We’re onto our last two games before the NBA All-Star Break with one more short slate for NBA DFS picks. There is a game-time decision in each game that has major ramifications tonight. Jaylen Brown will be a game-time call for the Celtics’ game versus the Clippers while Brandon Ingram will be the same for the Pelicans in their home matchup with the Thunder. Both situations will heavily impact the slate, but thankfully, both games lock at 8 p.m. EST so we should know which way the wind blows before lock. It should be a fun last slate before a few days off so let’s get into it with the Feb. 13 Switch and Hedge.
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The Questionable NBA DFS Status of Brandon Ingram
It always brings me joy when I can title a portion of the column similarly to an Encyclopedia Brown book. But to me, the game-time decision of Brandon Ingram in New Orleans’ game versus Oklahoma City is a key question for tonight’s slate. I advocated to play Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson last time with the boost both get from Ingram’s absence. Holiday got more usage and time with the ball in his hands, and he responded with 45 fantasy points in 29 minutes versus Portland. Williamson saw more opportunity in his first and third quarter stints that would normally be alongside Ingram, and he had his best fantasy day with 50.75 fantasy points in 28 minutes with a 36% usage rate without Ingram.
If Ingram is in, I’d rotate around these three guys. If Ingram is out, I’d be inclined to load up on Holiday and Williamson again with a lot of upside at their prices even in this pace-down spot against a tougher defense than Portland’s.
Lonzo Ball is less of a priority for me, but he’ll make some lineups, particularly ones without Holiday. Derrick Favors is at a good price but has not topped 25 minutes in his last six games. With Oklahoma City’s guards attacking the rim, plus Steven Adams, Favors will hopefully get to the higher end of that range, but I wouldn’t put him in for more. He would also gain a slight uptick in opportunity if Ingram is out. J.J. Redick also gains some second unit usage without Ingram and he’s a tournament dart throw I don’t mind.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder are now substantially cheaper than Chris Paul after Paul’s shown more upside lately. Paul looks fine but projects for much higher ownership than Gilgeous-Alexander and Schroder and I would be interested in getting above the field on the latter two. Paul gains some assist upside with the pace-up versus New Orleans but Gilgeous-Alexander and Schroder will see some easy dives toward the rim. I think both have solid upside against New Orleans’ 109.4 defensive rating that allows a slate-high 36.9% of opponent shots at the rim.
Danilo Gallinari projects to be highly owned with his price down and he projects extremely well. He may not have tournament-breaking upside, but he’s been above 32 fantasy points in his last three games and now gets this big pace-up against a bad defense. He and Steven Adams are both obvious NBA DFS plays at their prices. Gallinari is probably the more cash game-viable play.
I also have to point out Nerlens Noel with his minutes limited by foul trouble last game. He picked up three quick fouls in his first stint and a fourth right after he got back in in the second half. Today he’s near minimum price and all it takes is an extra foul or two for Adams to get him a lot more run. Noel was above 18 minutes in 10 games before that foul-limited eight minutes he had last game.
A Super Competitive Interconference Game In Boston
The Clippers head to the Celtics for a game that will look slightly less attractive on paper than Oklahoma City’s pace-up at New Orleans. Jaylen Brown is currently a game-time decision and his status, while not as crucial as Ingram’s, is an important one. Brown looks like Boston’s best value play if he’s in. If he’s out, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker get a big enough boost to be strongly considered. Tatum in particular would not be one of my core plays if Brown is in but he would be if Brown is out. Walker is fine either way and looks better with Patrick Beverley expected out for the Clippers. Gordon Hayward looks playable whether Brown is available or not. If Brown is in, I’d rank these guys Brown, Hayward, Walker, Tatum. If Brown is out, I’d rank them Walker, Tatum, Hayward, Smart.
Daniel Theis is back up around 29-30 minutes after he missed a few games due to injury and he looks nicely priced. It’s a relatively weak center slate and Theis would be third for me behind Adams and Favors but firmly in the mix. Enes Kanter will be largely overlooked with his minutes down lately. He’s a tournament dart throw I could see, but he’ll be a defensive liability here like he was last game versus Houston, a spot where he played eight minutes.
Kawhi Leonard is at a good price. Paul George is too. Leonard is a much more reliable play, but I have no issue with either guy. Lou Williams also looks well priced, but he loses just enough by sharing minutes with Leonard, George, Montrezl Harrell and now Marcus Morris that it would be uncomfortable to have more than the field on him. Morris had 35 minutes for the Clippers last game and he went for Boston’s throat when he played them earlier this year as a Knick with 50.75 fantasy points in 39 minutes.
Morris is in play for me, particularly in lineups without Leonard or George. Harrell also looks like one of the best values on the team with his price dropped quite a bit for this matchup. His minutes and usage are down lately but he could easily have a hot run against Boston’s second unit. Harrell is an intriguing GPP play.
Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags and I’ll see you guys next time for more NBA DFS picks in the Four Corners and Switch and Hedge!