NBA Deep Dive – 1/12/17


High Priced ($8,500+)


Anthony Davis is questionable to play tonight, but has an excellent match up if he does suit up.  Brooklyn has been better defensively of late, ranking 13th in defensive rating over the last month.  They still play at the fastest pace in the league, however, and Davis is essentially matchup proof.  Brook Lopez is not an intimidating matchup anyway, and New Orleans has been featuring Davis much more often at center recently.  Lopez generally does not show much interest in rebounding and Davis should be able to grab a ton of rebounds against this frontcourt.  Davis has also been assertive on the offensive end lately, attempting at least 20 field goals in four consecutive games- including against the Knicks when he played just 29 minutes before getting injured.


Kawhi Leonard is usually more of a cash game play than a GPP play, but he does have a very friendly matchup with the Lakers tonight.  The Lakers have, surprisingly, only been playing at the 19th fastest pace over the last month but they still are in the bottom five in defensive rating.  LaMarcus Aldridge is expected back for this game, which does cut into Leonard’s production.  Leonard averages 1.15 DraftKings points per minute when he is on the floor alongside Aldridge, compared to 1.51 DraftKings points per minute when Aldridge is off the floor.  His price is still low enough that his 40-point floor provides a lot of value and he does have a 50+ point ceiling in this matchup even if Aldridge is active.


Kevin Durant and Steph Curry face the Pistons in a pace-down game.  The good news for Durant and Curry is that, over the last month, the Pistons have the third worst defensive rating in the NBA- which, more or less, coincides with Reggie Jackson returning to the starting lineup.  Curry has been extremely aggressive lately, taking at least 20 field goal attempts in four straight games.  His price has increased as a result, however, so he is still just a secondary option assuming all of the big four are active.  Durant is more valuable than Curry because he plays a weaker position and is less scoring dependent.  It is still difficult for him to reach a high ceiling, however, because of the wealth of other options on the Warriors.


Core: Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard

Secondary: Kevin Durant, Steph Curry


Mid-Range ($5,800-$8,400)


Eric Bledsoe is fairly priced on FanDuel, but is incredibly cheap on DraftKings at just $7,100.  Bledsoe is averaging 36 minutes per game and 18.75 field goal attempts per game over his last four.  The Mavericks represent a significant pace-down game, playing at the second slowest pace in the league over the last month, but they have not been particularly strong defensively, ranking 24th in defensive rating over that time.  Dallas ranks as the second worst team at defending the rim this season, as Andrew Bogut has not been as formidable under the basket as he was in past seasons.  Bledsoe ranks seventh amongst guards with 11 drives per game and seventh amongst guards who play at least 25 minutes per game with a 57.2 field goal percentage on his drives.


Jimmy Butler is out again today, but Dwyane Wade is expected back for the Bulls.  Wade averages 1.27 DraftKings points per minute without Butler on the floor this season, compared to 1.04 with him on the floor.  Wade has a 38.7 usage percentage and 33.6 assist percentage when Butler is not on the floor.  He will be a popular option tonight, but it is for very good reason.


LaMarcus Aldridge is expected back for tonight’s game and he is in a great spot for a very reasonable price across the industry.  He has been incredibly productive recently, as long as Kawhi Leonard is playing, averaging 16 field goal attempts per game over his last five alongside Kawhi- including a 9 shot game against Charlotte in that span.  Los Angeles is allowing the fourth most points per game, most rebounds per game, and 10th highest field goal percentage to opposing forwards over the last month.  Aldridge had one of his biggest games of the early part of the season against the Lakers in November and he should be primed for another big performance tonight.


Julius Randle’s price is down across the industry for his matchup with the Spurs, but it has left him underpriced.  He flirted with a triple-double against San Antonio earlier in the season, with a 13-point, 9 rebound, 7 assist line in 30.4 minutes.  He has played at least 34 minutes in his last four games that were not blowouts, so there is certainly a ton of upside there if this game stays close into the fourth quarter.


Brook Lopez will benefit if Anthony Davis sits.  Davis is athletic enough to defend Lopez away from the basket, but Lopez should have plenty of success if Davis is not on the floor.  Lopez is risky because the Nets play tomorrow and Coach Atkinson has shown a willingness to run a deep rotation and limit Lopez’s minutes on one end of a back-to-back.  It is a positive sign, however, that after saying he would monitor some player’s minutes during a 3-in-4 set last week, Atkinson still let Lopez play 26, 33 and 32 minutes in those games- and the game that he played 26 minutes was a 20-point game in the fourth quarter or he would have played more.  His price tag is too cheap across the industry and he offers a ton of upside despite some risk that his minutes are held in check a bit.


Terrence Jones will be the primary beneficiary if Anthony Davis sits tonight.  He has been proactively priced up on DraftKings, but he is still a strong option there if Davis is out, and he is a lock at $4,400 on FanDuel if Davis sits.  Jones averages 1.04 DraftKings points per minute when he is on the floor without Davis, compared to 0.99 points per minute with Davis.  The big boost, however, is in his playing time.  Jones played 37.5 minutes in his first game without Davis and 25.7 without Davis against the Clippers last month.  He dealt with foul trouble in the Clippers game, however, playing just 6 minutes in the first half.  Assuming he can stay out of foul trouble tonight, he can safely be penciled in for at least 32 minutes against a weak Nets frontcourt.


Core: Eric Bledsoe (DraftKings), LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwyane Wade, Brook Lopez (if Davis out), Terrence Jones (if Davis out)

Secondary: Eric Bledsoe (FanDuel), Julius Randle, Kristaps Porzingis, Jrue Holiday, Reggie Jackson, Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, D’Angelo Russell, Devin Booker, Derrick Rose


Value ($3,000-$5,700)


Rajon Rondo has been confirmed as the first man off the bench for the Bulls again tonight.  His price tag is $5,000 on DraftKings, which is a little steep since he will probably be much more popular tonight than he was last game and because Dwyane Wade is back, which will likely cut into Rondo’s production whenever they are on the floor together.  He is still a strong play on FanDuel, at just $4,400, against a Knicks team that has given up huge games to opposing point guards recently.


Bojan Bogdanovic has been productive lately for the Nets and has been seeing plenty of volume.  Buddy Hield is allowing opponents to shoot 10.3 percent better than average from beyond the arc this season, ranking 5th worst among guards who have played at least 20 games.  The names worse than him are Alex Abrines, Justin Anderson, Wade Baldwin IV and Randy Foye, making him the worst among regular rotation players.


Tony Parker had a bad game against Charlotte but rebounded nicely against Milwaukee, attempting 15 field goals and producing 14 points with 7 assists.  His price is still depressed and he makes for an excellent option against the Lakers while he is still being assertive and racking up fantasy points.


Joakim Noah’s price is on its way back down and it is likely he goes under-owned tonight.  The Knicks are on the second half of a back-to-back, but he only played about 20 minutes last night because of foul trouble.  He should be fresh for this matchup and is facing his former team, who he produced 39.3 DraftKings points against earlier this season.


Donatas Motiejunas should see an uptick in minutes if Anthony Davis is sidelined.  He is producing over 1 fantasy point per minute in his two games with the Pelicans so far, and he should be able to continue that pace against the Nets’ frontcourt.  He is no longer minimum priced, but there is still excess value if he picks up extra minutes without Davis.


Robin Lopez climbs from 0.78 DraftKings points per minute alongside Jimmy Butler to 0.93 without him (albeit in a small sample size).  His minutes have been trending up, and he finally saw more than 30 in his last game against Washington.  He has a low floor because his minutes are so fluid as a result of Felicio being favored to close out games, but he has a high ceiling for his price as the Bulls may need more production out of him on the offensive end to help make up for Butler’s absence and the Knicks have been putrid defensively lately, giving up huge games to players at basically every position, including center.


Brandon Knight is worth a look as a GPP flier.  He played 26 minutes in his last game against the Mavericks, likely as a result of the Mavericks’ willingness to play with 3 guards.  The Suns can counter the small Dallas lineups by utilizing Knight alongside Bledsoe and Booker (or Warren), which gives Knight sneaky upside in this matchup although he still has a very low floor.


Core: Rajon Rondo (FanDuel), Bojan Bogdanovic (FanDuel), Tony Parker, Joakim Noah

Secondary:  Rajon Rondo (DraftKings), Bojan Bogdanovic (DraftKings), Brandon Knight, Robin Lopez, Donatas Motiejunas (if Davis out), Zaza Pachulia, Tyreke Evans (DraftKings), T.J. Warren, Tyson Chandler, Buddy Hield