NBA Deep Dive 2/16/17


Note:  This is a two-game slate, so basically everyone is playable.  These are my favorite plays and a couple guys that should fly under the radar in tournaments.


Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers


This game has a 215.5 point Vegas total with a 2.5 point spread.  The Pacers are on the second game of a back-to-back, after losing to the Cavaliers last night, while the Wizards have not played since February 13th– and the starters played limited minutes in that game because they blew out the Thunder.  Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat played the fewest minutes in that game, with just 22.7 and 24.6 minutes respectively.


John Wall has averaged 1.3 DraftKings points per minute in the two games against Indiana that Bradley Beal did not get injured in, which is more or less in line with his season average of 1.34 DraftKings points per minute.  I generally do not put much, if any, weight into how players perform based on how much rest they have had, but on small slates it is worth looking for any possible edge even if it is not the most reliable.  Over the last two seasons, Wall has played 27 games on at least 3 days of rest and, according to Fantasy Labs, has outperformed expectation 55 percent of the time by an average of 3.16 DraftKings points.  He has played 11 games on at least three days of rest that had a spread of less than five points and a total of between 205 and 220, and he has outperformed expectations 63 percent of the time by an average of 3.2 DraftKings points.  Wall is expensive, but reasonable, and makes for a very strong cash game play since he should see heavy minutes and has a very high floor.  It is unlikely that he significantly outproduces his price in tournaments but, on a slate this small, there is plenty of value in locking in 45-55 fantasy points from Wall.


Marcin Gortat has been very consistent and productive in his three matchups with Myles Turner this season.  He is averaging exactly 1 DraftKings point per minute in those games and has not produced less than 38 DraftKings points.  Do not be alarmed by his minutes against Oklahoma City since that game was a blowout and Gortat played 7 minutes in the second half.  Gortat played at least 33 minutes in each of his last 5 games before the Oklahoma City game, despite the Washington frontcourt finally getting healthier.  Like Wall, Gortat has performed well on at least three days of rest over the last two seasons, outperforming expectations 72 percent of the time by an average of 6 DraftKings points in the 11 games he has played on at least 3 days of rest with a close spread and total between 205 and 220.  He is an elite play in all formats.


Jason Smith makes for an interesting GPP punt that will go overlooked.  Smith is averaging 18.1 minutes per game over his last five games, skewed upward slightly by the blowout against Oklahoma City- although he still only played about 21 minutes because the Wizards shuffled their rotation so that Smith got no third quarter minutes before playing the fourth.  The reason Smith has any appeal at all is because he is averaging 0.86 DraftKings points per minute this season.  Things will obviously need to break Smith’s way for him to have a good night, but at least we know that he is productive with the minutes that he gets.  He is the absolute minimum on DraftKings and $100 over the minimum on FanDuel at a very weak power forward position so there is some merit to plugging him in to save salary and hoping for the best.


Jeff Teague remains cheap across the industry and will be needed tonight if the Pacers are going to beat a very good Wizards team (yes, I am biased).  The Wizards have played excellent defense lately, ranking 6th in defensive rating since the start of February and 4th in defensive rating since the start of 2017.  Teague has averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute against the Wizards this season, but his performance has trended down in each game and he struggled against the Wizards last week, producing just 32 DraftKings points in 30.6 minutes on 4-12 shooting.  If you do roster Teague, it is a good idea to pair him with Myles Turner or Paul George.  Of Teague’s top 10 fantasy performances this season, 4 of them have occurred in a top 10 game for Turner and 2 have occurred in a top 10 game for George.


Kevin Seraphin gets to face his former team again tonight with Thaddeus Young out and Lavoy Allen questionable.  Seraphin has played at least 25 minutes in three of his last four games and should be in line for a similar workloard tonight if Allen misses.  He was very productive against this Wizards team last week and is a very strong punt option tonight.


Monta Ellis has been playing a lot of minutes lately and has been surprisingly productive.  He has played at least 27 minutes in four straight games and seems to have a secure role in the rotation, as it was Rodney Stuckey who barely saw any playing time last night while Ellis closed the game alongside the starting unit.  He will likely be a popular play, which makes him a fade candidate in tournaments since he is still just a 0.6-0.7 fantasy point per minute producer for the season, but the minutes should be there.


Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls


This game is also supposed to be close and high-scoring, with the game a pick’em with a 212.5 Vegas total.  Dwyane Wade has been ruled out and Nikola Mirotic is probable for the Bulls.


Isaiah Thomas has not been as productive lately but is still consistently producing around 45 DraftKings points.  At $9,300 on DraftKings and $10,000 on FanDuel, he makes for an interesting pivot off the, most likely, higher owned John Wall.  Thomas has shown that he has 60+ fantasy point upside and the Bulls have not done a good job of defending opposing guards of late.  Since the start of February (7 games), the Bulls rank 20th in points, 28th in assists, and 27th in field goal percentage allowed per 36 minutes to opposing guards.  Thomas has a very high ceiling for his price in this matchup.


Kelly Olynyk has been playing very well lately as a result of seeing steady minutes.  He has averaged 0.94 DraftKings points per minute for the season and has played at least 25 minutes in three straight games and at least 22 in five of his last six, up from his season average of 21.1 minutes per game.  He is likely to be a very popular option tonight but he is still too cheap for his current role and makes for a strong play in any format.


Rajon Rondo faces his former team without Dwyane Wade.  Rondo has been locked into 22-25 minutes per game lately and that should continue tonight with Wade sidelined.  Rondo averages 0.99 DraftKings points per minute alongside Butler without Wade and 1.03 DraftKings points per minute when Wade and Butler are both off the floor.  He is a strong GPP option on sites where his price is in the low-mid $4,000 range.


Nikola Mirotic is probable for tonight’s game and has seen an increase in minutes in games without Dwyane Wade this season.  Mirotic averages 0.81 DraftKings points per minute alongside Butler without Rondo and Wade and 0.84 DraftKings points alongside Rondo and Butler this season.  He is significantly underpriced and is one of the best GPP options on the slate.


Jimmy Butler is a top option in any format with Wade sidelined.  Butler has averaged 1.49 DraftKings points per minute without Wade or Rondo on the floor this season and 1.28 alongside Rondo without Wade.  Butler played about 13 of his 37.8 minutes alongside Rondo in the game against Toronto, so he should be in line for a very nice stat line.  He is a safe option with some upside.