• It is the first Friday of November and now that most of us are stomach sick on our couches from a candy binge we can take the time to look over tonight’s eight game slate. We do not have a lot of excitement on tonight’s slate. A few games have a chance to be blowouts and Vegas isn’t projecting a lot of scoring on the night overall. We have a few high-priced studs to look at tonight and deciding which ones to play is going to be justified by which games you are targeting.

    The main priced-up options I am targeting are Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.  As of this morning Golden State is being favored by 11 points, leaving the risk of a blowout, but the game total is 238 and points will be scored and if the Golden State studs manage to play four quarters they could explode. I do not believe it is optimal to play either Curry or Durant as a one-off without playing any of the studs on Minnesota. The Thunder are facing the Wizards and there is a player across from Westbrook that I am all about tonight. I am not in love with the Raptors on this slate due to risk of blowout and I think CP3 and Paul George are just a little out of my price range.

    Now that we have sorted out the Studs let’s jump into where the value lives.

    Point Guard

    Dennis Smith Jr. vs. Knicks $5,500- Smith is coming off of one of his worst performances of the season and his price is reflective of just that. He does not have the best matchup on paper with Frank Ntilikina starting point guard for the Knicks and I am going to be honest, this feels like a gut play. A lot of people will be on Ricky Rubio for a similar price range and Rubio’s usage and DK points per minute actually drop massively with Donovan Mitchell off of the court and he draws a tough matchup himself against Mike Conley. I am not saying fade Rubio. If he and Gobert could get the pick and roll going he could easily pile up assists and sneak in a double-double, but Smith will come at a much lower ownership and still possess 35-plus DK point upside. This is strictly a tournament play.

    Mike Conley vs. Jazz $7,000- Conley has been the primary offensive cog for this Grizzlies team. He has taken 73 shot attempts over his last four games and we know we are targeting this game for value. Conely is averaging 36.2 DK points per game and has scored over 40 in three out of six games, providing tournament upside and a rock solid cash floor.

    John Wall vs. Thunder- $8,100- Wall is in a fast-paced matchup against the Thunder, who are on the second half of a back-to-back, and is just priced way too cheap. I am all over Wall tonight and I am expecting a big game in the assists category with Dwight Howard expected to return. He is only $1,000 more than Bradley Beal and has so many other avenues to produce points. He will draw Russell Westbrook on defense and as energetic as he is, Russ bleeds fantasy points on defense. Great play for cash games and tournaments.

    Shooting Guard

    Dante Exum vs. Grizzlies $3,700- Donovan Mitchell (hamstring) has already been ruled and there is going to be a ton of usage to go around. Exum closed the fourth quarter after Mitchell got hurt and played 25 minutes. He is going to be the chalk of the night, but unless we get some amazing value that opens up as the day goes on we have to consider him. It is a small sample size, but with Mitchell off of the court this season Exum is seeing a usage increase of 4.9 percent and is averaging .09 DK points more per minute. He should see time at both backup point guard and shooting guard and has a chance to draw the start.

    Jimmy Butler vs. Warriors $8,000- First of all we need to make sure Butler is actually going to suit up for this one, but he said he expects to play after he held himself out of the last game due to “general soreness.” If he does play, Butler is priced far too cheaply for this matchup. This game has one of the higher implied totals on the board and if it manages to stay close we have to imagine Butler has a large part to do with it.

    Small Forward

    P.J. Tucker vs. Nets $4,500- Tucker has quietly been producing value all season and is averaging almost 25 DK points per game. He draws a fantastic matchup versus the Nets and could be played in lineups with Carmelo Anthony or Eric Gordon and still produce value. He is not someone we are going to expect to score a whole lot, but Tucker has the ability to fill up the defensive categories and grab double-digit rebounds; any scoring is a bonus to what we expect.

    Carmelo Anthony vs. Nets $5,800- After mentioning Tucker I have to mention Anthony. They are both in play and while I do like Melo a little more, Tucker offers us a slight discount. Melo’s upside with James Harden out has been on full display. Over the last three games Anthony has taken 47 shots and the trend should lead to more chucking against the Nets. His floor for his price is as good as Tucker’s, but for tournaments we have to consider the upside of Melo even if he hits only 40 percent of his shots.

    Tobias Harris vs. Magic $7,300- I have been writing up Harris all year long and will continue to do so. He is another player who I believe is slightly underpriced and he is forced to do so much for this Clippers team. The shot attempts are there and this season he is proving to be the Clippers’ most reliable rebounder as well. He is eligible at both forward spots and if you are looking to get any Clippers in your lineups I would be looking towards the forwards with Harris at the top.

    Power Forward

    Noah Vonleh vs. Mavericks $4,800- Vonleh has been quietly winning sharks money across DFS platforms. I’ll be honest here and say that I only managed to get him one night over the last few games and missed out on his big double-double last game. The minutes look secure and real and as long as Enes Kanter is coming off of the bench we need to consider Vonleh for his rebounding upside. We are going to have to monitor the situation up until game time, but it seems Knicks head coach David Fizdale is committed to seeing what he has from his younger players.

    Draymond Green vs. Timberwolves $6,900- Targeting big men versus the Timberwolves is something I do often and if you think this game stays close than jump on Green. Karl-Anthony Towns is a putrid defender and Draymond’s game stacks simple, as he does not rely upon scoring to make his value.

    Center

    Wendell Carter Jr. vs. Pacers $5,000- Another player I am a day late and a dollar short on. Carter exploded last game versus the Nuggets for 55 DK points. More importantly, he played 38 minutes. His upside is tremendous and if we know he is getting at least 30 minutes he also provides an excellent floor for both cash games and tournaments. His is likely to somewhat chalky making him a slightly better cash game play.

    Jarret Allen vs. Rockets $5,100- between blowouts and foul trouble Allen has not been given a fair chance in DFS. The only thing we worry about is minutes and I imagine he sees enough to hit value tonight. The Nets need Allen to run the floor against Clint Capela. The Rockets tend to push the pass and Allen’s defense could slow down the transition and force the Rockets to make their jump shots. Even in limited minutes we have seen Allen hit what his current ‘5x’ value is, making him safe for cash games and his upside with 30-plus minutes makes him a tournament play as well.

    Rudy Gobert vs. Grizzlies $8,200-Gobert has been on a Go-tear and even with a minus matchup against Marc Gasol, I do not see him stopping tonight. Donovan Mitchell has already been ruled out and although it is a small sample size Gobert has seen an increase in usage of 7.3 percent. Basically we are going to see a lot of pick and rolls. Gobert now has double-digit field goal attempts over his last three games and in all of those games he has scored at least 50 DK points.

    Honorable Mention

    Royce O’Neale vs. Grizzlies $3,300- O’Neale is the pivot play to Exum for me. He does not see a big increase in usage, but his DK points per minute increase by .25 with Mitchell off of the floor. He is slightly cheaper than Exum and the ownership is guaranteed to be much lower barring the news of who is in the starting lineup.

    Ricky Rubio vs. Grizzlies $5,700- I am not in love with Rubio tonight. He is going to garnish high ownership and could easily bust in this spot. Rubio actually sees a massive dip in usage and DK points per minute with Donovan Mitchell off of the court, but the sample size is small and he is still a valuable tournament play as he crushed the Grizzlies in their two meetings last season averaging 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists, but did so without Mike Conley playing. It is for all of these reasons I list Rubio in my honorable mention’s section rather than my top plays. He is definitely in play tonight with Mitchell being out, but there are many factors that also point to him being worth a fade.

    Jabari Parker vs. Pacers $5,800- Parker let a lot of people down in his return to the starting lineup, but seeing him play 36 minutes and 34 minutes in two out of the last three games encourages me. I wouldn’t load up on this game too much as the Pacers defense is not one to be taken lightly, but he may see depressed ownership after a stinker and still provides 35-plus DK point upside for tournaments. He makes for a solid pivot to Wendell Carter Jr.

    As always you can give me a follow @MikeApotria on Twitter and reach out with any questions or comments. Good Luck and take down a tournament!

Fantasy News

  • Joel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers

    Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) has been ruled out of Thursday's Game 3 against the Nets and Greg Monroe will start in his place.

    Game 3 has quickly become an absolute must-win for the Nets, who can't afford to squander an opportunity with Philadelphia losing their major matchup advantage at center. Monroe, Boban Marjanovic, Jonah Bolden and Mike Scott will take up most of the center minutes tonight, though we may see Ben Simmons log some time at the five considering he'd like to get more post touches. Embiid's health is going to determine the length of Philly's playoff run, but we doubt that the Sixers would put the cart before the horse here with the Nets proving to be a very capable opponent. If he can't get close to full strength in the coming days, this first-round series will get very, very interesting. Embiid was unable to play tonight despite two days off since Game 2, which is not a great sign with Game 4 set for Saturday afternoon.

    Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter

  • James Ennis III - F - Philadelphia Sixers

    James Ennis III has been cleared to play more than 12 minutes in Thursday’s matchup against the Nets but coach Brett Brown didn’t specify an exact number of minutes that he would be limited to.

    The Sixers can use all the help they can get off of their bench and Ennis III is a valuable member of that unit. Expect him to play around the 20 minute limit but with no official word from head coach Brown, it will be hard to predict.

    Source: Tom Moore on Twitter

  • Joel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers

    Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) is a game-time decision ahead of Thursday's tip-off against the Nets.

    Embiid has been a game-time decision throughout this series and the same can be said for Thursday's Game 3. Check for a status update prior to tip-off but expect Joel to be in the starting lineup.

    Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter

  • Jared Dudley - F - Brooklyn Nets

    As expected, the Nets have officially listed Jared Dudley (right calf tightness) as available for Thursday’s matchup against the Sixers.

    Dudley’s defensive contribution off the bench was crucial in their Game 1 victory. The Nets could have used his skill set in Game 2. Look for him to take all of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s playing time as the Nets try to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

    Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter

  • Enes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers

    Enes Kanter (right hand contusion) is not on the official injury report ahead of Friday’s game against the Thunder.

    Kanter has proven to be a valuable piece in this first round series as he faces his former team. The hand injury he suffered in Game 2 will not affect his availability for Friday.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. - G - Dallas Mavericks

    Tim Hardaway Jr. had successful surgery for a stress injury to his left tibia and is expected to begin rehabilitation immediately.

    With the surgery now behind Hardaway Jr., he will begin on his road to recovery. The Mavs expect him to be ready for basketball activities prior to the start of training camp. Continue to watch his recovery because there is still a chance that he will not be healthy enough to start next season.

    Source: Isaac Harris on Twitter

  • Kyle Anderson - F - Memphis Grizzlies

    Kyle Anderson underwent successful thoracic outlet decompression surgery on Wednesday and is expected to make a full recovery before the Grizzlies' 2019 training camp.

    Anderson was hampered by injuries throughout the 2018-2019 campaign. Hopefully, this operation will allow Anderson to bounce back from a disappointing season.

    Source: Grizzlies PR on Twitter

  • Patrick McCaw - G - Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw (right thumb sprain) is officially listed as questionable for Friday's Game 3.

    McCaw is expected to be available so this could just be a formality, but we'll wait for final word tomorrow either way. He's not a lock to be in the rotation, but he'd likely take Jodie Meeks' minutes as a guy who can help defend Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier and D.J. Augustin.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Chris Boucher - F - Toronto Raptors

    Chris Boucher (back spasms) will not play in Friday's Game 3.

    Boucher is at the very end of the Raptors' bench and is not expected to see any minutes against a heavy Orlando frontline. Eric Moreland will remain the team's third center.

    Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter

  • Deandre Ayton - C - Phoenix Suns

    When asked what he'll be focusing on this offseason, Deandre Ayton mentiong ball-handling and 3-point shooting.

    Ayton didn't mention his defense, which might be something that the Suns should encourage. Regardless, Ayton looks like he's trying to grow into a true modern big man who can push the ball in transition and stretch the floor a bit. He's a decent mid-range shooter and hits his free throws at a good clip so working on an outside shot shouldn't be a monumental stretch or anything. He was already a third-round player in his rookie season, and if he can add some assists and threes to his game without sacrificing efficiency then we could see another jump in year two.

    Source: The Athletic