We have a nine-game NBA slate today. On DraftKings Sportsbook, there are three games with a total of at least 228 — HOU/ORL (234), PHI/MIN (229) and NO/PHO (228.5). The Pacers are the biggest favorites at seven points over the Thunder while the Lakers and Clippers have the tightest spread at 1.5 in favor of the Lakers.
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.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($9,200) – In the last game before the All-Star break, Chris Paul injured his right thumb and only played 20 minutes. Booker ended up playing 43 minutes in that one. On Thursday, Booker slid down to point guard and played 38 minutes in a game that the Suns won by 20 points. He dished out 12 assists, racked up six steals and went for 61.25 DKFP. The steals production shouldn’t be expected to continue at that level, but double-digit assists are well within the range of outcomes. The Pelicans are 23rd in defensive efficiency and were boosting the FPPM to point guards by 11.14%, but those numbers were before the acquisition of CJ McCollum ($8,600), who has never been known as a maven on that side of the ball. Granted, the Pelicans could match up Herb Jones ($4,500) on Booker, making his life a little bit more difficult, but Booker is a professional getter of buckets, so he should still get his.
Other Options – Dejounte Murray ($10,800), LaMelo Ball ($9,600), D’Angelo Russell ($7,300)
Luke Kennard, Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers ($4,000) – Kennard doesn’t start, but he’s an important player off the bench, as he can both shoot from downtown and initiate offense from time to time. Over the last two games, he’s played 23 and 25 minutes, garnering a usage rate of 17.2% and 23.6%. He’s dished out three and four assists and dropped 25 points last game. That translated to 24.5 and 36.5 DKFP. The Lakers are third in offensive pace and middling in terms of defensive efficiency, ranking 15th on the season.
Other Options – Immanuel Quickley ($4,300) and Ish Smith ($4,200)
D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($7,300) – Russell went for 54.5 DKFP last night and scored 23 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter. But that’s not why I’m recommending him, although it doesn’t hurt. James Harden ($10,900), who is no defensive wizard, will be making his Philly debut and Russell lit up this 76ers squad for 60.5 DKFP back in late November. Russell has played in six back-to-backs this season with mixed results: two games with fewer DKFP and three games with more. That 60.5 DKFP game against Philly was on the second leg of a back-to-back.
Other Options – Devin Booker ($9,200)
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs @ Washington Wizards ($5,000) – Since Derrick White got traded, Vassell has started the last four games and played 28, 31, 24 and 34 minutes. He’s attempted double-digit shots in each contest and gone for at least 30 DKFP in three. The usage rate has been around 20%, and he’s averaging 0.9 FPPM. The Wizards are 22nd in defensive efficiency.
Other Options – Deni Avdija ($5,100), Luke Kennard ($4,000), Immanuel Quickley
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers ($10,600) – James is questionable, so make sure he’s active before utilizing him. With Anthony Davis out, James will more than likely suit up with the Lakers sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference and the Clippers in eighth place. He garners a 33.2% usage rate with Davis off the court this season, and he’s gone for at least 50 DKFP in four of the last five games with a high of 66.25. On the season, he’s averaging 1.48 FPPM.
Other Options – Jimmy Butler ($8,900)
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($4,800) – With Paul out, Johnson has seen an uptick in playing time. In the game that Paul got hurt, he played 31 minutes and put up 29.75 DKFP. On Thursday, he received the start, played 31 minutes and contributed 37 DKFP. While he scored 21 points, Johnson also chipped in four rebounds, five assists and one block. Johnson averages 0.86 FPPM and should get the start again while receiving over 30 minutes of run.
Other Options – Devin Vassell ($5,000), Deni Avdija ($5,100)
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors @ Charlotte Hornets ($9,300) – The Hornets play at the second-fastest pace and DK Sportsbook has the total of this game at a healthy 226.5, so the game environment should be a fantasy-friendly one. In addition, Charlotte boosts the FPPM to centers by a league-leading 11.53%. Siakam averages 1.16 FPPM and has gone over 50 DKFP in six of the last 11 games with two above 60. He has gone under 40 DKFP in two games, but that was due to blowouts.
Other Options – Jimmy Butler ($8,900), Wendell Carter Jr. ($7,400),
Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans @ Phoenix Suns ($4,800) – Hayes averages 0.95 FPPM. He has been in and out of the starting lineup, but the Pelicans went back to their two big man lineup last game. Hayes played 26 minutes in that one, but was hampered by foul trouble. Earlier in the month, he made starts in four of five games and produced 33.75, 19.75, 42.25, 38.25 and 30.25 DKFP over that stretch.
Other Options – Cameron Johnson ($4,800), Maxi Kleber ($4,800), Oshae Brissett ($5,700)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers @ Minnesota Timberwolves ($11,600) – Let us exalt his name! Joel! Joel! Joel! He’s averaging a whopping 1.69 FPPM, and he’s gone for at least 60 DKFP 11 times — with three over 70 and a high of 83 — over the last 14 games! He faced Minnesota back in late November and put up 70.5. Now, the inclusion of James Harden ($10,900) could complicate things a bit, but I lean towards Harden sacrificing usage, and things continuing to flow through Embiid. Having Harden on the court could possibly provide more room for Embiid to operate.
Other Options – Pascal Siakam ($9,300), Rudy Gobert ($8,400), Christian Wood ($7,900), Wendell Carter Jr. ($7,400)
Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks @ Utah Jazz ($4,800) – Over the last two games, Kleber has played 35 and 26 minutes, hoisting 10 shots in each game. He produced 39.5 and 30 DKFP. He should get plenty of run in this one since his ability to hit from downtown will force Gobert out of the paint.
Other Options – Jaxson Hayes ($4,800), Oshae Brissett ($5,700)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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