NBA DEEP DIVE – 11/10/16

POINT GUARD

Point guard is surprisingly thin on this four game slate.  Giannis Antetokounmpo is the top option on DraftKings, but is a shooting guard on FanDuel.  Regardless of what position he is eligible at, it is a great spot for him tonight against the Pelicans.  We look to roster him in up-tempo games and New Orleans is currently ninth in the league in pace.  This game has a nice 208 total with a close spread and we can expect Antetokounmpo to contribute across the board.  In his last meeting with New Orleans, he recorded 24 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in 34 minutes and a similar line should be expected tonight.  Stephen Curry tweaked his ankle last night but returned to the game in a blowout so it does not appear to be too serious.  Golden State has announced they do not plan on resting anyone tonight so Curry should be in line for a nice game against Denver with both teams playing at a top five pace so far this season.  The knock on Curry this season has been that his peripherals have decreased as a result of Kevin Durant and Draymond Green handling the ball so much.  He has a chance to pick up a few extra fantasy points tonight, however, because he will be defending Emmanuel Mudiay, who is averaging 5.6 turnovers per 36 minutes so far this season- including 7 in each of his last two games.  Despite the lack of assists and rebounds, Curry still has a nice ceiling for his price- it just is not as high as it was last season.

Goran Dragic takes on the Chicago Bulls in the game with the lowest total of the night (200).  It is a nice spot for Dragic because he will be defended by Rajon Rondo, whereas Justice Winslow will likely be defended by Jimmy Butler and Hassan Whiteside will have to deal with Robin Lopez and the Bulls’ strong interior defense.  Dragic is averaging 33 minutes per game and has a 25.1 percent usage rate this season.  In addition, he should be well-rested because he has not played since November 7th– and he only played 25 minutes in that game.  D’Angelo Russell is still too cheap for his upside, although there are some concerns about his minutes.  After only playing less than 29 minutes once in his first five games, he has not played more than 28 in any of the last three.  The good news is that there are explanations for his limited minutes in at least two of those games.  He only played 22 minutes against Golden State because Lou Williams got hot off the bench and the Lakers were blowing out the Warriors so Russell never returned for the fourth quarter.  He played 26 in his last game against Dallas, but would have played a few more had he not picked up three personal fouls within a two minute stretch in the second quarter.  He also has not attempted more than 11 shots in any of those three games, after attempting at least 11 in four of his first five.  He has been productive in other categories, however, so we can continue to roster him at his low price and wait for him to get back to his aggressive ways offensively.  Russell has a 28.6 percent usage rate overall this season, so there is plenty of upside and he will probably start getting more shots up in the near future.  He is always a risky cash game play because of the depth of the Los Angeles backcourt and Luke Walton’s willingness to ride the hot hand if Jordan Clarkson or Lou Williams get hot off the bench.  Tim Frazier seems to have returned to Alvin Gentry’s good graces as he has played 32 minutes in each of the last two games.  He should be in line for a nice game tonight against the Bucks as he will be able to just feed Anthony Davis and pile up assists to go along with his scoring production.  He played 37 minutes in the last matchup against Milwaukee and contributed 20 points, 9 assists and 3 rebounds.  It is hard to expect 20 points again since he is averaging only 12 points per game for the season, but he should produce a very night stat line even if the points decrease a little bit.

Matthew Dellavedova is a decent value play tonight, partly due to lack of other options and partly due to his matchup.  He only has a 16.4 percent usage rate this season, but he is only $4,400 on FanDuel and $4,500 on DraftKings and has averaged almost 27 minutes per game over his last 4.  The Bucks will need his three-point shooting to help space the floor since the Pelicans will have Anthony Davis hanging out around the rim.  He would not be on my list on bigger slates, but he is worth considering on tonight’s slate- especially where he is shooting guard eligible.

Core:  Giannis Antetokounmpo (DraftKings), Tim Frazier, Goran Dragic

Secondary: Steph Curry, D’Angelo Russell

Value: Matthew Dellavedova

SHOOTING GUARD

Antetoukounmpo is the top shooting guard option where he is eligible at the positon.  After him, the choices drop off significantly.  Dwyane Wade returns to Miami tonight and will likely be very motivated to do well.  Working against him is that the Bulls are on the second leg of a back-to-back and the Heat have the sixth best defensive rating in the NBA.  Wade’s price is still reasonable, however, at $6,700 on FanDuel and $6,500 on DraftKings.  He is averaging 28.6 minutes per game with a 25.7 percent usage rate, and he gets minutes at point guard with the second unit which boosts his value.  The Bulls have only had one back-to-back set so far this season, and Wade played only 22 minutes in the second game.  The game was a blowout, however, so we cannot conclude that the Bulls will look to limit his minutes.  Klay Thompson is finally finding his stroke, shooting 55 percent two games ago and 61.5 percent last night, including 4 three-pointers.  This game is expected to be high-scoring, fast-paced, and close so there is plenty to like about Thompson.  He will likely be defended by Gary Harris, Denver’s best perimeter defender, but Thompson has had success in this matchup in the past so it is not overly concerning.  He has a high floor and high ceiling because of the pace of the game and the amount of shots he will likely get up.

The Lakers have three shooting guard eligible players who are worth considering.  Jordan Clarkson is the sixth man for the Lakers, but is seeing around 27 minutes per game off the bench with a 25.4 usage rate.  He often goes overlooked because he does not start, but he is often a strong option at his price.  The Kings play at the second slowest pace in the NBA, which lowers the value of all of the Lakers’ players, but there are only four games to choose from tonight.  He has played at least 28 minutes and attempted at least 12 shots in three straight games, and that is plenty to pay off $5,000 on DraftKings and $5,100 on FanDuel.  Lou Williams’ minutes are slightly less than Clarkson’s, but he has been a very consistent scorer off the bench so far.  He was more appealing when his price was about $500 less than Clarkson, but he is still playable as a contrarian option now that he is $5,100 on DraftKings and $4,900 on FanDuel.  It is hard to completely trust him in cash games since he only is averaging 23.2 minutes per game, but he does have upside as he is very aggressive on the offensive end when he is in the game.  Nick Young has turned himself into the Lakers’ best defender and it has led to consistent minutes and a starting role.  Young is averaging 27.1 minutes per game and, although his usage rate is only 18.5 percent, he does get his share of shots up as he is not afraid to shoot the ball.  He has attempted at least 11 shots in every game but one this season, he just does not contribute much in the way of assists or rebounds.  His price has not caught up to Clarkson and Williams, so he is the most underpriced of the three and still has decent upside if he can get some shots to fall.

E’Twaun Moore is a value option that gives cheap exposure to the Pelicans and Bucks.  He is not the sexiest name on the slate, but he is underpriced for his role and will likely go overlooked.  He is averaging over 30 minutes per game this season and has a modest, but respectable, 19.3 percent usage rate.  He has double-digit shot attempts in three straight games and five of his last six.  He is similar to Nick Young in that he does not contribute much in the way of rebounds or assists, but his price is too low for the minutes that he plays and the shot attempts that he gets.  Staying on the same team, Buddy Hield is one of my favorite GPP value plays tonight.  He is $4,000 on FanDuel and $3,700 on DraftKings.  He is only averaging 21.2 minutes per game for the season, but has played at least 22 minutes in each of the last four games after not playing more than 19 in any of his first four games.  He has a 25.9 percent usage rate when he is on the floor and has double-digit field goal attempts in each of the last four games.  Hield was on the floor for most of the fourth quarter in his last game against the Kings because, once the Kings went small and pulled Kosta Koufos from the game, the Pelicans used Frazier, Moore, Hield, Jones and Davis.  The Bucks are not a big team and will most likely have Antetokounmpo, Dellavedova, Snell, Parker and Monroe on the floor as their most used lineup.  The Pelicans’ lineup from the end of the Kings game matches up very well with that Bucks lineup (except Solomon Hill or Dante Cunningham will probably take some minutes from Jones for defensive reasons).  There is a good chance that Hield is on the high end of his minutes range tonight, is not afraid to be aggressive on offense when he is out there, and will almost surely go overlooked tonight.

Gary Harris played 30 minutes in his last game and appears to be fully recovered from his injury.  He has been surprisingly involved offensively, with a 21.3 percent usage rate so far and at least 10 field goal attempts in each of his last two games.  If his price were a little bit lower he would be appealing in this game, but $4,600 on both sites feels a little bit too expensive given that he has always been capable of completely disappearing on offense and he will need to use a lot of energy on defense chasing Klay Thompson and the other Golden State shooters around the floor.  He is not a bad play, but it is doubtful he finds his way into my lineups.

Core: Giannis Antetokounmpo (FanDuel), Klay Thompson

Secondary: Dwyane Wade, Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson

Value: Nick Young, E’Twaun Moore, Buddy Hield

 

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant is the top small forward option as usual.  The Warriors have said their starters will play tonight and this should be a close game since the Warriors are on the second half of a back-to-back and playing in the thin air in Denver.  Durant rebounded to have a nice night last night after a poor performance against New Orleans.  He is in line for another good game tonight as he will have plenty of opportunities to pick up fantasy points due to the pace of the game.  Denver has quietly been a top 10 defensive team in terms of defensive rating this season, but the Warriors obviously pose matchup problems that no other team can.  Durant is a very strong option at a pretty barren small forward position if you can find a way to afford him.

Jimmy Butler is starting to prove me wrong pretty consistently so it may be time to re-evaluate how I feel about him.  I have been off of the Butler bandwagon this season because of the addition of Rondo and Wade, but he has continued to produce at a high rate.  He showed last night that he still has a massive ceiling and his price is still very reasonable across the industry.  This would not be a must play spot on a normal size slate because of Miami’s pace and defensive efficiency, and the fact that he played 39 minutes last night, but he is a lot harder to fade on this short slate.  It still is not a must play but, if you can afford him without giving up a lot at other positions, it is definitely advised in any format.  Danilo Gallinari finally had a big game in his last game, likely as a result of Wilson Chandler not playing which allowed him to pick up a few more rebounds.  Gallinari also was able to get to the free throw line- a staple of his game- more than he had in previous games.  This was likely a result of Tony Allen being out and Gallinari being matched up with an inexperienced defender in James Ennis.  I do not expect similar success against Kevin Durant today in that department.  Gallinari’s usage rate is only 17.5 percent this season, which is concerning.  He is still playing heavy minutes, however, and his price is very reasonable across the industry so he is in play tonight in a high- scoring matchup with Golden State- especially if Chandler is out again.  Justise Winslow’s price is now dropping, despite the fact that he was already underpriced.  Winslow has been shooting horribly to begin the season but that should improve sooner or later.  Nobody will confuse Winslow with a good shooter, but his 40.4 percent career field goal percentage is significantly better than the 31.1 percent that he is shooting this season.  He is averaging 36.1 minutes per game with a 22.5 percent usage rate and has attempted at least 13 field goals in every game this season as Miami looks to him to be more of a focal point of the offense.  He also contributes in other categories, such as rebounds, assists and steals, which raises his floor even if he has a poor shooting performance.  His matchup against Jimmy Butler is not ideal, but he is still significantly underpriced.  If Wilson Chandler is active, he is a very strong play as he has consistently been playing about 30 minutes per game.  The Nuggets like to go small and play him alongside Gallinari, and they will be able to do that tonight against a small Golden State game if he is active.  He is still priced like a backup, although his price is rising, even though he essentially plays starter minutes off the bench.  He is preferable to Gallinari if he is active simply because of the difference in price.

Tony Snell is an unexciting, but viable, value option tonight at $3,500 on both FanDuel and DraftKings.  Snell is averaging 28 minutes per game with Milwaukee and is needed to help space the floor.  As I said when discussing Dellavedova, the Bucks will likely need someone to step up and hit some outside shots today to open up the paint for Antetokounmpo and Parker.  That responsibility will likely fall on the shoulders of Dellavedova and Snell, which makes him worth considering at a weak positon on a slate that does not have a ton of great value options.

Core: Kevin Durant, Justise Winslow, Jimmy Butler

Secondary: Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari

Value:  Tony Snell

 

POWER FORWARD

Anthony Davis is in an excellent spot tonight against Milwaukee.  Milwaukee has given up some huge games to opposing centers this season, including Davis when he recorded 35 points and 15 rebounds on November 1.  The Bucks do not have anyone that can match up with Davis and he should be able to impose his will the entire game.  In addition, Milwaukee does not have many outside shooters so there is increased potential for Davis to block shots tonight.  It is tough to pay up for many guys tonight because of the lack of value options, but Davis is worth finding a way in this matchup.  Draymond Green has been very consistent this season despite not being needed as a scorer.  He continues to handle the ball and pile up assists to go along with his strong rebounding totals and modest scoring.  He is currently averaging 10.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game, which shows just how high his floor is because he can contribute in so many ways.  Denver is a very good rebounding team, which hurts Green a little bit, but that should be made up for by the very fast pace that this game will be played at.

Jabari Parker is averaging 31.3 minutes per game with a 24.5 percent usage rate, and should be well rested since he has not played a game since the 6th of the month.  Anthony Davis will likely be at the five as both teams will probably go small, which means Parker will likely be defended by a combination of Solomon Hill, Dante Cunningham and Terrence Jones.  The fast pace of this game also plays into Parker’s strengths.  He has flashed upside in recent games but his price has not increased to reflect that.  He also tends to be lower owned than he should be as people are scared off of him by his inconsistency last season, which makes him one of my favorite players to target in GPPs when he is in a good matchup.  Taj Gibson is a strong cash game option, although his price as basically caught up to where it should be as far as his ceiling goes, which makes it hard to roster him in GPPs.  He has been very consistent all season, however, and always has a good chance at a double-double.  Julius Randle is facing the Kings, who play at the second slowest pace in the NBA.  This means less opportunities for rebounds for Randle and less opportunities in transition for him to handle the ball and pick up extra assists.  In addition, he will likely spend some time defending DeMarcus Cousins, which forces him to expend energy on the defensive end and also puts him at risk of getting into foul trouble.  There are better power forward options today than Randle.  If Wilson Chandler is out, Kenneth Faried becomes a stronger option.  The Nuggets will likely go small for most of this game, which means Faried will see some time at center in addition to his time at the four.  The fast pace plays to Faried’s strengths as he is a hustle player with a high motor who can get offensive rebounds and put-backs to pad his stats.  Mike Malone’s rotation is too unstable to trust him in cash, but he is a strong tournament option especially if Chandler sits.

Larry Nance is questionable to play tonight after suffering a concussion a couple of games ago.  It is not an ideal spot for him because of the pace, but his price is still too low not to consider him in tournaments.  If he is cleared to play, he should slot right back into the role that he had before the injury when he was averaging 28.6 minutes with 12.3 points and 7 rebounds over his last three games.

 

Core: Anthony Davis, Jabari Parker, Draymond Green

Secondary: Kenneth Faried, Taj Gibson

Value: Larry Nance

 

CENTER

DeMarcus Cousins gets to face a small Lakers team that is currently playing at the third fastest pace in the NBA.  The Kings’ offense is running through Cousins this season, as evidenced by his 35.7 percent usage rate.  He should be able to do whatever he wants against this Los Angeles frontcourt.  He has not shown the upside that Davis has this season, partly because the Kings play so slowly, but he is also priced less than Davis and has a very high ceiling against the Lakers.  On DraftKings, it makes sense to consider Davis as a center over Cousins, but on FanDuel it is tough to find a different center to roster, especially for cash games.  Hassan Whiteside has shown that he has a very high ceiling this season, although he does not hit it consistently.  He has an increased potential for blocks tonight since the Bulls do not have many people that shoot from the perimeter, but his rebounding numbers may take a hit as the Bulls have the second highest total rebounding percentage in the NBA.  It is tough to justify Whiteside’s price in cash games since he is relatively close to Cousins (especially on FanDuel) and the matchup is nowhere near as good, but he is a viable option in tournaments as he is capable of producing massive lines through blocks and he should be low-owned because of Cousins.  Greg Monroe’s minutes have been all over the place this season, often ranging from 18 to 28 minutes.  Jason Kidd is unpredictable when it comes to his rotation, but Monroe does produce when he is on the floor.  On a short slate with very few center options, it is perfectly fine to take a shot on Monroe in tournaments because he is capable of paying off his price very nicely if he gets the minutes and he has a nice matchup against New Orleans, who has the second lowest total rebounding percentage in the NBA despite the presence of Anthony Davis.  In his previous matchup with New Orleans, Monroe recorded 6 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists in 18 minutes.  Jusuf Nurkic should be able to dominate Zaza Pachulia when he is on the court.  The issue with Nurkic is similar to the issue with Monroe, we just do not know exactly how much his coach is going to play him.  His minutes have been more stable than Monroe’s, however, as he has only played less than 23 minutes once this season.  There is a chance that his minutes are toward the low end of his range tonight, however, as there is a chance this game goes very small and he sees less time on the floor.  He is difficult to trust in cash but is viable for tournaments.

Core: DeMarcus Cousins

Secondary: Hassan Whiteside, Greg Monroe, Jusuf Nurkic

Value: Look elsewhere