NBA DFS Core Plays LIVE: Tuesday, January 24th

Andy Means (meansy53), a former Duke basketball walk-on, will be bringing Premium subscribers his top NBA DFS plays to build around on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Everyone’s favorite, Notorious, will be guiding you on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And on weekends, the GPP maestro you all know and love, STLCards, takes the reins.

GENERAL SLATE THOUGHTS

6:55 PM ET: Immanuel Quickley will play tonight against the Cavaliers.

6:45 PM ET: Nikola Jokic is now expected to play. Bones Hyland has been ruled OUT.

6:30 PM ET: Zion Williamson, Naji Marshall, and Brandon Ingram are all OUT. Dyson Daniels should draw another spot start. C.J. McCollum makes a strong tournament play and I’ll bump up Jonas Valanciunas in my rankings if he doesn’t have to go up against Nikola Jokic (Questionable).

Jimmy Butler has also been ruled OUT.

5:50 PM ET: Andrew Nembhard has been ruled OUT and T.J. McConnell has been confirmed as the starter. This should make us feel even better about McConnell as a core play for tonight’s slate. The Pacers will also start Chris Duarte with Bennedict Mathurin coming off the bench.

4:30 PM ET: Gordon Hayward has been ruled OUT. This won’t change too much for the Hornets unless LaMelo Ball is also forced to miss the game. If he’s out, Charlotte will be forced into an extremely tight rotation.

1:10 PM ET: The Celtics have ruled OUT Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Malcolm Brogdon just moments after I finalized the first set of rankings. Never change, NBA.

Here’s the per-minute +/- numbers for the Celtics with those four off the floor (small sample):

1:00 PM ET: The first two core plays tags belong to… drum roll… T.J. McConnell and Cam Johnson. Yeah, it’s that kind of slate.

12:30 PM ET: I wanted to throw a few CourtIQ outputs at you before I forget.

Here’s the per-minute +/- numbers for the Wizards with Porzingis off the floor:

Here’s the per-minute +/- numbers for the Suns with Booker, Ayton, Payne, and Shamet off the floor (small sample):

Here’s the per-minute +/- numbers for the Mavericks with Wood off the floor:

10:30 AM ET: Happy Tuesday, my friends. We had our first notable trade of the year yesterday, as the Wizards sent Rui Hachimura to the Lakers in exchange for Kendrick Nunn. The trade is still pending, so both players will be out for tonight’s slate. The Lakers have managed to keep the ship afloat with Anthony Davis out and now have a little more frontcourt depth to help out the ageless LeBron James.

The last time I wrote this article, I asked for show recommendations. I haven’t started any of the shows mentioned, but I do have them written down. I’m still trying to finish the Vikings show on Netflix. I’m a fan of the show, but nothing good ever seems to happen and there are so many episodes. Right as I started the final season, I saw they did a spin-off that takes place 100 years later. This is great NBA DFS content, I know. I just wanted to say I appreciated the suggestions and will be starting them soon.

While the injury news continues to come in bunches, how great has the NBA schedule been over the last few weeks? It seems like there are between five and 10 games every single day. We have seven games on the schedule tonight with three of those teams playing in the second half of a back-to-back: Bulls, Celtics, and Hornets. All three of those teams are playing on the road, which means they had travel in addition to the back-to-back.

Here is a quick team-by-team preview for tonight:

Chicago: The Bulls are playing in the second half of a back-to-back after beating the Hawks last night. They have won three games in a row and might be the healthiest team on the slate. They draw a favorable matchup against the Pacers, who are ranked third in pace and 22nd in defensive rating.

Indiana: The Pacers are still without Tyrese Haliburton and could be without Andrew Nembhard, who is listed as questionable. T.J. McConnell has topped 50 fantasy points in two of his last four games and would become one of the top targets on the slate if Nembhard is ruled out. A matchup against the Bulls isn’t particularly good or bad for fantasy production, but at least the Pacers are playing at home.

Boston: The Celtics did not play their best last night, as they lost by double digits to the Magic after being listed as 8-point favorites in the game. We’ll likely see Al Horford rest and Robert Williams back in the lineup tonight. The two tend to split these back-to-back sets. We also have to monitor the availability of Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon. To make matters worse, they are facing a Heat team that is 28th in pace and sixth in defensive rating.

Miami: The Heat have pulled off the impossible — they don’t have a single player on their injury report. They’ve been one of the most injury-prone teams in basketball this season. They’ve won six of their last 10, they have a good home record, and they are catching the Celtics at an opportune time.

Cleveland: The Cavaliers should be at full strength tonight, as Donovan Mitchell is expected to be back in the lineup. The team is looking to bounce-back after losing five of its last 10 games. They have struggled on the road and face a Knicks team that is 27th in pace and 13th in defensive rating.

New York: The Knicks are set to be without Mitchell Robinson for a significant period of time, which means we’ll see another spot-start from Jericho Sims. He played 33 minutes on Saturday and split the entire 48 center minutes with Isaiah Hartenstein. The Knicks will need his size tonight against the Cavaliers, making Sims a strong value play once again. The matchup leaves much to be desired though, as Cleveland is ranked 30th in pace and second in defensive rating.

Denver: The Nuggets are coming off of a loss, but have still won nine of their last 10 games. They sit atop the Western Conference standings. There are a lot of question marks for tonight, as Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter, and Bones Hyland are all listed as questionable. If Jokic is out again, the Nuggets become a team that we can potentially stack despite the mediocre matchup against the Pelicans.

New Orleans: The Pelicans are hoping to have Brandon Ingram back soon, but he is listed as doubtful for this one. We also need to keep an eye on the availability of Naji Marshall, who has really stepped up and played well in the absence of Zion Williamson. The Nuggets aren’t a good matchup by any means, but they are much more beatable on the road than they are when they play in Denver.

Washington: The Wizards will be short-handed in the frontcourt tonight. They traded Rui Hachimura and have ruled out Kristaps Porzingis.

Side note: I just dropped my little one off at school and… no backpack. Parent fail.

Dallas: The Mavericks are in a bit of a free fall at the moment. They have lost seven of their last 10 games and will now be without Christian Wood for a few games. Tonight’s game against the Wizards will be slow-paced, but Wood’s absence opens up some plays from Dallas.

Charlotte: The Hornets lost to the Jazz last night and have dipped to 13-35 on the season. LaMelo Ball was unable to suit up and I doubt 24 hours has done much to heal his injury, but he’s listed as questionable. It’s a tough spot with travel between games, but at least they are catching the Suns at an opportune time.

Phoenix: The Suns can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve been without Devin Booker, Cam Payne, and Landry Shamet for a while and have also ruled out Deandre Ayton for tonight’s game. Luckily, they get to face the Hornets at home. The combination of Phoenix being short-handed and having the best matchup on the board make them one of the most intriguing teams to target.

LA Clippers: We have a battle of Los Angeles tonight. The Clippers will be without Luke Kennard and John Wall, but will have both of their superstars available for a pace-up game against the Lakers.

LA Lakers: Anthony Davis is nearing a return, but has been ruled out of tonight’s game. The Lakers will also be without Lonnie Walker and Austin Reaves. It’s not the best matchup on the whole, but the Clippers are the only team in the NBA that LeBron hasn’t scored 40+ points against. Narrative season!

Here’s a list of players that are currently on the injury report for tonight’s slate:

Out

Goran Dragic
Tyrese Haliburton
Daniel Theis
Zion Williamson
Christian Wood
Kristaps Porzingis
Kendrick Nunn
Devin Booker
Deandre Ayton
Cam Payne
Landry Shamet
Luke Kennard
John Wall
Anthony Davis
Rui Hachimura
Austin Reaves
Lonnie Walker

Doubtful

Al Horford
Marcus Smart
Brandon Ingram
Cody Martin

Questionable

Andrew Nembhard
Malcolm Brogdon
Immanuel Quickley
Bones Hyland
Nikola Jokic
Michael Porter
Naji Marshall
LaMelo Ball
LeBron James

NOTE: The closer we get to the slate locking, the less likely it is that I will have the necessary time to update the tables below. For the most up-to-date information, make sure you are watching Crunch Time and monitoring LineupHQ for my Core Play tags and our Premium NBA Projections.

Andy Means (meansy53), a former Duke basketball walk-on, will be bringing Premium subscribers his top NBA DFS plays to build around on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Everyone’s favorite, Notorious, will be guiding you on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And on weekends, the GPP maestro you all know and love, STLCards, takes the reins.

GENERAL SLATE THOUGHTS

10:30 AM ET: Happy Tuesday, my friends. We had our first notable trade of the year yesterday, as the Wizards sent Rui Hachimura to the Lakers in exchange for Kendrick Nunn. The trade is still pending, so both players will be out for tonight’s slate. The Lakers have managed to keep the ship afloat with Anthony Davis out and now have a little more frontcourt depth to help out the ageless LeBron James.

The last time I wrote this article, I asked for show recommendations. I haven’t started any of the shows mentioned, but I do have them written down. I’m still trying to finish the Vikings show on Netflix. I’m a fan of the show, but nothing good ever seems to happen and there are so many episodes. Right as I started the final season, I saw they did a spin-off that takes place 100 years later. This is great NBA DFS content, I know. I just wanted to say I appreciated the suggestions and will be starting them soon.

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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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