Tuesday’s main NBA slate features six games, with a majority of teams that play at a slow pace and prioritize defense over offense. Expect lower scores tonight than you saw Monday night. Notable injuries to watch for include: Domantas Sabonis, John Collins, Myles Turner, Justise Winslow, Steven Adams, Enes Kanter and Will Barton. There are plenty of other stars in our sights tonight, so here’s the rundown of the cheaper plays you can rely on around them. In this column, I generally set $6000 FD/$5000 DK as the bargain threshold, and I try to indicate when I think a position is particularly well-suited--or not--to using the cheap plays given the landscape of the particular slate. DraftKings’ pricing is notably sharper than FanDuel’s tonight, so I tried to provide a couple extra options to consider where it was feasible. Tonight’s slate tips at 7:00 pm EST.
Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic at Oklahoma City ($4700 FD, $4000 DK)
Fultz is expected to stick in the starting lineup and is the cheapest reasonable floor possible upside PG I like tonight. It’s never easy lining up against Chris Paul, but the Thunder play at a higher pace than the Magic, which should benefit Fultz. Truthfully, I think this is the right way to go for Orlando, and I think the only place to go is up for Fultz.
Expect a very highly owned Smart tonight as Jaylen Brown remains out with an illness. This game carries the highest point total of the night and Cleveland is notoriously soft against guards. Smart is capable of 40-plus fantasy points, and with the way he can fill a stat sheet, is playable in any contest tonight.
Forbes has a really refreshing price, even after starting the season with five of six games of at least 20 fantasy points. I know the Spurs’ guard rotations can be frustrating but Forbes is a guy I’m willing to trust at this salary.
Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs at Atlanta ($4900 FD, $5200 DK)
Gay is coming off his best game of the season, a 16-10 double-double, but has been close a number of times, and is averaging 27 fantasy points per game. Everyone knows who Gay is, and at this point in his career he isn’t going to win any tournaments for you, but he is a solid roster filler in a good matchup tonight.
Otto Porter, Chicago Bulls vs. LA Lakers ($5200 FD, $4300 DK)
Porter is listed as questionable, but the team indicates that he is more probable. Given that he is a jack of all trades kind of wing, I like it when I can get him cheap in a high scoring game. If he misses tonight’s game, consider Tomas Satoransky ($4600 FD (PG only), $4400 DK), who had a near double-double in 27 minutes in Indiana on Sunday.
Jabari Parker, Atlanta Hawks vs. San Antonio ($4800 FD, $5000 DK)
With John Collins suddenly suspended and Alex Len still dealing with a rib injury, I expect big things from Parker tonight. So will everyone else, so be prepared for high – like 90 percent – ownership. Parker has played at least 22 minutes in each of the last three games and led the team in scoring with Young sidelined last Thursday (23 real points). Orlando is a good defensive team, but has shown a weakness to opposing power forwards (fifth-most fantasy points allowed so far in this young season).
Leaf went off for a 13-15 double-double vs. Chicago Sunday, and his DK price skyrocketed. I can’t see paying the same for him as Parker tonight, but at FD he’s a nice opportunity. That opportunity evaporates somewhat if Sabonis is back, so be sure to keep an eye on that. Also, we’ve seen the floor Leaf offers; he did virtually nothing when he got the start vs. Cleveland. I’d use him only as a salary-saving flier, if Sabonis is out, only on FanDuel.
Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics at Cleveland ($4200 FD, $4800 DK)
The big Collins news will drive a lot of ownership to Parker tonight, which could allow Theis to fly a bit more under the radar than he otherwise would have. Boston is still dealing with significant frontcourt absences of their own, and Theis has been the man to step up (17 rebounds and five blocks in the last two games; though his scoring could be better). Again, he’s easier to slot in on FanDuel, but this should be a fantasy-friendly game, and Kevin Love isn’t known for his defense (the Cavs allow the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing PFs).
Also consider: Marvin Williams ($3600 FD, $3100 DK)
Goga Bitadze, Indiana Pacers at Charlotte ($5300 FD, $4000 DK)
Finally a better DK bargain play! I’m assuming that Sabonis is out again tonight, along with Turner. If either plays tonight, I limit my enthusiasm for Bitadze considerably. As always, paying down for center is a risk. On DK, they are basically daring you to fade Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic or Nikola Vucevic with Bitadze at this price…or to fill the utility slot with a center, not my favorite approach. Still, he has performed well given his opportunity the last two games (27 fantasy points in 22.5 minutes).
Also consider: Nerlens Noel ($5600 FD, $4400 DK) if healthy