NBA Afternoon Thoughts 04.10.19

NBA Afternoon Thoughts 04.10.19

As we look forward to the playoffs our NBA regular season journey comes to an end tonight. Tonight is like no other NBA slate where the majority of teams will be playing the backups to their backups. Today’s article will be a little different as I’ll highlight each teams situation/standing and who will be available to play followed by my top targets.

Before we start, I would just like to say thank you to all who have made this such an amazing first season of NBA for TQE. Thank you to the content team and thank you to all of our readers. While NBA DFS can always be a bit frustrating, you’ve all made this season a ton of fun. I look forward to continuing our journey throughout the playoffs and the years to come. Now, let’s get right to tonight’s NBA DFS regular-season finale…

PS: Don’t be afraid to leave $2k+ salary on the table in your lines tonight.

Chicago Bulls @ Philadelphia 76ers (o/u 223, PHI -8.5)

Does this game mean anything?

No, Philly is locked into the three seed and the Bulls are locked into the fourth worst record in the NBA.

Players OUT

Sixers: Embiid, Simmons, Butler, Simmons, Harris, Bolden, Ennis, Mike Scott (questionable)

Bulls: Lavine, Dunn, Markannen, Porter, JaKarr Sampson (10-day contract over, no news if resigned)

Top Targets

Sixers: TJ McConnell, Zhaire Smith, Johnathon Simmons, Greg Monroe, Boban Marjanovic

The Sixers will be severely shorthanded facing a terrible Bulls team, which means they are one of the many teams that provide elite value. The top Sixers values have to be TJ McConnell and Johnathon Simmons. Both are PROVEN producers priced near the minimum. Simmons produced 35+ fantasy points last game in 26 minutes. I expect him to be in the 30+ minute range. Zhaire Smith is an intriguing punt at SG. The rookie has battled injuries all year but he’s finally healthy and the Sixers are giving him run. Twenty-nine minutes last game suggests he’s not on much of a minutes limit. His risk is that he has shown to be a very poor per minute producer in his limited time. The intrigue stems from his minutes potential. Greg Monroe and Boban Marjanovic will likely split whatever minutes are leftover from Amir Johnson. Both are very strong point per minute producers in an elite matchup vs a Bulls team that gets torched by bigs. I slightly prefer Monroe as he will be lower owned.

Bulls: Pending but at the moment; none.

The Bulls starting lineup has dictated who gets the majority of the minutes recently and unfortunately for us, their starting lineup has not been consistent. If JaKarr Sampson is re-signed for today, then I would consider him an elite target as he’s played around 30 minutes off the bench in every game he’s played. Walter Lemon Jr. would be my favorite Chicago target if, and only if, he is in the starting lineup. With so much value available tonight, guys like Wayne Selden and Ryan Arcidiacono are not needed.

Golden State Warriors @ Memphis Grizzlies (o/u 218, GS -6.5)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

Golden State is locked into the one seed. The Grizzlies have some incentive to lose as the Pelicans can leap them in the lottery and they could leap the Bulls if Chicago wins and the Grizzlies lose.

Players OUT

Warriors: Curry, Green, Cousins, Livingston, Iguodala (questionable), Durant (questionable), Klay (questionable),

Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Jonas, Noah, Bradley, Miles, JJJ, Parsons (questionable)

Top Targets

Warriors: Kevin Durant*, Jordan Bell, Kevan Looney, Quinn Cook, Jacob Evans, Andrew Bogut

If by some miracle Kevin Durant and/or Klay Thompson play, both would be considered borderline elite targets with the rest of the Warriors resting. I don’t think either plays though as this game means absolutely nothing to them and if they DO play, their risk would be severely limited minutes. Jordan Bell is typically the Warrior who sees the biggest minutes bump when Draymond Green doesn’t play. Bell is a strong per minute producer because of his defensive upside. Kevan Looney and Andrew Bogut are both usable bigs but there are other cheaper centers I would prefer to target. Quinn Cook is an elite target. With Curry and Livingston out Cook could potentially play the entire game against a bad Grizzlies team. He joins TJ McConnell as an elite value PG. Jacob Evans isn’t a priority tonight but he’s my favorite of the Warrior wings who will see big minutes.

Grizzlies: Delon Wright, Bruno Caboclo, Tyler Zeller, Ivan Rabb

We should be familiar with the Grizzlies now as they’ve sort of rolled this lineup out for two weeks now. Delon Wright is an elite target who is one of the few pricier players on the slate worth paying up for. Delon has 50+ point upside against the Warriors back-ups. I’d love Bruno Caboclo is Chandler Parsons is scratched. We’ve seen Bruno explode in games where he plays 30+ minutes at the 4 which would be the case tonight. Whoever starts between Tyler Zeller and Ivan Rabb carry some intrigue. Zeller is another borderline minimum priced center worth considering. I’d have no interest in Rabb if he comes off the bench again.

Miami Heat @ Brooklyn Nets (o/u 218, BK -3.5)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

Although the Heat were eliminated from playoff contention, this is D-Wade’s last game ever. The Nets are playing for playoff seeding.

Players OUT

Nets: DeMarre Carroll, Joe Harris (questionable)

Heat: Josh Richardson

Top Targets

Nets: D’Angelo Russell, Theo Pinson (GPP Punt), Ronde Hollis-Jefferson (GPP Punt)

I don’t actually think the Nets will give this game a full go. They will try and win, but they will not risk anyone getting hurt in the process. Still, D’Angelo Russell is one of the few players you can pay up for tonight that has something to play for. The Heat are a BRUTAL matchup but as always, he carries legit 50+ point upside. Theo Pinson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could both see extended minutes tonight if Joe Harris is also ruled out. Both are extreme risks but I would consider having minimal exposure to them if MMEing.

Heat: Dwayne Wade, Bam Adebayo, Hassan Whiteside (GPP)

UPDATE: Wade’s minutes will be monitored. That makes me think he doesn’t play a ton and last night was his true send-off.

This is Dwayne Wade’s last game ever. Wade’s risk is his minutes as we’ve seen soon-to-be retired players like having their last memorable performance at home. Personally, I think Wade tries to put on a show tonight in Brooklyn. His price on FD is also ridiculous(ly cheap) at $5333. Wade’s an elite target. Bam Adebayo is the Miami center and what do we always do against the Nets? Attack them at center. Bam is too cheap on DK priced at $6k and is fairly priced on FD at $7400. The Nets get torched at center and Bam has been a consistently strong producer of late. With that same reasoning and because it’s the last game of the year Hassan Whiteside carries some GPP intrigue. If, by any chance, Whiteside sees extended minutes he would smash his price tag.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Milwaukee Bucks (o/u 230, OKC -3)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

OKC is on a back to back and playing for playoff seeding. This game means nothing for Miluwakee.

Players OUT

Thunder: Paul George (questionable)

Bucks: Giannis, Lopez, Brogdon, Snell, Expect Middleton and Bledsoe to be VERY limited

Top Targets

Thunder: Russell Westbrook, Paul George*

There is so little to pay up for so there is no reason to not spend up on Russell Westbrook. The Thunder want to win to avoid playing the Warriors so we should see Westbrook at a full go in a pace-fueled matchup. If Paul George plays, he’s also worth paying up for. I’m not particularly interested in any of the Thunder mid-tier role players.

Bucks: DJ Wilson, Tim Frazier

I don’t expect Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe to play more than 20-25 minutes. The one Buck I expect to see heavy minutes is DJ Wilson. Wilson is a strong per-minute producer and carries appealing upside. Tim Frazier is a bit of a risk with so much value at PG but he’s an intriguing GPP dart as he’s an incredibly productive player when the minutes are there. He’s a strong pivot off of guys like McConnell and Cook with a similar ceiling.

Detroit Pistons @ New York Knicks (o/u 208, DET -9.5)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

Must-win game for Detroit. If they win, they’re in. Knicks clinched the worst record in the NBA, this game has no meaning to them and Dave Fizdale has no meaning to us.

Players OUT

Pistons: Blake Griffin (doubtful)

Knicks: Everyone is basically questionable which means this is a prime opportunity to get Fizdaled

Top Targets

Pistons: Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Ish Smith, Wayne Ellington

Andre Drummond is right up there with Russell Westbrook as the top overall play on the slate. The tricky part with Drummond is on FD with only one choice at center and so many cheap centers in an elite spot, he’s not a must. On DK, Drummond is a borderline lock in a must-win game without Blake in an elite matchup. Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith also benefit from Blake Griffin’s absence. This is an elite spot for both in a meaningful game. We say Wayne Ellington get a huge usage and production bump recently with Blake Griffin out.

Knicks: We need more news

I fully expect Mitchell Robinson to start and he’s worth considering as a low owned GPP pivot. Robinson carries 50+ fantasy point upside whenever he sees 30+ minutes which he should tonight. IF Luke Kornet starts, Luke is an elite target. He hasn’t been under 40 fantasy points in his last five starts. With Hezonja and Kadeem Allen listed as questionable, we need to know their status’ before we can confidently target Dennis Smith Jr. and Mario Hezonja. Kevin Knox would get a bump if Hezonja is scratched.

Indiana Pacers @ Atlanta Hawks (o/u 225, IND -1.5)

Does This Game Mean Anything?


Players OUT

Pacers: Turner, Sabonis, Thad Young, Bogdanovic

Hawks: None of their regulars are listed as out (yet)

Top Targets

Pacers: Kyle O’Quinn, TJ Leaf, Doug McDermott

The Pacers provide my favorite value of the night matched up against a team we have LOVED to attack all year in Atlanta. Kyle O’Quinn is an elite target with his only risk being foul trouble. KOQ is an elite point per minute producer and should see around 30 minutes. Target him with confidence. TJ Leaf might be the forgotten Pacer to target as he is also a strong per minute producer and will likely see around 30 minutes in an elite spot. I really like Leaf tonight and LOVE the fact he has SF eligibility on DK. Doug McDermott is far from a must but he’s a safe bet for around 20+ fantasy points with an appealing ceiling because of the Hawks. Aaron Holiday is an interesting punt at PG as I expect both Cory Joseph and Darren Collison to be limited.

Hawks: Trae Young, John Collins, Alex Len

This is Trae Young’s last chance to make his case as Rookie of the Year. Typically I’d stay away from attacking the Pacers but this is the Pacers bench we’re dealing with, Trae is one of the few guys on the slate that is safe to pay up for. In GPPs, I’m a fan of stacking both Young and John Collins as I expect both to be given their full complement of minutes. Collins carries intriguing upside whenever he’s around the 30-minute mark. A big part of their intrigue stems from the fact we don’t have much to pay up for tonight, they’re both worth paying up for. Alex Len is far from a priority with center absolutely loaded with cheap punts and Andre Drummond but Len is always capable of exploding.

Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs (o/u 218, SA -13)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

Dallas will likely want to lose to improve their lottery odds and the Spurs are playing for seeding. This is also Dirk’s last game ever.

Players OUT

Spurs: None

Mavericks: None

Top Targets

Spurs: DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick White

The Mavericks have been Hawks-esque in terms of a team worth attacking over the last month of the season. Because the Spurs would like to win we should see both DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge see strong minutes depending on the score. Coach Pop also isn’t shy of limiting his star players so both carry some risk. That leaves us with Derrick White as my favorite Spur to target. The Mavericks have continuously been torched by PGs and Derrick White should see strong minutes regardless of the score. White is a really good GPP target as he will be low owned with 40+ fantasy point upside. If Jakob Poeltl starts, Poeltl becomes another center worth considering.

Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki, Luka Doncic

We saw Dirk Nowitzki play 30+ minutes with incredibly high usage in his last home game last night in Dallas and there is the potential for that again tonight in his last game ever. I expect Dirk to play a lot tonight, but there is some risk that Dirk checks in and checks out simply for the ovation with him having his last memorable performance be in Dallas. It appears Luka Doncic will play, meaning we have another usable player to pay up for. Luka has either not played or played his full minutes load, he has yet to be limited in games he’s played which tells me we can trust his minutes if he’s active tonight.

Orlando Magic @ Charlotte Hornets (o/u 219, CHA -2)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

Orlando is playing for playoff seeding while the Hornets are the 8 seed in the East if they win and the Pistons lose.

Players OUT

Magic: Johnathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic (questionable)

Hornets: None

Top Targets

Magic: Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, Khem Birch*, Nikola Vucevic*

Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross are the biggest beneficiaries of Isaac’s concussion as both will likely see big minutes. If Vucevic is scratched both also see an incredibly appealing usage bump. The Magic should want to win this game so I don’t expect anyone who is available to play be limited. One vs one, I prefer Ross, both would be ELITE targets if Vucevic sat. If Nikola Vucevic plays this is an elite spot for him against the Hornets who have been smashed by centers the second half of the year. Orlando leans on Vucevic in meaningful games, this would be a good spot for him. One vs one against Drummond, I would prefer to target Drummond. If looking to differentiate in GPPs, Vucevic would be lower owned. If Vuc is scratched, Khem Birch becomes an elite value PF/C.

Hornets: Kemba Walker

I’m not interested in any of the Hornets mid-tier role players as this is a stars and scrubs slate. With that being said, in a must-win game, Kemba Walker is an elite target. He’s one of the few players we can trust to see elite level minutes and usage. Orlando is a bad matchup but Kemba is fairly matchup proof and I’d expect him to carry around a 40% usage rating tonight.

Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trail Blazers (o/u 229, POR -7.5)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

Nope. Portland has some playoff seeding implications but they don’t seem to care.

Players OUT

Kings: None

Blazers: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum

Top Targets

Kings: Marvin Bagley

I don’t trust Dave Joerger whatsoever so I’m off on guys like De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Both carry some GPP intrigue but ultimately, I’d rather spend up elsewhere. The one Kings player I do think sees strong minutes is Marvin Bagley. This is a perfect spot to end Bagley’s strong rookie year on a high and I fully expect Joerger to let him do so.

Blazers: Seth Curry, Evan Turner, Enes Kanter

While I LOVE the pace-up spot for the Lillardless Blazers, I don’t think anyone is particularly necessary as it wouldn’t shock me to see Terry Stotts play everyone around 20-25 minutes. Seth Curry should see a minutes and usage bump with CJ and Dame out, he’s a little pricier than some of the other PG punts, but he still provides elite value. Evan Turner sees a big metric bump without Dame and CJ I’m just unsure how much he plays. It’s an elite spot for Enes Kanter, but Stott’s scares me here. With center loaded I don’t think Kanter is necessary but he is worth having exposure to if MMEing.

Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Clippers (o/u 225, LAC -6)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

The Jazz are locked into the five seed, this game means nothing for them. The Clippers are in a playoff seeding battle.

Players OUT

Jazz: Gobert, Favors, Mitchell, Rubio, Neto

Clippers: None (yet)

Top Targets

Jazz: Ekpe Udoh, Georges Niang, Joe Ingles

Ekpe Udoh is an elite producer who we’ve seen explode over the years in games where he gets big run. This has the opportunity for that in an elite spot against the Clippers, who struggle to contain opposing bigs. Udoh is right up there with Kyle O’Quinn as my favorite punt at center. Expect Georges Niang to play a ton tonight. For those unfamiliar with Niang, he’s basically a point-forward and with the Jazz having zero ball-handlers available tonight, I fully expect Niang to run the show. Niang is an elite value target at PF. That leaves us with Joe Ingles, who is the other potential ball-handler I’m just not sure how much Ingles plays. If he’s a full go, he’s an elite target. I, however, think he will be limited as the game means absolutely nothing to the Jazz.

Clippers: None

Even though Utah is resting everyone they are still an elite team defense and I expect them to play at a much slower pace than they typically do. The Clippers rotation is a nightmare and in a game that carries blowout potential coupled with a bad matchup, I don’t think any Clippers are necessary. If desperate for Clippers exposure, my favorite target would be Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Denver Nuggets (o/u 218.5, DEN -11.5)

Does This Game Mean Anything?

Not for Minnesota. Denver is playing for the 2 seed.

Players OUT

T-Wolves: Towns, Gibson, Bayless

Denver: None

Top Targets

T-Wolves: Gorgui Dieng, Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric

I’m OK with completely avoiding this matchup, but there are some intriguing targets. Gorgui Dieng is a strong per minute producer and throws his name in the already crowded field of cheap centers worth considering. Dieng is someone we have a good feel for as he’s proven to carry appealing upside. Dieng is an elite target. The T-Wolves need someone to score and as long as he’s not limited or this game stays close enough, Andrew Wiggins should have an elite usage rating tonight with no one playing. Wiggins played 28 minutes in a blowout loss vs the Raptors last night, suggesting that he would have seen his usual 35+ had the game stayed close. The same risk/situation applies tonight as the Nuggets are a good bet to blowout the T-Wolves.

Nuggets: Jokic (GPP), Jamal Murray (GPP)

Nikola Jokic is another pivot off of Drummond in GPP’s. I MUCH rather target Drummond but if playing multiple lineups I’m not against having some Jokic exposure. Jamal Murray is also a GPP risk.


Top Overall Targets

PG: Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Trae Young, Reggie Jackson, Derrick White (GPP), Seth Curry, Ish Smith, TJ McConnell, Quinn Cook

SG: Luka Doncic, D’Angelo Russell, Delon Wright, Andrew Wiggins (GPP), Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, Dwayne Wade, Wayne Ellington

SF: Paul George*, Kevin Durant*, Joe Ingles, Bruno Caboclo, Evan Turner, Johnathon Simmons, Doug McDermott

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge (GPP), John Collins, Bam Adebayo, Marvin Bagley, Luke Kornet*, Dirk Nowitzki, Georges Niang, TJ Leaf, DJ Wilson, Khem Birch*

C: Andre Drummond, Nikola Vucevic* (GPP) Mitchell Robinson (GPP), Gorgui Dieng, Ekpe Udoh, Kyle O’Quinn, Monroe/Boban, Tyler Zeller, Jordan Bell