• Welcome back to another Friday edition of my Hoop Ball DFS plays. It is February 8 and we have eight games to look at for tonight’s card. Things could seem a little foggy following the trade deadline, but paying attention and monitoring the news could be key to capitalizing on depressed salaries and guys in new roles.

    As of now, we are still waiting on some pretty important news that will dictate the slate. This is whether or not Paul Millsap and Joel Embiid will suit up. For this reason I left any players in this game out of my analysis. Just know if Embiid sits we will see Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons get a massive boost. Tobias Harris is underpriced on his new team and, if playing, would make another solid value play. Now, I am really only looking at these guys if Embiid sits. If Paul Millsap sits we have to look towards Mason Plumlee and Trey Lyles once again. Obviously Embiid is in play if he suits up and so is Nikola Jokic. These are two guys I will never argue against playing, but as of now I think I am headed in a different direction.

    Now that we got that out of the way, let’s jump right into my favorite value plays on the slate. You will also notice plenty of pivots on the same team. This is because I love the opportunity and matchups these players are in. I expect both players to see upticks and play well, but the pivots are also priced apart, making construction easier to tinker with.

    Point Guard

    Eric Bledsoe vs. Mavs $6,700 – Khris Middleton has already been ruled out for tonight’s game due to rest and we have seen Bledsoe take on a heavier role when this has been the case in the past. His price is slightly elevated, but Bledsoe has been crushing it over the last four games and that is with Middleton in the lineup. We will have another solid option on the Bucks later if you can’t afford Bledsoe.

    Dennis Smith Jr. vs. Pistons $5,800 – It feels like DSJ has faced the Pistons multiple times over the last few weeks and that is because he has. The Pistons are pretty lousy at defending point guards and it feels like DSJ is just starting to ramp things up on his new team. Knicks head coach David Fizdale said he is giving DSJ the keys to the car and letting him do what he wants while he is out there. I’d expect another big one from him, so long as he sees 30-plus minutes.

    Collin Sexton vs. Wizards $4,500 – Finally, we can breathe knowing some of these guards are out of Cleveland. Sexton should continue seeing a boatload of minutes and last game we saw him take 24 shot attempts from the floor with Cedi Osman out. You read that tight, I said 24 shot attempts. This is massive usage and an amazing matchup for pace. I will also take a long look at a slightly more expensive Jordan Clarkson. It’s hard to imagine one, if not both of these guys going nuts for their price in a close matchup. Kevin Love (foot) is currently a GTD, but him playing would not have much of an impact on the guards other than a few less shots for Sexton.

    Shooting Guard

    Dwyane Wade/Dion Waiters vs. Kings $5,000/$3,900 – I listed both Waiters and Wade because I think they both have a solid chance to see a few extra minutes following the trade deadline. It is a great matchup for shooting guards and the Kings just recently shipped their best perimeter defender (Iman Shumpert) off to Houston. These are both tournament plays, but Wade has quietly been crushing as of late, scoring over 37 DK points in three of four games. Waiters offers some upside if he shoots like he wants to. We have a lot of value on tonight’s slate and may not need to go there, but he will surely be low-owned in the late-night hammer.

    Tomas Satoransky vs. Cavs $5,700 – Let’s not beat around the bush on this one. Sato feels safer in cash, but in a matchup versus the Cavs he could easily crush and pay off his salary for tournaments as well. I am targeting this game quite heavily, but we are also going to want all of the news before making too many decisions. It helps that he is small forward eligible.

    Malcolm Brogdon vs. Mavericks $5,600 – Brogdon is in a similar boat to Bledsoe tonight with Khris Middleton out. They should both play more than thirty minutes and both see increased usage. I don’t think I would play both Brogdon and Bledsoe in the same lineup, so it is going to come down to construction and salary.

    Small Forward

    Andrew Wiggins vs. Pelicans $6,000 – This is merely a usage play. The Timberwolves may be without both Teague and Rose again and we have been seeing Wiggins take advantage of the usage. Strictly a tournament play.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. vs. Bucks $4,900 – THJ came out and played 26 minutes in his first game with the Mavericks. The days of Hardaway taking 24 shots from the floor are likely gone, but so are DSJ and Harrison Barnes and someone is going to take some shots other than Luka Doncic. I imagine he will see a few extra minutes and that will lead to some extra shot attempts. The Bucks have a stellar defense, but they have struggled against shooting guards in the past.

    Power Forward

    Lauri Markkanen vs. Nets $7,000 – The only reason I am not starting center for the Chicago Bulls is because I had to be up early this morning to provide content. No, but seriously, Lauri is by far their best option at center and we are always looking to target bigs versus the Nets. We do not have word at the moment on whether or not Otto Porter will suit up for the Bulls, but Zach Lavine is currently being listed as questionable and if either one or both were to sit out Markkanen would absorb massive usage. He is in play for me regardless of who is in or out and the Bull I feel the most comfortable playing.

    Thomas Bryant vs. Cavs $5,200 – Bryant cooked last game for over 50 DK points, but now we have Bobby Portis coming into town to mooch some minutes. I am only playing Bryant if we hear Portis is out and hoping for another 30-plus minute game. Bryant is an excellent point per minute producer and as I mentioned before this is a matchup we just cannot ignore. If Portis does suit up I think we have to consider him.

    Dwight Powell vs. Bucks $4,400 – We saw Kleber draw the start at center last game, but with Harrison Barnes shipped off to Sacramento we may see Kleber slide down to power forward. If this is the case Powell would likely draw the start. Both of these guys are in play, but for me I’d lean Kleber is cash and Powell in tournaments.

    Center

    Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Pelicans $10,000 – I feel as though Towns has been overlooked as of late in the DFS community. Tonight will probably be similar as we have a lot of top tier centers on the board tonight and Towns is expected to be guarded by Anthony Davis. The Timberwolves are depleted and desperately need a big game from him to stay alive. These two teams have faced off three times this season and Towns is averaging 67 DK points in those games.

    Hassan Whiteside vs. Kings $6,800 – Shhhh, keep it down, Whiteside has quietly played over 30 minutes over the last two games. Heat head coach Erik Spolestra mentioned switching up the lineup and trying new things. One of these switches was inserting Kelly Olynyk into the starting lineup. Now, pivots have been the theme of the article and this is another one for you. I will likely have exposure to either Kelly O or Whiteside in most lineups.

    Robin Lopez vs. Nets $4,000 – Well, for now it doesn’t look like Lopez will be bought out and that leaves him as one of the last remaining centers on the roster. Cristiano Felicio is bad, end of discussion. The Bulls do not seem concerned with developing him. Lopez played 29 minutes last game and if he sees those minutes against a weak Nets’ frontcourt I see a big rebounding game coming his way. I probably would not play Lopez and Lauri in the same lineup.

    As always you could find me on Twitter @Mike Apotria with any of your questions or comments.

Fantasy News

  • Dion Waiters - G - Miami Heat

    According to Kevin Pelton of ESPN, with All-Stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson likely to miss a big chunk, if not all, of next season, the Warriors will spend the summer on the lookout for help, and one of their targets may be Heat guard Dion Waiters.

    Durant, Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins could all be lost in free agency, but even if all three players re-sign, the Warriors will have no salary left under the cap to sign free agents and the only possible way to improve would be through a trade. Waiters has two years and around $27 million remaining on his contract while the Heat are very open to trading him. He could see a boost in his numbers if traded to the Warriors but his efficiency has always been an issue.

    Source: ESPN

  • Bradley Beal - G - Washington Wizards

    According to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington, the Pelicans have a “sincere interest” in exploring a trade for Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal.

    The Wizards seem to be determined to keep Beal, but they currently don’t have a general manager, and perhaps their stance could change. The basis for trading Beal centers on maximizing his asset value with two years and $56 million remaining on his original five-year contract signed in 2016. Washington will likely struggle next season with fellow guard John Wall out and an evolving roster that currently has only five players with guaranteed contract. Beal is coming off an outstanding season in which he averaged a career-highs of 25.6 points and 5.0 rebounds, and almost single-handedly kept the Wizards in a chase for a playoff spot until the season’s final weeks.

    Source: NBC Sports Washington

  • R.J. Barret - G - New Orleans Pelicans

    According to an NBA source, the Pelicans have explored moving back to gain more assets and also had internal talks about moving up to the second pick in order to draft R.J. Barrett who is Zion Williamson’s best friend.

    That trade-up maneuver, however unlikely, would allow Murray State’s Ja Morant to fall to the Knicks at No. 3. The Knicks had Morant higher on their board than Barrett at the Chicago combine, but that also was before Morant recently underwent knee surgery. For now, it seems that New York is locked in at keeping the third pick, contrary to a couple weeks earlier, when they were open to moving back. The Pelicans meanwhile continue to explore all possible avenues in order to better use the No. 4 pick which they have acquired from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade.

    Source: NY Post

  • Hassan Whiteside - C - Miami Heat

    According to Barry Jackson, Hassan Whiteside is expected to opt into the final year of his deal, which would pay him $27.1 million.

    This was obviously anticipated, but with Whiteside dissatisfied with his current role with the Heat, there was a sliver of doubt that he'd want to stay in Miami. Jackson mentions that there were talks regarding a Whiteside for Mike Conley deal that didn't get very far. The Heat will be looking at a luxury tax bill unless they can cut some salary, so Whiteside isn't a lock to remain on the roster. A change of scenery could help his fantasy outlook, as unlikely as a trade may be. We're likely to see him return in a backup center role that limits him to late-round fantasy production at best.

    Source: Miami Herald

  • Patrick Beverley - G - Los Angeles Clippers

    According to Sean Deveney, Patrick Beverley will be taking as many as five free agent meetings prior to meeting with the Clippers.

    The Clippers have bigger fish to fry, and Beverley might not want to wait around for them. He will rightfully be getting a lot of attention during free agency. While Beverley is not a great offensive player, he could fit in a variety of places with his defensive intensity and leadership. Anywhere from a rebuilding team like in his hometown of Chicago where they could use some veteran tenacity to a potential contending team like Lakers who just need a lockdown defender, Beverley would be a nice addition that shouldn't break the bank. No matter where he goes, he should continue to get enough minutes (he hasn't played less than 27 mpg since his rookies season) to be relevant in shallow leagues.

    Source: Sean Deveney on Twitter

  • Alvin Gentry - Team - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have picked up Alvin Gentry's team option through the 2020-21 season.

    It's encouraging to see David Griffin already showing faith in Gentry. The Pelicans' rebuild is off to what seems like a great start under Griffin. Winning the draft lottery and getting a great haul for Anthony Davis prior to the draft is just be the beginning of a franchise-defining offseason.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Chris Paul - G - Houston Rockets

    The Rockets have had conversations about Clint Capela and "preliminary conversations" about Chris Paul, per Shams Charania.

    The Rockets reportedly want to discuss Paul trades with teams that can absorb his three years and $125 million. That's a pretty short list. That deal will be much harder to move than Capela's, though you can be sure that the Rockets probably won't move their young center unless it's a deal that improves both the on-court product and the cap sheet. That proposition is a lot weaker in any deal that includes Paul's monster salaries.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Ed Davis - C - Brooklyn Nets

    Ed Davis is expected to be a hot commodity in free agency and should be looking at multi-year offers, per Shams Charania.

    Davis is a machine on the glass and has drawn rave reviews as a quality teammate and person wherever he goes, so it's no surprise that he's drawing interest. A high-energy big who gobbles up rebounds still has a place on just about any roster, even with Davis' other offensive limitations. He'll remain a solid rebounding specialist for deep-league use next season.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Derrick Favors - F/C - Utah Jazz

    Tony Jones of The Athletic is reporting that the Jazz have yet to include Derrick Favors in trade talks for Mike Conley.

    Favors has been linked to the Lakers, though his landing spot is all contingent on the Jazz picking up his team option. He's due to be paid $17.65 million if that option is picked up, and the Grizzlies may have some interest in him if he can be had on an expiring deal. The Jazz don't look to have a ton that the Grizzlies would be interested in terms of roster players, so Utah might need to get creative if they really want Conley.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Mike Conley - G - Memphis Grizzlies

    The Grizzlies have intensified trade discussions surrounding Mike Conley and the Jazz remain the frontrunner to acquire him, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    The Jazz have been connected to Conley since the deadline and have been fairly open about upgrading their point guard group. Conley would be a huge addition, though it's unclear what sort of assets the Grizzlies might be after. A trade would really clear the runway for presumed No. 2 pick Ja Morant.

    Source: The Athletic