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Injury’s to Monitor
We’ve already had some big injury news drop on Saturday afternoon. San Antonio ruled out all of Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl — Miami ruled out Jimmy Butler and Sacramento ruled out Domantas Sabonis.
Saturday is likely to be pretty chalky with all of the value opening up, and we should see similar builds across the industry in double ups and H2H’s. We have a standout play up top in Donovan Mitchell, and plenty of value thanks to the Spurs. It appears Mike Conley will be sidelined for the Jazz tonight, which provides a huge boost to Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson. Over the last month, Mitchell has been a 1.5 fantasy point per minute player with Conley off the floor — which would be one of the top rates on the entire slate. As for the Spurs, Tre Jones will step into the starting lineup for Murray and Lonnie Walker will provide value as well. We’ve seen Jones succeed in this role before, and Walker leads the team in usage rate and per minute production with the aforementioned trio off the floor.
Outside of the more obvious chalk plays, I would be looking at Darius Garland and Tyler Herro/Duncan Robinson. Garland has been popping off for the Cavs in recent weeks, and has been playing like a true alpha. He ranks top-five in the NBA over the last five games in drives and is just starting to unlock his true ceiling. Herro/Robinson gets boosted with no Butler — Robinson is particular is underpriced.
Forward is more of the same with Devin Vassell and Keita Bates-Diop both projecting for over 40% ownership. I think they’re fine cash game targets at their prices, but neither are true must plays for me over the guards. If I was forced to choose one, it would be Bates-Diop. We also have some Wizards picking up ownership with Kristaps Porzingis out — Kyle Kuzma and Rui Hachimura. While they are different price points, I think both are viable in all formats tonight. Kuzma has clearly been their best per minute producer, and you couldn’t ask for a better match-up than the Blazers.
For tournaments, we have Giannis way up at the top and Klay Thompson in the mid-tier. I prefer Jokic to Giannis tonight for cash games, but I think Thompson will likely go over-looked at his price point. Underlying metrics have been strong on Thompson all season, and the coaching staff is finally let him log heavy minutes. If you do end up playing Giannis, grabbing Thompson on the opposite side for a mini-stack is a great way to correlate your lineup and leave salary for other positions. I assume most using a bring-back there will be on Curry.
Center has two clear plays for optimals tongiht — Nikola Jokic and Daniel Gafford. Joker needs no explanation, he is once again playing at an MVP-level and there’s still a chance Denver is without Will Barton and/or Aaron Gordon. His per minute numbers are approaching 1.8 at a rapid-pace, and he is becoming unfadeable on a nightly basis. As for Gafford, he is likely to step into the starting lineup for the Wizards and has been over a point per minute this season. He’s going to be chalky, but is one of the top value plays on Saturday night. We also have Bam Adebayo, who is around 1.3 points per minute with Jimmy Butler off the floor. He becomes increasingly more involved passing the ball in Butler’s absence, which raises his raw ceiling.
Main Lineup Musts: Donovan Mitchell, Tre Jones, Lonnie Walker, Daniel Gafford
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)