NBA DEEP DIVE – 4/7/17

Note: There are A LOT of moving parts on this slate and that will probably be the case for the rest of the season as games no longer matter for the majority of teams around the league.  Be sure to keep your eye out for news throughout that day, including whether or not Carmelo is going to play on a back-to-back and what the Lakers plan to do with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson tonight.  Denver, Dallas and Utah are also spots to pay close attention to.


High Priced ($8,500+)


Russell Westbrook has finally hit $14,000 on DraftKings.  He has an amazing matchup against the Phoenix Suns, however, and is still one triple-double shy of breaking Oscar Robertson’s record.  Phoenix ranks first in pace and 24th in defensive rating since the All-Star break and Westbrook should have no trouble piling up a huge stat line in this matchup.  If this slate were earlier in the season there would be merit to fading Westbrook at his insane price, but there is so much value on this slate- and probably more to come later- that it should be relatively easy to fit Westbrook into your lineup without sacrificing upside at other positions.


Anthony Davis has a very nice matchup against the Denver Nuggets and there is a chance that DeMarcus Cousins does not play as he is questionable with an injury achilles.  If Cousins does play, Davis remains a strong option against a weak Denver frontcourt.  If Cousins does not play, and my guess is that he does not, Davis is an elite-elite option.  Since the All-Star break, Davis has a 38.4 percent usage rate and is averaging 36.9 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes.  He has averaged an incredible 1.79 DraftKings points per minute in his 362 minutes without Cousins over that span and the matchup tonight should do nothing to limit his production.


Secondary:  James Harden, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert


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


Kyrie Irving faces Dennis Schroder and an Atlanta team that has struggled against opposing point guards all season long.  Surprisingly, Atlanta ranks third in defensive rating since the All-Star break, but that has not translated into an ability to stop opposing point guards.  Atlanta ranks 6th in pace over that span, so it is a significant boost in pace for Irving.  Irving had a ceiling game against the Hawks in his last meeting, scoring 43 points to go along with 9 assists, 2 rebounds, 4 steals and a block in 35.5 minutes.  We should not expect a game that big again tonight, but he easily can eclipse the 50-fantasy point mark in this matchup as long as the Hawks keep it close enough that Irving needs to play his full minutes.

Jrue Holiday seems to finally have figured out how to coexist with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, as he has been more productive in recent games than he was in games right after Cousins was acquired.  Holiday, like Davis, will see a nice boost if Cousins sits this one out in a great matchup against the Nuggets.  Holiday is averaging 1.15 DraftKings points per minute with a 25.3 percent usage rate without Cousins on the floor since the break.  Denver ranks 29th in defensive rating over that span and has given up huge fantasy games to opposing point guards all season long.


Buddy Hield is one of the lone bright spots on the Kings, who are in all-out rebuild mode at this point in the season.  Hield has played well since being acquired from New Orleans, although he is probably still not reminding anyone outside of the Sacramento front office of Klay Thompson.  The Kings rest players just about every night, which leads to around 30 minutes per night of playing time for Hield.  Hield has a 23.8 percent usage rate since joining the Kings and he has plenty of upside in an up-tempo game against a Lakers team that ranks dead last in the NBA in defensive rating since the All-Star break.


Gordan Hayward will, at the very least, be in a good spot tonight against Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves.  George Hill, Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors are all questionable for tonight’s game and their absences would increase Hayward’s expect production.  Hayward has not been particularly productive against the Timberwolves this season, but he should do well in a matchup against Wiggins as he will have the opportunity to pick up defensive stats and will be facing a defender who is not interested in guarding him.  On a side note, Rodney Hood is in a great spot if he plays and is not going to be limited.


Kevin Love has returned to form after a slow start in his return from an injury, averaging 1.32 DraftKings points per minute over his last 6 games.  His minutes have returned to normal as well, and he should be in line for at least 30-32 minutes against the Hawks tonight.  Paul Millsap is out, which means that Love will primarily be defended by Ersan Ilyasova.  Stretch fours have done very well against Ersan going back to his time with Philadelphia, and we should see a big game from Love at a very reasonable price tag.


Dwight Howard should have a field day against a Tristan Thompson-less Cleveland frontcourt without Paul Millsap on the floor.  Howard has a 21.4 percent usage rate and averages 1.19 DraftKings points per minute without Millsap on the floor this season, compared to an 18.9 percent usage rate and 1.13 DraftKings points per minute alongside him.  Channing Frye drew the start at center for the Cavs last game and will provide no resistance to Howard on the boards or in the paint.  Expect a huge game from Howard in a game that is important to the Hawks.


Secondary: Ish Smith, Mike Conley, Dennis Schroder, Ricky Rubio, Tyler Ulis, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Devin Booker, Danilo Gallinari, T.J. Warren, Tobias Harris, Zach Randolph, Gorgui Dieng, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marc Gasol, Hassan Whiteside


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


The Spurs are essentially resting their entire team tonight as they will be without Dejounte Murray, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol.  This leaves them with 9 players on their active roster.  Those players are Tony Parker, Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes, Jonathan Simmons, Kyle Anderson, David Lee, Davis Bertans, Dewayne Dedmon, and Joel Anthony.  Logically, it would make sense for them to limit Parker’s minutes as well since they are resting all of their other core players.  Parker has played 19 minutes without that group of players this season and has a 32.7 percent usage rate so there is upside if he gets decent run.  That is just a huge question mark.  Patty Mills seems a little safer than Parker and he has a 24.3 percent usage rate and has averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute in 48.6 minutes without that group on the floor.  David Lee has played 75 minutes without that group and has a 25.1 percent usage rate.  He is averaging 5.77 assists and 9.61 rebounds per 36 minutes and 1.05 DraftKings points per minute.  DeWayne Dedmon has also been productive without that group on the floor, averaging 1.06 DraftKings points per minute with a 17.4 percent usage rate and 13.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.  The wings are where it gets even more interesting, as the Spurs really only have Jonathan Simmons, Kyle Anderson and Davis Bertans to man two positions.  Bertans has played 101.7 minutes without that group on the floor and has a 17.0 percent usage rate and has averaged .74 DraftKings points per minute.  While not a huge output, it is still more than serviceable at a minimum price tag.  Kyle Anderson has played 129.8 minutes and has been productive despite having only a 15.5 percent usage rate.  He is averaging 0.91 DraftKings points per minute, however, and he will be especially useful if Parker’s minutes are, in fact, limited as he will get to handle the ball more.  Jonathan Simmons has played 132.6 minutes without that group this season and has a very nice 28.2 percent usage rate.  He is averaging 2.44 assists and 4.07 rebounds per 36 minutes and 0.88 DraftKings points per minute.  The Spurs are the best way to get to Russell Westbrook tonight as they only have nine active bodies and it is relatively easy to figure out who will have to play big minutes.


Jamal Murray remains too cheap if Barton and Nelson are ruled out.  Murray has played at least 25 minutes in each of his last four games and, while it has not translated to a big fantasy performance yet, the opportunity is certainly there.  He attempted 15 shots two games ago against this Pelicans team (producing 31.25 DraftKings points) and he attempted 13 shots last game against the Rockets- making just 3 of them.  He has 40+ fantasy point upside in this role if he can get his shots to fall.


Secondary: J.J. Barea, Tyler Ennis, Jordan Crawford, E’Twaun Moore, Taurean Prince, Harrison Barnes, Ersan Ilyasova, Skal Labassiere, Guillermo Hernangomez, Alan Williams