Tonight we have an 11-game NBA slate that features a lot of high implied team totals. It’s rare that we have so much injury news this early in the day (writing this Monday morning), so that's been a nice surprise.
I love this slate, as any time we have a lot of chalk value options, I like playing tournaments and pivoting off the chalk. If you’re playing in cash games, rolling with the safer options is the way to go.
Kemba Walker vs. Orlando Magic
It’s early in the day still, but it doesn't look like there will be a minutes limit for Kemba’s return tonight. He’s missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, but he practiced in full on Sunday and is probable to return. With Walker missing a couple of games, and considering the fact it's a huge slate, he should be low owned in tournaments. He went for 60+ fantasy points against the Magic in Orlando in the last meeting, and he gets to face them at home tonight. The Hornets will be in a pace-up spot, and their implied team total is 8.5 points higher than their season average. Elfrid Payton has a -1.01 DRPM and is ranked 67th out of 91 qualified point guards so far this season. Kemba is risky, but I love this spot for him tonight.
Alec Burks vs. Washington Wizards
There’s a good chance Rodney Hood sits again tonight, though we may not have that news before lock. It’s risky if we don’t have the news, as I want nothing to do with Burks if Hood plays. Hood has missed the last three games, and he wasn’t able to practice on Sunday. Burks has played over 29 minutes in back-to-back games, and he has at least 35 fantasy points in each of those games. He’s been shooting the ball well and has really taken advantage of the extra playing time. Without Hood on the floor this season, Burks has a 25.7% usage rate and is averaging 1.01 fantasy points per minute. Bradley Beal's defense isn’t anything to worry about, and I also think Burks has some defensive upside (with steals and blocks) in this spot.
Kevin Durant @ New Orleans Pelicans
Small forward is the position to spend up for today, and all of the top options are in play. Out of LeBron, Giannis, and Durant, I’m expecting Durant to have the lowest ownership. I like his DraftKings price and this spot overall for him. Without Anthony Davis on the court tonight, this game should go small, so Durant should see a lot of Darius Miller. Miller has a -1.11 DRPM and is ranked 76th out of 87 small forwards this season. I expect this game to be fast-paced, which should create a lot of easy shots for guys like Durant and Curry. It’s been a while since Durant had a big game, but I think this is a prime spot for him to go off. I do love Giannis and LeBron tonight on sites like DRAFT as well, and I have no issue with paying up for them instead of Durant.
Enes Kanter @ Indiana Pacers
Kanter is a power forward/center on DraftKings, and I'm going to take advantage of that tonight. He’s one of my favorite plays on the slate and will be a core play for me. Porzingis and Hardaway Jr. have been ruled out, and without them on the floor, Kanter has a 25.6% usage rate in 63.3 minutes and is averaging 1.25 DK points per minute. The Pacers play at a faster pace than the Knicks, so Kanter should also benefit from a pace-up game tonight. Porzingis missed the game last night and only played five minutes against the Heat, and Kanter put up over 40 fantasy points in each of those games. He also has a double-double in three of the last four games.
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Golden State Warriors
Cousins is the top play on the slate for me tonight. If he has a bad game, I’m simply going to lose money. Cousins has a massive usage rate this season, and it gets even higher without Anthony Davis on the floor. Without Davis on the floor, Cousins has a 38.8% usage rate, which is a +4.2% bump. He’s also averaging 1.57 fantasy points per minute. If this game stays close, I would expect Cousins to be the reason why. I talked about Durant above, and I think pairing them together is a good way to attack this high-total game. Cousins had five blocks in the game against Golden State on the 25th, so that just adds to his upside in this matchup.