The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Wednesday’s four-gamer tips off at 4:00 p.m. ET and continues with games tipping off all the way through 9:00 p.m. ET. This makes following along with all the news on DK Live even more important — especially with this being the last week of the regular season. After the insane flow of news we’ve gotten this week, you’ll need to lock in if you plan on playing these final slates. Things will be constantly shifting.
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Worth Paying Up For: James Harden, HOU vs. IND ($11,100)
The one thing that makes this slate a bit more difficult than the rest is that all eight teams playing are already in the postseason. There are no Dame Lillard or Devin Booker-type plays we can trust to go all out to get the win. It’s going to be tough to even use all of our salary on this slate, so rostering Harden with Russell Westbrook resting is a pretty easy call. We might need to question exactly how much Harden will play, but the Rockets are still battling for position in the west. In the end, 75% of Harden is better than you’ll get from any other play on this slate if it comes down to it.
Best Bang For Your Buck: T.J. McConnell, IND vs. HOU ($3,500)
The Pacers appear to be setting up an off-day for all their key pieces, and even if some wind up playing, it’s hard to imagine they get pushed too hard. McConnell had 21 DKFP in 22 minutes in the regular season against Houston. If any combo of Indy’s wings sit, we can project some extra minutes here.
It’s a really tough slate to gauge motivation and rotations, so you want to find targets that are as trustworthy as possible. That’s going to include a ton of value on the Pacers, and probably a rotation of expensive targets. Harden feels like the safest non-Pacer on the slate.
Worth Paying Up For: Jimmy Butler, MIA vs. OKC ($7,800)
It’s tough to figure out exactly how hard the Heat will be going in this one, but it looks like the usual suspects will all be playing. After missing three games with a foot injury, Butler scored over 50 DKFP in 29 minutes against the Pacers. Of course, there was motivation there because of the beef with T.J. Warren. It’s not nearly as strong of a spot for Butler, but this is a place to spend some salary and likely get a decent effort.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Aaron Holiday, IND vs. HOU ($4,600)
Holiday has the potential to be the strongest play on the slate, depending on what the Pacers’ final injury report looks like. Any missing wings, particularly Malcolm Brogdon, would mean more usage for Holiday, who could be Indy’s best player in uniform in a paced-up matchup against Houston. Either way, Holiday is cheap enough to play, but he could easily become the best point-per-dollar target before lock.
Holiday is one of the only must-play targets at guard, so you can mix things up however you please after that. Harden is SG eligible if you have a couple PG-only plays you want to use, and if you still want Butler, you can move him over to SF.
Worth Paying Up For: Robert Covington, HOU vs. IND ($6,800)
SF is a mess on this slate, but we’ll stay in the IND/HOU game for the most trustworthy spot. The Rockets have been missing some bodies over the last few, and ever since one of Harden or Russ have been out, Covington’s scored 30-plus DKFP in three straight. Nothing special, but this sets up as another spot to continue that type of play, which holds value on a slate like this.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Justin Holiday, IND vs. HOU ($3,600)
The other Holiday is another cheap value that stands to see big minutes against the Rockets, but his value is more dependent on guys sitting than his brother’s is. This is the cheapest Holiday has been in the bubble, so if the Pacers do limit their stars like we think they will, he’s in a terrific spot.
The Clippers are an interesting spot to explore here. Neither Kawhi Leonard ($9,500) or Paul George ($8,400) are on the injury report, but it remains to be seen how many minutes they’ll play against the Nuggets. If the Clippers actually choose to play this game out, both would become the best plays on the slate behind Harden.
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Worth Paying Up For: Michael Porter Jr., DEN vs. LAC ($7,600)
MPJ went for four straight games of at least 47 DKFP and looked terrific against the Lakers on Monday, scoring 23 DKFP in 24 minutes. However, the Nuggets sat starters for much of the second half, so their motivation is unclear at this point. If they ramp it up for one more test before the postseason, MPJ is a great play, but limited minutes would make him a pass.
Best Bang For Your Buck: JaKarr Sampson, IND vs. HOU ($3,000)
Sampson should see some of Warren’s minutes, and if Myles Turner (neck) is also sidelined, he’d potentially be in line for 30 minutes. Can’t ask for anything more than that at minimum salary, especially in a matchup he can gobble up some rebounds.
A similar play to MPJ is Pascal Siakam ($7,500). The Raptors are apparently playing starters in this one, but we don’t know exactly how much. Siakam was one of the only key pieces to play on Monday and scored 30 DKFP in 28 minutes. If he has a similar role on this slate, he could be a valuable piece.
Worth Paying Up For: Bam Adebayo, MIA vs. OKC ($7,700)
This is a play that operates under the same assumptions as the Butler play. Bam’s playing very well in the bubble and hasn’t been limited in a game yet — his 22 minutes last game were due to the blowout. He scored 39 DKFP against OKC earlier in the season, and the Thunder could be without some bigs.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Jeff Green, HOU vs. IND ($4,400)
Green’s played well lately, scoring 25 or more DKFP in three of his last four. His minutes should be safe with Westbrook out of the lineup and some perimeter players banged up for the Rockets. It’s a pretty lacking slate when it comes to value at center.
Mason Plumlee ($4,200) would pop as the better value than Green, but we need some info on Denver’s rotation before we can say for sure. If the Nuggets do indeed give starters rest. Plumlee jumps out as the safest overall center play.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Russell Westbrook (rest)
Ben Simmons (knee)
T.J. Warren (foot)
Will Barton (knee)
Dennis Schroder (personal)
Montrezl Harrell (personal)
Gary Harris (hip)
Landry Shamet (foot)
Patrick Beverley (calf)
Joel Embiid (ankle)
Tobias Harris (ankle)
Al Horford (knee)
Malcolm Brogdon (neck)
Myles Turner (neck)
Victor Oladipo (ankle)
Steven Adams (leg)
Danuel House (toe)
Serge Ibaka (knee)
Kendrick Nunn (personal)
Jerami Grant (knee)
Nerlens Noel (ankle)
OG Anunoby (knee)
Kelly Olynyk (thumb)
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