Massive 10 game slate for NBA DFS today, and a little bit of everything to look at here, too. We have five games with…
Massive 10 game slate for NBA DFS today, and a little bit of everything to look at here, too. We have five games with totals of 225 or above and five games with totals below 220. The one that stands out right away is Atlanta and New Orleans with a massive 240 total and one point spread Both teams project for about 120 each, so this is worth digging deeper into. One other thing I wanted to mention is matchups today and how important they are. A lot of teams don’t have big bumps or drops in pace, but it has more to do with the fact those games are between two fast paced teams or two slow paced teams that are near each other in terms of pace factor. For example, The Atlanta/New Orleans game really isn’t a major bump or downgrade for either team in terms of pace, but they are the fastest and fourth fastest teams squaring off. Orlando and Miami on the flip side are two other teams that are also close in pace, so the bump or drop is not significant there either, but they are the 23rd and 26th fastest paced teams in the league. There is a big difference between the small pace bump for the Pelicans over the small pace bump for the Heat. One is in a game with a total 30+ points higher and likely to feature roughly ten extra possessions per team. Another good example is to look at the Hou/Mil game and the LAC/Min games today. Houston is a slow-paced team and Milwaukee is a really good defensive one. 225 is still a high total, but both teams actually project for below average production here today. On the other hand, the Clippers and Timberwolves have a total that is about the same, but both of those teams project for slightly over average today. All four teams could end up with about the same total number of points today as both games are expected to be close with relatively low spreads. Yet Milwaukee and Houston usually play in higher scoring games, so this is actually a bad spot for them and a good one for the Clippers and Timberwolves, even though the games have roughly the same totals.
The reason I am digging so deep into the spreads and totals and projections for each team today is because on a 10-game slate you need to know what’s important and what’s not. I’m not saying ignore the 220 and below total games, but they should definitely be making up less of your rosters and less of your time when you do start going through the slate. I like looking at those low total games last, because after you break down the higher total ones and start building your list of plays, when you get to the low total ones you end up comparing those guys to the better plays you already have written down from the games that are more likely to be fruitful and when you do, you rarely prefer the guys from the lower total games. That means by the time you get to the game with the sixth highest total on the day, you should have your short list pretty much complete.
The one exception to this rule is injuries. If some high usage guys are out for a team with a low total, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad spot to look for value. I’d prefer to play guys in higher total games, but not always. If you get a punt option for 35 minutes at near min price filling in for a high usage guy, those type of players need to be added to the list. The Bulls are a good example today as they have just a 103-team total in a game with just a 219 total, but if Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn sit, you are going to have a lot of solid cheap value there. Potentially the Celtics could be another team that fits this mold. If guys like Horford or Tatum join Kyrie on the injured list today, we should get big minutes from cheaper options with a lot of minutes and usage to be had.
Remember, too, we have the question of motivation this late in the season. You have to factor guys in close games whose teams still have something to play for as guys likely to play ceiling minutes. Sacramento is one that comes to mind as they need to basically win out to make the playoffs.
Top Projected Totals
- NO – 120.5
- ATL – 119.5
- LAL – 117.75
- TOR – 116.5
- LAC – 116.25
Biggest Pace Bumps
- HOU – +4.8
- DAL – +4.7
- CLE – +3.1
- WAS – +1.8
- Everyone else is +1 or below.
Highest Projection Over Average
- ATL – +7
- LAL – +6
- NO – +5
- DAL – +4
- TOR – +2.5
Top Cash Plays
Trae Young – Young has really came on later in the year and now he draws one of the best matchups in basketball against the New Orleans Pelicans who play at a breakneck speed and are not great defensively. This game also has the monster 240 total, so Trae is definitely worth paying for today.
Tyus Jones – Minnesota draws a great matchup with the fast-paced Clippers here today. Jones is not a big upside guy, but the minutes are safe with the injuries to the Timberwolves backcourt (Rose and Teague). He’s been around 30 fantasy points lately and with the matchup does project for better here.
Terry Rozier – (FD) He’s priced up on DK at nearly $7K, so I’ll avoid him there. On FanDuel he is slightly cheaper at $6500 but needing the lower multiple and being slightly cheaper makes him a great play there. Kyrie is resting tonight, so Rozier should see plenty of minutes. Matchup is soft and he tends to see minutes and produce whenever we see him without Kyrie.
Shaq Harrison – It looks like Zach Lavine and likely Kris Dunn will both be out today. Harrison and Ryan Arcidiacono are the two guys who stand to benefit the most here. Harrison has already been earning playing time and producing with it. He’s a slight bit more expensive, but still below where he should be priced for the role he currently has. Dunn may still play which is why I prefer Harrison > Arcidiacono as Harrison likely produces either way.
IF Luka Doncic sits, Jalen Brunson gets a major boost. I wouldn’t touch him otherwise. Frank Jackson is another guy I am looking hard at in that huge total game. Elf Payton is questionable and if Elf sits, I’m going to love Frank Jackson v. Atlanta.
Bradley Beal – With Luka banged up and Harden facing Milwaukee, I think Beal becomes my #1 SG today. He also draws a great matchup with the Lakers in a huge total game, so lots to like here. Beal has been unreal the last month or so, even though he is coming off a bad game. The minutes are still elite for him and so is the shot attempts. HE does contribute more in other categories now too, so just a bunch of positive reasons.
Jaylen Brown – I know he is coming off a really bad game, but Brown does tend to get the bigger boost to his production over Smart when Kyrie is out. Both are in line for a boost to be honest, but I trust Brown more. Not only do I think the floor is as safe or better, but Brown definitely has the higher ceiling and has shown that more often.
Justin Jackson – I know people just threw up in their mouths, but that $3800 price on DK is one I’m fine with. Dallas got blasted last game, but J-Jax still played 26 minutes. It was actually his worst game in terms of minutes and production in the last three. The others were around 30 minutes and 25 fantasy points or more and that’s fine for a sub $4K price. If Luka sits, that only makes it more likely he plays big minutes and produces, plus they have a great matchup with a much faster paced Sacramento team and are playing at home.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Giannis is a guy I prefer to use in tough matchups. The guy is a superb athlete and also one who is capable of playing near 40 minutes when needed. The problem is they try not to ask him to do that often, but this is one of those games he might need to. Plus, this is kind of an MVP showdown between the top two candidates, so I would expect him to want to go out there and get it done.
Gordon Hayward – HE came back last game, but he played 30+ minutes and had a solid showing. Today the Celtics are even more short-handed and do have a few guys listed as questionable as well. They are in need of players to step up and help with the scoring and Hayward is rounding into shape here near the end of the year. This is one of those spots they will need him, and I have faith in his floor.
Miles Bridges – Nic Batum is listed as doubtful, but Bridges would get minutes anyway. He’s been playing great the last few games and the price still feels a little low for his recent production. It’s not the best matchup, but they are at home and he has been seeing the minutes and paying off the price tag lately.
Josh Okogie – Okogie has benefitted from the injuries to guys like Rose and Teague. He’s not only finding himself on the floor for more minutes, but he is also finding himself producing better. He’s gone over 30 fantasy points in 3 of the last 4 games. He has a solid matchup with the Clippers and he’s still pretty cheap. Lots of reasons to be interested here.
LaMarcus Aldridge – The one thing we always worry about with the Spurs is minutes. Well right now they are fighting to not only hold on to one of those last few playoff spots, but also for positioning. The #4 team was the Blazers who are now without McCollum and Nurkic. The other four teams are all within three games of each other for 5th-8th. Aldridge has seen his minutes tick up consistently into the mid and upper 30s right now. I wouldn’t expect a repeat of that 70-point effort from last time out, but he faces a soft interior defense today and should be able to produce again.
Julius Randle – We have a lot of solid PF options near the top, but I love Randle today. The Hawks are one of the best possible matchups to have and Randle is the best and most consistent big man on a bad team that needs scorers. His price is reasonable, and I wouldn’t worry about the game logs. Those last two games turned into beatdowns, so his minutes were lower because the game was way out of reach. Softer opponent today and at home, so that shouldn’t happen three times in a row.
Jayson Tatum – His price is reasonable, and he’s listed as questionable, but if Horford and Kyrie are out, he should be a top option for the Celtics. His injury status is a concern, but that price just feels low for a game I expect him to get extra run in.
Lauri Markkanen – I had the matchup, don’t mind the price, and absolutely love the expected usage bump. LaVine and Markkanen have been carrying the scoring load for this team. Without Lavine, it falls on Mark. I know the matchup is horrendous against the Raptors, but he could get up 20 shots today and will likely end up near 10 rebounds too. A 20/10 triple double puts him right near 6X value even if he barely makes it and does nothing else.
Kyle Kuzma – I love Kyle Kuzma today. The matchup is one of the best with one of the highest totals on the day in a game that projects to be up and down which fits Kuzma’s style. Even with Lebron playing last game, Kuzma still managed to smash value. Lebron may not play today, which should only help to elevate the usage for everyone else.
Larry Nance – I think Kevin Love outscores him and has more upside, but for a $2300 discount on DK, Nance is more playable in cash. Nance has basically been near 30 in recent games since returning from injury. That’s about what we need from him at the price. The matchup is not ideal, but the Cavs are paced up, at home, and projected for slightly over average. All that means it’s not a bad spot either.
Karl Anthony-Towns – He missed back-to-back games about a month ago and has dominated in 12 of the 13 since then. He had one bad game and the only other one under 50 was a decent 48-point effort. The rest have been 50+ fantasy points with 6 games of 67 fantasy points or better on DK. HE also gets a paced-up spot here at home with an above average projection. The matchup is a soft one too as centers have crushed the Clippers. Lots of reasons to love him today. I’m not hating on Vucevic or Jokic or Drummond, but I much prefer KAT as my top center spend.
Thomas Bryant – This is one of the guys who has popped off the projections today. The Lakers suck against big men, his role has expanded, and this is one of the best spots on the day with a high total. So many reasons we can love Bryant here today. The $5200 DK price is nice and even the $6K on FanDuel is not bad. At either price he needs 30+ and he has done that in each of the most recent contests.
JaVale McGee – While the Lakers are in shambles for the most part, McGee is balling out right now. All season long the minutes are always an issue. He’s averaged just 21 of them but has produced 27 fantasy points for well over a fantasy point per minute. Lately he’s playing closer to 30 minutes, which is a 50% bump. Bump the production up 50% to match and he should be putting up about 40. He’s gone for 40+ in 3 of the last 5 including a monster 70+ game two back against a soft Nets interior. You know who else has a soft interior? The Wizards who he faces today.