We have a three-game NBA slate today. On DraftKings Sportsbook, there are no games with a total of at least 230. There is one game with a total of at least 220 — SAC/MEM. The BOS/TOR game has the lowest total on the slate at 210.5. The Lakers are the biggest favorite at 11 points over the Pistons. The other two games have spreads at 3 points or lower. Things are going to change throughout the day, so make sure to keep abreast of the news by following @dklive on Twitter.
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings lineups.
Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons @ Los Angeles Lakers ($7,500) – There’s some playing time risk with Cunningham since the Pistons are 11-point underdogs today. Over the last three games, he’s played fewer than 30 minutes in all of those contests as the Pistons lost by double-digits in each. That said, he did have a usage rate above 21%, attempted at least 10 shots, provided plenty of rebounds and assists in every game and went for at least 28 DKFP in two of those contests.
The Lakers are first in offensive pace, and the last time the Pistons faced the Lakers, Cunningham went for 50.5 DKFP as he notched his first career triple-double. Considering the price and potential game environment, Cunningham is my favorite play from a floor/ceiling perspective.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook ($11,000) — only if LeBron James is out.
De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Sacramento Kings ($3,700) - Melton was playing around 30 minutes a game to start the season. As the Grizzlies got healthy, he went back to playing around 20 minutes per contest. Sad face because Melton averages 0.97 DKFP per minute. Well, Ja Morant is out, and while Melton could see a slight uptick in playing time, the biggest increase will be in the usage rate. In 86 minutes with Morant off the court this season, Melton sees an 8.2% usage rate increase.
This game environment is the juiciest one from a fantasy perspective as both teams are top 10 in offensive pace and bottom five in defensive efficiency. Memphis is favored by only 2.5 points with a slate-high 222.5 total.
Other Options – Tyus Jones ($4,800)
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics ($8,100) – Am I crazy about VanVleet today? No, as both teams are middle of the pack in pace and the Celtics are eighth in defensive efficiency. That said, there aren’t too many options at the top on a three-game slate, so VanVleet it is.
The one thing I can count on is the minutes, as he will likely play in the 35 to 40 minute range, and minutes are half the battle. Yo, Joe! The DKFP production can be inconsistent due to shooting efficiency concerns, but he’s gone for at least 40 DKFP in six games this season with two above 50, so there is upside.
Other Options – Cade Cunningham ($7,500), Buddy Hield ($6,400), Marcus Smart ($5,700)
Josh Richardson, Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors ($3,800) – Richardson is only averaging 0.69 DKFP per minute, but he may get elevated playing time today as Dennis Schroder is out and Jaylen Brown ($9,200) is questionable. Richardson has contributed at least 20 DKFP in five games this season and has played at least 30 minutes in two of those contests, going for 22.5 and 28.25 DKFP.
Other Options – De’Anthony Melton ($3,700)
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors ($9,900) – Tatum is averaging 1.27 DKFP per minute. He does have five games with fewer than 40 DKFP on the season, but he’s gone over 50 DKFP five times with a high of 64.75. The inconsistency has been due to the shooting efficiency, as he’s converting only 40% of his attempts on the season. He’s shot at least 45% from the field over the last four seasons. That said, the usage rate is 32.6%, and with both Dennis Schroder and Jaylen Brown ($9,200) off the court this season, that number spikes to 43.4%. Schroder has already been ruled out while Brown is questionable.
Other Options – Buddy Hield ($6,400), Dillon Brooks ($6,100), Saddiq Bey ($5,700)
Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Sacramento Kings ($4,300) – I don’t see many value options at the position today. Mr. Anderson only played 17 minutes in the last game due to a blowout. Prior to that, he played 25 and 24 minutes and contributed 21 and 26.5 DKFP. This game is the best environment on the slate, and there should be plenty of possessions for fantasy goodies.
Other Options – Talen Horton-Tucker ($4,700) — only if LeBron James sits.
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons ($10,800) – Davis went for 70 DKFP in the last meeting against the Pistons. Granted, LeBron missed a big portion of that contest, but that shows the upside of Davis. LeBron is questionable for this one. Davis can score from all three levels and provides the defensive stats. He’s gone for at least 50 DKFP seven times this season with four above 60. Davis’ health and limited playing time due to a blowout are risks. Also, the availability of LeBron and the projected ownership levels will be huge factors.
Other Options – Jayson Tatum ($9,900), Jerami Grant ($7,100), Al Horford ($7,400), Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,500)
Chimezie Metu, Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies ($3,900) – It’s been a strange season for Metu. He didn’t play much to begin the season, then started five games and did well. After Luke Walton was fired, he disappeared from the rotation. Harrison Barnes got injured, so Metu will likely make his second consecutive start. Ha! Crazy. Anyways, Metu has shown the ability to score, grab rebounds and rack up defensive stats. The usage rate has averaged out to 19% on the season. He’s gone for at least 20 DKFP in four games this season with a high of 36.5.
Other Options – Kyle Anderson ($4,300), Marvin Bagley ($4,500), Grant Williams ($3,900), Brandon Clarke ($3,600), Trey Lyles ($3,600)
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies vs. Sacramento Kings ($6,500) – The range is wide for Jackson as he’s contributed fewer than 30 DKFP seven times with two games under 20. He has gone over 40 DKFP two times, though, and this game is the juiciest environment on the slate. That’s not the main reason for writing up Jackson. With Morant off the court this season (150-minute sample size), Jackson has seen a 6.6% usage bump to 34.1% and a Plus/Minus DKFP differential of 40.1%.
Other Options – Anthony Davis ($10,800), Al Horford ($7,400)
Alex Len, Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies ($3,500) – Richaun Holmes is out, so Len will make his third consecutive start. Len played a whopping 37 minutes in the last overtime game while receiving 17 minutes in the prior game, so the range is wide. Somewhere in the 20-minute range is a reasonable expectation. Len averages 1.01 DKFP per minute, so he should pay off the salary, if he gets the 20 minutes. The matchup is a good one, as the Grizzlies boost the FPPM to centers by 12.04%.
Other Options – Grant Williams ($3,900), Isaiah Stewart ($4,400), Brandon Clarke ($3,600), Trey Lyles ($3,600)
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