Seven is a holy number, but it’s also how many games we have on today’s slate. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Nets are not on it so no chance of rostering Edmond Sumner. Will you now despair and head over to the DK Sportsbook and just blindly bet all the unders? Do not make such a blunder. Instead, let’s mentally join hands and put all the information asunder. Cease being the hunted and morph into the hunter, collecting all the plunder, making the bank account plumper.
DEN, IND, LAL, NOP and WAS are playing the first leg of a back-to-back set. BOS, CHA and CHI played last night.
Nikola Jokic ($11,600) and LeBron James ($11,500) are the notable players who are questionable. Keep abreast of all the injury news @dklive.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, three games have totals of at least 230 — CHI/IND (234), DEN/NOP (230) and LAC/LAL (230).
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers ($9,200) – LaVine averages 1.1 DKFP per minute and garners a usage rate in the 28 to 30% range, sometimes going much higher. Over the last eight games, he’s gone for at least 50 DKFP in half of those contests with a high of 62.5.
The game environment should be a good one tonight as the Pacers play at the third-fastest pace in the league and the Bulls are favored by only 2 points on the road, so it should be a competitive affair. Indiana has also boosted the FPPM to shooting guards by 17.16% above the league average.
There is a slight concern because it’s the second leg of a back-to-back. LaVine hasn’t been great in these situations for much of the season, but in the most recent back-to-back, he went for 62.5 and 50.25 DKFP. I just like the game environment, matchup and potential upside too much.
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns vs. Charlotte Hornets ($7,500) – After missing seven games, Paul was brilliant in a 112-110 victory over Memphis. He played 38 minutes and put up 22 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals and 1 block while garnering a usage rate of 26.5%. With no Devin Booker, he will once again have to guide and shoulder much of the offensive load for the Suns.
Charlotte plays at the 10th-fastest pace and is 27th in defensive rating. They also played last night so it may look like a ballroom dancing class tonight.
Charlotte has defended point guards well this season, though, and neutralized the FPPM by 9.21% below average. In addition, Dennis Smith Jr. ($4,600) is an excellent defender but the matchup, environment, price and skill of Paul are too appealing to me.
Other Options - Jamal Murray ($7,000), TJ McConnell ($6100), Terry Rozier ($7,700), Spencer Dinwiddie ($6,500)
Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers ($4,000) – Caruso doesn’t start but he’s a key cog for the Bulls off the bench and will usually play close to 30 minutes per contest. The shooting efficiency is often vomit-inducing but that’s not where his fantasy value lies. Caruso grabs rebounds, dishes out dimes and racks up defensive stats. Over the last four games, he’s pilfered 5, 2, 4 and 3 while blocking a total of 5 shots. That has translated to 35.5, 38.25, 24.25 and 29 DKFP.
Indiana plays fast so there should be plenty of possessions to rack up fantasy goodies. The Pacers are also 27th in turnover rate. Someone cue up the Glen Davis GIF.
Other Options - Norman Powell ($5,900), Victor Oladipo ($5,200)
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers ($11,500) – James is questionable and this is the front end of a back-to-back. I’d say there’s a 0.0000000001% chance that LeBron sits this one out. This game is at home, against the Clippers, and the Lakers play the Spurs tomorrow so....1+1=2.
James has been a beastly god this season. He’s exceeded points expectations 80% of the time this season and, over the last seven games, he’s gone for at least 60 DKFP in five of those contests with a high of 74. In the other two games, he put up 50.25 and 58 DKFP. Shame!
It’s a pace-down spot for the Lakers, as the Clippers are 24th in offensive pace. In addition, the Clippers are 10th in defensive rating but LeBron is on a different level right now. He is Atlas with a crown atop his head carrying this Lakers team to Lord knows where.
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics ($7,600) – Butler has averaged seven shots in each of the past two games and put up 35.5 and 22 DKFP. He’s exceeded 40 DKFP just once in the last six contests. He often goes through these periods because he doesn’t always assert himself offensively and plays within the system. That said, he does pop off when needed and randomly puts up a 50-burger.
Boston is a tough matchup as they are 5th in defensive rating but they played last night so the legs and intensity may not be as ferocious. On the flip side, they did lose to the Magic so maybe there will be extra motivation. Regardless, either scenario would benefit Butler.
Other Options - Jayson Tatum ($11,100), DeMar DeRozan ($9,000), Kawhi Leonard ($10,100), Mikal Bridges ($7,200)
Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards at Dallas Mavericks ($4,000) – Dallas plays at the second-slowest pace, so that’s gross. That said, with Kristaps Porzingis out due to injury and Rui Hachimura traded to Los Angeles, Kyle Kuzma ($7,900) will likely slide up to power forward with Avdija becoming the starting small forward.
Avdija is a low-usage player who doesn’t make his hay on offense. He’s about the defense and cleaning the glass. In his most recent start, he pulled down 20 rebounds. Well, Dallas has boosted the rebounding prowess of small forwards by 15.4% above the league average.
Other Options - Cameron Johnson ($5,100), Bruce Brown ($5,200), Jericho Sims ($3,900)
Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets ($6,900) – Valanciunas averages 1.23 DKFP per minute and has exceeded points expectations 70% of the time this season. Over the last 10 games, he’s averaged 28.2 minutes per game. The range of outcomes is wide with Valanciunas, as he’s scored in the 20s twice while going over 40 five with a high of 59.5 DKFP.
Nikola Jokic ($11,600) has missed the last two games and is questionable tonight. If he plays, Valanciunas’s size will be needed against him. The last time these teams met, Valanciunas was in foul trouble and only played 14 minutes. There is always that risk but he will be out there against Jokic for as long as he can. The other scenario is that Jokic is out once again, which means that Valanciunas would get to feast against Zeke Nnaji ($4,000) or DeAndre Jordan ($3,400) down low. Someone cue up the Glen Davis GIF!
Mason Plumlee, Charlotte Hornets at Phoenix Suns ($6,800) - Plumlee is quietly having a fantastic fantasy season. What a time to be alive. He’s exceeded points expectations 80% of the time this season and has gone for at least 30 DKFP in each of the last nine games, with four of those over 40 DKFP. He’s double-doubled in six of those contests and also sprinkles a fair amount of dimes.
Other Options - Jarrett Allen ($6,400)
Bismack Biyombo, Phoenix Suns vs. Charlotte Hornets ($3,600) – With Deandre Ayton out, Biyombo should make his third straight start. He only played 16 minutes and put up 9.25 DKFP in the most recent outing, but he was in foul trouble and eventually fouled out. In the prior game, he went for 42 DKFP in 30 minutes. He could come close to replicating that performance tonight, as the Hornets play fast and have boosted the FPPM to centers by 8.88% above the league average.
Other Options - Ivica Zubac ($5,600), Daniel Gafford ($4,300), Thomas Bryant ($5,700), Mark Williams ($3,200)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.