NBA DEEP DIVE- April 9, 2017
Note: It is the NBA in April, so there will probably be news breaking throughout the day. As always, when news comes out throughout the day, reach out to us in premium chat and/or tune in for the Final Countdown tonight with Eddie Fear and Jack Biernacki at 5:00 EST.
Russell Westbrook once again failed to record his record-breaking triple-double, as Phoenix began intentionally fouling him at the end of the game so that he could not get enough assists. Westbrook seems like a somewhat spiteful person and I expect him to leave no doubts tonight against the Nuggets. Denver plays at a fast pace and has been once of the worst defenses in the league all season long, allowing monster games to plenty of point guards less talented than Westbrook. Westbrook has faced the Nuggets twice this season and posted huge triple-doubles in both games, with lines of 36 points, 11 rebounds and 17 assists in his first game and 32 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists in his most recent. Westbrook is only in the player pool on FanDuel, but he makes for a top play on that site.
James Harden carries some risk because the Rockets cannot move one way or the other in playoff seeding, but it seems that he wants to play and D’Antoni is willing to let him do what he wants. Harden has commented on the MVP race enough to make me think that he does care if he wins it, so it would make sense for him to want to play down the stretch and solidify his case for the award. There is a ton of value already on this slate, and there is a possibility that more opens up, so paying up for Harden makes a lot of sense because even if he does not outperform other shooting guards on a point-per-dollar basis, he almost certainly will score more raw points. Sacramento does not have anyone to slow Harden down and he should be able to get whatever he wants. He is my top shooting guard option on the slate.
Secondary: Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic
Ricky Rubio gets a matchup that he has dominated a couple of times within the last month. In two games against the Lakers at the end of March, Rubio posted lines of 19 points, 15 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block and 33 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Rubio had a 23.2 percent usage rate in March and has a 22.9 percent usage rate so far in April, so we can continue to view him as a completely different player than we had gotten used to over the last few years. He is now a true all-around threat and a very high-upside play with his price still reasonable across the industry.
Devin Booker continues to play huge minutes to close out the season for the Suns, seeing at least 37 minutes in each of his last five games. Booker has a 35.8 percent usage rate in 530.8 minutes without Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight or Tyson Chandler on the floor this season. Dallas is essentially playing their backups to close out the season, so it is unlikely that Booker will even have to deal with too much of Wesley Matthews’ defense. The only knock on Booker on this slate is that it is kind of difficult from a roster construction standpoint to land on mid-range players. But, if he fits, roster him with confidence.
T.J. Warren is a solid mid-range option at a pretty weak small forward position. His minutes appear more unstable now that the Suns are giving Derrick Jones Jr. and Jared Dudley more playing time. That said, he still saw 33 minutes in his last game and the position is just really bad on this slate. His price is low enough, especially on FanDuel where you need two small forwards, to make him worth the risk.
Andrew Wiggins is the top small forward option on the slate in a very nice matchup with the Lakers. Stacking the Minnesota-Lakers game has worked very well the last two times they played and tonight should not be any different. Wiggins has a 32.2 percent usage rate through five games this month, after seeing it drop from 31.2 percent in February to 29.4 percent in March. It appears that Wiggins is becoming accustomed to Rubio taking more shots and is now figuring out how to get his as well. Wiggins is averaging 1.17 DraftKings points per minute against the Lakers this season, including two games with at least 50 fantasy points.
Gorgui Dieng had a very steady role for the latter part of March as the Timberwolves stopped replacing him with Shabazz Muhammad in an effort to go small. It is somewhat concerning that Minnesota closed against the Jazz with a lineup of Rubio-Rush-Wiggins-Casspi-Towns, because we saw earlier in March that Thibodeau is willing to experiment with small lineups that take Dieng off the floor and the Lakers are a great spot to do that. On the plus side, Dieng still saw about 27 minutes against the Jazz and, at his current price point, he can do plenty of damage against the Lakers in that amount of time. There is some risk in rostering Dieng tonight, but he has plenty of tournament upside as we do not know exactly what Thibodeau is going to do and he can blow up in this spot if given the minutes.
Julius Randle has played well against Minnesota this season and is too cheap across the industry for his upside in tournaments. He is averaging 1.18 DraftKings points per minute in his three games against the Timberwolves and he is consistently playing 28-34 minutes on most nights. He makes for a very strong GPP option and should definitely be included in any game stacks of this game.
Secondary: Tyler Ulis, Ish Smith, D’Angelo Russell, Gary Harris, Victor Oladipo, Wilson Chandler, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marc Gasol
Jamal Murray played 38 minutes last game and scored 43 FanDuel points. Jameer Nelson has already been ruled out tonight, while Emmanuel Mudiay and Will Barton are both questionable. If Barton and Mudiay both play, Murray should see 28-30 minutes. If one or both of them sit, Murray should see just about all the minutes that he can handle. He is only in the player pool on FanDuel, where he is just $4,300. He is a lock-and-load cash play that has tournament upside.
Nicolas Brussino and Yogi Ferrell will both benefit from the Mavericks’ resting most of their team down the stretch. J.J. Barea, Harrison Barnes and Seth Curry have already been ruled out of tonight’s game. Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews and Nerlens Noel were all limited in-game in their last game and that is likely to happen again tonight. Brussino and Ferrell, along with the likes of Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell, should see plenty of minutes with Brussino and Ferrell being the most appealing because of the lack of available bodies in the backcourt and a great matchup against a weak Phoenix backcourt.
Skal Labissiere is too cheap across the industry, especially on FanDuel. He has played at least 32 minutes in four of his last five games as the Kings look to evaluate their young talent. He is averaging 0.97 DraftKings points per minute this season and has a very nice pace-up matchup with the Rockets. He is a viable option in any format.
Boban is a beast. Without double-checking, I believe that he is the most productive point-per-minute player in the history of the NBA. It is a shame that coaches do not appreciate his talents. Joking aside, Stan Van Gundy said before the last game that he wanted to get Boban 20-24 minutes and ended up playing him 28, and allowing him to close over Drummond, because he was playing so well. Memphis is not an ideal matchup for a big man, but he should still be able to do damage coming off the bench and we should expect minutes in the mid-twenties again. $4,900 on DraftKings makes him appealing, although certainly still a GPP option, but he is still just $3,600 on FanDuel where he makes for a very strong play at a weak center position.
Secondary: Patrick Beverley, Darren Collison, Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Doug McDermott (if Roberson out), Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell, Marquese Chriss, JaMychal Green, Henry Ellenson, Larry Nance, Omri Casspi, Georgios Papagiannis, Alan Williams