March 21, 2017, 9:21 pm
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.