Let’s get right into DraftKings NBA DFS Tiers slate…
James Harden, Karl-Anthony Towns, Russell Westbrook
There’s a strong case to be made for all three players in Tier 1 but currently I’m leaning Harden. While the Raptors are a stout defense they give up the 18th most fantasy points to superstars and the 22nd most fantasy points to scorers. Harden fits into both of those categories and is coming off of back to back impressive performances. The qualitative factor Harden has going for him is he typically produces well in prime-time games. Westbrook has struggled without Paul George, while he’s capable of exploding for 70+ any given day I’m leaning Harden. KAT is the GPP pivot as he’s been awesome since returning from his concussion. The Thunder aren’t the greatest matchup for him but KAT is matchup proof and in a game that will have a ton of shots taken (and made) KAT has an equally high ceiling to both Harden and Westbrook. I suspect Harden will be the highest owned in this tier so pivoting off him to either KAT or Russ make for strong GPP pivots.
If Klay Thompson IN
Nikola Vucevic, Kawhi Leonard Kevin Durant, Steph Curry
If Klay Thompson OUT
Steph Curry (1a), Nikola Vucevic (1b), Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard
Update: Klay Thompson is OUT
Tier 4 is brutal as all are similarly projected. Klay Thompson’s availability is crucial as both Durant and Curry see impressive metric bumps with him OFF the floor. Curry sees a .36 FD and .42 DK point per minute increase with a 14.43% usage bump. It’s tough for me to pass on that production increase vs a struggling Celtics team. If Klay is IN I’m going back to the well with the big man. Nikola Vucevic has been awesome going for 50+ fantasy points in five of his last six games. He’s the safest bet to 50 fantasy points tonight against an undersized Sixers front-court.
Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen
Yes, the Celtics are a mess but this is a prime-time elite pace-up spot for Kyrie Irving. In his previous meeting vs the Warriors Kyrie exploded for 56+ fantasy points. There is risk – as the way the Celtics have been playing creates some blowout concern but I think Boston shows up in this one and rides Kyrie throughout. If Ben Simmons was playing anyone other than the Magic he would be the likely choice for me as his production has ballooned his last two games back to where we expected it to be when Embiid was first injured. Cousins is an elite GPP pivot as he carries the highest usage rating of all Warriors when on the court and has the strongest per minute production. The Celtics are a BAD rebounding team which could lead to a big rebounding day on both ends of the floor for Boogie. Dame and Lauri round out the tier, they’re both in bad matchups and I’d only consider Dame if playing multiple GPP lines. Lauri is completely off my radar vs Indiana.
Tobias Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Zach Lavine, Jimmy Butler
While I just passed on one Sixer vs Orlando I’m IN on Tobias Harris. I think Harris will be on the lower owned side as the Magic are the seventh stingiest teams vs opposing PFs in standard DvP. HOWEVER, in Advanced DvP Orlando gives up the 22nd most fantasy points to opposing stretch 4’s. Tobias has averaged 40+ fantasy points per 36 minutes with Embiid OFF the floor and has been playing around 38 minutes. I think he’s the safest pick in this tier. Nurkic and Paul are my favorite pivots but I lean Nurk. The Grizzlies play a traditional big 48 minutes of the game which will keep Nurk around the basket whenever he is in. Even with Kanter in the Portland rotation Nurk still carries his elite upside.
Jonas Valanciunas, Clint Capela, Pascal Siakam, Aaron Gordon, Al Horford, Steven Adams, Otto Porter Jr, CJ McCollum
Tier 5 is my least favorite on the slate as I don’t really like anyone in this tier. Capela has by far the highest season average in the tier but his production of late has been brutal. Capela is a better producer than he has been and Toronto isn’t great vs opposing bigs so I get the appeal. Ultimately I’m leaning Jonas as I think he’s the safest bet to get me 37-40 fantasy points that I think this tier will need. Jonas has seen his minutes up slightly his last two games and will be matched up vs Nurkic keeping him around the basket for the majority of the game. Siakam and Gordon are more GPP pivots, I have no issues with using either, I’d slightly prefer Siakam as I simply just trust him more. It wouldn’t shock me if Horford and Adams were heavily owned in this tier. Both are SAFE targets if you’re looking for someone to get you 30-35 DK points. I just don’t think either carries the upside that Jonas and Capela do. I’d prefer Horford over Adams. I’m off on Otto and CJ, Indiana and Memphis aren’t the matchups I want to attack in Tiers.
Myles Turner, Marc Gasol, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Bojan Bogdonovic, Thad Young, Dennis Schroder, Jayson Tatum
While I’m not a fan of most of the players in Tier 5 I am a fan of the majority of Tier 6. Ultimately, my process took me to Myles Turner vs Marc Gasol. I think Turner will be on the slightly lower owned side based off of his recent production but his matchup vs Chicago is THE PERFECT bounce back opportunity for him. Turner carries legitimate 45+ upside. Gasol ha splayed 30 minutes in back to back games and is arguably the safest “cash” target in this tier. Andrew Wiggins is another GPP pivot. For some reason Wiggins has a thing vs the Thunder as he’s averaged 51.85 FD and 54.25 DK points in his two matchups vs them on the year. Draymond and Bojan are also intriguing, Bojan will likely be one of the lowest owned in the tier as he doesn’t carry the ceiling as others but is in an elite spot vs Chicago. Draymond is impossible to trust with Boogie in the lineup but he does tend to perform well in prime-time games vs elite level opponents.
Stefano Vaccarino is the NBA Product Manager for The Quant Edge. Formerly known as Rotodamus NBA on Twitter, Stefano provides consistently accurate NBA insights and predictions. His perception of the game and understanding of analytics allows him to identify profitable NBA situations.