NBA DEEP DIVE- April 11, 2017

High Priced ($8,500+)

Russell Westbrook is incredibly expensive across the industry, but there is enough value on this slate that price really does not matter.  The only concern with Westbrook is that he set the record for most triple-doubles in a season in his last game and the Thunder are locked into the 6 seed in the Western Conference, so there is really no reason for him to play his normal minutes, outside of trying to win the MVP race against James Harden.  Keep an eye on news throughout the day regarding what Oklahoma City plans to do with Westbrook but, if he does play, he is an elite option as always.


Secondary:  Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns


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


Jrue Holiday faces a terrible Lakers defense and will be playing without DeMarcus Cousins or Anthony Davis.  Holiday has a 21.2 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.21 DraftKings points over 271 minutes without Cousins or Davis on the floor this season.  Some people may be concerned by his seemingly low minute totals over the last two games, but he lost playing time in both games as a result of blowouts.  The Pelicans do not seem to be intentionally limiting his minutes, so he makes for a very strong play in his matchup with the Lakers.


Tyler Ulis continues to play heavy minutes night in and night out for the Suns as they evaluate their young talent to close out the season.  Ulis has double-digit field goal attempts in eight of his last ten games and has played at least 32 minutes in all of them- usually seeing closer to 40 minutes than 30.  He is less than $7,000 on DraftKings and FanDuel and he offers a very high floor and ceiling against the Kings at that price.


Nicolas Batum will be playing without Kemba Walker tonight and should see an increase in usage.  He has a 25.8 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.16 DraftKings points per minute without Walker on the floor this season.  In addition, Atlanta is a pace-up game for the Hornets and the Hawks may be without Thabo Sefolosha, which will hurt their wing defense.  The only issue with Batum is that it does not make a lot of sense from a roster construction standpoint to go in the mid-range on this slate but, if you find yourself needing a mid-range shooting guard, he is a strong option.


Devin Booker is an elite play on this slate as he is the focal point of the Phoenix offense and plays big minutes every night.  He gets a dream matchup against Buddy Hield and the Sacramento Kings tonight.  Sacramento has struggled to defend shooting guards all season long and the addition of Buddy Hield does not help as Hield is one of the worst defenders in the NBA.  Booker is averaging over 36 minutes per game over his last five- and that includes just 22 minutes in his last game.  In those five games, he has a 34.3 percent usage rate.  He also had a 30.7 percent usage rate in the month of March as the Suns removed Bledsoe and Knight from the rotation.  He is a very high upside play tonight.


Julius Randle should have his way with a New Orleans frontcourt that will be missing Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.  His minutes have fluctuated from 28 to 36 minutes per night recently, so there is some risk that he does not see a ton of playing time.  That said, his price is very reasonable across the industry as he sits at $6,700 on DraftKings and just $6,400 on FanDuel.  There are better cash game plays since Randle’s minutes are inconsistent, but he certainly has plenty of tournament upside.


Secondary: Dennis Schroder, Ricky Rubio, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Victor Oladipo, Buddy Hield, Gorgui Dieng, Andrew Wiggins, T.J. Warren


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


Jordan Clarkson is in a great spot tonight against the Pelicans.  D’Angelo Russell is going to miss the game because of the death of his grandmother, so Clarkson will have full control of the offense.  Clarkson has played 292 minutes without Russell since the All-Star break and has a 32.7 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.09 DraftKings points per minute.  Tyler Ennis should also see plenty of minutes and has been encouraged by Luke Walton to shoot the ball more.  In 151 minutes without Russell since the break, Ennis has a respectable 20.1 percent usage rate.  Both Lakers’ guards make for strong plays this evening.


Jordan Crawford has seen 30 minutes in each of his last two games and should be in line for extended minutes again tonight, especially if E’Twaun Moore misses another game.  Crawford will benefit from Davis and Cousins being sidelined, as he will be the primary offensive option with the second unit.  In 104 minutes without Cousins or Davis on the floor this season, Crawford has a 30.5 percent usage rate.  He has a dream matchup with a fast Lakers team that does not play defense.  There is nothing not to love about a nearly minimum priced play that has that kind of opportunity to produce.


Larry Nance is averaging 29.1 minutes per game over his last five as the Lakers have been limiting Brandon Ingram’s minutes.  Nance is averaging 0.9 DraftKings points per minute for the season, so he should be able to outproduce his price as long as he sees the minutes.  With no Cousins or Davis in the lineup for New Orleans, the game can definitely go small and Nance could see north of 30 minutes.  He will be a popular option, but for good reason.


Skal Labissiere is averaging 30.4 minutes per game over his last five and has played at least 30 in three straight.  He has a very friendly matchup in a pace-up game against the Suns.  He had his best game of the season against Phoenix last month, scoring 32 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 29.7 minutes.  Obviously we cannot expect to get another ceiling game out of Skal, but there is a lot of room for him to outperform his salary even if we do not anticipate another 30+ real-point outburst.


Alexis Ajinca is not a name I planned on ever having to type this season, but it is April and here we are.  Ajinca is a solid per-minute producer, averaging .88 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he is locked into quality minutes with Cousins and Davis sidelined.  He has played 28 and 29 minutes without Cousins the last two games and we can expect similar playing time tonight against a weak Lakers frontcourt.  He makes for a strong play on a slate where center is unusually weak.


Secondary: Jamal Murray, Jeremy Lamb, Quinn Cook, Garrett Temple, Ersan Ilyasova, Cheick Diallo, Marquese Chriss, Taurean Prince, Whatever Mavericks are available if they are going to limit guys (but as of right now they are saying everyone is available except Curry)