April 1, 2021, 12:11 pm
Somehow it is already April and we are two-thirds of the way through the shortened season. Though it is a common occurrence this season, it is worth a reminder that injury news will play a significant role in finding the top spend-ups and values on tonight’s slate. The statuses of James Harden, Bradley Beal, Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and others will need to be tracked. Also noteworthy is that today is the first day of the Major League Baseball season, which could have a big impact on the DFS player pool.
Today’s DFS Delivery brought to you by Jaron Foster (@JFsportsdata on Twitter)
Game by Game Analysis:
Philadelphia 76ers @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 212.5 Total (Cavaliers -9) – 7:00 P.M. EST
The top and bottom of the Eastern Conference are represented in this matchup with the first-place Sixers traveling to face the 13th-place Cavs. Without Joel Embiid, the Sixers have lost their last two games to the Clippers and Nuggets. They look to change their luck against the Cavs, who have lost their last three games and seven of their last ten. Things will not get any easier on Thursday, with Jarrett Allen (concussion) and Larry Nance Jr. (illness) ruled out early. Kevin Love is questionable but should not be in consideration for DFS even if he is active.
Sixers – Mike Scott ($3,700), Matisse Thybulle ($3,400), and Tyrese Maxey ($3,000)
Cavs – Dean Wade ($4,600), Isaiah Hartenstein ($3,700), and Lamar Stevens ($3,000)
Washington Wizards @ Detroit Pistons – 224.5 Total (Wizards -3) – 7:00 P.M. EST
It is not often that the Wizards, twelve games under .500 and losers of seven of their last ten, step on the court as the clearly superior team. Against the last place Pistons, who miraculously beat the Raptors by double-digits on Monday, we will see exactly that. The big duo on the Wizards is beginning to look like a big trio with the recent play of Rui Hachimura, though Bradley Beal is questionable to play. If Beal is out, coupled with the absence of Ish Smith, Daniel Gafford, and Davis Bertans, several strong value plays emerge. Similarly on the Pistons, the status of several players (particularly Dennis Smith Jr. and Wayne Ellington) could create cheap production in the ultimate pace-up spot.
Wizards – Russell Westbrook ($11,000), Rui Hachimura ($6,800), Deni Avdija ($4,000), Robin Lopez ($3,800), and Chandler Hutchison ($3,300)
Pistons – Saddiq Bey ($5,700), Hamidou Diallo ($5,100), Saben Lee ($4,500), Cory Joseph ($4,200), Isaiah Stewart ($4,100), and Frank Jackson ($3,100)
Charlotte Hornets @ Brooklyn Nets – 229 Total (Nets -3.5) – 7:30 P.M. EST
Despite injuries to some of their biggest stars, the Hornets and Nets both enter Thursday in the top four spots of the Eastern Conference. Although their best guard will be out for at least another month, the Hornets anticipate Malik Monk will be able to return on Thursday. Charlotte is otherwise fully healthy, taking away much of the appeal of the lower-priced players on the team. All eyes will be on the other side of the ball, or at least on their injury report. James Harden missed the end of the Nets’ game on Wednesday night due to hamstring tightness. If he is forced to miss tonight’s game, Kyrie Irving gets a huge bump in usage (and DFS ownership) while several ancillary players get a boost as well. The options listed below are with the assumption that Harden is inactive, as none are priorities if he plays.
Hornets – Terry Rozier ($8,000), Gordon Hayward ($7,900), Devonte’ Graham ($6,400), and Cody Zeller ($3,900)
Nets – Kyrie Irving ($9,800), Bruce Brown ($4,700), and Jeff Green ($4,500)
Golden State Warriors @ Miami Heat – 219.5 Total (Heat -2) – 8:00 P.M. EST
This is a matchup between two remarkably similar teams, at least in terms of the standings. Both the Warriors and Heat have 23 wins and 24 losses, have won only four of their last ten games, and are coming off of a win. Both teams are also healthier than they have been in a while, with short injury reports and the potential debut of Victor Oladipo for the Heat. If active, Oladipo’s arrival could be timely as Kendrick Nunn is very questionable to play. Given the overall health of the roster, it is difficult to consider options beyond the stars. For the Warriors, Stephen Curry alleviated all concerns about his tailbone injury by scoring over 50 DraftKings points in his return on Monday. Draymond Green benefits from his return, though all other options take a hit in usage. Center Kevon Looney’s consistent minutes and solid, if unspectacular, production puts him in the player pool at just above the minimum price.
Warriors – Stephen Curry ($9,600), Draymond Green ($7,000), and Kevon Looney ($3,100)
Heat – Jimmy Butler ($9,000), Bam Adebayo ($8,300), and Andre Iguodala ($3,500)
Orlando Magic @ New Orleans Pelicans – 221.5 Total (Pelicans -10) – 8:00 P.M. EST
The standings in the Western Conference are tightening, with six teams in the playoff hunt within 3.5 games of each other. Bringing up the rear but playing well recently are the Pelicans, and they have a great opportunity to extend their winning streak against the rebuilding Magic. Their job may be more difficult if Zion Williamson and/or Lonzo Ball, both listed as questionable, end up resting. In terms of usage, the biggest beneficiary would be Brandon Ingram, with Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, and Eric Bledsoe next in line to soak up available usage. Additionally, some cheap options (Kira Lewis Jr., James Johnson, Wes Iwundu) could be mixed in as dart throws.
For the Magic, minutes and usage have been spread out across a dozen players after a busy trade deadline. Terrence Ross is the self-proclaimed captain and has the most upside, but also the highest price tag. Eight players range between $4,900 and $5,900, all of whom will get double-digit minutes and points but low ceilings for GPPs.
Magic – Terrence Ross ($7,100), Mo Bamba ($4,900), and R.J. Hampton ($3,300)
Pelicans – Brandon Ingram ($7,800), Kira Lewis Jr. ($3,700), and James Johnson ($3,000)
Atlanta Hawks @ San Antonio Spurs – 222.5 Total (Spurs -1) – 8:30 P.M. EST
Injury reports are going to be important to monitor on both sides of the ball in this game. Atlanta will definitely be without John Collins and Cam Reddish, while De’Andre Hunter and new arrival Lou Williams are both questionable. Along with a pace-up matchup, this makes Trae Young and Clint Capela strong options on tonight’s slate. Bogdan Bogdanovic is a GPP option, particularly if Hunter is ruled inactive. On the Spurs’ side of the ball, Lonnie Walker IV and Trey Lyles are questionable, though both are only secondary options for the Spurs anyway. DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, and Derrick White are all decent options but none stand out. Considering their prices, I prefer Jakob Poeltl among the starters for the Spurs, but he is just one of many centers worth considering on this slate. Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, and Drew Eubanks are all value options who have been productive recently and are particularly appealing if Walker and/or Lyles are inactive.
Hawks – Trae Young ($9,400), Clint Capela ($7,700), and Bogdan Bogdanovic ($5,400)
Spurs – Jakob Poeltl ($5,900), Rudy Gay ($4,400), and Drew Eubanks ($3,100)
Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Clippers – 224 Total (Nuggets -1.5) – 10:00 P.M. EST
The Nuggets, winners of three in a row and seven of their last ten games, have an opportunity to gain ground on one of the few teams ahead of them in the standings. Helping their cause is the lengthy injury report for the Clippers, who will be without Paul George, Serge Ibaka, Patrick Beverley, newcomer Rajon Rondo, and possibly Marcus Morris. Nikola Jokic is coming off consecutive games under 50 DraftKings points, which may lower his ownership among the point chasing DFS players. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. each scored over 50 DraftKings points in their victory over the Sixers on Tuesday and are options on this slate, though between higher price tags and projected ownership, they are not priorities. Kawhi Leonard, on the other side of the ball, is a core play with no reason to think he will not get monster usage. Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, and Luke Kennard should also return strong production at their price points.
Nuggets – Nikola Jokic ($10,600), Jamal Murray ($7,700), and Michael Porter Jr. ($7,100)
Clippers – Kawhi Leonard ($9,300), Reggie Jackson ($5,300), Terance Mann ($5,200), and Luke Kennard ($4,200)
Kyrie Irving ($9,800) – If Harden is inactive, it is probably wise to just lock Irving into your lineup and move along.
Kawhi Leonard ($9,300) – Leonard has been consistent, but we have not seen a ceiling game in a while. With all the usage he can handle and a matchup against a team that struggles to defend beyond the arc, this could be the night for a ceiling game.
Brandon Ingram ($7,800) – If both Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball play, Ingram drops off this list. If one or both miss the game, the price tag, matchup, and usage make Ingram a great play.
Rui Hachimura ($6,800) – Hachimura has scored at least 39 DraftKings points in three of his last four games, and we have seen his ceiling above 50 this season. He gets a bigger bump as Russell Westbrook’s primary sidekick if Bradley Beal is inactive, but is a strong play at his price regardless.
Terance Mann ($5,200) – With Paul George out, Mann is a great play despite a $500 price increase. He has at least 28 DraftKings points in his last four games, and five of his last six.
Bruce Brown ($4,700) – When either James Harden or Kyrie Irving are inactive, Brown is one of the first players I consider on a slate. Algorithms are as confused as we often are regarding whether the Nets’ stars will play, so the price on Brown is often lower than it should be. With Harden questionable, Brown could prove to be a great value.
Isaiah Stewart ($4,100) – In contrast to his fluctuating salary, which has ranged from $3,100 to $4,900 over the last few weeks, Stewart has been a remarkably consistent DFS option. As Mason Plumlee’s minutes have decreased, Stewart’s have risen. The matchup against the Wizards’ frontcourt is very enticing as well.
Kira Lewis Jr. ($3,700) – Lewis has played at least 18 minutes and scored 22 DraftKings points in three of his last four games. These numbers are his floor if Lonzo Ball is inactive tonight.
Isaiah Hartenstein ($3,700) – The other side of this matchup is appealing for value as well. Hartenstein did not take long to appear comfortable in a Cleveland uniform, scoring 35 DraftKings points in his debut on Monday. Allen and Nance are both out again Thursday, opening up big minutes and usage for Hartenstein.
Tyrese Maxey ($3,000) – This is a bonus dart throw with the possibility of a blowout. Maxey has proven to be a strong option when given the opportunity.