Each team only has a few games left in the NBA regular season, giving us a rare huge 11-game DFS slate on a Tuesday. Teams that are out of contention continue to sit players, opening up value for your DFS lineups. Let’s take a look.
Denver will remain without Will Barton, PJ Dozier and Jamal Murray, but Monte Morris could return. If he does, I still don’t want to play him, but it could take minutes away from Facundo Campazzo and Austin Rivers. Meanwhile, Aaron Gordon was a late scratch over the weekend, leading to a start from JaMychal Green and 30-plus minutes, though it is also worth noting that Paul Millsap didn’t step onto the floor at all. Gordon is probable, removing Green from your player pool. Of course, we’ll continue to start with Nikola Jokic, who has reached $11,000 on DraftKings again. Still, Jokic leads the NBA in touches per game (101.8) and over the last 15 games, he is averaging just under 10 post-ups per contest. There is nothing to fear with this matchup, as Charlotte is coughing up the seventh-worst field goal percentage to the post on the year (51.4%), as well as the eighth-most points per possession (0.97) off the play type. And if Morris remains out for Denver, I still don’t hate Rivers at $4,200 on DK. He could get hot from three here, as 39% of the points surrendered by the Hornets this season have come from beyond the arc, the second-highest mark in the NBA.
For Charlotte, Devonte' Graham is listed as questionable again with a knee injury, while Miles Bridges and Cody Martin will remain out. Terry Rozier is coming off a brilliant game, scoring 43 points while adding five rebounds and four assists. I like this spot for him, as Denver is allowing the third-most points per game off transition this season, as well as the most points per possession (1.23) and worst field goal percentage (57.9%) off the play type. That bodes well for Rozier, who is averaging 5.2 transition points per game, good for the sixth-most in all of basketball this season. I like Rozier even more, obviously, if Graham remains sidelined. Meanwhile, LaMelo Ball has been a bit underwhelming lately, but we know there is a ceiling at his price tag. This is still an awesome fantasy player who is sporting a 29.8% usage rate, 19% rebounding rate and 22% assist rate since returning from his wrist injury. Ball is also averaging nearly 13 drives per game on the year, while Denver is allowing the highest field goal percentage in the league from within four feet of the basket.
Timberwolves @ Pistons
MIN -7.5, total: 227
Once again, the Pistons will be resting players Tuesday, as Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee and Cory Joseph will sit, along with Hamidou Diallo and Wayne Ellington. Meanwhile, Josh Jackson is questionable and Frank Jackson, who finally started last game, is questionable after leaving with an ankle injury. Sheesh. Detroit could have an eight-man rotation in this game, which is great for fantasy because it solidifies minutes. Rookie Killian Hayes posted a near 30% usage rate in Detroit’s last game and should hover around that mark again, especially if Jackson can’t play. Meanwhile, Isaiah Stewart is worth a look after coming off a bounceback game. He’ll remain in the starting lineup and in 13 starts this season, Stewart is averaging 12.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. And if Jackson and Diallo are both out, Saben Lee could become a value play at $3,400. He logged 32 minutes last game.
D'Angelo Russell is starting to put together really good games, resulting in his price climbing toward the $8,000 range. He remains a fine play in this game, but my attention shifts to Karl-Anthony Towns at $10,200. The Pistons rank 27th against rebounders, 23rd against skilled centers and 25th against stretch centers, according to our advanced DVP tool.
Heat @ Celtics preview
MIA -2, total: 222.5
Jaylen Brown has missed the last three games with an ankle injury but was suddenly ruled out for the remainder of the season with a wrist injury Monday afternoon. Jayson Tatum will have to carry the load for the remainder of the year, and he’s willing to do so, posting a 34.3% usage rate and averaging 1.37 fantasy points per minute with Brown off the court over the course of the season. Regardless of matchup, I love that usage and I love the $9,700 price tag for Tatum. I also really like Evan Fournier, who is coming off his best game in a long time, scoring 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting. Fournier should play 35-plus minutes and faces a Miami team that is allowing the second-most points per possession to opposing shooters off screens this season (1.08). Meanwhile, 40% of the points surrendered by the Heat have come from three-point land, the highest mark in the league. And then there is Kemba Walker, who sees a 4.2% bump in usage with Brown off the floor this season, putting him firmly in play once again, too.
For Miami, no one really stands out as elite options. With Tyler Herro back, both Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn are less-than-great options, while Herro isn’t exactly the best option himself. If choosing one player from this team, it would be Bam Adebayo at a fair $8,600 price tag on DK. Boston is allowing the second-most points per possession off putbacks this season, which bodes well for Bam. And Jimmy Butler remains a high-floor/ceiling play at $9,200.
The Clippers could win this game very easily, but I still like giving Kawhi Leonard a look, especially at just $8,300 on DraftKings, an insanely low price tag for a player of his caliber. Outside of that, I don’t see myself getting too excited about the Clippers here, especially with Paul George about $600 more expensive.
76ers @ Pacers preview
PHI -6.5, total: 236.5
The 76ers were without Ben Simmons and Seth Curry Saturday night, but both players are off the injury report ahead of Tuesday’s game. However, Joel Embiid (non-COVID illness) is listed as questionable, so we will have to keep track of the 76ers injury report. If Embiid sits, Dwight Howard obviously gets a bump. He went off in 22 minutes the other night, scoring 19 points to go along with 14 rebounds. He’d start at center if Embiid gets ruled out — with the all-world center off the court this season, Howard is sporting a massive 49% rebounding rate, while averaging 1.22 fantasy points per minute in the split. Meanwhile, Simmons sees a usage bump of over 3% with Embiid off the floor, while Tobias Harris’ usage rate jumps by 4.2%. Both would be very strong plays if Embiid is ruled out, while the 76ers would likely play at a faster rate with Embiid and his league-leading post-ups per game sidelined. Both players price tags are extremely tough to pass up, even if Embiid does play.
The Pacers will once again be without both Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner, making Domantas Sabonis a strong option once again, especially if Philadelphia is without Embiid in the middle. With Embiid off the court this season, the 76ers defensive rating drops by over eight points, while their net rating drops by over seven points. Sabonis has been red hot as of late, averaging 27 points, 14.4 rebounds, 10.6 assists and over 65 fantasy points per game over his last five games. And during that same span, he is also averaging 106.6 touches per game, the third-most in the NBA and around 10 more per game than his season average, as he takes on a larger role with Brogdon sidelined. Caris LeVert has also been fantastic, averaging 50.3 fantasy points per game over his last five, while sporting a 29.7% usage rate with both Brogdon and Turner off the floor this season. Meanwhile, Edmond Sumner started last game and played 30 minutes, making him a viable value play once again.
Mavericks @ Grizzlies preview
DAL -2, total: 226.5
Once again, Kristaps Porzingis has been ruled out for the Mavericks. He’s missed the last five games and nine of the last 10. Over the last five games, Luka Doncic is sporting a 36.7% usage rate and hopefully he won’t get ejected in the middle of Tuesday’s game. We have also seen Tim Hardaway become a much better fantasy contributor in Porzingis’ absence, averaging just over 35 fantasy points per game over his last five, while sporting a solid 25.3% usage rate with KP off the floor this season. This is a solid spot for him, facing a Memphis team that is surrendering the most points per possession to opposing shooters off screens this season (1.09), while Hardaway is 16th in the league in points per game off the play type. Meanwhile, if Maxi Kleber also sets, we should see Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein split minutes at the five. Powell seems like the safer bet to see 25-plus minutes, however.
For Memphis, Jonas Valanciunas is once again my favorite play, especially against a Dallas team that is coughing up the eighth-most points per game to the post on the year (5.5), as well as a league-worst 54.1% field goal percentage off the play type. JoVal, meanwhile, is averaging 3.8 post-up points per game this season, good for the ninth-most in the NBA, while shooting 56% off the play type. Meanwhile, Jaren Jackson continues to post very enticing metrics since making his season debut, sporting a 27.4% usage rate and 23% rebounding rate, while averaging 1.24 fantasy points per minute. He’s logged 25 and 26 minutes over the last two games but with Memphis on the second leg of a back-to-back, it is very, very possible that he sits this game out, which would lead to even more usage for Valanciunas and Ja Morant, who I still don’t love at his $8,000 price range.
Nets @ Bulls preview
BKN -5.5, total: 232
Nikola Vucevic is on a tear right now, scoring 60.5, 60.0 and 56.0 fantasy points over his last three games, all of which were played alongside Zach LaVine, who returned to the lineup three games ago. Vucevic is expensive but I still like him, especially against a Brooklyn frontcourt that is allowing 7.1 post-up points per game on the year, the most in all of basketball. Vucevic, meanwhile, is averaging 6.0 post-up points per game, tied for the second-most in the league. LaVine isn’t an awful play by any means but at his price range, I prefer other players not only on this slate, but from this same game. If choosing anyone else from this game, maybe Garrett Temple as a value option but there isn’t much of a ceiling.
I love Kyrie Irving in this game. He’s averaging over 32 real points and 50.5 fantasy points per game over his last five outings and now faces a Bulls team that ranks 24th against scorers, 26th against crafty finishers and 29th against superstars on the year. Chicago is also surrendering a league-worst 22.3 points per game to opposing ball handlers out of the pick and roll, while Irving is averaging 8.2 points per game off the play type this season, good for the 12th-most in all of basketball. And of course, Kevin Durant is a very strong play at $9,900 on DraftKings, as the Nets will remain without James Harden. Durant is sporting a usage rate north of 32% with Harden off the floor this year, while averaging a gaudy 1.49 fantasy points per minute. And if you hate your power forward options in the value range, Blake Griffin has been starting at center and playing around 27 minutes per game as of late. You could definitely do worse.
Magic @ Bucks preview
MIL -14, total: 230
The Bucks will be heavy home favorites here against the Magic, which means you have to decide whether you want to pay up for Giannis Antetkounmpo. Of course, as we know, Giannis can score 60 fantasy points in 28 minutes of action against anyone, especially the Magic. But there are a lot of high-end players to choose from on this slate and I’m just not sure that Giannis is my favorite with all things considered. Meanwhile, both Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are fine floor options but if Orlando can’t keep this game close, I don’t see a way for all three Milwaukee players to hit their ceiling here.
As for Orlando, I actually don’t like anyone from this team here. Mo Bamba has been pretty spectacular lately but Wendell Carter could return for this game, while Bamba’s price tag has skyrocketed all the way to $7,400 on DK. Foul trouble is also a concern for him against the Greek Freak. A lot of these Orlando players are priced up to the point where I will seemingly always prefer someone from another team in a more enticing game for fantasy.
Suns @ Warriors preview
PHX -5, total: 231
Stephen Curry is really the only player from Golden State that stands out here. The matchup isn’t the greatest, but it really doesn’t matter when it comes to Curry, who has scored at least 30 real points in each of his last six games. Andrew Wiggins, meanwhile, isn’t an awful option at his $6,900 price tag, especially since he’ll play 35-38 minutes with Kelly Oubre once again ruled out, but he’s nowhere close to a top target. And while we know the floor will be there with Draymond Green (22% rebounding rate, 28% assist rate), the ceiling is certainly in question for tournaments.
For Phoenix, I once again like Chris Paul and Devin Booker, especially in a pace-up spot against a Warriors team that ranks top-three in the NBA in pace. Booker hasn’t reached 50 fantasy points in any of his last 10 games, but we know the upside is definitely still there, while his price tag is perfectly fine. And while his upside has been very inconsistent over the course of the season, there is a path to Deandre Ayton having a strong game here, as the Warriors are allowing the second-most points per game off putbacks (7.2), while Ayton is averaging 2.5 putback points per game on the year. Finally, with Cameron Johnson once again ruled out, Jae Crowder isn’t the worst play at $4,100 on DraftKings.
Knicks @ Lakers preview
LAL -5.5, total: 213
Anthony Davis is coming off a huge game and should continue to dominate usage for the Lakers, who will remain without both LeBron James and Dennis Schroder for this game. Over his last two games, Davis is sporting a massive 37.4% usage rate, while attempting 23 and 27 field goals during that span. The matchup isn’t the best, but volume is certainly on his side and we know that when he’s right, Davis is one of the best players in all of fantasy. The rest of this team, however, is underwhelming. Alex Caruso continues to play strong minutes in the absences of James and Schroder and is coming off a very good game. However, his price is now flirting with $5,000 and he’s not 100%, as he continues to deal with a foot injury. Meanwhile, Andre Drummond’s minutes and ceiling are capped playing alongside Davis.
Meanwhile, Derrick Rose is looking fantastic as of late and is coming off a stellar game, scoring 25 points to go along with six rebounds and eight assists. He’s scored at least 20 points in three of his last five games and over the last week of action, Rose is sporting a 25% usage rate, while averaging 1.10 fantasy points per minute. While he isn’t my favorite play of the slate, it is hard to argue his production right now, while the price tag is still fair. And after a few underwhelming games, Julius Randle has seen his price drop all the way to $9,400 on DK, which makes him intriguing here. He still offers a huge floor/ceiling combination, as he ranks 10th in the NBA in touches (82.9) and 12th in rebounding chances (16.5) per game on the year.
Thunder @ Kings preview
SAC -10.5, total: 224
These teams just met the other night and as usual, the Thunder were blown out. Of course, there is upside in this game, as it features two depleted teams that also have poor defenses. Delon Wright has been sensational since taking on a larger role in the absences of both De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. Over his last six games, Wright is averaging 15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 40.5 fantasy points per game. And in the four games since Haliburton has been out of the lineup, Wright is averaging a strong 84 touches and nearly seven minutes of possession per game. With both Haliburton and Fox off the floor this season, Wright is sporting a 20.7% usage rate, 19% assist rate and 19% rebounding rate, while averaging 1.23 fantasy points per minute in the split. I also like going right back to Buddy Hield here, who has added more peripherals to his game in the absences of Sacramento’s guards. This has resulted in a much higher floor, but the ceiling can still be had, especially if Oklahoma City can keep this game close. The Thunder are allowing the most points per game to shooters off screens this season (6.7), while Hield’s 2.6 points per game off the play type are good for the seventh-most in the NBA. Meanwhile, with Harrison Barnes also listed as doubtful, both Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley make for very strong GPP options, especially Bagley, who has been starting and seeing more consistent run since returning from his injury.
For the Thunder, Luguentz Dort is really the only player on my radar but he is questionable to play in this game. If active, he’s a fine option at $6,500 against an awful Kings defense, especially with Theo Maledon inactive. If looking elsewhere from this team, perhaps Aleksej Pokusevski, who returned from injury last game, or Svi Mykhailuk with Maledon out and Ty Jerome questionable.
Adam Pfeifer has been covering fantasy football, baseball and basketball since 2012. He has been featured in the Football Diehards fantasy magazine for four years now, while also making multiple appearances on Sirius XM Fantasy. You can follow him on Twitter @APfeifer24.