Tonight features another large 12-game NBA slate that is filled with studs. The problem is there are several studs who are listed as questionable, so it will be critical to stay up to date on Awesemo’s NBA Starting Lineups page to see who is in and out of the lineup tonight. These four players listed below driven by Awesemo’s Fantasy Basketball Rankings. Let’s go into the weekend strong!
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.
SG Jordan Clarkson — Grades: B, B | Values: A, A
The Utah Jazz have yo-yo’d wins and losses for the past nine games. They will be playing tonight without their star Donovan Mitchell, who ranks sixth in both usage rate and field goal attempts per game this season. Several guards get a bump in both production and usage rate with Mitchell off the floor including Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The guard who pops the most due to his price tag, especially on FanDuel is Clarkson. He is coming in at over 50% in our ownership projections on FanDuel. In 19 games without Mitchell, Clarkson is averaging 19.8 points per game with nearly a 30% usage rate.
Even with Mitchell unable to play, the Jazz are still 5.5-point home favorites against the Clippers tonight. This will likely be a defensive battle, as both the Jazz and Clippers rank in the top-11 for defensive rating. This game has the lowest total on the slate at 215 points, so it is tough to get too carried away with multiple players from the Jazz. It is impossible to ignore Clarkson’s salary on FanDuel. Awesemo projections him to be the best value on the slate and he also has the highest boom percentage in our Boom/Bust Tool on FanDuel as well. His DraftKings salary is very close to Conley’s so a decision will need to be made there, but he is the go-to option on FanDuel.
PG Fred VanVleet — Grades: A, A | Values: A, A
Fred VanVleet leads the slate with the highest grades and values for both DraftKings and FanDuel in our Fantasy Basketball Rankings. VanVleet has seen a dip in production since he came back from his knee injury, but he is still playing monster minutes. Over the last four games, VanVleet is averaging 17 points per game while shooting 35.1% from the field and 27% from behind the arc. Despite his recent play, VanVleet is still averaging 37 minutes per game during that time. VanVleet is having a great season. He is second to Stephen Curry in most 3-pointers made with 3.9 per game and leads the entire league in minutes played with 38.1 per game.
VanVleet and the Raptors get a fantastic home matchup against the Lakers, who have fallen off a cliff recently. They have lost 12 of their last 15 games as they are just 2.5 games ahead of not making the playoffs in the Western Conference. The Lakers rank fifth in both pace and points allowed with 113.7 per game. This game was played in Los Angeles on Monday with the Raptors winning by 11 points. VanVleet shot a pitiful 3-of-14 from the field as he finished with 11 points, seven rebounds,and seven assists in 40 minutes. His upside is shown in our Boom/Bust Tool as VanVleet leads the slate on FanDuel and is second on DraftKings with the highest boom percentage.
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C Goga Bitadze — Grades: C, C | Values: A, B
As of right now, Goga Bitadze is projected to play and likely start with Isaiah Jackson and Myles Turner both out for the Pacers. However, Bitadze is listed as questionable with a foot injury as he has missed the last two games. Monitor the NBA starting lineups page to see the status of Bitadze the closer it gets to lock, but if he is unable to go, Jalen Smith will be one of the best plays on the slate. Awesemo projects Bitadze to play 21.6 minutes tonight and be the best value on DraftKings. He also has the highest boom percentage in our Boom/Bust Tool as his salary is ridiculously cheap at $3,400. Bitadze is a lofty $5,600 on FanDuel which is way too high.
One of the main reasons Bitadze is popping so much is this juicy matchup with the Rockets. They continue to rank last in defensive rating and second in pace this season. They allow a league-high 118.4 points per game as the Pacers are implied for a slate-high 122.25 points tonight. This game has a massive total of 239.5 points, which is also the highest on the slate. This game environment will be very fantasy-friendly. There are many great plays in this matchup, but Bitadze leads the way as the best option. Prioritize him on DraftKings where he is a fantastic value and makes for a great salary saver in a stars and scrubs lineup build.
Bitadze is one of the players popping up as a near must-play in NBA DFS cash games today. For all of the best NBA DFS picks today from our NBA lineup optimizer, check out the DraftKings NBA Fantasy Cheat Sheet and FanDuel NBA Fantasy Cheat Sheet.
SF Kevin Durant — Grades: A, A | Values: B, B
There are several questionable pay-up options on this slate, but one who is not and is in a great spot is Kevin Durant. The Nets have a home game so Kyrie Irving will be unavailable. Seth Curry is back after missing three straight games. That may deter opponents from double-teaming Durant at the top of the key. With Irving not in the lineup, teams have been flying at Durant when he has the ball and forcing the Nets role players to beat them. It has led to some really good assist numbers as Durant is averaging eight assists per game in his last six games. On the season, Durant is averaging a career-high six assists per game, which increases his upside.
The Nets also have a fantastic matchup against the Trail Blazers, who have lost eight of their last nine games since returning from the All-Star Break. They have suffered several injuries and are rolling out very questionable lineups in terms of talent. Even if they try to double Durant, they will likely just get burned, as they have no one capable of stopping him. During that nine-game stretch, the Trail Blazers have allowed an absurd 125.1 points per game. Prioritize Durant on DraftKings tonight as Awesemo projects him to be the best value of anyone greater than $8,000. He also ranks fourth in our NBA Boom/Bust Tool with the highest boom percentage. Durant is the preferred pay-up option.
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We also have DraftKings rankings, Yahoo! ownership rankings and FanDuel ownership rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS advice for today and the best NBA DFS tools? View our Yahoo! ownership projections, our DraftKings ownership projections and our FanDuel ownership. Check out our NBA daily fantasy rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections DraftKings. Our DFS basketball projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks.
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