I hope everyone had a profitable weekend in playoff football (and basketball). The games were wacky, so there were some scenarios that had to be overcome. We at FTA are already working hard on the next week’s games, and we have an eight-game NBA slate this evening to tackle. There are some injuries to cover, and make sure you check out the podcast where Thor and I break down the action. I may be late to chat tonight, but I’m always on twitter @jac3600.
FANDUEL TOP POINT GUARD
Damian Lillard, POR ($9200)
Portland checks in with the highest team total of the night at 117 points, and they have a terrific matchup against the lowly Knicks who now rank 29th in overall team defense and are 22nd against PGs. Frank Ntilikina is out which removes any vestige of on-ball defense, and Lillard should eat in this one. The only real issue is blowout (POR is favored by 13 points), but the price tag is favorable enough to consider in all formats.
Other options – Kyrie Irving, DeAaron Fox, Mike Conley
Mid-tier options – Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe
FANDUEL TOP SHOOTING GUARD
James Harden, HOU ($12,900)
As we mentioned on the pod, Harden is the top overall play even with a tough matchup, as the other studs on this slate are also presented with less-than-stellar draws (NO vs MEM, MIL vs UTA). Harden “disappointed” last game with only 53.5 FD points, but his usage rate over the last three games has been 47.1%, which is absolutely insane. Denver ranks third against opposing SGs and has Gary Harris who is an elite defender, but Harden’s rates are simply bonkers.
Other options – Jrue Holiday, DeMar DeRozan, D’Angelo Russell
Mid-tier options – Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Buddy Hield, Khris Middleton
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID GUARDS
DraftKings still doesn’t get it with Harden ($12,000). There is no logical explanation for him being $900 cheaper on DK than he is on FD. He’s actually more valuable on DK where there are bonuses for 3PM and double/triple doubles, and DK also weighs TOs less. There is an argument for fading Harden on FD, but certainly not on DK. He should be in all cash lineups. Depending on the status of some of the other Dallas guards, Luka Doncic ($7700) would rate as a great mid-tier value against the Lakers who are third in pace and 29th against SGs. Dallas currently has the second highest team total on the slate at 116 points. DeAaron Fox ($6900) has a tough matchup against Orlando (ninth against PGs), but he’s way too cheap on DK and has seen his usage rate climb to almost 26% since the beginning of December. Lonzo Ball ($7000) is still pretty fairly priced on DK, but he really needs Kyle Kuzma to come back to really enhance his value since he relies so much on peripherals. Mike Conley ($7500) is a DK-specific play that you can use for cash as Memphis is getting an insane pace boost (Pelicans are fourth). Donovan Mitchell ($7400) is one of my favorite GPP plays on the slate tonight as the Bucks rank fifth in pace and allow the most 3PA in the league.
I’m intrigued by Dennis Smith ($5100/$4500) if Barea and/or Devin Harris sit again for the Mavs even though Lonzo Ball is a good defender and the Lakers rank fourth against opposing PGs. Smith has seen his minutes and rates start to creep up even so slightly, and he’s really cheap for the upside we’ve seen before this. Wesley Matthews ($5000/$4400) would fall into the same category, just with much less upside. We also discussed Ricky Rubio ($6400/$5600) on the pod last night as someone sneaky to use. The Bucks are fifth in overall team defense and seventh against PGs, but they’re also fifth in pace and it’s likely we see extended run for Rubio tonight with Dante Exum ruled out. He’s a much better value on DK. Finally, with Frank Ntilikina out for the Knicks, we SHOULD see the PG rotation mainly condensed to Emmanuel Mudiay ($6100/$6100) and Trey Burke ($4000/$3200). Mudiay has been seeing consistent minutes over 30 and has been leading the Knicks in usage rate over the past ten games. Burke is an upside punt at his prices as we saw 19 minutes off the bench last game.
UPDATE: Barea and Devin Harris are both expected to play, which dings Dennis Smith and Luka Doncic significantly, especially Smith.
Other options = Elfrid Payton, Austin Rivers, Bryn Forbes, Reggie Jackson. Allonzo Trier, Monte Morris
FANDUEL TOP SMALL FORWARD
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($12,100)
I don’t mind using Giannis in GPPs as he destroys a lousy field of SFs, but the Jazz are ranked first against PFs and tenth in rebounding rate. If you’re spending this money in cash, it’s for Harden, not Giannis.
Other options – None
Mid-tier options – Brandon Ingram, Kyle Anderson
FANDUEL TOP POWER FORWARD
Anthony Davis, NO ($12,500)
AD falls into the same-ish category as Giannis tonight, although I’d take Davis over Giannis if choosing between the two. No one in the NBA (not even Harden) has AD’s nightly upside, even in a poor matchup like the Grizzlies, and his ability to rack up defensive stats really aids his ceiling on FanDuel. Despite ranking third against PFs and first against centers, Memphis still is 27th in rebounding rate, and AD put up 57.5 against them in the first meeting. It also helps that New Orleans’ official scorer is known for being incredibly generous. Consider AD the top GPP option of the night.
Other options – Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge
Mid-tier options – Kyle Kuzma, Aaron Gordon
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID FORWARDS
Blake Griffin ($8500) is a totally different story on DK than he is on FanDuel, where he’s overpriced. $8500 is a gift for Griffin’s rates and production this season, and he should be strongly considered in all formats against the Spurs who rank 27th against opposing PFs. Davis and Giannis can both be used in GPPs on DK as well, and hold a little more value over there due to less dynamic pricing. DeMar DeRozan ($8200) and LaMarcus Aldridge ($7400) aren’t in the best matchup against Detroit, but both seem a little too cheap for basically dominating the rates on the Spurs, especially in expected close games.
The key plays here are Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6600/$5300) and Nemanja Bjelica ($6100/$4800) who will both get massive minutes on the wing for Sacramento with Iman Shumpert ruled out for tonight. You can see the difference in pricing, though, as they span from being “ok but not great” values on FD to near locks on DK at their respective prices. Sacramento ranks in the top ten in offensive efficiency and the bottom five in defensive efficiency (a great combo when choosing DFS players) and Orlando ranks 18th in defensive efficiency against opposing wings. Joe Ingles’ shot has been way off lately, but he’s also kind of silly cheap on DK at $4900 for someone who consistently gets 30 minutes, and I mentioned Milwaukee’s propensity to give up the 3-ball. In the same game, Jae Crowder is someone you can use as a FD punt at $4400 as his hustle and defensive ability may be needed a little more against the athletic Milwaukee wings. Finally, Aaron Gordon ($6700) is another DK-specific play that I really like. His rates are inconsistent with Nikola Vucevic dominating the offense, but his minutes are trending up and Sacramento ranks 27th in overall team defense, 21st against PFs, and 26th in rebounding rate.
Other options – Rudy Gay, Noah Vonleh, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Derrick Favors, Luke Kornet, Harry Giles, Justin Jackson
FANDUEL TOP CENTER
Nikola Vucevic, ORL ($9700)
Vuc does not fit the cash game profile for me tonight at near-10k prices, but you certainly can’t argue that he’s mispriced given how he’s played this year. He is currently pushing to be an all-star with a 27% UR, 21% RR, and 23% AR this season, and the Kings rank 27th against centers and 26th in rebounding rate. He obliterated the Clippers last night, and we could see a similar result this evening.
Other options – Nikola Jokic, Andre Drummond, Jusuf Nurkic, Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert
Mid-tier options – Marc Gasol, Willie Cauley-Stein
DRAFTKINGS TOP/MID C’s
As usual, DK is a totally different story at center where the position remains perpetually underpriced. Clint Capela at $7500 is an amazing value play despite Denver ranking second in rebounding rate. Capela has five games with 19 rebounds or more in his last seven and has seen his usage rate climb to 22% with Paul and Gordon out (and that’s WITH James Harden in the lineup). Nurkic ($8000) and Drummond ($8100) are also way too cheap on DK and can be used in any format. Nurk in particular is facing a Knicks squad that ranks 24th against centers and 24th in rebounding rate – the only issue here is blowout risk.
DeAndre Jordan ($6800/$6100) is the key play in cash tonight, and I’ll likely be locking him in on both sites. The Mavericks are getting an insane pace boost against the Lakers, and L.A. also ranks 22nd against centers. On DK in particular, Jordan is about $1500 too cheap on a site that rewards double-doubles, and he’s rocking a 24.8% rebounding rate with Dallas this year. Willie Cauley-Stein is overpriced on FD but really jumps off the page on DK at $5700 as well. Marvin Bagley is not officially ruled out yet, but if he is WCS will likely see 30+ minutes once again as he attempts to keep Vuc in check (foul risk is there). WCS has had a 19% UR and 17% RR in Bagley’s absence and is featured in the Kings’ post play. One more interesting one in GPPs is Al Horford ($6200/$5600). The Celtics have been monitoring his minutes so you can’t really trust him in cash, but we really love attacking that matchup with the Nets who have allowed 15% more scoring and 16% more rebounding to C’s than any other team in the NBA.
Other options – JaVale McGee, Jarrett Allen, Mason PlumleeFantasy Basketball