Turn a 6 upside down and that’s how many games we have on today’s slate. Ain’t that great? Unfortunately, not everyone in this country can participate, as this country consists of 50 different states, each having its own rules of governance. That makes me irate. All we can do is sit back and wait. For those of us with a fortunate fate, let us differentiate each player and stat, picking and choosing the correct ones with a skill that matches the exploits of Alexander the Great. May you not miscalculate. Obliterate and incinerate the competition so that future generations will commemorate.
ATL, CLE, IND, ORL and SAC are playing the first leg of a back-to-back set. BKN and GSW played last night.
LeBron James ($11,300), Donovan Mitchell ($8,900), Trae Young ($9,400), Domantas Sabonis ($10,500) and Franz Wagner ($6,400) are the notable players who are questionable. Keep abreast of all the injury news @dklive.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, two games have totals over 240 — MEM/LAL (243.5) and OKC/SA (241.5). There is one double-digit spread — DEN -11 over IND. There are two games with a spread of 1 point — NOP -1 over ORL and MIA -1 over DAL. ORL, DAL, SA and LAL are all home dogs.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers ($9,600) – Morant has scored at least 40 DKFP in 11 straight, with four of those over 50. He gets a juicy matchup on Friday, as the Lakers are third in offensive pace and have boosted the FPPM to point guards by 14.16% above the league average. The spread is 7.5 points in favor of Memphis, so there is some risk of a blowout, but this game has the highest total on the slate and Morant should feast as long as he gets his normal allotment of playing time.
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings ($7,700) – The knock on Giddey has always been his shooting and he converted only 41% of his attempts last season. Renowned shooting coach, Chip Engelland, has worked extensively with Giddey coming into this season, and the results have been dramatic. Giddey is shooting 48% from the field and, over the last 14 games, he’s been above 50%. Giddey is always a triple-double threat, so the ability to shoot-and-score has unlocked his game. He’s exceeded points expectations 80% of the time this season.
Over the last five games, he’s gone over 50 DKFP three times and gets a great matchup on Friday. The Kings are sixth in offensive pace and 24th in defensive rating. Against shooting guards, Sacramento has boosted the FPPM by 10.16% above the league average. This game has the second-highest total on the slate.
Other Options - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($9,700), Kyrie Irving ($9,900), Jalen Brunson ($8,600)
Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks ($4,500) – Grimes isn’t sexy and the usage rate is low. That said, he plays a ton of minutes, primarily due to his defense, and can put the ball in the bucket. He’s a 3-and-D player who has playmaking ability when given the opportunity. Grimes only averages 0.7 DKFP per minute, so the likely outcome is somewhere in the 25 DKFP area, which isn’t bad in of itself, but he has gone over 30 DKFP seven times this season with a high of 48.5. The Hawks have boosted the FPPM to shooting guards by 9.64% above the league average.
Other Options - Max Christie ($3,700), Andrew Nembhard ($5,300), Kevin Huerter ($5,500), Seth Curry ($5,300), Isaac Okoro ($3,700)
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies ($11,300) – James has exceeded points expectations 70% of the time this season. He’s playing around 35 minutes per game and garnering a usage rate in the high 30% range. He’s a threat to triple-double on any given night and has an incredibly high floor. James has scored fewer than 40 DKFP only once this season. Since that “poor” game, James has put up at least 50 DKFP in 17 out of 22 games. Over the last four games, he’s gone for 61.5, 64.5, 74 and 60 DKFP. We are all witnesses.
Julius Randle, New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks ($9,800) – Randle may not contribute much in the defensive categories, but boy, does he deliver in the other counting stats. Over the last 15 games, he’s averaging 28.2 points, 13.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He’s gone for at least 50 DKFP in all but three of those contests. Five of those games were over 60 DKFP with a high of 71.75. Atlanta plays at the ninth-fastest pace and, while they are 13th in defensive rating, they have boosted the FPPM to opposing power forwards by 16.73% above the league average.
Other Options - Lauri Markkanen ($9,500), Jimmy Butler ($8,300), Jaren Jackson Jr. ($7,300), Aaron Gordon ($6,100)
Jericho Sims, New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks ($3,000) – Mitchell Robinson is out for an extended period, so Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein ($3,000) will soak up most of those minutes. On Wednesday, Sims received 21 minutes of run and should see a similar workload. He’s averaging 0.87 DKFP per minute and there is a hint of upside since Tom Thibodeau doesn’t seem to be too enamored with Hartenstein. Sims is an explosive athlete and could be better suited to match up with Capela and Okongwu. Anyways, earlier in the season when he received at least 25 minutes of run, Sims put up 22.5, 33.75 and 29 DKFP.
Other Options - Jalen Williams ($5,200), Lugentz Dort ($5,000), Bruce Brown ($4,600), Keegan Murray ($4,400), Wenyen Gabriel ($4,600)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers ($11,600) – Jokic averages a ridiculous 1.68 DKFP per minute. He’s a threat to triple-double on any given night and is in play to break any slate he’s on. That said, there is blowout risk, as the Nuggets are 11-point favorites and, unlike last season when he had to carry the team every night, the Nuggets have more offensive options this year. The price is high and Jokic has exceeded points expectations 50% of the time. Projected ownership is going to play a huge part in whether the risk/reward calculation makes it worth it.
Nic Claxton, Brooklyn Nets at Utah Jazz ($7,400) - Entering this season, we knew Claxton would see an expanded role due to the depth chart clearing out in front of him. And he got the minutes early on but it took him a while to get comfortable in his new role. Well, he’s comfortable now. Over the last six games, he’s put up at least 30 DKFP in all with over 40 DKFP in each of the last three contests. Now he gets a matchup against a Utah team that is 12th in offensive pace and 26th in defensive rating. They have also boosted the FPPM to centers by 5.47% above the league average.
Other Options - Bam Adebayo ($8,400), Ben Simmons ($7,000), Jakob Poeltl ($6,300)
Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks ($3,000) – Hartenstein could start but I prefer Sims, as I think Thibodeau doesn’t really like Hartenstein due to his defensive limitations. That said, he’s the stone minimum and should play 15 to 20 minutes. Hartenstein is more of an offensive threat than Sims and he averages 0.89 DKFP per minute, so he could get hot and Thibodeau could ride him. I’d temper expectations, though.
Other Options - Steven Adams ($5,800), Clint Capela ($5,400)
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