I’ve decided to try something different in terms of fantasy writing and switch gears to the NBA following the Super Bowl and the end of the NFL season.
With that in mind, I also enter the fold at an inopportune time; the NBA Trade Deadline was today, and prior to that a plethora of trades swept the league. A good lineup is likely going to involve taking advantage of one or more of the players that benefit most from the trades that occurred.
So on DraftKings, you draft the following positions:
- Point Guard (PG)
- Shooting Guard (SG)
- Small Forward (SF)
- Power Forward (PF)
- Center (C)
- Guard (PG/SG)
- Forward (SF/PF)
- Utility (PG/SG/SF/PF/C)
You have a $50,000 salary cap, or an average of $6,250 per position. You can certainly go high on players like Russell Westbrook ($11,300) or LeBron James ($10,400), but then you have to budget accordingly across the remainder of your lineup. What sets DraftKings apart from FanDuel is that you can customize a lineup in many different ways because so many players fall under multiple positions (ex. LeBron James can go in your SF, PF, F or Utility slot). Because of this, you could build a big man-centric lineup, a smaller team filled with extra guards, or try and even it out.
With this in mind, the games to be played tonight:
- Clippers @ Pacers (7:00 P.M.)
- Timberwolves @ Magic (7:00 P.M.)
- Raptors @ Hawks (7:30 P.M.)
- Lakers @ Celtics (8:00 P.M.)
- Grizzlies @ Thunder (8:00 P.M.)
- Spurs @ Trail Blazers (10:30 P.M.)
Top plays tonight, like I mentioned earlier, are likely players that will gain extra playing time as a result of the trades that occurred in the last few days. A lot of these players are incredibly cheap so they should match value and provide room to pad your lineup with extra studs.
Here are a few of my top plays tonight:
PF/C Ivan Rabb – Memphis Grizzlies – $5,100
C Marc Gasol was traded to the Toronto Raptors today in exchange for C Jonas Valanciunas, G Delon Wright, F C.J. Miles and a 2024 second-round pick, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This opens up plenty of minutes for Rabb in the Memphis frontcout. Rabb started on February 5th against the Timberwolves with Gasol sitting out due to trade talks picking up, notching a double-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist and a block in 33 minutes.
The Thunder have given up the 5th-fewest points-per-game to opposing defenses (105), but Rabb should have a high floor as he’ll see plenty of run tonight. At $5,100, it’s hard not to consider him a lock.
SG/SF Terrence Ross – Orlando Magic – $5,100
The Magic didn’t see any movement outside of sending G/F Jonathan Simmons to the Philadelphia 76ers (along with a first-rounder and second-rounder) for 2017 #1 overall pick, G Markelle Fultz. However, Ross has been a scoring machine of late, scoring 25+ points in two of his last three games despite averaging 26 minutes/game during that stretch.
Expect Ross to have a decent floor tonight as he faces a Minnesota defense that’s depleted in the backcourt; PGs Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones are both out while PG Jeff Teague (foot) has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable – even if Teague plays, Ross should have plenty of opportunities to score. Ross also boosts his floor with his defensive ability – he’s had 6 steals in the aforementioned span of games. Ross isn’t a surefire lock, but he’s another reliable value play tonight that might not be as highly owned as some of the top SG/SF options like the Pacers’ Bojan Bogdanovic or the Grizzlies’ Justin Holiday.
SF/PF Paul George – Oklahoma City Thunder – $10,000
I don’t think much needs to be said here… George has 35+ points in his last 5 games. As a member of an offense that includes PG Russell Westbrook, it’s insane that he’s scoring that much consistently.
George is up against a Grizzlies’ team that has played extremely defensive basketball this year, but is incredibly short-handed due to trades. Absolute lock.
C Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers – $7,900
The Spurs will have LaMarcus Aldridge (rest) back tonight, but I still love Nurkic here. He only played 23 minutes in his last game due to foul trouble, and even with lingering knee soreness, I think Nurkic has a solid floor. His value at $7,900 makes him one of my favorite C plays tonight.
Best of luck on your fantasy lineups tonight, everyone. I’m definitely still a football-first kind of guy, but maybe this NBA thing will work out. I don’t know.. let me know what you think!