We have a massive 12-game slate today, nothing tomorrow, a gargantuan 14-gamer on Wednesday, then a two-game slate on Thursday. I appreciate the NBA allowing us time to recuperate from our benders. Personally, I hate this schedule, and that’s not just because I prefer smaller slates in general. Anyways, that means there are plenty of options to choose from, which can be overwhelming at times. Hopefully, I can assist in guiding you through the landscape.
James Harden ($8,800) will be making his season debut! Yippee! Deni Avdija ($5,900), Corey Kispert ($4,300), and Daniel Gafford ($4,900) are listed as questionable. More time for Bilal Coulibaly ($3,900) if Avdija is out? Jamal Murray, De’Aaron Fox, Markelle Fultz and Wendell Carter Jr. are out.
DraftKings Sportsbook has three games with a total over 230 - SA/IND (238), ATL/OKC (238) and MIL/BKN (233.5). There is one game with a total below 220 - SAC/HOU (218.5). There is one double-digit favorite - PHI -11 over WAS. There are four games with a spread of 2 or below - SAC -2 over HOU, MIA -1 over LAL, LAC -1 over NYK and ORL -1.5 over DAL. There are six home dogs - HOU, OKC, MIN, NYK, BKN and DET.
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers vs. San Antonio Spurs ($9,400) – Haliburton is coming off a 69.5 DKFP game, so he has entered the fantasy hoops pantheon. On the season, he’s averaging a robust 1.53 DKFP per minute and has a low of 43.5 DKFP. He literally does it all and is garnering a usage rate of 27%. This game is tied for the highest total at 238 and the Pacers play at the second-fastest pace. How fitting! The spread is large at 8.5 points (No Wembanyama?), but I’m not too concerned about a blowout because the Spurs can get buckets. At the same time, Indiana is dead-last in defensive efficiency while San Antonio is 25th. San Antonio has boosted the fantasy points per minute to point guards by 15.46% — the fifth-highest mark — and there’s a chance Victor Wembanyama ($8,500) sits this one out, as the Spurs played last night.
Other Options - Trae Young ($9.300), Anthony Edwards ($8,900), Tyler Herro ($8,100), Dejounte Murray ($7,800), Cam Thomas ($7,100), Spencer Dinwiddie ($6,300), Kelly Oubre Jr. ($6,000)
Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets ($4,400) – With CJ McCollum out, Daniels and Jordan Hawkins ($4,600) should see elevated minutes. I’m not sure who starts, but I’d rather go with Daniels between the two regardless — even though Hawkins is averaging 0.84 DKFP per minute while Daniels is at 0.81. Hawkins relies primarily on shooting while Daniels can get there a number of ways. Sure, the usage rate may not be high and his shooting efficiency isn’t great, but he should contribute across the board.
Other Options - Austin Reaves ($5,800), Malik Monk ($5,700), Tre Jones ($5,600), Bruce Brown ($5,600), Reggie Jackson ($5,500), Talen Horton-Tucker ($5,500), Dillon Brooks ($5,200), Davion Mitchell ($4,800), Jordan Hawkins ($4,600), Marcus Sasser ($4,400), Anthony Black ($4,300)
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs at Indiana Pacers ($7,300) – I think there’s a good chance Victor Wembanyama sits this one out, as the Spurs played last night and he received 38 minutes in that one. Devin Vassell ($6,800) is out, so Johnson should see a spike in usage. Johnson has scored at least 30 DKFP in all but one game this season, with two above 40. This game environment is a juicy one with plenty of opportunities for those fantasy goodies.
Other Options - Jayson Tatum ($10,300), Anthony Edwards ($8,900), Lauri Markkanen ($8,700), Kristaps Porzingis ($7,900), Chet Holmgren ($7,700), Tobias Harris ($6,800), Jalen Williams ($6,700), Ausar Thompson ($6,600)
Bilal Coulibaly, Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers ($3,900) – Coulibaliy is a low-usage player, so the ceiling is very low. He’s averaging only 0.66 DKFP per minute. Gross. That said, he will grab rebounds and dish out some assists while racking up those steals and blocks. Granted, those are very variable, but Coulibaly has the means to rack up two or three of each per game. In the last three games, he’s played 28, 28 and 26 minutes, producing 22.8, 18.3 and 17.3 DKFP. Avdija and Kispert are questionable, so if Avdija especially is out, that could mean a few more minutes for Coulibaly.
Other Options - Austin Reaves ($5,800), Bruce Brown ($5,600), Jalen Johnson ($5,600), Dillon Brooks ($5,200), Moritz Wagner ($5,100)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($11,600) – Jokic averages 1.7 DKFP per minute. Yawn. He’s gone for at least 68 DKFP in each of the last two games. YAwn. He’s gone over 60 DKFP four times this season with a high of 70.8. YAWn. He has two triple-doubles on the season and missed out on two more by one assist in each game. YAWN. Jokic makes a mockery of the fantasy hoops landscape and has the highest floor/ceiling combo in the game. It comes down to price, value available, and roster construction.
Other Options - Joel Embiid ($11,200), Anthony Davis ($9,900), Kristaps Porzingis ($7,900), Chet Holmgren ($7,700), Zach Collins ($6,400)
Goga Bitadze, Orlando Magic vs. Dallas Mavericks ($4,700) – With Wendall Carter Jr. out, it was Bitadze who received the start on Saturday, playing 26 minutes and producing 37 DKFP. He’s not going to block five shots on the regular, but 10 points, 10 rebounds and two assists are well within the range of outcomes. Dallas has boosted the fantasy points per minute production by a league-leading 17.56%, so the matchup should be a good one.
Other Options - Clint Capela ($5,700), Derek Lively II ($5,600), Moritz Wagner ($5,100), Onyeka Okongwu ($4,700), Trayce Jackson-Davis ($3,300)
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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.