This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
We've got a massive 10-game slate to cover in today's column, so let's get right to it! First, let's take a quick rundown of the most significant injury situations on the docket.
JAZZ: I think the situation with the most value comes from Utah, where it looks like Ricky Rubio (hamstring) and Dante Exum (ankle) will be out for at least week or more, which means Raul Neto ($4,300) is going to be a tremendous value play while his salary is still low. Naturally, I think some of the output will be absorbed by other Jazz players, but Neto is almost guaranteed to start and should be given serious consideration for the next few games.
PACERS: Myles Turner will likely miss his third straight game against the Celtics, so as usual, Domatas Sabonis ($7,100) is your logical pivot here.
SIXERS: J.J. Redick (back) sabotaged a few of us who didn't do a late check-up yesterday, but I was still in the throes of joy after watching my Tigers beat Alabama, so I don't feel so bad. This is the second game of a back-to-back so he'd come out as a rested player, but I wouldn't bet on Redick unless we see a change closer to game-time. Look for T.J. McConnell ($3,900), and Furkan Korkmaz ($3,600) to see a bit of a bump if Redick sits.
SPURS: Look for Jakob Poeltl ($3,600) to start once again in place of Rudy Gay. But to be honest, I don't like the matchup against the Grizzlies. I'm a bigger proponent of going with Davis Bertans ($3,800) in this spot, but going in this direction is a significant risk.
NETS: We've got a motley assortment of injuries and question marks here. This is an excellent matchup against the Hawks. Rather than run down the list of guys that are out, I'll just come out and say that Joe Harris ($5,200), while currently questionable, will take the floor and should post a good game. You also can't sleep on Shabazz Napier ($4,000), who woke up with almost 30 DKFP recently.
Now, on to the real challenge of the evening – picking our elites. For cash, I think you look no further than the Rockets-Bucks matchup. It's got a 226 O/U and a razor-thin spread, and you've got two marquee players in James Harden ($12,200) and Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100) in a prime-time televised tangle of All-Stars. Should we play them both? Well, if you don't and they both hit their ceiling, you're likely not cashing tonight. If you do go this way, you're left with $4,450 per player, which is certainly doable, but you'll have to pick the right spots. Going with Harden only gives you more wiggle room with $5,400 per player, and this is probably my most likely path. So, I'm locking Harden in. But as usual, I'll give you selections at high, mid-range and low price points at each position to provide you with a wider variety of directions to take your lineup build.
D'Angelo Russell ($7,600): It's a bit of a minefield at the top of the guard list, with some problematic matchups facing a lot of elites, but Russell is a guy that I could probably slot in with Harden if I go with guys like Neto and Joe Harris. He put up a bit of a clunker against Boston two days ago but this is a much softer opponent, and he had a quartet of games prior to that where he went for 40-plus DKFP and even saw a 55 DKFP game against the Pels. You can spend less and weather the variance associated with Spencer Dinwiddie ($6,400), but I'm more comfortable spending up a bit more with Russell.
Lonzo Ball LAL vs. DET ($6,800): I wrestled between McCollum and Ball at the mid-range spot but ultimately settled on Lonzo in a home game against the Pistons, who have had their share of struggles versus the point position in recent weeks. Ball's had a bit of a see-saw two weeks where his five-game average is below 30 DKFP, but he usually posts a more significant number at home, and Vegas is telling us this game will be close and competitive.
Jordan Clarkson, CLE at NO ($5,200): Clarkson put up an excellent 37-DKFP score against the Pels in their last meeting, and he's hit similar numbers over his past two games. The game has a healthy 223 O/U, and I think we should see some impressive numbers from both backcourts in this matchup.
Julius Randle, NO vs. CLE ($8,100): There is a slight chance that we'll see Nikola Mirotic on the floor tonight. If not, Randle's ceiling stays intact against the Cavs, who have Tristan Thompson back. Some guy named Anthony Davis will handle that obstacle, and Randle should come close to replicating the 52 DKFP beatdown he gave Cleveland in their last meeting.
Al Farouq Aminu, POR vs. CHI ($5,400): Aminu's never met a weak rebounding team that he didn't like, and he'll be fortunate enough to face just such an opponent on Wednesday. Wendell Carter has done a serviceable and sometimes superb job for the Bulls under center, and Lauri Markkanen's emergence is helping on the boards, but Aminu has been a rebound magnet of late, snagging an average of 10.6 rebounds over the last three contests. If we can get him to throw in a couple of threes and steals, you've got a number well into the 30 DKFP range.
Dewayne Dedmon, ATL at BKN ($5,200): To continue with the credo of always starting your big guys against Brooklyn, I'm taking Dedmon out of the center pool and slotting him here. Obviously, this kind of game puts John Collins ($7,200) in play, and that's a totally reasonable place to go. But again, if we're talking about Harden, Dedmon's price is right in the sweet spot. Add his 51-DKFP accomplishment against the Nets in their last meeting, and I'm sold on giving Dedmon a run tonight.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL at UTA ($9,200): Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis are always tempting, especially with AD facing Cleveland and Embiid tackling the Wizards. I can't argue against either of them, but I CAN claim that Vucevic could give you equal value at a "discount" against the Jazz tonight. Do I think he'll outplay both Davis and Embiid? Probably not. But I think differential won't be enough to justify paying $1,500-$2,000 more for them if I can get something reliable out of Vucevic. The high altitude is a bit of a concern and he "only" went into the mid-40s against the Jazz earlier in the season, but he converted just about 30 percent of his shots in that game. He's thrown in 54 percent of his shots over the past six games, so we should see a better night for Orlando's big man.
DeAndre Jordan, DAL vs. PHO ($6,900): There are several avenues where you might find it necessary to go a bit cheap at center, and Jordan sits atop the next tier below the elites at a reasonable price against the Suns. Jordan's appeal lies in his ceiling and double-double ability, and this is the kind of game where he could pop. Another plus for Jordan is that his floor is super-reliable of late, so it's almost a given that you'll get 30 DKFP or more when you slot him in. The Suns rank 24th in total rebound efficiency, which adds to DeAndre's endorsement.
Richaun Holmes, PHO at DAL ($3, 400): Join me down into the recesses of value and take a look at what Holmes has done recently. He put up 30 DKFP in 18 minutes of work against the Kings last night, and when you consider that Ayton saw 30 minutes on Tuesday, Holmes should get another opportunity to put up a decent number in this back-to-back. The Suns tend to play the hot hand, so if you end up short on cash, Holmes could be a great value play for your lineup.
Additional centers to consider: Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. CHI ($8,200)
In summary, I think tonight's slate all depends on who you stack with Harden, and how much you're willing to spend afterward. I found successful Harden stacks with AD and Vucevic and also went with duos of Jrue Holiday and D'Angelo Russell instead of going with Harden and one other star. Good luck with whichever way you decide to go!