There are seven games for Sunday’s NBA main slate with four games tipping off at 7:00 p.m. ET — the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Minnesota Timberwolves at the New York Knicks, the Detroit Pistons at the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Toronto Raptors. There’s one game at 7:30 p.m. ET — the Denver Nuggets at the Atlanta Hawks. The next game tips off at 8:00 p.m. ET with the Brooklyn Nets at the Los Angeles Clippers. The late-night hammer is the Sacramento Kings at the Milwaukee Bucks, which starts at 9:00 p.m. ET. The Bulls are the only team playing the second leg of a back-to-back. DK Sportsbook has one game with a double-digit spread — Bucks (-10.5). There are three games with an O/U of at least 230 — DEN/ATL (231.5), BKN/LAC (235.5) and SAC/MIL (238.5).
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your lineups.
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James Harden, Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Clippers, $10,600 – Kevin Durant will miss his fourth straight game and seventh out of the past eight due to injury. When he’s off the court, Harden sees a usage bump of 2.8% to 28.9%. Over that span, he’s produced 48.75, 53, 62, 39.75, 62.6, 72.25, 68.25 and 54.25 DKFP. These two teams met on Feb. 2, with the Nets squeaking out a 124-120 victory. Harden messed around and got a triple-double, but Durant did play in that game. More defensive attention could be put on Harden, so this is not a smash spot by any means. With that said, he’s the highest projected point guard on the slate and contributes in so many categories that the floor is high and the potential for a nuclear game is always in the offering.
Other Options – Kyrie Irving ($8,700), Jamal Murray ($8,600)
Dennis Smith Jr., Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic, $4,000 – Delon Wright injured his groin on Friday and is expected to miss at least two weeks after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain. That should allow Smith Jr. to make his first start of the season and play a ton of minutes on Sunday. Since arriving in Detroit, he had played 16, 13, 12, 17 and 23 minutes, so he was already carving out a role for himself. The shooting efficiency can be vomit-inducing but it’s a good thing that DFS isn’t category-based. In his last outing, he produced four rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks, so he has the ability to contribute across-the-board. In 80 minutes this season, Smith Jr. is averaging 0.83 DKFP per minute.
Other Options – D.J. Augustin ($3,800), Patrick Beverley ($4,400)
Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers, $6,900 – Kyle Lowry has missed the past two games and is expected to be out for today. In his absence, Powell has garnered usage rates of 26.4% and 25.7% while scoring 29 and 31 points, respectively. He’s been shooting an insane percentage from the field and that can’t be expected every time out, but the contributions in rebounds and steals give him a relatively high floor. He’s also played 31 and 38 minutes in those games with the 31-minute outing being a blowout. The cherry on top is that the 76ers boost the fantasy points per minute to shooting guards by 9.4% above league average, fourth-most generous.
Other Option – Evan Fournier ($6,300)
Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic vs. Detroit Pistons, $5,500 – I’m not crazy about the shooting guard value, so here we are. On the season, Carter-Williams is only averaging 0.78 DKFP per minute, but since returning to action he’s started four games and played 27, 30, 30 and 33 minutes. Because he has difficulty putting the ball into the basket, ceiling games are tough to come by. With that said, a broken clock is right twice a day and Carter-Williams can surprise from time to time. He can contribute across the board and put up 39.25 DKFP four games ago when he shot 7-for-16 from the field for 21 points. The price is too expensive for me to use Carter-Williams, but I can’t find a player with a better floor/ceiling combo below $6,000.
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Brooklyn Nets, $9,500 – This game has the second-highest O/U on the day at 235.5 and the Nets play at the eighth-fastest pace while being 24th in defensive efficiency. They also boost the fantasy points per minute to small forwards by 7.84% above league average. Oh, and this Kawhi guy is pretty good, as he averages 1.34 DKFP per minute and went for 59.25 DKFP in the last game between these teams.
Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets at Atlanta Hawks, $5,900 – Porter Jr. is averaging 1.03 DKFP per minute. Unfortunately, he’s been very inconsistent. In the past four games, he’s gone for 17.25, 15.25, 28.25 and 32.75 DKFP. At least he’s trending in the right direction. In the last game, the usage rate was 27.2%, the highest rate in 13 games. He had been languishing in the teens. JaMychal Green injured himself after one minute in the last game, so maybe that had something to do with it. We shall see for this one as Green has been ruled out. Porter Jr. has 50-DKFP upside if things break right and the matchup against the Hawks couldn’t be any better as they boost the fantasy points per minute to small forwards by 16.14% above league average.
Other Options – RJ Barrett ($5,400)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Sacramento Kings, $11,000 – Giannis is good. #Analysis. He’s averaging a ridiculous 1.64 DKFP per minute and goes up against a Kings team that plays at the 11th-fastest pace and is dead-last in defensive efficiency. Who’s guarding him? Marvin Bagley? Hassan Whiteside? Richaun Holmes is out. Now, the spread is Bucks (-10.5) so Giannis may not get his full allotment of minutes, but if the game does turn into a blowout it’s likely that he had a big hand in making that a reality considering he garners a 33% usage rate on the season.
Other Option – Julius Randle ($9,400), Tobias Harris ($8,600)
Zeke Nnaji, Denver Nuggets at Atlanta Hawks, $3,200 – Nnaji has played a total of 119 minutes on the season. He’s appeared in 16 games but has received double-digit minutes in only four games, with two being blowouts. On the season, he’s only averaging 0.62 DKFP per minute. So why Nnaji? He could start, but even if he doesn’t, at least 20 minutes of playing time should be on the table because both Paul Millsap and the aforementioned Green have been ruled out. I wouldn’t expect much but he’s almost the minimum, should get playing time and went for 23.75 DKFP in 23.5 minutes against the Lakers four games ago. Granted, it was a blowout, but whatever. It happened.
Other Option – Bobby Portis ($5,100)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets at Atlanta Hawks, $10,800 – Jokic is the highest projected player on the slate. The matchup is neutral for Jokic, but he eschews matchups anyway. On the season, he’s averaging 1.61 DKFP per minute and 35.8 minutes per game. He has a high of 88.5 DKFP on the season and has gone for at least 70 five other times. Over the past five games, he’s gone for 57.25, 63.5, 64, 59.25 and 59.5 DKFP. That’s consistency worth paying for with the possibility for Mt. St. Helens explosions.
Other Option – Joel Embiid ($10,900)
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Sacramento Kings, $4,300 – Over the past four games, Lopez has been bad, going for 6.5, 14.75, 23 and 21.25 DKFP. The ceiling isn’t particularly high either, as he’s topped out at 35.5 DKFP. With that being said, the price is cheap and the Kings are the most generous team to opposing centers. They boost the fantasy points per minute by a whopping 24.25% above league average. Even better for Lopez, they increase 3-pointers by 42.34% above league average. We already went over how the Kings play at a fast pace and are dead-last in defensive efficiency, so the environment and matchup don’t get any better for him.
Other Options – Serge Ibaka ($5,000)
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