I know I talk about him a lot, but Ish Smith ($7,000) is doing incredible things for the Sixers right now. His on-court value has resulted in three wins, while his fantasy production is through the roof. He’s scored 42+ DK points in five of his last eight games including a spectacular 18-10-7 line against the Cavs on Sunday. He’s always been a skilled passer (in fact, he still leads the Pelicans in assists this season), and has now taken 22 and 21 shots in his last two games. Smith has played nine games for the Sixers this season and has a 30.0 usage rate in those games. That would be the equivalent of Blake Griffin and more than Carmelo, John Wall, Andre Wiggins and Anthony Davis to name a few. A massive usage rate for a guy at this price.
Speaking of usage rate. Here’s a fun fact: In the month of January, Lou Williams ($6,500) has a higher usage rate than LeBron James. Lou Williams has been an excellent fantasy scorer for his owners, averaging 37.5 DKPPG over his last six. That’s a full 12 DK points higher than his season average, so he is on an absolute heater right now. The only thing I am worried about is the chances of a blowout as the Lakers travel to Golden State. I am hoping that the Warriors find a reason to rest some of their starters so this can stay close as long as possible.
After a relatively slow start to the season for the aging Manu Ginobili ($4,400), he’s turned in a really solid two week stretch as of late. Over the course of his last six, specifically, he’s posted an average of 25.4 DK PPG which would be closing in on 6x value again tonight. His usage is increasing as noted by his shot attempts. Manu has only taken 10+ shots on eleven occasions this season, but four such games in the last eight. He’s a cagey player who can earn you points in most categories and your dream situation involves him getting hot from behind the arc. I expect him to show-up in a prime time matchup against the Cavs.
If you follow along this site, you know my love/hate relationship with Gordon Hayward ($7,200). It’s mostly a hate relationship, but there are occasions you have to bite the bullet and roster him. Tonight, is likely to be one of those situations. Since usage rate is the hot topic of this article, I’d point out that Hayward is sporting the 9th highest usage rate in the league this month (31.5). You couldn’t ask for a better matchup with Sacramento who is allergic to defense and Hayward dropped 43 DK points on in their only meeting this season.
This is a curious price on Julius Randle ($4,800) who hasn’t been this low in quite some time. He’s been playing through an injury, but showing signs of life in his last two games as he threatened a double-double in both. Expect him to see 25 minutes again tonight and possible more if the second unit gets some serious run in a blowout. I think he’s one of the few players in this price range who could go beyond 6x value.
The ultimate narrative is revolving around Joakim Noah ($5,100) for tonight. He’s apparently unhappy with his role in Chicago as his minutes have dwindled and it appears he has one foot out the door. From a fantasy standpoint, he’s going to get to prove his worth tonight as Pau Gasol has already been ruled out for this game against the Sixers, not even traveling with the team. Expect Noah to see an influx of minutes tonight. Before his injury that kept him out nearly three weeks, Noah was playing excellent basketball. He averaged 31.3 DK PPG over his last six games before injury, which would be 6x value tonight. An aggressive rebounder, skilled passer, with a reason to prove his worth in an excellent matchup. Those are all things you want to buy into tonight.
That’s all folks! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more player analysis as news and injuries break closer to tip-off! Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.