This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Without a doubt, the most popular game on tonight's seven-game slate is an epic matchup between the Warriors and the Rockets. At the forefront of this contest is the confirmed absence of Kevin Durant (ankle), which could throw a wrench into Golden State's aspirations, but presents some interesting DFS opportunities with the rest of the Warriors' starters. DeMarcus Cousins ($7,400) and Klay Thompson ($7,200) top the list in terms of usage when Durant is off the floor. Curry's usage is lower but could still garner a decent score. The Houston side gets a little tricky as Harden was out in one game against the Dubs and Paul was out in another, so with both of them on the floor tonight, we don't have any reliable metrics to predict how this will shake out. Luckily for us, I think targeting Boogie and Klay gets us on this game for cheap, and while I'll put a play on Harden or Paul in a few lineups, the pace-down effect in this matchup leads me to go light on the elites in this spot.
If you're looking for elite pivots, I think coupling Russell Westbrook ($11,000) and Paul George ($9,600) would make a lot more sense tonight. This game has the highest Over/Under of the night and the duo went insane on the Nets over one contest, with both of them posting 70-plus DKFP numbers. You don't need much more evidence than that! An interesting final pivot is Bradley Beal ($9,800) and pretty much everyone I just mentioned. Beal's insane run mirrors the pre-All-Star break antics of Harden in many ways, and the train shows no sign of stopping.
There are no back-to-backs tonight. Here's a list of notable injury situations for the evening.
Josh Richardson (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE: Richardson may very well see the floor tonight, but if he can't go, it might be time to see if the Heat finally lean a bit on Goran Dragic ($4,500). Historically, he's been the big beneficiary when healthy, but Justise Winslow ($6,100) has a 21 percent usage rate when Richardson is out and is a more expensive pivot.
Ricky Rubio (hip) QUESTIONABLE: The Jazz would love to see Rubio back as the guard situation is tenuous, at best. If Rubio sits, I can't give a full-throated endorsement for a pivot here, as this game could get out of hand quickly and there will likely be a lot of volatility at this position.
My strategy tonight will be to employ each of the cores mentioned above with virtually the same cast of supporting characters in each lineup. For the sake of being thorough, I will still give you one more elite pick at each position, followed by a mid-range target and a low-cost value play.
Mike Conley, MEM at ATL ($7,800): Conley is on an excellent three-game tear with DKFP scores of 55. 53 and 46. He only played 25 minutes against the Hawks in their lone contest but still managed to haul in 40 DKFP, so Wednesday could be an excellent opportunity to ride this train for value while he's hot.
Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO vs. UTA ($6,200): Oubre's showed up many times in my endorsements over the past few weeks, and his floor continues to solidify. Utah's defense is good, but they've been a little weak on the boards in recent weeks. With a slight spike in rebounds, Oubre could pop tonight if he shoots well.
Allen Crabbe, BKN at OKC ($4,000): Crabbe popped up with a 36 DKFP score versus Detroit in Brooklyn's last game. It also happened that he had one of his better games of the year against the Thunder, so suddenly this streaky shooter makes a lot of sense. Let me emphasize – the guy is volatile, a veritable box of chocolates, and you're playing Forrest Gump if you slot him in. He could reap huge dividends.
Additional guards to consider: Review my injury pivots, and Rodney McGruder, MIA vs. DET ($3,600)
John Collins, ATL vs. MEM ($7,600): With Memphis ranked 28th in total rebounding, Collins sounds like an excellent play when you consider his recent run of success. While priced a little high, he's popped as high as 64 DKFP and gone as low as 34 DKFP over the past four games, but his three-game average beats value with room to spare. With all the big names on tonight's slate, I predict low ownership here.
Bobby Portis, WAS vs. ORL ($6,200): Even with a guy like Vucevic under center, the Magic still rank a dismal 24th in total rebounding and are even worse on the boards offensively. Portis is coming off of two-straight double-doubles against Minnesota and Sacramento, and he still arrives at an attractive price for what you're getting.
Kevin Huerter, ATL vs. MEM ($4,200): I'm aware – Huerter's stats look crazy volatile but hear me out. With their playoff hopes dashed, Atlanta will be inclined to kick the tires of their young talent to see what they've got for next season. With a core of Collins and Young, Huerter should also play a part next year, so I expect him to get his share of looks as the season winds down. He has a stellar 27-point game against the Pelicans on Sunday, and I'd look for him to follow that up with another solid stat line.
Additional forwards to consider: Again, refer to the first section, and Trevor Ariza ($5,900)
Cousins and Vucevic, already mentioned. So, where else can we go?
Steven Adams, OKC vs. BKN ($6,300): I'm always a fan of rostering the opposing center with the Nets on the docket, and Adams fills that blank tonight. Adams has been solid, if unspectacularly so, over the past few weeks, and although the Nets have improved their game off the glass, I think they'll miss enough shots to give Adams plenty of opportunities. He'll also be ready to grab some of Westbrook and George's misses as well.
Kenneth Faried, HOU vs. GS ($5,100): Yes, Clint Capela is Houston's man at center but I like Faried's price much better, and he stormed back from injury with a solid 30 DKFP score. Now that he's shed the injury rust, I expect a better total tonight, and he could find some seams to work into with Durant off the court.
Additional centers to consider: Jonas Valanciunas, MEM at ATL ($6,800)
To conclude my column, I'm advising that you give your rosters a final check in the closing weeks of the season. 'Load Management' is a phrase you'll see a lot of in the closing weeks, and it could hit anyone at any time, so it pays to be extra vigilant – and there's no better place than Rotowire.com to find out all the latest news.