NBA Morning Thoughts 01.03.19

NBA Morning Thoughts 01.03.19

We have ourselves a narrative-filled, three-game NBA DFS slate. Let’s get right to it…

Toronto Raptors @ San Antonio Spurs (o/u 216.5, SA -1.5)

Toronto is 10th in defensive rating, 18th in pace.

San Antonio is 19th in defensive rating, 24th in pace.

The much-anticipated matchup between off-season blockbuster trade partners has arrived. We can’t break down this matchup without mentioning both revenge-game narratives, as DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard square off against their former teams. In terms of a DFS matchup, this is a slightly better spot for Raptors players, as the Spurs have not been a consistently good defensive team all year. That being said, I don’t think there is too much of a difference between how these two teams currently play. Kyle Lowry is listed as doubtful.

I’m leading off with Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi doesn’t seem like the type who will actively want to destroy his former team and coach, but I’m sure there is a part of him that is still frustrated with their front office and fan base. While a revenge game is always fun, Kawhi is in play tonight because of his price and his matchup. The Spurs have struggled against wings all year and Kawhi remains one of the cheaper studs on the night. He’s too cheap on DK, priced at $8800. On FD Kawhi’s $10300 price tag is still in play, it’s just not as appealing as his DK price.

I’m more interested in Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka on DK, but I don’t think either are egregiously priced on either site. This isn’t the greatest spot for either, as the Spurs get their shots blocked on average 4.4 times per game, sixth lowest in the NBA, and are first in TOV%. That means they don’t turn the ball over and don’t get their shots blocked, and that will limit the upside for both Siakam and Ibaka.

Danny Green and Norman Powell are two cheap targets worth considering. Green plays a lot of minutes, and perhaps facing his former team will lead to a production bump. Norman Powell has seen 22 minutes in back-to-back games, and is a capable producer. At his price, 22-ish minutes is enough for him to hit value on a small slate.

Greg Monroe is a puntable center. He should get about 18 minutes, which is enough for him to provide any sort of value, especially in a pace-down game vs the Spurs.

I’m off on Fred VanVleet, as his production just doesn’t match his price. I like his minutes, but there is nothing to suggest that this is a ceiling game for him.

The player who really has a revenge game narrative on his hands is DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan was NOT happy when Toronto dealt him, and I’m sure he’ll come out firing tonight. While Pop is a disciplinarian at times, he’s also a player’s coach and understands a player’s mentality well. That leads me to think that Pop will focus his game plan even more so on DeRozan in this matchup. I’d expect DeRozan to be high owned, considering the size of this slate and his narrative.

LaMarcus Aldridge has been on a bit of a heater, averaging 52.2 FD points and 50.58 DK points in his last three outings. FD has priced Aldridge up to $9k and that’s tough for me to stomach, even when factoring in that Toronto has struggled vs opposing bigs this year. On DK priced at $7400, Aldridge is a bit more appealing — 5x his FD salary is strong upside at his DK price.

The emergence of Derrick White has begun and it’s here to stay. When Dejounte Murray tore his ACL we kept hearing about how much Pop “liked” White, and that White was a “breakout candidate” this year. Unfortunately for White, that optimism diminished after his injury. Now seemingly healthy, White is playing 25-30 minutes a game and producing consistently well. FD has priced up White at $6100, while DK has kept White’s price down at $4700. White is firmly in play on both sites for me, as I’d rather spend $400 more and target him over FVV on FD, and a sub $5k White on DK offers cap relief and strong upside.

Rudy Gay is listed as questionable, but all reports suggest he’s closer to doubtful. If Gay can’t go, Davis Bertans will likely see 25+ minutes at low cost. Bertans offers cap relief and upside to help fit in some stars on a small slate. Bryn Forbes will also see a minutes bump if Gay can’t go. Forbes continues to be a usable cheap PG. On DK, I’d rather spend $300 more for White.