It was a successful night for us over at FTA. The late values that came in allowed me to get back up to Paul George in my lineups which proved to be the winning piece. Tonight’s a really interesting one with only five games, and the LAL/ATL looks saucy with two high-pace, no-defense teams. I will be spotty in chat this evening, but I will be there helping all our subs build the best lineups. I’m also on twitter @jac3600.
FANDUEL TOP POINT GUARD
Stephen Curry, GS ($9100)
Golden State doesn’t have the best matchup (Utah is eighth in overall defense and 12th against PGs) but anytime we get Warriors players with a full allotment of minutes at home (GS is only favored by 6.5), we kind of have to pounce on that. Curry’s rates have suffered the least of the Warriors with Cousins in town, and $9100 is simply too cheap for him. You don’t necessarily need Curry in cash (since you DO need LeBron), but he’s certainly a solid play if you can fit him.
Other options – Ben Simmons, Mike Conley
Mid-tier options – Trae Young, Terry Rozier, Ricky Rubio
FANDUEL TOP SHOOTING GUARD
Donovan Mitchell, UTA ($8300)
If Anthony Davis happens to sit (no word on that yet), Jrue becomes worth his price tag, but right now it’s Mitchell who tops the SG pool. Again, Utah’s matchup is no better on paper, as the Warriors are actually the top ranked defensive team in the NBA right now (and fourth against guards). However, pace of play and opportunity dictates this game. We have a close spread and an O/U of 229 which is second only the the LAL/ATL game which we’ll be heavily targeting. Mitchell has a 31% UR and a 19% AR over the last ten games even with Rubio active with no limitations, and he’ll need to get up some shots for the Jazz to hang with Golden State tonight.
Other options – Jrue Holiday, Jimmy Butler
Mid-tier options – DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID GUARDS
Curry is an even better value on DK where he’s $9000, but the issue with playing him is that his counterparts are WAY more underpriced. Mike Conley ($7900) hasn’t blown the roof off production-wise yet since the trade deadline, but he does have a 29% UR and a 42% AR since Marc Gasol was dealt. Without top perimeter defender Derrick White around, the Spurs have once again fallen all the way to 23rd in defensive efficiency against PGs. Ben Simmons ($7800) has predictably seen a hit to his rates since Tobias Harris came to town, as there are now so many mouths to feed and the offense still runs through Embiid. However, his price is baked into that, and he’s still posted a 36% assist rate the last three games despite only a 20% usage rate. He’s a great tournament play at potential low ownership, but I’d definitely prefer Conley for cash. Trae Young is the top guard play on DK, and he’s someone you should aggressively pursue in all formats tonight at $6700. The Hawks and Lakers play at the first and fourth fastest pace in the league and the O/U on this game is 237 points. Trae has annoyingly been under 30 minutes in four straight games now which introduces risk, but he’s also posted a 29% usage rate and 42% assist rate in those games. If you look above, that’s Conley’s exact numbers, and Trae is $1200 cheaper with a better matchup.
Reggie Bullock ($4600/$3400) is the value that jumps off the page, especially on DK. He did almost nothing in his first 30 minutes with the Lakers, but the key takeaway is that he started and played that much. Against the Hawks who rank first in pace, 28th against SGs, and have the highest TO rate in the league, he could literally hit value by accident at a $3400 price tag. He’s a key component to cash on that site to help you fit in some top plays. The other key values at SG are Marcus Smart ($5400/$4900) and Jaylen Brown ($5200/$5100) who will both benefit greatly from Kyrie Irving’s absence tonight. Philly is a strong defensive unit (fourth overall), but Smart receives an 8% usage bump and a 7% assist bump without Kyrie, while Jaylen Brown sees his usage go up 6% and his assist rate skyrockets by 12%. Both are viable in all formats, with Brown being the preferred option as he’s seemingly blowout-proof as well (not that there should be one in this game).
Other options – DJ Augustin, Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes, Kent Bazemore, Delon Wright
FANDUEL TOP SMALL FORWARD
LeBron James, LAL ($11,200)
Of all the top plays, LeBron is the highest priority and you need to build around him this evening. He’s got a probable tag for tonight and he’s averaged a triple-double since returning from his lengthy injury. The matchup can’t get any better for him against the Hawks who are first in pace, last against SFs, and allow the most assists and turnovers in the league. I’m not even fading him in GPPs. Long live the King.
Other options – Kevin Durant
Mid-tier options – Brandon Ingram
FANDUEL TOP POWER FORWARD
John Collins, ATL ($7700)
We can’t forget the other side of the ball in the LAL/ATL game. Collins has had a rough couple of games recently with only nine boards in the last two. That should change a good deal tonight as the uptick in possessions usually will result in more rebounding opportunities, especially since these two teams both rank in the bottom six in FG%. The Lakers are a below average team in terms of rebounding (16th in rebound rate), and also give up the fifth most offensive boards.
Other options – Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, LaMarcus Aldridge
Mid-tier options – Draymond Green, Aaron Gordon, Kyle Kuzma, Jaren Jackson, Ivan Rabb
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID FORWARDS
LeBron is the chalk stud to pay up for tonight, and his $10,500 price tag on DK leaves a ton of room for value. He should be a core play for you tonight everywhere. I’ll also point out the price tag of Anthony Davis, who has come all the way down to $10,300. There’s no point taking on his risk in cash when LeBron is basically the same price, but Davis is a tremendous GPP pivot with his 1.7 FPPM this year. You never know when a shutdown is coming, but a full allotment of minutes could net AD the highest overall score tonight. Kevin Durant’s price tag has come down to $9100, which is playable in GPPs even though he’s taken over a 4% hit to his usage rate with Boogie on board. Collins ($7600) is another top mid-tier value on DK, and Aaron Gordon is far too cheap at $6400 with the pace boost (Pelicans rank sixth).
Kyle Kuzma is priced pretty fairly on FD at $6700 (where he’s still usable), but there’s a lot of meat on the bone for him on DK at only $6000. As long as LeBron is active, Kuzma’s ceiling takes a hit, but Kuzma is still second on the Lakers in usage and is also second in shots attempted. He’s scored 25 and 39 real points over the last two games and the Hawks rank 26th in overall team defense. The Lakers have the highest implied total on the slate at 120.5 points, even more than Golden State. Marcus Morris is a DK-specific value that stands out to me at only $5000 as well. With Kyrie off the court this year, Morris has a 23% UR and 11% AR while playing 30.5 MPG. That’s more than enough to hit value, and Philly ranks 20th against SFs and 26th against PFs. Draymond Green ($6900/$6000) has seen the biggest negative impact to his usage and rebound rates of all the Warriors players, but his assist rate is still holding firm at 27%. His price has come down enough (especially on DK) to pay 6k in tournaments for triple-double upside, and Utah is 23rd against PFs.
Other options – Rudy Gay, Gordon Hayward, DeAndre Bembry (can be used as a min-priced FD punt), Derrick Favors, Daniel Theis
FANDUEL TOP CENTER
Nikola Vucevic, ORL ($9900)
I don’t need to pay the full price tag for Embiid on FD this evening with Vuc almost 2k cheaper. The Magic are getting a huge pace boost facing New Orleans (sixth in pace factor), and Vuc has posted an astounding 28% UR, 20% RR, and 23% AR this year. There is no indication Vuc’s playing will be affected at all going forward, and he’s been money in the bank for cash games.
Other options – Joel Embiid, Rudy Gobert
Mid-tier options – DeMarcus Cousins
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID CENTERS
As usual, Joel Embiid ($10,200) is remarkably underpriced on DK and deserves your attention in all formats there. I wouldn’t pay for him if it costs you LeBron, so keep that in mind, and there are plenty of viable cheaper centers to use tonight. Boston is an average matchup for Embiid as they’re 15th against centers and 19th in rebounding rate, but he’s pretty much matchup-proof. It remains to be seen how much Tobias Harris will affect him, but he hasn’t really thus far. Vucevic ($9500) is also cheaper than he should be on DK, and it arguably still a better value than Embiid if that $700 savings helps you somewhere else. Rudy Gobert ($8200) is worthy of GPP consideration, although foul risk exists with Boogie as his main opponent. Utah is getting a massive pace boost in a 229 O/U.
DeMarcus Cousins ($7300/$6200) has been getting a little leeway on his “25 minutes until the ASG restriction”. He’s played 27 and 26 the last two and has only failed to hit value once since returning to action (last game). Utah looks tough on paper, but Cousins’ game is a nightmare for Gobert’s stay-at-home tendencies. His price on FD is good enough, but his price on DK is GREAT. I’m going to have a hard time fading him there. The best center value on both sites is JaVale McGee ($6300/$4800). Since the Lakers traded away Ivica Zubac, JaVale has averaged 19 PPG and 10 RPG over 28 MPG. Atlanta ranks 26th against centers and allows the most blocks per 48 minutes. He’s another core play for me on both sites tonight.
Other options – Dewayne Dedmon, Jonas Valanciunas, Kevon LooneyFantasy Basketball