NBA Deep Dive 2/12/17

Note:  Since it is a short slate, I broke the article down by price tier within each position.  As far as salaries would allow, I tried to write up an expensive play, a mid-tier play and a value play for each position.

Point Guard


Kyle Lowry has been going through a bit of a shooting slump lately and it has kept his fantasy totals down from where we generally expect them to be.  It has also gotten his price down, particularly on DraftKings.  The shooting slump could be a little concerning since he is among the league leaders in minutes and there is definitely a possibility that he is fatigued and is limping toward the All-Star break.  The shooting slump could also simply be a shooting slump, however, which gives us the chance to capitalize on positive regression.  Lowry has not shot over 43 percent from the field in his last four games (his season average is 46.4 percent), but he has a very friendly matchup with Reggie Jackson today.  DeMar DeRozan will prevent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from defending Lowry and Lowry should be able to take advantage of the mismatch.  Lowry ranks in the 93rd percentile among pick-and-roll ball-handlers, averaging 1.04 points per possession.  Jackson is not a strong defender, allowing .89 points per possession to opposing ball-handlers, ranking in the 38th percentile.  Jackson’s numbers are also skewed upwards because Caldwell-Pope generally defends the more dangerous ball-handlers that the Pistons face.


Reggie Jackson is a tournament play only, but is in a very good spot today that people tend to overlook.  Toronto has been atrocious against opposing point guards this season, allowing the most points per possession on the pick-and-roll.  Reggie Jackson leads all regular rotation players in pick-and-roll frequency this season at 57.4 percent, just ahead of Kemba Walker.  Individually, Kyle Lowry ranks in the bottom quarter of defenders, allowing 0.93 points per possession on the pick-and-roll.  Jackson’s minutes have been all over the place lately, but a lot of that can be attributed to blowouts. He should be in line for at least 28 minutes assuming the game stays close, with the possibility of more if he is playing well.


Ricky Rubio is a little bit safer than Jackson in the mid-tier price range and is where I would look in cash games.  There is a little bit of concern because Tyus Jones closed the Toronto game over Rubio, but Rubio regained his normal minutes in his most recent game.  Chicago has struggled against opposing point guards recently and Rubio has a high floor because of his 43.7 assist percentage since LaVine’s injury.


Tony Parker is old and inconsistent, but he has flashed upside at times this season.  He is very reasonably priced at $4,500 on FanDuel and $4,100 on DraftKings.  Parker ranks in the 87th percentile in points per possession amongst pick-and-roll ball-handlers, but Derrick Rose has done a pretty good job against the pick-and-roll this season, ranking in the 60th percentile amongst defenders.  The Knicks have struggled defensively as a whole, however, ranking 22nd in defensive rating over the last month.  They also just allowed Old Man Jameer Nelson to post 41.5 DraftKings points on them in their last game.  The main draw to Parker is the minutes he has been playing lately.  Parker played 29.3 minutes against Memphis on February 6, 30.4 minutes against Philadelphia on February 8, and 31.4 minutes against Detroit on the 10th.  Those rank as his 7th, 6th and 4th highest minute totals of the season, respectively, and they came in back-to-back-to-back games.  If that trend continues and he plays around 30 minutes, there is a lot of upside in this matchup that will likely go overlooked.


Secondary Plays: Derrick Rose, Jrue Holiday


Shooting Guard


Dwayne Wade is listed as probable for this matchup with the Timberwolves.  Shooting guard is an incredibly thin position today, which makes Wade even more appealing- especially on DraftKings where he is just $7,000.  Wade played only 28 minutes against the Suns because of a blowout, but we should expect to see him get back in to the low-mid 30s in minutes tonight.  Minnesota plays at a slow pace, but has been terrible defensively of late, ranking 27th in defensive rating over the last month.  Wade, along with Jimmy Butler, is the key cog in the offense and should be able to take advantage of the poor team defense.


Tyreke Evans is listed as probable for tonight’s game against the Kings and his backcourt counterpart E’Twaun Moore is listed as doubtful.  Evans and Moore both missed the last Pelicans’ game and it led to 21.8 minutes for Buddy Hield, 24.9 minutes for Langston Galloway and 20.1 minutes for Tim Frazier.  A healthy chunk of those minutes, particularly of Frazier’s and Galloway’s minutes, should be redistributed to Evans tonight against his former team.  His minutes have fluctuated throughout the season, but he is averaging 1.18 DraftKings points per minute and is inexpensive across the industry so he is a strong GPP play based on his upside since he has the chance to see increased playing time tonight.


Ben McLemore delivered his yearly monster fantasy game in his last outing and would normally make for a perfect fade candidate on the next slate.  The issue is that it is a four game slate with a lack of other options and that he is going to get some Buddy Hield defense which can make the worst players in the league look very, very good.  McLemore should be in line for big minutes again tonight if Ty Lawson sits, although Lawson has been upgraded to questionable.  If Lawson plays, McLemore gets a major downgrade, especially at his elevated price point.  If Lawson sits, McLemore makes for a strong cash play based on his minutes and is a decent tournament option if you have differentiated elsewhere.  Tyreke Evans is an elite tournament pivot for $100 more on DraftKings where you only need one shooting guard, however.


Secondary: DeMar DeRozan, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope


Small Forward


Kawhi Leonard is more of a cash game play than a GPP play on this slate because of his price.  He always has a high floor because he plays heavy minutes and is a major part of the offensive, plus he contributes defensively.  It is very difficult for him to exceed his price point, however, because of the pace at which the Spurs play and the presence of LaMarcus Aldridge on offense.  Leonard will be defending the ball-dominant Carmelo Anthony, which gives him an increased opportunity for defensive stats.  In his last two games against Anthony where he has played over 30 minutes, Leonard has averaged 1.27 DraftKings points per minute.


Andrew Wiggins has a difficult matchup with Jimmy Butler, but he is playing very heavy minutes and has a 31 percent usage percentage in the four games since Zach Lavine’s season-ending injury.  Wiggins’ assist percentage has also climbed from 11.1 percent to 15.3 percent over those four games.  In two games against Butler over the last two seasons, Wiggins has averaged 1.05 DraftKings points per minute, which would put him in line for a nice total at his current price point.


Matt Barnes continues to play heavy minutes for the Kings with Rudy Gay sidelined.  The Pelicans represent a substantial increase in pace for the Kings and Barnes will benefit from some time on the floor against the second unit.  He also gets a boost if Ty Lawson returns because he has been more productive alongside Lawson this season.  Barnes averages 0.80 DraftKings points per minute with Lawson on the floor and Collison and Gay off, 0.94 DraftKings points per minute with Collison and Lawson both on the floor and Gay off, and just 0.70 DraftKings points per minute with Collison on the floor and Lawson and Gay off.


Secondary:  Jimmy Butler, Demarre Carroll


Power Forward


Anthony Davis will face off against DeMarcus Cousins tonight in a matchup that he has averaged 1.47 DraftKings points per minute in over the last two seasons (4 meetings).  He should spend some time matched up with Kosta Koufos instead of Cousins tonight, however, and he should thrive.  Terrence Jones is questionable for this game and, if he is out, we could see a small boost to Davis.  Tyreke Evans’ return hurts Davis a little bit, as he averages about 0.1 less DraftKings points per minute with Evans on the floor alongside him and Holiday, but he should be very productive nonetheless.


Kristaps Porzingis has played really poorly lately, but he has a surprisingly good matchup with LaMarcus Aldridge.  Porzingis has only faced Aldridge twice in his career, but he has eclipsted 40 DraftKings points in both meetings, averaging 1.38 DraftKings points per minute in those two games.  Aldridge has the 17th highest defended field goal percentage allowed amongst all forwards on shots from at least 15 feet away from the basket this season and Porzingis has a very strong perimeter game.  Porzingis’s decreasing price makes him worth the risk in GPPs since his minutes have been trending up somewhat recently.


Secondary:  LaMarcus Aldridge, Gorgui Dieng, Tobias Harris, Jon Leuer



Karl-Anthony Towns has a nice matchup with the Bulls and he has been very productive since Zach LaVine’s injury.  Some of that production may regress since he has been shooting incredibly well, but his usage percentage is up from 27.9 percent for the season to 30.4 percent since the injury.  Towns has seen a boost in productivity without LaVine over the course of the season as well, averaging 1.32 DraftKings points per minute in 462 minutes alongside Wiggins without LaVine, compared to 1.27 DraftKings points per minute in 1,265 minutes alongside Wiggins and LaVine.  Towns has also been much better at home this season, averaging nearly 5 points and 3 rebounds more per game in Minnesota.


Jonas Valanciunas is always a little bit risky because his minutes fluctuate, but when he is playing well he tends to be allowed to stay on the floor.  Andre Drummond has looked completely lost when he has to defend a big who can operate outside of the paint, and that is the case with Valanciunas.  Valanciunas will probably struggle to get many rebounds, but he is a capable scorer and we should see him have success against Drummond in that regard.  Valanciunas has faced Drummond four times in the last two seasons, with mixed results.  He posted 48.2 DraftKings points in 35.2 minutes in their only meeting this season and had 37 DraftKings points in 25.4 minutes last February.  He has duds of 18.2 and 19.2 DraftKings points in the other two games, however.  Overall, he has averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute over those four games.  He offers plenty of tournament upside in this matchup at his current prices across the industry.


Kyle O’Quinn has put together two good games in a row, which normally would mean to stay the Hell away tonight.  I do not think that is the case, however.  O’Quinn has been benched in-game against centers who can pull him away from the basket and force him to defend the perimeter.  That is not the case tonight with Dewayne Dedmon, however.  Dedmon also has been a very efficient roll-man for San Antonio and O’Quinn has defended the pick-and-roll much better than Guillermo Hernangomez this season.  It looks like another good spot for some KOQ.


Secondary: DeMarcus Cousins, DeWayne Dedmon, Andre Drummond