The NBA decided to get a quick set of games in before the NFL takes over the day and there’s already one player that will be total chalk. Kawhi Leonard I would suspect is going to be the most popular player with Paul George already ruled out. We’ll get into that and more in the NBA Cash Game Breakdown 2/7 to find the right routes for the green screens!
Jazz – Mike Conley (O)
Heat – Goran Dragic (O), Jimmy Butler (Q)
Hornets – P.J. Washington (Q), Devonte’ Graham (O)
Celtics – Jaylen Brown (O), Marcus Smart (O)
Suns – Jaw Crowder, Abdel Nader (Q), Cameron Payne (O)
Clippers – Patrick Beverly, Paul George (O)
LaMelo Ball ($7,800 DK/$7,800 FD) – I would normally preach caution with Ball coming off nearly 60 fantasy points. The Wizards matchup changes that, as does the fact we already know Graham is out for this one. With Graham and Washington off the floor this season, Ball has a 1.22 FPPM and a 23.9% usage rate. The Wizards love running the floor with the fastest pace in the league and this is just the juiciest spot possible for Ball to flirt with a triple-double.
Kemba Walker ($6,800 DK/$5,700 FD) – I won’t get there on DK but FD is a different story. Walker racked up 35 DK last time after a horrific start shooting the ball, which is encouraging. Even more important was he played 32 minutes, which he needs to justify the DK price (sort of). FD is much easier to play him since he has a 1.40 FPPM and a 37.9% usage rate with Smart and Brown off the floor. Kemba is the Robin to Jayson Tatum’s Batman right now for the Celts and the FD price just isn’t high enough. You can also consider punting Carsen Edwards, especially on DK. He played 30 minutes last game and was excellent offensively.
Kendrick Nunn ($5,800 DK/$5,000 FD) – I would suspect Nunn gets the start in place of Dragic, but that’s not 100% yet. He played 31 minutes last game and poured in the points with 20+. Nunn can be a flighty player, and he’s one that we normally avoid in cash. Still, he does have a 25.2% usage rate with Dragic off the floor. That’s enough to be considered on FD, but I do want to find $700 for Kemba without a doubt.
Honorable Mention – De’Aaron Fox, Malcolm Brogdon, Terry Rozier
Tyrese Haliburton ($6,200 DK/$6,000 FD) – The Kings just can’t keep the talented rookie off the floor right now. He played a season-high 35 minutes last game and scored 23 points, along with 10 total rebounds and assists. That marked the seventh straight game Haliburton has played at least 30 minutes, and he’s not scored below 27 FD points but just once. He’s a well rounded player and the 0.96 FPPM looks excellent when you consider he’s just at a 16.3% usage.
Jordan Clarkson ($5,700 DK/$5,000 FD) – The stone chalk on FD I suspect and probably DK as well. Mike Conley is out and Clarkson is sitting at a 25% usage rate when he’s off the floor. Clarkson doesn’t move a ton in usage or FPPM, and I wouldn’t expect him to start. However, there’s just more opportunities within the offense with Conley isn’t there. I would also suspect that Indy could try and use Malcolm Brogdon on Donovan Mitchell when they can. If that’s the case, Clarkson could really go off and I want to be a part of that. I really think this combo turns into the most popular on FD and Clarkson is the guy for DK. It’s a pretty gross position overall, unless you spend up (and right now I don’t see the reason to do so).
Honorable Mention – Bradley Beal, Tyler Herro (if Dragic is out)
Kawhi Leonard ($9,100 DK/$9,900 FD) – Just go ahead and start the builds with the Klaw today. Not only is PG out so Kawhi has a 31.6% usage and a 1.45 FPPM, but the matchup is incredible. Sacramento is right next to the Wizards in pace and defensive rating, which is to say they play fast and don’t defend. Kawhi is going to excel in this type of game, and it should stay close. I mean, they blew nearly a 20-point lead last game so I’m not worried on that end. The salary isn’t even that much to ask on either site to put the cherry on top.
Gordon Hayward ($8,000 DK/$7,600 FD) – This is tough on FD. I REALLY want to play the Hayward/Ball duo, but we have one player that will likely be chalk further down that we should eat. Hayward has had a couple average games but last time he perked up with 49 DK. The matchup gets even better against the Wizards and Hayward is the only starter with a positive correlation with Ball. Hayward plays so, so many minutes and if he gets 36-40 against Washington, he could touch 50-60 DK.
Joe Ingles ($5,300 DK/$4,500 FD) – This is the chalk we need to get to on FD, but DK we could run everything together with Kawhi/Hayward/Ingles/Clarkson. We would need some value but we all know that happens.
Ingles has always entered the starting lineup when Conley is out, and it makes perfect sense. He’s a much better ball distributor than Clarkson, and that’s what the offense needs most with Conley off the floor. Mitchell and Clarkson handle the scoring, Ingles runs the offense as a whole. The 29.9% assist rate leads the team in the scenario the Jazz are in tonight and he’s just too cheap for the role he’ll have. As a side note, I’m interested in his assist prop as long as it’s not above 5.5. Let’s get it.
Honorable Mention – Miles Bridges (if Washington is out)
Jayson Tatum ($9,400 DK/$10,200 FD) – The FD price is likely out of my range but I’m still very interested on DK. He might be a tough squeeze since we’re playing Kawhi and I really love LaMelo, but Tatum shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s been a monster with a 34.7% usage and a 1.41 FPPM. Even Kawhi couldn’t stop him from scoring 30+ real points last game. The Suns are a slow pace team just like the Clippers, but Tatum just proved that doesn’t matter at this point. I will say that playing the Clarkson/Ingles duo on FD makes Tatum a good bit more in my range.
Nic Batum ($5,100 DK/$5,200 FD) – It’s not going to work on FD by the looks of it, because I don’t want to eat both SF spots. I really am looking to this LaMelo/Hayward stack but will likely go Kawhi/Ingles. DK makes it a lot easier with more flexibility and the Clips rode Batum last game with no PG, playing him a massive 39 minutes. True to Batum’s normal, he didn’t do anything spectacular but grinded his way to about 30 fantasy points. Given the elite matchup, that could inch towards 40 if he gets the same amount of minutes and he’s a very palatable price.
Honorable Mention – Daniel Theis (provided he’s not on the injury report), Frank Kaminsky (if starting)
Deandre Ayton ($6,800 DK/$8,300 FD) – I think he’s too much on FD, but the spot is quietly pretty awesome. The Celtics are 16th in rebounding and Ayton is eighth in rebounding chances. Likewise, Boston sits in the bottom five in paint points allowed and Ayton is second to only Rudy Gobert with 10.1 paint points per game. Flat out, the Celtics have big men in Theis and Tristan Thompson but not a lot to hang with Ayton. My fear is CP3 and Booker are both in. Ayton has had some flops with everyone active, which is why I’m probably just going to my next player.
Cody Zeller ($6,000 DK/$5,800 FD) – Zeller will be my bet to be the lock button on FD, and he’ll be popular on DK. I mean, that’s what happens when Washington is on the other side. Even though he’s only played 10 games, Zeller sports 6.4 paint touches per game and scores 4.5 five points. Washington is bottom-five in paint points allowed and 25th in rebounding. This is a great spot for Zeller, who has been playing 30 minutes a night more often than not. Also, on DK don’t overlook Alex Len. He’s had two games of 24 and 27 minutes the past two. Len is only $4,000 and you could rock Zeller and Len for $10,000. I’d love to see what the model thinks as well.
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