We have three games for NBA DFS action on Thursday…
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Two of the 3 projects to be high scoring with 76ers/Nets projected for 227.5 and the Warriors/Clippers projected for 235. The low total outlier on the day is the game between the Nuggets and Spurs with just a 210 total and both teams projected for 4 or more points below their normal levels. The only team total that is above average levels today is the Warriors at 121.75 up about 4 from a 117.9 average on the season. Both the 76ers and Nets project for their seasonal average production, with the clippers slightly below their norms and the Spurs and Nuggets a sizeable amount below.
The big injury news is the loss of Boogie Cousins, although the Warriors have enough firepower to make up for that. The one guy who has a status question that matters is Joel Embiid. He was listed as questionable before the first two games of the series and played in both, so at this point, I think it’s more a precautionary designation and I fully expect him to play. He has produced when on the floor, but it is obvious that they are not trying to push him too hard in this series if they don’t have to. He’s only playing half the game which is way down from his 33 minute per game average during the year. It’s an important thing to note because it means everyone else on the 76ers has to play above their norms to make up for the lost production.
Both of the high total games feature teams in the top 11 for PAce on the season with the Clippers ranked 7th, Philly 8th, the Nets 10th, and Golden State at 11. San Antonio was 23rd with Denver 27th, so you can see the drastic difference in the pace of play projected for those pairings.
As far as roster construction goes, you really should be worried if your lineup is heavy on guys from Nuggets/Spurs. That game projects for 10% fewer points, a much slower pace, fewer possessions, and the pricing on most of the main players is not discounted enough to make up for that. On a three-game slate, you can’t really eliminate anyone, but the way to play that game is to pick out one or two guys that have the biggest games and hope you guess right. The winning lineups have tended to be game stacks of the games that end up with the most scoring. You shouldn’t be playing cash at this point in the season anyway, so remember that game stacking 4-5 guys from a high scoring game is a good way to go when building potential GPP winning lineups. If one game is low scoring and one of the other two turns into a blowout, the winning roster will likely have the top plays from the one game that both stayed close and ended up high scoring. I have rosters heavy on Warriors/Clippers and rosters heavy on 76ers/Nets for this exact reason.
One thing I wanted to talk about because it’s important is my view on the big man situation now in Golden State. Golden State is not a traditional team where they have to play with a center. This is especially true in a matchup with a team that also plays an undersized center in Montrezl Harrell a good bit. When Zubac is on the floor, you will likely see either Bogut or Looney. Bogut probably won’t be matched up often on Harrell, which is why he is slated to start. Zubac is playing 8-10 minutes a game in this series, with Harrell playing alongside JaMychal Green or even with Gallo as a stretch 4 on many of their lineups. Looney and Draymond or Bogut and Draymond will be on the floor together to match up with Harrell/Jamychal pairings, but Iguodala will come in as the SF sliding Durant and Draymond to the ⅘ when the Clippers go smaller and use Gallo as their PF. Basically what I’m saying here is that I don’t expect more than half a game from Bogut or Looney here, which kind of caps the upside for both even without Boogie. In fact, I project them to split 34-38 minutes at most. I know both guys are dirt cheap and either of them could pop for 20-25 fantasy points, but that’s a best-case scenario.
If I had to choose the cheap guy who benefits most, it would be Iguodala, especially in this series. The bigger bumps in production and rebounding likely go to the core four who all should get a few extra shots and rebounding opportunities without Boogie.
Ben Simmons – On DraftKings this is an easy decision for me. I love Simmons and Steph Curry on the high-end today, but if you are going to give me a $1400 discount on DK, I’m going to lean this way. Simmons bounced back big time after having a little foul trouble and playing poorly in the game 1 loss. The Sixers got him going to the hole with pace and also utilized him in the post due to his height advantage. The Nets were packing it in almost playing a zone against the 76ers in Philly. Instead of avoiding it, the 76ers challenged it head-on in game 2 and Simmons put up a monster stat line. Embiid is still playing part-time minutes, which opens up the rest of the team for increased production. With the big DK discount, Simmons projects better than Steph.
Steph Curry – If you can afford them, I have no problem playing Steph either. He had a down game last time out and still finished with almost 30 real life points to go along with 6 assists. It wasn’t the fantasy explosion his 38/15/7 in the first game was, but he still had nearly 50 fantasy points. At $9100 on DK, that’s still good value. On FanDuel you have a tougher decision at PG because we only have a few hundred dollars difference between Simmons and Steph. Both guys project out well and both project for a slight bump with their respective big men not being 100%. I have three lineups I am rolling in tournaments today. One is a 76ers/nets stack with Simmons at PG, one is Clippers/Warriors stack with Steph, and the third is a random mix of my favorite plays mostly in both of those high scoring games and I actually used both PGs on that one.
Jamal Murray – If you wanted to go down into the mid-range, Jamal Murray is about the only guy there. He’s not a bad play anyway. He finished that game on fire in the fourth quarter after struggling with his shot early. His surge is what propelled the Nuggets on to victory. Coach Malone showed a lot of faith in letting him play through it and if he comes out shooting like he did to end that game, this could be a big spot for him.
NOTE: On the low end we have a bunch of options here, so let me rank them for you guys. Derrick White playing 31 minutes is my favorite. I know the matchup is not great and his production has been pedestrian, but he’s in line with the other options here like Spencer Dinwiddie, Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, Bryn Forbes, and Monte Morris. The difference is those aren’t the best White has to offer. Most of these other guys are in the same floor level of 20-25 points, but we have at least seen White go off for 30-40 this season. I know any of them are capable of it on their best days, but White is capable of it on most days. When you crunch the minutes for these guys, the two playing the most consistent minutes are White and Beverley. The rest are more 25 a minute at night type guys while those two project for 30+.
Lou Williams – On FanDuel he’s the #2 most expensive shooting guard, but the way he’s played lately you can not call him expensive. In two games Lou Will has dropped 43 and 58 FD points, and now they come back home. On DK in the $7K+ range that looks to be a steal. He’s played over 30 minutes each game and will continue to be needed to do that here if they want a chance to win. He has one of the safer floors and also one of the higher ceilings. DeRozan may be a little safer, but other than maybe Russell, no one has the ability to go for 50-60 as he can. I like Jimmy Butler and I really like DeRozan today too, but Williams has the safe floor as those guys with higher upside.
Demar DeRozan – I like the upside for D’Angelo Russell if he gets hot, but the Nets healthy backcourt is crowded and his minutes are not as high as guys like DeRozan and Butler who can play 35-40 when needed. DeRozan lacks upside, but on DK where he is in the $7K range, he is a guy likely to get you around 6X. He’s basically played the first two games around 40-45 fantasy points, so that’s what we would need from him here. They do go back to San Antonio for game 3 today and that always helps.
Jimmy Butler – I like him less than the other two, but don’t ignore him after one down game. He carried this offense in game one and should be in line for big minutes and more production here. That last game got ugly and the 76ers starters all saw a few fewer minutes. Simmons also was the top dog in that one so Butler took a back seat. ON FD I would much rather spend up for Lou Will a couple hundred ahead of him, but on DK he’s in the $7K range and has SG/SF eligibility. You can play guys like Him, Lou Will, and DeRozan all together with positional flexibility and all of them project well for that price range with 35+ point floors if they get full run and 50ish on the upside.
Klay Thompson – We have a big gap in pricing down from these guys, especially on FD. To me, the next best guy to go to is Klay Thompson. Klay and Gary Harris are both putting up about the same numbers right now, but the situations are different. People are praising Harris for finally starting to play well and people are down on Klay for not playing well so far. On FanDuel it’s a $600 difference and if you look at the game logs they are about the same in the playoffs. That means we are paying about the same price for Gary Harris current ceiling as we are for Klay Thompson’s current floor. Klay will have a breakout shooting game at some point and the odds of that increased without Boogie. Harris now goes on the road in a game with a 20 point lower total and a much slower pace. People will be playing and touting Harris > Klay today, but I’m not going to be one of them. On FanDuel, Klay Thompson is the SG2 you really want.
Andre Iguodala – Of the chief salary saving options we have, Iggy is my #1 at the price. You have him, all the Nuggets wings from the second unit, and guys like Belinelli. Iggy should benefit from Boogie going down as the Warriors play more of the “Death Lineup” where he slides in at the SF role and pushes KD and Draymond to the big man spots. I still wouldn’t expect more than 24-28 minutes, but he could see more and he should get a higher usage rate too.
NOTE: This is easily the toughest position on FD today. On DK you can avoid playing any of these guys by using the multi-position eligibility of some of the PF and SG options, but on FD it’s not something we can avoid. At the top of the list, you have Kevin Durant and Danilo Gallinari. Durant projects for more points, but not by a wide margin. He hasn’t had a blowup game yet in the playoffs, averaging around 40 fantasy points. Gallo is right in line with KD in terms of playoff production so far. On FD is where it really matters more. You have to ask yourself if KD is worth the $2K extra when production for him and Gallo has been pretty even. I have other places I want to spend and other guys I like more that have SF eligibility on DK. This may be one of my strongest stands on the evening, but I have not been playing KD in my lineups today, preferring to go with Steph. He’s never a bad play, but you don’t have the cash to pay for everyone and on a point per dollar scale, he’s been one of the bigger casualties for me.
Note #2: It gets very barren on FD when you drop down here today. You have guys like DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris on the Nets. Neither has big upside and neither is really safe for a floor. Same can be said of JJ Redick and Rudy Gay. They have more upside, but the floor is not safe there either. The guy who may have the best upside of the entire group is Will Barton. He had a big game one and then took a step backward in game 2. Still, he has explosive 30-35 point upside and not many of these other guys do. I have Gallo and Barton as my FD pairing currently. I think this becomes a puntable position on FD to save money. If my lineup was heavy on Warriors, I likely use Gallo here and pair him with a guy like Barton. If my lineup was heavy on 76ers/Nets on FD, I may even save by dropping down to guys like Carroll and Redick as my pairing to spend up elsewhere. SF on FD is a wasteland and if you needed to save money, this is where I want to do it.
Montrezl Harrell – So I have Harrell Projected right behind LaMarcus Aldridge and right in line with Draymond Green. The reason I write him up first is that he is the cheapest of the three. I think all three guys are reasonably priced here and I have Harrell projected a point higher than Draymond. Draymond is $800 more expensive on FD and $400 more on DK. So I’m getting a slight discount on the guy I have projected higher. Draymond at best is the #4 option on that offense. Harrell at worst is basically the #3 option when on the floor. Both guys should rebound well, but Harrell’s scoring trumps Draymond’s scoring and assists potential. I have both together on multiple lineups, especially on Warriors stacks. On FD, this is the main reason I went cheap at SF, because if you want to pay for any combination of LMA, Harrell, and Draymond you need to save somewhere.
Draymond Green – Boogie going down not only gives him a path to higher minutes but also raises the need for him to rebound. Draymond has back to back Draymond type games where he puts up around 40 fantasy points by doing a bit of everything. 17/7/7/1/1 was followed up by a game of 14/3/9/2/2. More importantly, though, is the minutes. He played under 31 during the regular season, but has played 34 and then 37 when Boogie went down. He’s seeing a 10-20% bump in court time and that should translate into 10-20% bump on the 33-34 fantasy points per game he averaged too. On DK I like him more as he is priced below LMA. On FanDuel I don’t want to be paying up top dollar for Draymond unless I have to. I prefer to go with LMA who I actually project for a few more points.
LaMarcus Aldridge – Aldridge is best used on FD as he is a $500 discount to Draymond. Draymond is priced as the top PF there and I project Aldridge for about 4-5 more fantasy points, so that is an easy decision. On DK you have a tougher one to make. I like both players and still project Aldridge higher, but it’s close enough and the savings is decent where on a points per dollar scale they are basically even. If you can afford the extra couple hundred dollars to get to LMA I would do it. He’s a bigger piece of the Spurs offense, which means higher upside. If I need those couple hundred for something else though, I am not hesitant at all to drop down to Draymond as the increased minutes and usage he should continue to see makes the floor safer and the ceiling higher.
Paul Millsap – Due to the drop in price, especially on FD at just $6K, Millsap could be the wild card play with the most upside. You save $2000 dropping down to him and his recent 35 point game is right in line with the guys above him here at a big discount in price. Millsap has the talent, but the Nuggets have been hesitant to play him big minutes wanting to keep him healthy for the playoff run. The run stops soon if they don’t win games, so I’m hoping this 30+ minute a game Millsap is here to stay. If so his production should lineup with those guys more expensive than he is and you really do need the discount if you want to pay up at PG and center today.
NOTE: On the low end you have Kevon Looney at PF on FD. I am not expecting him to smash, but he is pretty cheap if you need to save. Guys like JaMychal Green and Rodions Kurucs are also there, but Looney does have a higher floor, more minutes, and better production projected than those guys.
Ed Davis – One wildcard to mention here is Ed Davis. He is still dirt cheap. Many nights he caps out at 24 minutes, the same as guys like Looney, JaMychal Green, and Kurucs. The difference is Davis has upside. In game 1 we saw him play about half the game and come away with a 12/16 double-double. He’s done that before too as it was not the first time. In game two he picked up 3 quick fouls in the second quarter and then sat out the fourth as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made an appearance in a blowout. Davis could be in line to bounce back here. He’s not as likely to produce the same 12/16 today, but he’s also not likely to reproduce the 1 rebound, 1 basket performance from last time out. Davis is a volatile guy and has been all season. He can make or break your lineups, but he’s going to be low owned with upside today and you can’t say that about many cheap options on a 3 game slate.
Nikola Jokic – With Embiid banged up and a slew of gross options on the other teams, Jokic projects as the #1 center by a wide margin today. Cousins is out, Embiid is playing half the game, which really leaves Jokic as the only big-time center producing and playing big-time center minutes. He’s dropped the speed limit (55) in fantasy points each of the last two games and frankly hasn’t had a monster game yet. He had 10/14/14 in game one and followed that up with 21/13/8 in game two. He averaged 20/10/7 on the year and had some monster games where he scored 20+ and finished with triple-doubles too. On DK you have plenty of options with positional eligibility making it easy, but if you agree Jokic > Embiid on FanDuel, the next options you have available are guys like Boban Marjanovic, Jarrett Allen, and then Jakob Poeltl.
Boban – Boban really may be the best point per dollar guy here. Jokic is over $10K on FD and projects for the same 55ish fantasy points for a little over 5X. Boban is a tad under $6K and projects for just under 30. He basically had that many in each of the last two games, so it’s about 5X for him too. Allen Projects for around 25-30 and Poeltl for 20-25. Both guys are priced where those returns would be right around 5X as well. No one stands out as a major point per dollar stud, with Jokic projecting for more points per dollar than any of the other options and also a huge gap to him in raw points. I’ll be building a lot of Jokic rosters on FD, but on DK I still think you are better off using multiple power forwards and trying to fit an Aldridge or Harrell in that center space over there.
BONUS: RadThad’s NBA Rundown!
- Steph Curry
- Patrick Beverley
- Spencer Dinwiddie
- Derrick White
- Jamal Murray GPP
Honorable Mention: Ben Simmons in GPPs
- Klay Thompson
- D’Angelo Russell
- Andre Iguodala value
- Lou Williams GPP
- DeMar DeRozan GPP
Honorable Mention: Gary Harris in GPPs
- Kevin Durant
- Rudy Gay value
- Danilo Gallinari GPP
- DeMarre Carroll value
- JJ Redick GPP
Honorable Mention: Will Barton in GPPs
- LaMarcus Aldridge
- Tobias Harris
- Paul Millsap
- Ed Davis value
- Montrezl Harrell GPP
Honorable Mention: Draymond Green in GPPs
- Nikola Jokic
- Jarrett Allen
- Andrew Bogut
- Jakob Poeltl
- +Joel Embiid GPP
Honorable Mention: Boban Marjanovic in GPPs
- Top Stud (over $8K on FD): Steph Curry (followed by Kevin Durant)
- Top Stud (over $8K on DK): Steph Curry (followed by Nikola Jokic)
- Top Value (under $5K on FD): Rudy Gay
- Top Value (under $5K on DK): Derrick White
Favorite GPP Plays on Yahoo
- Guard: Ben Simmons, Lou Williams, Jamal Murray (favorite GPP value plays are Gary Harris and Andre Iguodala)
- Forward: Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Danilo Gallinari (favorite GPP value plays are DeMarre Carroll and JaMychal Green)
- Center: Nikola Jokic, LaMarcus Aldridge, Montrezl Harrell (favorite GPP value plays is Boban Marjanovic)
– What’s up my peeps? Another day, another three-game NBA playoff slate. Man, I could get used to this. Last night’s slate served up yet another course of “home court domination,” however, with the Golden State Warriors heading to the Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Clippers, that trend might come to an end as early as tonight. With regards to the Warriors, it’s safe to say that they will be in the vast majority of lineups tonight. I’m currently finding it very hard not to start things off with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant as a core, so I can only imagine that everyone else will feel the same way. Throw in LaMarcus Aldridge or Jarrett Allen and you’re guaranteed to have an effective, yet highly owned core.
– If you’re taking the “studs and scrubs” approach, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic and +Joel Embiid have the highest ceilings on the slate (in that order).
– If you’re looking to construct a low owned lineup, here are a few recommendations that will buck the current roster construction trends for this slate:
- Spend up at center. In other words, roster Nikola Jokic (or +Joel Embiid if you’re feeling froggy). Cramming in all of the Golden State “beefcake” will leave little room to squeeze in “The Joker”. Jokic has put up over 50 fantasy points in four of his last five games, so taking a chance on him in tournaments would be a good idea. (Yes, I know he’s on the road tonight.)
- Stack the Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers game. While this contest has the highest spread of the night (Golden State favored by -8.5), it also has highest over/under (236.5). As we saw in game two of this series, the Los Angeles Clippers plan on giving the Warriors everything they’ve got. If they want to keep this game close, they’ll need big games from Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari and Montrezl Harrell. It should be easy to add two of these guys to your Golden State Warriors core. Most won’t take the extra step, so you should have a lower owned lineup if you can’t find the “intestinal fortitude” to get away from Golden State tonight.
- Stack the Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets game. From a Vegas standpoint, this has “sexy game stack” written all over it (over/under of 227.5, with Philadelphia favored by -2.5), however, given the expected popularity of the Warriors, it could be a lot lower owned than you might think. +Joel Embiid continues to have an injury designation which complicates things. Rolling out combinations of Spencer Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler doesn’t leave much room for Golden State “beefcake.” Personally, I’m not ready to pull the trigger on this stack yet, however, if Embiid sits it will be “all systems go.”
- Pair Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. I mentioned this pairing earlier in the playoffs, however, a combination of salary and roster construction continue to keep them lower owned (Murray has 32.4 and 35.4 fantasy points in the first two games of this series). If you’re interested in going with a Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs game stack, you should consider “running it back” with LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.