This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
NOTE: This article will cover DraftKings' featured slate beginning at 7 PM ET. All early games (MIL/ATL, DAL/OKC, LAL/NO) will be excluded from consideration.
With most of the firepower happening on the early side today, we have that rare occurrence of a slate completely devoid of 10k-plus talent. The day is also unique because aside from some ongoing injury situations (Danilo Gallinari's being the most notable) the slate is squeaky clean on the injury front. Granted, load management could creep into the conversation as we get closer to game lock, but that will be par for the course as we enter the final two weeks of the season.
The most striking thing to me at first glance is how mediocre totals have been for the elites against the teams they play tonight. Jokic only managed 41 against the Wizards in their first meeting, Curry struggled previously against the Hornets, and while Durant put up 41 DKFP, that's nowhere near value at $9,100. My recommendations below will illustrate just how far I'll slide past these elites, which should allow for a more balanced approach to the slate. The opportunity for dart throws still exist in GPP land, but as I've said before, slim slates make for less profitable GPP opportunities.
Mike Conley, MEM at LAC ($7,800): While I think it's safe to lock Bradley Beal back in after a resurgent two-game run, we're faced with a group of guards who will all demonstrate similar floors based on their matchups tonight. Despite Conley's potentially high ownership and back-to-back status, I think he's the most solid play based on his impressive history against the Clippers (44.4 DKFPPG over three contests). I want to like De'Aaron Fox tonight, but after the Kings were eliminated from the playoffs last night, I'm less inclined to go that route. I would gladly move to Fox here if Mike Conley ends up sitting tonight - he's been prone to rest on back-to-backs recently, so I would keep an eye on that possibility.
Jamal Murray, DEN vs. WAS ($6,400): Murray went off against the Thunder for 27 points and nine assists ten days ago, and he's currently enjoying a three-game streak of 20 points or more. As the Nuggets jostle with the Warriors for top spot in the West, I think the game script tonight is ideal as they host the Wizards in high altitude. Murray's price and floor line right up to value, but I think a high assist total could vault him well above value if the Murray-Jokic starts humming.
Delon Wright, MEM at LAC ($5,500): The Grizzlies have anointed Tyler Dorsey as the every-day starter, but he logged 38 minutes last night compared to Wright's 28, and on this back-to-back, I think Wright should emerge as the better play despite commanding $1K more than Dorsey. I'm inclined to play Wright in cash, and I'll gladly risk Dorsey in a GPP, but I favor Wright's usage overall. On the off-chance that Conley sits, I think both of them open up as excellent options.
Additional guards to consider: Tomas Satoransky, WAS at DEN ($5,900)
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. SAC ($8,100): At first glance, it looks like I run contrarian to a lot of other projections tonight with Aldridge, but I think people are underestimating the morale hit the Kings took after getting eliminated from playoff contention. For my money, I think this sets up as an excellent opportunity for the Spurs. Right now, they could end up playing the Warriors, Nuggets or Rockets in the first round of the playoff, and I think they'd rather tackle Houston, which gives them proper motivation tonight. Aldridge's reputation for explosiveness almost rivals his volatility, but as far as ownership goes, you can rarely go wrong. The slim slate might boost those ownership numbers a bit, but I predict a value-hitting number for Aldridge tonight.
Bruno Caboclo, MEM at LAC ($5,300): Danilo Gallinari's potential absence opens up things at the wing for Memphis, and Caboclo's strung together an impressive group of games, despite some volatility here and there. With Memphis' litany of long-term injuries, the opportunity for Caboclo is definitely there, as he's averaged 34 minutes per game over the last six contests and has essentially locked down duties as the starting power forward.
Frank Kaminsky, CHA at GS ($,4,600): The Hornets seem to favor Kaminsky over Willy Hernangomez and Bismack Biyombo at the center spot moving forward, and I'm utilizing his dual eligibility to open up things for other big men I'm endorsing. He'll have to contend with Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins, but at 7 feet tall, he's the best player to match with Boogie inside.
Additional forwards to consider: Bobby Portis, WAS at DEN ($6,300)
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM at LAC ($7,900): I think the public will render him the chalkiest of chalk plays tonight. That being said, I don't think he's a slate-breaker, so I don't feel a need to use him as a GPP anchor. Ownership will likely exceed 50 percent in cash lineups, and for a good reason. With Joakim Noah out and Ivan Rabb as the only feasible option under the basket, you're compelled to roster Valanciunas based on opportunity alone. He's also scored 40 or more DKFP in five straight games.
DeMarcus Cousins, GS vs. CHA ($7,400): Don't sleep on Boogie here, as this game checks all the boxes for the Warriors and their marquee big man. They're fighting the Nuggets for the top spot in the West, and they're gunning for the title based on pride alone, as no one has come close to contesting the Western crown over what feels like the past century. Double-doubles have been elusive for Cousins recently, but his one-game split versus the Hornets yielded one to go along with a 51 DKFP evening.
Draymond Green, GS vs. CHA ($5,900): While I wouldn't roster Cousins and Green together, I like Draymond as a GPP pivot. His history against Charlotte is strong, and he's working on a three-game run of 30-plus DKFP stat lines. He can also fit into four spots on your roster, and I like his consistency and potential explosiveness over other options at this price.