We have NBA DFS games spread out throughout the day and neither sites do us any favors by splitting them. The early games are POR @ DAL, LAL @ PHI. The 6 pm ET PHO @ SAC game is in DK’s main slate but on FD’s early slate. The last two games, which are featured on both main slates, are ORL @ ATL and MIA @ GS. Here are my favorite targets of the day…
Steph Curry (FD $9200, DK $9300) vs MIA (main)
On the surface, this is a tough matchup for Curry against a Heat team that has really slowed their pace down over the last month and a half, which has positively affected their defense while negatively affecting opposing players fantasy production. The one area of weakness for MIA has been defending opposing guards, particularly shoot-first guards like Curry, who has been the most impacted by Boogie’s return with Golden State seeing his usage rate -9.94% lower while ON the court. For that reason, it wouldn’t shock me to see us get Steph on the lower owned side and on a small slate, that has tons of appeal.
De’Aaron Fox (FD $7700, DK $7300) vs PHO (DK main, FD early)
If it was any other team he was facing but Phoenix (OK maybe Atlanta or the Knicks too), I’d be off on Fox, as he just hasn’t looked great of late. I also worry Alec Burks hurts Fox just a touch, which is important at his elevated price tag. Still, the fact remains the Suns provide Fox with an ELITE matchup and he has produced well against bad teams thus far. I’m hoping most share those same concerns as me which could drive his ownership down.
Rajon Rondo (FD $6100, DK $6300) vs PHI (early)
Rondo is my favorite PG on the early slate. The pace of this game is one where Rondo thrives in and it wouldn’t shock me to see him triple-double here with a 10-10-12 line. Rondo is cheap and the Lakers need him, we’ve seen him produce big numbers in primetime games too. Expect Rondo to be the heaviest owned PG on the early slate.
BONUS: I Still Believe PG
Tyler Johnson (FD $4500, DK $4400) vs SAC (DK main, FD early)
Well, that was not the debut I was expecting from Johnson, as he posted 11ish fantasy points in 28 minutes. There’s one thing to take from his debut and it’s the minutes. I don’t think Booker returning will affect those minutes either. At the end of the day, Johnson is a decent per minute producer in an elite matchup at a super down price. I’d expect him to go low owned too.
BONUS: If Embiid Sits
Ben Simmons (FD $8900, DK $8200) vs LAL (early)
He took the biggest hit in the debut of Tobias Harris but if Embiid is ruled out, Simmons would vault into an elite target for the early slate.
Devin Booker (FD $8400, DK $8500) vs PHO (DK main, FD early)
The intrigue with Booker is simple, Kings vs Suns has an implied total of 228.5 and Booker will be a big part of that. Booker typically smashes in pace-up spots versus bottom 10 defensive teams and that’s what he has here vs the Kings. While I fully expect him to play and he’s been upgraded to ‘Probable,’ if you’re targeting Booker, make sure to monitor his status leading up to lock.
Buddy Hield (FD $6600, DK $6600) vs PHO (DK main, FD early)
Buddy Hield has been REALLY consistent of late having gone over 30+ fantasy points in seven straight games. Tonight, he is tasked in a beautiful DFS game environment; nothing quite gets me going like Kings vs Suns basketball. Hield is priced at about his recent floor and the Suns’ 29th ranked defense certainly makes this a high probability ceiling game. He’s an elite target who will likely be on the higher owned side considering the size of the slate.
Terrance Ross (FD $5700, DK $5300) vs ATL (main)
Another SG who we’ve been riding of late with great fortunes is Terrance Ross, who has been fairly awesome over his last 10 games with two duds sprinkled in. Still, Ross’ price and ownership have remained down and he is gifted with a glorious Hawks matchup. He’s too cheap on DK when considering the 3PT bonus. On FD, while at first glance $5700 seems like a lot, but Ross is a sneaky steals machine and Atlanta is the most turnover prone team in the NBA.
Dion Waiters (FD $4400, DK $4200) vs GS (main)
I hate myself for doing this but the minutes have been there for Waiters. On small slates, we need cheap guys with upside who will be low owned to take down a GPP and Waiters fits that bill tonight. Dion has this “ego” about him where he truly thinks he’s the best player in the NBA and perhaps versus the best team in the NBA, Waiters will look to shoot more than he has been. If Wade is ultimately scratched from this game, that would secure Dion’s minutes.
LeBron James (FD $10800, DK $10800) vs LAL (early)
I haven’t been looking to target LeBron much since his return, but the fact is LeBron is a stud in a primetime game versus a top team playing on the road. That is the exact sort of spot I usually like to target LeBron in. We know what a motivated LeBron can do and I think we get that tonight, he’s an elite target in the early games.
Jimmy Butler (FD $8800, DK $7200) vs LAL (early)
I love Butler at his DK price, don’t love him at his FD price. Butler played well in Harris’ debut and I don’t think he will be too affected by him. Simply put this is a great matchup for Jimmy who typically does well when matched up vs LeBron. He’s just too cheap on DK.
Johnathan Isaac (FD $5900, DK $5000) vs ATL (main)
Isaac has produced really well over his last 10 games only being under 5x his DK value once. Isaac is known for his defensive upside and his matchup vs the Hawks couldn’t anything better. The Hawks propensity for turnovers and league-leading pace will lead to +steals, +blocks, +rebounds for Isaac and potentially +transition points. I’m hoping people are scared off by his increased price tag on FD, he’s too cheap on DK.
Justise Winslow (FD $6000, DK $5500) + Josh Richardson (FD $6700, DK $6100 vs GS (main)
These are two SFs on the main slate who I think will benefit from the increased pace Golden State provides. Both also get a slight bump if Wade can’t play. I don’t love either but on such a small slate we need someone, it wouldn’t shock me if one hit their ceiling. Now, picking the right one is the risk. Personally, I prefer Richardson even at a slight cost compared to Winslow. JRich has been more productive of late and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him start off the game with a few steals to get him in rhythm as the Warriors tend to clown around early in games.
BONUS: GPP Portland GPP Punts
Jake Layman (DK Only $3900) + Rodney Hood ($3500) vs DAL (early)
Layman continues to play strong minutes and continues to shoot the ball incredibly well. On a small slate, he’s a good GPP dart on DK because of the 3PT bonus. He offers cap relief to help fit other studs and some upside.
Hood impressed in his debut playing 25 minutes and going 6-7 from the field. Like Layman, Hood is strictly a GPP punt.
Marvin Bagley (FD $6300, DK $6000) vs PHO (DK main, FD early)
After back to back strong games Bagley has regressed his last two outings, that is something I like to see. Recency bias is a real thing in DFS and I’m hoping that comes into fruition here, as I absolutely love Bagley in this spot. The Kings are giving Bagley more minutes and he has been smashing bad defensive teams, the Suns are the 29th ranked defense in the NBA. I’m hoping his recent production will keep his ownership down, but I worry the matchup is too good. Regardless, I love Bagley in this spot.
Kyle Kuzma (FD $5600, DK $5500) vs PHI (early)
Kuzma is simply too cheap, as he’s priced while his minutes were down during the trade deadline fiasco and him nursing an injury. Last game versus Boston Kuzma was back in the 30+ minute range and was productive. Kuzma is a $7k+ player even with LeBron James, we get him at a bargain today. Expect Kuzma to be high owned.
BONUS: PF Punts
Bam Adebayo, James Johnson, Harry Giles, Richaun Holmes, Khem Birch
Again, in order to take down a small-slate GPP, we MUST take risks and today at PF I think is the perfect place to take those risks. Starting with Bam Adebayo and James Johnson – both could potentially see a slight minutes bump because of the Warriors matchup. While Whiteside has been smashing, he will struggle to defend the Warriors on the perimeter when forced to switch onto Steph on a screen. This could lead to Spo going with more Bam and potentially even smaller with some Johnson at the five. Harry Giles is a productive big who plays 15 minutes in a great matchup vs the Suns. Giles is probably the riskiest of the five players mentioned but the upside is there. Richaun Holmes is just too cheap and can potentially get six combined steals and blocks in 10 minutes. If Holmes is in the 15-25 minute range, he will smash his price tags vs the Kings. Khem Birch is sort of a forgotten man. Birch is a super productive per minute producer because of his defensive upside and is getting decent minutes with Mo Bamba out. Birch should see +steals and +blocks vs the Hawks.
Joel Embiid (FD $11800, DK $10300) vs LAL (early)
Embiid is listed questionable with an illness so be sure to monitor his status. IF Embiid plays, he’s an interesting GPP option. Clearly, Embiid’s usage took a hit in his first game with new teammate Tobias Harris and most won’t consider paying up for the star big man. That’s what makes him intriguing on a small slate. We’re going to get Embiid at low ownership in an elite matchup. There is tons of risk but in order to take down a small-slate GPP, we need to take risks.
Nikola Vucevic (FD $9600, DK $9500) vs ATL (main)
Vuc is in a smash spot vs the Hawks. On FD’s main slate his other competition is Hassan Whiteside and while Whiteside has been smashing of late, the Warriors are not an ideal matchup for him. The Hawks, however, are an ideal matchup for Vuc as they play a traditional big the majority of the game which will keep Vuc around the basket on defense. The Hawks are an inefficient, fast-paced, and turnover prone team who also struggle to defend the rim. Everything adds up for a Vuc smash.
JaVale McGee (FD $5500, DK $4700) vs PHI (early)
With Zubac gone the minutes are there for McGee having played 29 last game. We know McGee is a strong point per minute producer and the Lakers will need his size versus Joel Embiid (if he plays). McGee is still too cheap so this is certainly a price we can exploit, I’d expect McGee to be the “chalk” pick at center but he’s good chalk.
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.