DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Grizzlies at Trail Blazers (8/15)
The NBA’s seeding games have officially come and gone, and all we’re left with is the play-in tournament between the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies prior. Then, finally, we get the NBA playoffs! If the Trail Blazers manage to win today, they’ll advance into the playoffs — if the Grizzlies manage to win today, they’ll force a second game on Sunday, which would then decide who enters the playoffs.
DraftKings is offering a play-in special NBA Showdown, in which you select a “star” player (1.5x points) and five utility players. Each player is given $50,000 in salary to work with, and today’s game tips-off at 2:30 p.m. EST. The atmosphere for today’s game is a wildly enticing one — the Trail Blazers rank 27th in defensive rating and the Grizzlies rank 14th. In addition to that, the Trail Blazers rank 13th in pace with the Grizzlies ranking sixth.
Damian Lillard (POR): $18,000
Lillard is the most expensive option on the slate, and with good reason — he’s topped 68-plus DraftKings points in his last three contests. Not only has he been downright dominant, but his workload has provided a boatload of spectacular opportunities, too — he’s topped 40-plus minutes in each game and has attempted 22, 32, and 28 field goals. Lillard is the bubble’s MVP, and although he will be a wildly chalky option today, he’s absolutely worthy of the star spot.
Jusuf Nurkic (POR): $15,000
Nurkic has been outstanding since returning from injury, with six of his eight performances topping the 40-point mark. Nurkic’s dominance has turned Hassan Whiteside into an afterthought. The matchup for Nurk is also a very solid one today, as Jonas Valanciunas is not a great individual defender and can certainly be taken advantage of on that end of the court. Expect Nurk to put together a strong performance.
Ja Morant (MEM): $14,700
Morant has proven to be somewhat inconsistent over his excellent rookie season. However, he’s still likely the lead candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award and has more than proven himself as a fantastic up-and-coming star in the league. Portland’s lackluster defense is an inviting matchup for the rook, and the Grizzlies will certainly need to lean on his playmaking and scoring ability in an absolute must-win contest. Morant would be an interesting contrarian option at the star spot, though fading Lillard would prove risky.
C.J. McCollum (POR): $13,200
The tandem of Lillard and McCollum is as fun of an NBA backcourt as you’ll find, but McCollum simply doesn’t carry the same ceiling as his running mate. When McCollum’s shot drops, he can absolutely dominate while appearing unstoppable — the issue is that he may not get enough work or ancillary stats to warrant a selection over Lillard or even Nurkic/Morant. Lastly, the individual defense of Dillon Brooks is likely to make this a tougher matchup for McCollum.
Jonas Valanciunas (MEM): $8,600
Just like Nurkic, Valanciunas is a great option on today’s slate. With Jaren Jackson Jr. sidelined, JV has established himself as the lone big man operating in the paint. His ability to score all over the court, pass, and rebound are all positives in his arsenal, which is why he carries a massive ceiling on any given night — JV is coming off a monstrous 73.75-point performance.
Carmelo Anthony (POR): $7,200
Somewhat surprisingly, Carmelo has performed fantastically since the bubble’s tip-off — he’s shooting well from the field and three-point land. Anthony doesn’t get as many offensive opportunities as his backfield mates do, but he can be productive whether or not he’s managed real-life points. Carmelo has reached value twice out of his last four games.
Dillon Brooks (MEM): $6,600
Arguably the best defender in this game, Brooks has performed tremendously in his last four contests, as he’s managed to reach value in three of them. Brooks offers a higher floor but a lower ceiling, mostly due to his defensive prowess. In addition to his strong defensive work, Brooks has dropped 31, 25, and 22 real-life points in three of his last four games. One area of concern is his penchant for scooping personal fouls — it may get him in trouble.
Gary Trent Jr. (POR): $6,200
Even though he comes off the bench, Trent would be a fine selection on today’s slate — his workload is significant. Trent has topped 34-plus minutes in seven straight, although he’s struggled to reach value. Trent hasn’t done much by way of stats outside of chipping in a handful of points per game, which makes a dud completely possible if you’re selecting him in your lineups. A high-paced affair is intriguing, though, which is why Trent should be considered.
Brandon Clarke (MEM): $5,800
Jaren Jackson Jr’s injury has paved the way for Clarke to insert himself even more than he did before. Like Trent, Clarke operates as Memphis’ sixth man, but he still accumulates a fair number of minutes on a per-game basis (he hovers near the 30-minute mark). Clarke’s path to relevance is tied to his ability to drain the occasional three, scoop defensive boards, and maybe even chip in an assist or two. His ceiling is certainly limited, but he almost always hovers around value.