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Happy Tuesday everyone! We have another six-game slate tonight in the NBA, with a massive 12-game slate on the horizon for tomorrow! Tonight's slate is highlighted by marquee matchups between the Rockets and Timberwolves, and the Cavaliers at OKC. Hopefully, Westbrook and Carmelo are able to suit up for that game, because it should be a fun one to watch. Tonight's matchups between the Rockets and Wolves, and the Cavaliers and Thunder are the highest of the night with both projected at 222 points, the highest of the night, and every other game has a projected total over 200. There are plenty of injuries to keep an eye on, including Westbrook and Carmelo, and of course, we have to monitor the news for any Spurs players resting on a back-to-back. With the All-Star break just a few days away, paying attention to "rest" and phantom injuries is imperative, as teams may let some players sit to give them extra rest heading into the break.

Chris Paul, PG, Houston Rockets

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

32 112.25 21 47.27 25.16 46.08 45.12

DK Salary: $9,100 / FD Salary: $9,600

Tonight's matchup between Houston and Minnesota is sure to draw plenty of attention, and plenty of ownership, but I am willing to overlook the ownership in an attempt to get Chris Paul at a price that is just a touch too low for his upside. Paul is coming off a big game against Dallas, where he posted 25 points on 60 percent shooting with nine assists, eight rebounds, and three steals and is in a spot tonight to produce a similar line in an outstanding matchup for point guards. The Rockets are without Trevor Ariza tonight, and while that doesn't sound like a big deal, it means that Paul will see increased usage. With Ariza off the floor this season, Paul is averaging 1.42 fantasy points per minute on a 28.7 percent usage rate. Paul is one of the best players in isolation this season, ranking in the 96th percentile in efficiency, and the Wolves have struggled to defend in isolation all season. They rank 19th in defensive efficiency against isolation, allowing 6.6 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting on the play. Their inability to defend in isolation gives Paul an even bigger edge tonight, in what was already a matchup that he could take advantage of. The Wolves rank 21st in fantasy points allowed to point guards on the season, giving up 47.27 per game, and they have ranked 21st in defensive efficiency over the last ten games, as well. Opponents are shooting a staggering 47.8 percent from the floor against them, so Paul should be able to continue his hot shooting from Sunday night.

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

33

109.75

23

52.34

21.62

44.87

44.34

DK Salary: $9,200 / FD Salary: $9,400

The fantasy goodness from tonight's matchup between Houston and Minnesota continues with Karl-Anthony Towns in a great matchup, much like Chris Paul. Towns has battled through some down games of late, specifically a couple of tough outings against the Bulls and Raptors, but overall, he has been a solid fantasy performer over the last ten games. He is coming off a 29-point, eight-rebound performance against the Kings, just the 10th time this season he failed to record a double-double, where he posted 56.5 fantasy points. He has eclipsed 50 fantasy points twice over the last four games and has scored at least twenty points in three of the last four games, as well. The interesting part of tonight's matchup for Towns, however, is how he has performed against the Rockets in the past. Now, I know that the sample size is small, only eight games and the team has an entirely different makeup this season as opposed to the previous two seasons, but he is averaging 55.86 fantasy points per game against the Rockets in eight games. He has eclipsed 50 fantasy points in six of those games, and 60 fantasy points in four of those eight games. The Rockets, despite being a solid rebounding team, have struggled to defend opposing big men this season, as they rank 23rd in fantasy points allowed with 52.34 per game. They are also terrible at defending in the paint and have allowed opponents to score 47.6 points per game against them in the paint. Towns is only averaging 6.2 points per game in the paint but against a team that struggles in this area, he can easily exceed that number tonight. I am hoping the Towns trend continues in this game, as he will be a core play across all my lineups.

Dennis Smith Jr, PG, Dallas Mavericks

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

34

-

17

46.07

28.66

32.30

31.39

DK Salary: $7,300 / FD Salary: $7,400

We get a premier matchup of rookie point guards tonight and I absolutely love both of them. I wouldn't try and talk anyone out of De'Aaron Fox if they wanted to roll him out, but I am leaning towards Dennis Smith Jr. as my tournament option on this slate. Smith is coming off a big game against future hall-of-famer Chris Paul, where he posted 16 points with 11 assists. Smith has now attempted at least 17 field goals in three of the last four games and he has posted a usage rate of 28.5 percent over the last ten games. His minutes have started to trend up with Devin Harris out of town and he has played 34 and 35 minutes in back-to-back games. He posted 40.25 fantasy points against the Rockets and has notched 33.75 and 36 fantasy points, as well, over the last three games. With George Hill out of Sacramento, the Kings have been atrocious defending opposing point guards. In their first game with Fox as the primary point guard, the Kings surrendered 50 points to Damian Lillard, and that was followed up by a 12-point, 12 assist performance by Jeff Teague. The rank 17th in fantasy points allowed to the position, giving up 46.07 per game, and they rank 24th in defensive efficiency to the position over the last ten games. Over that span, they have surrendered 25 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 46.2 percent shooting to the position. Smith, while not efficient in the pick-and-roll, is operating as the primary ball handler in the pick-and-roll on 32.8 percent of his possessions. The Kings rank 29th in defensive efficiency against the pick-and-roll, behind only the Mavericks, and they are allowing 15.6 points per game to the play type. Their lack of rim protection also bodes well for Smith, as 41 percent of his attempts are coming at the rim this season. His price is elevated tonight, which will hopefully keep his ownership down, and I am all over him in this spot.

Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Cleveland Cavaliers

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

24

-

4

43.2

28.33

23.76

23.04

DK Salary: $5,100 / FD Salary: $5,900

It will probably take some time for the Cavaliers and all their new players to figure things out completely, but they sure did look impressive against the Celtics on Sunday. Clarkson came off the bench in that game, a role that he is used to and will continue to play in for a while, but that didn't stop Clarkson from playing 23 minutes and attempting 11 shots against the Celtics. He connected on 63.6 percent of those attempts and racked up 17 points. The hope here is that he will play a few extra minutes as the Cavaliers continue to try and mesh and he can post a solid outing against the Thunder. Clarkson has always been a high-usage chucker when given the minutes, and that shouldn't change at all in Cleveland. He posted a usage rate of 21.6 percent in his first game in Cleveland but I expect that to climb as the season goes on. Clarkson faces an Oklahoma City defense that has struggled on defense since losing Andre Roberson, and they have posted a 105.6 defensive rating over the last ten games. Opponents are connecting on 46.5 percent of their field goals during that time, so Clarkson should be able to stay hot against them tonight.

Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Sacramento Kings

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

31

-

20

49.9

23.52

32.86

33.48

DK Salary: $5,900 / FD Salary: $7,400

Cauley-Stein, much like almost every player tonight, is a little overpriced on FanDuel but he is priced way too cheap on DraftKings. Cauley-Stein has been solid of late, with at least 30 fantasy points in two of his last four games, and the frontcourt has been handed over to him with Sacramento turning the team over to their younger players. He has double-digit field goal attempts in two of his last four games, and seven of his last ten and tonight's matchup against Dallas is a dream spot for him. The Mavericks have been a punching bag for opposing big men all season, ranking 20th in fantasy points allowed to the position, and they have allowed opponents to pull down 45.3 rebounds per game. They also lack rim protection, allowing opponents to shoot 66.6 percent at the rim, and they are allowing them to shoot 43.4 percent in the paint, as well. That bodes well for Cauley-Stein, who is attempting 53 percent of his shots at the rim and 30 percent of his shots in the paint. Cauley-Stein is posting a 23.1 percent usage rate with the recently traded George Hill off the floor this season and he is averaging .95 fantasy points per minute. He is averaging over a fantasy point per minute against the Mavericks this season, so if he can see 30-plus minutes tonight, he should have a big night.



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