• Every Thursday Will Allen highlights some of the best core plays at each price tier for both Cash Games and GPPs.  Feel free to reach out to Will on Twitter at @MooseBeLoose9 if you have any questions.

    Studs

    James Harden (PG/SG) – Houston Rockets $12,400

    James Harden has reached 63 or more DraftKings points in each of his last four matchups with the Trail Blazers.  With Harden chasing the MVP award and a likely lucrative incentive from Adidas to go get it, we would not expect today to be any different.

    Harden loves to get to the free throw line and faces a Portland team that gives up the third most free throws per game in the league.  Portland is also below average at defending the pick and roll.  He is likely to draw a defensive assignment from Moe Harkless, leaving one of either Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum with a mismatch against a much taller player that they’ll have a tough time closing out on when Harden hits them for assists.  Harden represents the safest floor along with the largest ceiling on the slate.

    Karl-Anthony Towns (PF/C) – Minnesota Timberwolves $10,900

    When we look at a slate and see a KAT has a date with the Lakers all we can think is “oh baby!”  The Lakers have nobody on their roster who can defend a tall, fast, and floor spacing center like KAT.  Towns has been incredible in fantasy since the all star break and is, in my opinion, making a strong case as the best center in the league right now.

    The Timberwolves carry a healthy 115.5 Vegas team total which, compared to their 105 average points per game for the season, is the largest scoring increase on the slate.   The Lakers’ sixth ranked pace and 30th ranked defensive efficiency are the root of this projected scoring boost.  While I prefer the floor and ceiling Harden provides, Towns does represent an elite way to pay up.

    Midrange

    Ish Smith (PG) – Detroit Pistons $6,100

    With Reggie Jackson likely to rest or come off the bench, that leaves Ish to start with our favorite matchup in the league – Brooklyn.  If you have read our Thursday picks article in past weeks, you already know how much we salivate at the thought of facing the Nets.  Brooklyn is the highest paced team in decades while also being a bottom tier defense and below average in defensive efficiency against every position.  We love any Detroit player who is seeing significant minutes in this matchup.  Ish stands out as the safest of the Pistons.

    Andrew Wiggins (SF) – Minnesota Timberwolves $7,100

    Wiggins has smashed in his recent matchups with the Lakers, averaging over 50 DraftKings points a game against their soft defense.  Along with their fast pace and poor defensive efficiency, the Lakers also give up the second most points in transition and bottom 10 defensive efficiency vs wing players.  The defense has only gotten worse since Lakers fired up the Tank.  On a slate where we really want to pay for James Harden, Wiggins presents an cheaper route to get exposure to the LA defense than Towns.

    Cheapies

    Kris Dunn (PG) – Minnesota Timberwolves $3,900

    Early in the day, we can already begin to start looking at Kris Dunn.  Dunn has had a relatively disappointing rookie season for the NCAA fans who thought he could replace Ricky Rubio this year.  He has been picking it up as of late, however, with fantasy scores of 25.9, 27.8, and 32.9 in his last three.   At a still cheap $3,900 price tag, this is production worth noting.  Dunn, a player whose upside is very dependent on steals, faces a Lakers offense which gives up the 4th most steals in the league at 8.6 per game.  With a 10.5 spread, Dunn can see some extra run should the game turn into a blowout.

    Jamal Crawford (SG) – Los Angeles Clippers $3,900

    With Austin Rivers out for their matchup vs the Suns, Crawford is line for some extra run at backup shooting guard along with increased ball handling duties.   The Suns team ranks 5th in pace and 28th in defense creating a great game environment for Crawford to thrive in.  Crawford is a little scoring dependent, but in a game that should see plenty of scoring, Crawford makes for a fine play in all formats.

Fantasy News

  • Jimmy Butler
    SG, Miami Heat

    Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is reporting that a third Heat player has tested positive for COVID-19.

    Derrick Jones Jr. is the only known player, though Jackson adds that the two latest cases are both rotation players. Florida is in terrible shape at the moment and the Heat may need to enter the bubble without three of their rotation options — those players may still join the team later but will miss out on valuable practice time. The NBA is going full steam ahead on their restart plans but the virus is going to determine whether or not things actually unfold according to plan.

    Source: Barry Jackson on Twitter

  • Landry Shamet
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania reports that Landry Shamet has tested positive for COVID-19 and is unlikely to join the Clippers for their trip to Orlando this week.

    That leaves the door open for Shamet to rejoin the team closer to the season's restart, assuming he is feeling okay. Just yesterday it was announced that the Clippers closed their facilities after a positive test, so it appears Shamet's case was the culprit. The sharpshooter is averaging 27.5 minutes per game this season so if he's forced to sit out the Orlando restart it could have big ramifications on LA's backcourt rotation.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The NBA has released its schedule of scrimmages for the Orlando restart, with games beginning on July 22.

    The league has tried to match up teams that are unlikely opponents for these scrimmages so nobody gets a really good look at what a potential playoff matchup might want to run. For example, the first day of scrimmages will see the Nuggets face the Wizards, the Nets take on the Pelicans, the Clippers against the Magic and the Kings vs. the Heat. Scrimmages will run through July 28.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Caris LeVert
    PG-SG, Brooklyn Nets

    Caris LeVert embraces challenge of being a leader.

    LeVert has been an active participant in the racial inequality protests and admitted that basketball is very minor right now compared to everything else going on in the world but is ready for the NBA restart saying, "For me, it’s just taking on that challenge of being a leader, being the leader of that group, going down there with some of the most experience on the team, playoff experience." In the 16 games since rejoining the starting lineup, LeVert has put up All-Star numbers with 24.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists, while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range and leading the Nets to a 9-7 record over that span. The upward trajectory continues for the Nets' 20th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

    Source: Newsday

  • Jordan Crawford
    SG, Free Agent

    Jordan Crawford has agreed to a deal with Russia's Lokomotiv Kuban.

    Crawford last played in the NBA for the Pelicans in 2018 with career averages of 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 24.4 minutes. The career journeyman has played for five NBA teams since 2010 with a few stints with China in between. Since the beginning of 2019, he has played in Israel, China, Germany and now we can add Russia to that list.

    Source: Sportando

  • Lance Stephenson
    SG, Free Agent

    Lance Stephenson is ineligible to sign with the Pacers according to Scott Agness.

    Stephenson to the Pacers was being discussed in early March and made sense now with Victor Oladipo choosing to sit out the remainder of the season but this move apparently will not happen. The 29-year old Stephenson spent this past season in China where he averaged 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the CBA's Flying Leopards.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis has high expectations for the Lakers when they resume play later in July in Orlando, citing the long layoff as a favorable development for his squad.

    As if the Lakers weren't already squarely in the hunt for an NBA championship. When speaking to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Davis said that he believes their "chances are higher just because we’re all rested and we’re all ready to go.” Depth seems to be the most glaring issue potentially facing the Lakers as they prepare to make the trip to Disney World, as defensive stalwart Avery Bradley recently opted out of the remainder of the season. Bradley was subsequently replaced by well-traveled veteran guard J.R. Smith (who has a long history of playoff runs alongside LeBron James with the Cavs), but the team is still unsure of veteran center Dwight Howard's status the rest of the way. Other than Howard, the Lakers' roster is seemingly set for Orlando. Davis sounds like he's ready to rock, however.

    Source: ESPN

  • Deng Adel
    PF, Brooklyn Nets

    Deng Adel, who played 19 games for the Cavs last season as a two-way player, is being pursued by the Illawara Hawks of Australia's NBL, which, notably was the team 18-year-old LaMelo Ball played for last season (and has attempted to purchase).

    Adel had two short stints before last season with the Rockets and Nets in the Summer League and the preseason, respectively. He was originally a standout at Louisville but went undrafted in 2018 before hitching on with the Cavs on a two-way pact. This season he had been playing for the Long Island Nets, the Nets' G League affiliate, prior to the pause and ultimately the end of the G League season. Adel had registered averages of 11.1 points, 4.2 boards and 2.6 assists to that point. Also of note, Adel spent the lion's share of his childhood in Australia after his family moved from South Sudan around the time he was eight.

    Source: Sportando

  • Darius Miller
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Darius Miller is unsure if he will be able to play in Orlando, as he continues to recover from a torn a ruptured right Achillies.

    Due to the lockdown, Miller has been unable to participate in any live-action, or else he would have played in 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 by now. At this point, it would be surprising for the Pelicans to risk his health by pushing for him to participate in the eight-game regular season.

    Source: Will Guillory on Twitter

  • JJ Redick
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    J.J. Redick has intentionally lost 10 pounds since the quarantine began.

    Redick's goal was to get back to his playing weight during his college days at Duke, and it's not a surprise that one of the most dedicated workers in the league was able to drop weight during the coronavirus pandemic. Redick's shooting will be sorely needed when the Pelicans try to chase down the Grizzlies for a playoff spot, but if he does not come out of the gates making an impact the Pelicans are likely to shift to another hot hand on their deep roster. Redick has only seen 26.4 minutes per game this season, and that is going to limit his impact to strictly 3-pointers (2.9 per game).

    Source: Daniel Sallerson on Twitter