NBA Thoughts 11/16/16

James Harden and Russell Westbrook are both obviously strong plays tonight. If you decide to pay up for one of them, I would consider scraping together all the value you can find and paying up for both. If one decides to completely take over and turn it into a show, the other will likely follow suit, and if both see the 38+ minutes they are likely to see in a pace-up competitive game, it’s going to difficult to win tournaments without them.

Today I’ve written up some alternative options for those looking beyond the obvious. Pricing for the following plays is referencing DraftKings:

Kyle Lowry (7700) – With everyone focused on Harden/Westbrook, Lowry may fall under the radar tonight.  He’s turned his game up of late, averaging 46.2 fantasy points over his past five games, and though his price has risen since early in the season, it hasn’t risen to a level that might prevent us from rostering him. He gets a great matchup versus the Warriors, who allow the fourth most DraftKings points per game to point guards on the season. And with a strong defender in Klay Thompson focused on locking down DeMar Derozan, we should expect Lowry to take on even more of the heavy-lifting for the Raptors. Lowry is in the mold of a Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook in that he is a bulldog-competitor, and with the Warriors coming to town as only six point favorites, we can expect Lowry to bring his best. The biggest concern here is that the Raptors are coming off a hard fought loss last night to the Cavaliers, and it’s possible they will be a bit tired and underperform, but hopefully they show up in front of their home fans in a big game.

Devin Booker (6500) – Booker has really struggled with his shooting over the past three games.  He’s hit only two of his last 14 three point attempts and 14 out of 51 overall on the season. While Booker has never been an efficient scorer, he is much better than those numbers would suggest. A big game should be coming soon and tonight’s matchup with the Nuggets would be an ideal spot for him to finally get hot. Both teams play at a very high pace: Denver is fourth in possessions per game and Phoenix is first. Denver also has injury problems in their backcourt, leaving them woefully short on defenders capable of preventing Booker from getting good looks.  Booker already has games of 53.25 and 46 FP’s on the season, and at 6500, those numbers represent the kind of ceiling we are looking for to put us in contention to take down a GPP.

Danilo Gallinari (5900) – The Nuggets/Suns game has a huge implied total and there are a number of reasonably priced players available to choose from. With both Barton and Harris unavailable, Gallinari should see minutes in the mid-30’s and plenty of opportunities in a very high-paced game. While Gallinari hasn’t had many huge performances yet this season, he’s shown in the past that he has it in him. At just under 6k, we can roster a guy with both guaranteed minutes and a solidified offensive role in a game which should feature a lot of scoring.

Paul Millsap (7400) – Millsap has struggled with his shooting over the first ten games of the season. A career nearly 50% shooter, he’s stuck at an un-Millsap-like 42%. The good news is that he’s averaging a career-high 14.8 FGA per game, and it’s only a matter of time before the shots start falling. If Dwight Howard sits or is limited, we can expect a slight uptick in rebounds, and the possibility for a few more minutes, perhaps something in the 34-36 range. Millsap’s salary normally falls right around 8000, so now is a great time to catch him at a discount as the best player on a team Vegas expects to score 108 points. While he has the occasional 20 FP dud, Millsap has shown 55-60 FP upside throughout his career,

Mike Muscala (3600) – We’ve already reached the point in the season where injuries are piling up, and it’s very important to monitor the news all the way up until the first tipoff to gain an edge. If Dwight Howard is declared out, Muscala makes for a solid value play. Muscala is a solid producer in his time on the court and may be the key tonight to unlocking some of the stars that can carry you to a GPP victory.