NBA Deep Dive 2/4/17


High Priced ($8,500+)


Anthony Davis gets a rematch against a Washington team that he destroyed last week when he recorded 36 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 3 steals.  Washington does not have anyone to match up with him because of his ability to play away from the basket.  The only concern with Davis is that this game is in Washington and he tends to not perform as well on the road, but there is still plenty of upside in this matchup as Davis and Jrue Holiday will be leaned on heavily if New Orleans is to compete in this game.


John Wall has a very tough matchup with Jrue Holiday, who has been one of the best defenders in the NBA this season.  That said, Wall is still a strong play because he will play a ton of minutes and he should pick up plenty of assists (19 in their previous matchup) to make up for any decrease in efficiency since New Orleans will struggle mightily to defend Beal and Porter on the perimeter.  Wall is a little bit more of a cash play than a GPP play in my opinion because he does not hit the ceiling we want for his price tag very often, but there is merit to pairing him with Porter or Beal in GPPs because they correlate positively.  In the previous meeting with New Orleans, 6 of Wall’s assists were to Beal and 5 were to Porter.


Kawhi Leonard gets a huge boost in pace against a Denver team that also struggles defensively.  LaMarcus Aldridge is questionable for this game and, if he sits, Leonard will see a huge boost in productivity.  Even if Aldridge plays, Leonard makes for a strong play at small forward at a significant discount compared to the other high-priced options in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.


Nikola Jokic is a much stronger play on DraftKings than FanDuel today because of price, although he does have upside on both sites.  Jokic returned from injury yesterday against the Bucks and posted his first triple-double of the season.  The most encouraging sign for me was that he played 32.2 minutes, despite Mike Malone saying before the game that they would look to limit him to 25-28.  That tells me that Jokic is feeling good and the Nuggets do not feel that they need to be overly protective with their young phenom in his return.  San Antonio is obviously a strong defensive team, but their frontcourt can be vulnerable and Jokic is a matchup nightmare for anyone.  He shot 14 for 22 against San Antonio last month, scoring 35 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.  At just $8,900 on DraftKings he is an elite play, although there is reason to be a little worried since he is on the second game of a back-to-back.


Stephen Curry is seeing his price rise quickly, but he remains in play as it seems that he is returning to the form he had last season.  Kevin Durant told him to play his game and not worry about making sure he (Durant) fit in and Curry has been more assertive and productive since.  Curry has taken at least 20 shots in four consecutive games, despite the fact that he did not see the floor in the fourth quarter in two of those games.  He has already posted a 60+ fantasy score against the Kings this season and it would not be surprising at all to see another monster game out of Curry.


Giannis Antetokounmpo has not shown his upside lately, but he gets a friendly matchup with Phoenix tonight.  The Suns have a tendency to bring out the upside in everyone, ranking 28th in defensive rating since the start of January.  It is worth noting that they are playing at just the 22nd fastest pace over that time, so they are not quite as good to target players against as they were earlier in the season.  Giannis plays heavy minutes just about every night and is a triple-double threat whenever he takes the floor, despite not showing it lately.


Karl-Anthony Towns has a difficult matchup with the Grizzlies tonight, but his price has dropped $1,600 in his last two games on DraftKings to account for the matchup.  He has faced a Marc Gasol-led frontcourt four times in his career and has had very little success, averaging just 0.94 DraftKings points per minute.  If it looks like Towns is going to be a popular play at that price then there are better plays but, if people are writing him off, he makes for a great tournament play regardless of the matchup because he still has massive upside for that price.


DeMarcus Cousins will be needed for the depleted Kings if they are going to keep this game with Golden State close.  Draymond Green is expected back for Golden State, which strengthens their frontcourt defense, but Cousins still has a very high ceiling as he has a 40.8 usage percentage and is averaging 1.54 DraftKings points per minute without Gay on the floor this season.


Core: Anthony Davis, John Wall, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic (DraftKings), Stephen Curry, DeMarcus Cousins

Secondary: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Eric Bledsoe, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic (FanDuel)


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


Jrue Holiday has been incredibly productive lately as his playing time has finally increased.  He has played at least 30 minutes in six straight games and at least 35 minutes in four in a row, attempting at least 17 field goals in all four of those games.  Tonight is a rematch against Washington and he will be needed if New Orleans is to compete.  He posted a 26-11-4 line in this matchup last game and we should expect him to have success again tonight.  Pairing him with Anthony Davis in GPPs is a very strong play, as 7 of his 11 assists in the last game against Washington were to Davis.


Elfrid Payton has not had a big game in a while, but he gets a very nice matchup against Atlanta tonight.  He is not quite as appealing now that Fournier is back, but he continues to play over 30 minutes per game and Atlanta has been poor against opposing points guards this season.  Payton has already had success in this matchup twice this season, scoring 56.8 DraftKings points in 35.3 minutes and 36 DraftKings points in 34.7 minutes.  He makes for a strong tournament option that may go overlooked in a very good matchup, especially on sites that have quickly dropped his price as the Magic have gotten healthier.


George Hill is criminally underpriced for a pace-up game against the Hornets.  Hill has not been very productive lately, partly as the result of a prolonged shooting slump, but he has shown that he has a high ceiling plenty of times this season.  He continues to be locked into 32-36 minutes per night and the Jazz will be without Rodney Hood tonight which could open the door for extra offensive opportunities for Hill.


Reggie Jackson has a very friendly matchup against Jeff Teague and the Pacers.  Jackson runs the pick-and-roll on 58.5 percent of his plays, averaging .90 points per possession which ranks in the 70th percentile this season.  The Pacers as a team allow the 9th most points per possession to opposing ball-handlers and Jeff Teague ranks in the 44th percentile amongst individual defenders.  Jackson has faced Teague twice this season and averaged 1.5 DraftKings points per minute.


Jeff Teague has a risky matchup but there is upside.  If Reggie Jackson defends Teague, he will be in line for a massive game, as Jackson ranks in the 39th percentile in pick-and-roll defense and has been abused by Teague for a game and a half already this season.  Teague is a risky play, however, because the Pistons began guarding him with Caldwell-Pope about halfway through the game in their last matchup and Teague did absolutely nothing from that point forward.  It remains to be seen how Stan Van Gundy approaches this game defensively but, if you decide to go heavy on Teague in tournaments, it is not a bad idea to make a few C.J. Miles lineups that do not have Teague because he will benefit from Reggie Jackson defense if the Pistons stick Caldwell-Pope on Teague.


Bradley Beal has a phenomenal matchup against Buddy Hield and the Pelicans.  Hield has allowed the 5th highest defended field goal percentage among guards who have started at least 20 games this season (45.5 percent) and his back-up, E’Twaun Moore, has allowed the 2nd highest defended field goal percentage at 50 percent.  It is a funnel spot for Beal as he is in a great spot while Wall has to deal with Jrue Holiday.  We can expect plenty of opportunity and efficiency from Beal tonight.


Devin Booker continues to produce consistently as a result of heavy minutes and plenty of shots.  He is also in a sort of funnel spot tonight against the Bucks.  Milwaukee usually looks to double team opposing ball-handlers on the pick-and-roll, leaving the weakside open if the point guard is able to get them the ball.  This should lead to Bledsoe having to give up the ball and Booker benefitting from more possessions and open looks.  He is reasonably priced across the industry and is a strong play in any format.


Otto Porter, like Beal, is in a funnel spot facing a weak perimeter defense while John Wall has a tough matchup.  Porter leads the league in three-point percentage and takes spot-up jumpers on 35.3 percent of his possessions, with a phenomenal 72.7 effective field goal percentage and 1.43 points per possession, ranking him in the 97th percentile.  Solomon Hill has struggled against spot-up shooters this season, allowing 1.05 points per possession and ranking in the 38th percentile amongst defenders.  Porter and Beal should not be played in the same lineup, as they tend to not have big games at the same time, but Porter is a very strong option tonight.


Carmelo Anthony has struggled in his last two games, but Derrick Rose is expected to miss this game once again.  Anthony is averaging 1.19 DraftKings and 1.11 FanDuel points per minute without Rose on the floor this season (alongside Porzingis) and he should be plenty motivated for a matchup against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.  He may go overlooked in tournaments since he has let people down the last two games, but he has plenty of upside at his price.


Gordon Hayward benefits from the injury to Rodney Hood as he averaged 1.11 DraftKings points per minute alongside Hill but without Hood this season.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can be a capable defender, but Hayward’s price is low enough that the increased opportunity for offensive production and the boost in pace should offset any increases in inefficiency.


Serge Ibaka had a monster game last night and is in another very good spot tonight against the Hawks.  Ibaka is a capable shooter, ranking in the 74th percentile among spot-up shooters with 1.09 points per possession, and he will be defended by Paul Millsap who, while being a strong defender in the paint, has allowed the 15th highest defended field goal percentage amongst all forwards who have started at least 20 games this season.


Ersan Ilyasova will get another game without Joel Embiid and, possibly, Robert Covington.  Embiid’s absence is the big deal for Ilyasova, as he averages 0.99 DraftKings points per minute without Embiid or Covington on the floor and 1.05 DraftKings points per minute alongside Covington without Embiid.  The issue with Ilyasova had been that he did not see extended playing time even when Embiid was out, but he has played at least 30 minutes in three of his last four games.


James Johnson continues to be relatively cheap across the industry and is a point-per-minute producer.  He only played 23 minutes in a blowout against Atlanta, but still posted over 30 DraftKings points.  Before that, he had played at least 30 minutes in three straight games.  Philadelphia has played at the 4th fastest pace in the league since the start of January and has the highest turnover percentage in the league over that time, so Johnson should be able to pick up plenty of defensive stats to go along with any offense that he provides.


Kevin Love is expected back from injury tonight and is too cheap across the industry.  Kristaps Porzingis has been a strong interior defender this season, but has struggled on the perimeter and we should see Love be able to take advantage.  He is likely to go overlooked after missing two games with injury and we can capitalize in tournaments.


Myles Turner let down a lot of people last night, which means we can probably take advantage in GPPs as he draws another friendly matchup.  Andre Drummond has looked absolutely lost this season whenever he has to defend someone outside of the paint and Turner is obviously very capable of playing away from the basket.  His price is somewhat elevated, but he has been allowed to play plenty of minutes lately and he has 40+ fantasy point upside in this matchup.


Andre Drummond is a strong play as well, as it is a pace-up game and he should be able to have his way against Turner on the glass.  We like to roster Drummond in games where he will be able to clean the offensive glass and get put-back dunks.  Indiana is allowing the 6th most rebounds per game to opposing centers since the start of January and the 5th most offensive rebounds.


Dwight Howard faces another former team tonight after destroying the Rockets in his last game.  Howard has been allowed to play heavy minutes in close games lately, including 37.2 in his last game.  Howard has faced Orlando twice already this season, posting 20 points and 16 rebounds in 28.9 minutes and 13 points and 12 rebounds in 29.8 minutes.  Vucevic was not active in either of those games, but that does not move the needle.


Rudy Gobert is in a great spot in an uptempo game against a depleted Charlotte frontcourt where Frank Kaminsky will be starting at center.  Kaminsky has no chance at stopping Gobert from crashing the offensive boards and getting put-backs.  In addition, Gobert is averaging 1.18 DraftKings points per minute alongside Hill and Hayward without Hood this season, up from his season average of 1.10 points per minute.  He may go overlooked since there are a ton of strong center options and people hate rostering him, but he has a ton of upside tonight.


Secondary:  Kemba Walker, Dennis Schroder, Mike Conley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Klay Thompson, Nicolas Batum, Andrew Wiggins, Wilson Chandler, Markieff Morris, Paul Millsap, Kristaps Porzingis, Zach Randolph, Jabari Parker, Hassan Whiteside, Nikola Vucevic


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


Darren Collison played over 37 minutes last night and will be forced into heavy minutes again tonight, especially if Aaron Afflalo misses another game.  Golden State is an elite defensive team, but they also play at the fastest pace in the league and, at Collison’s price point, minutes equal value as long as the player is at least semi-competent.  There is a ton of opportunity cost at point guard today, but Collison is a strong value option if you need to pay down.


Alec Burks is likely to be the prime beneficiary from Rodney Hood’s absence among Jazz backups.  He played more minutes that Joe Ingles in the last two games the last time Hood was injured, and did so again last game when Hood was injured in the second quarter.  Burks also closed all three games.  We can expect him to play at least 23-25 minutes tonight, with the possibility for more if he plays well and/or Quin Snyder trusts that he is not a re-injury concern.


Matt Barnes played over 35 minutes last night and will be needed again tonight due to Sacramento’s depleted team.  He is cheap enough that he should be able to easily reach an acceptable floor in a huge pace-up game where he will be defending a high usage player.  His upside is more of a question, especially given his popularity in tournaments, but there is nothing wrong with rostering him in any format.


Frank Kaminsky is going to get destroyed on the defensive end, but he could have a little success offensively as he plays on the perimeter and will not be as affected by Gobert’s defensive abilities.  At the very least, he should see a ton of time on the floor given the lack of other bigs on the Hornets roster at the moment.


Guillermo Hernangomez is getting more expensive, but he has shown massive upside as he posted over 40 DraftKings points in about 24 minutes in his last game.  Jeff Hornacek, once again, came out and said that he needs to play Hernangomez more.  It remains to be seen if he will sneak into the starting lineup but he is still cheap enough that he can pay off his price tag very nicely even if he sees around 25 minutes off the bench.  He is a stronger play on sites that allow you to roster multiple centers.


John Henson played over 30 minutes last night and is minimum price.  Who knows what Jason Kidd will do with his rotation tonight, but we do know that Miles Plumlee is no longer on the team so that is one less option available to Kidd at the moment.  Henson is a strong punt option with a high ceiling if things go well.


Secondary: T.J. McConnell, T.J. Johnson, Tony Parker, Ty Lawson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Malcolm Brogdon, Kent Bazemore, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, TJ Warren, Jon Leuer, Tristan Thompson, Dewayne Dedmon, Javale McGee