Portland @ Charlotte (O/U 215.5, Cha -4.5)
With Jeremy Lamb out, both Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum could be good plays. Lamb has strong negative correlations with both (-0.34 with Walker, -0.3 with Batum), suggesting that they could greatly benefit from his absence.
Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller could be nice value plays. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum would appear to be strong plays tonight, both with decent upside for high-priced guys.
Memphis @ Washington (O/U 205, Was -3)
As I usually advise with the Grizzlies, Marc Gasol is a slightly safer play than Mike Conley, but Conley has slightly more value upside. Tony Allen could be a strong value play if the game remains close and the Grizzlies top 100 points. Washington can be difficult to project with using our tools, because many of their players’ value vary greatly depending on game closeness and the Wizards’ point total. Bradley Beal and John Wall both tend to be good values in close games, but Beal’s value in particular tends to drop off if the spread grows in either the positive or negative direction. Marcin Gortat also shows decent stability across varying game spreads. Given that this game is expected to be close and low-scoring, I think Gortat and Wall make for safer plays, while Beal has more upside but also more risk if the game isn’t as close as predicted.
Toronto @ Philadelphia (O/U 210, Tor -5)
Kyle Lowry’s status for tonight will be something to keep an eye on. I liked Cory Joseph last night even in a backup role, and if Lowry can’t go tonight, I think Joseph will again be a strong play. However if Lowry does play I would probably avoid Joseph given that tonight’s game is expected to be closer than last night’s romp of the Nets. DeMar DeRozan was great last night without Lowry, I think he is a stud even if Lowry can go tonight. If Lowry is injured and you’re looking for other Raptors outside of DeRozan, consider DeMarre Carroll or Jonas Valanciunas as mid-level options. Both have negative correlations with Lowry (Carroll -0.22, Valanciunas -0.3).
Joel Embiid should be a stud tonight, and his value could be particularly high if the Sixers can keep the game close and put up a lot of points. If the Sixers can’t keep it close and lose by double digits, Nik Stauskas has some upside and could wind up being worth more than 7.5 DKP/$1K. But given the Sixers’ strong play lately, I don’t know that I’d want to bet on them getting blown out at home.
New York @ Boston (O/U 220, Bos -8)
Isaiah Thomas figures to be a strong play, as he’s been on a roll lately, and has stable scoring even in blowout Celtics’ victories, and experiences increasing value as the Celtics’ point total increases over 100 points. With the increased role of Ron Baker, the Knicks’ backcourt situation has become even less clear, but I think if the Knicks get blown out in Boston, Justin Holiday becomes and intriguing play. Holiday’s DKP/$1K distribution centers around 3.5, which isn’t good, but he does have some 7.5+ DKP/$1K potential, and his production seems to be best in losing efforts.
Atlanta @ Detroit (O/U 203.5, Det -1)
Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap both figure to be strong plays tonight. Their value is pretty good in close games. Howard has value stability through the 90-110 point range, but he has limited upside if the Hawks put up a huge point total. If the game becomes high-scoring, Dennis Schroeder has good upside, regardless of how close it is. He is a huge risk (potential to be worth fewer than 2.5 DKP/$1K), but Tim Hardaway also has some nice upside to be worth more than 8 DKP/$1K. His value could be very good if the Hawks score more than 110 points. With a low implied point total (101.25), I don’t know that this is the night to gamble on Hardaway. I have written at length of the bi-modal nature of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s DKP/$1K distribution, which makes him a high risk-high reward play. He is a game-time decision for tonight, but if he plays I think tonight could be a good night to take a gamble on KCP, as he is most productive in close games. His value increases steeply with the Pistons’ point total through the 90-110. If KCP can’t go, Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond’s production stands to benefit. Also, consider Stanley Johnson as a deep sleeper who has an extreme negative correlation with Caldwell-Pope (-0.47).
Milwaukee @ Houston (O/U 227, Hou -7.5)
James Harden is about as consistent of a fantasy scorer as they come. I would have no qualms about playing him tonight. Trevor Ariza or Patrick Beverly could be nice value plays if the Rockets win big tonight. Montrezl Harrell has upside if the Rockets’ win big, but I’m still avoiding him until his and Clint Capela’s roles become more clearly defined. Giannis Antetokounmpo should be a strong play tonight. I like Jabari Parker tonight, as he has pretty good value stability in Bucks’ losses and is increasingly valuable in high scoring games. Greg Monroe and Malcolm Brogdon have great upside, and are particularly valuable if they Bucks can top 110 points. But I am a little concerned about their upside tonight, as both tend to be less productive if the Bucks lose by double digits. The Rockets haven’t been playing their best basketball lately, but they still are a tough matchup at home. Proceed with caution with these two high-upside Bucks.
Orlando @ New Orleans (O/U 209.5, NO -5)
Anthony Davis figures to be a strong play tonight, as his value is pretty stable across varying spreads and has a relatively flat slope amid increasing point totals. He is a game time decision, and if he can’t go I really like the upside of Dante Cunningham. Cunningham’s value peaks around 5-10 point Pelicans’ victories. However there is a lot of risk with Cunningham who has a handful of games in which he is worth fewer than 2.5 DKP/$1K, but most of these games occur in Pelicans’ losses or 1-point wins. Evan Fournier and Bismack Biyombo are questionable to play tonight for the Magic (the latter adding to Davis’ value). If Biyombo can’t go, Nikola Vucevic becomes a great option (correlation of -0.36), especially if the Magic can keep the game close. Jodie Meeks is a high risk-high reward sleeper who could benefit greatly from Fournier’s absence as they have a very strong negative correlation (-0.45).
Oklahoma City @ Golden State (O/U 228, GS -13)
Russell Westbrook should be a stud, and his value tends to increase as the Thunder approach 120 points. His value could take a hit if the Thunder get blown out, and because of this I like Harden a little more as a top-priced guard. With Steven Adams out, Jerami Grant and Enes Kanter figure to be benefit due to increased minutes. I also like Victor Oladipo, who has the strongest negative correlation with Adams (-0.28), and also has stable value in Thunder blowout losses and gains a ton of value as the Thunder’s point total increases. He also makes for a decent pair with Westbrook (+0.22 correlation). I haven’t really figured out a great system for anticipating how the Warriors will distribute their fantasy points. And at a -13 spread, Thompson, Green, Durant, and Curry all tend to have similar value. I guess tonight I like Draymond Green and Klay Thompson’s potential value. Green will probably benefit from the absence of Steven Adams, and Klay Thompson has the most value upside if the Warriors can grab a huge lead early. Kevin Durant’s value tends to be better in close games, and Stephen Curry just hasn’t shown a lot of value upside this season and is frequently worth less than 5 DKP/$1K.
Indiana @ Sacramento (O/U 214.5, Sac -1)
Not to sound like a broken record, but I really like Jeff Teague. This matchup appears to be another favorable one for Teague, as he has good value in close games (he could benefit if the Pacers can take an early lead) and his value increases at a steep linear rate as the Pacers score more points. Myles Turner tends to have good value in close games, and his value really takes off as the Pacers put up big point totals. The Pacers’ implied point total of 106.75 isn’t huge, but there is still some potential for the Pacers to score close to 120 points, at which point Turner could have nice value. DeMarcus Cousins figures to be a strong play tonight; his value peaks in close games. Matt Barnes distribution would suggest that more times than not he is going to be worth less than 5 DKP/$1K, but he does have some potential to be worth more than 10 DKP/$1K. His value peaks in close games and around 110 points (Kings’ implied point total is 107.75) and he has a fairly strong negative correlation (-0.31) with Omri Casspi who has been scratched from the Kings’ lineup tonight. He is a big risk, but tonight Barnes should have as high of an upside as any night.