1) Waiting on Dallas
It is no secret that Dallas holds the keys to lineup builds today via the status of Luka Doncic.
If Doncic is in and at anywhere close to full strength, we can expect Dallas to play as normal. Doncic would likely check in as a better GPP play given the fact that many DFS players will be scared to utilize him in their rosters today.
If Doncic is out, we have a plethora of options that get upgrades. For illustration purposes, here is a CourtIQ query with Doncic off the floor this season. Via that query, we can see that the trio of Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway, and Seth Curry all see a usage bump of at least 3.4%. There will also be 36 minutes to divide up among other players on the team. The benefits have a ripple effect.
The wrinkle with all this is that Dallas plays in the SECOND game on the slate. It will be important to maintain flexibility within your lineup builds to take advantage of the Doncic news when it breaks (assuming that does not happen before the first game locks).
If Doncic plays, I do not believe that there is a 100% necessity core play for the Mavericks. If Doncic sits, Porzingis has to get consideration as potentially the top point per dollar play on the slate, as he scores over eight additional fantasy points per 36 minutes when Doncic is off the floor. Hardaway and Curry would also become elite options, and you would likely be looking at three Mavericks being in the optimal cash game build.
Again, Doncic’s status means so much today that it’s almost useless to write anything else before we know whether or not he is playing. It will completely shape the way lineups are built.
2) Mike Conley, Utah Jazz
FanDuel: $6,200, PG DraftKings: $6,300, PG Yahoo: $20, PG
Conley returned to the bubble prior to Game 3 after quarantining following the birth of his child. The dad narrative was in full effect in that game, as Conley shot seven for eight from three point range on his way to a solid game. He was also able to rest for the final quarter with Utah comfortably in front.
It feels odd to write up Conley as a core option, but his price tag is lagging on every site today. That could be a result of the algorithms being thrown off from his absence and his limited minutes in Game 3. He’s a perfectly reasonable point per dollar option that belongs in optimal cash game builds in the absence of other injury news. He should be safe for a 35-45 fantasy point performance, and that’s more than respectable enough given the fact that pricing is generally tighter on all the sites now.
(Tournament Pivot: I expect the first game of the day to go under-owned with everyone waiting on Dallas news. That leaves Kemba Walker as a perfect GPPpivot. He’s slightly more expensive than Conley but has a higher ceiling, and he will likely garner about a fifth of the ownership of Conley today.)
3) Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
FanDuel: $10,000 C DraftKings: $10,000, C Yahoo: $49, C
It is a tough call for the top overall play of the day, but for now I will stick with the Philadelphia big man. Embiid owns a massive 36.7% usage rate with Ben Simmons off the floor this season, and he scores around 1.60 fantasy points per minute in those scenarios. Over 36 minutes of court time, that would put him at around 58 fantasy points. In the first three games of this series, Embiid has scored 53, 54, and 52 fantasy points (DK scoring). He has a great combination of floor and safety, and the minutes should be very secure in this game. If Philadelphia wants any hope of salvaging something out of this year’s playoffs, Embiid needs to have a huge game today.
Obviously, if Doncic is ruled out, I would replace Embiid with Porzingis as the top overall play on a point per dollar basis, but I still like Embiid regardless. We also will likely need to make a decision on Embiid before the Doncic news is confirmed, as Embiid plays in the first game of the day. I’m still playing Embiid – he’s clearly the top center, and I like him a lot better than both Jokic and Gobert.
(Tournament pivot: Outside of Embiid and the Dallas situation, most DFSplayers will likely gravitate toward Kawhi Leonard as the top overall play on the slate. There is no doubt that Leonard is great, and his game always rises to another level in the postseason. Enter Paul George. I may miss the mark on ownership here, but I don’t expect George to be massive chalk today. He has struggled through the first few games of the series against the Mavericks, but the Clippers need him in top form in order to make a deep playoff run. I think they will make it a point to get George involved in the game this afternoon, and I expect him to have better performance in Game 3. We know there is upside potential here, and George will likely check in at a fraction of Leonard’s popularity.)
4) Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Brooklyn Nets
FanDuel: $4,700, SG DraftKings: $5,000, SF/PF Yahoo: $14, SF
It feels a bit clunky putting Luwawu-Cabarrot here, as I would rather target a value from the BOS/PHI game like Marcus Smart or Shake Milton. However, that is the first game of the day, and that would require “locking in” our value likely before we get the Doncic news. That feels sub-optimal in cash games. Smart and Milton are fine plays if Doncic is in, which means we don’t have Dallas value. The Dallas value is preferred if Doncic is out.
Until we get confirmation on Doncic, I’ll stick with TLC in this spot.
I am going to paste a portion of what Andy wrote about TLC from Friday’s core plays here, as it is wholly relevant to the discussion today.