• Welcome back to another Friday edition of my DFS picks. Yes, it is the All-Star break, but that doesn’t mean DFS gets a break! We have a fun little game to keep us entertained and why not have a little action on it. Let me start by saying do not use a lot of bankroll tonight. It’s a crapshoot with these games and on one-game showdown slates I generally take the approach of going with a cheaper option as my leader and fitting studs in the other spots.

    Tonight is slightly different though, we can’t guarantee than any one player will see more minutes than the other. We are going to be taking stabs at who we think could have the biggest games in limited minutes and I think targeting what the players who have had high usage rates during the regular season and are in good matchups is the way to go.

    So here we are, these are some of my favorite players to target in tonight’s game.

    Ben Simmons $8,200 – Simmons shined during last year’s rising stars game, dropping 11 points, 13 assists and 6 rebounds. We can’t really expect big minutes from anyone in this game, so I am targeting the players who could stuff counting stats or get hot from the field.

    Deandre Ayton $5,800 – You are going to see a theme of playing a lot of players from the World Team. It’s not for any particular reason; I just like the matchups and believe they have some of the better producers in limited minutes. This does not mean I am going to play all of these guys. Ayton draws a start against Jarret Allen and we know from DFS the Nets are putrid against bigs. The same could be said for Ayton’s defense as well, so this firmly places John Collins and Allen in play as well. But Ayton is cheaper than Allen, so in my initial lineup that is the direction I am going.

    Trae Young $7,800 – Young was tearing it up heading into the All-Star break and this is the type of game suited for him; little defense and crazy shots from all over the floor. We know Young has unlimited range and could easily take the MVP award if he gets hot.

    Luka Doncic $9,200– I don’t really feel the need to elaborate too much on Donic. The kid is a stud and loves to put on a show for the fans. He is going to be the highest-owned player for sure, which warrants a fade, but that is going to be hard to do unless you’re trotting out multiple lineups.

    Bogdan Bogdanovic $7,600- Another player who exploded in last year’s game, Bogdanovic is not shy about shooting and figures to be the most explosive player off of the World Team’s bench. I don’t know if we could expect another 26 actual points, but I love the fact that he dialed up 13 shots from distance in last year’s game.

    So there you have it. Like I said, I will have most of my ownership invested in these guys, but I will still have plenty of shares of other players. I will mostly avoid players such as Josh Okogie, Cedi Osman, OG, SGA, Kevin Knox and Rodions Kurucs (if he plays).

    As always you can reach me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. Good luck and don’t forget to save your bankroll, don’t go overboard tonight!

Fantasy News

  • LeBron James - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    LeBron James (sore left groin) returned from a one-game absence on Friday night and put up 25 points, nine rebounds, 14 assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer in a 106-111 loss to the Nets that eliminated the Lakers from playoff contention.

    James went 8-of-25 from the field and 8-of-12 at the line while committing eight turnovers, but the real insult-to-injury part of the night came in the final minute when LeBron slipped out of bounds while driving the baseline. He came up limping after the play, so maybe it's more of an injury-to-injury situation. James returned to the game for a final offensive possession but was subbed out when the Lakers had to defend. With the Lakers' season over, we can expect more nights off going forward, especially after James appeared to get hurt again tonight.

  • JaVale McGee - C - Los Angeles Lakers

    JaVale McGee set a new career-high in points on Friday night, going 15-of-20 from the field for 33 points to go with 20 rebounds, a steal and six blocks in 35 minutes against the Nets.

    McGee went 3-of-7 from the charity stripe to put a single blemish on a fantastic performance. This game surely swung some weekly matchups out there, and despite L.A.'s spot in the standings they don't appear ready to dial back on McGee's minutes just yet. Tyson Chandler played 13 minutes while Mo Wagner and Johnathan Williams didn't take the floor. Just hope that it keeps up so McGee can put up big numbers as the Lakers play out the string.

  • Kyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma scored 18 points with five rebounds, a block and three triples on Friday night, though he shot 5-of-19 to get there.

    Kuzma's stat set is just not good enough for him to really help you out when the shot isn't falling. Points, threes and rebounds will be there — as will some assists if LeBron James sits out — but everything else will be lacking. Deploy as needed.

  • Alex Caruso - G - Los Angeles Lakers

    Alex Caruso came off the bench on Friday and posted 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes against the Nets.

    Caruso shot just 3-of-10 but it's certainly better than Rajon Rondo, who had five points, three rebounds, four assists, a steal and a triple in 25 minutes. Now that the Lakers are officially out of the playoffs we could see the scales tilt further in Caruso's direction, which means only those of you who are in desperate need of assists should be hanging onto Rondo. Caruso's a decent flier with the Lakers having four games next week but we wouldn't be entirely surprised if he ended up burning you, so buyer beware.

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - G - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored seven points (1-of-6 FG) to go with four rebounds, one assist, two steals and a triple in 33 minutes against the Nets on Friday.

    KCP took a predictable hit with LeBron James back in action, and even the absence of Josh Hart wasn't enough to earn him more looks on offense tonight. He's a 3-point streaming option but we wouldn't fully trust him as a permanent member of lineups in standard-sized leagues — at least not when LeBron is healthy.

  • D'Angelo Russell - G - Brooklyn Nets

    D'Angelo Russell put up 21 points and 13 assists in his return L.A., adding three steals, four triples and six turnovers in a win over the Lakers.

    Technically Russell had been back to L.A. given that Brooklyn played the Clippers several days ago, but the sweet narrative can ignore such things. It wasn't anything special as far as the vaunted "Revenge Games" go, but Russell gets the last laugh as the Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss tonight. We'll see if he can get back on a roll now that the Nets have removed Caris LeVert, another ball-handler, from the starting lineup. Spencer Dinwiddie was also productive with 19 points, two steals, a block and two triples off the bench, though he shot just 4-for-14.

  • Ed Davis - C - Brooklyn Nets

    Ed Davis came off the bench for 14 points, 15 rebounds (seven offensive), a steal and a block on 7-of-11 shooting in 20 minutes on Friday against the Lakers.

    Davis is always one of the top rebound streamers available and odds are that someone in one of your leagues got pushed over the hump by this huge game. Hopefully it was you. Boss would've had a bigger game if not for five fouls, too. Jarrett Allen was less impressive but still turned in a decent game with 13 points, 11 rebounds and a block.

  • Joe Harris - G/F - Brooklyn Nets

    Joe Harris hit 8-of-15 shots on Friday night, helping the Nets squeeze past the Lakers with 26 points, six 3-pointers, three rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes.

    Harris was a steal of a signing for the Nets last summer and he showcased his elite, high-efficiency deep shooting tonight. He's been a steady fantasy option from the jump.

  • Caris LeVert - G - Brooklyn Nets

    Caris LeVert moved to the bench on Friday night and went scoreless in 18 minutes, producing three rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block while missing all six of his shots.

    LeVert's season began with a bang but it's likely going to end with a whimper, though it's hard to blame him considering it's impressive that he's even in the lineup at all. He's a luxury hold right now, and if your team is far enough ahead that you can afford a luxury hold at this point in the year, congrats to you.

  • DeMarre Carroll - F - Brooklyn Nets

    DeMarre Carroll put up 15 points, six rebounds and three triples in a start against the Lakers on Friday.

    Carroll replaced Caris LeVert in the starting lineup and the move could stick with how ineffective LeVert has been of late. Carroll has a shot at late-round value if he keeps holding down this spot in big minutes (35 tonight), so keep him in mind if you need rebounds, threes and steals. Think Diet P.J. Tucker.