NBA Deep Dive 2/26/17


High-Priced ($8,500+)


Russell Westbrook is the most expensive player on the slate in a fast-paced game against the New Orleans Pelicans.  Jrue Holiday is a very good defender but Westbrook is matchup proof and has been relatively successful against New Orleans in each of his three matchups this season, posting at least 63.5 DraftKings points in each game while averaging 1.88 points per minute, which is in line with his season average.  Victor Oladipo is questionable for tonight’s game and Westbrook gets a boost if he misses.  Westbrook is slightly less efficient without Oladipo on the floor, dropping from a 54.6 true shooting percentage to 52.8, but he gets a slight increase in usage from 41.9 percent to 43 percent and his assist percentage increases from 49.9 percent alongside Oladipo to 60.3 percent without him.  The only issue with Westbrook today is whether or not enough value opens up to be able to afford him.


Anthony Davis had a big game last night and he has not taken a backseat to DeMarcus Cousins so far.  His statline from last night is a little misleading because he did a ton of damage in the second quarter without Cousins on the floor due to foul trouble, but he has a 34.4 usage percentage in the 44 minutes he has played alongside Cousins so far.  His true shooting percentage is very low alongside Cousins, which has kept his fantasy production down in those minutes, but we will have to wait and see if that is a long-term issue since we have never seen him play with another dominant big before.  Davis has a better matchup than Cousins tonight since he will most likely not be dealing with Steven Adams as much.  Davis’s price is still too low for his ceiling in a pace-up game where he has a friendly matchup, just know that last night’s results are a little bit deceiving and that there will likely be fluctuations in his performance from night-to-night as he adjusts to life alongside Boogie.


Blake Griffin has a very good matchup with a small Charlotte frontcourt.  Charlotte has the third worst rebounding percentage in the NBA since Cody Zeller’s injury and Griffin is too cheap on DraftKings at just $8,600 (he is a strong play on FanDuel at $9,500 as well).  Griffin flirted with a triple-double in a matchup with Charlotte earlier this month, scoring 20 points with 12 rebounds and 8 assists.  Chris Paul was out for that game so we probably will not see the same assist numbers but it is still a phenomenal spot for Griffin, who has a 29.9 usage percentage, a 22.1 assist percentage and is averaging 1.23 DraftKings points per minute alongside Chris Paul this season.


DeMar DeRozan is in a fantastic spot if Kyle Lowry sits out of today’s game with his wrist injury, which seems likely.  DeRozan has played 508 minutes without Lowry this season and has a 42.5 usage percentage, 20.9 assist percentage and 1.36 DraftKings points per minute average in those minutes.  He played 28 minutes alongside Ibaka without Lowry in his last game against Boston and had a usage percentage of 50 percent so we should not be worried about Ibaka cutting into his production.  Portland is not the awful defensive team that they were earlier in the year, but they are still not a bad matchup and we should expect another big game from DeRozan if Lowry is out.


Secondary: DeMarcus Cousins, Nikola Jokic


Mid-Range ($5,600-$8,400)


Chris Paul is too cheap after his price dropped a little bit while he was injured.  It was a thumb injury, so we do not need to worry about his minutes being restricted and we saw him play 32.5 minutes in his first game back from the injury.  Paul is averaging 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 23.7 usage percentage and 42.3 assist percentage alongside Blake Griffin this season and he has a good matchup against Kemba Walker.


Wilson Chandler has a difficult matchup with the Grizzlies but his price has finally fallen as a result of the Nuggets getting healthier and the difficult matchup.  Kenneth Faried left the last game early and, if he is sidelined, we should see a boost for Wilson Chandler as more minutes become available at the four.  Chandler is averaging 33.6 minutes per game without Faried this season, compared to 30.4 when he plays.  He is unlikely to be popular because of his matchup, but he has upside at his price.


Rudy Gobert has a pace-up matchup against the Wizards and remains very reasonably priced.  He is averaging 1.02 DraftKings points per minute alongside the full starting five for the Jazz, which is the most on the team.  In addition to playing at the 9th fastest pace in the league over the last month, the Wizards rank 25th in offensive rebounds allowed to opposing starting centers per 36 minutes over that span.  If they are unable to keep Gobert off the offensive glass he will be in for a huge game.


Andre Drummond gets his dream matchup against Al Horford and the Celtics tonight.  He has been phenomenal against Al Horford in previous matchups going back to Horford’s time with Atlanta.  Drummond has averaged 1.44 DraftKings points per minute in his last seven games against Horford going back to last season.  He could see more of Amir Johnson than Horford tonight, but Johnson is an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter than Horford so that is not likely to be a good solution either.  Drummond is averaging 1.39 DraftKings points per minute against the Celtics going back to last season, so his dominance does not rely solely on the matchup with Horford.  Look for a dominant game from Drummond tonight.


Nicolas Batum has a tough matchup on paper, as the Clippers are a much better defensive team with Chris Paul than without him.  His price has plummeted, however, and it is in large part due to poor shooting over his last couple of games.  Batum played 40 minutes two games ago against Detroit and 34 minutes in his last game against Sacramento and he attempted 17 shots in each game.  He made just 6 and 4 of his field goal attempts, respectively, so his usage and minutes are not reflected in his fantasy output.  Batum is capable of contributing in every category and has a very high ceiling if he continues to be aggressive offensively.  Batum has not faced the Clippers this season, and faced them just once last season, but he has had success against them going back his days with the Blazers.  He is a strong play at one of the lower price points that we will see him at.


Secondary: Frank Kaminsky, Zach Randolph, Marcus Smart, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Mike Conley, Danilo Gallinari, Marcus Morris, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan



Value ($3,000-$5,500)


Jusuf Nurkic saw his price jump to the top of the value range but he is still too cheap in his new role with Portland against a Toronto frontcourt that is still relatively soft, especially when Valanciunas is in the game.  We saw in Denver that Nurkic has talent; the issue was always his playing time.  He is getting playing time now for Portland, playing 34.3 minutes against Orlando in his first start with the team.  He has played 57 minutes with Portland so far, and has a 21.7 usage percentage, a 15 percent assist rate and 19.6 percent rebounding rate in that time.  He has also been active on the defensive end with 3 steals and at least one block in each game.


Darrell Arthur is usually not someone that I roster under any circumstances but there is not a lot of value to be had as of right now.  If Kenneth Faried is out, it opens up some more minues for Arthur, who is averaging 20 minutes per game without Faried this season.  Arthur has also had surprisingly good games against Memphis, his former team, in the past.  He has played them five times since the start of last season and is averaging 1 DraftKings point per minute.  He still does not have a high ceiling since he will not see huge minutes, but he is priced near the minimum across the industry and is currently one of the better value plays available if Faried sits.


Alex Abrines saw just shy of 30 minutes with Victor Oladipo sidelined against the Lakers and he produced, scoring 19 real-life points.  The concern with Abrines is that his fantasy production was entirely scoring dependent as he had no other stats other than two rebounds in his 29.1 minutes of playing time.  He is cheap enough that he has some upside, however, as long as his shot is falling.  There will probably be better value that opens up throughout the day but, as of now, Abrines is one of the better plays if Oladipo is ruled out.


Secondary: Tobias Harris, Reggie Jackson, Derrick Favors, Tony Allen, Taj Gibson