This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
CHA vs. IND (-3), O/U: 227
WAS vs. BOS (-2), O/U: 232.5
Tonight kicks off the NBA's Play-In Tournament, and here's how it works. The 7- and 8-seeds will play each other, with the winner moving on to face the 2-seed in a seven-game series. The loser of that matchup will face the winner of the 9- and 10-seed game to decide which team gets to square off with the 1-seed.
We've gotten used to chaos this season, but the playoffs are more predictable as teams condense their rotations and play starters bigger minutes. On smaller slates like Tuesday's, it makes sense to build lineups based off specific game scripts. Correlation becomes important and that makes game-stacking more appealing. Usually there is a significant opportunity cost that comes with rostering players with lower projections, but that lessens considerably as the player pool decreases. It can be difficult to differentiate on two-game slates and here's an example of how you can: pick one to stay close and the other to be a blowout. Spend almost all your salary on the game that's going to be competitive and take some chances on less popular punts from the rout. As far as this slate goes, I'll have a hard time not rostering Russell Westbrook and that leads me to prefer the WAS-BOS matchup. I assume that's the way most people will feel and that makes the CHA-IND matchup a contrarian target.
Injuries to Monitor
Domantas Sabonis (quad): QUESTIONABLE
Sabonis apparently injured his quad Sunday and is listed as questionable. It's hard to imagine him sitting out with the season on the line but if he did, Goga Bitadze would likely start at center.
Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring): QUESTIONABLE
Brogdon hasn't played since April 29th due to a hamstring injury and his status remains uncertain. Caris LeVert and Justin Holiday have been starting in the back court in his absence while T.J. McConnell has seen extended run off the bench.
Russell Westbrook ($12,400)
Westbrook has put up 70-plus DK points in seven of his last nine games. His salary was all the way up to $13,100 on Sunday, but he's a bargain again tonight after a $700 drop. He's played at least 40 minutes in eight consecutive games and has eight triple doubles in his last 10. He's clearly the best spend-up option on the slate and while you can make a case to fade him based on game theory, I can't imagine not having him on most or all of my rosters.
Domantas Sabonis ($10,000)
Sabonis has scored at least 55 DK points in seven of his last nine games while topping 70 fantasy points four times in that span. He's likely to go somewhat overlooked with people spending up for Westbrook. If Malcolm Brogdon returns, then Sabonis surely won't be as popular as he should be considering his massive upside. Regardless, he makes for a great tournament play based on possible leverage and ceiling potential.
Jayson Tatum ($9,800)
Tatum put up 50-plus DK points in four of his last 10 games. He's not a player that I normally want to roster for $10K but the Celtics have a great matchup against the Wizards and with Jaylen Brown out, Tatum should get all the usage he wants.
Bradley Beal ($9,000)
Beal missed three of the last four games due to a hamstring injury but said he experienced no setbacks in his return Sunday. His salary has dropped to its lowest point in 10 games and he'd make for a great pivot off Westbrook. Playing them together would be another good way to differentiate your roster on a small slate.
As I mentioned above, Westbrook is clearly the best of the elite options and with raw points often times more important on smaller slates, I'd expect him to be chalky as a result. The center position is especially weak and that could make pairing Westbrook with one of the cheap Wizards centers a popular construction.
Both Ball and Rozier flashed considerable upside throughout the season. Rozier topped 50 DK points twice in the final five games while Ball is likely to see a bump in minutes with the season on the line.
Kemba Walker ($7,300)
Walker is just too cheap for his role in the absence of Jaylen Brown and the Celtics are in an ideal spot against the Wizards in a game that should be fast-paced and competitive.
Miles Bridges ($7,000)
Bridges has put up 40-plus DK points in five of his last 10 games as he's taken on a larger role in the absence of Gordon Hayward. I don't expect him to be very popular with people focused on paying up for the studs, and that makes him a good tournament option.
Evan Fournier ($6,000)
Fournier has scored 40-plus fantasy points in two of his last four games as he's been one of the main beneficiaries of Jaylen Brown's absence. He has considerable upside for an affordable salary in an ideal matchup against the Wizards.
There isn't much to like at center and both Gafford and Lopez have flashed upside recently. Investing in the Wizards' three-man center rotation is a bit like playing roulette, but there isn't much for cheap value on this slate either and you have to spend down somewhere to afford Westbrook and/or the other studs.