It’s the first day of March and we have a four-game slate over on DraftKings tonight. Despite the small slate of games, it is still an intriguing slate with some good matchups. The Sixers head to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers and the Wolves and Blazers square off in Portland. In addition to that, the fantasy friendly Lakers, Nets, and Kings are on the schedule as well.
I have focused on identifying my two favorite plays, regardless of price, at each position that can give us an edge in tournaments on tonight’s slate.
Damian Lillard (POR): $9,400 vs. MIN
Lillard has been on an absolute tear over the past six games, averaging 54.6 DK points while scoring 39 or more actual points in four of those games. Simply put, this is not a player who should be priced under $10,000. Tonight’s matchup against the Wolves is beatable, as Jeff Teague is ranked 70th out of 100 PGs in defensive real plus minus (DRPM) this season. Lillard should be able to have his way on offense and should have no problem getting to the rim against a Wolves team that lacks an elite rim protector. With this game also featuring a close four point spread and high 217 total, Lillard is one of the top plays on the board based on his price.
D’Angelo Russell (BKN): $7,300 at SAC
Russell’s price has been on the rise over the past few weeks, but despite that he’s still very playable based on the minutes he is seeing. Since the All-Star break, Russell has averaged 31.3 minutes and 33.3 DK points per game. He is also coming off a 45.3 DK point outing against the Cavaliers on Wednesday night, so the upside is there as well. On paper, this is a great matchup to target as the Kings are ranked dead last in defensive efficiency rating this season and Bogdan Bogdanovic is ranked 87th out of 109 SGs in DRPM. The last factor to throw in is Russell’s massive usage rate of 31.5% this season, which ranks fifth in the NBA out of players who have played at least 15 games. He’s a great tournament option who is capable of putting up 45+ DK points on a modest price tag.
Nemanja Bjelica (MIN): $5,300 at POR
DraftKings has finally given Bjelica a proper price bump above $5,000 and this might scare some people off him tonight. Without Jimmy Butler in the lineup, Bjelica is locked into a 30+ minute role in the Wolves’ starting lineup and he’s performed relatively well in his first two starts, averaging 28.3 DK points per game. In terms of the matchup, the Blazers are ranked 12th in DK points allowed to SFs this season but Maurice Harkless actually has a negative DRPM rating, which means the matchup is beatable. With people possibly pivoting off Bjelica’s increased price tag, I will be going right back to him against the Blazers tonight.
Skal Labissiere (SAC): $4,500 at BKN
Since there are only four games on tonight’s slate, I want to have exposure to a player that could be under ten percent owned. With a lot of solid options at PF/C on DK, I think Labissiere can fly under the tournament radar tonight. He is coming off a down game in which he put up 11.8 DK points against a tougher Blazers frontcourt, but prior to that Labissiere strung together two solid games where he averaged 24.9 DK points. The Nets are ranked 29th in DK points allowed to PFs this season and they play at the sixth fastest pace in the NBA. There should be a few extra possessions for the Kings offense tonight and Labissiere should benefit from this type of game environment. If you’re playing a few Nets, he’s a great option to run them back with.
Hassan Whiteside (MIA): $8,000 vs. LAL
The Lakers and Heat game will probably go as the lowest owned game on this four-game slate, but I want to have some sort of exposure to it in tournaments. Due to this, I’m looking at Whiteside in my GPP lineups. The Lakers are ranked 18th in DK points allowed to centers and they really don’t have anyone that can matchup with Whiteside in the paint. After seeing inconsistent minutes for the first half of the year, Whiteside has averaged 30.4 minutes over the past four games and put up 39.8 DK points in those games. His price is at a premium right now, but this is a great matchup and he should have low ownership.
Jarrett Allen (BKN): $4,900 vs. SAC
The Nets and Kings game offer a ton of great options for a game stack tonight based on cheap prices and game environment. This game is projected to have a 217 total and the spread is currently a pick-em. Jarrett Allen rounds out my list of picks based on his upside and a great matchup. Over the past three games, Allen has averaged 29.3 DK points and he flashed 40-point upside against the Bulls earlier in the week. The Kings are also ranked 27th in DK points allowed to centers this season and, despite having a reputation as a decent defender, Willie Cauley-Stein actually ranks 57th out of 73 centers in DRPM this season. If he can stay out of foul trouble, Allen has a ton of upside at his sub-$5,000 price tag.