We’ve got a five-game NBA slate jam-packed with star power tonight on DraftKings. Stephen Curry ($11,000), Luka Doncic ($10,900), Nikola Jokic ($10,600) and, as per usual, probably Joel Embiid ($9,800; knee) will all take the court, meaning you’ll have some tough decisions to make when building some lineups.
Let’s break it all down position-by-position.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder, $11,000 - It’s really hard to ignore Curry in this matchup, as the Thunder come into Tuesday in possession of the NBA’s second-worst defensive rating (116.1). The only real concern is that this game script gets a little lopsided and cuts into Curry’s usual workload, but with the All-Star attempting an eye-popping 22.8 field goal attempts per 36 minutes so far in 2021-22, I don’t think you’ll ever have to truly worry about volume. The fact that the Warriors currently sit second in the league in pace (105.3) doesn’t hurt Curry’s viability, either.
Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks, $6,000 - Maxey’s price tag keeps rising, yet his role with the Sixers through three games has been enormous. While I think everyone expected a jump from the sophomore guard — especially with Ben Simmons (personal) unavailable — I’m not sure anyone could have predicted that Maxey would be leading team in minutes per contest (34.7) or that he’d be taking only one fewer field goal attempt per game on average than his teammate Joel Embiid (14.7). Simply put, that’s quite a bit of volume for the 20-year-old.
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers, $6,500 - Statistically, there might not be a more enticing matchup on this slate than the Lakers. Los Angeles comes into Tuesday owning the league’s sixth-worst defensive rating (112.0) while also in possession of its fourth-highest pace (105.0), creating a perfect storm that’s seen the Lakers surrender a whopping 118.0 points per game so far in 2021-22. That’s good news for all Spurs assets, particularly Dejounte Murray ($7,300) and White, who is finally healthy after struggling with injuries throughout last season. Thanks to his ability to generate fantasy points in secondary categories like assists and steals, White’s produced at least 30.0 DKFP in all three of his starts. He’s a high-floor DFS piece in a great spot.
Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors, $4,700 - Dort’s current price tag is a clear reflection of his shooting woes to begin 2021-22. In fact, through three games, the Canadian wing has registered just a 33.3% field goal rate. It’s also a span where Dort’s made an underwhelming 17.6% of his 17 three-point attempts. However, the fact that Dort has the freedom to take these shots is the bigger story. The 22-year-old has a huge role with the Thunder — he logged a season-high 37 minutes in Sunday’s loss to the 76ers — and he managed to shoot 34.3% from distance last season. Considering his salary was $6K less than a week ago, you’re buying the dip with Dort in an uptempo matchup this evening.
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LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs, $9,400 - James is far from my favorite play on tonight’s slate, but as the lone small forward eligible asset priced above $8K, he obviously has the highest ceiling at his position. Still, concerns about James playing alongside a ball-dominant point guard like Russell Westbrook ($9,000) appear to be warranted through three games. The All-Star’s 28.1% usage rate is his lowest mark since all the way back in his sophomore campaign, while James’ 22.8% assist rate is the lowest of his whole career. It’s early, yet at this point, I’d much rather look for a cheaper option.
Lonnie Walker, San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers, $4,200 - As you might expect, the Spurs have been very balanced with their offensive attack to begin the season, with six different players averaging at least 12.0 points per game. One of those men is Walker, who appears to be embracing his role as a microwave scorer coming off the bench. It’s an archetype that’s certainly allowed Walker to see more volume, as he currently sits second on the team with a 25.5% usage rate. He’s averaging a respectable 1.06 DKFP per minute, as well.
Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets, $7,600 - Porzingis tends to be one of the more frustrating DFS assets in the league, yet his upside is undeniable. To wit, Porzingis enters tonight’s matchup with the Rockets leading the Mavericks in field goal attempts per 100 possessions (27.9) and sitting second in usage rate (29.3%). Heck, in less than 30 minutes, he managed to take 20 shots, grab 10 rebounds and register four blocks in Saturday’s win over the Raptors. He’s well rested and Dallas owns this slate’s highest implied team total. What’s not to like?
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers, $5,200 - I’m all in on stacking the Spurs’ mid-tier assets. Johnson could definitely stand to do more in the secondary statistical categories, but he’s dropped 23.5 points per game in his last two starts. It’s not very often someone who leads their team in usage rate (26.3%) is priced just above $5K. I’d take advantage.
Julius Randle, New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers, $9,500 - Randle is far too accomplished to be a “poor man’s” Nikola Jokic, yet considering how similar the two players’ outputs have been to start the season, I think you have to lean with the less expensive option. Much like Jokic, Randle touches every category, coming into Tuesday leading the Knicks in points per game (28.7), assists per game (6.3) and blocks per game (2.3), all while grabbing 11.3 rebounds per night. Heck, Randle’s 33.2% usage rate is also higher than Jokic’s mark through three contests. With Denver on the second night of a back-to-back, everything points to Randle.
Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks, $4,300 - Sengun is limited due his underwhelming minutes workload and his propensity to get into foul trouble, but a quick glance at his per 36 numbers is enough to make me want at least a little exposure on Tuesday’s slate. I mean, the first-round pick is averaging 1.20 DKFP per minute through three games. That’s a lot of production for an asset this inexpensive.
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