D’Angelo Russell has been on fire as of late, and I do not see it slowing down anytime soon. Spencer Dinwiddie is the only threat to Russell’s time and shot, but he is questionable to play in this game, and I do not believe that he will play. Emmanuel Mudiay is questionable, and I would like Russell better than if Ntilikina starts the game defending him
Jerryd Bayless is looking like a great value play in this game, especially if Derrick Rose is out. Rose is questionable and did not play in the second half. With Rose out, Bayless looks to play 30-35 minutes as the starting point guard, which is basically impossible to turn down, even against Utah.
James Harden is incredibly polarizing and should be addressed. I will likely stay away from Harden in a pace-down spot vs. Kawhi and other long wing defenders, but James Harden can obviously break the slate.
Tomas Satoransky is listed at PG, SG, and SF around the industry, but Satoransky is really like a combo guard for the Wizards right now. He is a solid passer that also defers to Bradley Beal when necessary. I like Beal, but Sato is cheaper exposure to a nice game environment for the Wizards. Sato will have good size over Augustin and Fournier, which gives him a nice scoring upside.
Kawhi Leonard is rested and should be a pretty boom or bust play. Kawhi should defend James Harden a decent amount, which leads to a lot of defensive stats and fouls. If Kawhi gets in foul trouble, he’s likely to struggle, but I think there is also a lot of upside in steals and blocks. The Rockets are starting Eric Gordon at the three, and the Raptors have 2 forwards bigger than Kawhi that Gordon has no chance against. If the Rockets try to use the same 3 guard lineup they have recently, Kawhi should eat on the boards and around the basket.
Will Barton played 30 minutes last game, and I expect him to play more and have a bigger role in the game without Nikola Jokic. Barton may be the best passer on the Nuggets without Jokic on the floor and think he has real double-digit assist upside.
Tobias Harris has been phenomenal without Danilo Gallinari in the lineup, and I expect that to continue. Harris is starting with SGA, Beverley, Bradley, and Gortat. Which one of those players creates offense? None of them are nearly as reliable as Harris on the offensive end, and his points and assists are both up as he is leading the offense on his own.
Dragan Bender is a terrifying proposition, but he is still cheap and should see plenty of time in a frontcourt without any other options if Richaun Holmes is out. If Holmes does play, I love Holmes in all formats and would stray away from Bender for the most part unless he is still extremely cheap.
Nikola Vucevic is in an elite spot vs. an undersized Wizards frontcourt. Thomas Bryant has been solid for the Wizards, but he is not nearly skilled enough to defend Vucevic with any competency. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a really high rebound game out of Vucevic and I also think the may get Bryant in foul trouble early with his advanced offensive game.
Mason Plumlee is probably the best play on the slate from a value perspective. Plumlee is a legitimately good NBA center that is stuck behind one of the best centers in the league. Plumlee is a capable facilitator and a good scorer as well when asked. I expect Plumlee to see over 30 minutes and smash his value on every site.