This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Ok, DFS-ers, if you're wearing them, hang on to your hats. The final day of the regular season is here, and this 11-game slate is bound to throw us some curveballs as we approach game lock. We already have some confirmed load-management calls today, but I suspect there will be at least a few more before all is said and done. First, I'm going to lay out a list of teams who have something to play for tonight. You should consider all of them playing at full speed, and I'll list them in order of motivation:
- Trail Blazers
Before we do anything else, let's take a look at who's in and who's out:
Giannis Antetokounmpo (rest) OUT
Brook Lopez (rest) OUT
Pat Connaughton (undisclosed) QUESTIONABLE
Along with the extended absence of Nikola Mirotic and Malcolm Brogdon, it looks like it will be a big night for subs against the Thunder, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more names added to this list as the day goes on. While you have to give some attention to a guy like Eric Bledsoe ($8,800), I think I'll need to see a starting five before I do much here. If Connaughton suits up, I have a lot of confidence in a solid number. Beyond that, I think Ersan Ilyasova ($3,700), D.J. Wilson ($4,100) and Bonzie Colson ($3,000) are the best pivots moving on. If we were to get a call about Bledsoe later in the day, Tim Frazier ($3,400) and George Hill ($4,600) would be strong pivots.
Joel Embiid (rest) QUESTIONABLE
J.J. Redick (rest) QUESTIONABLE
Jonah Bolden (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Mike Scott (back): QUESTIONABLE
This game is another spot we'll need to wait on, but I doubt we will see Redick or Embiid against the Bulls tonight. The ankle roll from Stephen Curry last night probably reminded the coached of how silly it would be to lose a marquee player In an insignificant game, so I suspect we'll see heightened caution across the league tonight. As a result, I wouldn't be surprised to see more scratches later in the day, with guys like Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons at risk of sitting as well. I like Greg Monroe ($3,600) better than Boban as the backup center if both Embiid and Bolden sit, and I also expect to see Jonathon Simmons ($3,400) on the court for an extended run with Redick likely out.
Stephen Curry (ankle) OUT
Kevin Durant (illness) QUESTIONABLE
Klay Thompson (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Andre Iguodala (toe) OUT
Andrew Bogut (rest) QUESTIONABLE
I'd go on ahead and consider all of these guys as doubtful tonight save Bogut, who they might need tonight. So far, Cousins and Draymond Green look like they'll play, but again I think it's a waiting game for them. Damion Lee ($3,300) posted a nice line last night, so I think we'll see him on the court again, and we also saw flashes from Jordan Bell ($3,400). In the backcourt, Quinn Cook ($3,800) and Alfonzo McKinnie ($3,300) should see more time.
Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) QUESTIONABLE, Taj Gibson (calf) OUT: There's a small chance that Towns will see the floor, but I wouldn't count on it. With nothing to play for, I suspect Minnesota will deploy the second and third units in the frontcourt, so look for Gorgui Dieng ($4,100) and Dario Saric ($5,200) excel as low-cost pivots, and Andrew Wiggins ($6,800) and Tyus Jones ($6,700) should carry considerable loads in the offense.
Blake Griffin (knee) QUESTIONABLE: Griffin will likely be trying to convince doctors that he's good to go all the way up to game-time, as it's a critical seeding game for Detroit. I'm going to assume he's probable, but give some added exposure to the rest of Detroit's starters if he can't go.
Mario Hezonja (illness) QUESTIONABLE: A lot of us were ready to fire up Hezonja last night, and I'm glad I caught this scratch before game lock. If he feels ok, JUST THIS ONCE I'll trust David Fizdale when he said he wants to play Hezonja through season's end. Dennis Smith Jr ($5,100) will have to go if Hezonja doesn't feel well.
Ricky Rubio (quad) QUESTIONABLE: The Jazz are locked in at fifth, so I doubt we will see Rubio, and we might see more scratches as we get closer to tip-off. With Grayson Allen not showing up as expected, just pivot to starters here.
Whew! Ok. So, lots of value to be had up there. Let's now identify our top picks at each position.
Russell Westbrook, OKC at MIL ($11,800): This pick almost goes without saying, but when you look at Westbrook's recent numbers, the pendulum swing from PG13 to Russ is happening once again as it often has leading into the postseason nears. I wouldn't sleep on George, but with Westbrook as the floor general, he'll be supremely motivated to create his shots and get the seeding they desperately need. They could reach as high as 6th with a win tonight.
Kemba Walker, CHA vs. ORL ($9,500): Charlotte will need help elsewhere, but it's a must-win for Charlotte to stay alive tonight, and their hopes with live and die by Walker's hand tonight. Russell Westbrook ($11,800) has a lot to play for and should explode, and I like Luka Doncic ($9,500) a lot too, but I'm going to rely on the motivation present for Walker in a do-or-die matchup. Of all the elite guards, Kemba has probably the worst opponent history (32 DKFP over three games vs. ORL), and that should be enough to keep his ownership down.
DeMar DeRozan, SA vs. DAL ($7,800): DeRozan won't be sleeping on the seeding importance in this game as he goes into playoff mode. His three-game split against the Mavericks is superior with a 49 DKFP average and an average of 27 points per game. All DeRozan will need is some decent rebound/assist balance, and scoring will do the rest on the way to a stuffed line tonight.
Paul George, OKC at MIL ($10,300): I think there's enough value on the slate to afford a Westbrook/George stack tonight against Milwaukee, who will be resting a host of players. With three straight games of 50 DKFP or more, he's a hard target to fade in a pivotal game with playoff implications. I think the Bucks are deep enough to keep this game competitive, which should keep George on the floor for as many minutes as he can handle.
Jeremy Lamb, CHA vs. ORL ($6,100): Lamb will be another key cog in the wheel as the Hornets try to stay alive on the season's final day. He's arguably a better value than Walker, especially if you're pushing an OKC stack, as his numbers indicate the potential to go for 40 or more DKFP in this matchup.
Gorgui Dieng, MIN at DEN ($4,100): Since I seriously doubt that we will see Towns or Gibson, I'm going ahead and giving Dieng the nod here. The Nuggets will play hard tonight, and if the game gets out of hand, we should see even more from Dieng, who's been a solid cover for Towns when he sits. We'll need deep value on our roster to pay for our elites, so I'm comfortable reaching for Dieng in hopes of 6-7X value.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL at CHA ($9,900): Some tough calls at center tonight, but at the top, I have to go with Vucevic as the big man with the most rest and the best opportunity against the Hornets tonight. Charlotte will be firing from everywhere on the court, which should give Vucevic plenty of rebound opportunities. Both of these teams will be prime targets for the evening due to the immense playoff implications, so Vucevic should be part of your builds that save money in the backcourt.
Kevon Looney, GS at MEM ($3,600): DeMarcus Cousins saw a season-high 33 minutes last night, so I'd be surprised if he sees anywhere near that amount of time on the floor tonight. This leaves plenty of opportunity for Looney, who is one of Steve Kerr's favorite reserve players. He looks a bit lackluster on paper, but you have to consider the inherent opportunity with both Cousins and Durant seeing little to no time on the court tonight.
We've got a lot of load-management spots to look out for tonight, so be sure to stay tuned with Rotowire.com for all the latest updates!