This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The final day of the NBA regular season is upon us! Tackling DFS action for Sunday is not for the faint of heart. While the value opportunities will be numerous, only preseason slates rival the amount of variance involved. So buckle up - we'll do our best to navigate it. To accommodate the special circumstances, we'll take a slightly different approach to today's article.
You can break down Sunday's teams into three categories:
- Those locked into playoff seeds (1-8 in the East, 1-4 in the West)
- Those with something left to play for (5-9 in the West)
- Those eliminated from the playoffs (everyone else)
You'll be able to safely play starters from the Clippers, Warriors, Lakers, Pelicans and Timberwolves barring any late announcements. The other two categories are another matter. It'll be imperative to get the starting lineups for teams as they become available because every team in the other two groups will approach this final day differently. Some players are already shut down, but that number will only increase as lineups lock. To further complicate matters, all seven games start at the same time (3:30 p.m. EDT), so late swapping will be a non-factor. I'd reserve your spot in a contest early, but just use a placeholder until you can come back to our advanced lineups page to see the starting five for every team.
Rather than list injured players and their statuses, we'll use this section to list those who are out and provide corresponding pivot options.
The recent tanking investigation by the NBA may affect what happens here. I'm inclined to believe Dallas will sit most of these players anyway. Justin Holiday ($5,500) and Christian Wood ($6,200) represent some of the best values if these statuses hold.
There's no reason for the Spurs to play any of these players. The only starter could be Tre Jones ($7,500), but beyond that it's a motley crew. Keita Bates-Diop ($6,300), Julian Champagnie ($5,900) and Malaki Branham ($5,700) are your best candidates here.
MEM - Every starter except Xavier Tillman ($6,200)
Even Tillman isn't a guarantee, but they may not have a pivot worth starting. This roster could have the best value of them all as Luke Kennard ($5,600) and John Konchar ($6,000) will power the Grizzlies backcourt, and I would give the rest of the bench a look.
PHO - Every starter except Josh Okogie ($5,300)
POR- Every starter except Shaedon Sharpe ($8,200)
Portland's a tough one, and I'm tempted to avoid them altogether. The salaries are way too high for the pivots, in my opinion. Best to steer clear.
DEN and SAC - Right now, I have no clue how either team will approach Sunday. They've made no announcements about playing time. I'm going to leave their starters out of my endorsements, but DON'T DISCOUNT THEM. Keep an eye on the starting lineups before lock and pivot accordingly.
Four players with motivation top my list. Anthony Davis ($11,500), LeBron James ($10,800, Kawhi Leonard ($10,600) and Stephen Curry ($10,400), and who you start will largely depend on the aforementioned budget plays you prefer. There's plenty of value at guard, so you're probably going to find the elites more useful at other positions - though I wouldn't exclude Curry altogether.
Slightly further down, you have the offensive engines for two teams in the playoff mix with Anthony Edwards ($9,300) and Brandon Ingram ($9,800). They'll also square off against each and present a way to get slightly cheaper in the elite category. Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,300) is also in this matchup, and I think we'll see lower rostership from him.
EXPECTED CHALK AND VALUE PLAYS
I'll first rank my top three pivots from the huge list above:
I'll also hold out for potential values with Denver and Sacramento if they end up benching their stars.
Rudy Gobert, MIN ($7,400) vs. NOR
With two great results against the Pelicans this season, I think Gobert is a very safe call and should be in line for his share of rebounds. Jonas Valanciunas ($7,500) is slightly more expensive and also represents a double-double candidate, but I think the upside lies with Gobert. Valanciunas' solid floor is better for cash contests.
Draymond Green, GSW ($7,300) @ POR
Green has a knack for showing up in the big games, and he's likely to dominate the paint against Portland. The Trail Blazers' scrubs should also allow him to get a better scoring total than usual.
Also consider: CJ McCollum, NOR ($8,000) @ MIN
There are also some hail-mary calls I'd like to mention who slipped through the cracks.
Kenneth Lofton, MEM ($3,800) @ OKC
For those of you who follow G-League, you already know about Lofton. Could he take over the Grizzlies' offense tonight? I wouldn't discount the idea. He was the league's Rookie of the Year and just signed a four-year, $7M contract a few days ago. I've got Lofton in a few tournament lineups, and so should you.
McKinley Wright, DAL ($4,000) vs. SAN
Wright has only appeared in 26 games for Dallas. And while he struggled a bit Friday, the Mavs allowed him to take 14 shots and that makes me think the Colorado product will receive more usage Sunday. The potential for variance is lower with Lofton, but I think you have to consider Wright as a budget-saving flyer. A.J. Lawson ($3,700) is equally risky, but he'll get playing time.