We’re still a couple weeks away from the sports dead-zone that is the few days surrounding the NBA All-Star Game, but we get a chance to test out some desperation tactics with a light three-game slate in the association on Thursday. Do you considering yourself to be a basketball junkie? Well, have fun debating that label this evening as you watch the 12-win Cavaliers take on the 14-win Wizards. It’s truly a matchup of the Eastern Conference’s bottom-feeders, as Cleveland comes into tonight’s festivities in possession of the league’s worst net rating (-9.1), while Washington owns its worst defensive rating (115.6).
Let’s break it all down from a DFS perspective.
Who should you play in the Captain’s spot?
There is only one Wizards’ player priced above $7K on this Showdown slate and there’s good reason for that anomaly. Bradley Beal ($14,100 CP) is truly the No. 1 and No. 2 scoring option for Washington. Going back to the beginning of December, the Florida product is sporting a massive 33.8% usage rate while also scoring a more than respectable 1.29 DKFP per 60 seconds of action. Really, the lone concern with Beal is his recent dip in playing time. The 26-year-old barely left the court in October and November, however, so far in January, he’s been limited to just 29.9 minutes per game. Still, he’s exceeded 33 minutes in each of his past two starts and, in a contest that should be competitive, there are few script concerns.
For Cleveland, finding an offensive focal point is a little more difficult. Kevin Love ($15,000 CP) lacks the consistency to be trusted at 1.5x value, which basically leaves a decision between Tristan Thompson ($13,500 CP) and Collin Sexton ($12,300 CP). The former should be in a very nice spot this evening, as Washington has been flummoxed by interior players all season long. In fact, the Wizards are surrendering the fourth-most DKFP to opposing centers on a per game basis and they own the NBA’s worst total rebounding rate (47.9%). As for Sexton, he’s carried a 28.7% usage rate across his past 10 starts, a span where he’s averaged 33.3 DKFP and 19.1 field goal attempts. Either works in the Captain’s slot.
Who should you play in the UTIL?
Though Davis Bertans’ ($5,800) shot hasn’t been falling nearly as consistently as it was earlier in the year, he remains one of the more dangerous threats on Washington’s roster. His minutes are relatively set-in-stone with the continued absences of Moe Wagner (ankle) and Rui Hachimura (groin) and he’s managed at least 25.0 DKFP in 14 of his last 17 appearances. Jordan McRae ($6,200) possesses a similar shot volume to Bertans and, while his usage rate plummets when sharing the floor with Beal, Scott Brooks likes to stagger the two guards’ minutes with McRae usually leading the second unit.
Finally, when it comes to mid-tier options for the Cavaliers, Darius Garland ($7,400) is the name that really sticks out. The rookie has scored in double-figures in 13 consecutive contests and, though his secondary statistics leave a lot to be desired, the fact he’s exceeded 35 minutes in nine of those games helps his cause a great deal. Cedi Osman ($4,800) could also have some value on this slate, as he’s shooting 48.3% from 3-point range so far in January and Washington has allowed opponents to drain a whopping 37.2% for their attempts from distance in 2019-20.
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