Plays of the Day
Value: Nic Batum is expected to make his season debut for the Hornets tonight and while he might be on a minutes restriction of sorts, he could pile up peripheral stats while he’s out there, since the French national hardly looks to shoot anyways his elbow injury isn’t a major concern.
Fade: Giannis Antetokounmpo was relatively quiet in his last meeting with the Pistons and Detroit seems to be one of the few teams with enough athleticism and the necessary discipline to contain him, as HC Stan Van Gundy likely tells his guys to “build a wall” and force Giannis to shoot.
Ben Simmons – (9,100 DK/9,800 FD)
After a couple of relatively quiet games, Simmons got back to his stat-stuffing ways with 22 points, 12 boards and 4 assists in a tough matchup at the Clippers on Monday. He’ll stay at Staples Center to face the Lakers and specifically Lonzo Ball, who has become a walking bulls eye due to his father’s antics and would likely inspire Simmons’ best effort regardless as a fellow top draft choice in their respective years. The Lakers are giving up the sixth-most FPPG (47.95) and third-most RPG (7.07) to opposing PGs this season due in part to the fact that they play at the third-fastest pace in the NBA, so Simmons should thrive in an open-court affair.
Kemba Walker – (7,400 DK/7,800 FD)
The Cavs continue to serve as the most generous defensive team in the NBA. They rank 30th in defensive rating, cough up the fifth-most FPPG (48.56) and second-most APG (10.36) to opposing PGs this season. Kemba averaged 27.5 PPG on 52.6 percent FG shooting over four meetings with the Cavs last year and now he faces an older backcourt led by Dwyane Wade and the oft-injured Derrick Rose (ankle), if he happens to suit up tonight.
Frank Ntilinka – (3,900 DK/4,600 FD)
Ntilinka is slowly taking over for Jarrett Jack as the Knicks preferred option at PG and faces a weak individual defender tonight in Ricky Rubio.
Dennis Schroder – (6,800 DK/7,000 FD)
Schorder’s struggled to get to the rim recently but shouldn’t have any issues carving up the Kings below average defense tonight
Tim Hardaway Jr. – (6,400 DK/6,600 FD)
In a close loss to Cleveland on Monday, Hardaway Jr. carried the Knicks with 28 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals while playing 44 minutes. He’ll stay at MSG tonight for an apparent tough matchup against Utah, yet the Jazz defense is falling apart with Rudy Gobert (knee) out indefinitely and has struggled continuously on the perimeter, ranking 28th in opponents 3PT shooting (.390%) this season. With a 23.1 percent usage rate, he’s clearly the secondary option behind Kristaps Porzingis, who is drawing tons of attention down low, leading to open shots for THJ and others.
Donovan Mitchell – (6,100 DK/6,200 FD)
With Gordon Hayward no longer in a Jazz uniform, Utah’s turned to a surprisingly mature rookie to carry its offense. After dropping 50 points on 20-of-37 shooting with 7 assists and 5 steals over his last two games, Mitchell is clearly functioning as the primary offensive option for Utah and he’s rocking a 29.3 percent usage rate to prove it. Up next for the Louisville product is a plus matchup against a Knicks team that gives up the most APG (10.92) and third-most FPPG (49.35) to opposing PGs this season.
Rodney Hood – (4,800 DK/5,000 FD)
Hood has taken a back seat to Donovan Mitchell in the Jazz offense but will still need to step up on both ends with Rudy Gobert (knee) out indefinitely.
Dwyane Wade – (4,800 DK/4,800 FD)
Wade has turned into a boom-bust value option, but could have another big game in a close tilt at Charlotte tonight.
Paul George – (8,500 DK/9,000 FD)
George got loose for 42 points against the Clippers on Friday and followed that up with a 37-point game on Sunday. PG is clearly stepping up as the Thunder look to find a hierarchy offensively rather than just having Russell Westbrook, George and Carmelo Anthony take turns playing ISO-ball. Tonight they’ll host a weak Bulls team that’s giving up 117 PPG over its last three contests and with Melo questionable due to a back injury, George could become an even better play, as he’s rocking a 31.6 percent usage rate and averaging 1.23 FPs per minute with Anthony off the floor this season.
Nic Batum – (4,600 DK/5,400 FD)
Expected to make his season debut tonight in a fantastic matchup against the struggling Cavs defense, Batum might not be in top playing shape. Yet his elbow injury likely didn’t keep him from working on his conditioning, so he should be able to handle 20-plus minutes or more – just stay tuned for any news from Hornets beat writers on his potential restrictions. At this price tag, that’s all the Swiss army knife of a player should need to exceed value. Batum’s never backed down from the challenge of guarding LeBron James and even at less than full strength, represents the Hornets best option to slow down The King.
Tyreke Evans – (6,600 DK/6,800 FD)
Evans is finally healthy and has become a very reliable cash game with 20-plus points in six consecutive games for Memphis.
Robert Covington – (6,300 DK/6,800 FD)
Covington’s been red hot lately and draws a decent matchup tonight against an undisciplined young Lakers team.
Kristaps Porzingis – (8,900 DK/9,300 FD)
His price tag seems to fluctuate more dramatically than most stars, so you should consider pouncing on The Zinger at a modest discount tonight. He’s facing a Jazz team with a good defensive reputation, but with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert (knee) out indefinitely, Porzingis will be able to dominate down low against the oft-injured Derrick Favors or backup bigs such as Ekpe Udoh. Utah’s giving up 107 PPG over its last seven contests and will have to try and contain The Unicorn at MSG, where he’s averaging 31 PPG and 2.6 BPG while shooting 53 percent from the floor this season.
Jerami Grant – (4,300 DK/4,700 FD)
If Carmelo Anthony (back) is out tonight, Grant could enter the SLU for OKC at PF and serve as a high-upside value. He still has a solid floor in a bench role, as he’s been playing 23.2 MPG with peripheral stats across the board this season, but if he plays a full slate of run we could see just how much the nephew of former Bulls star Horace Grant has improved. Grant is averaging 13 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 steals/blocks per 36 minutes this season, while he draws a plus matchup against his brother Jerian and the young Bulls, who turn it over the most times per game (13.5) in the NBA this year.
Julius Randle – (5,100 DK/5,200 FD)
Randle continues to meet or exceed value as a mid-tier option and he matches up well against the 76ers tonight.
Kevin Love – (7,400 DK/7,200 FD)
Love is another boom-bust option to consider on the flanks of King James, as he’s either tripled the value of his price tag or fizzled completely in recent outings.
Andre Drummond – (9,000 DK/9,500 FD)
Drummond’s streak of four consecutive monstrous double doubles came to a close on Sunday in a tough matchup against Hassan Whiteside, but there will be no true center to oppose him in this matchup. Milwaukee’s coughing up the sixth-most PPG (24.17) to opposing centers this year and is shorthanded with John Henson starting at the 5 and second-year man Thon Maker backing him up. Drummond went for 24 points and 14 rebounds over just 28 minutes in a meeting with the Bucks earlier this month and his greatly improved FT percentage (.632%) is making a dramatically positive impact on his scoring.
Joel Embiid – (8,600 DK/9,700 FD)
The Process turned plenty of heads with 32 points and 16 boards over a career-high 36 minutes against DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers on Monday. Clearly, if he can accomplish that against one of the best defensive bigs in the league he’s worth paying up for in a matchup against slow-footed Brook Lopez and a Lakers team that gives up the fourth-most SPG (9.0) and 11th-most BPG (4.9) in the NBA this season, which is the reason for Embiid’s lofty price tag on FD. With per 36 minute averages of 26.4 points, 13.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks this season, he’s clearly going to beast if he can log that amount of run on a nightly basis.
John Henson – (4,700 DK/5,700 FD)
Henson still has a good chance to meet value if he can avoid value in a matchup against Drummond, who has a long way to go defensively.
Enes Kanter – (6,600 DK/6,900 FD)
Kanter will be motivated to face his former team and show up for his current teammates after talking all that mess to LeBron James on Monday.