NBA Deep Dive 2/6/17
Russell Westbrook turns up the heat when necessary, and it’ll likely be necessary on Monday when he faces the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana is currently a 4.5-point home favorite against a Thunder team that looks to have gotten back on track after notching wins against the Grizzlies and Blazers, but they’ll also be playing their second of a back-to-back on the road. Westbrook’s peripherals have taken a hit on the second leg of back-to-backs, but he’s still averaging north of 30 points and nearly 60 fantasy points per game. His astronomical price point makes him a rather tough fit on an expansive 11-game slate, but with Harden off the schedule no player offers Westbrook’s upside on Monday. Westbrook’s value remains in flux, though, as we’ll have to wait and see what value opens up throughout the day before plugging him into lineups.
John Wall won’t come cheap anymore, but his spectacular fantasy totals should keep him firmly in play against Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers. The Wizards have won 17 straight games at the Verizon Center and haven’t lost at home since December 6th. Wall is averaging 52.2 fantasy points per game in that span, and has shown no signs of slowing down heading into this matchup with Cleveland. Washington is a surprising 1-point favorite this evening in what’s projected to be one of the highest scoring games on Monday’s slate, so although Wall is now sporting a mid-$10K price tag across the board, there’s no reason we should be ignoring him.
Not only is Kyrie Irving battling a minor injury, but he’s been terrible defensively even when at full health. The Cavaliers are allowing the most points per possession to ball handlers in the pick-and-roll with a league-worst 51.5 percent eFG allowed. Wall ranks fourth in PnR scoring on the season and should have no trouble picking this Cleveland team apart on Monday. Wall hasn’t played since Saturday, so he should be well-rested for a competitive high-scoring affair in Washington. He remains a top option across the board despite his inflated salary.
LeBron James should also be strongly considered in the same game as Wall, as he’ll be relied upon to carry his stumbling Cavaliers to a road win against the surging Wizards. James would’ve been a more enticing option had Kyrie Irving been expected to sit, but he should still excel against a Washington club that doesn’t have the personnel to contain him. In a contest that currently owns a 1-point spread and a 219.5-point total, it’s only logical to project James for elite fantasy totals on Monday.
This may come as a surprise to some, but LeBron is enjoying one of the best statistical campaigns of his career, tying career highs in rebounds (8 REB/G) and assists (8.6 AST/G) more than halfway through the season. His 37.5 minutes per game are also the second highest mark in basketball behind only Kyle Lowry. James needs to be in consideration as a very strong play at a weak small forward position, as he should log upwards of 40 minutes in a tough matchup with the new-look Wizards.
Anthony Davis has been uncharacteristically passive in his last four meetings with the Suns, averaging only 13.5 field goal attempts despite playing a whopping 42 MPG over that span. I’m sure this is just noise, but I remember all of these games vividly, and had two of them not gone to overtime Davis’ shot volume would’ve been even less encouraging. Fortunately, these teams have played each other very close in recent years, subsequently facilitating big minutes for Davis whether he’s been aggressive or not.
What makes Monday’s matchup different than past meetings with Phoenix, however, is that Davis will be starting at the five, where he’s been logging the entirety of his playing time in recent weeks. Phoenix has been smacked around by opposing bigs this season, allowing the second most points, fifth most rebounds, third most assists, fourth highest field goal percentage and most free throw attempts to the center position. They’re also serving up the fourth most PPP to roll men in the pick-and-roll, where Davis leads the league in scoring.
Tyson Chandler’s fantasy totals have been strong, but he’s struggled defensively with a 110 DRtg and 54 percent shooting allowed at the rim. He lacks the athleticism to contend with Davis, and to make matters worse, Chandler is sporting the worst block rate (1.3%) of his career. Consider Davis a strong option across the industry, but not a must play on a night where we have a plethora of alternative studs to choose from.
Nikola Jokic is inexplicably cheap on DraftKings, weighing in at $9,000 for a home matchup with the Bogut-less Mavericks. Over his last 10 starts Jokic is averaging 50 fantasy points on 23.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.4 Stocks per game, elite marks by any measurement. He’s already torched Dallas twice this season for 64 and 53 fantasy points when Bogut was sidelined, and now he’ll face a frontcourt comprised of the decrepit Dirk Nowitzki and lumbering Salah Mejri. Furthermore, Saturday’s foul-plagued dud of a performance vs. San Antonio could depress Jokic’s ownership a bit, but we should not be ignoring him on Monday. Jokic is sporting a 30 percent usage rate and a near 30 percent assist rate since Christmas, making him a top option once again at a unfathomably cheap price point on DraftKings.
CORE – John Wall; LeBron James; Nikola Jokic [DraftKings]
SECONDARY – Anthony Davis; DeMarcus Cousins
GPP – Russell Westbrook
Andre Drummond lacks consistency, but that’s the last thing I’d be worried about on Monday when he faces the Joel Embiid-less Sixers at home. Philadelphia is allowing more points to opposing centers than any team this season, while also serving up the third most rebounds and fourth most steals in the process. Not only is Drummond a monster on the boards, but he leads all big men in steals through three and a half months. It should come as no surprise, either, that Drummond is among the league lead in putback points and second chance points, two areas where Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel are incapable of defending. Philadelphia cannot contain these oversized bigs who use their strength to impose their will around the basket. Expect Drummond to dominate on Monday so long as this game stays competitive. He’s a stellar option across the board.
Kevin Love is in the midst of his best statistical season since 2013, averaging a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double as we pass the midway mark. He’ll draw a stellar matchup against the Wizards on Monday, who have been bludgeoned by opposing power forwards this season, ceding the second most points, fifth most rebounds and second highest field goal percentage on the year. Markieff Morris is defensively adept, but as he’s shown throughout his career, ability does not equal effort. Love should have no trouble producing on a night where the Cavaliers are 1-point road dogs in one of the highest projected scoring games on the slate. He’s especially enticing on FanDuel where they’ve seemingly forgotten about him and his $7,600 price tag.
Jrue Holiday draws a matchup with the Suns on Monday, who not only rank 28th in defensive efficiency this season, but play at the league’s third fastest pace. Phoenix has struggled mightily to contain opposing backcourts, too, allowing the second most points and fourth highest field goal percentage to the point guard position. They’ll struggle to defend a surging Holiday this evening, as he’s already averaging 23 points, 8.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 Stocks and 48.4 fantasy points over his last seven starts.
With the Pelicans being 5-point home favorites in a 221-O/U game, Holiday should earn every opportunity to produce gaudy fantasy totals across 35-plus minutes of work. Let’s also not forget that New Orleans’ scorekeeper has been overly gratuitous with his doling out of peripheral statistics, and Holiday’s lopsided home/road splits lend to that theory. At $7,900 on DraftKings and $8,100 on FanDuel, Holiday remains more than affordable on a night where he could easily eclipse the 50-fantasy point mark against the Suns.
Eric Bledsoe also needs to be considered on DraftKings, where his salary has plummeted to $7,900. Prior to his last two games where the seventh-year point guard posted underwhelming totals, Bledsoe was lighting up opponents for All-Star caliber performances almost nightly. Don’t overlook his depressed salary in an exploitable matchup with New Orleans. Devin Booker should also warrant consideration at a weak shooting guard position. The sophomore gunner has now tallied 33-plus fantasy points in ten straight starts, while amassing 64 points and 86.75 fantasy points over his last two. Buddy Hield has been a disaster defensively, and his woes should continue on Monday.
Dwyane Wade is the only other mid-range shooting guard I’m interested in on Monday, but his value will skyrocket in the event that Jimmy Butler’s heal keeps him sidelined. In 417 minutes with Butler off the court this season, Wade is sporting a Goliath 38.8 percent usage rate, 32 percent assist rate and 1.25 fantasy points per minute. He’s a virtual lock if Butler is unable to play, but should remain a secondary option if Butler is active, as this road meeting with Sacramento is projected to stay competitive (SAC -1.5) throughout.
Seth Curry should go overlooked on Monday with Yogi Ferrell being the shiny new toy in Dallas. Now, I’m not saying Ferrell can’t be considered with Deron Williams expected to sit, but Curry makes for the better tournament option for a couple of reasons: first, Curry is going to see the same playing time as Ferrell if this game stays close (DEN -3.5). Rick Carlisle is working with a depleted backcourt and can’t play Devin Harris for more than 20 minutes a night, so Curry is cemented into around 38 MPG at the two. Second, Curry possesses just as much, if not more upside than Ferrell, and since Ferrell entered the starting lineup four games back, Curry leads the team in usage (24%) and fantasy points per minute (1.05). Lastly, Curry’s ownership will be depressed, but he is now priced almost identically to Ferrell across the board. We’ll want to keep him on the radar for this plus matchup with the Nuggets, who on the season have allowed more points to opposing two-guards than any other team.
Wilson Chandler should draw another spot start in place of Danilo Gallinari, and this matchup with Dallas is significantly more appealing than the one he drew with San Antonio over the weekend, having to contend with Kawhi Leonard throughout the night. Chandler is averaging right around 33 MPG as a starter this season, while his usage dips less than one percent when playing alongside Jokic and Co. At a weak small forward position there’s no reason we shouldn’t be considering Chandler at a low-$6K price point across the industry. Furthermore, Chandler’s value will rise should Keneth Faried (questionable) miss this game for personal reasons.
We need to talk about DraftKings’ pricing for Monday’s slate, as there are several players who own significantly lower salaries than they deserve.
Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, despite facing a tough San Antonio defense, are well underpriced at $7,300 and $6,700, respectively. The Grizzlies are only 3-point home dogs on the night, and if this game stays competitive both Gasol and Conley should log upwards of 38 minutes of work. There’s an abundance of GPP appeal here, as I’d expect both of them to go largely overlooked.
Paul Millsap faces his former team on Monday, and while the matchup with Utah is anything but inviting, Millsap should not be priced at $6,900. He’s another tournament option worth targeting on DraftKings, as any time he’s sporting a sub-$7K price tag we need to have him on the radar. Dennis Schroder also warrants some attention in this matchup. He’s the epitome of a boom-or-bust point guard play, as evidenced by three 40-plus-fantasy point performance and three sub-20-fantasy point performances over his last six starts, but at $5,600 there’s plenty of reason to have him in our pool.
CORE – Andre Drummond; Kevin Love; Jrue Holiday
SECONDARY – Eric Bledsoe [DraftKings]; Devin Booker; Dwyane Wade [Core play if Jimmy Butler is OUT]; Seth Curry; Wilson Chandler; Jeff Teague
GPP – Reggie Jackson; Hassan Whiteside; Paul George
Guillermo Hernangomez is no longer priced near the bottom of the player pool, but his fantasy production justifies the price hike. Over his last three games, one of which he started, Hernangomez totaled a combined 47 points, 35 rebounds, 11 assists, five Stocks and 118 fantasy points across 93 minutes of work (1.27 FPPM). The 22-year-old Spaniard sits at a low-$5K price point on both FanDuel and DraftKings, and while Jeff Hornacek has made it difficult to trust New York’s frontcourt rotation, the absence of Joakim Noah should stabilize his minutes.
If Hernangomez logs around 30 minutes against the Lakers, who are bottom-six in points (26th), rebounds (25th), assists (26th), steals (30th), blocks (28th) and free throws (25th) allowed to opposing centers, he should have no trouble producing north of one FPPM this evening. It’s not hard to get behind Hernangomez in this matchup, as this contest owns the highest total on the night (222.5 O/U) and neither team is talented enough to get out to a big early lead. Derrick Rose also provides some GPP appeal on DraftKings where his salary has plummeted to $5,700. I’d be more willing to deploy him in cash if this wasn’t his first game returning from injury.
Victor Oladipo exploded for 53 fantasy points against the Blazers last night, and he’ll draw another opportunity to produce in an exploitable matchup with the Pacers. Oladipo has been an absolute ball hawk lately, averaging 2.2 steals per game over his last ten starts. That should bode well for him on Monday against a Pacers team that’s coughing up the second most steals to opposing shooting guards. They’ve also surrendered the fifth most free throws to the position this season.
Oladipo hasn’t flashed a ton of upside alongside Russell Westbrook, but he’s routinely churning out 30-plus-fantasy point performances, which at $5,600 on DraftKings and $5,700 on FanDuel makes him a strong value option at a weak position.
Lavoy Allen erupted for a 18-point, 11-rebound, 43-fantasy point double-double against the Pistons in Saturday’s spot start for the injured Thaddeus Young. We’d be insane to expect Allen to replicate this performance — or anything close to this performance — on Monday, but at or near minimum salary across the board, he needs to be considered. Allen is the bare minimum on FanDuel, but he also has power forward eligibility, which makes him a far more appealing play. Allen is only center eligible on DraftKings, though, and his price point has jumped $700 overnight.
Myles Turner is also questionable to play in Monday’s home tilt with the Thunder. His absence would not only cement Allen as a top value play, but also make Al Jefferson a stellar an elite option at a near minimum salary price point. We’ll be paying close attention to any developments here as we draw closer to lock.
INJURIES TO WATCH
DeMar DeRozan could miss yet another game on Monday, which would thrust Terrence Ross and DeMarre Carroll back into play. I was much higher on Carroll yesterday against the Nets than this matchup with the Clippers, but he’s cheap enough to consider at a weak small forward position. Dwane Casey seems willing enough to run Ross for around 28 MPG off the bench with DeRozan sidelined, so he’ll continue to have tournament appeal if Toronto’s starting two-guard remains out. Lucas Nogueira is also a viable GPP pivot if Patrick Patterson is unable to take the court.
Michael Carter-Williams started at small forward with Jimmy Butler sidelined on Friday and did not disappoint. While we can’t expect another 40-fantasy point outburst, MCW is cheap enough to deploy against Sacramento’s dreadful wing defense. You’d think that Fred Hoiberg would be willing to give him another shot at proving himself if Butler’s heel keeps him off the court.
CORE – Guillermo Hernangomez; Al Jefferson [If Myles Turner is OUT]
SECONDARY – Victor Oladipo; Lavoy Allen [FanDuel]; Steven Adams
GPP – Derrick Rose [DraftKings]; Kyle O’Quinn; Lavoy Allen [DraftKings]; Terrence Jones; Jamal Murray