DFS Articles

  • DFS Picks: Friday, March 15

    Welcome back to another edition of my Friday DFS picks on DraftKings! It is March 15 and we have eight games on tonight’s slate to break down. It is going to be an interesting night with all of the value that should be available, but a lot of the news needs to be monitored throughout the day. This is an early look and we have to be able to adjust to the news.

    A big thanks to everyone who came out and competed in our Wednesday “Beat the Expert” contest. It is always a ton of fun and the community we have here at HoopBall is no joke.

    I listed some of my favorite plays by position, but to be honest I love the guys in the “Honorable Mention” section as much as I do the guys at their positions. We have plenty of point guards to choose from and the mid-tier price range is where I am looking to attack tonight.

    Let’s jump right into this!

    Point Guard

    Ish Smith vs. Lakers $3,900 – Reggie Jackson rolled his ankle in the Pistons’ last game, the same ankle that had been nagging him all season. He is currently being considered questionable and while Jackson downplayed the injury, these ankle injuries tend to blow up the following day or after the game once a player takes his shoe off. If Jackson sits Smith would vault into chalky, free-space territory.

    Emmanuel Mudiay vs. Spurs $4,200 – Dennis Smith Jr. is out, so iit seems safe to assume Mudiay will play 32+ minutes. I do my best to avoid the Knicks at all cost, but this may be a spot to give a second look.

    Kemba Walker vs. Wizards $8,200 – We got burned in this spot not too long ago by Walker, but I am not afraid to go back to the well. Hopefully the sour taste he left people with lowers his ownership. He is by no means a must-play because of the other guard options we have on this slate and the other options we have to play on the Hornets side of the ball.

    Shooting Guard

    Devin Booker vs. Rockets $8,100 – I have a rule when it comes to Booker. When they are facing a good team I completely avoid him, unless I am playing a few players on the other side. I never one-off play Booker because any game involving the Suns could get out of hand. That being said, the Suns have been competitive lately and in any game they are, it is safe to assume that it is because of Booker’s play. So if I am playing any James Harden, Chris Paul or Clint Capela, I will likely have Booker in there as well.

    Lou Williams vs. Bulls $7,100 – Sweet Lou is always a fantastic tournament play. He comes off of the bench with a massive usage and draws one of the better matchups for the day. For some odd reason, people tend to shy away from players who come off of the bench and I try to take advantage of that. These teams met up earlier in the season and Williams dropped 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for 66.5 DK points. I by no means expect another triple-double, but the 30 real life points could be in play again. Danilo Gallinari is currently questionable and if he were forced to sit out than Williams vaults up my board even more.

    Small Forward

    Kyle Kuzma vs. Pistons $6,200 –If you are asking me if I feel comfortable playing any Lakers the answer is no, but if I have to choose one it’s Kuzma. The minutes should be secure and the shot attempts should be there for him. You could say the same for Rajon Rondo, but he needs others to hit their shots to really get his assist value and Lakers do not seem like a team with a ton of scorers surrounding Rondo. I am not forcing Kuzma into lineups, but I will have some shares of him at small forward.

    Marvin Williams vs. Wizards $4,600 – This is a game that will be worth targeting. We already know Kemba Walker is in play in this matchup, but he isn’t the only one playing in a pace-up spot. With (likely) no Zeller I am expecting Williams to see a few extra rebounds. He missed the last game due to an illness so he may fly under the radar, but the price is fair and he offers some eligibility at a position I am not to fond of.

    JaMychal Green vs. Bulls $3,600 – Green started for Gallo last game and did pretty well with the minutes. If we hear Gallo is out again than Green may be one of the best value plays on the board. Problem with that is this game is the last one of the night and we may not have the news by then.

    Power Forward

    Blake Griffin vs. Lakers $7,700 – This is simply because of price. I think Andre Drummond has the better matchup on paper, but how is Griffin only $7,700 in this matchup? He is by no means a must-play, but there is a lot worse you could pick than Griffin at under $8,000.

    Bobby Portis vs. Hornets $6,100 – Portis has some risk involved, but that is what makes him great for tournaments. He has dropped at least 40 DK points in three of his last four games and the Hornets will be without their best frontcourt defender in Cody Zeller. This game will have a high total and we already know the Wizards need to win games to keep their playoff hopes alive. I am not going overboard, but a few shares of Portis seems right in the spot.

    Nemanja Bjelica vs. Sixers $4,600 – We are going to want all the news before considering Bjelica. Marvin Bagley made his return last game, but Bjelica was inserted into the starting lineup. We could see the same lineup today with the Sixers playing with a little more size. This is also a back-to-back for the Kings and we could see them rest or limit Bagley.

    Center

    Joel Embiid vs. Kings $9,900 – Embiid is in a great spot and has a great price. This is a matchup he should crush and as of now Ben Simmons is currently being considered questionable. If Simmons were to miss we would see everyone one the Sixers get a boost. We have another great center we could spend our money on, but I am not shying away from Embiid.

    Andre Drummond vs. Lakers $8,800 – This is just a smash spot for Drummond. The price tag is more than fair and they Lakers have an abysmal frontcourt. The only thing that is stopping me from locking in Drummond is Griffin’s price tag and the other centers we have available.

    Willy Hernangomez vs. Wizards $3,200 – No Zeller and we saw Hernangomez start in his place last game. This is a dream matchup on paper versus the Wizards and what it comes down to is Hernangomez’s minutes. He is generally a point per dollar smasher and even in 24 minutes he could produce some pretty solid production.

    More than Honorable Mentions

    Chris Paul vs. Suns $6,900, Jusuf Nurkic vs. Pelicans $7,400, Elfrid Payton vs. Blazers $6,600

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. Now go crush tonight!

  • DFS Picks: Friday, March 8

    Good afternoon, it is Friday March 8 and we have a nice nine-game slate on our hands for tonight. It is always good to get back into the groove after a short two-game slate like Thursday. Tonight’s slate should be a fun one. We have value, stud options and plenty to choose from. When looking at the top options I’d rank James Harden and Russell Westbrook above Nikola Jokic and Paul George, but they are all always in play. Let’s jump right into this.

    Point Guard

    Ben Simmons vs. Rockets $9,100 – I am going to continue rolling out these Sixers while Embiid is out. Simmons is still not priced right and could triple-double in any spot. I like another Sixer a little more on this slate, but it would be foolish to not mention Simmons. Nonetheless, he is not my favorite point guard option on the slate, but viable.

    Kemba Walker vs. Wizards $8,100  – We do not need to think about this one too much. Walker is severely underpriced in one of the best fantasy matchups on paper. I was all over Luka Doncic the other night because of this matchup and I will not be shying away from Walker on tonight’s slate. He is by far my favorite point guard on the slate.

    Frank Jackson vs. Raptors $3,200 – Jrue Holiday has already been ruled out and we know his minutes and usage need to go somewhere. Jackson should see a boost and while I am not expecting too much from him, he is still a value play. He likes to shoot and even if this game gets out of hand it should not impact Jackson’s minutes. This game is simple for me – if you think it is going to stay close than Elfrid Payton is a great play at $5,000. Jackson is in play either way, but does not offer up the same ceiling as Payton.

    Shooting Guard

    Jeremy Lamb vs. Wizards $5,600 – I like Lamb for many of the reasons I like Walker. This matchup is too juicy and there will be points scored. Lamb has seen his DK points per minute rise since moving to the bench, but his minutes really haven’t changed. I would like him to be slightly cheaper, but in this matchup warrants the price and getting some exposure to this game may be crucial.

    Avery Bradley vs. Jazz $4,700 – Ughh, I hate recommending Avery Bradley on any slate. His early-season form keeps popping in my head, but Bradley has slowly turned it around his being shipped over to Memphis. He’s averaging 27 DK points over his last five games, but what is more impressive is his shot attempts. In that span Bradley has taken 77 shot attempts.

    Gary Harris vs. Warriors $4,000 – Harris finally saw his normal allotment of minutes, but his price isn’t reflecting that just yet. This will be a great game and the Nuggets are going to need their best defenders for as many minutes as possible to stay in this one. I wouldn’t be expecting another 35 DK points, but a cool 28-30 seems optimal at Harris’ price.

    Small Forward

    Justise Winslow vs. Cavs $6,200 – Winslow continues to be one of the safer options on the slate, but still holds some upside as well. The Cavs are dreadful and it isn’t just against opposing point guards. Goran Dragic is currently being considered questionable, but I would not be surprised to see him sit out another game. These teams have met up three times already this season and Winslow is averaging 40 DK points per game in those meetings. If this game stays intact for four quarters I think it’s safe to predict Winslow for 35 DK points. I am not going overboard on this game, but Winslow feels like the safest play in it.

    Will Barton vs. Warriors – $5,900 – Fast paced games are made for Barton. He has been getting the minutes and he is starting to look like the old Will Barton we used to know. Barton has faced the Warriors already this season and dropped 29 DK points. Now, that doesn’t sound too great, but he did it in only 23 minutes. Over the last four games Barton is averaging 33 minutes, so I will be expecting 30 DK points at the very least if this game stays intact.

    Royce O’Neale vs. Grizzlies $3,300 – Ricky Rubio and Raul Neto have already been ruled out and in the past we’ve seen Royce take advantage of the opportunity when Donovan Mitchell slides over the point guard. It’s an ugly matchup, but he is another guy that would still see some fourth quarter run regardless of the score of the game. Kyle Korver has been playing great and should se an uptick with the guards out as well, but if it gets out of control he would be one of the first ones sitting.

    Power Forward

    Kevin Love vs. Heat $7,800 – Love is the workhorse for this team and as long as he is on the court that is not changing. This isn’t the same matchup we were targeting him in on Wednesday, but the minutes and rebounds are safe and we have to expect a nice scoring game from Love soon. I am expecting much less ownership tonight than he had versus the Nets and the upside is the same, we just might not feel as safe about it versus the Heat.

    Tobias Harris vs. Rockets $7,400 – I am jumping right back onto the Harris bandwagon. After a horrible game the last time out I am hoping for a solid bounce back here for Harris. The matchup is a solid one and I am not expecting P.J. Tucker to hold him back. The Rockets like to shoot from deep and that could lead to longer rebounds for Harris.

    Danilo Gallinari vs. Thunder $6,200 – This is a game that should garner some ownership and for good reason. I do not love the personal matchup if Gallo draws Paul George, but this team is trying to win games and Gallo is the primary offensive weapon. I think he is just a tad underpriced. Gallo is averaging 33 DK points per game over the last five games and in three meetings this season against the Thunder he is averaging 38 DK points. We might not need to go here on this slate, but he is a viable option and should be low owned.

    Center

    Nikola Vucevic vs. Mavericks $9,200 – This is a dream spot for center. The Mavs are terrible at rebounding and Vucevic is one of the league’s best rebounding centers. He is at more than a fair price and should see a slightly depressed ownership with Jokic only being $900 more in a matchup versus the Warriors.

    Clint Capela vs. Sixers $6,700 – Capela was injured when these two teams met up earlier in the season, but they did play two times last season and wait for it; Capela crushed. In the two meetings last season Capela averaged 14.0 points and 17.5 rebounds per game. That was with Joel Embiid on the court.

    Steven Adams vs. Clippers $6,200 – If you read Vucevic’s breakdown than you have a good idea why I listed Adams as well. The Clippers are right next to the Mavs when it comes to a great matchup for opposing centers. In three meetings this year Adams is averaging 37 DK points per game and we know he always has a safe floor as well. Adams is viable in both tournaments and cash games.

    Honorable Mentions

    Aaron Gordon, Robin Lopez, Kenrich Williams

    Remember to monitor the news and adjust accordingly. More value will certainly appear throughout the course of the day and adjusting our rankings is a must. Thank you guys for checking out the article and if you have any questions or comments you could always find me on Twitter @MikeApotria.

  • DFS Picks: Friday, March 1

    Welcome back Hoop Ballers! It is Friday, March 1 and we have seven games to open the new month. As always we have some top-tier studs on the board in LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. They face off against each other in the late game, and both are priced up but still in play. I’d lean LeBron given Giannis’ playing time concerns, but I would not be surprised to see the Greek Freak play with some fire against LeBron.

    Nonetheless, we have plenty of other spots in we could target and a ton of high paced games and pivots. More value will surely open up throughout the day, but as of this morning these are some of my favorite value plays on the slate.

    Point Guard

    Kemba Walker vs. Nets $8,200 – This price tag seems a tad too low. We’d expect a slight price bump given that matchup versus the Nets, but Walker’s price has actually dropped $300 since their last game. Walker will surely be a popular play and if you are looking to pivot off of him Trae Young ($8,100) has been hot and has a similar price tag.

    Elfrid Payton vs. Suns $5,600 – His lowest score over the last three games is 34.75 DK points and he has yet to hit the threshold where we fade. It’s a fantastic matchup versus a Suns team that plays at a fast pace and bleeds fantasy points. It will be hard to not have some sort of exposure to the Pelicans backcourt. Still waiting for a random triple-double from Payton and keep in mind this is a revenge game for him.

    Rajon Rondo vs. Bucks $5,000 – Rondo may fly under the radar in what will be one of the best games of the night. The Lakers have been a dumpster fire as of late and the recent play forced Luke Walton to make another change to the starting lineup. If Rondo is starting and playing 30-plus minutes we have to consider him. I don’t love the matchup for point guards, but he played 36 minutes in the Lakers’ win last game and dropped 48 DK points. I’d run to the bank with 30 DK points and take whatever else I could get from this matchup.

    Shooting Guard

    Jrue Holiday vs. Suns $7,900 – Everything I mentioned with Payton’s matchup could be said for Holiday’s. The Suns do not have a decent defender outside of Richaun Holmes. The organization mentioned limiting Holiday’s minutes going forward, but we haven’t really seen any sort of limitations on him thus far. He is averaging 43 DK points over his last over his last four games and has already dropped 46.5 DK points on this Suns team earlier in the season.

    Tyler Johnson vs. Pelicans $5,000 – Johnson has been playing well in his new threads. He is averaging 36 DK points over his last three games, one game is slightly inflated, but now we are hearing that Devin Booker is questionable with a toe injury and if he is forced to sit we should see Johnson handle plenty of minutes with increased usage. Johnson is in play for me regardless of Booker’s status, but if Booker does in fact get ruled out he becomes a chalky play. I’d also take a strong look at Josh Jackson and Kelly Oubre if Booker does sit. If Booker plays he becomes a fantastic play in this matchup.

    Pat Beverley vs. Kings $4,900 – Bev has quietly returned to the form that fantasy owners love. He’s been aggressive on defense, fighting for rebounds and playing big minutes. This is going to be one of the higher scoring games on the night and Bev is my favorite guard on the team. He’s dropped 38. 5 and 45 DK points over the last two games and scored 23.5 DK points in 25 minutes in the three games the two teams have met this season. If he were to play 35 minutes that would equal to 32.9 DK points at 0.94 DK points per minute.

    Small Forward

    Khris Middleton vs. Lakers $6,600 – Middleton has begun turning his play around following the All-Star break. Over his last four games Middleton is averaging 39 DK points. Everyone will be on LeBron and Giannis and for good reason, but this may lead to Middleton flying under the radar slightly and I don’t mind taking advantage of that.

    Jeremy Lamb vs. Nets $5,300 – Lamb has been crushing since going to the bench. In fact, he is averaging 1.24 DK points per minute since going to the bench, while his season average is 1.01 DK points per minute. It is a great matchup versus the Nets and allows us to get some exposure to this game if we are not spending up on Kemba.

    Moe Harkless vs. Raptors $3,800 – I don’t love this matchup, but Harkless has been taking advantage of the minutes left behind by an injured Evan Turner. If you need the value he’s there, but I am not in love with the play this early and looking for value to break later.

    Power Forward

    John Collins vs. Bulls $7,000 – How is Collins only $7,000 in this matchup? The Bulls play at one of the league’s fastest paces with one of the worst defenses. Collins dropped 53 DK points on this Bulls frontcourt already this season and just came out with a bang against the Timberwolves last game with 38 points and eight rebounds.

    Nikola Mirotic vs. Lakers $4,800 – This is a dream spot on paper for Mirotic, but the question is, does he see the minutes? Well, we know they are comfortable with rolling him out there for 27 minutes like we saw last game, but that was also an overtime game so will he need to play that much? Personally, I don’t care, I know the upside is there now and if this game gets out of hand early he should still see some decent run. He can provide value in limited minutes as well and while everyone will be jamming the studs into this game I am leaning towards the value.

    Jabari Parker vs. Celtics $4,700 – I will always reiterate the fact that Parker should only be played in tournaments. He is one of the better GPP values on the slate given his upside, but his floor is also extremely low and could sink lineups. The Celtics have an excellent team defense, but Parker should draw a few plus individual matchups against the Celtics second unit. I am not going overboard on Parker, but I will definitely have a share or two.

    Nemanja Bjelica vs. Clippers $3,800 – Bjelica has been phased out of the rotation for the better half of a month now, but the injury to Marvin Bagley should open up some playing time for him again. He only played 10 minutes last game, but Bagley also played 20 minutes in that game and we can’t imagine a world where the Kings want to run out Harry Giles big minutes. This puts Bjelica in play along with another name we will get to in a moment.

    Center

    Julius Randle vs. Suns $8,000 – Randle has been playing big minutes and that means big DK point totals. I am never worried about Randle burning me and his upside is immense in this game. There is not much that needs to be said here, but if for some reason we hear Anthony Davis is ruled out he would only be better (obviously).  The sky is the limit for Randle in this matchup.

    Robin Lopez vs. Hawks $4,900 – Lopez is finally seeing a price increase, but not enough to scare me off of him in this matchup. The Atlanta frontcourt is just as poor defensively as the Bulls’ and while Lopez isn’t an offensive juggernaut, he should continue playing heavy minutes and have plenty of rebounding and block upside.

    Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Clippers $4,500 – WCS will be chalky tonight with Marvin Bagley ruled out, but someone has to take advantage of the minutes and usage and over the last few weeks we have been seeing plenty of Bagley at the five. This price tag is great and so is the matchup. We target bigs against this weak Clippers frontcourt and there is no reason to shy away from it tonight, especially with this game’s total.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Kyrie Irving, Eric Bledsoe, Al Horford and Harry Giles (GPP value play)

    As always you guys can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions and comments. Good luck!

  • DFS Picks: Friday, February 22

    Welcome back! It is Friday, February 22 and we have nine games to look at for tonight’s DFS card. Last night we had our weekly “Beat the Expert” contest and needless to say I was smoked by my own plays. Sexton and LeVert let me down, but it is a new slate and a new day and that means a new article. We don’t have nearly as many high-priced plays as we did last night, but just as much value. Let’s break this bad boy down and get ready for tonight.

    Point Guard

    Kyle Lowry vs. Spurs $7,200 – While most will be targeting Kawhi Leonard versus his former team I will opt for Lowry. He was crushing heading into the All-Star break and should draw a positive defensive matchup against Patty Mills or Bryn Forbes. It’s DeMar DeRozan’s first game back in Toronto and I have a feeling his best friend Kyle will show up as well.

    Jeff Teague vs. Knicks $5,900 – This is going to be dependent on news for me. If Karl-Anthony Towns is forced to sit out I think we have to look at Teague, as well as Derrick Rose. I would lean Teague over Rose in this matchup, simply because Teague will draw a defensive matchup against Dennis Smith Jr. If Towns does play you could still consider Teague, but he would not see nearly as much usage and there is another point guard around the same price range I would gravitate towards.

    Ricky Rubio vs. Thunder $5,800 – We have a few point guards floating around this price range, but Rubio is my favorite. Russell Westbrook is known for turning the ball over and not playing the best defense. In two meetings this season Rubio is averaging 11.0 points, 9.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds. That has translated into 35 DK points per game. This game will have one of the higher game totals on the night and should stay close with the Thunder only being favored by 3.5 points.

    Shooting Guard

    Landry Shamet vs. Grizzlies $4,000 – News came out that Shamet would remain in the starting lineup going forward. If Shamet is shooting the ball, odds are it is a 3-pointer, so don’t be as afraid of the low shot attempts. We have a ton of value so we may not need to go towards Shamet in a game with a low total, but there are worse ways you could spend $4,000.

    Kent Bazemore vs. Pistons $4,200 – Bazemore is a player we know can stuff the stat sheet. The news came out that Kevin Huerter is going to be doubtful and this should equal more run for both Taurean Prince and Bazemore. Both are in play, but I am leaning Bazemore.

    DeMar DeRozan vs. Raptors $7,300 – We target emotional players in there returns to former teams. In other words, this is a solid revenge spot. This will be the first time DeRozan will travel back to Toronto. He dropped 60 DK points when these teams met up earlier this season in San Antonio and I’d expect him to play with a similar fire he had that night. According to Josh Lewenberg, Raptors beat writer, DeRozan was on Serge Ibaka’s cooking show over the summer and said he was going to drop 50 points on the Raptors.

    Small Forward

    Danilo Gallinari vs. Grizzlies $6,800 – Reports indicate that Gallo’s minute restriction will be lifted following the All-Star break. With Tobias Harris out of town we have a good idea of who will take the shots and where the usage will go. This isn’t a game we want to load up on, even though we have fair price tags. I don’t think I would have Shamet and Gallinari in the same lineup.

    Otto Porter vs. Magic  $6,200 – Porter has been nothing short of comfortable is his new threads. He has taken 20, 15 and 14 shot attempts over his last three games. His usage rate is right up there with Lauri Markkanen’s and Zach LaVine’s, but at a nice discount. Porter is considered a tournament play for me, as it seems like we have safer cash options.

    Jabari Parker vs. Hornets $5,500 – The definition of a tournament play, Parker has scored more than 39 DK in three out of four games; he only managed 8.25 DK points in the other. Talk about variance. Still, this game has the highest game total on the board and Parker is still underpriced for what his upside is.

    Power Forward

    Blake Griffin vs. Hawks $8,900 – Any time the Hawks are on the slate we are going to want to target them. They bleed points and play at an extremely fast pace. Griffin and Andre Drummond and very close in price and are both fantastic plays. I am only going to with one and as of now we have a lot of potential value at center.

    Domantas Sabonis vs. Pelicans $5,500 – Anytime we see that Myles Turner is questionable we have to think about Sabonis. He would become a near lock if starting, and against a Pelicans team that could play some big bodies he should see plenty of minutes. The minutes are not the important thing to look at, but he will also absorb a much higher usage with both Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner off of the court. Again, Sabonis is only a play for me if Turner is out.

    Dario Saric vs. Knicks $4,800 – Saric is expected to remain in the starting lineup and is probably my favorite play on the Timberwolves side of the ball. His minutes were limited last game, but it also came in a blowout versus the Rockets where Capela was out and the Rockets played smaller. KAT is currently being listed as questionable and if forced to sit out would immediately thrust Saric into must-play territory. Taj Gibson would also become a viable option and they could even be played together.

    Center

    Nikola Jokic vs. Mavs $10,100 – Jokic is my favorite play over 10k on the slate. Paul George and Russell Westbrook are obviously always in play, but Jokic has the most favorable matchup against a Mavs team that shipped their biggest center away before the deadline. He dropped 66 DK points on the Mavs earlier this season and it’s hard to imagine anything less than 50 DK points tonight if this game stays intact. If you don’t have the money for Jokic and still want some action in the frontcourt we could look at Paul Millsap ($4,600). This just feels too cheap for Millsap if he is playing 28+ minutes.

    Robin Lopez vs. Magic $4,000 – Lopez is expected to remain the starting center for the Bulls and if that means he is in play. We have another cheap option at center we will get to in a minute, but I am all for offering pivots and Lopez feels safe in cash, but still offers some decent upside at his price to fit in some studs.

    Joakim Noah vs. Clippers $3,800 – Enter the other center previously mentioned above. Jonas Valacunias has already been ruled out for personal reasons, which vaults both Ivan Rabb and Noah into play. One more frontcourt absence and we could probably even play both of these guys, but as of now I will take the discount with Noah.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments.

  • DFS Picks: An Early Look at Thursday, February 21

    Welcome back after an eventful All-Star break. We should all be well-rested and unless you are a degenerate like me who played DFS during the break you are likely chomping at the bit to get back into this. Well on Thursday we have an awesome six-game slate to look forward to and I have been all over them all week long.

    Of course, we have plenty of high-priced studs to choose from and I am not going to get into breaking them down as value plays. Let’s be real, James Harden, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all in play. As always with the Warriors players we are correlating them to the game. This means if we think it is going to stay close for four quarters we could look at Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. If not we take a longer look at some of the bench options over on Sacramento. Either way I still want some action in this game and I think Curry is my favorite Warrior. At this point he may be one of my favorite plays in general due to his price tag.

    If you want a pivot you could look at Damian Lillard versus the Nets. Not at all a bad play, but we can’t play everyone and as of now I’m listing Curry ahead of him for a similar price tag. My secondary play on the Warriors is Draymond Green. Both he and Curry just feel criminally underpriced in what is a great spot on paper.  The only starter on the Kings side of the ball I am looking to get exposure to is Buddy Hield ($6,400). In three games against the Warriors this season he is averaging 43.3 DK points and has helped keep these games intact.

    As for James Harden, yes, he is in play. We know the Rockets are starting to get healthy once again and a report came out that Clint Capela is expected to play. With both Paul and Capela on the floor we see Harden’s usage dip down to 35.6 percent. It sounds almost comical using the word ‘dip’ in there, but it is actually a significant decrease from the almost 43 percent usage he was seeing with both Paul and Capela off of the floor.

    That being said, he will likely draw less ownership than he has over the past few weeks and even when both Paul and Capela were healthy Harden dropped a 50-point triple-double on the Lakers earlier in the season. The upside will surely be there and I will have some exposure, but will lean Paul and Gordon over him in some other lineups. This will, in turn, allow me to get some exposure on the Houston side of the ball and still manage to fit either Giannis or LeBron in my lineup as well.

    Now that we got those high-priced studs that we are all looking to jam in out of the way we can break down some of the value plays we might need to make this all work.

    Don’t forget to join tomorrow’s Beat the Expert contest on DraftKings! There will be cash for the top 20 finishers, a Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee gift pack for second place and a Hoop Ball t-shirt for the top dog. You can enter multiple times, as well, and reserve your entry by clicking right here.

    Point Guard

    Chris Paul vs. Lakers $7,600 – If you are looking for a narrative to buy into on Thursday’s slate, look no further than Spit-Gate. Let’s not forget earlier in the season when Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo got into a pushing match leading to what we now know as “Spit-Gate 2019.” Take the narrative out and this is still a great spot for Paul. Over his last three games Paul is averaging 33.1 minutes and a whopping 43.6 DK points per game and has notably cut into James Harden’s usage and assist totals. In the two previous games that Paul has faced the Lakers this season he has averaged 21.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 33.3 minutes per game.

    On Thursday we are expecting Clint Capela to return to the lineup after an extended absence. This is an early look, but from what I am seeing he is practicing without any limitations and could play without any restrictions. Now If I had to bet I would expect a slight minutes restriction, but we have to remember Capela hurt his thumb and this shouldn’t have impacted his cardio while he was out. This all bodes well for Paul, who has made a living off of running pick and rolls. We have some pivot options around Capela’s price range of $7,000, but if we hear he is playing without any restrictions he would immediately become one of my favorite center plays on the board.

    Rajon Rondo vs. Rockets $5,800 – Again we have the narrative in place for Rondo as well, but either way he still makes for a solid play Thursday night. Before CP3 incident, Rondo was on his way to a triple-double in only 29 minutes of play. Lonzo Ball is still out following the All-Star break and we know the Lakers are going to need their scoring to come from Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James in order to keep pace with the Rockets. If the game stays close this should equal a good number of assists for Rondo and allows us to get some cheaper exposure on the Lakers’ side of the ball.

    Collin Sexton vs. Suns $4,900 – 22, 21,14,18 and 24 are the shot attempts Sexton has taken over the last five games. During that span Sexton’s usage has been 27.8 percent and has translated into .93 DK points per minute. That’s not too bad for a guy who is averaging 38.8 minutes over the last five games, granted one was overtime.

    Jordan Clarkson is firmly in play as well, but feels more viable for tournaments given his price tag and volatility.  Clarkson is averaging 32.6 minutes over his last five games and has taken full advantage of them. During that span he has sported a team-high usage rate of 32.6 percent leading to 1.10 DK points per minute. His numbers are slightly inflated from the overtime game versus the Nets, but the usage does not lie. Both draw a fantastic matchup against a Suns team that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency against opposing point guards.

    Shooting Guard

    Devin Booker vs. Cavs $7,700 – Booker seems to be slightly underpriced coming out of the All-Star break and this may be a time to take advantage. He has had plenty of time off to help rest up and comes in against a Cavs team ranked dead last in team defensive efficiency. Before the break, the Cavs started Brandon Knight at shooting guard. This may not happen again, but there is no reason why Booker shouldn’t be able to take advantage of one of the worst defensive guards. Book has a ton of tournament upside on this slate, but limit your Suns exposure, as this game may not be as high-scoring as some may think.

    With T.J. Warren out once again I think it is safe to fire back up some Oubre. Again, I would not over-expose myself to this game, just grab a few pieces you feel confident in and work them with your lineup construction.

    Eric Gordon vs. Lakers $4,400 – This price tag just seems absurd for Gordon. Yes, I know we have a fully healthy Rockets’ team now, but Gordon will still handle the helm off of the bench and take plenty of shot attempts. When Paul, Harden and Capela are all healthy we till see Gordon absorb a usage ate of 24.1 percent. That is the second-highest on the team next to James Harden’s massive 43.2 percent. But as we dove in Harden’s numbers a little earlier, we know that fluctuates with who is on the court.

    With Gordon we know he is the only scoring threat on the court for the Rockets’ second unit and there is no reason why he wouldn’t close out the game as well. Gordon’s faced the Lakers three times this season and is averaging 25.8 DK points in 32.1 minutes per game. If you are playing Harden or Paul and do not want Gordon in the same lineup due to correlation you could look to Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,500) or Dywane Wade ($4,300) as pivots. I feel that both are underpriced, but also a tad bit riskier.

    Small Forward

    Ben Simmons/Jimmy Butler vs. Heat $7,900/$7,200 – The news of Embiid being ruled out shook up some of my lineups. Over the past two weeks Embiid has been sporting a usage rate of 31.7 percent over the last two weeks. I used a two week sample size that way I could get a better understanding of how his usage may be distributed amongst some of the newly acquired players. It’s a small ample size, but with Joel Embiid off of the floor over the last two weeks we see Jimmy Butlers DK points per minute skyrocket to 1.70 DK points per minute while having a usage of 26.6 percent. Simmons has been someone we would immediately target when Embid has missed games in the past, but Simmons usage has been down since the arrival of Tobias Harris. I am willing to take some shots though, we can’t forget the price tag Simmons was seeing earlier in the season when there were three big names in the Philly starting lineup and thats what we have again tonight. It also helps that Thursday night is Australian heritage night. For those who did not know Ben Simmons is Australian.

    Kyle Kuzma vs. Rockets $5,900 – Kuzma’s rebounding numbers have taken a massive hit since LeBron James has returned to lineup, but if we take a look at the Lakers as a whole over the past five games, we will see that Kuzma actually has a team-high usage rate of 28.3 percent. That is translating to 1.04 DK points per minute, leaving plenty of room for upside on Thursday’s slate.

    Caris LeVert vs. Trail Blazers $5,100 – Don’t look now, but LeVert managed to play 31 minutes the game prior to the All-Star break. Now, the Nets medical staff said LeVert has an appointment this week to be re-evaluated, but this sounds like the medical staff is just doing their jobs and we should have word prior to tip-off of his availability.

    Barring any setbacks, I am expecting a few more minutes for LeVert here and even if he manages around the 30-minute mark again he is still too cheap. We have a very limited sample size of LeVert’s usage without Spencer Dinwiddie playing, but LeVert has a usage rate of 30.9 percent during that time and that’s turned into 1.16 DK points per minute. Let’s not forget the breakout this kid was having prior to injury.

    I am not against playing D’Angelo Russell in this matchup, but after looking at the numbers it is clear Russell takes a major hit when sharing the floor with LeVert. In fact, his usage drops by 2.1 percent and he averages .27 fewer DK points per minute. Of course, Russell still possesses immense tournament upside, but I’d rather go with a few safer spots in cash. Portland’s defense is not bad by any means, but they are currently ranked 20th in the league for defensive efficiency vs. opposing small forwards.

    Power Forward

    Larry Nance Jr. vs. Suns $7,200 – I have to list Nance for the obvious reason: he has been smashing as of late. His price tag now reflects this though and we know Kevin Love is starting to get healthy once again, and earlier in the season the Cavs were reluctant to play Nance big minutes when the bigs were healthy. For me, I want to hear that Nance is starting and with Ante Zizic back that may not be the case. He is in a fantastic matchup and he should chew up the glass.

    As I mentioned earlier, I am limiting my exposure to this game on both sides of the ball and hoping to capitalize later in the night. Again he is a fantastic play as the Suns are the second-worst team in the league in defensive efficiency versus opposing centers, but I won’t be shocked if I am slightly underweight once I start constructing my lineups.

    Tobias Harris vs. Heat $6,600 – I am mentioning just about everyone from the Sixers following the Embiid news, because well, they are all in play. Embiid’s usage will be distributed mostly amongst Harris, Butler and Reddick. These will be the guys who are expected to take on a larger scoring role for me. Yes, Simmons usage will go up, but mostly from handling the ball, not shooting. Harris is underpriced for what he could with Embiid out of the lineup. I’d expect a few extra rebounds for Harris as well.

    Al Horford vs. Bucks $6,000- This game has the making to be one of the more competitive ones on the night. There is a decent chance these two teams could face off in playoffs and we have already seen them play. Horford only managed to play in the first meeting, but still showed up with 18 points, eight assists and five rebounds. That does not sound like a big game, but that accounts for 38.8 DK points and would in turn be a steal at $6,000.

    Now, Horford obviously won’t put up the exact same numbers, but if he comes out of the break anywhere close to the form that he went into it with we should be in good shape. In the two games prior to the All-Star break Horford turned it on, averaging 20.0 points, 6.5 assists and 11.0 rebounds for an average of just over 50 DK points per game. It also allows us to have some rock-solid exposure across from Giannis if we are playing him.

    The Bucks have one of the league’s top defenses, but the one spot where they remain the most vulnerable is against opposing centers, where they are ranked 15th in defensive efficiency.

    Marvin Bagely vs. Warriors $5,800 – As I mentioned earlier, this article is an early look and as of now we do not have any of the game totals or spreads available, but we have to imagine this one having one of if not the highest total on the slate. Any time we have the Warriors playing we have to worry about blowout risk, but these two teams have played three times already this season and they have all stayed within five points.

    Bagley has averaged 19.9 minutes against the Warriors this season, but the last time these he got to face them was back in December when he was still seeing limited minutes because, well the Kings are the Kings. As of late those minute totals have risen slightly as the team is figuring out how bad Nemanja Bjelica is. It’s not the best price, but he should be low-owned and if the game were to get out of hand he should still see minutes in the mid-twenties. We’ve seen a lot of centers limited against the Warriors in the past and if this is the case Bagley could take advantage of playing some small-ball five in place of WCS.

    Center

    Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nets $7,400 – This is going to be a complicated situation that will either win or lose you some money. We know targeting centers against the Nets is an easy way to make money and Nurkic fits the build perfectly. His price tag is more than fair given the matchup, but the one thing lingering in the back of my mind is Enes Kanter’s playing time. There is not a chance these two will play alongside of each other and this means Kanter will eat into Nurkic’s playing time. Update: Kanter has been added to the player pool at $5,500. Strictly a tournament play given his upside in limited minutes, but we have plenty of centers to choose from on this slate.

    Now, Nurkic could easily smash in this spot only playing 28 minutes, but the lingering fear that he only sees 24 minutes is there. Hopefully, casual fans forget about this because as of now Kanter is not even being listed in the player pool for Draftkings and will surely suit up on Thursday night. For me, Nurk is strictly for tournaments and we could easily pivot to Ayton or Capela (if we know his minutes will not be limited) if needed.

    Deandre Ayton vs. Cavs $7,000 – I don’t care who starts center for the Cavs, they are bad at defense regardless. The Cavs have allowed opposing centers to grab double-doubles in each of the past three games, and it would have been over the last four games had the Wizards not played Thomas Bryant, Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker evenly. Let’s keep in mind the other three teams they faced following the Wizards game: the Nets, Knicks and Pacers. None of these teams have offensive minded centers and that is exactly what Deandre Ayton is.

    Kevin Love is back and should see a slight increase in minutes and those would only place another poor defender in front of Ayton for longer. I mentioned only playing one player from the Suns per lineup and, as of now Ayton is my favorite option. I think this game will garner a ton of ownership. I think limiting your plays and hitting on the few that should overperform in what is otherwise expected to be a low-scoring game is the way to go. Ayton also makes for a great pivot off of the some of the other options whom we are a little less certain about.

    Boban Marjanovic vs. Heat $3,500 – Enter the chalk of the night, BOBAN! With Embiid ruled out I think it’s safe to expect at least 18-20 minutes from him and we know what he could produce in those minutes. Any more minutes than that is a bonus. There is some merit in fading him at this ownership, but it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t make value. When it’s all said and done I will probably have two Sixers in most lineups.

    Ed Davis vs. Trail Blazers $3,400 – Enter my sneaky play of the slate. This has a little gut feeling to it, but I think Davis could be in store for a big rebounding game against his former team. As of now we do not have a ton of value, but as I mentioned this is an early look and we generally have some more value open up closer to lock. Jarret Allen has struggled against bigger bodied centers in the past and there is perhaps no center with a bigger body than Jusuf Nurkic. Not to mention, the Blazers also added Enes Kanter during the All-Star break.

    The Nets may need at least 22 minutes out of Davis in this one. If you are telling me some of those minutes come against the terrible defense of Enes Kanter, even better. Before Kanter’s arrival, the Blazers held their own against opposing centers, but they also are ranked 25th in the league when it comes to allowing opposing centers to score in the paint.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. Good luck to everyone competing in our Hoop Ball “Beat the Expert” contest this week. These are always a ton of fun and our community is growing week by week.

    Remember to monitor Hoop Ball for news and information. It is extremely important to adjust to the news as it breaks, including the games after lock. We know the Suns vs. Cavs and Heat vs. Sixers games are the first to lock. It is going to be hard not having any exposure to the first game, but I could get away with the shares I have shares in the Sixers vs. Heat, making it easier to adjust to later games. Remember if you are playing anyone in these games to play them at their primary position, not the guard, forward or utility spot. This will give you more options to choose from if you are adjusting to news on the fly after lock.

    *Major news to monitor: Damian Lillard – Currently listed as questionable as of Thursday morning. I’d have interest in C.J. McCollum and Seth Curry if Lillard is ruled out.

    Let’s crush a GPP for Hoop Ball!

  • DFS Picks: Rising Stars Challenge

    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!

  • DFS Picks: Friday, February 8

    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.

  • DFS Picks: Friday, February 1

    We are back on the first of February and tonight looks like it is going to be a little more relaxing than are typical Friday slates. We only have five games to break down and with so many high priced studs we are going to need some obvious value. Lucky for us, the Knicks mortgaged their team and will not have their new players available.

    To keep it simple, we are playing Knicks with some high priced studs, mixed in with one or two players from another game. The two best games to target are going to be the OKC vs. Heat game and the Rockets vs. Nuggets. Westbrook and Paul George are very much in play and should go lower owned than Harden and Jokic, but I will get to Harden in just a minute.

    Point Guard

    Allonzo Trier vs. Celtics $5,300 – We are in a similar situation as we were last night with the Mavs. None of the players involved in the trade are expected to be available leaving the Knicks with a depleted roster. I do not expect this game to stay close though, and targeting the Knicks we know will have minutes and usage is essential. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone and with Frank Ntilikina hurt it really only leaves Trier to handle to ball. Knicks’ head coach David Fizdale has talked up Trier all season as a scorer and he may have his way with the usage tonight.

    Tyler Johnson vs. Thunder $4,200 – We have a lot of high priced players on a short slate so we are going to need some value. With everything going on in New York we may not need to go to Johnson, but he feels like a solid cash play. Justise Winslow remains the better option for tournaments and his price tag of $5,800 leaves ample opportunity for value.

    Shooting Guard

    James Harden vs. Nuggets $12,900- Don’t think about this too much, if we hear Chris Paul is going to sit out tonight’s game on the first half of a back-to-back we play James Harden. If Paul plays he is no longer a must-play.

    Malik Beasley vs. Rockets $4,400 –If you are leaning towards the high priced players on OKC then Beasley may be one of your plays for value. He has taken double digit shot attempts over the last four games and his minutes seem safe the upper twenties. Without Jamaal Murray, Beasley and Monte Morris will handle to point guard duties and I’m going to lean towards the guy who will likely draw lower ownership and has a cheaper price tag.

    Small Forward

    Kyle Anderson vs. Hornets $4,400 – Anderson draws a solid matchup against a Hornets team that has struggled against athletic wings this season. His minutes are back to where they were before the injury and while he is not a scorer, Anderson has shown us he can provide counting stats across the board. If Conley sits or gets traded he becomes a near must-play.

    Mario Hezonja vs. Celtics $4,200 – Super Mario may be my favorite Knick on the board tonight. His minutes and usage should be elevated with all of the missing bodies and I am not worried about the blowout with him expected to come off of the bench. Kevin Knox is in play as well, but a like the slight discount in Hezonja.

    Power Forward

    Kenneth Faried vs. Nuggets $6,900 – This game is going to be targeted heavily and for good reason. Faried is one of my favorite plays in this game and has been nothing short of productive since signing with the Rockets. I’m not worried about Nene cutting into his minutes and let’s not forget where Faried played for most of his career and made his name as the Manimal.

    Paul Millsap vs. Rockets $5,000 – Millsap is severely underpriced and saw 34 minutes in his last game. Nikola Jokic is undeniably the force down low for the Nuggets, but Millsap has made a career off of chipping in counting stats across the board and has plenty of opportunity in what should be a close game.

    Center

    Nikola Jokic vs. Rockets $10,900 – His recent play warrants his current price tag. Jokic is in play regardless of whether or not Chris Paul plays, but if he sits I can promise I will have a lineup with both Harden and Jokic. The only man with the size to guard Jokic is Nene and he will see limited minutes at best.

    Marc Gasol vs. Hornets $7,900 – Conley is currently questionable and missed shootaround. If he sits or gets traded there is an obvious boost in usage headed Gasol’s way. As the deadline approaches it becomes riskier and riskier playing guys on the trade block, but everything I am hearing is leaning more towards Conley being moved first.

    Luke Kornet vs. Celtics $4,300 – Let’s not forget who was Fizdale’s favorite toy when he was healthy. He’s coming off of injury, so I am slightly worried about where his minutes will be, but if Kornet sees the workload he was seeing before he becomes a fantastic value play.

    Like I said earlier, I did not mention anyone from OKC because they are all squarely in play, it is just going to come down to which games you are targeting more and whether or not Chris Paul plays.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions and comments. Thank you always for the support and let’s continue smashing slates this season.

  • Schifferle’s Daily Fantasy Picks ($)

  • DFS Picks: Friday, January 25

    It is yet another Friday. The weekend is fast approaching but before it gets here we have a ten game slate to hit on for DFS. This is going to be a fun one too, we have loads of value and of course the wonderful decision of whether or not we play James Harden. That is completely up to you and to be honest I am a little torn on this slate. We have enough value to jam him in there, but the team and defensive matchup warrant a fade.

    Point Guard

    Kemba Walker vs. Bucks $8,100 – We have a ton of cheap options tonight for point guard, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore Walker. He has torched the Bucks in the two times these teams have faced off the season and I will mention 1 player on the Bucks I have a ton of interest in tonight that it makes sense to run back with Walker. I wouldn’t play Walker in any lineups that have Harden because it is going to be hard to fit in the Bucks player we are looking forward to.

    Dennis Smith Jr. vs. Pistons $4,800 – DSJ is back with the team and after watching his last performance it is safe to say he is well rested and playing with some fire. In his first game back with the team he played 36 minutes and dropped 33.5 DK points.  We have a lot of value at point guard today and many options cheaper than DSJ, making him a solid pivot option.

    Shabazz Napier vs. Knicks $3,600 – As of the morning I am writing this we still do not know if Spencer Dinwiddie is going to need thumb surgery. If he’s out I think we could turn to Napier for a solid value play. Obviously, D’Angelo Russell is going to see a major uptick and should be locked into at least 30 minutes per night without Dinwiddie, but he’s priced up a ton at $8,600. Napier was starting to see his minutes increase even when Dinwiddie was fully healthy and if Russell gets off to a rough start or the game gets out of hand Napier would have his way in the fourth quarter.

    Shooting Guard

    Jerryd Bayless vs. Jazz $3,600 – Jeff Teague is questionable (I’d say doubtful) and Derrick Rose is currently questionable after spraining his ankle last night versus the Lakers. Tyus Jones is also still in a walking boot, so that only leaves Bayless to run point. Bayless has been a DFS diamond in the rough over the Timberwolves’ past two games and because the Rose injury happened after the pricing came out we get a fantastic price on him once again. I wouldn’t think about this one too much if Rose is out. It’s not the best matchup, but I find it hard to imagine Bayless scoring less than 20 DK points if he plays 30-plus minutes.

    Tyler Johnson vs. Cavs $4,200 – Last game Johnson was inserted into the starting lineup. This dampers Justise Winslow’s value, but gives Johnson a nice boost. He played 35 minutes in the game he started and tonight the Heat draw one of the best matchups on paper against the Cavs.

    Small Forward

    Giannis Antetouknmpo vs. Hornets $10,700 – If you’re not playing James Harden I’d be looking towards Giannis. He may not have the same upside night-to-night, but we know this is a fantastic matchup for the Greek Freak and he has 70 DK point upside in it. Harden has a difficult matchup of his own, so this may be the night we fade him. Personally, if I run out 10 lineups Harden would still be in four to five of them and Giannis is in at least three.

    Kelly Oubre Jr. vs. Nuggets $5,700 – Oubre thrived last night with T.J. Warren out. He didn’t start, but that’s ok because he had a ton of usage off of the bench and basically has his way on the bench for the Suns. He played 35 minutes and took 18 shot attempts. Josh Jackson drew the start and is intriguing himself, but I am leaning Oubre knowing he is a better point per minute producer and his minutes would likely be safe regardless of a blowout.

    Justin Holiday vs. Kings $4,100 – He has been playing a boatload of minutes since Kyle Anderson has gone down with an injury. He isn’t the same point per minute producer as he was with the Bulls, but Holiday can rack up steals and peripheral stats quickly and this is his kind of matchup. We have a ton of value tonight and Holiday will probably go a little overlooked.

    Power Forward

    Tobias Harris vs. Bulls $8,200 – Harris has been taking advantage of Danilo Gallinari’s injury and there is no reason to believe it’s stopping. The Bulls are a fantastic matchup and I see Harris grabbing a double-double in this matchup. He’s seen a price increase, but it’s well worth it.

    Jaren Jackson Jr. vs. Kings $5,400 – Foul trouble is always the issue for JJJ, but this is a matchup we have seen him crush in already this season and I am not worried about Nemanja Bjelica drawing fouls. In three games against the Kings this season JJJ has averaged 28 minutes, but that has equaled an average of 36 DK points in those games. He should be lower-owned and possibly overlooked, but his priced is cheap enough for upside that I am willing to take a shot on him in some spots.

    Paul Millsap vs. Suns $5,100 – I am not in love with this game as it seems set up for a blowout. The Suns are on the second half of a back-to-back and travel into Denver. If I am playing anyone on the Nuggets it’s Millsap, but I am not feeling over confident. The suspension of Nikola Jokic will help out most of the other Nuggets, at least.

    Center

    Marc Gasol vs. Kings $8,300 – I really dislike center on tonight’s slate. Not just the matchups, but also the prices all seem elevated. Both way we have to play someone in this spot and if I’m spending up I think it’s on Gasol. He came out and dropped a triple-double in the first game since the Grizzlies released the news on a potential trade. Marc Gasol does not need to showcase himself, but he may be a little pissed at the front office. I wouldn’t play Gasol and JJJ in the same lineup. I have a lot of love the Grizzlies tonight and although I did not mention Mike Conley he is very much in play. I’d prefer to spend up on Walker and hope to hit on another Grizzlies starter.

    Noah Vonleh vs. Nets $5,800 – Vonleh comes into play if we know if David Fizdale is going to banish Enes Kanter once again. After telling him he was going to start early in the day, Fizdale gave Kanter a DNP-CD. He was pissed following the game and basically requested a trade. Fizdale said it was based on matchups and the Rockets going small, but either way this is news we are going to want. If we hear Kanter is starting I think he is 100 percent in play, even in limited minutes. If he sits we are likely looking at Noah Vonleh starting center and I am looking at whatever center is facing the Nets.

    Enes Kanter vs. Nets $4,700 – I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole if he’s not starting. I probably won’t even take any chances if we don’t have the news, but if we do hear that Kanter is starting I feel comfortable playing him at the price. He could easily smash in only 24 minutes.

    As always you could find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. This is an article for DFS, but there is no reason you can’t target the value plays as streamers in daily leagues as well.

  • Schifferle’s Daily Fantasy Picks ($)

  • DFS Picks: Friday, January 18

    Welcome back to another Friday edition of my DFS plays. It is January 18 and we have seven games on tonight’s slate to focus on. Let’s ignore DFS for a brief minute and mention how tonight will be the return on DeMarcus Cousins. He is only expected to play in short bursts of four-to-five minutes, but nonetheless rejoice!

    We have a lot of fun games and this should be a great slate to watch. We have our studs to play in Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Karl-Anthony Towns and Kevin Durant. I’d play them in that order. I am slightly worried about the Warriors adjusting to Boogie’s return, but this game has an insane total that is hard to ignore – the points have to come from somewhere and any of their shooters could get hot at any time so that is where I am leaning.

    Point Guard

    Damian Lillard vs. Pelicans $8,600 – I like Lillard in this spot. There’s not much else to say other than it will be a high-scoring and fast-paced game. We are going to want some exposure and we could easily look towards the streaking Jusuf Nurkic, but we will see later on I have my eye on some other centers. Both are very much in play with guard being the weaker position in my opinion.

    Jrue Holiday vs. Blazers $8,000 – I have steered away from Holiday since a lot of these healthy bodies began returning for the Pelicans, but that may have cost me some money. Jrue has been producing at a similar clip to when Elfrid Payton and Nikola Mirotic were hurt. Over his last three games Holiday is averaging 47 DK points and he has already hung up 40 DK points on the Blazers earlier this season on a poor 5-of-14 shooting night.

    Jeff Teague vs. Spurs $6,100 – There is nothing sexy about playing Jeff Teague against the Spurs. The simple fact is that I do not love a lot of the guards in general and think we have a lot of value at the other positions, so I am generally spending up. Teague comes in at a middle of the road salary and has flashed some upside in this exact matchup earlier this season. In the two games that Teague has faced the Spurs he has averaged 27 minutes and 33 DK points per game. His minutes have been down after returning from an injury, but with Tyus Jones already ruled out Teague and Derrick Rose may be pressed more minutes if healthy enough. I’d limit him to tournaments, as he is just not fitting any sort of cash build I make.

    Shooting Guard

    Donovan Mitchell vs. Cavs $8,900 – Mitchell is priced fairly for his floor and potential upside. The matchup is spectacular and if this game stays intact should easily get there. The problem is as of Friday morning the Jazz are being favored by 15 points and some starters may not see the fourth quarter. Nonetheless we have some pieces on the Cavs’ side of the ball that we could pair with Mitchell if we want to play him. I will probably end up in other spots, but he is still worth the mention and will be in my player pool.

    Klay Thompson vs. Clippers $6,600- It is always tough when deciding which Warriors’ star we are going to play on any given night. It becomes even harder when we have players light Anthony Davis on the slate. Enter Klay Thompson, who almost always enters the night with lower ownership than his counterparts and a much cheaper salary. Klay gets hot in stretches and those are ones we want to take advantage of. I do not love a lot of the shooting guard options on the slate and this is a game that we want some exposure too. The 40 DK point average over his last five games make us feel a little more comfortable that a 25 DK point night isn’t coming. I’d rather play him with a Clipper or two than as a one-off. But if you play anyone from the Warriors you are likely playing a Clipper.

    Alec Burks vs. Jazz $4,800 – Burks has a chance at a little revenge on tonight’s slate. He’s averaging 29.2 DK points over his last five games and doing so in only 28 minutes per game. That is about one point per minute and even if this game gets out of hand I could see Burks playing against his former team in the fourth quarter

    Small Forward

    DeMar Derozan vs. Timberwolves $7,800 – When I target the Spurs I generally look towards DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Even though bigs tend to have their way with Karl-Anthony Towns on defense I am leaning DeRozan. Aldridge is still very much in play – I just think DeRozan is too cheap for his type of upside and the only thing that would scare me off playing him in this matchup is Robert Covington, but he’s still ruled out. These teams have faced off three times already this season and in two of those games Robert Covington played for the Timberwolves. In those two games DeRozan averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds. In the one game where Covington was not on the Timberwolves he dropped 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. I am thinking Covington’s defense has played a large part in DeRozan’s struggles against the Timberwolves.

    Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Pelicans $5,300 – Playing Aminu is always a risky proposition and I generally only look to him in certain spot or on shorter slates. I think this is one of those spots where he seems slightly more reliable. The Pelicans have a fully healthy team once again and that means they have plenty of size to toy around with. The Blazers are going to need all the size they have tonight and Aminu figures to be the best person on defense to chase around Nikola Mirotic. When these teams played earlier in the season Aminu scored 17 points while grabbing 11 rebounds in 33 minutes. Over his last five games he is averaging 29.4 minutes and 27.3 DK points in that span. This is a game we are going to want to target and Aminu makes for a solid game-stack piece or one-off.

    Omri Casspi vs. Celtics $3,700 – This is a pretty early look, but as of now Casspi feels like one of our cheap value options who may get overlooked. In the two games that Kyle Anderson has been hurt we’ve seen Casspi take advantage and play 25 and 36 minutes. Both games got out of hand and this one could easily as well. His floor feels comfortable around 24 minutes and there is always the chance that he sees more than 30 if the game becomes a blowout. We have some other similarly priced value plays in similar situations that we will get to later as well. Justin Holiday is a similarly priced pivot, but I just can’t trust his minutes and I feel Casspi is slightly safer.

    Power Forward

    Montrezl Harrell vs. Warriors $7,100 – I do not know where I am at with this game just yet. It has a massive total and also yields the impending return of DeMarcus Cousins. The Clippers will see a pace boost in this game and the return of Boogie means they will need a little more size. Both of these bode well for Harrell. He is a smashing point per minute player it is just targeting the spots where we know he will get the minutes. Well, Gortat and Boban can’t run with this Warriors team and I think that only leaves one person left.

    Aaron Gordon vs. Nets $6,400 – I am in love with another player on the Magic tonight, but when constructing lineups I can’t seem to get of off Gordon. This is a game where attacking the Nets frontcourt makes a ton of sense and Gordon feels slightly underpriced given the matchup. Someone is going to shred this Nets frontcourt and it feels hard to avoid both Gordon and our later play unless you are game stacking.

    Nikola Mirotic vs. Blazers $5,900 – Niko looks back! He looked spry in his 29 minutes played against the Warriors the other night and that led to 46.75 DK points. The pace will not be as good for the Pelicans, but we have already seen Mirotic destroy the Blazers earlier this season when he dropped 46.3 DK points in 35.5 minutes. I am not expecting him to get that many minutes again, but he is underpriced for the type of upside he possesses in a game we want some exposure to.

    Center

    Nikola Vucevic vs. Nets $9,400 – As if we didn’t see this one coming. The other Magic player is of course Vucevic as he draws a dream matchup on paper. The Nets have been one of the league’s worst rebounding teams the season and Vucevic is one of the league’s best rebounders. The price is high, but we’ve seen him pay that off countless times this season in worse matchups. The upside is huge in this one, but so will be the ownership.

    Rudy Gobert vs. Cavs $8,800 – As of early Friday morning this game currently has the Jazz favored by 15 points. This game obviously contains massive blowout risk and it is mainly because the Cavs will have a tough time scoring. They will be without both of their main big men in Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr., but even if those guys were playing this would still be a smash Gobert spot. If we get all four quarters out of him this could be another 20-20 game. So correlate your lineups properly and if you are playing either Mitchell or Gobert than run it back with a couple of Cavs players. If everything goes right hopefully your Cavs shoot well and the game stays close, giving Gobert his full potential. You could play him as a one-off with the hopes that he crushes within three quarters and he very well could do that.

    Ante Zizic vs. Jazz $3,700 – Behold the chalk value spot. Well maybe it won’t be chalk given the matchup and inherent blowout risk involved, and the fact that the Cavs are on the front end of a back-to-back. Zizic will draw what is possibly the toughest defensive matchup in the NBA, but the guy is a great point per minute producer and the Cavs are lacking healthy bodies. He’s so cheap that we really don’t need much and if by some miracle chance he stays out of foul trouble and this game stays close he has tremendous slate-breaking upside. *Jaron Blossomgame is in play as well as the Cavs have very few healthy frontcourt bodies and Blossomgame is only $3,300 on DK and he played 29 minutes in the Cavs last game. He is also likely to play if the game gets out of hand as well.

    Well, I hope I covered just about everything and gave you something you could take away from this. If you have any questions or comments you could fin me on Twitter @MIkeApotria.

  • DFS Best Buys: Wednesday, January 16

    Join tonight’s Beat the Expert contest on DraftKings! The top 20 entrants all take home $15, while second place gets a gift pack from Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee and first place gets a Hoop Ball t-shirt! Get into the mix by clicking right here before spots run out!

    Point Guard

    Kyrie Irving ($8,900 FD, $8,600 DK) – Irving will return from a one-game absence tonight just in time to go up against the Toronto Raptors. Irving has been able to put up big numbers when the game has remained close and tonight I expect this one to be competitive, so look for Irving to exceed value tonight.

    Derrick White ($6,100 FD, $5,800 DK) – White has been superb since coming back this season and has played especially well in the past three games. White and the Spurs face off against the Mavericks, who have been soft against guards this year.

    Other good buys: Stephen Curry ($10,000 FD, $10,100 DK), Kyle Lowry ($7,200 FD, $7,200 DK).

    Shooting Guard

    James Harden ($14,000 FD, $13,000 DK) – Harden’s salary is reaching ridiculous heights but it’s easy to see why. To say Harden has been hot would be an understatement and you have to at least try to find a way to fit him into your lineup tonight.

    Donovan Mitchell ($9,000 FD, $9,100 DK) – With all three point guards out for the Jazz, Mitchell has become the main ball handler and he has not disappointed. He dropped 33 or more in three straight games and in the fourth game scored 28. Tonight, Mitchell and the Jazz face off against the Clippers in a tasty matchup.

    Other good buys: C.J. McCollum ($6,500 FD, $6,600 DK), Kyle Korver ($4,000 FD, $4,200 DK),  

    Small Forward

    Kawhi Leonard ($9,800 FD, $9,600 DK) – As usual the small forward slate is stacked on DFS but out of all the superstars, I’m paying up for Leonard. Kawhi has been consistent as they come and has yet to really bust this year so he should be a lock to hit value tonight.

    Royce O’Neale ($4,600 FD, $4,500 DK) – Another player who has benefited from the injuries to the Jazz has been O’Neale. He has produced when given minutes and should have plenty of opportunity to do so again tonight against the Clippers.

    Other good buys: Danilo Gallinari ($7,400 FD, $7,100 DK), Rudy Gay ($5,500 FD, $5,300 DK)

    Power Forward

    Anthony Davis ($13,700 FD, $11,800 DK) – The only player who may be just as hot as Harden is Davis. The Brow has been putting up ridiculous stat lines and is fresh off of putting up 46 against the Clippers. Look for Davis to keep it going against the Warriors tonight.

    Jaren Jackon ($6,600 FD, $5,600 DK) – Marc Gasol is currently listed as a game time decision today which means Jaren Jackson may be the main man in the middle tonight. If Gasol gets ruled out, I think Jackson makes for an excellent play against the Bucks tonight.

    Other good buys: Black Griffin ($9,700 FD, $9,200 DK), P.J. Tucker ($4,900 FD, $4,700 DK).

    Center

    Rudy Gobert ($9,900 FD, $8,500 DK) – Gobert has been dominating as of late, snatching 14 or more rebounds in each of his past five games. He should be able to take advantage of the matchup against the Clippers tonight.

    Tristan Thompson ($6,400 FD, $6,200 DK) – Thompson is still coming back from his long layoff but in his last game was able to play 37 minutes and pull down 14 rebounds, which are the most in each category since his return. Thompson was consistently posting outrageous rebounding numbers before his injury and I’m confident he will return to that form and tonight may be the first of one of those nights.

    Other good buys: Nikola Vucevic ($9,200 FD, $8,900 DK), Jusuf Nurkic ($8,800 FD, $7,900 DK).

  • DFS Picks: Friday, January 11

    Welcome back to another Friday edition of my top DFS plays of the night. It is January 11 and we have nine games to check out for tonight’s slate. We have a few superstars to play and ton of injuries that have opened up the value to get there. I do not feel the need to mention the studs that drop monster lines every night. These guys are always in play. We are here to focus on some value to help us jam those studs in.

    Tonight seems like a wonky night that and we are going to have to take some hard stances on games and players. As of Friday morning we currently have five games with spreads of nine points or greater, meaning there are plenty of blowout chances. If we are play studs from these games it is going to be a must to correlate them properly.

    For instance, if you are playing anyone from the Warriors in the late game we are hoping to get all four quarters worth of play out of them. To do this we would need the Bulls to keep the game intact and we’d have to identify the key players who could help do that. The game currently has Golden State favored by 15 ½ points and the players’ prices in this game reflect on the spread.

    A few examples of correlation plays I like for tonight’s games:

    *James Harden with Tristan Thompson and or Jordan Clarkson.

    *Warriors with Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine or Kris Dunn. (Preferably in that order)

    *Raptors with D’Angelo Russell and or DeMarre Carroll.

    *Sixers with Trae Young, John Collins or Dewayne Dedmon.

    These are all spots I believe could easily get out of hand and on the chance that they stay intact I believe it would largely be in part of the players mentioned as pairings. This, by no means, means you have to correlate your plays, it just sometimes makes sense when trying to get the most out of your players in mass field GPP’s. Now that we got that out of the way let’s jump into some of my favorite value plays of the night.

    Point Guard

    Lonzo Ball vs. Jazz $6,500 – This is a game everyone is going to target heavily. We know right off of the rip that Donovan Mitchell and every other Jazz player gets a bump because of matchup and injuries. Knowing this means we have to take a look at some Lakers and Ball is my favorite. He draws a defensive matchup against Mitchell, but more importantly, Ball will have a chance to stuff the defensive stats guarding a bunch of guards who are not truly point guards.

    Jordan Clarkson vs. Rockets $5,700 – Clarkson has been taking advantage of the injuries in Cleveland. He’s taken at least 16 shot attempts and has scored at least 35 DK points in each of the last three games and his minutes feel safe round 26 regardless of the score. Rodney Hood is currently being considered questionable and we really want to hear that he is out again to utilize Clarkson.

    Jeremy Lin vs. Wizards $4,600 – Lin started in place of Kevin Huerter the other night and went nuts for us DFS guys and with Huerter back I assumed it was time to hop off. I was wrong and Lin played 28 minutes with Huerter starting and took 18 shots off of the bench. I mentioned the other night liking Lin better coming off of the bench and the usage is the reason why. Lin falls into the category of players who contain upside whether or not the game stays close.

    Shooting Guard

    Donovan Mitchell vs. Lakers $7,900 – This play is no secret; Mitchell is the chalk play of the night. The Jazz have literally no one to play point guard and Mitchell should be handling the duties on top of normal scoring load in a great matchup versus the Lakers.

    Eric Bledsoe/Khris Middleton vs. Wizards $6,100/$6,900 – I was close to calling it quits on the article, hitting save and sending it in. That was until Giannis got downgraded to doubtful, leaving us to scramble to where his massive usage will fall. Bledsoe and Middleton get a massive bump and we also have Malcolm Brogdon in play at $5,700. This totally changes the outlook of this game and even puts more Wizards in play with my favorites being Bradley Beal and Otto Porter.

    Kyle Korver vs. Lakers $3,500 – While Mitchell is the obvious play in Utah we need to also focus on where the value will come from due to injuries. With Mitchell likely running point we should see a lot more of Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder in the starting lineup playing small forward and shooting guard. Jae Crowder is definitely the safer play, but Korver could provide some decent value if we are trying to spend up on James Harden.

    Small Forward

    Luka Doncic vs. Timberwolves $8,400 – Dennis Smith Jr. has already been ruled out and that means Doncic’s usage will be insane. This kid has been nothing short of unreal and completely warrants this price tag. He’s shown flashes of upside, but I don’t believe we’ve truly seen his “ceiling” game yet. It may not be tonight either, but his floor is so steady that I am willing to take a few shots and not worry about getting burned.

    Andrew Wiggins vs. Mavericks $6,800 – Wiggins looks like a totally different player without Thibs in town. In the past two games he has taken a combined 47 shot attempts and that transitioned into 104.25 DK points over that span. He’s pretty scoring-dependent, but if we have the news that Derrick Rose is going to miss again I’d expect the volume to continue for Wiggins.

    Joe Ingles vs. Lakers $5,700 – Ingles looks like he will enter the night as the Jazz’s second most reliable ball handler. He is likely to get slightly overlooked between spending up on Mitchell or spending down on Crowder and Korver, but this game has 30-40 DK points written all over it. It is going to come down to construction, but it is an absolute necessity to get some exposure to this game and we have multiple ways to do so.

    Power Forward

    Domantas Sabonis vs. Knicks $7,500 – All aboard the Sabonis train, next stop Madison Square Garden. Myles Turner is currently being listed as questionable and if he gets ruled out again we could go right back to the well. Sabonis’ point-per-minute stats are fantastic with Turner in and only rise with him off of the court. The Knicks have struggled against centers all year and could be without Enes Kanter. To be honest, we’d probably rather have Kanter play, but either way I am not scared off of the price increase, as long as Turner is out.

    Another option we have to keep an eye on is Kyle O’Quinn. He is a point-per-minute type of player and could stuff the stat sheet in limited minutes. He played 21 minutes last game and if this game were to get out of hand or Sabonis were to get into foul trouble he could see more. Strictly a GPP play if Myles Turner is out.

    Lauri Markannen vs. Warriors $5,900 – This is a stupid cheap price for Markannan and if you think this game stays close he is in line for a great game. The late game has all of the makings to be a blowout, but we’ve seen the Bulls hang in there long enough for their key players to hit value.

    Dario Saric vs. Mavericks $4,500 – We are looking for value all over with James Harden and the Greek Freak (maybe) on tonight’s slate and we may still be able to take advantage of the coaching switch in Minnesota. It was only one game, but without Thibs we saw Saric play 25 minutes and take 12 shots. If we are going to have a floor like that going forward we are going to want to take advantage of it and the time to do so is not following the game because that’s when the price increase happens. Sometimes in DFS you can capitalize off taking a chance and predicting rotation moves before they happen. There is risk associated with this play and I’d leave him for tournaments.

    Center

    Rudy Gobert $8,000 vs. Lakers – Let’s be real, who’s stopping Gobert tonight? He’s priced fairly and when we play Gobert we know we are always getting that safe floor with massive upside due to rebounding and blocked shots. Tonight he faces a Lakers team that struggles with rebounding. A lot of the Jazz players will be chalky tonight, so pivots could come in handy, but Gobert is safe either way.

    Tristan Thompson vs. Rockets $5,800 – Thompson looks to back to full strength after playing almost 30 minutes of the second half of a back-to-back the other night. Tonight James Harden rolls into town and if we are targeting him we are going to need a few Cavs’ players to target as well. Thompson will get the bulk of the center minutes if this game stays close and before injuring himself we saw him mop the glass when getting those minutes. Larry Nance Jr. is going to be out for some time and this may be our opportunity to grab Thompson at a depressed price.

    Brook Lopez vs. Wizards $4,900 – BroLo has played 30 minutes in each of the last two games and Draws a defensive matchup against a Wizards team that is porous on defense and have little to no bodies in the frontcourt. He is never going to be a guy with massive usage and he does not crash the glass, but at $4,900 there is a lot worse we could do at center.

    *Damian Lillard is currently being listed as questionable and his status would drastically change the slate. We’d have a lot more value and could easily pay up for a stud like Harden or Giannis. We’d have to take a look at the other main cogs on C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, with the likelihood of Evan Turner and Seth Curry seeing more opportunity running point and providing us with some value under $4,000.

    I also wanted to give a big shout out to everyone who competed in this week’s “Beat the Expert” contest. We have the most entries out of any contest so far and are so close to filling and expanding this even more. As always you could find me on Twitter @MikeApotria if you have any questions or comments.

  • DFS Picks: Friday, January 4

    For the second week in a row our “Beat the Expert” DraftKings contest is running on the same night I produce my value plays. So enjoy, feast on knowing who I am playing tonight. This week is a little extra special with our “Beat the Expert” Pro guest Vince Miracle! The contest lobby is filling fast so hurry up and get a lineup in, two or three if you’re feeling froggy.

    You can join that contest by clicking right here! The top 10 will take home $30 apiece, with second place getting some goodies from Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee and the first-place finisher getting a Hoop Ball t-shirt! Don’t forget, you can enter multiple lineups as well.

    We do not have a lot of high-priced players to choose from other than Giannis and Russell Westbrook. I will never talk you out of these guys and they always have the potential to break a slate, but as of now I am going with a more balanced approach. Game totals and pace of play will impact which games we will target heavily and there are a few injuries we are going to have to monitor throughout the day as well. A lot of these plays are eligible at multiple positions, making lineup construction easier.

    Point Guard

    Lonzo Ball/Josh Hart vs. Knicks $7,700/$6,100 – A lot of tonight’s slate is going to be determined by whether or not Kyle Kuzma suits up. The Lakers are already without LeBron and Kuzma is another player who absorbs a ton of minutes and usage. The matchup is solid and we could end up seeing the guards, who generally rely on their counting stats for value, take a few extra shots. This is a game I will surely have exposure to tonight.

    D.J. Augustin vs. Timberwolves $4,300 – I mentioned not loving a lot of the point guard options on the slate, and Augustin could offer us a bailout at the position and save us some money as well. He has been playing very well as of late and has scored over 40 DK points in two of the last four games. He scored over 20 DK points in the other two games and both of those were blowouts in which he only played 25 minutes.

    Shooting Guard

    Brandon Ingram vs. Knicks $6,800- Ingram has seen his usage rise since the injury to LeBron, but now there is also the potential that Kyle Kuzma is forced to sit out a game after leaving their last matchup with a back injury. He is currently being listed questionable and while the injury is not being considered severe, he did get an MRI so they may be cautious. Although the sample size is small, Ingram is boasting a 31.1 usage rate with LeBron, Kuzma and Rondo out. That is a 7.7 percent increase from his season average.

    Tomas Satoranksky vs. Heat $5,800- Sato has finally been bumped up to where he needs to be, but I think there is a little juice left in the orange. I am not a huge fan of spending up at point guard and Sato feels like a safe cash play, but will draw ownership in tournaments in a slower matchup. A couple of pivot plays that could be used to avoid both Satoransky and Jones could be Emmanuel Mudiay at $6,000 and Tim Hardaway Jr. at $6,200. The matchup is solid and I am expecting both to draw lower ownership than Satoransky and Tyus Jones at similar prices. Mudiay possesses more risk than Hardaway given the return of Trey Burke and Allonzo Trier, but that gives him all of the makings of a risky tournament play. I’d likely limit him to if I were playing multiple lineups.

    Small Forward

    Danillo Gallinari/Tobias Harris vs. Suns $7,000/$7,100 – This is going to be a fantastic fantasy matchup. As of now it is coming in with a 233 game total and expected to stay close with the Clippers being favored by four. Both of these guys are very much in play and to be honest, they are a toss-up. I never play them both in the same lineup because they eat into each other’s scoring and rebounding upside. I am very high on Montrezl Harrell in this matchup and he’s right in the same price range. I could see playing two of the three in some lineups.

    Gordon Hayward vs. Mavericks $5,400 – The nuts game for Hayward was last game, but Kyrie Irving has already been ruled out again and now we are waiting on news to find out if Marcus Morris (neck) is going to suit up. Hayward is still working back to his normal self, but the upside is still there in this situation and while he will draw ownership I suspect some people will pay down for Marcus Smart or spend up a little to Terry Rozier. While both of those guys are in play, I am a little tuned off by Rozier’s price and the recent shoulder injury to Smart has me going elsewhere.

    Kyle Anderson vs. Nets $5,200 – Mr. Anderson flies under the radar on most nights and while he isn’t in the $4,400 range anymore the matchup still leaves room for upside. In these two teams’ first meeting Anderson put up 25 DK points in only 25 minutes. Well, over his last four games he is averaging 35.5 minutes per game and that could transition nicely into some value.

    Power Forward

    Domantas Sabonis vs. Bulls $7,000- Myles Turner (nose) is currently being listed as questionable. He underwent surgery and while it was relatively minor there is still a good chance he sits this one out. If that is the case I am loading up on Sabonis. He is a point per minute producer and has crushed in worse spots playing 25 minutes. The possibility of him playing 30+ minutes in the starting lineups leaves some meat on the bone at his price.

    Noah Vonleh vs. Lakers $6,500 – The Lakers may be without Kyle Kuzma and that would leave their frontcourt extremely thin. Enter Vonleh, who has steadily seen 30+ minutes playing power forward in games that haven’t blown out. Luke Kornet has been the shiny new toy recently and has seen a price increase to $5,400. While I do think he is still in play I feel more comfortable paying $1,000 more for Vonleh in a spot I believe he has 40 DK point upside. I also expect his ownership to be slightly lower.

    Thomas Bryant vs. Heat $6,000 – Riding Thomas the train has led us to the promised land as of late and with Markieff Morris being ruled out for quite some time it looks like Wizards’ head coach Scott Brooks is willing to give Bryant extended run. I do not love the matchup whatsoever, but they will need some size going against the Heat frontcourt and if he manages to stay out of foul trouble he should be in for some rebounds. I am not loading up on ton of these Wizards players like we’ve been able to in the past week, but I will have some exposure to a few as one-offs.

    Center

    Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Magic $9,900 – Towns being under $10,000 is criminal with all of the injuries in Minnesota. He is boasting a usage rate of 33.8 percent and is averaging 1.67 DK points per minute. I am expecting this game to stay close and while Nik Vucevic has shown us he is an absolute beast, it generally isn’t on the defensive end. *UPDATE: Teague is going to starting and Rose has been upgraded to questionable. I believe Towns is still in play, but his usage will drop slightly with these healthy bodies returning.

    Rudy Gobert vs. Cavs $7,900 – Tristan Thompson has returned to the Cavs frontcourt, but I doubt he sees a full workload and even if he does is still no match for Big Rudy. The Stifle Tower should have his way in this game and I am expecting a lot of it to be done in the blocks department. If the Cavs could hang tight this could be a big one for Gobert.

    As always you could find me on Twitter @mikeapotria with any of your questions or comments. I am always happy to lend a hand whether it’s regarding DFS or season long. Don’t forget to reserve or enter your spot in our weekly “Beat the Expert” contest. The community is growing week by week and it’s a great one to be a part of.