Plays of the Day
Value: Austin Rivers played 36 minutes in his last appearance for the Clippers and finally shot the ball well. He’ll serve as a solid value option if he can play through a minor injury in a fast-paced matchup against Golden State tonight.
Fade: Steph Curry can score on anyone and is highly unlikely to be shut down, but Patrick Beverley is one of the best defenders out there and he has the Clippers top-ranked defense to back him now, rather than the sieve that was the rest of the Houston Rockets.
Kyrie Irving – (8,000 DK/8,200 FD)
We’re starting to see more of a concerted effort from Kyrie to act like a true leader on the floor for Boston, and leading the Celtics to their first win over the Spurs in 12 tries would be a huge step forward. He worked very well in tandem with Al Horford in a win at Milwaukee on Thursday and followed up with another 24-point game in a tough matchup at Miami Saturday night. The Spurs have a great reputation defensively, but are clearly shorthanded with Kawhi Leonard (quad) and Tony Parker (thigh) out and Kyrie’s stepped up in big spots against elite opponents plenty of times before.
Jarrett Jack – (4,300 DK/4,200 FD)
The Knicks rolled a shorthanded Nets team on Friday night and then surprised everyone by beating the Cavs on Sunday. While Jack didn’t shoot particularly well, he paced the offense with 9 assists and logged 33 minutes along with the rest of a very productive starting lineup. Ramon Sessions has fallen out of the rotation and it’s hard to imagine HC Jeff Hornacek messing with what’s working after a two-game winning streak.
Yogi Ferrell – (4,000 DK/4,700 FD)
Ferrell’s individual matchup is just fine against Ricky Rubio and his price point is quite tempting as a secure play with Seth Curry (leg) inactive.
Kemba Walker – (7,700 DK/8,100 FD)
Walker’s coming off a massive game and faces a Grizzlies defense that’s been surprisingly vulnerable against opposing PGs to open the year.
James Harden – (11,000 DK/11,200 FD)
If Eric Gordon (illness) remains out, Harden will be a chalk play to an extent with a very high floor but he should be worth the money since he’s rocking a 38.1% usage rate while averaging 1.30 FPs per minute with both EG and Chris Paul (knee) off the floor this year. The Rockets offense simply crumbled in Memphis with Gordon out, yet now they face a far more vulnerable young team and they’ll look to ride The Beard to victory after edging the Sixers, 105-104, in Philly last week.
DeMar DeRozan – (7,900 DK/8,300 FD)
DeRozan’s in a solid price range for a player with a lofty floor, as he’s produced at least 41 DK points in 3 consecutive road games and will look to continue his run of productivity at Portland. The Blazers are sixth in the NBA in PPG (111.3) and this game has been assigned a solid 215-point Over/Under, so DDR is looking at a high-volume role in a potential shootout. He’s 36-for-71 (50.7%) from the field over his last two games and is one of the most consistent mid-range shooters in the league without question.
Austin Rivers – (4,900 DK/5,000 FD)
Rivers is logging huge minutes out of the shorthanded Clippers backcourt and he’ll be needed in a fast-paced matchup against the Warriors tonight.
Rodney Hood – (5,300 DK/5,200 FD)
Hood is coming on for the Jazz after a slow start and faces a Mavericks team that’s had trouble defending the three-point line.
Ben Simmons – (9,200 DK/9,300 FD)
How can you fade a talented young player who is consistently flirting with a triple double, yet remains priced below $10k and well below the range of similarly consistent players. Simmons is averaging 9.5 RPG and 7.5 APG and his scoring is on the rise with 58 points on 25-for-43 (58%) FG shooting over his last three appearances. Tonight he faces the fast-paced Rockets after going for 14 points, 7 boards, 9 assists and 3 steals in a close loss to Houston last week and he should improve on those numbers while seeing heavy usage with Joel Embiid (hand) potentially limited.
Joe Ingles – (5,200 DK/5,400 FD)
Ingles is getting extra opportunities with Gordon Hayward no longer in a Jazz uniform and he’s thriving thus far. The Australian native has met or exceeded value in 5-of-6 appearances this year, with the sole exception coming against a staunch Clippers defense on a night where he felt sick and only logged 18 minutes. Since then he’s played 62 minutes over 2 games, producing 24 points with 6 steals and shooting 5-for-11 from downtown. Ingles is a sniper, who led the league in 3PT% for a lengthy period last year and faces a Mavs team that’s allowed the second-most 3PTM per game (11.9) in the NBA this season.
Trevor Ariza – (5,000 DK/5,100 FD)
Ariza is logging heavy minutes for the Rockets and could see an expanded role if Gordon remains out tonight.
Tyreke Evans – (4,900 DK/5,200 FD)
Evans is a huge injury risk but he’s been healthy thus far to open the season and is routinely meeting or exceeding value.
Kristaps Porzingis – (8,400 DK/8,900 FD)
Aside from a weak line in a blowout loss to Boston, Porzingis has routinely exceeded value, including a dominant 32-point, 12-rebound performance in a win at Cleveland last night. That arguably makes him a better per-dollar option tonight than Anthony Davis, as he faces a Nuggets team that’s been mediocre defensively while giving up 102.5 PPG this season. More important than the matchup is the Knicks improved chemistry with a veteran PG running the show in Jack and other Tim Hardaway Jr. finally heating up from the outside to keep the defense honest. The Zinger will log a monstrous usage rate (33.9% this season) throughout the year, but his efficiency will go through the roof if defenses are unable to send help at him.
LaMarcus Aldridge – (8,500 DK/8,700 FD)
Aldridge has seemingly regained his confidence and he’s playing like an all-star once again, as he’s carried the Spurs to a 4-1 start with team-high averages of 25.6 PPG and 9.2 RPG on the year. Even in a surprising blowout loss at Orlando, LMA flashed a great floor by snagging a double double with 24 points over 30 minutes of work. The Spurs are going for a 12th consecutive win over the Celtics and they have an obvious advantage in their versatile PF, who can shoot over smaller defenders and rebound effectively against an undersized team like the Celtics.
Al-Farouq Aminu – (5,300 DK/5,800 FD)
Aminu fills the stat sheet whenever he gets extended minutes and he should be all over the court in a home game against the Raptors tonight.
Ryan Anderson – (5,100 DK/5,400 FD)
Anderson has been far more effective to open his second season with the Rockets and he could be asked to fire away even more if Gordon is out tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins – (11,600 DK/12,000 FD)
Boogie’s been spectacular to open the season and doesn’t come with a huge injury risk like his superstar teammate, Anthony Davis. His individual matchup is also much better against mediocre defender Nikola Vucevic, whom Cousins torched for 33 points on 12-of-20 FG shooting (60%) in their sole meeting last year. Playing alongside another superstar has tapered his usage to an extent, but also seems to be preserving Boogie for other aspects of the game, as he’s on pace for career-best averages of 2.3 blocks and 13.8 rebounds per game.
Jusuf Nurkic – (6,400 DK/6,900 FD)
Nurkic is starting to turn it around after a rough start to the season and he’ll likely be facing Jonas Valanciunas in the big man’s first game back from a bad sprained ankle. We could see some tentative defensive play from JoVal and plenty of opportunities for Nurkic to finish while diving to the rim when the Blazers run pick-and-roll sets. Nurk slimmed up this offseason so that he could presumably use his superior skill and quickness against slower bigs such as either Valanciunas or back-up center Jakob Poeltl.
Cody Zeller – (4,300 DK/4,300 FD)
Zeller returned just in time for the Hornets, as Frank Kaminsky’s dealing with an illness and that has opened up more minutes for him.
Karl-Anthony Towns – (9,000 DK/9,800 FD)
Towns would be a fine consolation prize to Boogie and well worth considering if Hassan Whiteside (knee) remains out for Miami.