Alright. Let’s level with one another. I am writing this at 12:17 a.m. ET. The NBA trade deadline is less than 15 hours away, and the madness that ensues will probably render most of things I’m about to write pointless. I’ve accepted that. In fact, it’s why I’m aiming to publish this bad boy in the early morning and not at noon on Thursday. Get some clicks while everything’s still relevant, you know?
So, as long as we’re on the same page, let’s hesitantly dive into this seven-game slate, going position-by-position.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies at Detroit Pistons, $10,300 - The obvious source of dread here is a lopsided game script. The Pistons are very bad and the Grizzlies are very good. However, we might have reached the point where Morant is simply too efficient a DFS asset to worry about minutes volume. In fact, the All-Star has posted an eye-popping 40.5% usage rate in his last 10 starts, a span of time where Morant is also averaging 1.51 DKFP per minute played. Morant has posted at least 44.0 DKFP in all 10 of these games and the upside is 60-plus DKFP. Sounds good to me.
Editor’s Note: PG/SG Aaron Holiday has been traded to the Suns, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Aaron Holiday, Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets , $3,700 - Holiday has started the Wizards’ past four games with Bradley Beal (wrist) sidelined, but it’s specifically his past two contests that have me intrigued. In that span, Holiday is second on the team in possessions logged (102), second among qualified players in usage (24.0%) and second in assist rate (30.4%). That all adds up to a pretty compelling floor for an asset that’s just $3.7K. It also doesn’t hurt that the Nets own the NBA’s worst defensive rating across their past 10 games (121.0).
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $8,900 - While it’s Nick Nurse that gets a lot of flack for playing his starters too many minutes, Monty Williams is doing his best Nurse impression out in Phoenix. Across the Suns’ past 11 games, the trio of Chris Paul ($9,200), Mikal Bridges ($6,100) and Booker sit first, second and third in the Western Conference in minutes logged per contest, each averaging well over 37.0 per game. In an uptempo matchup with the Bucks, Booker should be able to easily reach his ceiling with all the volume, particularly considering he’s registered 60.5% true shooting rate since Jan. 30.
Editor’s Note: The Nets are trading PG James Harden to the 76ers, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Cameron Thomas, Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards, $5,000 - I’m going to keep going back to Thomas in situations where the Nets only have one of their “Big 3” available. Over Brooklyn’s past three games, Thomas leads team in total minutes (91) and usage rate (30.8%). I mean, what else can you ask for in a value asset? Obviously, keep an eye on the status of James Harden ($11,000; hamstring), though. If he’s still on the Nets by 7:30 p.m. ET.
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OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors at Houston Rockets, $7,200 - I’m not particularly thrilled with any of the high-end options at small forward on this slate, but matchup alone gives Anunoby a chance to be viable. The Rockets are truly the best possible opponent on any given night. Across their past 15 games, the team not only owns the worst defensive rating in the West (118.8), but it also operates at the league’s second-fastest pace within that same span (101.5). Anunoby, who is averaging 36.1 DKFP over his last four starts, should be able to have a nice performance.
Alec Burks, New York Knicks at Golden State Warriors, $4,800 - The Knicks have so, so, so many injury concerns heading into Thursday’s slate, but the largest is RJ Barrett ($6,700; ankle), who is currently doubtful to play. The last time Barrett was forced to miss time — a stretch back in mid-December — it was Burks that filled the void in a big way. How big? Well, how does averaging 38.8 minutes across his five starts sound? Volume isn’t always the answer for the veteran wing, as he’s producing only 28.1 DKFP per start in 2021-22, but in this case, Burks has my attention.
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors at Houston Rockets, $9,800 - Under normal circumstances, there would be some warning flags with Siakam on Thursday. This is the most expensive he’s been all season, the Raptors are on the second night of a back-to-back and there’s obvious blowout potential against the Rockets. However, the aforementioned Nurse still found a way to play Siakam 39.5 minutes in a 19-point victory over the Thunder on Wednesday. Until I see Siakam play fewer than 35 minutes for any reason, I just won’t believe it’s going to happen. The former All-Star has also exceeded 50.0 DKFP in his past four starts and is doing his best Larry Bird impression the past two months. I’ll keep rolling with him.
Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets vs. Toronto Raptors, $4,800 - This is about as much as I’d be willing to pay for Sengun — at least till we see his starting job lead to a few nights over 30.0 minutes — but the rookie has been playing well in an extended role the past three games. Within that span, Sengun is averaging a respectable 0.99 DKFP per minute, while he’s also blocking 2.3 shots per contest. Against an under-sized Toronto frontcourt that still struggles on the defensive glass, I could see Sengun doing some damage.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns, $12,000 - While the Suns are one of the best defensive teams in basketball, all I’m seeing here is a competitive script. Giannis has been an absolute machine over his last nine games, averaging a jaw-dropping 1.82 DKFP per minute. The man put up 52.75 DKFP against Portland last week in just 24.6 minutes of action. Imagine what he might do if he plays more than 35 minutes on Thursday night. Spoiler alert: I think he will.
Taj Gibson, New York Knicks at Golden State Warriors, $3,300 - With Mitchell Robinson ($5,600; back) and Nerlens Noel ($3,200; knee) unavailable on Tuesday, Gibson stepped up and registered 23.5 DKFP in 26.6 minutes. It’s possible he would be played off the court far sooner than that in a matchup with the Warriors, but if the veteran is the last man standing once again, this price point is to cheap to ignore.
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