The DraftKings Roster Build (3-20-18)
What’s up, everybody? I’m usually joined by Kevin Roberts here, but he’s out today. As usual, I’m going to go through each of the five primary positions and break down some of my favorite plays at each of them. Kevin normally handles the FanDuel side of things, which means this will be DraftKings-oriented today.
I typically break things down from a cash game perspective, but now that we’re in the season’s late stages, I’m generally looking at things through a GPP lens. Things like rotations and playing time are less predictable with so many teams tanking and dealing with injuries at this point, so there’s inherent risk in playing at all right now. As such, I think the line between cash plays and tourney plays is blurry at this point in the season.
Anyway, here’s how I’m looking at Tuesday’s slate.
Jeff Teague, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves ($6,400)
Honestly, if you wanted to play all 5 Minnesota starters in cash games tonight, I wouldn’t tell you you’re doing it wrong. We know the Wolves run arguably the league’s tightest rotation, and their matchup at home against the Clippers tonight comes with the highest total on the board by a wide margin. The Wolves are projected to put 115 points on the board, which is about 6 higher than their season average. All 5 (Teague, Wiggins, Bjelica, Taj, KAT) are playable on this slate.
I’m not just going to list them all here, though, because that’d be lame. Point guard is loaded once again tonight. You can choose to pay way up (Harden and Lillard are fine plays), while Jrue Holiday, Chris Paul, Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell and CJ McCollum also look solid. Yogi Ferrell, meanwhile, is shaping up to be the chalkiest value play of the slate.
For this space I came down to Rubio or Teague. Teague is $600 cheaper in a game expected to stay close, so I give him the slight edge. Since Jimmy Butler went down, Teague has taken a far more active role in the Wolves’ offense. Teague has seen a 4% usage bump without Butler on the floor this season, which is the highest on the team. He also averages a healthy 1.09 fantasy points per minute in this situation.
The matchup with the Clippers is also a plus. Austin Rivers is a better defender than he’s given credit for, while Sindarius Thornwell has also proven to be decent defensively as a rookie. It’ll be interesting to see what Doc Rivers does with the starters. Lou Williams shifted back to his preferred sixth man role in the last game with Milos Teodosic taking his starting spot. Teodosic might be the worst individual defender in basketball (non Isaiah Thomas division), but he can’t be hidden on any of Minnesota’s starters.
If Teague gets matched up with Milos, then he should absolutely feast. The Clippers have been struggling defensively as a whole for quite a while now, and they’ve been playing at a much faster pace since trading Blake Griffin.
Teague has a tendency to come up small in favorable situations, but I think he’s going to play 35+ minutes in what should be a close game. Sign me up at this price point.
Lou Williams, PG/SG, Los Angeles Clippers ($7,200)
This is another position with a number of great options. I’m interested in paying up for Harden here, but my lean as of now is to make Karl Towns my chief spend. So if I’m scrounging around the mid-range, Lou Williams looks like a fine play for $7,200.
Lou has seen his performance tail off of late. Some of that could be due to fatigue, but he also never looked quite at home in the starting lineup. Assuming Lou is back off the bench tonight, I like him to resume chucking with the second unit.
One of the more important health situations to monitor tonight is that of Tobias Harris. Doc Rivers labeled Harris as questionable after he missed shootaround with an illness. Assuming he doesn’t make a quick recovery, I’m getting the feeling that he’s not going to play tonight.
Harris’ absence hurts the Clippers’ chances of beating Minnesota, but it also helps Lou’s usage. In 967 minutes on the floor without Harris, Danilo Gallinari or Blake Griffin this season, Williams has a massive usage rate over 34% and he averages a tidy 1.20 DK points per minute.
Williams was a guy chucking 20+ shots a game earlier this season, but he was taking between 15-18 shots per game during his cameo as a starter. As a reserve in the last game, he shot 24 times. That’s more like it.
If Harris is out tonight, Lou becomes an elite play. Minnesota’s backcourt is nothing to fear defensively, either. I still like Williams if Harris is able to go, but he’d be solidified for me if Tobias sat out.
Josh Jackson, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns ($6,300)
Josh Jackson looked lost for much of the season, but he’s quietly made some pretty massive strides in the second half of the season. He looks like every bit the top prospect Phoenix thought they were getting when they took him in the lottery last summer.
He’s still somewhat inconsistent, as most rookies tend to be, but Jackson finds himself in a favorable spot tonight. T.J. Warren has already been ruled out, as expected. Warren’s absence gives Jackson a 1.3% usage bump up to 27% on the season. Devin Booker is also questionable after missing the last game with his sprained hand/wrist. If Warren and Booker are out, Jackson sees his usage rise even more to 29.2%. He also averages 1.01 DK points per minute.
His price has come up a little, but he’s still too cheap given his potential role tonight. Jackson had a career night last time out, scoring 36 points on blistering 14-23 shooting along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists against the Warriors’ B-team. It may look like point chasing, but Jackson just grades out as an elite mid-tier play given the Suns’ lack of healthy bodies.
Even if Booker plays, Jackson should be in line for plenty of minutes and plenty of usage. He’s clearly not afraid to jack shots up there. The Suns will host a Pistons team playing the second night of a back-to-back after winning in Sacramento last night. Detroit certainly doesn’t present a matchup to fear.
Nemanja Bjelica, SF/PF, Minnesota Timberwolves ($5,800)
Hey look, more Timberwolves. Bjelica was something of a bust the last time I recommended him, but that was understandable considering he was going up against the Spurs. Obviously, tonight’s clash with the Clippers is another story entirely.
He hasn’t cracked the 40-minute barrier in any of his last 3 games, but it appears as though his absolute minutes floor is 35. That’s still impossible for me to ignore, especially now that his price has come down a few hundred bucks. Bjelica isn’t a super high-usage guy, but he’ll still get up at least 10 shots on most nights.
Given the fact that he’s serviceable on the boards, Bjelica has a sneaky shot at nabbing a double-double here tonight against an undersized Clipper team. I expect Montrezl Harrell to pick up a few more minutes if Tobias Harris is out, but that still won’t scare me off of Minnesota’s bigs.
Bjelica just feels like a very safe play that also comes with a little upside.
Clint Capela, C, Houston Rockets ($6,600)
I’m probably plugging Karl-Anthony Towns in this spot, but I don’t want to keep hawking Wolves. I have interest in a few other centers on this slate, including Clint Capela. Capela has burned some bridges with some shaky outings recently, but I like that Rockets-Blazers will probably go under-owned tonight with people flocking to the Clips-Wolves game.
The Blazers are riding the league’s longest winning streak, while the Rockets are still in the driver’s seat to finish the season with the NBA’s best record. This game is meaningful for both sides tonight, and I think we get a competitive, high-scoring game.
This game could always go small, but I feel the more likely scenario is for Capela to duke it out with Jusuf Nurkic all night. Nurkic is a solid defender in his own right, and I even like him (again) as a strong GPP play. Capela feels more stable for $300 more, especially considering Terry Stotts likes to yo-yo Nurk’s minutes around.
Capela seems to have snapped out of his little mini-funk to post three consecutive double-doubles. He’s also cracked 30 minutes in each of those games, which is a positive sign moving forward. This play certainly has the potential to burn us, so feel free to pivot elsewhere if you feel nauseous about it in cash games.
It’s also good to see that Ryan Anderson return hasn’t hampered Capela’s role. Houston now doesn’t have any injuries to speak of, but I’m still happy rolling with Capela and his average of 1.22 DK points per minute.
Kicking things off with Teague, Lou, Jackson, Bjelica and Capela leaves us with a healthy $5,900 per vacant roster spot. If you go Towns over Capela, you’re down to $4,933 per. Passing on a guy like Harden on a slate like this is a little scary, but I don’t think he’s necessary to place in cash games tonight. There’s plenty of value on this slate, which makes my preferred roster construction path look palatable.