Solid 8 game slate for NBA DFS action today. We have one game that sticks out like a sore thumb with the huge 236 total between Atlanta and Sacramento, the fastest and third fastest paced teams in the league. Denver and New Orleans is the only other game over a 218.5 total at 227. That means 75% of the games (6 of 8) are 18 points below the stand out total. In cash games…
Solid 8 game slate for NBA DFS action today. We have one game which sticks out like a sore thumb with the huge 236 total between Atlanta and Sacramento, the fastest and third fastest paced teams in the league. Denver and New Orleans is the only other game over a 218.5 total at 227. That means 75% of the games (6 of 8) are 18 points below the stand out total. In cash games, it’s tough to imagine not having some exposure to that one, especially with New Orleans so banged up and playing on the tail end of a back-to-back. I’m not convinced they can keep it close with Denver, even at home. This is also one of the worst slates I have ever seen for forwards on FanDuel, and that is not an exaggeration. Power Forward is ugly, and small forward is even worse. There is a good chance this is the position I look to save with some cheap guys, figuring one of them drops and hopefully one or two others make value for me and allow me to spend everywhere else. I can’t even say it’s a stars and scrubs kind of slate, because a lot of the stars played yesterday and the rest are hurt. Shooting Guard seems to be a stacked position today, and picking the right ones should go a long way to differentiating rosters, as quite a few guys deserve to be owned and ownership will likely be spread. In fact, on DraftKings, SF is so barren I think every lineup I made has someone who is SG eligible on FD but has multi-position eligibility on DK. The roster construction today tends to be more balanced than stars and scrubs. We have some solid cheap guys, but I’m not sure we really need them. You should have no trouble getting up to whoever you want here today, as we only have 2 guys even priced over $9K on DraftKings (Towns, Jokic). On FanDuel, both of those guys are over $11K, and if Kyrie sits as expected, no one else is over $10K. It’s not like you can just put in the best player with the highest price at every position, but when everyone is $9K or less on DK, you really only need maybe one punt or 2-3 mid range guys and the rest can be rounded out with $7K and above plays.
TOP PROJECTED TOTALS
- Kings – 120.25
- Nuggets – 117.5
- Hawks – 114.75
- Celtics – 112
- Mavericks – 112
BIGGEST PACE BUMP
- Nuggets: +5.3
- Grizzlies: +5.1
- Pacers: +2.8
*The other five games feature teams within one or two places from each other in pace. All of them have differences of 1.1 or less, so basically neutral in terms of bumps up or down.
HIGHEST PROJECTION OVER AVERAGE
- Kings: +7
- Nuggets: +6
- Hawks: +4.5
- Heat: +3.5
- Mavericks and Grizzlies: +2.5
FAVORITE CASH PLAYS
Mike Conley – At the high end the decision really comes down to Mike Conley or Damian Lillard and I prefer Conley with the big pace bump and his team projected for over average against the Timberwolves. Lillard is pricier and faces the Utah Jazz, who are not as lockdown as in year’s past, but still not the defense you want to pick on. Conley is averaging 44 DK points over his last five games. His numbers are up slightly across the board. He’s playing closer to 35 minutes than 32, averaging a little over his 20-point seasonal number, the rebounds are up about one a game and the assists are up to 8 from under 7 on the year. Again, nothing super out of the norm for him, but a few more minutes has translated into a few more stats across the board for a guy who does do a little bit of everything. Conley is consistently good and plays a lot of minutes, plus he’s playing well right now. If you need to spend up today, he’s my favorite solid floor guy for cash.
Trae Young – The best game on the day is ATL/SAC in terms of the Vegas projections by a wide margin and Trae Young stands to benefit from that. He’s getting pricey, but he’s not expensive given his recent production. Over the last 8 games, he is averaging over 32 minutes, up from under 30 on the season. He’s averaging 21 points, up from 16. He’s still averaging right around the same 7 and a half assists he has been averaging all year. He’s averaging 2 3-pointers a game over this stretch, up from 15 on the year and even his rebounding is up at 4.5 per game from barely over 3. Across the board, his production has taken a step up and he’s been putting up over 40 fantasy points in recent games. Now at the price, I doubt we have much upside, but given how good the matchup is the floor feels very safe and attainable.
Ricky Rubio – Rubio returned from injury and barely played in the last meeting with Portland. He’s playing back near his normal minutes now though and coming off a really solid game. The first two matchups with Portland he had 31.75 and 42 DK points. At $6K, we need about 33+ out of him for a 5.5X or better. Portland’s guard defense has always been suspect and Rubio’s minutes should continue to creep up after playing 30 last time out.
Jerryd Bayless – The price has come up a little, but it should for a guy constantly going over 30 fantasy points. He’s still only $5K and that would mean 6X if he does it for a fifth straight game. The key to Bayless is actually the health of Derrick Rose. With Teague and Tyus Jones out, Bayless and Rose are the only ball handlers remaining that see significant minutes. If Rose misses this game again, Bayless should be locked into 30+ minutes as he comes off games of 30, 40, and 36 minutes in his last three.
NOTE: Terry Rozier likely draws the start again if Kyrie is out. Rozier averages 34.8 DK points in the 7 games without Kyrie this season. When we were getting him at $4K, that was awesome. He’s up to $6K and above on both sites now, so he is priced right where he should be. He is still a decent cash game play if you want to go that route, but I’m avoiding him in GPPs and not as heavy on him in cash as I have been.
Luka Doncic – Luka’s price might give some people sticker shock today at just under $10K on FD and $8,800 on DK. He’s likely the third highest priced active player on FD behind Towns and Jokic. When you start digging into the numbers though, it’s not crazy. He played 35 minutes in each of the last two games with a usage rate of 36. He’s taking 20 shots a game now too, so his minutes and field goal attempts are up from seasonal averages. He had a triple-double last game with 12 boards and 10 assists, but even the preceding games he went for 8/8, 7/6, and 11/10. That’s two triple-doubles in the last four games and two others where he was only a few stats short. He’s scored 32 and 35 actual points to go along with the secondary stats in his last two games as well, making him a guy who can conceivably end up with another 30/10/10 kind of stat line. Not many guys in the league can do that and doing that is 55-60 fantasy points. At his price we need 50+ out of him, so even if he falls off that pace a little bit he could still get us there. The Mavs are officially Luka’s team right now, so we should be giving him the superstar status he deserves. Luka is SG on FD, but PG/SF on DK so keep that in mind when you go to roster him.
Andrew Wiggins – Wiggins has been the sneaky beneficiary of Bayless at the point instead of score-oriented guys like Rose and Teague. He’s played 37+ minutes and gone for at least 40 fantasy points in each of the last three games. His usage in the last 2 games was up at 37, which is an Andrew Wiggins we have not yet seen really in his career. The aggressive offensive approach and added minutes have boosted his floor and ceiling and the price still lags. It’s not an ideal spot vs. Memphis, but when a guy is playing with more offensive aggressiveness, he’s still going to get his shots. If Rose remains out, Wiggins remains a viable guy to throw into your lineups.
Bogdan Bogdanovic – The ceiling he flashed last week when De'Aaron Fox was banged up and out is likely not coming back as long as Fox is playing, but Bogey is still capable of reaching value by getting just over 30. Hell, that is what he has been doing basically since coming off injury and getting decent minutes again. He plays in that monster total game with the Kings actually slightly paced up against the fastest paced team in the league in Atlanta and also the highest projection over average belongs to his Kings. I can't get myself to pay up for Fox or Hield in cash right now, but I’m fine with Bogey at his price.
Marcus Smart – I really like Marcus Smart here. Everyone is all over Rozier, but Smart has gone off in recent games the Celtics have played without Kyrie. Unlike Rozier, his price has not taken a major jump as he remains in that low $5K range. I would not be looking for him to repeat the smash he had last game with Kyrie out, but it is possible and his ceiling is high. I prefer him in cash because without Kyrie I think his floor is higher and that’s really what we are looking for. He averages 29.2 DK points without Kyrie, which is just shy of 6X his price today.
Jaylen Brown – Brown benefits not from usage bump like Smart, but from a bump in minutes. With injuries last year, Brown routinely played 30+ minutes, but this year he’s more like half a game. When Kyrie is out, we have seen the minutes jump up over 30 with him getting an extra rotation or two and staying on the court longer. He is even cheaper than Smart is. Brown is a very good player as he proved to us last year and this year the playing time has been what has kept me from using him often. Without Kyrie, the playing time issue basically is none existent.
Wayne Ellington – The extreme cheap punt option that I am looking at, is Wayne Ellington. Ellington has fallen off this year in a crowded backcourt, but when the backcourt is not crowded he tends to get minutes. Ellington is a deadeye shooter, it’s like the one thing he does well. He’s had games where he played 30 minutes and came away with little else in the way of rebounds, assists, or defensive stats, but the guy can shoot and score. I prefer using him on DK with the 3-point bonus, but even on FD for the cheap price, you can look his way. The key for Ellington is guys being out so minutes open up. Last game, Tyler Johnson missed and Ellington came back, playing 30 minutes and going for 7X at his cheap price. This game, Tyler Johnson and Dwyane Wade are both questionable. If either of them sits, the minutes are likely still there for Ellington. I do not love him as an upside play, but if you need to save and are looking for that dirt cheap guy that might be able to get you the 25-30 you need, I have a lot of faith in Ellington.
*Listen, this position is a shit show today, and if you don't believe me, just open up your FanDuel roster, look at the names and tell me who jumps out at you. We don't have any high-end stars here today on FD. On DK, you can use a guy like Luka Doncic or drop down to some of the other SG/SF eligible players discussed above. On FanDuel, though, it’s not a fun position at all. The guys I have below are the ones I have settled on and SETTLED being the key word. If something opens up due to injuries, I will be very quick to hop on it here today.
Kyle Anderson – Love the spot with the pace up and the Grizz projected over average today. It was the first game back for Slow Mo, but he stepped right back into a 30-minute role in that game. Anderson lacks upside, but he plays a lot of minutes and contributes a little bit across the board. Given the matchup here and the injury issues on the wings with Temple, Casspi, Brooks, and Parsons out. JaMychal Green is also listed as questionable, so by default, we should see a ton of minutes for guys like Justin Holliday and Kyle Anderson. High minutes and somewhat low prices are nice things to have as a cushion in cash games, especially when the pace and scoring are projected to be above average.
Taurean Prince – I know it has not been the dominating performances he had to end last season, but at least he’s healthy and seeing minutes again. He’s also cheap and again here we have one of the best possible matchups on the day. The Kings are third in pace, and also give up a ton of points. This game has the monster 236 total and at the price point, you don’t need him to smash to reach value.
Nic Batum – Nothing sexy here with Nic Batum, but the minutes are consistently high. I agree he lacks upside, but this is cash games and in cash games, he is cheaper than his production says he should be. It’s not an easy spot at all, but you don't need much out of him to get to value. At worst he won't kill you, but don't expect any upside either.
Darius Miller – I have come into a ton of Darius Miller, especially on FanDuel. Might as well punt the one position I absolutely hate today and Miller is a very worthy punt. The Pelicans are falling apart with Mirotic, Davis and Randle all out tonight. Outside of Okafor, they are desperate to fill those frontcourt minutes. Miller is not a high upside guy at all, but at his price 25+ is more than fine and he’s been showing that ability with the newfound minutes.
John Collins – So FanDuel did not adjust the Hawks as much as DK did due to the matchup, so a lot of these guys are basically the same price on both sites. With the way the scores have been going lately, you can even argue the multiples on DK have risen and were already higher than FD. On FD 5X+ is a good score. On DK 6X+ used to be ideal, but now it’s basically standard even in cash (298 cash lines in double ups last night on DK). So when a guy is priced the same on both, he’s still an even better play on FD than he once was. Collins is one of those guys. In this matchup, expecting 40 out of him on FD is not asking a ton. He does that often when he plays well and goes over 20/10 in 30+ minutes. On DK, we would need him to also have a bunch of assists, blocks, or a massive scoring or rebounding game. It definitely sets up for a ceiling game for him, but that’s asking a lot. In cash on FD, I have exposure; on DK, I have dropped down.
Lauri Markkanen – Again here, I am not thrilled with the position, but one guy I have some faith in and a lot of exposure to is Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls frontcourt is weak, and Markkanen is the one strong point to it. His pick and pop ability is nice, his minutes are high, and due to lack of size, he is rebounding to help out as well. I hate taking guys against Miami, but I’m willing to make the exception here. It’s not the best spot, but his price feels a tad cheap for the production lately and I see no reason to expect the production to change.
Marvin Bagley – Bagley is still not playing enough minutes for me to love him, but he’s producing enough at his price even in short minutes to respect him here. Really I would not be on him if not for the matchup, but that is how good this matchup is. Bagley has been playing around 25-30 fantasy points lately and is priced in the $5K range where that’s about what he needs to do for us.
Kenrich Williams – WHO? Yeah, I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. He’s min priced on FD and $3,100 on DK. He’s a big man that plays for the Pelicans. On the roster, you currently have maybe 4 guys who can even play the PF/C positions. Okafor sees 30 minutes, Miller sees 30+ minutes and now you have 30+ minutes to fill in. E’Twaun Moore returning will take some minutes from guys like Wes Johnson and Solomon Hill, but with Cheick Diallo only playing like 10 a game, the rest of that was chewed up by Williams last game with 29. He not only played 29 minutes, but he nearly went 10X too. Again, we don't need him to smash, but get me 22-28 for min price and I’ll be cool with that plus the savings let me spend everywhere else. It’s more of an FD thing, to be honest, as using him and one other min price guy allows you the money to really grab most of the other high-end options you like with maybe one or two mid-range guys to fill out the roster.
Nikola Jokic – I debated Towns vs. Jokic, and normally I prefer the Joker at home, but here’s the thing. Would you rather take a guy playing in a high pace, high total game or one facing the Memphis Grizzlies? These are the two superstars on the slate; the only two over $10K on DK and the only guys over $11K on FanDuel. I don't think you have to pay all the way at center today, but if you do, then you have a choice and I prefer Jokic's matchup to Towns.
Jusuf Nurkic – On the surface, people may say I’m not touching centers v. Gobert, so I’m hoping he goes overlooked. Nurkic is a poor man’s Jokic in that he scores, rebounds and can pass. He had a monster game last out against the Jazz too, so we know he can do it. The thing about Nurkic has always been the minutes. He doesn't always get 30+, but he does when they need him to. They needed him too last matchup to contend with Gobert and he went off. I think that is the case again tonight and that makes him a high floor, high ceiling guy when he’s going to get close to his max minutes.
Al Horford – So Horford is a decent option on FanDuel but really more in play on DraftKings, where he is also PF eligible. He’s been playing really good ball too, with three straight double-doubles and 44+ DK points in the last 3 games. He also draws a weak Charlotte interior defense, which we have been successfully picking on. I’m fine if you choose to go balanced lineup today and use him as your center on FD in cash. I really like the idea of using him at PF on DK though where I have a lot more exposure to him on a slate where the actual forward options are really weak.
Jahlil Okafor – He’s shown he has some game left and those who wrote him off were wrong. More importantly, he has a clear path to 30-36 minutes right now. Davis and Mirotic are definitely out and Randle likely is too. Okafor gets to play as many minutes as he can handle and he’s playing them well. Double-doubles every game and we always knew offensively the guy could score and had talent. He’s no longer dirt cheap, but even at the price he is at he is not overly expensive. You have to worry about them on the tail end of the back-to-back and playing with half the team in suits instead of uniforms, but with a lack of other options, he should continue to at least see minutes and he’s producing over a fantasy point per minute on when he’s on the floor.