1 PM UPDATE – Porzingis will rest tonight. With both he and Doncic off the floor, there is value aplenty in Dallas. Your cash game rosters should likely include one or two Dallas value plays. Kleber is the obvious frontcourt choice given his cheap price tag and path to 30+ minutes. He has also been effective when called upon this year. Finney-Smith, Hardaway, Curry, Wright, and Brunson are all in play as well.
1) Dennis Smith, Jr., New York Knicks
FanDuel: $3,500, PG DraftKings: $3,100, PG Yahoo: $10, PG FantasyDraft: $6,000, PG
All right! We have some clarity! I procrastinated enough in my writing that we were able to get some news for the Knicks to drop. Elfrid Payton is serving a suspension tonight. Frank Ntilikina has been ruled out. R.J. Barrett remains sidelined. Reggie Bullock is questionable with an illness. The Knicks have virtually zero bodies in the backcourt tonight.
Dennis Smith Jr. will likely start at point guard and play as many minutes as he can handle. He is essentially priced at the bare minimum on every DFS site, and he is as a slam dunk as the top point per dollar play on the board. We can expect him to average somewhere in the range of 0.90 fantasy points per minute (CourtIQ shows 0.88 FPPM with Barrett, Payton, and Ntilikina off the floor). Assuming Smith plays 30 minutes, which feels like a floor given all the injuries, that would put his baseline projection at 27 fantasy points. You would take that as a slam dunk option any day on any slate — especially one that carries uncertainty like this one does.
Smith is the #1 priority play in all formats tonight, and he will be on 100% of my rosters. Even if he is 80% owned, let the other 20% make the mistake of fading him. It’s that simple. The Knicks simply lack any backcourt depth, and Smith is far too cheap.
(Tournament Pivot: If we knew that Thomas Bryant was going to play 30 minutes tonight, this play would be just as obvious as Porzingis. However, we have uncertainty here, too..The Wizards have been very careful about limiting the minutes for Thomas Bryant since his return from a foot injury. For what seems like months, Scott Brooks kept trotting Bryant out there for minutes in the mid to upper teens. Suddenly, Bryant was set loose on Tuesday — and he responded with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in 32 minutes against the Bucks. Of course, Brooks had to tone it down for the next game and played Bryant just 23 minutes — and he still scored 21 points and eight rebounds. Simply put, Bryant looks to be 100% healthy again. Hopefully, we can expect somewhere in the range of 28-30 minutes tonight. That’s not too much to ask, is it? He’s a massive upside value option tonight that I had as a core play before the Knicks news.)