Tuesday’s NBA slate features six games, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:00 p.m. ET. Let’s dive into some of the top plays, strategies and injuries to monitor heading into lineup lock.
Worth Paying Up For: James Harden, Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers ($11,000)
Harden is currently listed as questionable, but he carries immense upside if he’s able to suit up vs. the Blazers. Kevin Durant remains out with an injury, while Kyrie Irving is away from the team for personal reasons. Since joining the Nets, Harden has increased his usage rate by 7.1% and his assist rate by 14.4% with both players off the court. He’s also averaged 58.6 DKFP in four games without both players.
The Blazers are also an excellent matchup. They rank just 29th in defensive efficiency, and the Nets’ implied team total of 114.5 ranks second on the slate.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Tyler Johnson, Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers ($3,100)
Sticking with the Nets, Johnson should be one of the primary beneficiaries of Irving’s absence from a minutes standpoint. He played nearly 31.5 minutes the last time Irving was out of the lineup, which is a ton of playing time for someone who is basically priced at the minimum. He would become close to a must-play if Harden is also ruled out, but he carries a lot of appeal even if Harden is active.
Worth Paying Up For: Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans ($6,600)
Schroder deserves heavy consideration today vs. the Pelicans. He’s averaged 0.97 DKFP per minute over the past month, and that undersells his upside on Tuesday’s slate. He’s increased his usage rate by 4.3% with both LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (calf) off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.02 DKFP per minute. He’s also increased his assist rate by a team-high 9.7% in that situation, which gives him the potential to lead the team in scoring and assists vs. the Pelicans. That’s an appealing combination at just $6.6K.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($5,600)
Poole has been excellent for the Warriors recently, scoring at least 34.0 DKFP in each of his past three games. He’s coming off 38.1 minutes and 42.0 DKFP in his last game, and he should be looking at another expanded workload with Stephen Curry (tailbone) out of the lineup on Tuesday. The 76ers aren’t a great matchup, but he’s simply too cheap at $5.6K.
Worth Paying Up For: Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans ($6,800)
This is the moment Kuzma has been dreaming of. He’s transformed his game into being more of a role player this season, but he is a scorer at heart. He should have a chance to flex his scoring muscles with James and Davis out of the lineup, particularly in an elite matchup vs. the Pelicans. Kuzma leads the team with 70 total minutes in two games without LeBron and Davis this season, and he’s averaged 39.0 DKFP in those contests.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans ($5,500)
Horton-Tucker has actually seen the largest usage bump on the Lakers with LeBron and AD off the court this season. He’s increased his usage rate by 6.1%, resulting in an average of 1.12 DKFP per minute. He has the potential to approach 30 minutes vs. the Pelicans, which makes him a solid option.
Worth Paying Up For: Julius Randle, New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards ($9,900)
Randle is someone who should see a decrease in value as the Knicks get healthier. His assist numbers were way up with Derrick Rose ($5,400), Immanuel Quickley ($5,800) and Elfrid Payton ($5,200) out of the lineup, and it’s possible that all three players will be back today. Rose and Quickley will almost assuredly be in the lineup.
Still, the matchup vs. the Wizards is too appealing to pass up. In addition to playing fast and struggling defensively, the Wizards also rank just 25th in team rebounding rate. Randle should be able to make up any reduction in assists with a few additional points and rebounds on Tuesday.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets at Orlando Magic ($3,900)
Millsap has struggled a bit recently, but $3.9K is simply too cheap for him on Tuesday. He’s coming off nearly 30 minutes in his last contest, and Millsap has averaged 0.92 DKFP per minute this season. He might not see as many minutes vs. the Magic, but he should still be able to return value.
Worth Paying Up For: Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans ($6,800)
Nikola Jokic ($10,700) is certainly worth some consideration at center, but Harrell is my preferred target if I can only choose one. He should be one of the Lakers’ offensive focal points vs. the Pelicans. He’s increased his usage rate by 6.0% with LeBron and AD off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.30 DKFP per minute.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers ($3,900)
Claxton has earned more playing time for the Nets recently, and that shouldn’t change with Irving out of the lineup. He’s averaged 1.15 DKFP per minute over the past month, and he’s coming off 26.2 minutes in his last outing. That gives him immense upside at just $3.9K.
Overall Lineup Strategy
Harden’s status is the most important factor on today’s slate. If he’s in the lineup, he’s basically a lock tonight vs. the Blazers. If he’s out, it creates even more value with the Nets.
I’m operating under the assumption that Harden is going to play. He basically told reporters that he was fine and would “be ready to go to the next game,” so I’m going to take him at his word. I’m locking him in my lineups.
After that, you can go two different ways. There is definitely enough value on the slate to pair Harden with Jokic and go full stars-and-scrubs. That gives you the two players with the highest ceiling on the slate.
That said, I prefer to go with a more balanced approach around Harden. Adding in Schroder and Harrell leaves you with an average of just over $5,100 for your remaining five lineup spots. That should be extremely doable, particularly with guys like Claxton, Johnson and Bruce Brown ($4,200) providing excellent value for the Nets.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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 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.
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