As is always the case when it comes to a decently-sized NBA slate, we’ve got some injury news on Tuesday that we’ll all be forced to follow closely as we inch towards lock. The status of Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800; ankle) is completely up in the air, as the All-Star sat out the first leg of Milwaukee’s back-to-back on Monday. Joining the reigning Finals MVP on the injury report are Ja Morant ($9,500; ankle) and Jimmy Butler ($8,600; shoulder), who are both questionable to suit up.
Still, you know the drill. Download the DK Live app and keep your head of a swivel. For everything else, let’s go position-by-position.
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets at Minnesota Timberwolves, $9,100 - This game is the Spider-Man pointing meme. Coming into Tuesday’s action, the Hornets lead the NBA in pace (101.2), while the Timberwolves sit in third (100.7). Defense also tends to be optional with both squads, which is why each team has an implied total above 119 points this evening. Ball, in particular, should thrive in this uptempo environment, and the All-Star has managed 60-plus DKFP in two of his last three starts. He’ll be among the slate’s most popular plays, yet Ball’s difficult to ignore in this setting.
James Bouknight, Charlotte Hornets at Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,300 - Bouknight has been dealing with a couple ailments the past few weeks, but when he’s been available, he’s been pretty good. In fact, going back to Jan. 23 — a span of eight appearances for the rookie — Bouknight owns the second-highest usage rate on Charlotte’s roster at 23.4%. With Gordon Hayward (ankle) and Cody Martin (Achilles) sidelined, Bouknight’s been locked into roughly 20 minutes of run per game. In the most uptempo script imaginable, that will be enough time for the 21-year-old to bring back value.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Charlotte Hornets, $8,000 - Are you picking up on a pattern? This matchup promises to be DFS gold and it would be crazy for me to not mention Edwards are a viable asset. Over the Timberwolves’ last three contests, the former first-overall pick leads the team in minutes (113) and usage rate (32.7%). That’s resulted in Edwards averaging 24.0 field goal attempts per game and an impressive 1.27 DKFP per minute. The young wing has the ability to contribute across all categories and few people possess a higher ceiling on Tuesday.
Buddy Hield, Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks, $6,000 - This contest also promises to be uptempo, as both the Pacers and the Bucks are averaging over 100 possessions per 48 minutes over their past 10 games. That’s great news for Hield, as volume is no longer an issue for the former lottery pick. In the two starts he’s made since arriving in Indiana, Hield’s averaging 40.0 minutes and 18.0 field goal attempts. Believe me when I say that those figures are significantly higher than they were in Sacramento. Yes, he was a putrid 1-for-13 from three-point range on Sunday, but Hield’s a career 39.9% shooter from distance, at some point, those shots are going to fall.
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Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans, $6,900 - The eventual status of Morant will dictate Bane’s true viability, but if the All-Star sits, this is a fantastic spot to utilize the former second-round pick. This season, in the 452 minutes Bane’s logged with Morant and Dillon Brooks (ankle) sidelined, the wing has posted a 26.3% usage rate to go along with 1.15 DKFP per minute. With the Pelicans on the second night of a back-to-back — and starting an unimposing defensive backcourt of CJ McCollum ($8,000) and Devonte’ Graham ($4,700) — Bane should be able to do some damage.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, $5,500 - After logging 37.4 minutes and hoisting up 20 shots in Sunday’s loss to Boston, Bogdanovic is questionable to suit up for tonight’s contest due to left ankle soreness. So, there’s two ways to play this. In the scenario where Bogdanovic is active, he’s viable. The guard ranks second on the team in minutes played going back to Jan. 26, a span of time where Bogdanovic has also registered a 60.5% true shooting rate and is averaging 1.06 DKFP per minute. If Bogdanovic is inactive — possibly along with Delon Wright ($3,200; groin) — Kevin Huerter ($4,700) should see all the minutes he can handle.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans, $7,200 - Like Bane, Jackson’s ceiling is immense if Morant is unavailable this evening. Not only is the forward averaging a massive 1.30 DKFP per minute across his past nine games, but for the season as a whole, Jackson sports a 32.9% usage rate with both Morant and Brooks off the court. Obviously Jackson will have to stay out of foul trouble to really make things worth your while, but the upside outweighs any of those concerns pretty quickly.
Jordan Nwora, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers, $3,000 - Even if the aforementioned Antetokounmpo plays, I still think Nwora is almost a free space on tonight’s slate. Simply put, the Bucks are missing a ton of depth on the wing right now, a situation that was not helped by Pat Connaughton (hand) getting injured mere hours after the team traded away Donte DiVincenzo. I’d expect Nwora to see anywhere from 20-25 minutes, with the added potential for more minutes if an already uptempo script gets lopsided.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics, $11,600 - This is a tough matchup. Across their eight-game winning streak, the Celtics have only surrendered 95.8 points per 100 possessions — easily the best mark in the league. Still, as he proved on Saturday with 83.0 DKFP against a very good Cleveland team, Embiid is matchup-proof. Since Jan. 19, the All-Star is averaging an insane 1.93 DKFP per minute. He’s an efficiency God, and until James Harden (hamstring) is ready to go, he’ll continue to be viable on any slate he appears.
Isaiah Hartenstein, Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns, $3,400 - Now that the Clippers’ center rotation has been simplified with Serge Ibaka ($4,100) in Milwaukee, you can pretty confidently pencil Hartenstein in for at least 20 minutes a night — especially in a matchup against a team with good size like Phoenix. Like most big men, Hartenstein just needs opportunity to produce, as he’s averaging a respectable 1.03 DKFP per minute in 2021-22. Realistically, his floor should be 6x or 7x value.
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