After a grueling 12-game slate last night, we are back with an extremely short three-game slate. Being contrarian on a short three game slate like this is rather difficult, but can be done. This article is designed to give out four core plays that you should consider for your lineups tonight. These core plays will highlight two guards and two big men. Without further ado, the potential MVP is my first core pick!
Russell Westbrook ($24,000)
Let’s get this situation out of the way. Russell Westbrook will be the highest scoring player on the slate tonight barring an injury. In a short three-game slate like this one, raw points matter more than value. He costs a premium price of $24,000 on FantasyDraft and will need a few cheaper options around him to make a nice lineup. The OKC Thunder have lost three straight road games, but return home tonight where they are a very impressive 23-8 this season. Being the fiercest competitor in the league since Kobe Bryant, Westbrook will do whatever it takes to get the Thunder out of this mini three-game rut.
The Thunder played in Portland last Thursday as they fell 114-109. Westbrook attempted 36 shots, 36! To get technical he actually attempted 51 as he went 15-15 from the charity stripe. Even though he failed to record a triple-double, 45 points won’t hurt the stat sheet. In that game, he had a crazy 54.2% usage rate! That likely won’t happen again as Steven Adams dealt with foul trouble, but what a stat. He has a league-high 30 triple-doubles this season and 19 of those 30 have come at home. Westbrook still remains one triple-double shy of tying Wilt Chamberlain for the second most triple-doubles in a season.
Jusuf Nurkic ($12,700)
Since joining the Portland Trail Blazers, Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 14.5 PPG and 8.2 RPG while playing 29.8 MPG. He has recorded two double-doubles and one of those was against the OKC Thunder. His stat line against them was insane as he compiled 18 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and five blocks. Portland may have caught a blessing in disguise tonight as they were unable to play last night in Minnesota due to the court being too wet. Nurkic was splashing too many 3’s in pregame warmups. I’m kidding, he has five attempted 3’s in his career. A well-rested Nurkic is a player that is worth it tonight.
During their last game against the Thunder, it was three-game slate like it is tonight. Nurkic was $11,100 that night on FantasyDraft and is now $12,700. He was the second highest scoring player on the slate with 55.50 FantasyDraft points. Despite the price increase, Nurkic has shown his upside in this matchup and should be one of the best plays on the board tonight. Targeting not only Nurkic but the entire Portland team tonight is a good idea as they currently sit in the ninth seed in the Western Conference. They are 2.0 games back from the playoffs and will need every win that they can get down the stretch.
Seth Curry ($12,300)
The Dallas Mavericks have won four of their last five games despite scoring just 99.0 PPG. Tonight, Dallas is treated with a phenomenal matchup as the 19-44 Los Angeles Lakers come to town. The Lakers are sixth in pace and 29th in defensive efficiency, so the Mavericks will be playing way up in pace tonight which I love! My favorite play on the Mavericks tonight is Seth Curry. Since the All-Star break, Curry has averaged 23.3 PPG while shooting 57.8% from the field. Curry has seen a 26.0% usage rate and is averaging 1.00 FPPM within the last two weeks, which ranks second on the team in both categories.
Consistency when it comes to NBA DFS is one of the best things there is to offer. That’s exactly what Seth Curry has brought to the table lately. He has played 30 or more minutes in eight straight games and has recorded between 25.0 and 40.0 FantasyDraft points during that stretch. It’s rare to find a player who is consistently playing 30 minutes a game and producing still priced at $12,300. Curry is a cash game lock and should be considered for tournaments given the upside he has tonight. Curry has scored over 20 points in four straight games and has a great opportunity to continue that streak tonight.
Enes Kanter ($11,200)
The last player in my core four tonight will be Enes Kanter. If fitting Westbrook into a lineup, it’s always a good idea to pair him up with someone as Westbrook is third in the league in assists with 10.0 APG. Enes Kanter is only $11,200 on FantasyDraft tonight and always provides double-double upside. Since Victor Oladipo went down, the Thunder traded for Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson. Neither have provided much of a scoring bump as they both have combined for 16.0 PPG on 40.0% shooting from the field. Kanter during that time has provided 14.0 PPG and 8.3 RPG while shooting 46.4% from the field.
Monitor the news of Oladipo before the games tonight as he is currently listed as questionable with back spasms and has missed the last six games. With Oladipo off the court, Kanter has a 29.3% usage rate and averages 1.20 FPPM. Those stats are second on the team, trialing none other than Russell Westbrook. He’s easily option number two on the team right now and in such an up-tempo game like tonight, Kanter will have many opportunities to exceed value. Some players disregard taking players coming off the bench like Kanter, but he has over 30.0 FantasyDraft points in four of his last five games.
After locking the core four players above, you will be left with $9,950/player which will allow plenty of flexibility, especially once value opens up. Good luck with your lineups tonight and check out our great NBA content at DFSDatalytics.com!