NBA Morning Thoughts 01.07.19

NBA Morning Thoughts 01.07.19

While I hate to see anyone lose their job, I would like to raise a glass to the NBA DFS community and bid farewell to our arch nemesis; Tom Thibodeau. We can all relax now, the Thibsing is over…for now. With that being said, let’s get right into tonight’s juicy eight-game slate.

San Antonio Spurs @ Detroit Pistons (o/u 213.5, SA -3.5)

San Antonio is 16th in defensive rating, 23rd in pace.

Detroit is 12th in defensive rating, 19th in pace.

The Pistons provide a fairly mediocre matchup for the Spurs, as they are a capable defensive team who don’t play at an appealing pace. Still, the Pistons are not by any means a team to fear in NBA DFS.

Derrick White has averaged 33+ fantasy points on both sites over his last five games while averaging 29 minutes per game in those contests. White is priced appealingly at $5800 on FD and $5000 on DK. I’m not forcing White into my lineups, but he’s a strong affordable option at PG, especially on DK. The Pistons are a bottom 10 team vs PGs in DvP, this is a decent spot.

With that same logic, Bryn Forbes is a usable sub $5k PG on both sites. Forbes appeal is his decent matchup and strong minutes at a low price.

On DK, LaMarcus Aldridge remains cheap priced at $7400, on FD I’m not particularly interested in Aldridge’s elevated $8600 price tag. After a fairly slow month and half of the season, Aldridge has really started to find his offensive groove. His high rebounding total and impressive scoring numbers give him a safe floor and strong upside at his DK price.

I’m not particularly interested in targeting DeMar DeRozan in this spot. The same logic with Forbes and White can be used with DeRozan as he’s the Spurs de-facto PG for long stretches of the game. Still, this isn’t the matchup I want to stack Spurs and prefer Aldridge over DeRozan if looking to spend up on a Spur.

The Spurs are a tricky team to figure out in DFS as they aren’t overall a great defensive team but are ranked third in defensive rating over their last 10 games. While I think that number is worth thinking twice about, I’m still not overly concerned about attacking the Spurs as they don’t have a ton of defensive talent. One issue with the Pistons in DFS? They don’t have a ton of options.

This is more of a gut call than anything else, but I really like Andre Drummond tonight. The Spurs don’t have anyone of Drummond’s athleticism to keep him off the boards and he’s too cheap on both sites priced at $9300 on FD and $8100. On paper, this is a bad matchup for Drummond but the Spurs have been exposed by athletic centers previously and Drummond seemed to finally snap out of his sort of “disengaged funk” his last outing. As I said, it’s more of a gut-call but I think Drummond comes out aggressive and attacking the glass on both ends tonight. Also, the Pistons don’t really have a backup big with Zaza hurt so Drummond should see 38+ minutes of run.

Because I really like Drummond here I’m not interested in any other Pistons players. Blake Griffin has been on a bit of a two-game heater with back to back 50 burgers, this seems like the perfect spot for him to fall back to earth.

Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics (o/u 218.5, BOS -10.5)

Brooklyn is 22nd in defensive rating, 22nd in pace.

Boston is 4th in defensive rating, 20th in pace.

The Nets are on the second night of a road back to back and are in a brutal matchup facing the Celtics and their stout defense in Boston. The Nets also tend to struggle on the tail-end of back to back’s and that coupled with the matchup has me off of all Nets. None are worth the risk.

If you’re desperate for Nets exposure, Spencer Dinwiddie has seen an increase in production on the tail-end of back to back’s and has seen his price decrease to below $6k on both sites. He’s an OK target.

The Celtics meanwhile find themselves in an elite matchup as the Nets regress tremendously defensively on back-to-backs.

The two best positions to attack the Nets are…? Center and point guard. After three months of me repeating that I hope you didn’t need my answer. Kyrie Irving is an elite target tonight because of the matchup, his $9000 FD price and $9200 DK price are both fair. We also have the potential for a “masked” Kyrie game which is always a fun narrative. Kyrie will be under-owned because people still continue to think the Nets are a team that gets blown out, they don’t. Even with my lack of DFS intrigue in Brooklyn players, I expect the Nets to stick around in this contest.

Strictly on FD, Jayson Tatum ($6000) and Marcus Morris ($5000) are cheap. Players tend to hit their ceiling vs the Nets, Tatum is a rock-solid middle priced PF worth considering. Morris is about $700 underpriced, however, if Stevens says his minutes will be limited in any way I would lose my interest in him.

Typically, any center vs the Nets is an elite target but Al Horford only remains on the radar unless Brad Stevens says his minutes limit is lifted. Still, Horford is usable because of the Nets matchup.

Utah Jazz @ Milwaukee Bucks (o/u 221, MIL -5.5)

Utah is 5th in defensive rating, 15th in pace.

Milwaukee is 3rd in defensive rating, 6th in pace.

The Bucks are an elite defensive team and the Jazz’s depth make them a tricky team to target overall in DFS. Still, the Bucks pace offers some DFS intrigue for Jazz players.

Coming off of a monster outing vs the Pistons Donovan Mitchell is a decent target vs the Bucks. While the Bucks have been stingy vs opposing guards, Mitchell is the sort of player who plays up to his competition, especially vs top young talent. Mitchell is strictly a GPP play as he will be very low owned and is capable of monster outings.

Joe Ingles is way too cheap on DK. I don’t love Ingles here but for some reason, DK priced him at his floor at $4900. Ingles could see a slight bump in peripheral stats because of the Bucks pace. It’s rare for me to say this, but Ingles is an elite target SIMPLY because of his price specifically on DK, he offers safe cap relief.

While the Bucks have struggled vs opposing PFs, Derrick Favors isn’t the sort of PF who has success vs the Bucks, as he’s too slow and will likely see a minutes drop because he’s a defensive liability vs the position-less Bucks. I’m also off on Rudy Gobert, there are other centers I’d much rather spend up on.

The Jazz have become the Jazz of years past ranking first in defensive rating in the NBA over the last 10 games. This is a brutal spot for Bucks players and because of that, I have minimal interest.

Listen, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a matchup-proof stud. Do I love him here? No, but he’s one of the few players in the NBA that I’d never say to take out of your lineup. If you’re feeling Giannis, target him with confidence.

On FD, Eric Bledsoe is overpriced; I have zero interest in him. On DK however, Bledsoe is priced appealingly at $5900. Vs any other team I’d say Bledsoe is an elite target at that price but because it’s the Jazz, Bledsoe is simply worth considering. He has an elite price with a brutal matchup.

If you’re desperate for a cheap center, Brook Lopez remains usable. Lopez is cheap on DK at $4800 and centers have been able to score vs the Jazz this year.

Memphis Grizzlies @ New Orleans Pelicans (o/u 212.5, NO -5.5)

Memphis is 6th in defensive rating, 30th in pace.

New Orleans is 26th in defensive rating, 5th in pace.

I love the Grizzlies tonight, as the Pelicans have two key ingredients to DFS success; high pace and poor defense.

My favorite position to attack the Pelicans is PG putting Mike Conley firmly in play. Conley isn’t THAT cheap priced at $8100 on FD and $7500 on DK but this is a ceiling matchup for him and his DK price is a bit closer to his floor. Conley struggled in his previous matchup vs the Pelicans, I don’t expect that here, he’s an elite target in a prime pace-up game.

His production has been somewhat inconsistent on the year and he hasn’t shown much upside of late, but the Pelicans matchup also puts Marc Gasol in play. Gasol is priced down on both sites at $7600 on FD and $7000 on DK, adding to his appeal. High pace usually leads to +rebounds and +blocks for opposing bigs, we could also see Gasol see increased low post touches as the Grizzlies try and control the tempo of the game.

Kyle Anderson simply remains too cheap on DK as he’s priced at $5200 and averaging 32.04 DK points in his last six games. Sign me up for that sort of production at that price in this matchup. At $6600 on FD, Anderson is not nearly as appealing but does carry a touch of intrigue.

A GPP target worth considering is Jaren Jackson Jr. Barring any foul trouble, Jackson should see big minutes covering AD, he’s a high-risk high reward option.

The Grizzlies are always a tough team to attack, as they deliberately try to slow the pace of the game down and play tough defense.

We have another stud in a brutal matchup. Still, Anthony Davis is about as matchup-proof as it gets. While this is a decent spot to stay away from him, Davis is always an elite target on any given slate. If you’re targeting him, do so with confidence. Personally, this might be one of the few days where I stay away from AD, especially on FD. On DK, priced under $12k, Davis is safer to target.

Julius Randle appears to be over the ankle injury that was bothering him for a few games. The Grizzlies pace-down doesn’t particularly worry me with Randle as much as other players as Randle’s bully-ball style of play works in slow-paced games. Still, Randle will likely see less rebounding opportunities, which adds some risk at his $8k+ price tag.

I’m off on the rest of the Pelicans on FD. On DK, even with the brutal matchup, Jrue Holiday remains a usable cash game target priced under $8k.

Denver Nuggets @ Houston Rockets (o/u 221, HOU -1)

Denver is 9th in defensive rating, 26th in pace.

Houston is 25th in defensive rating, 28th in pace.

While this will be a slow, grind-it-out, style of game the Nuggets are in a decent spot, as the Rockets are not a very good defensive team. The trouble with targeting Nuggets players is that they are a very deep team that eat into each other’s minutes and production.

Nikola Jokic has been on fire averaging 60.85 FD points and 62.69 DK points in his last four games. Because of his recent production and decent matchup expect Jokic to be a fairly popular target especially with a lot of the $10k+ targets in tough spots. Jokic has yet to see a production drop with the returns of Gary Harris and Paul Millsap, he remains an elite target.

It appears Gary Harris may be over his minutes limit having played 31 and 26 minutes in his last two games. FD has priced Harris up a touch to $6200 but that is still a rock solid price. Harris is an elite target on DK priced at $5000, he’s a $6500-$7k type player.

Like Gary Harris, Paul Millsap appears to be potentially over his minutes limit. Millsap remains too cheap on DK priced at $5600 and a decent middle priced PF on FD at $6500. While I don’t LOVE Millsap in this spot, he won’t be below $6k on DK for much longer.

Per usual, Jamal Murray is a strong GPP target at PG. We know what the deal with Murray is, he’s a boom or bust option. We’ve seen him boom vs top competition.

The Nuggets have regressed defensively of late ranking 22nd in defensive rating in their last 10 games. Still, the Nuggets are a strong defensive team and are finally getting healthy, this is by no means a good matchup for Rockets players.

James Harden is the third elite NBA DFS player we’ve covered tonight in a bad spot. Harden, however, is in the best matchup of the three and it’s not particularly close. Not much needs to be said, Harden has been producing unlike anything we’ve seen in some time since Chris Paul went down. He’s an elite target and a tough fade even at his elevated $12900 FD price and $12000 DK. Not many players have 100 point upside on any given night, Harden does.

I don’t like targeting centers vs Nikola Jokic as his high, high post and low post usage tends to pull centers just far enough away from the rim to limit their rebounding and defensive upside. For that reason, I don’t love Clint Capela in this spot.  With that being said, Capela is priced appealingly at $7500 on DK, $9000 on FD limits his upside a bit.

Austin Rivers remains a usable sub $5k SG on both sites with Eric Gordon’s continued absence while Gerald Green should continue to see 25+ minutes at sub $4k, putting him in play as a strong punt.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks (o/u 220.5, DAL -7)

Los Angeles is 8th in defensive rating, 3rd in pace.

Dallas is 13th in defensive rating, 11th in pace.

Though the LeBron-less Lakers have struggled of late they still remain extremely DFS relevant. Kyle Kuzma remains questionable, it’s imperative we continue to monitor his status.

He’s no longer a must, but I continue to want to target Brandon Ingram at his sub $7k price tag with LeBron James out. Ingram is a capable producer and this pacey game environment should suit him well. While a lot of people have probably grown tired of targeting the baby Lakers, I will continue to go to the well with Ingram as even in bad overall Lakers performances Ingram has strong production.

If Kyle Kuzma can’t go, Lance Stephenson would be an elite value SF on both sites. Lance is a PPM monster and would see around 25+ minutes priced at $4200 on FD and $4000 on DK.

Unlike Brandon Ingram, I no longer want to go to the well for Lonzo Ball. Ball carries an appealing GPP upside, I just can’t trust him. The expected high pace of this game does bode well for Lonzo.

If Kuzma remains out, Ivica Zubac is a usable punt at center on both slates, as long as he’s starting. It doesn’t make a ton of sense that Luke Walton has started him with JaVale McGee, but that’s not really important in DFS. 15-20 minutes of Zubac is enough to hit value. McGee remains a GPP middle priced center worth considering.

While the Lakers have remained a really strong defensive team since LeBron got hurt, their high pace makes them a decent team to attack in DFS.

I have interest in two Dallas Mavericks players; Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan. Doncic is one of my favorite targets on the slate as although the Lakers have played really poorly I do think they will hang around in this matchup. Luka is in an elite pace-up spot priced at $7700 on both sites. While his upside has been a bit limited since Dennis Smith Jr. returned, the path to 40+ fantasy points is clearly there for Luka here. DeAndre Jordan is in play because of his down price and the Lakers matchup. The Lakers are 20th in TS% in their last 10 games, couple that with their high pace and they will take a ton of shots and miss a ton of shots. That will lead to added rebounding upside for DJ.

With Barea and Harris returning I’m not particularly interested in Dennis Smith Jr. Still, because of the pace, the Lakers play at DSJ carries some GPP upside at his down price.

Orlando Magic @ Sacramento Kings (o/u 224, SAC -4)

Orlando is 14th in defensive rating, 27th in pace.

Sacramento is 24th in defensive rating, 2nd in pace.

Oh, the Kings, such a pleasant sight to see on any slate. Tonight, the Magic are the beneficiaries of this beautiful matchup. Unfortunately, besides for Vuc, it’s tough to trust Orlando players.

Nikola Vucevic is a production monster and finds himself in an elite matchup. Vuc is an elite target on both sites priced under $10k, target him with confidence.

If there was ever a matchup that Aaron Gordon should excel in, it would be this pace-friendly affair. Gordon drives me crazy as his athleticism alone should carry him to 18-8 a night with 2+ combined steals and blocks. Unfortunately for us, Gordon just hasn’t shown much aggression on either side of the ball or on the glass. I love the idea of Gordon in this spot I just don’t trust him at all, that puts him in play as a strong GPP target.

Evan Fournier and DJ Augustin are cheap with an elite matchup, their low usage is what limits their appeal. I’m fine with either, prefer Augustin, but neither is a priority for me tonight.

Johnathan Isaac is a usable GPP punt.

As good of a matchup as this is for Magic players, I HATE attacking the Magic in DFS as their slow pace and high low post usage limit teams rebounding, defensive, and transition scoring upside. The Kings will look to push the pace, the Magic will look to slow it down.

With Iman Shumpert out Bogdan Bogdanovic will be locked into 30+ minutes. Bogdan typically produces well when the minutes are there, the minutes are there for him. He’s way too cheap on DK at $5300.

Nemanja Bjelica will also be a beneficiary of Shumpert’s absence as long as Marvin Bagley remains out. Bjelica is a strong producer when the minutes will be there, like Bogdan, the minutes will be there with Bjelica. I’m also confused as to what DK was doing with Bjelica’s price, $4800 is criminally underpriced. Expect him to be heavily owned on DK, he’s an elite target.

I’m off on Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, and Willie Caulie-Stein. I’d rather target Bogdan over Hield at a lower price and I don’t think it’s wise to target both vs the Magic. The pace-down game will hurt Fox who also seems to be dealing with a few nagging injuries. Willie Caulie-Stein has the Vuc effect which will limit his rebounding and defensive upside. He’s a complete fade for me on FD, on DK WCS is a bit too cheap at $5800.

New York Knicks @ Portland Trail Blazers (o/u 220.5, POR -11.5)

New York is 29th in defensive rating, 13th in pace.

Portland is 15th in defensive rating, 17th in pace.

The Knicks are always a tricky team to target, as they carry a lot of appeal but a lot of risk, as coach Dave Fizdale plays a deep rotation and is never scared to mix it up mid game. The Blazers are about as bland of a team to attack in NBA DFS.

As long as the minutes are there Emmanuel Mudiay is a really appealing target priced at $6100 on both sites. Do I trust Mudiay? No, but that is mostly a product of Dave Fizdale. To Fizdale’s credit, Mudiay has been consistently over 30 minutes for the better part of the last month. Mudiay carries a safe floor and legit 35+ point upside at around $6k.

Literally, the same thing can be said about Noah Vonleh. At $6100 on FD and $6300 on DK Vonleh carries a safe floor with strong upside as long as the minutes are in the 30+ range. Like Mudiay, Vonleh has been consistently over that mark for the better part of the month and has seen a slight production bump since Enes Kanter was removed from the starting lineup.

I don’t trust Dave Fizdale’s SG/SF rotation at all but Tim Hardaway Jr. is cheap and in an elite matchup. The Knicks have clearly made it a priority to play Kevin Knox a ton and let him shoot a ton, that has hurt Hardaway’s once appealing usage. THJ is a GPP target tonight because of the matchup.

Enes Kanter is strictly a GPP target. He’ll smash his price tag if the minutes are there, I have no clue if they will be.

Kevin Knox sees a ton of minutes but the upside just hasn’t been there for him having gone over 30 fantasy points just once in his last nine games.

This is an elite spot for Blazers players as the Knicks have been one of the worst defensive teams over the last month while also increasing their pace thus leading to a ton of opposing teams fantasy goodness. My one issue with targeting Blazers players, this game carries some blowout potential.

Not much needs to be said about Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic. Both are in elite spots and will have strong production as long as the Knicks hang around. Nurkic has seen a minutes and production bump, which has spiked his price on FD. On DK, Nurkic is a bit more appealing at $8k.

Mo Harkless has gone from “Probable” to “Out” now twice this year, he’s listed as probable again tonight. For that reason, we need to be wary of Mo, if he’s ruled IN early Mo is an appealing sub $5k SF. His production has been great of late and the Knicks provide him with a great matchup.

I’m fairly off on the other Blazers as I don’t like targeting CJ McCollum much as Terry Stotts no longer staggers his and Dame’s minutes.


Teams to Attack

Nets, Pelicans, Kings, Knicks, Lakers-Mavericks matchup

Blowout Potential

Knicks @ Blazers, Lakers @ Mavericks, Nets @ Celtics

Top Targets

PG: Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Mike Conley, Emmanuel Mudiay

SG: James Harden, Luka Doncic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Gary Harris (dk)

SF: Brandon Ingram, Kyle Anderson (dk), Joe Ingles (dk), Nemanja Bjelica (dk), Mo Harkless, Lance Stephenson (if Kuzma out)

PF: Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge, Noah Vonleh, Jayson Tatum (fd), Marcus Morris (fd)

C: Nikola Jokic, Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond (gut), Jusuf Nurkic (dk), DeAndre Jordan