Worth Paying Up For: Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic ($11,100)
Westbrook is the highest-priced player on the slate, and for good reason. The Wizards play at the fastest pace in the league and the floor-ceiling combo may be unmatched. Look at his last five games: 62, 52.5, 50.25, 69.75 and 94.5 DKFP. Who does that?
Bradley Beal ($9,500) was out for all those games and is questionable today. It doesn’t matter, though, because even if he plays, the floor-ceiling combo remains intact since Westbrook put up 59.75, 58.5, 40.5, 70.25 and 82.25 DKFP in the five games prior with Beal on the court. Rain or shine, in sickness or in health, with or without Beal, Westbrook will put up plenty of fantasy goodies.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Brad Wanamaker, Charlotte Hornets at Oklahoma City Thunder ($3,200)
LaMelo Ball ($7,300), Malik Monk ($4,700), and Gordon Hayward ($7,900) are all out. That leaves plenty of minutes and usage for Wanamaker. Since joining the Hornets, he’s played 4, 14, 30, and 18 minutes. The variance has been wide due to the blowout nature of three of those games. The encouraging thing is that he garnered a usage rate of 22.3, 16.8, and 22.3 in the most recent games and produced 13.5, 27.25, and 13.5 DKFP. He’s not sexy but he’s almost minimum priced and has 10x potential if things break right.
Worth Paying Up For: Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($10,200)
James Harden ($10,900) is out for this one but Kevin Durant ($9,200) returns after missing 23 straight games. I expect Durant to play a full complement of minutes and garner a ton of usage but it shouldn’t affect Kyrie too much. He will still garner a usage rate in the 30 range and carry the normal offensive workload. The pie is still big in Brooklyn, especially when Harden is out. New Orleans is 28th in defensive efficiency and boost the fantasy points per minute to point guards by 2.31% above league average.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Ty Jerome, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Charlotte Hornets ($4,400)
Jerome didn’t enter the rotation until Februrary 26th. Since then, he’s played 17 games and averaged 25.7 minutes. He’s produced 0.81 DKFP per minute with a low of 5 and a high of 30.5 DKFP. The variance is wide but he’s garnered a 16.4 usage rate over that span and the minutes are secure since Operation Tank is in full effect.
Worth Paying Up For: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets ($10,900)
Doncic averages 1.56 DKFP per minute. The league leader is Giannis Antetokounmpo at 1.64 so he’s in rarified air. HalleLuka indeed. Doncic plays 35 minutes per game and garners a usage rate of 35.7. He is the alpha and the omega of the Mavericks. He’s scored at least 70 DKFP eight times this season with two of those over 80, so the recent stretch of 40-50 DKFP is unsatisfying. With that said, he gets a matchup against the Rockets who play at the fourth-fastest pace and he went for 71.5 and 45.25 DKFP in two prior meetings.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets at Oklahoma City Thunder ($5,300)
Bridges has played 32 and 31 minutes the last two games as he’s filled in for Gordon Hayward ($7,900), who is out for today’s game. In 106 minutes with Hayward off the court, Bridges sees a 5.3% usage bump to 21.1. He should get a second straight start and, in three prior starts, Bridges has averaged 33.3 minutes and 23 DKFP. The environment should suit Bridges as the Thunder play at the sixth-fastest pace and boost the fantasy points per minute to small forwards by 5.8% above league average.
Worth Paying Up For: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets ($9,000)
Zion has been on such a tear recently, scoring at least 40 DKFP in eight straight games with two above 50 and one 65.6 explosion against the Nuggets. At 6’ 7” and 284 pounds, he’s a bull in the paint and is almost indefensible at the rim, especially when you consider he has flea-like hops. The Nets play at the ninth-fastest pace and are 25th in defensive efficiency. The Pelicans are 28th in defensive efficiency so there could be plenty of fantasy goodies in this one.
Best Bang For Your Buck: James Johnson, New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn Nets ($5,500)
Brandon Ingram ($8,300) is doubtful for today’s game so Johnson will likely make his fifth straight start. He had produced 28.75, 35.5, 43.25, and 15.5 in the prior four starts. When Zion returned, though, the usage plummeted from the low-20s down to 12. With that said, he should be out on the floor for around 28 minutes and the game environment should provide plenty of opportunities for counting stats. Johnson does have the ability to contribute in every statistical category.
Worth Paying Up For: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves at Indiana Pacers ($10,700)
Over the last seven games, Towns has scored at least 50 DKFP in each game with two games above 60 and one 70.5 outburst against the 76ers. Towns can do it all. Score inside, outside, pass, block, steal, and assist. He is the complete package. Now he faces a Pacers team that has been generous to the center position all season, boosting the fantasy points per minute by 8.41% above league average. And that was with Myles Turner ($6,300), who is unlikely to play the second leg of a back-to-back after spraining his ankle on Tuesday.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Goga Bitadze, Indiana Pacers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($3,800)
Bitadze has played in 30 games this season and averaged 10.1 minutes and 11.35 DKFP per game. With Turner unlikely to play and Domantas Sabonis ($8,900) a game-time decision, he could get all the playing time he can handle. The environment is a good one as the Timberwolves play at the second-fastest pace and are 27th in defensive efficiency.
Overall Lineup Strategy
The bubble-less N(BA) is turning into the Wild West … just like NFL and MLB were. So, first and foremost, following the news is always a must in the N(BA), but now it’s even more important. Make sure to follow @dklive on Twitter and download the DK Live app to stay up-to-date with all the latest news.
MIN/IND, WAS/ORL, and NO/BKN have the tastiest game environments and there’s some decent value in each game. UTA/PHO is a sneaky one as the spread is only 1.5 with a total of 227. It’s also the late-night hammer so ownership could be super low across-the-board.
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