Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: November 10, 2015
Last night, the sweat was on. One of my turbo teams was dominating, and I sat in first place of a 4600-man GPP at the end of the third quarter of Spurs-Kings, just needing another good quarter to make a big splash. Unfortunately, the blowout nature of the game kept Tim Duncan on the bench instead of on his way to 40 fantasy points as the Kings and Spurs benches duked it out for much of the final quarter. That, ladies and gentleman, is why you try to avoid projected blowouts in NBA DFS. I’ll take my ninth-place finish, but it could’ve been so much better.
Like Monday, we have another seven-game slate on tap, so let’s get right to it.
Vegas lines and totals
Oklahoma City Thunder (-5) @ Washington Wizards – total of 219
Utah Jazz @ Cleveland Cavaliers (-6) – total of 184
Los Angeles Lakers @ Miami Heat (-12) – total of 201.5
New York Knicks @ Toronto Raptors (-8) – total of 195.5
Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Pelicans (-2) – total of 210.5
Charlotte Hornets (-1.5) @ Minnesota Timberwolves – total of 199
Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks (PK) – total of 201.5
That Thunder-Wizards game looks awfully juicy from a fantasy perspective, matching the top two teams in pace so far this season. Meanwhile, the Jazz-Cavs game includes two of the NBA’s bottom-six teams when it comes to pace, and is an easy game to avoid. Here’s a reminder of the DraftKings scoring system.
Point = +1 PT
Made 3pt. shot = +0.5 PTs
Rebound = +1.25 PTs
Assist = +1.5 PTs
Steal = +2 PTs
Block = +2 PTs
Turnover = -0.5 PTs
Double-Double = +1.5PTs (MAX 1 PER PLAYER: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals)
Triple-Double = +3PTs (MAX 1 PER PLAYER: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals)
Now, for the top options and values at each position:
Isaiah Thomas ($7,000) – Marcus Smart is set to miss Tuesday’s game, leaving Thomas with another start against whoever starts at the point for the Bucks, most likely Tyler Ennis. If that’s not the biggest mismatch of the night, I’m not sure what is, and Thomas with 35 minutes is a near-lock for 40 fantasy points. This game should stay close which gives Thomas his full slate of minutes and production.
Deron Williams ($5,900) – Williams is always a mid-game injury risk, but his matchup can’t be ignored Tuesday. The Pelicans are awful at defending point guards this season, and Williams went for 30.25 DK points in the last matchup between the teams Saturday, albeit with Jrue Holiday sitting. Holiday’s minutes are still being managed, and Williams has scored at least 27.5 points in four his five games this season. This is a surprisingly safe pick, albeit one with limited upside
Russell Westbrook ($10,800) – You’d think Westbrook would be at least second on this list playing in such a fast-paced game, but John Wall and the Wizards keep point-guard fantasy production in check despite their fast pace. That doesn’t mean Westbrook won’t reach 50 fantasy points but at nearly $11,000, you want 55-plus. While Westbrook is certainly capable of putting up a monster line, Wall is a top-notch defender who could be up for the challenge, at least enough to stop Westy from exceeding value.
Cheap risk option: J.J. Barea ($3,700) – Point guard is not the position to find cheap GPP value Tuesday, but Barea always carries 25-point upside if he gets the requisite minutes. He’s seen at least 23 minutes of court time in three of his last five games and if something were to happen to Williams mid-game, Barea would be the direct and immediate beneficiary.
Bradley Beal ($6,900) – Beal may not play against the Thunder on Tuesday due to a bruised shoulder but if he does, he’s in line for a potentially huge game. Oklahoma City is near the bottom of the league at defending shooting guards, and Beal is still underpriced for the production he’s brought to the table this season. Keep an eye on the injury report to make sure Beal is set to play before plugging him into your lineup.
Eric Gordon ($5,800) – Gordon has been a steady presence in the New Orleans’ offense this season, and he’s averaging over 39 minutes over his past three games and almost 33 fantasy points. In an up-tempo game and at an affordable price, Gordon is a nice play Tuesday, and the top option at shooting guard if Beal is out.
Andrew Wiggins ($6,100) – Wiggins has brought his season numbers back to respectability after back-to-back 30-point scoring nights, and the Hornets allow 22.5 points per game to opposing shooting guards. It’s hard to project another 30-point outburst for Wiggins, but 20-25 is realistic, and the latter would nearly pay off his price tag on its own. That’s a good thing, because he doesn’t do much else statistically. Even with the 30-point nights, he didn’t eclipse 50 fantasy points.
Cheap risk option: Gary Neal ($3,000) – If Beal misses Tuesday’s game, there’s a good chance Neal would step into the starting lineup in his place. Neal does little besides shoot, and even that he does inconsistently, but that leads to ups and downs more than anything else. And when you’re choosing a minimum-salary player in a GPP, you’re shooting for upside, which Neal can bring if his role expands. Just don’t look down.
Kevin Durant ($9,700) – This game sets up as more of an opportunity for Durant to explode than Russell Westbrook, as Otto Porter doesn’t provide the same defensive resistance as John Wall. The Wizards are by far the worst team at defending small forwards so far this season, so fire up Durant as the top star of the night.
Otto Porter ($5,100) – On the other side of that Thunder-Wizards matchup is Porter, who has thrived so far this season in Washington’s up-tempo offense. He’s seeing tons of minutes and has topped 26.5 fantasy points in four of six games. There’s a good chance he’ll be able to do it again Tuesday.
Jae Crowder ($4,800) – Like Porter, Crowder sees a ton of minutes as one of the Celtics’ few rotation pieces Brad Stevens isn’t prone to jerking around. He’s scored at least 20 fantasy points in all five games this season, and went off for 40.5 on Friday against the Wizards. The Bucks aren’t quite as good of a matchup but it’s still an above-average spot for Crowder, who should end up between 25 and 30 DK points.
Cheap risk option: James Johnson ($3,100) – Johnson may have another opportunity to start if DeMarre Carroll is out again Tuesday, and Johnson nearly hit the 20-point mark in 26 minutes Sunday. He’s prone to disappearing and he’s rarely in coach Dwane Casey’s good graces, but his potential across-the-board production gives him a ceiling rarely found in a player this cheap.
Jared Sullinger ($5,500) – If Sullinger remains in the starting lineup and sees 27-30 minutes, he has a legitimate chance to go for 35 fantasy points. The Bucks aren’t an imposing matchup for opposing power forwards, and Sullinger is trending up while his price is still depressed. Brad Stevens seems comfortable with the way Sullinger has played lately, which should keep him in the starting five as long as he’s producing.
Anthony Davis ($10,700) – Anthony Davis has shaken off the early cobwebs to get back to his usual production over the past several games, and the Brow will take the floor against one of the NBA’s worst power-forward defenses. Davis managed just 42.5 fantasy points against Dallas on Saturday, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he went for 50-plus in front of the home fans. It’s a very small sample, but Davis is averaging 16 more DK points per game in New Orleans.
Chris Bosh ($7,000) – Any big man or point guard facing the Lakers deserves DFS attention, especially when they’re an underpriced asset like Bosh is. He has at least 37.5 fantasy points in his past four games and should find it easy to reach 40 against an always-overmatched Los Angeles squad. If you don’t want to pay for Brow, Bosh is just as good as far as dollar-for-dollar value.
Serge Ibaka ($6,500) – Ibaka always takes a backseat to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, but Wizards-Thunder projects as a game with a lot of shot attempts, creating more rebound and block opportunities for Ibaka. Picking players from a guy with such a high over/under is DFS 101, and Ibaka is on the same level of value as Brow and Bosh on Tuesday.
Cheap risk option: Dwight Powell ($4,700) – Powell isn’t that cheap anymore, but he’s still performing like a player who should be priced about $1,000 higher. His bench role gives him a little risk, as there will be a letdown game soon when the minutes aren’t there, but Powell is a good fit for this matchup with the Pelicans. He should have no trouble seeing 25 minutes of court time and 25-30 fantasy points.
Steven Adams ($3,700) – Adams is never a popular option, but he’s hit 19 fantasy points in his last three games and has paid off his price tag more often than not this season. Many players are going to go after Hassan Whiteside against the Lakers, but I’m spending my money elsewhere tonight and Adams should let me do that.
Zaza Pachulia ($5,400) – Another center who is never a popular pick, Pachulia’s minutes have been very steady this season. He has a great matchup against the Pelicans’ struggling interior defense and is outperforming his price tag, with three 30-point games in his last four. If you don’t trust Adams, trust Pachulia.
Marcin Gortat ($5,300) – Continuing to hammer the Wizards and Thunder game, Gortat has been playing better of late and should see his price rise back up to the $6,300 it was at on opening night. This is a great chance to buy low on an underpriced player in a high-scoring game, although the Thunder do defend opposing centers well, which keeps Gortat third on this list.
Cheap risk option: Alexis Ajinca ($3,300) – Ajinca might get another start in place of Omer Asik, and the Pelicans are going to need somebody to bang with Pachulia down low. His minutes have been limited in his starts and if he doesn’t start hot, it’s easy for Alvin Gentry to go away from him and play Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis up front, especially against a team with Dirk Nowitzki at power forward. Ajinca has thrown up some big lines as recently as last year, but his limited playing time and poor play this year add tons of risk to this pick, even at his cheap price.
Cash Game Ranks
This isn’t necessarily an order of who will score the most DraftKings points. Rather, the rankings are aimed to find the best price, value and production combo to help you win cash games, also taking into account potential ownership levels for each player.
As always, stay locked to Twitter and follow me @christripodi, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes before the first game tips at 7 p.m. EST. I’ll also update this article as news breaks throughout the day if at all possible, but I will always update you via Twitter first.