We have a nice 9 game slate of NBA DFS action here on Friday.
The main thing that jumps out to me for cash play today is game selection. We have a handful of games with totals in the 230+ range and a handful of games with totals in the 210 range. When you make your lineups tonight, make sure the bulk of your teams come from the higher total games. If you notice you have 4+ guys in games with a total of 215 when you have 5 games at 230+, it’s not likely to end well for you. I’m not saying you can’t play a guy from one of those lower total games, but if your lineup has more of them than the guys in the 230 total games, it’s the wrong type of build today. I know it seems like a simple concept, but you will be surprised how many people end up losing because they thought it was a good idea to ignore a WAS/CHA matchup and go heavy on a game like DET/CHI.
TOP PROJECTED TOTALS
- Warriors – 119.75
- Raptors – 119.75
- Hornets – 119.5
- Clippers – 119.5
- Thunder – 117
BIGGEST PACE BUMPS
- Grizzlies: +4.2
- Rockets: +3.8
- Nuggets: +3
- Raptors: +2.7
- Hornets: +2.5
HIGHEST PROJECTION OVER AVERAGE
- Hornets: +8.5
- Rockets: +6
- Raptors: +5.75
- Clippers: +5.5
- Heat: +5
- Magic: +4
TOP CASH GAME PLAYS
Russell Westbrook – Coming off an overtime win at Portland is not ideal, but the total is huge, the Clippers defense has been weak, and Westbrook is capable of filling up stat sheets. He has been a little less than spectacular lately, but he’s still playing well. Remember, the guy had a league record 11 straight triple-doubles, so by comparison, the 37/7/3 and the 22/6/5 games recently are considered “BAD GAMES.” The key here is the Clippers fast pace and brutal defense. I think, with rest and on a neutral floor, the Thunder crush them, but off an OT game on the road, this one should stay close. That is actually good news for taking Thunder players, as that could mean they need full run to get the W.
Ben Simmons – Without Embiid, Simmons production has been awesome. He’s still not the big time scorer and will not be the guy dropping 30-40 points to make up for that, but he has seen a slight uptick in rebounds and assists along with a slight uptick in points and consistency. He can go for near triple-doubles nightly. I don’t expect them to beat Houston, but the game is expected to be high scoring on both sides, so we should get a lot of production.
Kemba Walker – The Wizards have been playing some breakneck speed games with huge totals for them and their opponents. It’s quickly becoming a place to target and you will see quite a few Hornets on the list because of this. Kemba is the clear #1 option on this team. He stands to benefit the most from the matchup. The Hornets are projected for 8.5 points above average here and have a +2.5 pace number, which should translate into high scores for everyone. A quick side note: the pricing for them on DK is friendlier than on FD. I like the Hornets more on DK, but they are playable on both sites due to the matchup.
Elf Payton – No Jrue Holiday and a 230+ total. Elf is already a guy I like in cash because, since rounding back into shape, he has been producing solid value for the price. Without Holiday, you would expect his minutes and usage to go up, which means he’s a guy that now projects for 7X with 10X upside. He’s reasonably priced and tough to ignore.
Landry Shamet – So his production is not great, but his minutes are insanely high right now. He’s seeing 30+ routinely and has produced some good games. He also has produced what are upside games for the price. Solid floor and upside is a perfect combo.
Frank Jackson – Everything we said for Elf Payton applies here too. Without Jrue, they have a lot of minutes, shots and usage overall to make up for. Jackson is one of the guys likely to see the biggest boost in all those categories. Elf will get a big usage boost and that is nice, but he’ll probably only see a few more minutes. Jackson doesn’t play big minutes, but he should get big boosts to usage and minutes today. That means Jackson is more likely to really smash through his value number, although I do still like both guys a good deal today.
James Harden – So his ceiling is not as high with CP3 and arguably the floor is lower too, but it’s not like he’s a scrub all of a sudden. When matchups that favor him pop up, you have to continue to look his way as the guy is the likely frontrunner for MVP at the moment. Houston is projected for 6 points over average in a game that has one of the highest pace bumps on the day as well. That’s the kind of spot you target stars to shine.
Bradley Beal – I do not think Beal really showed how good he was until this recent stretch without John Wall. I know the breakneck pace they are playing out definitely helps, but Beal is shining right now, dropping 50-60 fantasy points a night routinely. Charlotte is not a horrible defensive team, but the Wizards are still projected for their usual 115 and those usual games for Beal have been in the 50s lately. I do caution the price is coming up again. He toiled around $8K for so long, but now he’s into the $9K range and even flirting with $10K+ recently. At that point, the value isn’t gone, but the upside is.
Donovan Mitchell – Raul Neto is out, and Ricky Rubio is doubtful. It’s been a few weeks, but we have seen this play out before with huge games from point Donovan. With Rubio, he has averaged 37 DK points per game. Without him, it’s been over 44. This is not one of the games we want to target heavily, but it’s ok to take guys in good spots here and there from the bad games on the slate. Mitchell is one of those exceptions because he has the benefit of the bump he sees without Rubio to offset the lower pace and scoring projections of this game.
Luke Kennard – Not much to love here, but the guy is coming off the bench and routinely putting up 30 fantasy points. He’s under $5K on DK and a few hundred over on FD. That means he projects for over 6X on DK and over 5.5X on FD. Not much upside, but ahead of cash pace and not expensive for his current role.
Delon Wright (DK Only) – $4500 on DK is a much friendlier price than $5800 on FD. Wright has been paying off both of them lately, coming off two monster games. What I liked most about the last game was he did it with Conley playing and active. His minutes dipped a bit, but his usage was 30 when he was on the floor.
Paul George – I was a little worried about how he would look last night. He didn’t look right in that Minnesota game first off the injury. He played 43 minutes (with the OT) and dropped 65 last night though. Looked pretty damn good doing it to me too. The other high-end option at SF is Kawhi Leonard tonight, and I don’t really love that. I wouldn’t be shocked if Kawhi sits with the Pelicans fielding a short-handed team tonight and the spread creeping up on that one. That means George would be the clear leader for projected points at the position and someone we can fit with all the value.
Nic Batum – Again, I’ve loved him for cash with the high floor due to the massive minutes totals, but he’s proven he has upside too. Now, we throw in the game which has a huge total with a huge projection over average and a pace bump for the Hornets, and everything points to him having an even safer floor now with a higher ceiling.
Jabari Parker – I know the minutes aren’t high, but that’s not always a bad thing. For one, it keeps his price down; and for two, it means he has upside if he does happen to get more minutes today. Even on short minutes, Parker has put up 34+ fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 and 6 of the last 10. He’s under $5K on DK and has gone 7X+ in 3 of the last 4 games. He’s also a better option on FD because, if he does happen to crap the bed, you can drop him, but he also has the upside to go 6X+ over there and be a real asset.
Darius Miller – E’Twaun Moore is out, there is no Jrue Holiday, and Jahlil Okafor is questionable. Anthony Davis plays half a game, and that now leaves tons of minutes and usage for the rest of these guys to soak up. Miller is one the Pelicans like a lot and have been giving time to. He’s not a big upside guy, but he’s cheap and has a minutes and usage bump coming in a game with a huge total.
Kenrich Williams – One of these guys I prefer is actually Kenrich Williams. He earned some time and hasn’t really looked back. He has a higher floor and ceiling than Miller based on recent performances when he gets minutes. Today, I have no doubt in my mind that both guys are going to see minutes, so really both are in play, but I have found myself using one of them with PG 13 often to give myself the savings to get George in alongside a couple other stars.
Julius Randle – Again here we mentioned AD and Okafor, and the lack of scoring without Jrue. The one big man I have been riding has been Randle. He’s seeing the most minutes, producing the best, and this offense is one that production has never been an issue fr with the way they play. Randle is still cheapish too. $8200 on DK is a nice price for his skills. He’s a 45-50 point a game guy even with Jrue taking shots. For a team needing offense today, he could even be a bigger piece of their gameplan.
Marvin Williams – He’s cheap and sees consistent minutes. Not much upside, but he produces enough to be viable at his price most nights. When you factor in the +8.5 over average on the projection and the +2.5 pace bump with the bad defense on the end, it makes sense to expect a ceiling game from him. He’s put up 30+ a few times this year. That kind of bump in production expected would mean he’s safe to hit value and probable for upside. Very nice salary saver today.
Frank Kaminsky – Kaminsky is another guy that since his return has routinely made value and even exceeded it. He’s still cheap and everything we have said about this matchup with the numerous other Hornets in the write up applies here too. In fact, the Wizards are weak inside, so it may even apply more to a guy like him than it does to others.
Amir Johnson – Not a lot of upside here either, but with Boban and Embiid out, he has to play. He’s produced solid 20+ point games recently. Amir J is the kind of guy you use if you are trying to play three superstars at max price and are hoping to round out the lineup with 3-4 near min price guys and hope they all do decently (20-25 points). There is value in that if you build that type of lineup, but I wouldn’t be forcing him in anywhere unless I was desperate.
Nikola Vucevic – The Mavericks have no interior presence. Guys like Maxi Kleber (Questionable), Dorian Finney-Smith, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Powell are manning the fort. Vucevic is too big, too quick and/or too skilled for all of those guys. This is another game I am not trying to be too exposed to, but like Mitchell, Vucevic is an exception worth noting. Dallas is so weak inside. He could end up with 50-60, and I’m not as in love with Jokic vs. Warriors as many others seem to be.
Andre Drummond – On DK especially, I like him at the price here. Chicago interior defense is weak, and he could come away with one of his patented 20/20 kind of games here. I especially like the fact he’s been more offensive minded. Earlier in the year, Blake was routinely putting up 20 shots and Drummond’s offense took a back seat. Now Blake is more often shooting in the low-to-mid teens per game, which means everyone else has had to step up. Most of the Pistons are not big offensive weapons, which is why things funnel to Drummond and why that plus his monster rebound totals have produced high scores.
Robin Lopez – You want a boring way to cash every day? Find guys who are routinely putting up 6X+ and play them. Simple. Robin Lopez puts up 30+ nearly every game, and his price remains around $5K. You get $50K in salary, so to score 300+ points and cash, you need 6X or better on every thousand dollars you spend. A guy at $5K needs 30. Robin Lopez is priced right there and has 30+ in 8 of the last 9. His minutes are routinely into the low 30s too, so he has consistency in both production and court time.