We have just a small 4 game slate on tap today for NBA DFS. The first game is a potential blowout with the Cavs visiting the Pacers. I can’t see this not being an easy Pacers victory at home, playing well and facing a struggling Cleveland team. The game where we should see the most fantasy production is the Wizards at the Hawks. Both teams project for…
We have just a small 4 game slate on tap today for NBA DFS. The first game is a potential blowout with the Cavs visiting the Pacers. I can’t see this not being an easy Pacers victory at home, playing well and facing a struggling Cleveland team. The game where we should see the most fantasy production is the Wizards at the Hawks. Both teams project for over average. The Wizards are likely to welcome Trevor Ariza today from their recent trade, but with injuries to Howard and Porter and with Rivers and Oubre gone, the rotation has a lot of missing minutes and questions about who plays them and how many. This is the best matchup in basketball against the Hawks though, so whoever does is likely to contribute here. The other high total game is between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets. Both of those teams also project for over average, although not by nearly as wide a margin. Still, it is a pretty good spot to look for production, especially on the Lakers side with Rondo and Ingram still out. The last game of the night is the Mavericks visiting the Nuggets. Both teams have a few injury issues. It looks like Barea will play today for the Mavs, but Dennis Smith Jr. is likely to sit. For the Nuggets, Harris, Barton and Millsap are all out still. That has led to role players all seeing an increase in court time with three starters missing. To pile on, Juancho Hernangomez is also listed as questionable after picking up an injury last game. He had been covering much of Barton’s minutes, so if he sits we have a thin rotation getting even thinner for the Nuggets. Here’s how I see it.
TOP PROJECTED TOTALS
- Wizards – 120
- Hawks – 115.5
- Lakers – 115.25
- Nets – 112.75
- Nets: +4.4
- Wizards: +3.6
- Nuggets: +2.9
- Cavs: +1.6
HIGHEST PROJECTION OVER AVERAGE
- Wizards: +7
- Hawks: +7
- Pacers: +3
- Lakers: +2
- Nets: +1.75
FAVORITE CASH PLAYS
John Wall – This is the best possible matchup a team can have against the fast-paced and defensively challenged Hawks. Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre are shipped out of town and the only rotation piece added in is Ariza. Ariza can cover the SF minutes Oubre vacated, but no Rivers means Wall and Tomas Satoransky play all the PG minutes here. Wall should see a healthy workload of 35-40 minutes as he had the last three games. He’s been producing monster scores too with 66, 41 and 79 DK points in his last three. Best matchup, highest total, highest projection over average and a healthy pace bump for a thin rotation all make this a great spot for Wall.
Monte Morris – Jamal Murray has a higher ceiling, but also a much higher price. In terms of point per dollar value, I’d rather go with the cheaper Morris. Morris lacks upside, but he has been very good. He also has been playing a lot of minutes, which is why I really like him for a safe floor. We mentioned the carnage in the opening with Harris, Barton, and now maybe Juancho all injured and unlikely to play. That leaves the Nuggets very few options on the perimeter and the guy who has benefitted has been Morris. He is going to play 25-30 minutes and probably has a ceiling of around 35, but he also has a floor of 25 which makes him a guy projected for over 5X. Morris is still reasonably priced. If you can afford Murray, he has a higher ceiling and floor, but on a per dollar basis, Morris is better.
Matthew Dellavedova – Nothing sexy here, but Delly is back in Cleveland and playing better than Collin Sexton lately. He’s also cheaper. In the low $4K range, we really only need 20-25 out of him, and he has done that lately. He has played at least 21 minutes in each of the last three games and scored 23-29 fantasy points. Again, not much upside, but he’s hitting value and gives you price relief to pay up for some studs.
Bradley Beal – Everything we said about the short rotation and top-shelf matchup for Wall is true for Beal too. These are the main weapons for a team that is rolling out non-scorers like Satoransky for 30+ minutes right now. Even the addition of Ariza is a net negative in scoring as Oubre and Rivers accounted for more points. That means someone else has to score and that is what Beal does well. The pace and sloppy play of the Hawks should also help him rack up some defensive stats and rebounds, which is not something he usually does. Beal relies on scoring for fantasy points, and with the Hawks projected for one of the bigger numbers over average today with a shorter rotation, it makes sense that Beal should be near a ceiling game here in this matchup.
Kevin Huerter – I play Huerter probably more than anyone else for two reasons. One is I love punting shooting guard and spending elsewhere. Point guards get assists. Small forwards usually get rebounds and assists, and power forwards and centers tend to get a lot of rebounds. Most shooting guards do one thing well and that’s score. That’s why I like punting here because you can get enough points from cheaper guys that play big minutes. Huerter definitely fits that mold. He’s not an elite player by any stretch, but he is currently seeing 27-36 minutes a night for the past 6 games. He’s giving you roughly 25 points a day for fantasy as well. Again, not an elite number of upside, but enough to justify the price tag. The Wizards get the pace bump, but both teams play fast and both teams project for 7 points over average. That means everyone on both sides is likely to play close to their ceilings and Huerter’s ceiling is low 30s. If he does that or even a little less for his $4Kish price than you are left with a 6X performance.
Torrey Craig – If Juancho Hernangomez plays, I’d probably hop off Craig. If Juancho sits, with the thin rotation already though, we could see another 30+ minutes out of him. Craig is not a big-time producer, and even in 30+ minutes, I wouldn't expect him to get to 30 fantasy points, but for the price, he is another guy where 25 is good enough. He’s played 30+ minutes in 3 of the last 4 games and put up 22-29 each time. Without Juancho, the chances of him doing that again are high and he’s near min price.
LeBron James – I’m not super high on LeBron here for upside. I don't even think his floor is safe. Part of it is that he’s played so many minutes lately, and part of it is that his production has not always been top shelf. In terms of superstars, I think his ceiling is lower than those priced around him, even in terms of floor. He is still very likely to get his 50 points here in a solid matchup, but 50 for over $10K is not enough. Still, if you have money to spend today, I’m not arguing against him. He is likely to finish as a top 3 scorer on the night and on short slates that kind of production is not as easy to find.
Joe Harris – Allen Crabbe has missed the last two games and Harris has stepped in beautifully. Harris plays 25-35 minutes a night and has put up 30 and 35 fantasy points in the last two games without Crabbe. He’s under $5K on DraftKings, so 30 is a 6X return. Without Crabbe and with the Nets getting a pace bump and projected over average, it makes sense to keep riding the hot hand.
Trevor Ariza – I am usually a little more skeptical of a guy making his debut, but when I see Tomas Satoransky play 42 minutes last game, I know that Ariza’s minutes will be there. He’s pretty cheap as well and he also steps into one of the best possible matchups against the lowly Atlanta Hawks. I would likely reserve him for GPPs on a full slate due to the uncertainty, but for cheap on a short slate with the best matchup on the board for a team with a thin rotation, I am willing to take the chance here.
Lance Stephenson – This one is another I would not consider on a big slate, but if you need an extreme punt here, Lance Stephenson has been producing. People forget that this guy was putting up triple doubles a few years back and was a high school phenom from NYC. He produces across the board when given a chance. The Lakers rotation missing Ingram and Rondo put them down two key perimeter pieces. Stephenson is not going to play big minutes, but he has produced about 25 fantasy points three games in a row and that’s good consistency and production from a guy that is near min priced.
John Collins – Collins’ return has been awesome for the Hawks. He’s producing at near all-star levels. He snapped a streak of 6 straight double-doubles last game, but still rewarded the believers with a 29/8/2 stat line and over 40 fantasy points. His usage rate in three of the last four games is over 30 and that is why I love him so much. He’s been scoring at least 20 points in 5 of the last 6 games, and he’s also averaging 12.5 rebounds over this time. A 20/12 double-double is worth about 35 points on its own, and anything above that or in other stat categories is just gravy. I’m expecting another 40+ out of him today, especially considering the pace and both teams projected over value. The Wizards are also really weak inside without Howard, so he should dominate on the glass today.
Kyle Kuzma – The injury to Ingram opened up Kuzma for the massive 35+ minute type workload he saw last season. He has been rewarding his backers with 35-45 point games regularly. The last two games were blowouts for the Lakers, but Kuzma put up 40+ in the 7 games preceding them giving and receiving beatdowns. Kuzma benefits the most from Ingram being out because he was kind of blocked for bigger minutes with Lebron and Ingram both in line to get a big minute load and Kuzma having to be content picking up the pieces behind them. With him no longer shackled under 30 minutes a night, we are seeing peak Kuzma right now and that has been a solid 5.5-6X return.
Markieff Morris – He picked up a neck issue the last game, but everything here says he should be good to go tonight. I can mention the spot against the Hawks again, but obviously, it benefits him too for the same reasons. The Wizards frontcourt is thin right now, especially with Oubre gone, who played some PF. Markieff is not only their best PF, but he’s arguably the best center option they have. Mahinmi sees zero minutes lately, and Thomas Bryant normally plays under 20. He saw a bump after the Markieff injury last game, which only shows that they are so thin they had no other options. Markieff is reasonably priced in a great matchup and likely to continue to see near 30 minutes if he is healthy. Not much to dislike here and comes in at a discount to the other two.
Nikola Jokic – One wrong assumption many people make is projecting a backup, stepping into a lineup due to injuries, for the same type of production as the starter had. If that was the case, that guy likely would be starting already. What tends to happen is the backup doesn't have the same skill level and therefore does not produce as the starter did. What tends to happen to make up for it is shots and touches are funneled to the other better offensive options on the floor. This is what is happening lately in Denver. With no Harris, Millsap or Barton, we are seeing guys like Monte Morris, Torrey Craig, Juancho Hernangomez, Trey Lyles and Mason Plumlee get major minutes. The problem is these guys are not the offensive weapons the injured Nuggets have been. That means guys like Jokic and Murray, the two remaining starters, are in line for increases in usage. Jokic has played at least 33 minutes in 7 straight games. He’s averaged 11 rebounds over that stretch. He scored at least 23 real life points in 5 of the 7 and added 8.5 assists per game. He’s also added 13 steals and 2 blocks, or over 2 defensive stats per game. His average stat line in the last 7 is 21.5/11/8.5/2 for 52 fantasy points in 35 minutes of action per night. As long as these guys remain out, I’m going to keep riding the guy with a near 30% usage rate nightly. On the season, his usage is just 25, so we can quantify how much more involved in the offense he has been and that has led to these bigger scores recently.
Dewayne Dedmon – The combo of Dedmon and Collins is causing problems for teams lately. Alex Len is now the clear backup with Dedmon playing the bigger share of the minutes. He’s played around 30 minutes in 5 of the last 6 games and is producing at a little over a fantasy point per minute during this stretch. Another guy here in that juicy Wizards/Hawks matchup, so the spot is ideal. The Wizards are also not a big team with Thomas Bryant playing barely half a game and Markieff Morris seeing time at center. This should be a good spot for Dedmon to outperform his norms as well and for the price another 30 point effort, something he has done in 4 of the last 6 would be a 6X return. Anything over that in a great spot would be upside, which makes him a very intriguing option today.
JaVale McGee – I prefer Dedmon to McGee for a few extra bucks, but wanted to mention Javale as well. He is dealing with an illness and listed as questionable, so keep an eye on that too. If he plays though, he is seeing 24-30 minutes with Tyson Chandler playing the rest. He produces when out on the floor. He has a solid 25 point floor with upside into the low 30s. For under $5K, we are looking at 5-6X if he repeats that. The Nets are a team you can normally attack with big men too, so the spot is solid.