NBA Thoughts 1/18/17

Happy Wednesday and welcome to a wonderful 9-game slate with big tourneys across the DFS industry. If you read my column yesterday you may have had exposure to extremely low owned Ricky Rubio and Gorgui Dieng who were both critical to GPP success. Today I will try to identify a couple more players I project to have low ownership but who have big upside based on some advanced metrics and matchups just like Rubio and Dieng did yesterday.

Thaddeus Young — Thaddeus Young will almost certainly be under 10% owned in GPPs tonight (and I would guess under 5%), but is in a truly tremendous spot. Let’s consider a few things about Thad Young’s game:


  • He thrives in transition. Among all players that have played in at least 30 games this season, Young ranks 21st in the NBA in terms of the percentage of his field goal attempts that come in transition. Among players that primarily play the power forward position, Young ranks first in this statistic. His opponent tonight, the Sacramento Kings, are woeful in transition, despite not playing at a fast most of the season (which has changed recently as the Kings have gone smaller more often). The Kings, on the season, have the 5th highest transition frequency allowed defensively, and have given up the 4th highest points per possession on transition opportunities for the opposing team.


  • A big reason why Thaddeus Young does so well in transition is his ability to get steals that get him out on the break. Young is averaging 1.6 steals per game this season, good for 16th in NBA, and 3rd at the power forward position. The Kings have given up the 8th most steals against this season, and by far the most in the NBA over their last 3 games, which has coincided with their recent faster pace of play.


  • Thad Young is essentially a small forward masquerading as a power forward. He can struggle against big, physical power forwards that can take him into the post and smash him on the boards. Tonight’s matchup is perfect for him against Anthony Tolliver. Young should have no trouble defensively against Tolliver which should allow him to stay on the court for the upper end of his minutes distribution. Tolliver is also not very quick and is poor defensively. Tolliver should have a lot of trouble keeping up with Young’s speed and athleticism.


I’m not necessarily recommending Thad Young as a cash game play — the biggest edge in DFS overall is finding low owned tournament plays who are in sneaky good matchups and Young checks every box here. I’ll be loading up on him in GPPs tonight.


Jabari Parker — The Milwaukee Bucks’ PF will not go as overlooked as Thaddeus Young, but his price tag is up on both DraftKings and FanDuel and he generally carries relatively ownership.


  • Parker, like Thaddeus Young, thrives in transition with 17.5% of his FGA coming in transition where he has been one of the best finishers in the NBA with 1.35 points per possession on transition opportunities which ranks in the 90th percentile of all NBA players. Parker will either be matched up against Ryan Anderson (if he returns from sickness) or and undersized Trevor Ariza who is not used to dealing with power forwards. I like the matchup more for Parker if Anderson plays, as he’s not nearly quick enough to keep up with Jabari. The Rockets have given up the 3rd most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards on the season.
  • The Rockets are traveling on the 2nd half of a back to back where they gave up 109 points last night to the slow-paced Miami Heat. They should be a bit tired for this game and I expect the Bucks to have a big night overall offensively with Parker getting the best matchup of any of the Bucks’