of the rotation off the bench, especially with Devin Vassell out due to injury. Over the last five games, he’s played 29, 25, 23, 21 and 30 minutes, putting up over 30 DKFP in three of those contests. In the other two games, he went for 24.75 and 25.25 DKFP.
Other Options - Royce O’Neale ($5,500), Seth Curry ($4,300), Joe Harris ($4,200)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors ($11,800) – Giannis has missed the last three games due to knee soreness. He did go through warmups on Monday but was eventually ruled out. I’m thinking the back-to-back had something to do with that. The questionable tag could lower the ownership of Giannis, so that could skew the calculus a bit.
Giannis hasn’t been the Greek God on a nightly basis as we’ve expected in the past. That said, he’s been pretty damn good and can still bust out for a ceiling game on any given night. He had a stretch a few weeks ago when he went for 85, 81, 81 and 72.25 DKFP. That 72.75 game was against the Raptors, who don’t have the size down low to negate forays to the rim.
There’s a risk with Giannis, as he may be limited by the knee or he could exit the game early. That’s something you have to factor in, but there is access to the highest raw score on the slate at depressed ownership.
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks ($7,700) – Barnes got off to a slow start this season, as he dealt with injuries and adjusted to a new role. He looks comfortable now, having scored 20 points in three straight while converting at least 50% of his field goal attempts. He’s also contributed to the other statistical categories, which has translated to 47.25, 53 and 45.75 DKFP. The Bucks are third in defensive rating, though, so things will be more challenging for Barnes today.
Other Options - Keldon Johnson ($7,400)
Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio Spurs ($5,900) – This should be the ideal environment for Simmons to thrive. The Spurs play fast and allow the 10th-most transition opportunities, with the third-highest scoring frequency. The Spurs are also dead-last in defensive rating. Simmons has three games with over 40 DKFP and it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes it four tonight.
Other Options - Jeremy Sochan ($4,700), Josh Hart ($5,600)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers ($12,000) – Jokic averages 1.66 DKFP per minute and is a threat to triple-double on any given night. Yadda yadda yadda. Jokic is the best fantasy player on the planet. Now, will he pay off his price tag? That is the question. He’s gone for 59.5, 59 and 58.75 DKFP over the last three games, so he didn’t kill you if you didn’t roster him. On the season, he’s exceeded points expectations only 30% of the time. That said, he can bust a 90-DKFP burger on any given night.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Clippers ($11,300) – Embiid has exceeded points expectations 60% of the time this season and has a 100-DKFP game on the resume this season. He’s scored at least 30 points in five straight with a high of 42, while double-doubling in four of those contests. He also has seven blocks over that span and has three games with at least four blocks and a high of seven. He is not a threat to triple-double like Jokic, though, as he’s dished out at least 10 dimes in only one contest this season. The floor/ceiling combo is pretty high with Embiid because he plays a ton of minutes, garners and high usage rate and is one of the best players in the NBA. That’s usually a good combination.
Other Options - Jusuf Nurkic ($7,600), Nic Claxton ($7,200), Jakob Poeltl ($6,200)
Precious Achiuwa, Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks ($3,300) – Since returning from injury, Achiuwa has played eight games and has been brought back slowly. Over the last two games, though, the playing time has increased to 28 and 21 minutes, and minutes are half the battle. Yo, Joe! While the ceiling isn’t sky high, he has contributed 18, 21.5, 22 and 18.5 DKFP over the last four games. With Brook Lopez ($5,800) being able to step out and make it rain from downtown, Achiuwa is likely better suited to keep tabs on him than Christian Koloko.
Other Options - Ivica Zubac ($5,300), Robert Covington ($3,300)
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