This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Loading up on cash games is the way to go when the slate is small. The abundance of identical lineups dilutes the prize pool to a point where maximum profitability is compromised. I will place a bet on a very contrarian lineup for a GPP or two in hopes of hitting a winner, but that's about it.
LAC (-1.5) @ BOS, O/U: 227
NO (-2.5) vs. OKC, O/U: 232.5
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Brandon Ingram (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
Ingram's missed the past two games, and because so many Pelicans benefited from his absence, it's almost more prudent to tell you who you SHOULDN'T pivot to. If Ingram plays, all of your starters are still safe, but Josh Hart ($5,600), Nicolo Melli ($4,000) and JJ Redick ($4,400) are all candidates to meet value if he sits.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC ($9,100) @ BOS
We'd need something north of 45 DKFP for Leonard to be a profitable play tonight. That's the number he put up in the lone game versus Boston this season. The numbers seem to indicate that moving away from Leonard might be the way to go, but because of the size of this slate, you run the risk of running behind the field if he blows up. With such high ownership, the leaderboard will likely move with Leonard so while I think he's a sound cash play, you're better off pivoting from him when you dip your toe into a tournament.
Jayson Tatum, BOS ($8,200) vs. LAC
Tatum put up 51 DKFP on the Clippers in their only matchup, and it's also difficult to ignore Tatum's recent stretch of games. He's only dipped below 40 DKFP once in the past ten games, and his five-game average of 49 DKFP is pretty special. At his price, anything around 40 DKFP meets value, and because Tatum plays slightly better in the Garden, a number north of his recent average could definitely be in play.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Paul George, LAC ($7,900) @ BOS
The frontcourt is where the Celtics are vulnerable, so George has to be considered, but I don't know how I feel about stacking him with Leonard. It's kind of an either/or call for me, because I see comparable value all over the backcourt plays, but the baseline for big men is much lower. This increases the variance at the position, so while I'd go with George in cash, I'm more likely to go with Leonard and go risk-reward with a cheaper forward in a tournament.
Zion Williamson, NO ($7,800) vs. OKC
Speaking of chalk: people love playing Zion even if the matchup isn't ideal, but you almost have to go to him if Ingram sits. Those who wait until game lock to see if Ingram goes could end up getting low ownership numbers, so I think a sound strategy is locking Zion in at F, PF or UTIL and pivot back to Ingram if he plays. It's something I'd definitely do in a tournament due to the ownership advantage. Otherwise, Zion will be a highly-owned cash play worth considering.
Jrue Holiday, NO ($7,400) vs. OKC
Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are going to be likely slate-breakers tonight. If they explode in this matchup, you're behind the 8-ball if you don't play them. For my money, Holiday is the safer pick, and running with some of the aforementioned Ingram pivots sounds better to me than rolling with the Thunder. The game history for all three of these guards is practically identical, and Holiday takes the prize when it comes to his recent stat lines. There's a better argument for SGA over CP3 due to his $6,500 tag, but Holiday is still my pick.
Jaylen Brown, BOS ($6,000) vs. LAC
A good way to stay ahead of the pack is taking the red "Q" on Brown and firing him up anyway. He's listed as probable despite his calf issue, and I like the idea of going here over a Thunder guard due to the potentially lower ownership numbers. It's funny how a simple "Q" can skew ownership, and though the sharps out there know the drill, you can join them by taking this angle. Gordon Hayward ($6,700) didn't play when the Celtics last played the Clippers, so we don't know what to expect, but I like him at this price as well.
Danilo Gallinari, OKC ($5,500) @ NO
I don't mind Gallinari here, although this isn't a spot where you're going to get a huge ceiling. The forward plods along at right around 30-35 DKFP on a consistent basis, so while he likely won't hurt you, he isn't likely to explode. The fast pace of this game and Gallinari's occasional hot hand from long range makes him clickable.
Marcus Morris, LAC ($5,000) @ BOS
Morris was the defensive linchpin for the Celtics for two seasons, and although he's jumped around since then, you have to inject a little bit of revenge karma into this pick and go with the intangibles. The only issue for Morris is playing time. It's tough to get him on the floor when both George and Leonard are out there, but I think he's a better play than JaMychal Green at the four. This may be where he ends up, hopefully with 25-30 minutes on the court.
Daniel Theis, BOS ($4,600) vs. LAC
Theis had a field day against the Clippers in their last game, putting up 40 DKFP in 31 minutes on the floor. While a floor of 25 DKFP is what you should expect, there's something about how Theis sizes up with the Clippers. While LA isn't particularly strong on defense at the position, we should at least hand out a little but of exposure here on the chance that Theis delivers something special.
Montrezl Harrell, LAC ($4,500) @ BOS
Harrell has been earthbound recently, as we haven't seen the kind of astronomical totals we are accustomed to seeing from the bench. Is a precipitous drop from $6,200 justifiable, though? That's where he was a few short games ago, and now that he's at this price point you're inclined to embrace the potential. He's beaten value at this price point in seven of his last ten games, so I don't see how you pass up this price drop.
As I said, my biggest quandary on this slate is the CP3/SGA question. It's bothered me so much that I actually decided to stack them in a lineup or two just to put my mind at ease. In my mind, they are the biggest variable. It's better to be honest with you and just voice my indecision rather than justify a way toward or away from them with numbers, but I'm never one to play safe. I'm going to fade them at my own risk.