Luka Doncic continue to be a great fantasy producer this season and he is playing huge minutes for the Mavericks. He has averaged 35.8 minutes per game this season with a 31.2 percent usage percentage, 13.0 percent rebounding percentage and 45.4 percent assist percentage. The pace of this game leaves something to be desired as the Mavericks rank 22nd and the Knicks rank 27th in pace this season. That said, Doncic is capable of posting a monster triple-double regardless of matchup and he is reasonably priced.
Trae Young had a terrible game in his second game back from injury, but there is no denying his role in the offense. He wasn’t on a minutes limit last game so I expect about 34 minutes tonight as long as the game is competitive. Young has a 35.3 percent usage percentage and 43.3 percent assist percentage so far this season. Sacramento ranks 26th in pace this season, but they have been the fifth least efficient defense this season.
Bradley Beal is off to a poor start shooting this season, but he continues to play huge minutes and be the leader of the Washington offense. He has averaged 35.3 minutes per game this season after being one of the league leaders in playing time last season. He leads the Wizards with a 33.1 percent usage percentage and he also has a 27.7 percent assist percentage. He hasn’t seen a decline in his usage rate since Isaiah Thomas joined the lineup either. Beal has a 46.8 percent effective field goal percentage this season compared to 54 percent last season and it has caused his salary to fall. He is one of my top plays on the slate regardless of position tonight as he faces the Cleveland Cavaliers.
D’Angelo Russell is returning to the lineup for the Golden State Warriors. There hasn’t been a report of any restrictions to this point and, assuming that continues to be the case, he is underpriced against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota has been the fastest team in the league so far this season after also playing at the fastest pace in the preseason. In his limited sample size without Steph Curry on the floor this season, Russell has a 34.1 percent usage percentage and 36.5 percent assist percentage. People tend to be hesitant to roster a player in their first game back and that makes Russell a nice target in tournaments as a pivot from the higher owned guards.
Raul Neto began to carve out a role in the Philadelphia rotation after a strong second half when he was forced into playing time against the Blazers a few games ago. Now, Ben Simmons is sidelined so there are more minutes available for the ball-handler. Neto played a little over 16 second half minutes against Utah with Simmons sidelined, including closing the game alongside Embiid, Harris, Richardson and Horford. He has a tough matchup against the Nuggets, who have played at the slowest pace in the league, but there is limited value on this slate and Neto is available for close to the minimum salary. He averaged 0.88 DraftKings points per minute for Utah last season.
Honorable Mention: Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Malcolm Brogdon, De’Aaron Fox, Jimmy Butler
LeBron James is slowly becoming more expensive but he is still affordable enough for tonight’s game. He has a massive 51 percent assist percentage this season in addition to his 31.9 percent usage percentage. The Lakers get a pace-up spot against the Miami Heat, who rank 10th in pace this season. He is my top option at the top of the forward position.
Anthony Davis gets the same up-tempo matchup against Miami and he is an appealing tournament option as he comes off a terrible performance against the Bulls. With all of the great options on tonight’s slate, it is likely that we see recency bias force Davis’s ownership down a bit. He has a 31.8 percent usage percentage so far this season and has contributed a 14.6 percent rebound percentage and 13.3 percent assist percentage as well. I have him projected for 1.45 DraftKings points per minute in tonight’s matchup. He isn’t an “optimal” play thanks to the abundance of stars on tonight’s slate, but he offers plenty of upside in tournaments.
Pascal Siakam played 37 minutes in Toronto’s last game and he remains affordable. Tonight, he faces the New Orleans Pelicans who have played at the league’s sixth-fastest pace and been the second least efficient defense. Siakam contributes in all categories as he has a 30.2 percent usage percentage, 12.6 percent rebounding percentage and 18.2 percent assist percentage so far this season. He is especially valuable as a small forward on FanDuel.
Jarrett Culver had a strong game as a starter without Jeff Teague on Wednesday and Teague is out again tonight. Shabazz Napier is listed as a game-time decision but, assuming that he sits, Culver will be in line for thirty-plus minutes again tonight. He was second to Andrew Wiggins with nine potential assists in his last game and he has a great matchup against the Golden State Warriors, who have allowed the most points per 100 possessions this season. He should be the highest owned player on FanDuel tonight as a $3,800 small forward.
Furkan Korkmaz started the second half against Utah with Simmons sidelined and played about 13 second half minutes. He isn’t going to be a heavily involved part of the offense and there are plenty of wings that can take minutes from him, but I expect another 26-30 minutes from him tonight against Denver. It is a tough matchup, but there are very few viable options that are near the minimum salary tonight and there are plenty of players that we want to pay up for.
Honorable Mention: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Love, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Al Horford, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Evan Fournier, Richaun Holmes
Andre Drummond gets at least one more game without Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose or Tim Frazier tonight as he faces the Indiana Pacers. He has a 26.6 percent usage percentage, 25.2 percent rebounding percentage and 22.7 percent assist percentage in the three games that all three players have been out. In addition to the increased playmaking responsibilities, Drummond has a great matchup against an Indiana frontcourt that can’t match up with him. Even if Myles Turner is able to play, Indiana’s centers give up a substantial size advantage to Drummond. He continues to play 36-plus minutes in competitive games as well. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity cost at center tonight which will keep my exposure to him in check, but he is currently projected for just seven percent ownership compared to 30 percent for Karl-Anthony Towns at the same price point.
Karl-Anthony Towns is a top option in any format again tonight. Minnesota will be without starting point guard Jeff Teague and they will probably be without his back-up, Shabazz Napier, as well. Towns averaged 1.59 DraftKings points per minute in 941 minutes without Teague, Jimmy Butler or Derrick Rose on the floor last season- which is similar to the conditions that he will play in tonight. Over those 941 minutes, he had a 32.6 percent usage percentage, 21.7 percent assist percentage and 23.7 percent rebounding percentage.
Nikola Vucevic has a 50.0 percent effective field goal percentage this season compared to 54.8 percent last season. His usage is also down a bit this season but, since this is mostly the same team as last season, I think that it increases (and we have already seen that start to happen). He is only $7,800 on DraftKings and $8,400 on FanDuel in a pace-up spot against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Hassan Whiteside played about 28 minutes again last night, which makes two straight games with 28 minutes. The only thing holding him back in DFS this season has been his playing time, but his minutes should be more secure with Zach Collins out. Whiteside has a 22.1 percent usage percentage and 23.1 percent rebounding percentage while averaging 26.1 minutes per game this season. He is still priced too low for his upside and he has a favorable matchup against the Nets, who have played at the fourth fastest pace this season and will be without DeAndre Jordan in their frontcourt.
Jarrett Allen played 30 minutes last game and we could see even a couple more minutes tonight with Jordan sidelined. Allen averaged 1.02 DraftKings points per minute last season. His usage and rebounding percentage are down this season, but it is likely that we see those numbers increase over time- especially the rebounding numbers. He has power forward eligibility on DraftKings and FanDuel, which makes him even more valuable.
Dwight Powell played 34 minutes for Dallas last game and his salary hasn’t adjusted. He averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute last season. He may not be quite as productive this season since Dallas added Kristaps Porzingis, but he still offers plenty of value at this salary. The only negative to Powell is that it costs you one of the other high-upside centers on the slate.
Honorable Mention: Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Bam Adebayo