Cases for and against Kawhi Leonard in DFS Tuesday


With a small slate of games Tuesday (six), you’ll need to pick the right players to build around and fade. Our experts offer up their answers and debate whether Kawhi Leonard is worth the price.

Today’s panel includes DFS expert Renee Miller and ESPN Fantasy’s Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe.

Players to build around

Renee Miller — Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers

Today, I’m giving you the guy who I’m actually using in all of my lineups, not necessarily the guy I think will score the most fantasy points. Clarkson’s usage benefits from D’Angelo Russell‘s absence, and he will be playing in what Vegas has as the highest-scoring game. The Lakers are modest underdogs tonight, but it should stay close enough for Clarkson to play 30-plus minutes and exceed value in a top-10 SG matchup with the Pelicans. With Clarkson’s reasonable salary as the starting point for me, I can vary the higher-priced stars I want exposure to on tonight’s slate, without unnecessary risk.

Joe Kaiser — Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Leonard is a star who has 50-point upside in DFS and is priced below $8,500 on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He’s a strong value at that price, regardless of the opponent, but particularly tonight against an Orlando team that’s in the bottom third of the league in terms of DFS points allowed to small forwards.

Kyle Soppe — George Hill, Utah Jazz

I’m locking myself into quality here and hoping for quantity. Hill has been remarkably efficient in November, as he is averaging 21.7 points on 56.8 percent shooting from the field in his seven games to go along with nearly four assists for every turnover. He has been rock solid in his three games since returning from a thumb injury that cost him two weeks, and a potential up-and-down game against the defensively inept Rockets could give him more opportunities than a standard game might. Be aware that this is his first back-to-back since the two-week hiatus, but if you’re eyeing Anthony Davis tonight, Hill could be a nice alternative to the expensive top tier of point guards. It’s rare, but I am all in favor of pairing Hill with one of his Jazz teammates (Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood being the best options) in a contrarian type of move.

Players to fade

Renee Miller — Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

I’ve tried fitting both LeBron James and Leonard into lineups today and I don’t like how it turns out. While both have shown a lower floor than I’d like to see over the past week or so, Leonard faces a slow-paced team that actually ranks higher than the Spurs in defensive efficiency (Orlando is 10th in that category). Add the fact that the Spurs are huge favorites (minus -13.5) in this projected low-scoring game, and Leonard simply may not be asked to do enough tonight to pay off his salary.

Joe Kaiser — Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

Gordon is back in the starting lineup for a second game in a row and is priced so low that there might be some temptation to roster him. Don’t do it. He’ll be matched up against Leonard, one of the top defenders in the league, and doesn’t have the well-rounded game or scoring/shooting ability to put up big DFS numbers.

Kyle Soppe — Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons

Drummond is great at what he does, but his limited skill set makes him a player I will often avoid. First of all, if I’m going to go for this type of player, why not go with a cheaper version of a similar option in DeAndre Jordan? That thought aside, this simply isn’t a good spot for Drummond, as the Hornets are a stingy defense that owns the third-best defensive rebounding rate in basketball. With the Hornets on the second night of a back-to-back and the Pistons operating as the fifth-slowest offense in basketball, I’m not sure that Drummond’s scoring output can offset what I expect might be a down game (by his crazy standards) on the boards. Even if the tired Hornets offer less resistance than normal, the ease of scoring simply isn’t there, as Drummond has made one more free throw than I have over the last eight days … This just in: I don’t play in the NBA!

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