What a Saturday night. The completely unexpected —and courageous — return of LaMarcus Aldridge (torn thumb ligament) was a success, but the plague of NBA injuries continues. Playing the best basketball of his promising career over the last month, Brandon Jennings will have an MRI on a possible torn Achilles tendon and could be lost for the season. Use D.J. Augustin $3200 tonight in Toronto and grab him in standard redraft leagues; rookie Spencer Dinwiddie $3000 will be the new backup and may be worth a speculative pickup in deep Roto and H2H formats.
Nine of Sunday’s 11 NBA games start at 6:00 Eastern or later. DraftKings does have 1:00 Early action that covers only the two matinees, but we’re going to ignore those for DFS purposes today. There are also Late contests at 8:00, spanning three potentially high-scoring tilts. The majority of DFS offerings (and the most lucrative) close at 6:00 ET and are full of interesting players at every position, so that’s our focus.
Plays of the Day
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Perhaps the key game is the Clippers in Phoenix. It won’t be so easy that the visitors get to coast, which means Chris Paul $9600, Blake Griffin $9800 and DeAndre Jordan $7800 can be used with confidence. For the Suns, Eric Bledsoe $8800 might be inspired against his former teammates and Goran Dragic $6600, who got benched for Isaiah Thomas $5400 last game after a technical, will want to make amends.
Dallas at New Orleans could be similar, because Anthony Davis $11000, Tyreke Evans $8200 and Eric Gordon $5700 are good enough to make the Mavs play hard. With Ryan Anderson $5500 (ankle) hurting, Alexis Ajinca $4000 is a possible bargain. Rick Carlisle has a variety of attractively-priced weapons in Monta Ellis $7000, Dirk Nowitzki $6400 and Tyson Chandler $6400, plus a deeper bench, but Rajon Rondo $7100 is slumping.
Win #16 in a row is a foregone conclusion for the Hawks, at home against the overmatched Timberwolves. Andrew Wiggins $6800 may have hit the proverbial rookie wall and will be closely guarded by DeMarre Carroll $5100. Garbage time is a distinct possibility, so the Atlanta big four are not guaranteed to play beyond the first stint of the second half. While Jeff Teague $8100 can do a lot of damage in 25 or 30 minutes, Dennis Schroder $3700 might finish up.
Another no-contest sees the mighty Warriors hosting the lowly Celtics. Don’t overpay for Stephen Curry $10000 or Klay Thompson $8100 based on what they are capable of, because their best will not be required. This is an opportunity for Marreese Speights $4200 or Shaun Livingston $3400 to shine in relief. For Boston, Marcus Smart (personal) and Kelly Olynyk (ankle) are out, so Evan Turner $5300, Avery Bradley $4200, Jared Sullinger $6600 and Tyler Zeller $3600 will play heavy minutes.
Even more one-sided is Houston at the Lakers. Kobe Bryant (shoulder) is expected to miss the rest of the season and Byron Scott has an odd new lineup. Jordan Hill $5600 is now at PF, with Robert Sacre $3400 at C and Jordan Clarkson $3900 started at PG, as Jeremy Lin $4000 got a surprise DNP-CD. The Rockets can afford to give Dwight Howard $7700 (ankle) a night off, which would mean extra run for Donatas Motiejunas $5400 and a possible start for Josh Smith $5200. There is also no reason to overwork James Harden $10900 if you can win with Corey Brewer $4000.
The only late game that might be close is in Denver, where a presumably embarrassed Ty Lawson $8800 (DUI) should be determined to atone for missing Friday’s game. The Wizards lost in Portland last night but can prevail, with John Wall $9200, former Nugget Nene Hilario $5400 and crafty veteran Paul Pierce $4600 all reasonably priced.
Gotta like the Spurs at home to Milwaukee. The Bucks trounced Detroit last night, coasting after a great first half, but this back-to-back is a much tougher test. With two days to recover from Thursday’s loss in Chicago, my money’s on Kawhi Leonard $7800, Tim Duncan $8200 and Tony Parker $5700 to dominate tonight, along with Manu Ginobili $5200 leading the second unit.
The least meaningful game is Indiana at Orlando, although lately the Magic have been scoring — and allowing — a ton of points. Nicola Vucevic $8800 and Victor Oladipo $6800 are the dynamic duo; Tobias Harris $6300 will be more effective when he gets his starting job back and Elfrid Payton $5500 (knee) may not be 100% if he does play. David West $6200 is the only Pacer worth a second look.
As a Raptors fan, I haven’t a clue what’s wrong with my team. Only fourth quarter heroics by all-star Kyle Lowry $9200 and a solid two-way effort by Patrick Patterson $4000 got them by the Sixers in a poorly-played nailbiter on Friday. Greg Monroe $8400 and DJA are the best plays for the visitors, but last night’s road loss was catastrophic to their playoff chances and an emotional letdown seems more likely than an inspired effort.
|PG||Chris Paul $9600||Tony Parker $5700||D.J. Augustin $3200|
|SG||James Harden $10900||Victor Oladipo $6800||Avery Bradley $4200|
|SF||Kawhi Leonard $7800||Chandler Parsons $5900||Paul Pierce $4600|
|PF||Anthony Davis $11000||D. Motiejunas $5400||Patrick Patterson $4000|
|C||Nikola Vucevic $8800||DeAndre Jordan $7800||Nikola Pekovic $4600|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.