- It's a busy Tuesday night in the NBA, and there's a lot of DFS value to be found with the Pelicans and Wizards.
The first major splash of the trade season arrived on Monday, with the Clippers sending Blake Griffin (and some ancillary pieces) to the Pistons for Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley (plus Boban Marjanovic and some picks). It’s unlikely any of them run with their new teams on Tuesday, leaving some extreme guesswork on minutes for the Clippers and Pistons. Griffin won’t be the only star who takes a rest on a busy Tuesday night, opening up value and the potential for some big payoffs. Use these picks and LineupLab's PlayerLab to get you started with winning lineups for FanDuel and DraftKings.
Team Stack Alert No. 1
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings
Anthony Davis (FD: $12,500, DK: $11,400)
Projected Points: FD: 61.2, DK: 61.22
Jrue Holiday (FD: $8,500, DK: $8,300)
Projected Points: FD: 38.66, DK: 39.01
The Pelicans suffered a massive, cruel blow on Friday when DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles in the final 10 seconds of the game. Cousins was putting together an MVP-level season with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists on 36 minutes per game. From strictly a basketball sense, this is a devastating loss for the Pelicans, who were primed for a playoff berth and starting to come together as a unit with both Cousins and Anthony Davis on the court.
From a daily fantasy perspective, the Cousins injury opens up a tremendous amount of opportunity for New Orleans. Anthony Davis is the clear beneficiary, and his usage goes to 32% from 28% with Cousins off the court. He sees an even bigger bump on the glass, with a rebounding rate that shoots up to 21% from 16%. All that says nothing of the minutes’ security provided now that New Orleans is left without a superstar talent. Davis was an overwhelming chalk play on Sunday and will likely be again here on Tuesday. With Willie Cauley-Stein out for the Kings, they simply don’t have much in the way of interior defense.
The rest of the Pelicans also see usage increases across the board. Holiday becomes the de facto secondary-scoring option with an elite 30% usage when Cousins is off the court. He was also a popular play on Sunday (not as high as Davis, but hovering around 60%) and will likely see similar ownership on this slate. E’Twaun Moore, Darius Miller and Dante Cunningham all become viable cheaper options, though it is worth mentioning that none saw a significant minutes boost without Cousins on Sunday.
Team Stack Alert No. 2
Washington Wizards vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Bradley Beal (FD: $7,900, DK: $8,400)
Projected Points: FD: 40.79, DK: 42.17
Otto Porter (FD: $6,700, DK: $6,400)
Projected Points: FD: 35.11, DK: 34.57
Markieff Morris (FD: $5,300, DK: $5,500)
Projected Points: FD: 26.6, DK: 26.9
From a full-team stack, I’m less excited about this one than the Thunder, but there’s no denying some of the opportunity opening up for the Wizards with John Wall doubtful for Tuesday. The star point guard sat out on Saturday night, and the Wizards still put a 25-point drubbing on the Hawks. They’ll have a tougher time on Tuesday against the sixth-best defensive efficiency team in the league, but there’s still too much opportunity here to look the other way. Wall is not only the highest-usage player on the team but, in terms of time-of-possession, only Russell Westbrook and James Harden control the ball longer. Without him, Beal goes to a 32% usage rate from 28%, and he won’t have to contend with Andre Roberson’s defense.
Morris and Porter also see increased shot attempts with Wall on the bench, and, if the game stays close, should see significant playing time. Morris struggles with foul trouble at times, but his usage without Wall sees a significant boost. Meanwhile, Porter should be on the floor for anywhere between 32 and 38 minutes, especially considering the Thunder’s wing depth.
Dejounte Murray, vs. Nuggets (FD: $6,300, DK: $5,900)
Projected Points: FD: 30.39, DK: 30.78
Since replacing Tony Parker in the starting lineup five games ago, Murray has brought new life to the Spurs point guard position. He’s averaging 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game, all while shooting 50% from the field. His price is up across the industry with the new opportunity, but if he’s now set for somewhere in the area of 30 minutes a game as a starter in close games, then he’s still coming at something of a value. He doesn’t shoot threes at all, which does limit some of his scoring upside, but he rebounds the position as well as anyone in the game.
Kyle Lowry, vs. Timberwolves (FD: $7,700, DK: $7,400)
Projected Points: FD: 38.42, DK: 40.24
Lowry has really struggled from the field in his last three games, shooting only 27% overall and 21% from three. From a fantasy perspective, the doldrums have been compounded by Toronto winning in blowouts in two of the three games, reducing Lowry’s minutes. The silver lining, at least as far as Tuesday’s contests are concerned, is that his price is down making him a fantastic value, especially on DraftKings. Minnesota has struggled defending point guards all season long, allowing 4% more scoring and assists to the position.
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Shooting Guard/Small Forward
LeBron James, vs. Pistons (FD: $11,400, DK: $11,300)
Projected Points: FD: 54.18, DK: 55.63
Of all the upper tier plays listed here Tuesday, I probably like Lebron the least from a points-per-dollar value. Still, it’s easy to see there has been a positive short-term correlation between the Cavaliers’ new starting lineup and his fantasy production. In the last two games, since the Cavs moved Tristan Thompson to center and Kevin Love to the four, James is averaging 26 points, 13 assists, and nine rebounds per game. One of those games was against these Pistons, and their defensive effort could be even worse without Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley. In fact, the biggest concern in this game is the possibility of a Cleveland blowout. They won by 17 on Sunday and it didn’t stop James from playing 38 minutes, but it’s still in play.
Reggie Bullock, vs. Cavaliers (FD: $3,800, DK: $4,700)
Projected Points: FD: 22.56, DK: 22.6
Like I said earlier, it’s going to take some time to make sense of the fallout of the Blake Griffin trade. If the traded players don’t play Tuesday, which seems likely, the Pistons will be short at shooting guard. Bullock has stepped up in the recent term, playing 30 minutes against Cleveland on Sunday and finishing with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. The game could get out of hand if Detroit is playing with a skeleton crew, but I still this Bullock sees enough to pay off at his near-punt FanDuel price.
Kristaps Porzingis, vs. Nets (FD: $8,800, DK: $8,100)
Projected Points: FD: 43.48, DK: 42.8
It’s a little disconcerting to look at Porzingis’s recent performance and think about playing him in cash games, but there’s a little more to it when understanding the full context. He was in foul trouble all game against Denver, ultimately fouling out early in the fourth quarter. The Knicks then went on to blow out the Suns, which limited Porzingis’s minutes. There’s a better-than-average chance that he’s back up into the low-to-mid-30s-minutes range against a Nets team running the fifth-fastest pace in the league with a bottom-third defensive efficiency. Porzingis is coming in at his fifth-lowest DraftKings price of the season thanks to some injury issues and the aforementioned recent game-script struggles. This is a fantastic time to buy him in all contests.
Anthony Tolliver, vs. Cavaliers (FD: $3,800, DK: $4,500)
Projected Points: FD: 21.17, DK: 22.21
Playing Tolliver here is very much in the same vein as Reggie Bullock, in that the Pistons are shorthanded and there’s a reasonable expectation for high minutes. He started at power forward on Sunday against the Cavaliers and played 40 minutes despite the blowout. This is encouraging, seeing as how the outcome of the game may not matter for Tolliver’s opportunity. He’s not a special player, but getting anywhere near 40 minutes at these prices makes him a steal. He did finish with 20 points and five rebounds in that loss to the Cavaliers, more than enough to hit cash value. His price makes him a viable piece in a stars-and-scrubs lineup on Tuesday night.