Happy Denzel Valentine(‘s) Day everyone! If you believe in narratives in DFS, then I really don’t understand how you cannot roster Valentine tonight, especially with Dwyane Wade doubtful and Jimmy Butler currently a game-time call.
The NBA is once again displaying it’s schedule inconsistency, as we go from last night’s 11-game slate to a 3-game slate tonight, and back to a 14-game slate tomorrow. Because we only have three games on the docket, you can expect some extremely chalky lineups, so I recommend both betting light, and playing more tournaments than cash games.
We already have some injury news, with Nikola Mirotic of the Bulls and Kevin Love of the Cavaliers ruled out, and Dwyane Wade of the Bulls listed as doubtful, opening up even more value.
Here is my Starting Five for tonight’s 3-game slate:
Kyrie Irving ($9,000)
$9,000 is a steep price to pay for Kyrie, as he’s officially reached his highest salary this season. On a three game slate though, I don’t mind it one bit, especially with the absence of Kevin Love. With Love off of the court, Irving’s usage balloons all the way up to 35.3%, 4.5% higher than LeBron’s. He also possesses a 56.2 true shooting percentage and a 33.2% assist rate, becoming much more than a score-first point guard. His average salary in games that Kevin Love has been absent sits at $7,900, so again, the $9,000 is rather steep, but the Cavs/Timberwolves game currently carries a tight spread of -4 in favor of the Cavs with a 219 over/under (highest on the slate). The Wolves are a middle-of-the-(wolf)pack team against opposing point guards, surrendering an average of 43.6 FDP to the position, but with everything else in Irving’s favor, expect a monster performance tonight.
Michael Carter-Williams ($4,600)
Shooting guard is ugly today, but what do you expect on a 3-game slate? With Dwyane Wade looking like he’ll sit tonight, lock in Michael Carter-Williams. He’s been spot starting for both Wade and Jimmy Butler over the past week, and has had no problem eclipsing value regularly. In his last three games in which he played at least 30 minutes (3 of his last 5 games), he’s averaged 18.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Those numbers are quite reminiscent of his Rookie of the Year season with the 76ers. If Butler returns tonight, you can expect those numbers to take a slight dip and his usage to fall, but with only a few days until the All-Star Break, I can see the Bulls playing it safe and resting Butler a bit more. Regardless, $4,600 for the type of production that you’ll get with Wade inactive and MCW starting is way too appealing to pass up on a 3-game slate.
DeMarre Carroll ($4,200)
As I was writing this article the news dropped about the Serge Ibaka / Terrence Ross trade, making me like Carroll even more tonight. He’s starting to develop the level of consistency we saw when he was healthy in Atlanta and with Ross now out of the picture, he could pick up even more minutes at the small forward position. Over his last two games, Carroll has finally taken on a full workload, averaging 35 minutes, 17 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Carroll is one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA, and with Jimmy Butler probable tonight, the Raptors will need all of the minutes they can get out of both DeMar DeRozan and Carroll. There is a slight blowout risk in this game with the Bulls being without Dwyane Wade, but the presence of Butler negates some of that. For $4,200, Carroll only needs to reach 21 Fanduel points to eclipse value. Talk about a free play…
Larry Nance Jr. ($4,300)
Power forward is by far and away the ugliest position tonight. I will likely be rostering Gorgui Dieng strictly because he’s the epitome of a safe cash play, but when you dig deeper, it gets ugly. I expect many to be on Channing Frye, so I will be pivoting to Nance for $300 cheaper. Nance has seen a minutes boost lately and has been fantastic. Over his last 5 games, Nance has averaged 10.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals per game over an average of 25.9 minutes. He’s seen at least 28 minutes of action in three of his last four games and the Kings are known to struggle with opposing power forwards. For $4,300, reaching 5x value would be 21.5 FDP, and 6x would be putting up 25.8 Fanduel points. If you’re following, with Nance’s recent production and minutes trend, he could easily top 6x value tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins ($11,400)
It’s a three game slate. I feel absolutely zero need to explain this play. He will push 100% ownership in cash games and far above 50% in GPPs. Lock him in, don’t look back.