They say patience is a virtue, but that doesn’t really seem to apply to tonight’s six-game featured NBA slate on DraftKings. We’ve got a heavy east coast bias going on Tuesday, with half of the night’s matchups even tipping off right at 7:00 p.m. ET.
It’s an odd set-up to be sure, but let’s dive in and go position-by-position with all the information you’ll need to make a few lineups.
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers, $9,000 - The Pacers are quickly becoming one of the best possible matchups in the league. Across the team’s past 15 games, Indiana has the third-worst defensive rating (117.1), while its also one of 13 teams within that same span to average over 100.0 possessions per 48 minutes. It’s a prime spot for Garland to flirt with his ceiling, especially considering his 33.2% usage rate so far in the month of March. With Caris LeVert (foot) and Jarrett Allen (finger) sidelined, the first-time All-Star will have to step-up.
Cameron Payne, Phoenix Suns at Orlando Magic, $5,300 - It’s a little surprising to see that Payne’s salary has stagnated around $5K, as the veteran is clearly carrying a heavy load of the Suns in the absence of Devin Booker (health protocols) and Chris Paul (thumb). In fact, across his first three games since returning from his own injury, Payne leads Phoenix in usage rate (27.3%) and assist rate (49.2%), all while averaging a very respectable 1.24 DKFP per minute logged. If Payne sees over 30 minutes on Tuesday, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where he doesn’t bring back value.
Buddy Hield, Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, $7,300 - Hield has played 10 games for the Pacers since being traded to Indiana at the deadline. To say his services have been needed by the team would be a massive understatement. In that span, Hield leads the NBA in minutes per game (39.3), logging over 39 minutes in six of those 10 contests. This isn’t empty volume, either, as the former lottery pick is producing 20.0 points per game with a 21.6% usage rate. Be sure to keep an eye on the statues of Chris Duarte ($5,100; toe) and Lance Stephenson ($4,200; ankle), but Hield’s role makes him viable almost every night.
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers, $4,500 - Osman is the Cavaliers glue guy. He’ll do almost anything J.B. Bickerstaff asks. When the squad has run out of healthy point guards, Osman has stepped up to lead the team’s offensive attack. However, as we saw Sunday, Osman can pretty much fill-in across the full positional spectrum. With the aforementioned Allen sustaining an injury in the first-half against Toronto, it was Osman that started in the big man’s place to begin the third quarter, eventually finishing the victory with 17 points in 32.2 minutes of work. It’s unclear if Osman will start on Tuesday, but either way, he’ll be heavily involved.
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Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets, $11,100 - An extended layoff seems to have not negatively effected Durant in any way. In his first two games back with the Nets, the All-Star has posted 1.41 DKFP per minute thanks primarily to a 36.0% usage rate and a .680 true shooting rate. The man is a machine. In an uptempo matchup against the Hornets — the Nets own this slate’s second-highest implied team total — Durant should be able to do some serious damage against one of the league’s least intimidating defenses.
Alexsej Pokusevski, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $5,600 - The Thunder are a difficult team to figure out on Tuesday, as several key players are listed as questionable and the likelihood of a blowout is high. Still, with a price tag remaining under $6K, I believe Pokusevski has the chance to be viable. First and foremost, this matchup has the potential to be extremely uptempo, as the Bucks and the Thunder rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in pace across their past 10 games. Poku has also been very solid as of late, averaging 1.11 DKFP per minute over his last four contests — a span where he’s exceeded 30.0 DKFP three times.
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers, $7,000 - I don’t think it’s fair to expect Mobley to grab 17 rebounds and post 53.25 DKFP in every game Allen misses, but the rookie will obviously be leaned upon more with his frontcourt mate sidelined for the foreseeable future. For the season as a whole, Mobley’s averaged 0.90 DKFP per minute when sharing the court with Allen and 1.04 DKFP per minute when Allen’s been unavailable. His rebounding numbers go up and now he’s the one getting the lobs and paint touches from the aforementioned Garland. With Allen out, Mobley should probably be at least $1,000 more expensive on Tuesday.
Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns at Orlando Magic, $5,100 - Everyone on the Suns’ roster has to step up with Booker and Paul sidelined, and Crowder has been no exception. In Phoenix’s past three games, the veteran is averaging 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 34.1 DKFP. Crowder doesn’t really possess the upside to break a slate wide-open, yet his floor appears to be 5x or 6x value with the current state of the Suns. That’s more than enough to be viable.
Wendell Carter, Orlando Magic vs. Phoenix Suns, $7,700 - Carter’s missed Orlando’s last couple of games due to an illness, but he’s not listed on the team’s injury report for Tuesday. That’s great news, because the former lottery pick was playing some of the best basketball of his career before being sidelined. To wit, in Carter’s past five starts, the big man is averaging a robust 1.33 DKFP per minute to go along with a team-high .694 true shooting rate. Carter’s also recorded a double-double in six straight contests. As long as we don’t hear anything about a minute restriction, feel free to get some serious exposure to Carter this evening.
Olivier Sarr, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $3,400 - If Isaiah Roby ($5,300; back) is unable to suit up on Tuesday, Sarr will once again be the lone active center available for the Thunder. Though he didn’t actually start in this same scenario on Sunday, Sarr did log 20.4 minutes off the bench, collecting 11 points, nine rebounds and 27.25 DKFP. At this price point, you’ll take that performance 100 times out of 100.
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