Core Plays NBA 12/23/19

DK / FDRAFT / YAHOO 1) Ish Smith (original pick) 2) Bradley Beal (original pick) 3) Damian Lillard (replaced Harden with Lillard with extra salary relief needed) 4) Aron Baynes (replaced Napier with Baynes since Napier is questionable with illness)

FANDUEL 1) Ish Smith (original pick) 2) Bradley Beal (original pick) 3) Damian Lillard (replaced Harden with Lillard with extra salary relief needed) 4) Nikola Vucevic (original pick)

Hey, Grinders! Happy holidays to you all! Andy is out today, so I’m filling in on what should be a wild Monday slate. Let’s dig in!

1) Ish Smith and Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

FanDuel (Smith): $4,500, PG DraftKings (Smith): $4,500, PG Yahoo (Smith): $15, PG FantasyDraft (Smith): $8,800, G

FanDuel (Beal): $9,400, SG DraftKings (Beal): $9,300, SG Yahoo (Beal): $46, SG FantasyDraft (Beal): $17,100, G

The Washington Wizards simply can’t catch a break right now. Moritz Wagner is out. Thomas Bryant is out. Breakout star Davis Bertans is out. Rui Hachimura is out. Isaiah Thomas has been suspended for two games.

There are few bodies left for this Washington team. We can’t even run a meaningful CourtIQ sample with all these players off the floor. The replacement big men are not high usage players. Ian Mahinmi is not capable of playing 35 minutes. Admiral Schofield has not been a quality fill-in. Anzejs Pasecniks is not the answer, though he’s got a great name.

Basically, this offense is going to run through the Washington backcourt this evening. It’s a favorable matchup on the road against a bad Knicks team, and Washington still has a healthy implied team total of around 115 points. We saw Ish Smith fill in nicely when Isaiah Thomas was out earlier this month, and Smith should be tasked with doing more offensively this time around given all the other injuries. I would expect a baseline of around a fantasy point per minute, and Smith should be good for about 31-34 minutes tonight. If that’s the case, his baseline projection is in the 30s — and his DFS price is far too cheap on every site given that projection.

Smith should be the top value play in your cash games tonight. I’ve toyed with the idea of also tagging Bradley Beal as a core play, and I might do that before the afternoon is through. Given the close spread and Washington’s high implied team total, the Smith + Beal combination should provide access to a gigantic chunk of Washington’s offensive production. Come to think of it, I’m just going to go ahead and tag Beal too. He might shoot the ball 35 times tonight. Literally the only risks here are injuries and/or a blowout, and I don’t see this game turning lopsided either way given the current state of both rosters.

(Tournament pivot: The obvious GPP pivot here would be to try to target one of Washington’s other available options. None of them are expensive, but the numbers aren’t eye-popping for anybody. Still, someone is likely to surprise with a big game. It’s just a matter of attempting to peg which player that will be. Will it be Schofield? Will it be Pasecniks? Will Troy Brown chuck a ton of shots in smaller lineup combinations? None of these players are safe, but there’s point per dollar upside with the whole group.)

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