We have an eleven-game NBA slate today. On DraftKings Sportsbook, there are four games with a total of at least 228 - LAL/CHA (228.5), POR/HOU (231.5), CHI/SA (231) and MIN/PHO (230). The Suns and Bucks are both favored by 8.5 points over the Timberwolves and Knicks respectively. There are four games with a spread below three points — ATL -2 over BOS, POR -3.5 over HOU, OKC -1 over IND and CHI -1 over SA.
Things are going to change throughout the day, so make sure to keep abreast of the news by following @dklive on Twitter.
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings NBA lineups.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz ($10,300) – Morant is amazing, fantastic, stupendous, splendiferous and...that’s the extent of my vocabulary. He’s gone for at least 60 DKFP in three of the last four games. He’s scored at least 33 points in each of the last four games. The usage rate has been 37.4%, 40.1% and 39.7% over the most recent games. These reasons are not why he’s my favorite point guard today, though, although they are very good reasons. The Utah Jazz are 12th in defensive efficiency at 109 with Rudy Gobert. In seven games without him, that number plummets to 121.1. For perspective, the Rockets have the worst defensive efficiency on the season at 112.8. I watched the Suns put Hassan Whiteside ($6,900) in pick-and-roll action on almost every possession two nights ago. Chris Paul ($9,000) was getting warmup jumpers in the paint with Whiteside not even in the same area code on every possession. Morant leads the league in two-point field goals (11.3) within 10 feet. Does one plus one equal two? Ja.
Other Options – LeBron James ($11,200), LaMelo Ball ($8,400), Dejounte Murray ($10,000), Chris Paul ($9,000), Devin Booker ($9,900)
Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves @ Phoenix Suns ($4,000) – D’Angelo Russell ($7,800) suffered a shin contusion on Thursday so there’s a good chance he sits for the second leg of a back-to-back. Patrick Beverley ($4,300) has missed the last three games and is questionable. There’s a chance that Nowell starts in this, but even if he doesn’t, he should see plenty of run to be viable, especially at his price. On the season, he’s averaging 1.06 DKFP per minute. On Thursday, he played 29 minutes and attempted 16 shots. Both of these teams are top 10 in offensive pace and DraftKings Sportsbook has the total at a robust 230.
Other Options – Killian Hayes ($3,600), Donte DiVincenzo ($3,800)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers ($8,400) – Ball went for 69 DKFP last game but that was likely an outlier since the Hornets scored 158 points, so I feel a little icky going here. That said, the Hornets are second in offensive pace while the Lakers are seventh. The Hornets are 24th in defensive efficiency so there should be plenty of points and possessions in this one. DK Sportsbook has the total at 228.5. Against point guards, the Lakers boost the FPPM by 6.82% and Ball is a threat to triple-double on any given night. That is well within the range of outcomes for this one.
Other Options – Devin Booker ($9,900), Zach LaVine ($8,300), Jaylen Brown ($8,900), Caris LeVert ($8,800)
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs vs. Chicago Bulls ($4,000) – Vassell doesn’t start but he’s played 30 and 29 minutes over the last two games. He is averaging 0.9 DKFP per minute on the season and he’s scored double-digits in eight of the last nine games. The range of outcomes is wide, though, as he is just as likely to score in the teens or access the ceiling, which is pretty fantastic. He went for 40.5 DKFP five games ago and put up over 30 two other times.
Other Options – Jaylen Nowell ($4,000), Donte DiVincenzo ($3,800), Luke Kennard ($4,500)
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers @ Charlotte Hornets ($11,200) – LeBron did not play on Thursday so he should be well rested for this one if he plays—he is questionable as of this afternoon. Both teams are top ten in offensive pace and the Hornets are one of the poorer defensive teams in the league, so there should be plenty of chances for fantasy goodies. When he’s on the court, LeBron is always a threat to triple-double and he’s going to play a ton of minutes and garner a high usage rate. He is averaging 1.46 DKFP per minute and he will likely end up in the 50-DKFP range with the possibility of getting into the 70s if things break right.
Other Options – Jayson Tatum ($10,100), Zach LaVine ($8,300), Jaylen Brown ($8,900), Miles Bridges ($7,600)
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($4,700) – The Suns have been shorthanded due to injuries so the starters have been playing a ton of minutes. Johnson has played 37 and 38 minutes over the last two games. He’s primarily a 3-and-D player, so the usage rate is usually in the teens, but playing alongside Paul and Booker provides plenty of open looks from downtown, which he is converting at a 43% clip. Both of these teams are top 10 in offensive pace so there should be plenty of possessions. In addition, Minnesota boosts the FPPM to power forwards by 15.9% with a 6.06% boost to three-pointers.
Other Options – De’Andre Hunter ($5,200), Devin Vassell ($4,000), Jaden McDaniels ($3,500)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks ($11,800) – Giannis is coming off a 40.75-DKFP game in which he only played 29 minutes in a 16-point loss to the Cavaliers. He has 13 games this season with fewer than 50 DKFP with three of those under 40. In three games against the Knicks, he’s gone for 43.25, 52.75 and 56 DKFP. That said, he’s averaging 1.69 DKFP per minute and can pop off for 70 on any given night. If the projected ownership number is high, then I’d look to go elsewhere but if he gets overlooked, I’ll take the stab.
Other Options – Jayson Tatum ($10,100), DeMar DeRozan ($8,500), Miles Bridges ($7,600)
Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves @ Phoenix Suns ($5,300) – Vanderbilt will often have a usage rate in the single-digits, yet he contributes in so many categories that he provides a decent floor and can access a ceiling if things break right. Over the last 14 games, he’s scored at least 20 DKFP in all but one with five of those above 30, three above 40 and a high of 59.25.
Other Options – Cameron Johnson ($4,700), Herbert Jones ($4,900), De’Andre Hunter ($5,200), Jaden McDaniels ($3,500)
Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets ($8,000) – This section is normally reserved for Nikola Jokic ($12,600), so I am somewhat conflicted emotionally. There are just so many options at center today and the matchup, price and opportunity for Nurkic were just too much for me to ignore. Please forgive me, Nikola, for I have sinned. The Rockets play at the fastest pace in the league while being dead-last in defensive efficiency. That is quite the combo. Against centers, they have boosted the FPPM by 14.34%, which is third-most generous. Nurkic averages 1.27 DKFP per minute. The issue for him has been the minutes played per game. On the season, he’s averaging 27.3 per game, but over the last 12 games, he’s exceeded 30 in all but two. Over that span, he’s gone for over 50 DKFP with two of those over 60.
Other Options – Nikola Jokic ($12,600), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800), Joel Embiid ($11,000), Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,500), Anthony Davis ($9,800)
Jalen Smith, Phoenix Suns vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($3,400) – Bismack Biyombo ($5,800) is the superior play at center for the Suns and he should get the bulk of the minutes. That said, his price has elevated to the point that I’d rather take a shot on Smith. Towns has been a beast lately and has been getting opposing centers into foul trouble, so there’s a path in which Smith gets some extra run. On Wednesday against the Jazz, Smith played 19 minutes, had a 27.8% usage rate and put up 21.25 DKFP. This game should be an up-and-down affair with plenty of chances for fantasy goodies.
Other Options – Jarred Vanderbilt ($5,300), Herbert Jones ($4,900)
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