• It’s going to be slim-pickings for DFS tonight as we open the week with a three game slate. Don’t fret because we still have some great options as I’ll cover all the significant notes in the match-ups tonight.

    Pelicans @ Knicks -4.0 (215.0)

    The Pelicans and Thunder should be the most targeted game of the night with the highest total. Both teams have also been susceptible to letting the opposition bigs rack up points and rank in the bottom 10 for defense vs. position for power forwards and centers in both FanDuel and DraftKings. That means all eyes will be on Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis in the Garden, if they weren’t already.

    AD remains the best center option at $11,100 in both FD and DK. He’s been averaging 24.8 points, 17.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in his last four games, so with options limited in a three-game night, he becomes a near must-own. If you don’t feel like spending top dollar on your point guard, Jrue Holiday, is a viable option. He’s the best second-tier option for point guards and is priced under $7000 in both FD and DK.

    Donatas Motiejunas made his Pelicans debut on Saturday and looked great considering the limited minutes. It’s tough to predict what Alvin Gentry may do next with his frontcourt minutes, so there’s assumed risk there. The introduction of D-Mo to the Pelicans frontcourt means Terrence Jones and Dante Cunningham lose significant value as punt options in tournaments.

    On the New York side, we have Carmelo Anthony, who’s been playing great despite playing through right shoulder pain. Discarding the blowout against the Pacers last weekend, Melo is averaging 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.7 threes in his last three. FanDuel has him priced a bit high at $7,900, but I like him with DraftKings at a more bearable $7,200.

    Kristaps Porzingis looks to have put the Achilles injury behind him as he’s put up 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 3.5 threes in the two games he’s been back. As I mentioned earlier, New Orleans let opposition power forwards and centers have big nights, so I wouldn’t be hesitant in deploying the 7-footer. Rounding out the Knicks, Derrick Rose also makes a decent play against the Pelicans if you don’t want to spend too much at the point guard spot and Courtney Lee also holds value as a punt option as he’s been steadily returning low-end value for his price level.

     

    Mavericks @ Timberwolves -4.5 (196.0)

    At the lowest total in the night, we have two teams that rank in the bottom 10 for defensive rating. Typically, this would be a good thing as we’d expect a tonne of offense, but Dallas sits at the bottom for points per game (95.2) and are only behind the Jazz in pace (93.38). The Timberwolves also have their offensive issues as they rank in the bottom half for points per game (105.9) and fifth worst in pace (96.73). It isn’t the most alluring of match-ups in a three-game slate.

    There’s still value here as Harrison Barnes has been a lone bright spot for the Mavericks this season. He’s been a solid mid-option averaging 23.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 threes in his last four. Deron Williams has also put up value and Minnesota does let opposing point guards have their way. Although, his salary does seem a bit high in most formats for me to confidently recommend. Wes Matthews seems to have forgotten how to shoot, so let’s avoid him until he finds his stroke, if he ever does. We’ll also stay away from Dirk Nowitzki until he shows us a few more games at 30 minutes.

    Minnesota has much better options with Karl Anthony-Towns as the big option and remains mostly match-up proof in the NBA. Andrew Wiggins had 41 points against the Wizards, but it’s sandwiched between a 16 and eight point effort. He remains a tournament option for tonight. Zach LaVine falls in the same boat for me. Gorgui Dieng remains one of the constants for Tom Thibodeau and with a salary under $6000 for both FanDuel and DraftKings, should be a good bet tonight.

     

    Thunder @ Bulls -1.0 (209.0)

    Of course, in terms of fantasy and real-life production, it doesn’t get much better than the traveling triple-double against a white-hot Jimmy Butler. The Bulls are riding are three game winning streak and hope to carry that momentum against a Thunder team that’s recovered one win in the last five games. Butler is a game-time decision, but if he suits up, we can expect fireworks in a great match-up.

    If you feel like spending, then obviously, there’s no better option than Russell Westbrook. He’s been doing his usual thing, so use him confidently if the salary isn’t an issue. Other than that, Victor Oladipo has had steady production since returning to the lineup, but his ceiling is limited. Steven Adams is a good center option for tonight if you’re looking to save at that spot, but other than that, the Thunder don’t have much.

    The biggest note of the night is Jimmy Butler (illness) as a game-time decision. That’s rotten timing as he’s been carrying the team on his back after a 42 point comeback win against the Raptors on Saturday. Note, there’s definite risk with Butler as the Bulls have a five-game week. Dwyane Wade has traded good nights with mediocre ones lately, so I’d be hesitant in grabbing him for tonight. Nikola Mirotic is in on one of his better stretches of the season, so I’d be more confident using him at his current price tag. Lastly, Doug McDermott has probably had the best streak of his career having scored in double figures in the last five games. He’s great as a minimum salary option in tournaments.

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