I hope everyone had a great weekend, and congratulations to Philadelphia Eagles fans on your first Super Bowl win.
Tonight we get back on the NBA grind with a seven-game slate, and we have a lot of injury news to monitor. We don’t have a ton of value plays on this slate yet, but that could easily change.
Ricky Rubio @ New Orleans Pelicans
Rubio is one of my favorite options on the slate tonight, as I think he’s a high-upside GPP play. Donovan Mitchell is dealing with an illness, and he’s questionable to play tonight. Rubio has a 23.7% usage and he’s averaging .96 fantasy points per minute with Mitchell on the floor. His usage and average fantasy point per minute actually go down with Mitchell off the floor. So while some people might want Mitchell to sit tonight, I’m hoping he plays. It's Rodney Hood that receives a nice bump in usage without Mitchell on the floor. Utah receives the biggest bump in pace on the slate tonight, and their implied team total is 3.7 points higher than their season average. It also doesn't hurt that Rajon Rondo ranks 89th out of 98 qualified point guards in DRPM.
Zach LaVine @ Sacramento Kings
LaVine finally played over 30 minutes on Saturday, so now he becomes a much more usable player in DFS. He’s scored at least 20 actual points in three of the last five games, and while LaVine has only played 53.6 minutes without Markkanen, Mirotic, and Dunn on the floor this season, he has a 33.6% usage rate and is averaging 1.4 fantasy points per minute. With Markkanen and Dunn already ruled out for tonight’s game, and Mirotic traded away, LaVine becomes one of the best plays on the slate. This is going to be one of the fastest games in terms of pace tonight, as both teams rank in the bottom five in defensive efficiency this season. This is a great game to stack and I’m going to attack it.
Otto Porter Jr. @ Indiana Pacers
Small forward on FanDuel is tough tonight, and I’m looking at Porter to be the highest scoring small forward. I think he will have some decent ownership, but I think his raw fantasy points will matter in this matchup. The Pacers are sixth in defensive efficiency against shooting guards this season, and Victor Oladipo is ranked fourth out of 104 shooting guards in DRPM. This creates a really tough matchup for Beal, which could lead to more usage for Porter. He has at least 40 fantasy points in two of the last three games, and I like his chances to top that mark again tonight.
Nikola Mirotic vs. Utah Jazz
I was pumped when this trade happened, and Mirotic was the first guy in my lineup on Saturday in his debut – he played 35 minutes and had 48 fantasy points against the Timberwolves. He gets a tougher matchup on paper tonight but could excel again. Mirotic is the type of player that could give Favors fits, and he’s already done it once this season. He played 35 minutes against Utah when he was with the Bulls and finished with 45 fantasy points. Mirotic is a lock for me on DraftKings and is a very interesting tournament play over on FanDuel. Even if he comes off the bench again, expect him to have a high usage rate with the second unit.
Bobby Portis @ Sacramento Kings
Portis is a PF/C on DraftKings, but he’s just a PF on FanDuel. Being able to use him as a center on DraftKings tonight is nice, but I do think he’s in play on both sites. Markkanen is ruled out for tonight’s game, and with Mirotic gone, Portis could see 26-30 minutes against the Kings. He’s a fantasy point per minute guy and gets a nice matchup here. The Kings are 22nd in defensive efficiency against power forwards and 29th against centers. Whether Portis plays the four or five doesn’t matter tonight, which puts him in a great spot if he receives the extra minutes.