We have a five-game NBA slate over on DraftKings tonight, as we move one day closer to another extended holiday weekend. Despite having a handful games on tonight’s slate, there are a few interesting matchups and there is certainly no shortage of talent.
Whether you’re playing in cash games or tournaments tonight, there are a number of ways to go in terms of building out your lineups. Outside of Ish Smith there isn’t a ton of great value on this slate, so I am going to focus on plays in the mid-to-high tier and cross both Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden off my list.
Kyrie Irving (BOS): $8,000 vs. HOU
Irving gets a home match-up against a Houston Rockets team that is likely to be without Chris Paul on Thursday night. The Rockets have given up the 7th most DraftKings points to the point guard positionthis season, which includes 16 games without their star point guard. Over the past 9 games, Kyrie Irvinghas exceeded 45 DraftKings points 5 times and attempted a ridiculous 20.8 shots per game. On top of that, the Rockets are ranked 8th in pace this season, so the Celtics will probably get a few extra possessions in this game. If we can project a similar number of shot attempts in tonight’s game, Irving grades out as one of the top plays on the slate.
Jimmy Butler (MIN): $7,700 at MIL
The Timberwolves will be playing in the second half of a back-to-back tonight, as they travel to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks. Despite the situation, I have no problem with firing up Butler who has averaged 36.5 minutes in the second half of his past two back-to-back sets. He has been on an absolute tear recently, averaging 47.4 DraftKings points over the past five games. Butler’s price is about $1,000 too cheap for his recent production and the 213.5 total in this game is the highest on the slate. As long as he avoids the defense of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Butler should have no problem scoring against a Bucks team that has surrender the 11th most DraftKings points to small forwards this season.
Kawhi Leonard (SAS): $6,000 vs. NYK
In 5 games since returning from a quad injury, Leonard has posted 23.7 DraftKings points per game across 18.6 minutes. The Spurs have been bringing him along slowly but after playing 26 minutes against the Nets on Tuesday night, it should be safe to fire up Leonard at a price point that should be his lowest of the season. Leonard has an insanely high usage of 29.3% in limited time this season and the Knicks don’t have an answer for him on defense. If the Knicks can keep this game within striking distance, Leonard should have 35-40 DraftKings point upside on a cheap salary.
Tobias Harris (DET): $6,600 at ORL
On Thursday night, Harris gets a road match-up against the Magic, where he spent 4 seasons of his career. Harris is no stranger to volatility but he is currently riding a hot streak over the past two games, averaging 41.1 DraftKings points on 63.0% shooting from the field. Harris is a lifetime 46.8% shooter so we can expect his field goal percentage to regress sooner rather than later but this is a game against a short-handed Magic team that is ranked 6th in pace and 26th in overall defensive rating on the season. The Magic are banged up and have given up the 10th most DraftKings points to power forwards this season. His price is still fair and he should have 40 fantasy point upside yet again in this match-up.
Joel Embiid (PHI): $9,600 at POR
With Harden and Antetokounmpo both off my list of targets tonight, getting exposure to Embiid could work out to be a bit of a contrarian move – even on a 5-game slate. When he’s on the court, no one at the center position is as dominant as Joel Embiid. Over the past 5 games, Embiid has averaged 51.5 DraftKings points and 16.6 shot attempts per game. He has a massive usage rate of 33.9% and gets a match-up against a Blazers team that has given up the 9th most DraftKings points to centers this season. This game features a 208 total and a close 3-point spread, so this is an ideal environment for Embiid to flash his 60 fantasy point upside and could potentially have an ownership of less than 10%.
Al Horford (BOS): $7,100 vs. HOU
Horford has a dream home match-up against a Rockets defense that has surrendered the 3rd most DraftKings points to opposing centers this season. On top of that, Clint Capela is expected to miss the next 2 games due to a right orbital fracture. Horford has reached 40 DraftKings points 4 times in the past 11 games, so he has shown flashes of his 6x upside over the past few weeks. In a pace-up game against the Rockets, Horford has the potential to rack up rebounds and assists, which puts him firmly on the fantasy radar.