This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
I might as well start with the good (or bad) news: I'm fading Harden tonight. Lots of people will get fooled by this 72 DKFP game Harden had against the Suns. For one, Chris Paul wasn't on the floor, and neither was Eric Gordon. Additionally, the word 'load management' is going to start circulating around the league daily, and you can bet Harden will be on that list. He was a necessity in that 72 DKFP game – that's not the case tonight. You'll see below I'm a big fan of the value in the CHA/WAS matchup, and that I might not have punched the SAC/PHI and POR/NO games as much as I would have liked to – but these are my favorite games on the site tonight.
Here are the pertinent injuries tonight, minus ongoing scenarios.
Ben Simmons (illness) PROBABLE: It's worth mentioning this situation on the off-chance Simmons can't make it against the Kings. I'm working on the assumption he'll play, but obviously the remainder of Philly's starters would benefit the most over any potential replacement.
Danilo Gallinari (ankle) QUESTIONABLE: If the Clippers are without one of their best scorers, JaMychal Green ($3,600) will get the start, but Lou Williams ($7,100) is always a candidate to swoop in when a starter is out.
Dennis Smith, (back) QUESTIONABLE: This is one of those ADF plays - avoid David Fitzdale, that is. Predicting Fitzdale's backcourt rotation is a risky proposition on any given night. If you must go here, Emmanuel Mudiay ($4,200) is your value play, with Damyean Dotson ($5,000) as a slightly more expensive option.
Cody Zeller (knee) DOUBTFUL: A whole host of players have stepped up in Zeller's absence, but I don't think you'll see more than 25 DKFP from any of them tonight. Marvin Williams ($4,800) and Nicolas Batum ($5,600) seem to be the safest plays here, although you could take a dumpster dive with Miles Bridges ($3,600).
Reggie Jackson (ankle) QUESTIONABLE: Jackson looked to be in pain on the sidelines Wednesday night, so his situation is worth monitoring leading into tonight's slate. Ish Smith ($3,900) would step in if Jackson can't go.
Bradley Beal, WAS vs. CHA ($9,500): Going with Beal here is no big surprise, as he comes off a day of rest in a favorable home game against The Hornets. Charlotte ranks a pitiful 28th against opposing off-guards. And with a three-game average of 50 DKFP against them, Beal is about as reliable as they come at this price. I think Beal could outdo Harden for $1,500 less.
Elfrid Payton, NO vs. POR ($6,600): I slid to a well-rested Payton over the Kings options, as both De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield experience 15-20 percent decreases in performance with no rest. Without Jrue Holiday (abdomen), Payton possesses great cash reliability, especially if we choose to mostly fade the point guard position tonight. There's an eensy-weensy chance Holiday comes back tonight, but I wouldn't count on it.
Eric Gordon, HOU vs. PHO ($4,900): Gordon was injured in both contests against the Suns, so his injection into this game could provide an interesting result if the game gets out of hand. He's another reason why I think Harden won't meet value tonight and definitely won't hit that 70 DKFP score he had without Paul. While I'm taking more of a GPP angle on Gordon tonight, he could reap huge benefits at this price.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. NY ($8,600): This game could turn out to be an embarrassing loss for the Knicks. But then again, they actually WON their last game against the Spurs by 12 points. Aldridge didn't play a big part in that game, but with Rudy Gay limited, Aldridge could pump up one of the higher totals among the elite forwards on the slate. He's averaged a double-double and 47 DKFP over his last four games, which would meet value at this price.
Kyle Kuzma, LAL at DET ($6,200): I'm going to pivot straight to Kuzma if they sit LeBron on this back-to-back, as he's the only guy who can get it done inside against a tough Pistons defense. I'm more inclined to stay away if we hear LeBron will see 30 minutes, but he's coming at such a favorable price these days and could emerge as a low-owned target.
Marvin Williams, CHA at WAS ($4,800): I already mentioned Williams, but I think the Hornets will lean on him as a big-man option as they enter a hellish stretch of back-to-backs through the weekend. As long as Zeller sits, Williams should see a bump in rebounds and points in a more significant role tonight.
Joel Embiid, PHI vs. SAC ($9,900): Without a doubt, you slot Embiid right in if you hear negative news about Simmons. But you could also just leave him in here anyway, as he torched the Kings for 62 DKFP in their last meeting. And with this kind of potential, a sub-10K salary is almost absurd here. With or without Simmons, he'll give you a very reliable floor.
Bobby Portis, WAS vs. CHA ($6,100): We can still get Portis in at forward and at this price, I'll be spreading him across many of my lineups in what I perceive as an exploitable matchup against the undersized Hornets. He's averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds in two games against Charlotte.