Tonight features a small four-game NBA slate that once again does not have a game under a six-point spread. The key news to this short NBA fantasy slate will be the status of Ja Morant and C.J. McCollum. These four plays below are driven by Awesemo’s Fantasy Basketball Rankings and go off the assumption that Morant is out and McCollum is in. However, be sure to keep an eye on their status on Awesemo’s NBA Starting Lineups page to see who is in and out of the lineup tonight.
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DraftKings & FanDuel NBA Fantasy Basketball Rankings
*Grades are ordered DraftKings, FanDuel. The initial grade indicates a player’s strength of output, with the value grade indicating their strength as a play in relation to their salary.
PG Tyus Jones — Grades: B, B | Values: A, A
Looking at all of the tools, it is very obvious the best play on the slate tonight is Tyus Jones. The Grizzlies will likely be without Morant, which will move Jones into the starting lineup. In 14 games without Morant this season, Jones is averaging 12.1 points, 6.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 28.2 DraftKings points per game. He is also playing 30.7 minutes per game while Awesemo NBA player projections have Jones to play 30 minutes tonight and be the best value on DraftKings and FanDuel. Jones also has the highest boom percentage on both sites in our NBA Fantasy Boom/Bust Tool. You cannot avoid Jones tonight. He is a staple for cash games across the board.
Even without Morant likely out of the lineup, the Grizzlies are still seven-point road favorites against the Pacers. This game has the highest total on the slate at 234.5 points as the fifth-ranked Grizzlies offense takes on the 26th ranked Pacers defense. Jones should thrive in this type of game environment. He has averaged 21.6 DraftKings points per game in his last five games with Morant in the lineup, which is still valuable at this price tag. However, with Morant out, the ceiling for Jones is very strong. He leads the slate in our NBA ownership projections by a landslide. He is projected for nearly 80% on DraftKings, which is absurd. Fade at your own risk.
SG C.J. McCollum — Grades: A, A | Values: C, A
Paying down for Jones allows for more money to be spent on players even if they are a little more expensive than usual. One great option is McCollum, who has the best grades and values in our NBA DFS Rankings on the slate. He is the only player who has an A grade and A value on either site tonight. McCollum is still on the tail end of the COVID protocols. He will need a couple of negative tests before he plays tonight, so he is listed as questionable. Make sure to monitor the NBA starting lineups page to make sure he is in the lineup. Assuming McCollum is playing, he is a fantastic play especially when Brandon Ingram still remains out for the Pelicans.
It is a little surprising that the Pelicans are only six-point home favorites against the best team in the league. The Suns are 54-14 as they rank fourth in offensive rating and second in defensive rating this season. However, they are still without Chris Paul, which is a big loss. Their defensive rating dips in the 10 games the Suns have played without Paul as their record is only 6-4. They are not as intimidating without Paul and this spread suggests McCollum is playing. Before entering the protocols, McCollum was coming off of back-to-back 32-point games while shooting 56.3% from the field. Prioritize McCollum on FanDuel tonight where his value is higher.
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C Andre Drummond — Grades: B, B | Values: A, A
Newly acquired Nets center Andre Drummond has been a monster lately. Over the last three games, Drummond is averaging a double-double with 15 points, 10.3 rebounds and two blocks per game. He has shot 68% from the field with the most impressive part being he is providing these numbers while only playing 24 minutes per game. Awesemo’s NBA projections have Drummond to play 25.5 minutes tonight and be the second-best value on FanDuel and fourth-best on DraftKings. Drummond has upside in this spot as LaMarcus Aldridge remains out. That upside is shown in our Boom/Bust Tool as Drummond ranks in the top three in boom percentage on both sites.
The Nets get Kyrie Irving back as they travel on the road to take on the Magic tonight. The Nets are implied for 120.5 points as they are double-digit road favorites. The Magic have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, but they have gone 4-4 in their last eight games since the All-Star Break. They have also been really good at defending the paint this season, allowing the sixth-least amount of points scored in the paint. However, the Magic also rank 22nd in rebounding percentage and this salary on Drummond remains too cheap. Our NBA DFS ownership projections have Drummond third on DraftKings and eighth on FanDuel, making him a great mid-range play.
Drummond is shaping up as one of the best cash game plays on the NBA fantasy slate tonight. According to our NBA lineup optimizer, he is showing up in the majority of optimal lineups. For all of our free NBA DFS picks today, check out the DraftKings NBA Fantasy Cheat Sheet and FanDuel NBA Fantasy Cheat Sheet.
SF Dillon Brooks — Grades: B, B | Values: A, A
This will be going back to the Grizzlies for the last play of the day with Dillon Brooks. Seeing as though this is a small slate, one team may draw a lot of attention. That seems to be this Grizzlies team playing without Morant. Our NBA DFS ownership projections are filled with Grizzlies at the top. Jones stands out as the best, but Brooks is second-best on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight. This spot is just too good against the Pacers not to go heavy on the Grizzlies. Remember Morant has the fifth-highest usage rate in the league. Without him in the lineup, there is a lot to go around for the rest of the team. Awesemo NBA player prop projects have Brooks to be in the top three in value for both sites.
Brooks played 26 minutes in his first game back from an ankle injury that caused him to miss 27 games. In his first game back, Brooks had 15 points while putting up 14 field goal attempts. That is exactly what he does. When he is in the lineup, Brooks is second to Morant in both points and field goal attempts per game. He is not afraid of missing shots either. Brooks is shooting 42.7% from the field and a career-low 32.7% from behind the arc but is still shooting a career-high 16.1 field goal attempts per game. This salary is too low for the number of shots Brooks will have tonight. He also seems fully recovered as he is projected to play 27.5 minutes.
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Our NBA DFS projections DraftKings are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Check out our NBA DraftKings rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections FanDuel. View our DraftKings NBA ownership projections, our Yahoo! ownership projections and our FanDuel NBA ownership. We also have DraftKings NBA ownership rankings, Yahoo! NBA ownership rankings and FanDuel ownership rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS tools and the top NBA DFS picks for today?
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