Tonight brings us an interesting slate, as the Pistons-Raptors game has already been canceled due to ongoing COVID-19 contact tracing.
That frustrating news cuts a 7-game slate down to 6, and takes viable plays off the board including Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell and Chris Boucher for Toronto, and Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee and Josh Jackson for Detroit. In the value play area, point guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Saben Lee are both off the board now, as well.
All right, let’s get right into the action…
NBA DFS Tip of the Week
Each week I’ll remind you of the previous week’s tip; that way by the end of the season you will have a full handbook for current and future success in NBA DFS.
Week 1 Tip: Review ALL injuries first. Every, single one. No exceptions.
Week 2 Tip: Know your pivots. Someone is out – who picks up their playing time?
Week 3 Tip: Minutes over “The Eye Test”.
I know, we know basketball. Many of us have been watching and playing our entire lives. We absolutely know what we are talking about, right?
Well, not quite. In NBA DFS, it doesn’t really matter if we think Terrence Ross is a hog who doesn’t know how to share the rock (he played 36 minutes last night). It doesn’t matter if we think Lonzo Ball has been completely overrated from the get-go (he played 38 minutes last night). And it doesn’t matter if we think the Cleveland Cavaliers are a dumpster fire (Collin Sexton 41 mins, Jarrett Allen 31).
Minutes equal opportunities. Don’t get too caught up in the minutiae, overthinking every little aspect of the player. You think the guy is going to play a ton of minutes tonight and produce?
Well, then… fire ‘em up!
Key Injuries: March 2, 2021
Anthony Davis, PF/C, Lakers (Out, calf/Achilles): Of course, this has been an ongoing situation. It’s very simple: I don’t really like to play AD or LeBron when they are active together; but when one of them is out? It’s time. LeBron is always a play to me with AD out. On the lower end, fan favorite Alex Caruso has been picking up more minutes of late. 26 fantasy points last game; 25.5 the game before. He’s a possible value play on this slate.
JaMychal Green, Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Facundo Campazzo and R.J. Hampton, Nuggets (all Out): COVID, injuries, whatever… Denver’s depth is decimated right now. And they are on a back-to-back tonight. Megastar Nikola Jokic was a slate winner last night, soaking up usage and simply doing what he does: filling up the box score from top to bottom, with efficiency. Only 9 players picked up minutes for the Nuggets, and their 4-man bench was awfully quiet (Cancar, Dozier, Nnanj and Hartenstein). Will Barton looks like a play for me tonight after a relatively quiet performance, despite 36 minutes of PT.
Cam Reddish, SF, Hawks (Out, Achilles): Not the biggest name on the board, but this continues to open things up for Trae Young, Clint Capela, John Collins and Kevin Huerter (who is probable tonight). Here’s the thing about me: “Pivoting” doesn’t necessarily mean to the same position. Reddish has been playing a mix of small forward and shooting guard? That doesn’t mean I go apples to apples. Doesn’t mean I am necessarily looking for the next Atlanta SG or SF. I’d rather look at their “real” players and see how that helps them; Collins, in particular, has been playing much better of late. Capela has been a consistent monster, too.
Grayson Allen, SG, Grizzlies (Out, concussion): Similar situation, here – not the biggest name on the board. But Grayson has been starting at SG for Memphis; he spaces the floor and opens things up at the rim for both Ja Morant (driving) and Jonas Valanciunas, finishing inside of 2-4 feet. Youngster Desmond Bane will probably be serious “chalk” tonight (heavily owned), but he may also end up being a must-play. His salary hasn’t jumped as substantially as I thought it would. “Slow-Mo” Kyle Anderson is also questionable, so keep an eye on that. Lot of possible plays here for Memphis: Morant, Valanciunas, Bane, Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, De’Anthony Melton and Justise Winslow. Mix-and-match. We are splitting hairs, here.
Elfrid Payton, PG, Knicks (Doubtful, hamstring): And we go right to veterans Derrick Rose and Alec Burks. Rose played 32 minutes last game, while Burks performed quite well in 26 minutes of action. Spunky rookie Immanuel Quickley is on the back burner here, playing just 15 minutes last game despite Elf’s absence. I’m most likely to play Rose of the three.
Jimmy Butler, SF, Heat (Questionable, knee): Didn’t make it out there for the last one, but it sounds slightly more optimistic today. If Jimmy doesn’t go, you know where to turn: Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. The latter is off a particularly big game, by his standards.
Jaylen Brown, SG/SF, Celtics (Questionable, knee): Kemba Walker’s salary has jumped quite significantly. I know Jaylen is questionable at the moment, but it just feels like he’s going to sit another one out. That means Kemba, Jayson Tatum and maybe even a little Daniel Theis.
Frascella’s DFS Plays of the Day
Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets: It’s just so hard to duplicate what he did last night, but it’s also difficult to fade him because the Nuggets are missing so many parts. You still have to mix “The Joker” into some of your lineups.
LeBron James, PG/SF, Lakers: Same old story: his usage is through the roof with AD on the sidelines. Take advantage while you still can.
Jayson Tatum, SF/PF, Celtics: Again, it feels like Jaylen Brown is going to sit one more, and I think Kemba will still be a bit chalky at his salary level. Earlier I said I don’t play LeBron or AD if they are active together; I also stay away from Tatum/Brown/Kemba when they are all active. If Jaylen doesn’t go, this is the exact spot to use Tatum. Again, take advantage of these opportunities.
Derrick Rose, PG/SG, Knicks: He’s New York’s unquestioned floor general with Elf Payton on the sidelines.
Kevin Huerter, SG/SF, Hawks: Not a guy I usually play – because he essentially falls into the simple “shooter” category for me – but this is the right price and spot with Reddish out. Also, Huerter has the red “Q” next to his name at the moment, and those guys sometimes get overlooked in terms of DFS usage on the night.
Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Grizzlies: Hasn’t been consistently good – especially when Jonas is active – but there could be some opportunity here with Allen out and “Slow-Mo” questionable. When on, Clarke is a kid who can fill up the box score, top to bottom.
Desmond Bane, SG/SF, Grizzlies: Gonna be truly hard to ignore at his salary today.
Justise Winslow, PG/SF, Grizzlies: Returned from injury and quickly found some steady minutes in Memphis’ rotation.
P.J. Dozier, SG/SF, Nuggets: Was a fantasy darling on yesterday’s slate, but didn’t play particularly well. Good salary here, with a chance to bounce back at a low-risk level.
I hope you hit it big today!
John Frascella is a published sports author and fantasy sports analyst with over two decades of experience, and will be contributing frequent DFS columns to Aaron Torres Online. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy sports.