Early Slate NBA – Sunday April 2nd
Happy Sunday! I’m going to look at some of the best plays at each position for the four games on the early slate. I am going to take one high salaried guy and one value play at each position on DraftKings and get us ready to take down some early slate action! LET’S GO!
As always, maintain vigilance on checking news, even as the early slate approaches, as playoff ready rest and other variance associated with the end of the NBA season can make things changes in a hurry.
Kemba Walker – CHA at OKC – $8,000 – Kemba has been worse on the road this season, by about two and a half DK points per game, but has hit the Thunder for 40+ DK points over the last three matchups, on average. The Hornets are in a must-win situation here and the spread is tight enough (Thunder by 5.5 as of this writing) that we should see Fourth Quarter Kemba, which is where he sees a lot of his value this season and was fifth in fourth quarter usage in March (15 games) with 36.7%.
JJ Barea – DAL at MIL – $4,400 – Not a great matchup at all, but there is not much in the bargain bin for point guards as of this writing on a slate that does not feature many prime matchups at all. So, in this case, you look for minutes and usage, which Barea should see with Seth Curry out for this game. Barea filled in some minutes after Curry got hurt against Memphis, another tough matchup, and delivered a 23 minute, 32.7% usage, 23.75 DK point game.
Nicolas Batum – CHA at OKC – $6,800 – Not many high priced SG on this slate, so Batum, who will need to play 33-35 minutes tonight to avoid further fade from playoff contention, might be a nice differentiation on a slate that will likely see a lot of folks punting the position.
Troy Daniels – MEM at LAL – $3,300 – Memphis has already clinched a spot in the playoffs, Vince Carter is out for this game for some rest and Tony Allen has been dealing with a sore knee that should not need to be pushed since the Grizzlies are already in the playoffs. That leaves Daniels for SG, who has always launched a lot of shots when he gets run. In his last game against Dallas, Daniels saw 33 minutes, 21% raw usage and fired up 12 three-pointers, hitting seven. He will be highly variant based on whether those shots fall, but this is a very good matchup against the Lakers, who are the third worst pace-adjusted defensive team over the last seven games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – MIL vs. DAL – $9,500 – Dallas is not a great matchup, but there are not the production killers they were for a good part of the middle of the season, ranking 12th best in pace adjusted defense where they were top five for a good part of January and February. All of this means that Giannis, who has been back to his high usage ways in the last month, is a solid play here as the Bucks are still looking to clinch a playoff spot in the East.
James Ennis – MEM at LAL – $3,900 – As with Daniels above, Ennis should be locked into 35-36 minutes tonight in a great matchup against the Lakers, who are the third worst pace adjusted defensive team over the past seven games and easily the worst on the slate. Ennis is lower usage, higher activity, but the matchup is right to take the plunge even with his recent price hike to $3,900.
Julius Randle – LAL vs. MEM – $6,100 – Luke Walton is not blindly playing his young core 30+ minutes to wrap up the season, but the Grizzlies should be throttled back with bench players, which should mean a four-shift game for Randle, who can produce against the backup bigs for the Grizzlies.
David Lee – SAS vs. UTA – $3,500 – Just because LaMarcus Aldridge is out does not mean that Lee plays 30+ minutes for SAS. Safer to project 25-26 minutes and about a DK point per minute for Lee, even in this matchup, which would be solid value for $3,500.
Rudy Gobert – UTA at SAS – $7,800 – There are not many top tier priced centers on this slate and there is high risk that Utah could pare back minutes since their playoff lot is set, but if you are running multiple tourney lines, then exposure to Gobert, priced down for the Spurs matchup, in the event he gets his usual 34-37 minutes is a good play here. Gobert does not need a high scoring game to produce, as he enjoyed a 53.75 DK point game in a 91-83 loss to Cleveland a couple of weeks ago.
Enes Kanter – OKC vs. CHA – $4,800 – IF Taj Gibson is out, then Kanter is a lock and load play here as the Thunder begin their cruise into the playoffs. Without Gibson, Kanter finally saw decent minutes (28) in his last outing. His high usage ways are excellent on this short slate and has the ability to 8-9x his number here. Cody Zeller has been bad defending the rim this season, and was seventh worst in qualified centers in March, and backup Frank Kaminsky was second worst over the same span.
Good luck, players! – JW
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jaywalker72) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.