NBA Deep Dive 2/28/17


High Priced ($8,500+)


Russell Westbrook is the most expensive player on the slate in a difficult matchup with the Utah Jazz.  His price is lower than usual to account for the difficult matchup, however, and he is a high-upside GPP target.  He had a huge game against Utah in his last meeting and Utah has been vulnerable against driving point guards since Derrick Favors returned to the lineup.  Westbrook will also get a boost if Victor Oladipo misses this game as he averages 1.83 DraftKings points per minute without Oladipo on the floor compared to 1.76 alongside Oladipo.


Kevin Durant is returning home to Washington, D.C. to face a Wizards team that has struggled to defend wings lately in a fast-paced game.  Durant has been playing very well of late, as he has been picking up more assists to offset more of the offense running through Curry, and will benefit from some time against the Washington second unit that has nobody that can come close to defending him.  It is tough to predict who will have a big game for Golden State on a night-to-night basis, so my approach in this game will most likely be to look to Durant on DraftKings, where he is $200 more than Curry, and Curry on FanDuel, where he is $1,200 less.


Steph Curry makes for an excellent GPP option, particularly on FanDuel where he is less expensive than DraftKings.  Curry shot 0-11 from three last night against the Sixers and it is unlikely that people will want to roster him after that performance.  There is some risk as he has struggled on the road all season long, shooting just 43.5 percent overall and 35.1 percent from three compared to 50.1 percent overall and 46.8 percent from three at home.  He did not have that problem last season, however, so it is not something that we should be overly concerned about.  Anytime you can get Curry low-owned in a fast-paced game that has a good chance of staying close it is something to consider in GPPs.


Secondary: John Wall, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jokic


Mid-Range ($5,500-$8,400)


Mike Conley is priced to the top of his normal salary range but he has a very nice matchup against the Phoenix Suns.  Phoenix ranks 5th in pace and 26th in defensive rating over the last month and is not particularly concerned with winning games right now, choosing to focus on developing their young talent instead.  Conley exploded in a game at Phoenix earlier this season, so we know that the upside is there in a matchup in front of the home fans.  It would be nice if his price were a little bit lower, but he still has 50+ fantasy point upside at $8,000 or less in this matchup.

George Hill faces an Oklahoma City team that is allowing the 9th most points per 36 minutes and 9th highest field goal percentage to opposing guards since the start of February.  The Thunder are playing at the 7th fastest pace in the league over the last month so it is a nice boost in pace for Hill and the Jazz.  If Oladipo is sidelined, Hill will have an even more friendly matchup against the Westbrook-Abrines backcourt.  Hill averages the second most DraftKings points per minute amongst Jazz starters when the whole unit is on the floor (Gobert averages the most) at 0.94 points per minute.  He should top that number in this matchup because of the lack of defense and increase in pace, not to mention Gordon Hayward having a very difficult matchup with Andre Roberson.


D’Angelo Russell finally has somewhat stable minutes for the Lakers with the departure of Lou Williams and we should finally see him start to produce more consistently.   In two games since the trade, he has played 35.6 minutes against the Thunder and 29.4 minutes against the Spurs, attempting 26 and 16 field goals in those games.  He has a relatively friendly matchup against Kemba Walker and the Hornets tonight in a game that offers a ton of fantasy goodness across the board.  Russell has 45-50 fantasy points upside at a very reasonable price tonight.


Kemba Walker is a little expensive but gets a huge pace-up matchup against the Lakers, who rank 3rd in the NBA in pace over the last month and 27th in defensive rating.  In addition to being a poor defensive team as a whole, the Lakers rank 29th in field goal percentage allowed, 24th in three-point percentage allowed, 30th in assists allowed per 36 minutes and 30th in points allowed per 36 minutes to opposing starting guards since the start of February.  Walker seems to be getting on a roll after a stretch of poor play, as he has shot at least 50 percent from the field in four of his last five games dating back to before the All-Star break.


Dwyane Wade continues to play very well when he is healthy and he gets a massive boost in pace tonight against the Nuggets.  Denver is playing at the 8th fastest pace with the worst defensive rating in the league over the last month.  It is also a bit of a funnel spot for Wade as Jimmy Butler will likely have to deal with Wilson Chandler’s defense, making it a bit easier for Wade to score.  Wade has played 166 minutes this season alongside Jimmy Butler without Taj Gibson, Rondo or Carter-Williams on the floor and he is averaging 1.24 DraftKings points per minute, with a 28 percent usage percentage and 32 percent assist percentage.


Nicolas Batum has been shooting more offensively which, obviously, increases his ceiling.  He has attempted at least 17 field goals in three straight games.  He is very good in pace-up games and the Lakers play almost as fast as anyone.  Batum has a chance to flirt with a triple-double in this game and his price is low enough that he offers a very high floor to go along with a 50 point ceiling.


Wilson Chandler gets a boost in playing time and time at the four with Kenneth Faried sidelined and he will likely be tasked with defending Jimmy Butler, which gives him increased opportunities for defensive stats.  Chicago does not have an imposing frontcourt and Chandler should be able to do damage offensively.  His price has come down from where it was when the entire Denver team was injured and he has 40+ fantasy point upside at a mid-$6,000 price range and allows you to roster a power forward at small forward.


T.J. Warren finally has stable minutes with the departure of P.J. Tucker and is in a bit of a foul spot.  Eric Bledsoe will be facing Mike Conley while Devin Booker deals with Tony Allen, leaving T.J. Warren against Chandler Parsons.  We have seen small forwards success against Memphis this season as long as they are playing alongside someone that will command Tony Allen’s attention and force Parsons to defend them.  That is the case for Warren tonight and he is still reasonably priced despite playing 38 and 39 minutes in his two games since Tucker was traded.


Frank Kaminsky remains a very strong play if Cody Zeller is sidelined.  He will play as many minutes as he can handle at center if Zeller is out, and the Lakers do not have anyone to match up with him on the perimeter.  He also will have an opportunity to grab more rebounds than he did in recent matchups against DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond and will benefit from more overall rebounding opportunities due to the pace as well.  He is getting expensive on DraftKings, but still has some upside, and is incredibly underpriced on FanDuel at just $5,900.


Julius Randle makes for a very nice tournament play while his price is still below $6,000.  He has played 28.7 and 27.8 minutes in two games since the break, but did not see the fourth quarter in one of those games.  His minutes should be somewhat more stable without Lou Williams because Luke Walton likes to play Randle, Russell and Nick Young together as a unit, which has led to Randle losing minutes at times if Williams takes over a game and the second unit stays on the floor.  Charlotte is vulnerable inside, especially if Zeller and Marvin Williams (who are both questionable) miss this game.  There is still some risk to rostering Randle but there is a ton of upside.


Rudy Gobert had a monster game against the Wizards and is in a nice spot tonight against the Thunder, especially for his price.  He is in an excellent spot to pick up blocks against Russell Westbrook drives.  The only concern is that Steven Adams is able to limit his rebounds, holding him to just 12 and 10 in their last two meetings.  Still, Gobert is priced closer to his floor than his ceiling in a pace-up matchup with block upside.  Gobert is averaging 1.08 DraftKings points per minute this season alongside Hill, Hood, Hayward and Favors and it increases to 1.22 points per minute when Favors comes off the floor.


Secondary: C.J. McCollum, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (especially FanDuel), Bradley Beal, Klay Thompson, Otto Porter, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol


Value ($3,000-$5,400)


Reggie Jackson played 33.4 minutes against Boston after coach Stan Van Gundy came out and said that he needed to find ways to get Jackson’s offensive game on track, while praising his defense- if you want to call “he tries defensively” praise.  There is a ton of risk with Jackson right now with Ish Smith playing very well off the bench and the risk is increased today as he faces a high-usage point guard that he will have to defend because Caldwell-Pope will have his hands full with McCollum.  That being said, there is a ton of upside here.  Portland has done a pretty good job against opposing guards of late, but Jackson has averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute against Lillard in three games since joining Detroit, picking up at least 40 DraftKings points in each game.  That is not necessarily an indicator of future performance but it is enough to show that he has tournament upside at his current price that could be worth the risk.


Nikola Mirotic has played at least 29 minutes in each game since the trade deadline and he should get extended run again tonight as long as he is playing well.  That, of course, is a legitimate concern when discussing Mirotic, however.  He has a very friendly matchup with the Nuggets and is still inexpensive enough that he has a nice ceiling, especially on FanDuel at just $4,400.  He is likely to be a popular option and is capable of busting in pretty much any matchup so he is not a lock, especially in GPPs, but he is a viable option if you are different elsewhere and need a cheap forward with upside.


Jusuf Nurkic let everyone down against Toronto, in large part because of foul trouble, but he has a pretty good bounce-back spot tonight against the Pistons.  Opposing starting centers have the 5th highest field goal percentage against the Pistons over the last month and, somewhat surprisingly, are doing well on the boards as well, as Detroit ranks 20th in rebounds allowed per 36 minutes.  Nurkic is still underpriced, especially on FanDuel, and it is possible that people will jump off after his last outing.  It is not easy to predict foul trouble, but opposing centers average the third fewest fouls per 36 minutes against the Pistons, which makes sense since Drummond’s offensive game consists of catching the ball and dunking it.


Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a very nice matchup in a pace-up game against a Lakers team that has plenty of long bodies that give him a reason to be on the floor.  We have seen him grab a ton of rebounds of late, with at least 10 in three straight games before he only got 6 against the Clippers.  The pace of this game and the inefficiency of Lakers’ shooters will give him a chance to get back over 10 rebounds and it is likely that he flirts with a double-double in this one.


Secondary: Toney Douglas, Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson, Mo Harkless, Marqueese Chriss



High-Risk/High-Reward GPP Value

There are several high-risk/high-reward options on this slate that I thought deserved their own category because they could 10x and they could also score 10 points.


Bojan Bogdanovic is one of my favorite tournament plays on the slate.  The Wizards will need all the offensive firepower they can get in this game and Bogdanovic helps with that.  He played 33 minutes against Utah, in large part because of foul trouble to Bradley Beal and then Markieff Morris getting ejected.  There was a span, however, where the Wizards used a lineup of Wall-Beal-Bogdanovic-Porter-Morris and that lineup would make a ton of sense tonight against the Warriors.  Bogdanovic is dirt cheap across the industry and can easily outproduce his salary if this game goes small.


Alex Len lost a ton of playing time in his last game against Milwaukee, with Alan Williams coming out of nowhere to pick up about 34 minutes of playing time.  It looks like Williams was basically used to matchup against Greg Monroe, which makes sense, since Monroe is a banger inside and Williams is a 6’7 240-pound wrecking ball.  Gasol is more of a finesse player, however, and Len matchups up better as they are both 7’1 and Len weighs only about 10 pounds less.  It is still a difficult matchup, but the bulk of the minutes should go to Len in this one.


Bobby Portis is not particularly good at basketball, but he is extremely athletic and energetic and a pace-up game against the Nuggets is the type of game where he could do well.  There is not to support him in the way of stats since his minutes are so questionable even though he starts, but he makes sense as a contrarian leverage play off of Mirotic if you want to get cute.


Jeremy Lamb played a ton of minutes against the Clippers, including all of overtime.  Some of that was necessitated by foul trouble, but Marco Belinelli barely played in the second half and Lamb took all of his minutes.  There is no way to know if he will take some of Belinelli’s minutes again tonight, but Lamb is averaging just over 1 DraftKings point per minute this season so the upside is certainly there in a fast matchup that suits him very well.