• Tonight is an interesting eight-game slate. Availability news could be important tonight. I am hoping a few players are ruled out which would open up a few valuable options. LeBron is a stellar play, and I will probably use him as the foundation for many of my lineups. A winning strategy tonight likely maximizes exposure to Cavs-Nuggets and potentially 76ers-Thunder while supplementing with cheap value plays. Let’s look at a few options tonight at different price points.

     

    Point Guard

    John Wall ($9,300)

    My expectations are that John Wall will be a fairly popular option tonight at point guard. The Wizards have opened as seven point favorites tonight against Atlanta in a game with a Vegas over/under of 214. The Hawks are defensively sound, but Dennis Schroder is not the reason. Wall should be able to exploit his matchup and score enough to be valuable for us in tournaments and in cash games.

    Significant price decreases on players are sometimes troubling, but Wall’s price decrease is one to exploit. The only legitimate reason I can see for the decrease is that his rebounding has been down over the past nine games from 4.2 rebounds to 2.6 rebounds (or 6.5% rate to 3.9%). His usage and assisting are right where they should be, and tonight’s competitive game should mean a full run of minutes.

    Two games ago, John Wall played 35 minutes in a slow paced game against Charlotte in which he had similar usage, assist, and rebound rates to what I expect from him tonight (31.2, 49.5, 4.9 respectively in that game). He scored 39.75 DraftKings points in that game on 5/16 shooting. If he’d just had an average shooting night, he would have had 45+ DraftKings points. His floor is high tonight, and I will have John Wall in cash games.

     

    Shooting Guard

    Nicolas Batum ($6,900)

    Admittedly, I tend to get over-excited about Batum and he often ends up as one of my locks, but this man’s consistency is tough to beat. Like many nights, shooting guard is somewhat desolate, so I will have Batum shares. As I have said in the past, the Hornets cannot survive without Batum’s offensive contribution.

    Looking at the past few Charlotte games where Batum has been healthy, when Batum’s usage rate is low, the Hornets do not have many options to step up and fill that role. Within the starting lineup, MKG is not much of a scorer, Zeller cannot score efficiently, and Marvin Williams’ recent surge in production hasn’t led to an increase in usage.

    Tonight the Hornets play the Magic as five point favorites with a Vegas over/under of 206. The Magic rank 25th against shooting guards in terms of DraftKings points. The Hornets’ lack of offensive weapons combined with a positive matchup should lead to a lot of touches for Batum and a usage rate around 25%.

    He also averages 5.9 assists per game and 6.7 rebounds per game, so I believe my Batum projection of about 18p-4a-5r is reasonable. With a couple blocks and/or steals, Batum will be a valuable play.

     

    Small Forward

    LeBron James ($11,100)

    Tonight could be a really big LeBron game. The Cavaliers take on a Denver Nuggets team who is battling for a Western Conference playoff spot. LeBron is rested (ask Adam Silver), and the Cavs opened as three point favorites in game with a current total of 229. Connecting the dots, a rested LeBron could be on the floor for about 37 minutes in a close, speedy game where his team scores close to 120 points.

    LeBron’s usage has hovered around 30% all season, and his other statistical contributions have been significant lately. Over his last ten games, LeBron’s assist rate is 39.2% and his rebounding rate is 16.4%. When LeBron is hitting threes like he has been while distributing and snatching boards, he puts up DraftKings points in a hurry.

    Recently, LeBron had a five-game stretch where he exceeded 60 DraftKings points in each game (3/1 through 3/11). His role is Harden-like/Westbrook-like even though he is cheaper and in an ideal matchup. I am fully expecting a huge game tonight, and anyone who fades LeBron is taking a big gamble.

     

    Power Forward

    Kristaps Porzingis ($6,200)

    It can be uncomfortable rostering a player against Utah, especially as a double-digit underdog. However, I think Porzingis is a great option tonight. The Knicks have said that they are going to scale back Carmelo’s minutes, and Porzingis’ usage increases with Carmelo off the floor by 2.4%. We’ll see how much of an impact Melo’s minute decrease has on Kristap’s production, but it can only help.

    Porzingis is playing extremely well right now, a rare bright spot on the dysfunctional Knicks. In seven of his last nine games, he has scored 30 or more DraftKings points. Utah is a bad matchup, but if Porzingis can continue to protect the rim, a few blocks should propel him into a valuable performance. Unicorn has blocked 17 shots in the past five games.

    His minutes are stable, and his usage is stable. Due to the negative matchup, I wouldn’t blame you for restricting Porzingis to tournaments. But I actually prefer Porzingis in cash games because of his recent consistency with a capped upside since he faces the Jazz. He’s playable in both formats, and I think he will be underowned in both.

     

    Center

    Enes Kanter ($5,100)

    Enes Kanter is a unique option tonight in that even at the low end of his minutes projection, he should be valuable. Since returning from injury, Kanter’s usage is 29.4%. When you watch a Thunder game, it seems like Kanter touches the ball any time he’s on the floor and Russ is not. Even when Russ is on the floor, Kanter is involved.

    A usage rate that high is tough to ignore, and his 20.1% rebound rate since returning from injury is impressive as well. Kanter is an offensive threat on a team that badly needs offense. He has scored double digit points in 12 straight games. Tonight the Thunder play the 76ers, so I would expect that trend to continue.

    If the Thunder are going to cruise through the Sixers like Vegas implies, they’ll need some Kanter. He is a high floor, high ceiling option and thus an elite cash game and tournament play.

Fantasy News

  • Enes Kanter
    C, Boston Celtics

    Sean Deveney reported that "multiple agents say not all players are on board with an NBA return".

    One agent said, "Most of the guys are excited, fired up, they want to get back out there. Those are 95 percent of the conversations I have had". There are players that feel the money is not worth putting themselves and their families at risk. Enes Kanter weighed in on the topic, saying "there are some other team's players out there, that they don't want to play. They're like, 'It's just a game. I'm not going to risk my life". It is likely that the high-profile players will still play, but it looks like some role players may not be willing to take the risk to join their team when the NBA season resumes.

    Source: Heavy.com

  • Derrick Rose
    PG, Detroit Pistons

    The Pistons announced that they plan to reopen team facilities on Thursday, allowing voluntary individual workouts while following all the social-distancing guidelines.

    Although the Pistons' season is likely over as they are not one of the 22 teams that will continue to play if the Board of Governors vote to ratify the plan on Thursday, this will allow players to stay in shape for the 2020-21 season which is expected to start in December.

    Source: James Edwards III

  • Zion Williamson
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Pelicans, Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards will be the six non-playoff teams resuming action when the NBA restarts.

    This makes complete sense, as they're the only non-playoff teams that can sniff the postseason. Woj backs up an earlier Shams Charania report about a potential play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in each Conference as well. If the ninth seed trails the eighth seed by more than four games when the league's truncated regular season wraps up, the eighth seed makes the playoffs. If the deficit is under four games, however, the two teams will compete in a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for the ninth.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the NBA will have an eight-game regular season for the purposes of playoff seeding upon its return while Shams Charania reports that there will be a play-in tournament for the eighth seed.

    This applies to the NBA coming back with 22 teams, as the league's bottom eight are well out of playoff contention and bringing them to Orlando would only negatively affect the league's pursuit for player safety. As for the play-in tournament, Charania describes it as such: "If the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed earns the playoff spot; if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind, then the eighth and ninth seed will enter a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth." Expect another announcement about the league's format in the coming days.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Corey Brewer
    SF, Sacramento Kings

    Corey Brewer, a veteran of eight different NBA teams, is still hoping to sign another contract before he calls it a career.

    Brewer, 34, seems to think he has enough in the tank for one final stint in the NBA. “We had some talks with a few teams, but nothing really happened. My agent is still working on it, so we’ll see,” Brewer said. “I feel like I can still help a team and I feel like I have a few good years left. But you never know, man." Brewer has not suited up for an NBA team this season and, with a waning jump shot and increased age, his chances of securing another pact in the NBA are pretty unlikely.

    Source: HoopsHype

  • DeMarcus Cousins
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kings broadcaster Grant Napear stepped down from his position with the Kings on Tuesday after he said 'All Lives Matter..Every Single One!' when asked about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement during a Twitter interaction with former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

    This is the first domino to fall in American professional sports in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, even if it's a relatively insignificant one. Napear said of himself and the interaction, "I’m not as educated on BLM as I thought I was. I had no idea that when I said 'All Lives Matter' that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across," he said. "I’m in pain. I’m 60 years old and I still have a lot to learn." The Kings will evidently have to find a new play-by-play man for their radio broadcasts to accompany Doug Christie when games resume.

    Source: TMZ

  • John Wall
    PG, Washington Wizards

    John Wall, who has long been rumored to have absolutely zero chance of returning to the court even if the current season is resumed, said in a conference call last week that he feels "110 percent."

    Wall and the Wizards both maintain that he will not return to action this season, regardless of the outcome of the vote on Thursday by the NBA Board of Governors. This is good news, obviously, for the team as they set their sights on next season. As of late, trade rumors have been swirling around the franchise's two top assets: Wall and All Star guard Bradley Beal. Moving forward, there is a high possibility that the Wizards will decide between the two, as Beal's contract will expire after next season. Which player will the Wizards keep? Who will they trade, or will they trade them both? They are hoping to have some time to evaluate how the pair plays in tandem early next season, as Wall has missed significant time with a torn left Achilles he suffered during the 2018-19 season. But it may be too late to negotiate an extension with Beal at that point, so they will have to play their cards with extreme care.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Bradley Beal
    SG, Washington Wizards

    Wes Unseld, a Hall of Famer and Washington Bullets legend, passed away on Tuesday due to complications with pneumonia and other illnesses. He was 74 years old.

    An outstanding rebounder, Unseld is also one of only two players to ever be awarded Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season in 1968-69. He guided the Bullets to the NBA Finals four times, winning once in 1978, a series where Unseld took home MVP honors. Hornets' GM and former teammate Mitch Kupchak said of Unseld, “As a teammate, he was tough, dependable and competitive to no end.” Unseld was a fearless competitor and highly respected across the league during his 13 seasons with the Bullets franchise. Former Knicks center and fellow Hall of Famer Willis Reed recently recalled their battles against one another, "He was most consciously a rebounder — he could shoot, but he didn’t emphasize that part of his game — and felt that if he did his job right, by getting the defensive rebound and making the quick outlet pass, they would score quickly.” Unseld was undoubtedly a pioneer for the game of basketball and means a great deal to the city of Washington D.C.

    Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    ESPN's Adrian Wojanrowski is reporting that Adam Silver and the NBA Board of Governors, who are planning to vote Thursday on how to continue the season, would like the NBA Finals to conclude no later than October 12.

    With July 31 being the widely-reported restart date and the league tentatively planning to start 𝘯𝘦𝘹𝘵 season by Christmas Day of this year, it would make sense to crown a league champion as early as possible. The meeting with the NBA Board of Governors on Thursday will (finally) bring some clarity to the rest of the NBA season, as they will hold a vote to decide how to proceed. NBA fans have been waiting since the middle of March for some resolutions. This week will provide them.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    The Warriors opened their practice facility on Monday, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

    Slater adds that five players showed up for voluntary workouts. It's the first time that Golden State's gym has been open in over two months, and there are only three teams who have yet to get players back into team facilities. While it must be nice for the players to get back to some kind of business, the Warriors are not expected to be playing any more games this season given their league-worst record and the likelihood that the NBA trims the fat rather than ask every team to play out the season.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter