This article is part of our Category Strategy series.
It's a small four-game slate for the NBA today. Let's dive right into the action.
MIA (-5.5) vs. POR O/U: 220.5
MIN (-3) @ CLE O/U: 215
PHO (-5.5) vs. MEM O/U: 234.5
LAL (-14.5) vs. DET O/U: 219.5
I'm going to give the MEM/PHO game a lot of exposure today, with the Suns in a good position to take advantage of the Grizzlies in a back-to-back scenario. The POR/MIA game should also be a high-paced shootout. The only team I'm really fading tonight is Minnesota, unless their injury situations crystallize.
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Andrew Wiggins (illness) QUESTIONABLE
Jeff Teague (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Treveon Graham (illness) QUESTIONABLE
Minnesota is trying to shake a serious injury bug, but at least all four of these guys are questionable. If you plan on making any Minnesota play, you'll need to wait until close to tip-off to see who'll take the floor. A fast way to do that is to head back to our Advanced Lineups page. I wouldn't bet on Towns returning, in which case you're heading to Gorgui Dieng ($5,900) once again. Shabazz Napier ($6,000) is your clear pivot for Teague, and Robert Covington ($6,300) is my preferred play if Wiggins sits.
Justise Winslow (back) QUESTIONABLE
We need to add Winslow as a possibility, as his return would shake things up a bit with a lineup we've been accustomed to since early December. His upgrade to questionable gives a glimmer of hope in his return, and at $4,700 he could be a sneaky play - even if he ends up limited. Otherwise, you should approach Miami as per usual.
It's a soft game at home for this duo, and at least one of them is clearly in play for your builds today. There are three avenues you can take:
- Rostering both would leave you $4,816 per player remaining;
- Take one of them, and you'd have roughly $5,600 per player to work with or;
- Fade them both and take your chances.
I think if you go the first route, you almost have to wait until the Minnesota situation cleans up in order to find ideal value in a game where they are favored. If you're going with the second route, I think the game favors James a bit more than Davis due to AD's matchup against Andre Drummond. Granted, Drummond is largely a defensive no-show, but there will naturally be less defensive rebounds for Davis if Drummond is around. One look at the Pistons' backcourt leads you to believe in a big day for James. I suppose you could go the third route, and I probably will allow for one lineup to go that way. But you'd need to put your faith in some sort of combo involving Jimmy Butler, Lillard or McCollum, and someone like Whiteside or lower at center (I wouldn't spend for Drummond in this matchup).
Devin Booker, PHO ($8,200) vs. MEM
The O/U in this game tops the slate, and it's hard to argue with Booker's 28.9 percent usage rate in relation to the potential total. His last five games have ended up right around 50 DKFP. But in two games against Memphis, he's only averaged 31.8 DKFP. If you caught the Grizzlies/Clippers game, you saw a Memphis defense that's definitely trending up, but I think we'll see a little bit of air out of their tires on this road back-to-back.
Jimmy Butler, MIA ($7,900) vs. POR
With a five-game average of 44.5 DKFP per game, you have to pay attention to Butler, who could give you enough production to scrape LeBron's floor for $3,100 less. A potential square-off between Butler and Carmelo Anthony will be fun to watch, and Melo could be the only guy to hold him back today.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Ricky Rubio, PHO ($6,800) vs. MEM
A fast pace equals high production and high production means more ball distribution on tap for Rubio, who appears to be fully healthy again. Though he lives and dies by his assist total, he averaged a respectable 16.5 PPG average against the Grizzlies over two contests. That's roughly three points better than his usual scoring totals.
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM ($6,500) @ PHO
Valanciunas's numbers actually improve on the tail end of back-to-backs - at least, that's been the case this season. The Nov. 9 back-end against Orlando is the only time he's regressed and otherwise, he's remained steady or improved on his scoring and/or rebound totals. Other Grizzlies can't make the same claim. While we are on the subject, I'd fade Ja Morant tonight. His back-end totals aren't great, and he's actually been rested on this scenario before.
Tristan Thompson, CLE ($6,000) vs, MIN
Kevin Love is projected to rest on Sunday. And with Larry Nance Jr. also questionable, Thompson could come up big against a Minnesota team that's lost without Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt. I can understand biases about Thompson based on past inconsistencies, and I can also see why people haven't paid much attention to what's going on in Cleveland (I certainly haven't). However, a look at Thompson's numbers reveals a somewhat reliable floor. And with a potential for increased opportunity today, I think he's worth slotting into some lineups.
Sekou Doumbouya, DET ($5,000) @ LAL
Doumbouya should really be in the value column, but we'll put him here since I think he will be ridiculously chalky. The 2019 first-round pick double-doubled in his first start, and the team is likely to give the Frenchman some opportunities to show his stuff as long as Griffin is out. Doumbouya faces a much tougher test against the Lakers today, but he doesn't have to do much to reach value at this price.
Cedi Osman, CLE ($4,300) vs. MIN
This slim slate forces you to make some tough bargain calls due to the lack of options among eight teams. Exploiting Minnesota's injury woes is a stretch, but I think it puts Cleveland in a rare DFS value position. If Andrew Wiggins remains out, I'd give Osman some exposure. Granted, Robert Covington is no slouch defensively, but Osman's price gives him an excellent opportunity to meet value.
De'Anthony Melton, MEM ($4,100) @ PHO
There's a noticeable increase in Melton's play in almost all of Memphis's back-to-backs this season. And after seeing only 16 minutes of action last night, he could be in line to shoulder a heavier load, especially considering the heavy usage Ja Morant endured against the Clippers. Melton only needs 20 DKFP to hit 5x value, and I'm willing to bet that he'll go over that number.
Alfonzo McKinnie, CLE ($3,000) vs. MIN
Make sure Kevin Love is definitely held out before going this route, but I think we could see more of McKinnie if Love is out. I wouldn't even look at his numbers as they're kind of ugly to look at, and you typically only want to go this low in an effort to max out your elites and essentially sacrifice a position to get them. I'll freely admit McKinnie's a bit of a dart throw, but I will probably embrace his variance once or twice.