There are five games for Sunday’s NBA main slate with three games tipping off at 1:00 p.m. ET — the Utah Jazz at the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat at the New York Knicks, and the Washington Wizards at the Charlotte Hornets. There’s one game at 2:00 p.m. ET - the Boston Celtics at the Phoenix Suns, while the late-afternoon hammer is the Sacramento Kings visiting the Los Angeles Clippers, which begins an hour later. The Heat and the Clippers are playing the second leg of a back-to-back. DK Sportsbook has the Clippers as the biggest favorite on the slate (-8).
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your lineups.
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets vs. Washington Wizards, $7,800 – Ball opened the season priced at $5,400, and for good reason, as he was slated to come off the bench and play sparingly. In the first two games, he received 16 and 15 minutes. Life sure comes at us fast, though, as he’s now priced at a season-high $7,800 due to starting the past three games and playing 39, 38 and 31 minutes. Over the past five games, he’s scored 35.5, 53.25, 30.25, 37.75 and 59 DKFP. Now he gets one of the pristine matchups for fantasy: The Washington Wizards, a team that plays at the fastest pace in the league and is 29th in defensive efficiency. Against point guards, they boost the fantasy points per minute by 7.07% above the league average. Yummy yum yum.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook ($8,900), Kemba Walker ($6,800)
Elfrid Payton, New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat, $4,500 – I’m not crazy about the matchup, as the Heat defend the point guard position well. With that said, over the past two games, Payton has played 35 minutes in each and contributed 38.25 and 37.5 DKFP. He’s also attempted 10 shots in each game while scoring over 20 points and grabbing rebounds, dishing out assists and even blocking shots. Will it continue? Shrug. In late January, Payton was playing over 30 minutes per game. Then coach Tom Thibodeau decided to play him 24, 21, 23, 21 and 18 minutes in the next five games. This was right before his two 35-minute games. At least the price is palatable if Thibodeau decides to pull the plug.
Other Options – T. J. McConnell ($5,500)
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz at Indiana Pacers, $7,900 – Mitchell is the “just right” porridge in the Three Little Bears story - not too hot, not too cold, just right. For slurping porridge, this is a good thing. For daily fantasy, not so much. He’s scored over 40 DKFP 10 times this season with two of those 50-burgers, but he’s gone lower than 40 DKFP 11 times. So why do I consider him a stud today? He garners a usage rate of 30.6% on the season and is hoisting up 18.6 shots per game. This game has a spread of four points, so it should be competitive. In addition, the Pacers boost the fantasy points per minute to shooting guards by 11.99% above league average, the fifth-most generous rate in the league. It wouldn’t surprise me if he notches his third 50-burger of the season.
Other Option – Tyrese Haliburton ($6,200)
Luke Kennard, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Sacramento Kings, $3,800 – Paul George has already been ruled out for this one, so Kennard should make his seventh start of the season. Over the prior six starts, Kennard averaged 29.4 minutes, 11 points, 1.8 3-pointers, 3.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 0.8 steals. The usage rate has been 17.1%, a tick above the 15.9% he provides while coming off the bench. On the season, Kennard is averaging 0.73 DKFP per minute.
Other Option – Alec Burks ($5,200)
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Sacramento Kings, $9,100 – Leonard could be the top player on the slate. He averages 1.34 DKFP per minute and is playing 34.4 minutes per game. The Kings are 30th in defensive efficiency and against small forwards, they boost the fantasy points per minute by a whopping 18.54% above league average, second-most generous in the league. Leonard is garnering a usage rate of 29.8% on the season but when George is off the floor, that ticks up to 32%. The last time he faced the Kings was on Jan. 15. He only scored 43 DKFP but, considering that George played and the Clippers won by 38 points resulting in 28 minutes for Leonard, I’d say it was a good day.
Other Option – Gordon Hayward ($8,000)
Grant Williams, Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns, $3,600 – Williams started the last game because Jaylen Brown was out due to a knee injury. Brown has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game so there’s a chance Williams gets his sixth start of the season and second in a row. On the season, Williams is only averaging 0.67 DKFP per minute but he played 32 minutes in his last one. In the other four starts, though, he only played 11, 16, 24 and 23 minutes, so this is a low floor/low ceiling play. The potential for minutes are there, though, and the price is cheap. Williams has scored over 20 DKFP four times this season with a high of 27.5. Two of the games have come in the last three games.
Other Options – Nicolas Batum ($5,100)
Julius Randle, New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat, $9,200 – Randle has gone for over 50 DKFP 10 times this season, with three 60-burgers. Over the past three games, he’s contributed 51.5, 50.75 and 48.5 DKFP. Now he gets a matchup against a Miami Heat team that boosts the fantasy points per minute by 6.94% above league average. The biggest boost comes in the assist department, as that number is 18.85% above league average. After averaging a high of 3.6 assists in 2016, Randle is dishing out 5.9 assists per game this season. He’s garnering a usage rate of 27% and is averaging a team-high 1.26 DKFP per minute while playing 36.8 minutes per game.
Other Option –Jayson Tatum ($9,400)
Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns, $4,400 – Theis did get knocked out of last game due to a knee injury but he isn’t on the injury report for Sunday so I’m assuming all systems go. On the season, Theis has started 17 games and averaged only 22.9 minutes. The three games prior to getting injured, though, he played 35, 28 and 27 minutes. Theis contributed 28.35, 27.25 and 25 DKFP in those games. On the season, he’s averaging 0.89 DKFP per minute.
Other Option – Doug McDermott ($4,600)
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat at New York Knicks, $9,000 – I’m not crazy about the price, but Bam has been relatively consistent lately. Over the past five games, he’s scored 45.75, 45.25, 42.75, 45.75 and 36.5 DKFP. The reason he didn’t get to 40 in the last game was that he only played 27 minutes due to the Wizards sucking - the Heat won by 27 points. On the season, Bam is averaging 1.26 DKFP per minute and 32.9 minutes per game. The floor is stable because he contributes in so many ways — scoring, rebounding, dishing out assists and contributing defensive stats. While the ceiling games haven’t occurred often, he has gone over 50 DKFP four times this season with a 62.75 outburst against the Nets a few weeks ago.
Other Option – Cody Zeller ($6,000)
Alex Len, Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets, $4,000 – I have no faith in this play because I have no idea how many minutes Len will play. Since arriving in Washington, D.C., Len played over 10 minutes in five games while receiving single-digits in three. He has received 27 and 24 minutes of playing over the past two games and contributed 24.5 and 37.75 DKFP in the process, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he plays fewer than 10 minutes in this one. Now, the trend is our friend and the matchup is a good one, as the Hornets boost the fantasy points per minute to centers by 10.71% above league average. Len is averaging 1.16 DKFP per minute and seems to be the best option at center for the Wizards, but there is still some uncertainty.
Other Options – Rui Hachimura ($5,300)
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