Larry Nance Jr. suffering a broken hand changes matters for the Los Angeles Lakers on the court, and in the realm of daily fantasy sports. In addition to LeBron James being among the top plays on DraftKings, a look at how to off set the loss of Nance with other viable Lakers.
High Priced Plays
LeBron James, SF/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers ($10,600): Things are not looking great for the Cleveland Cavaliers after losing their last four games, and five of the first eight, but that shouldn’t take away from how great James has been for DFS this season.
He’s averaging 52 fantasy points per game over the first eight games and he has eclipsed the 60-fantasy point mark in four of those contests. James has shouldered the offensive load for the Cavaliers, averaging 25.6 points and 8.9 assists per game, while posting a 28.6 percent usage rate.
The Washington Wizards come into tonight allowing 108.1 points per game to opponents and have allowed 50.86 fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season. The Wizards allowed T.J. Warren to post a 40 point and 10 rebound line against them in their last game, and have also been torched by Brandon Ingram and Kevin Durant over their last few games.
This is a prime matchup for James, and as long as Cleveland doesn’t get blown out, I expect him to play heavy minutes and put up a huge game tonight.
John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards ($9,700): This is an important game for the Wizards as they look to dethrone the Eastern Conference kings this season, and Wall is once again one of my favorite plays on the slate.
I know he let us down against Phoenix, only scoring 42.75 DraftKings points, but I not going to let that stop me from cramming him in my lineups tonight. Wall currently ranks 10th in the NBA in usage at 30.2 percent, while also leading the team in field goal attempts at 17.9, so it is just a matter of time before he posts a huge game.
The Cavaliers are currently in the bottom five of defensive efficiency in the NBA, allowing 111.9 points per game to opponents and allowing them to shoot 47 percent from the floor, but most importantly, they are getting lit up from beyond the arc.
The Cavaliers are allowing opponents to attempt 33.5 3-pointers per game and they are allowing them to shoot a league-high 41.8 percent on those attempts.
The Cavaliers have struggled to defend just about every position on the floor this season, but they have been especially bad against point guards, allowing 51.14 fantasy points per game to them, the fourth most in the NBA.
This matchup presents Wall with an excellent opportunity to break out of his funk and I want to have as much exposure to him as I can.
Eric Gordon, SG, Houston Rockets ($6,700): Gordon was thrust into the starting lineup for the Rockets when Chris Paul got injured and he has thrived for them in that role. Over his last seven games, Gordon has averaged 22.7 points, two rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game while averaging 33.5 DraftKings points.
He has put up these solid numbers despite struggling behind the 3-point line for the majority of the season, shooting a career-low 31.9 percent. Gordon is second on the team in usage, behind only James Harden, at 29.8 percent and has been operating as the primary ball handler at times while sharing the court with Harden.
The Atlanta Hawks are allowing shooting guards to rack up 45.63 fantasy points per game this season, the fourth highest mark in the NBA, and they have especially struggled against spot up shooters like Gordon.
Atlanta is allowing opponents to 32.3 3-pointers per game and has allowed them to connect on 35 percent of those attempts. This game should be a high-scoring affair and Gordon should put up a solid outing here tonight.
DeMarre Carroll, SF/PF, Brooklyn Nets ($5,200): Tonight’s matchup between the Nets and Lakers will be one of the best games of the night to target and DeMarre Carroll is one of my top mid-range options from this contest.
Carroll has been outstanding for the Nets and it looks like he has put his ankle injury behind. So far, this season, Carroll has eclipsed the 30-fantasy point mark in all but two games, and his price has yet to rise to a level that reflects his performance.
Carroll isn’t heavily involved in the offense in Brooklyn, as evidenced by his 18 percent usage rate, but he has attempted at least 10 shots in four of his seven games and has scored in double-figures in all but one game.
Carroll’s ability to rebound and rack up steals is what gives him his floor and is why I am targeting him tonight.
The Lakers are allowing opponents to pull down 47 rebounds per game this season while turning the ball over 18.4 times, which is great news for Carroll.
He has played 71 percent of his minutes this season at the power forward position, where the Lakers are allowing 53.53 fantasy points per game to opponents, and this looks like a spot where we can get Carroll at lower ownership in GPPs.
Carroll is also a great cash game value as he has an excellent chance to eclipse 30 fantasy points tonight.
Because this is a such a great game to target, you can also consider playing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, and Trevor Booker from this price tier, and you can look at D’Angelo Russell, as he returns to L.A. for the first time facing his former team.
Frank Ntilikina, PG, New York Knicks ($4,000): Ntilikina is one of my favorite GPP value options on the board tonight, as he faces off against the Suns. Ntilikina is still coming off the bench for the Knicks, although that should change soon, and he has been impressive in that role so far.
He is coming off a big game against the Rockets where he played 26 minutes and notched 23.75 fantasy points, and he did so while shooting only 14.3 percent from the field. I don’t anticipate Ntilikina to struggle on the shooting end of things tonight, as the Suns have allowed opponents to shoot over 46 percent from the floor, including 39.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The Suns have improved slightly on defense since firing head coach Earl Watson, but they are still allowing 109.4 points per game and have surrendered a league-high 60.53 fantasy points to opposing point guards. Ntilikina is a risky play tonight, as Jeff Hornacek is a nightmare when it comes to rotations, but he could pay off in a big way in GPPs.
David Nwaba, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls ($3,800): Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg surprised everyone on Wednesday by inserting Nwaba into the starting lineup over Paul Zipser and the second-year guard made the most of that opportunity. He scored 25.25 DraftKings points against the Heat his first start and has a comparable matchup tonight.
Nwaba’s opponent, the Orlando Magic, have looked impressive to start the season but they still rank in the bottom half of the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing 106.8 points per game and allow 45.9 rebounds to opponents this season.
Orlando is only allowing 38.31 fantasy points to opposing shooting guards this season but that number is slightly skewed by the opponent’s they have faced.
Nwaba’s fantasy production came primarily from the 11 rebounds he pulled down against Miami so there is a little bit of risk associated with him tonight, but he is only $3,800 and he is tough to ignore considering the lack of options below $4,000 on this slate.
Lakers Player of the Day
Lonzo Ball, PG, Los Angeles Lakers ($7,300): The time has finally come for me to make Lonzo my “Lakers Player of the Day” as he faces off against the Nets in what should be an insanely high-scoring and fast-paced matchup.
This game is currently projected at a 224 over/under and is one of the top games to target for DFS tonight.
Ball has struggled at times to start the season, which is to be expected with a rookie, but he has also flashed his immense upside in matchups against poor defenses, as we saw him notch 29 points with nine assists and 11 rebounds against the Suns, while also putting up impressive games against the Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans.
Not only do the Nets play at a breakneck pace, averaging 108.5 possessions per game, they also allow a league-high 118.8 points per game to opponents.
The Nets also rank in the bottom-five of the NBA in just about every other defensive statistic measured by the NBA, and they are the third-best fantasy matchup for point guards, allowing 51.96 fantasy points per game to them.
After a couple of down games in poor matchups, I am expecting Ball to come out and notch a huge game tonight.
Since tonight’s Lakers game is one of the best to target from a stacking perspective, I will throw out a few extra options from the Los Angeles side of this game. With Nance being sidelined by a fractured thumb, Kyle Kuzma looks to see a few extra minutes in the rotation and is one of my favorite options to pair with Ball on this slate.
Although Randle didn’t see extra minutes Thursday night with Nance down, he should factor into the rotation a bit more, and he makes for a very high upside play at only $4,700. Lopez is in a revenge game against his former team and is cheap enough that he is worth a look in GPPs.
Jordan Clarkson should see a few extra shots as well tonight due to Nance’s injury, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an excellent GPP option as he should be able to rack up some extra steals against a bad Brooklyn team.