This article aims to highlight some of the best plays at each position for tonight’s main NBA slate. Keep in mind that the following player write-ups were constructed earlier in the day, and sometimes injury/rest situations can alter the fantasy landscape. Monitoring our NBA News & Headlines Feed throughout the day will keep you in the loop. Tonight’s mains slate on FanDuel and DraftKings includes all five games starting at 1:30 ET, while Yahoo is running a three-game main slate starting at 6:00 ET.
Ben Simmons - Philadelphia (at Indiana) – Yahoo: $39, DK: $8600, FD: $8000
Simmons is a near lock for me tonight as a cornerstone of both cash and tournament lineups. He’s reasonably priced, and excels at contributing higher value stats. He leads the league in steals, to the tune of 2.1 steals per game, and is also near the top of the charts in assists per game (8.2). These are two well-matched teams, though the 76ers do have a rebounding advantage, especially with Domantas Sabonis away from his team, and they are the modest 5.5-point favorite tonight.
Donovan Mitchell – Utah (at Oklahoma City) – DK: $6900, FD: $7200
There is some site-to-site variability about SG eligibility, but Mitchell is safe to use everywhere (though you have to play the early slate on Yahoo to get exposure). Mitchell resumed with gusto Thursday night, scoring 20 points and filling the stat sheet with five rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block. The Thunder are a good defensive team this season, and are a small favorite in this game, but they’ve always been somewhat weak on the wing, and I like Mitchell to sink more than a couple three-pointers tonight.
Kawhi Leonard – LA Clippers (vs. New Orleans) – Yahoo: $45, DK: $8900, FD: $9500
It’s easy to build around one of the best two-way players in the league, but it’s actually possible to do so without going total stars-scrubs with some strong bargain plays tonight. He’s a significant salary saver compared to LeBron James, who may not yet be 100 percent with a nagging groin strain. Leonard is the first of many ways to take advantage of the Pelicans’ woeful DvP and is my highest-priority Clipper tonight. He’s beating his season average fantasy points by five vs. the Pelicans (53.0 fpts per game vs. New Orleans), and the NBA DFS Optimizer loves that you can get him for a full $40 per projected fantasy point less than James (DraftKings).
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Serge Ibaka- Toronto (vs. LA Lakers) – Yahoo: $22(C), DK: $6400(C), FD: $5700
Ibaka looks to be in primetime form heading in the reigning champs’ debut in the bubble tonight. If you’re looking to get more exposure to this game, which Vegas has as the second-highest point total tonight, Ibaka is a very reasonable way to do so. Nearly a bargain play on FanDuel, Ibaka is a reliable source of points, rebounds, and of course, blocks.
Rudy Gobert- Utah (at Oklahoma City) –DK: $7000, FD: $7400
Gobert is not the highest projected center tonight (that would be Davis or Nikola Jokic), but he is the best value among the star centers tonight by a decent amount. The Jazz, thanks in large part to Gobert, who ranks third in rebounds per game with 13.7, have a huge rebounding advantage over Steven Adams and the Thunder. The Jazz will look to make it two upsets in a row, which will necessitate another strong game from Gobert.
Bargains of the Night
T.J. Warren (SF - IND) is one of the top mid-range plays tonight. Not only does our lineup optimizer LOVE him, Warren gets a boost from the absence of Sabonis tonight. A heavy minutes player, Warren should supply somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 points and eight rebounds, with a bonus steal or block perhaps. He’s a building block for me on FanDuel ($6,000), DraftKings ($5,800), and Yahoo ($24).
Patrick Beverley (PG - LAC) is the cheap way to take advantage of the worst defensive team on the floor tonight, New Orleans. In an otherwise gridlocked slate of defensive prowess, the Pelicans are the second-best PG matchup, allowing the sixth-most overall fantasy points to opponents, and Beverley should continue to get more traction as Reggie Jackson fails to impress. If you play multiple lineups tonight, you could certainly hedge with Jackson, but Beverley is a long-standing value/upside favorite of mine and I like him to make more of an impact tonight than he did Thursday.
Rodney McGruder (SG - LAC) lit up the RotoWorld NBA DFS Optimizer today, a combination of his minimum salary and, like Beverley, excellent matchup. With Lou Williams still quarantining in the bubble, McGruder figures to see 15-20 minutes off the bench tonight. He’s not a foolproof play, but could be the key to a lineup with one more star.
GPP Pivots of the Night
Paul Millsap (PF – DEN) is no one’s idea of an exciting tournament play, which is why he often flies under the radar. This is a weird position tonight, with some questions at the top, and as I already mentioned, the good matchups are few and far between. Millsap has veteran appeal in what should be a close game against a Heat team that ranks fourth in turnovers. Playing about 24-25 MPG, Millsap is easily capable of a double-double with a couple valuable steals and a block or two as well at just $4900 (DK) or $5000 (FD).
Get more tournament ideas from Louis Cangiano’s article dedicated to Saturday’s GPP Pivots.