NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Goran Dragic, Dwight Howard Injuries
- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- There are two key teams with injuries to analyze on Tuesday night: the Miami Heat and Washington Wizards.
Tuesday brings the smallest slate of the week, but there’s still a couple of notable injuries to analyze. Below I’ll detail how the injuries to the Heat’s Goran Dragic and the Wizards’ Dwight Howard could affect the DFS and betting markets.
Heat PG Goran Dragic (knee) is out.
Injury background: Dragic had fluid drained from his troublesome right knee on Monday and has been ruled out for a couple games with the hopes of returning to action next week. The knee has given him issues over the past two weeks and has already caused him to miss three games recently (he missed a fourth due to a toe injury).
Tonight’s impact: The Heat have rolled with the same starting lineup in all three of those games Dragic missed, with Wayne Ellington getting the nod in his place.
Ellington has been hit-or-miss with FanDuel point totals of 30.3, 10.4 and 21.9. He’s now the most expensive he’s been this season on both FanDuel ($4,200) and DraftKings ($4,400). Even at $4,200, he’s still a bit too pricey to consider on FanDuel in cash games as a punt play, as it’s typically better to target players closer to the $3,500 minimum.
Whiteside has flashed an exceptionally high ceiling without Dragic, falling just one block shy of a triple-double in a Nov. 7 win that saw him total a season-high 76 DraftKings points.
He’s averaged a very strong 1.58 DraftKings points per minute over that three-game sample and should be firmly in the cash-game mix on DraftKings, where he’s $8,000 with a FantasyLabs Bargain Rating of 90%. The only concern with Whiteside is that his minutes have been down as of late (26.7, 28.6, 21.7, 21.9) after a stretch in which he was consistently in the low-to-mid 30s.
Tyler Johnson has had no such issues with minutes consistency, as he’s seen at least 30 in six of the last seven games. He led the Heat with 36.3 DraftKings points in this same matchup last week, though he’s a bit of a thinner cash-game play now after being aggressively priced up on both sites.
For betting purposes, it’s worth noting that the Heat’s offense has been a total mess in the three games without Dragic, producing an Offensive Rating of just 100.9, which would rank 27th this season.
They’ve also played at a bottom-10 pace, so it’s no surprise the under hit in two of those three games. They’ll square off against a Nets side that ranks 21st in pace and remains without their leading scorer in Caris LeVert. The two teams faced each other last week and combined for 227 points, though that was with Dragic chipping in a team-high 21 points. Things should go a bit differently this time around.
Wizards C Dwight Howard (glute) is questionable.
Injury background: Howard was limited to just seven minutes in Sunday’s loss and didn’t return after aggravating a sore glute. He missed the first seven games of the season with the same injury and was unable to go through practice Monday.
Tonight’s impact: Howard is priced at a very reasonable $6,200 on DraftKings but makes for an easy fade in cash games even if he’s able to give it a go. The fact he was unable to practice Monday and has already been sidelined for an extended period with the same injury is a pretty big red flag, and there’s just too much risk that he aggravates the injury or is limited in terms of minutes and effectiveness as a result.
Ian Mahinmi was extremely underwhelming in six starts for Howard earlier in the season, averaging just 12.5 DraftKings points in 16.8 minutes per game, and Jason Smith didn’t fare any better in his lone start. Mahinmi is the stone minimum on FanDuel at $3,500 but isn’t enticing as a punt option given his low ceiling. His excessive foul rate (6.5 per 36 minutes this season, 5.7 over his career) ensures that he won’t see significant minutes.
Jeff Green is already too cheap at $4,200 on FanDuel, and he actually ended up getting the start in the second half of Sunday’s loss in Howard’s place. The Clippers employ a bit of a “paper starter” in Marcin Gortat, so expect both teams to roll out smaller lineups for the majority of the game if Howard is ruled out. That’ll mean plenty of Green, Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr., all of whom are priced at $5,000 or less on DraftKings and FanDuel.
The Wizards have played at a faster pace with Howard on the bench this season, and their offensive efficiency has improved by leaps and bounds from 102.9 to 106.2. The Clippers defense has been far more vulnerable on the road (111.5 Defensive Rating, 22nd; 104.2 at home, 9th), and these two teams are a combined 20-12 on the over this season.