This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Sunday presents us with a really fun slate. Well, I had fun with it, at least. I easily exceeded my normal lineup load and I guess I'm going to have to fire them all up. It's a MME kind of day!
MIL (-6.5) @ PHO O/U: 225.5
BOS (-3.5) vs. OKC O/U: 222.5
DAL(-6.5) vs. IND O/U: 219
HOU (-8.5) vs. ORL O/U: 233.5
MIA (-5) @ WAS O/U: 231.5
NY (-5.5) vs. DET O/U: 210.5
SA (-5.5) @ CLE O/U: 224.5
TOR (-5.5) @ SAC O/U: 227.5
See what I mean? Lots of high totals here, and only the Houston game has a spread above eight. That spells opportunity across the entire slate. I'm probably only going light on Sacramento and Houston due to their back-to-back status, but almost every other team is in play for me.
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) DOUBTFUL
We're probably safe to move on this pivot early, as the Bucks won't take any chances with Giannis at this late date. As per usual, Khris Middleton ($6,500) will get the biggest boost, followed by Eric Bledsoe ($5,400) and Brook Lopez ($4,600).
Andre Drummond (calf) QUESTIONABLE
Deandre Ayton (ankle) OUT
Jaylen Brown (hamsring) OUT
Marcus Smart ($6,600) should draw the start in Brown's place, but this is a spot where you should probably increase exposure across the board for Boston's remaining starters. I think this game should exceed the 222.5 total.
LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) OUT
Malcolm Brogdon (quad) OUT
T.J. Warren (leg) QUESTIONABLE
This looks like an extended absence for Brogdon, which is good news for Aaron Holiday's ($4,300) potential moving forward. The Pacers need Victor Oladipo ($5,300) to reemerge as his old self soon, but he's questionable as well today. The Pacers may have to reach deep if Warren sits, at which point budget plays like JaKarr Sampson ($3,200) and Edmond Sumner ($3,100) become reasonable punt plays.
Fred VanVleet (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
Evan Fournier (elbow) OUT
It's still too soon to quantify the best pivot choice for Fournier, who will likely be out for a while. For the time being, I would look to the starting lineup first and assign boosts from there.
Tim Hardaway (illness) QUESTIONABLE
Dorian Finney-Smith (hip) QUESTIONABLE
The top-end plays today are an intriguing bunch. While you can't fade James Harden ($11,300) or Luka Doncic ($10,800), Harden is on a back-to-back and Doncic will need to shake off a subpar game against Memphis. My instinct is to build my core elsewhere tonight, and reserve Harden and Doncic in top-heavy tournament builds. If I'm going to go above 10k, I'm more likely to go with Bradley Beal ($10,300) and Russell Westbrook ($10,000) for my cash lineups.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL ($9,300) vs. IND
The Unicorn has finally flown into Dallas, it seems. Few players can match Porzingis's recent production. A five-game average of 63 DKFP per game is nothing to sneeze at, and I think it's remarkable to see him below 10k after this recent run. If I'm looking for a cash core, I think you're looking at the most reliable option.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL ($8,900) @ HOU
While Houston's small-ball scheme has proven to be successful, occasionally the Rockets are going to run into a true big man who they won't be able to contain. With that and the high O/U in mind, I believe Vucevic is optimally set up for success today. Pairing Vucevic with Porzingis is looking more and more like the safe way to go in cash today, especially with so many value options at smaller positions.
Also consider: Jimmy Butler, MIA ($8,100) @ WAS
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
I've already identified Khris Middleton, DeMar DeRozan and Marcus Smart as logical mid-range targets, and you can bet they will be highly owned and best suited for your cash lineups. Here are some other players you'll find useful between the 6-8k ranges.
Aaron Gordon, ORL ($8,200) @ HOU
Unless you're just awful offensively, your attack is going to get a bit of a boost when you're playing Houston. The presence of Robert Covington represents a significant upgrade to their defense, but Houston beats you by outscoring you, not containing you. Although Gordon only put up 35 DKFP against the Rockets in their last matchup, I mentioned earlier that Evan Fournier's absence is going to result in some upticks for the remaining starters. I think Gordon will be the primary beneficiary - along with Vucevic, who I already endorsed. If you're turned off by the price, I think pivoting to Terrence Ross ($5,800) is an excellent way to go if you're short on cash.
Collin Sexton, CLE ($7,100) vs. SA
The O/U for this game is surprisingly good, and Sexton's numbers have been excellent while Darius Garland (groin) has been sidelined. At Sexton's price, it's hard to resist going with his recent run of production with him averaging 41.8 DKFP over the past five games. That average comes in at a lukewarm $170 per point, but we could see that number dip significantly if he exceeds that total.
Ricky Rubio, PHO ($6,900) vs. MIL
If there was ever a night where the Suns could get the best of the Bucks, it would be where Giannis is nowhere to be seen. Although the Suns will be without Deandre Ayton as well, Rubio will be conjuring up ways to get the ball to his playmakers and the assist numbers will surely follow. We don't have any game history to fall back on here, but previous outcomes wouldn't inform this game script anyway without Giannis.
Elfrid Payton, NY ($6,200) vs. DET
I know I'm giving you a lot of guard exposure in this section, but Sexton has SG eligibility so you could still use all three of these endorsements. Payton's in a great spot against Detroit, and his previous score of 35 DKFP has him clocking in at 5.6x value if he can match that score. His recent production seems to indicate that it's doable, as he's exceeded 40 DKFP in three of his past five games.
Also consider: Julius Randle, NY ($7,200) vs. DET
As per usual, refer back to the injury section, and today it's packed with low-cost options. I'd normally single out a few of them, but there are so many places to go in that section, it would be hard to pick just one. If I had to go with one favorite, it would probably be Aaron Holiday - although Norman Powell would probably top my list if VanVleet sits. Dario Saric would run a close second. I'll try to squeeze out a couple of other low-cost options below. I can't stress it enough - go back and draw most of your value from my pivots!
Davis Bertans, WAS ($5,200) vs. MIA
As I scroll down, I keep seeing all the aforementioned pivot players and want to start rattling them off again - like I said, hard to pick one - but I finally found a guy I like that hasn't gotten called yet. Unlike the other big men in Washington, Bertans can line up at almost any position and that's mostly due to his excellent perimeter game - which can pop on any given night. He's had a couple of those nights against the Heat. Over two games, Bertans has drilled nine threes and averaged 38.9 DKFP over that span. You don't have to use a calculator to know he's averaging over 7k value here. Slot him in if you can.
D.J. Augustin, ORL ($3,600) @ HOU
Augustin now sits behind Markelle Fultz ($5,800) on the depth chart, and there's no denying that Fultz is a great value below 6k. In this new game script, Augustin isn't delivering spectacular numbers but is still consistent. With the high O/U, Augustin will get his share of possessions. And if you haven't filled up the guard spots already, he could end up saving you after a top-heavy spending spree.