Yesterday was a nightmare for me. It was by far my worst day of the year. During the long grind that is an NBA season, there are going to be nights that you need to forget happened. Last night was one of those nights.
Blake Griffin was a fixture in my lineups, and I’m still on board with my thinking. Blake averages 25-8-5 and found himself in an elite up-tempo game, but somehow didn’t manage to grab a single rebound in 37 minutes. Jusuf Nurkic, another staple of my lines, produced well … for 21 minutes. I took some unnecessary risks, with Alex Len being one. But Len was a risk I loved and at 2% owned on DK and under 1% owned on FD I’d take that risk again, as he’s shown production improvement on back to backs while playing the Nets, a team we must attack at center! Kyrie? Well, he played in a blowout. Transparency is key — I won’t win every night, and I will get things wrong at times. Consistency is king, so trust the process (shout out to Embiid for showing up last night).
Time to bounce back…
Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat (o/u 210, BOS -1)
Boston is 2nd in defensive rating, 18th in pace.
Miami is 7th in defensive rating, 22nd in pace.
NO! The Celtics are back tonight, and are here to frustrate me. The Heat are 29th in pace in their last 10 games, which suggests coach Spo has changed his philosophy. This is not a good matchup for the Celtics. Boston plays noticeably worse on the tail end of a back to back, but I’m less concerned about that tonight as their starters did not play much in a blowout win vs Indiana last night.
I am not sure what FD is doing pricing Marcus Morris at $4700. Opposing PFs have had some success vs Miami this year, so this isn’t a terrible spot for Morris either. He’s an elite target and criminally underpriced on FD. On DK Morris is not nearly as appealing, priced at $5600, but still usable.
Jayson Tatum came out firing last night vs Indiana, which I thought was extremely note-worthy. Thus far in the year Tatum has shown a frustrating lack of aggression on the offensive end, and last night could be a signal of things changing. He’s affordable on both sites and will likely be low owned.
Shoot-first ball dominant guards have also had success vs the Heat, and that puts Kyrie Irving in play. The $8400 on FD is appealing for Kyrie, and the $9000 on DK is high but fair. I don’t love Kyrie here, but on a small slate he’s more than usable in this spot, especially on FD.
Miami is a bit of a disaster to target in NBA DFS, as they play too many players and with different rotations to consistently count on. It also doesn’t help they find themselves facing an elite defensive team in Boston.
I don’t want any Heat players, and I don’t think you should either. If you’re desperate for Heat exposure, James Johnson might see a slight uptick in minutes. Johnson is a better defensive matchup vs the Celtics when they play Tatum or Hayward at the 4 than Olynyk or Bam would be.
Hassan Whiteside, as always, has the potential to break the slate. I don’t think that will happen tonight but nothing shocks me with Hassan. He’s strictly a GPP option.
It was interesting to me that Dion Waiters played 25 minutes last game after consecutive DNP’s. Waiters also has some GPP appeal.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Denver Nuggets (o/u 226, DEN -5.5)
Los Angeles is 21st in defensive rating, 8th in pace.
Denver is 9th in defensive rating, 27th in pace.
This is a tough spot for the Clippers, as this year’s Nuggets team is stout defensively, especially at home. One noteworthy stat: The Nuggets have actually regressed considerably over their last 10 games, ranking 27th in defensive rating.
It’s the usual suspects when considering which Clippers to target, and currently my favorite is Lou Williams. Since returning from injury Lou has been over 31+ fantasy points in seven of his last 10 games, and the Clippers will need to rely on him a bit more vs a top Western Conference opponent. Lou is starting to get up in price so there’s some risk, but this is a decent spot for him.
Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris are similar targets with similar production, and tonight I’m leaning Harris. The Clippers will need both of them to score, and while Gallo is a touch cheaper Harris has stronger historical numbers vs the Nuggets, averaging 36.2 FD points and 37.88 DK points this year.
I’m off on Montrezl Harrell tonight on FD, but he’s usable on DK, priced at $6400. I don’t like targeting centers against Jokic, and his usage all over the court limits Harrell’s rebounding and defensive upside.
A punt at center worth considering is Marcin Gortat. Sneakily, Gortat has seen 20-25 minutes vs huge centers like Jokic, including three straight 20+ minute games vs Embiid, Ayton, and Vucevic. If Doc continues that trend, Gortat will see 20-25 minutes tonight at sub $4k.
Over the course of the last month or so the Clippers have been one of my favorite teams to attack in DFS, as they’ve improved their pace while their defensive rating has regressed. The Clippers are similar to the Nets where you want to attack them at PG and center.
Luckily for the Nuggets they have a damn good center in Nikola Jokic. Jokic is on a mini-Hardenesque level of production over his last six games. His price has come up, but Jokic is an elite target because of his matchup. Target him with confidence.
It’s hard to ever “love” Jamal Murray, as he seems to shoot his “arrow” directly into my heart whenever I target him, but there is no denying this is an elite spot for him. Whatever. I’ll say it: I love Murray tonight. The Clippers get torched by PGs, and Murray tends to show up vs top Western Conference teams. It’s also an elite pace-up spot for him, and Gary Harris might not play. Everything going on tonight is in Murray’s favor, and his only excuse now is that well…he’s Jamal Murray.
I don’t expect Gary Harris to play which would open the door for Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, and Torrey Craig. Morris and Beasley would be my favorites of the trio, but all three are really strong values worth considering.
I’m ok with targeting Paul Millsap, but he’s not easy to fit into builds for me, as I’d rather prioritize spending elsewhere. There’s nothing outrageous about his price and it’s a decent spot for him.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ San Antonio Spurs (o/u 224.5, OKC -1)
Oklahoma City is 1st in defensive rating, 4th in pace.
San Antonio is 17th in defensive rating, 24th in pace.
While I think it’s more of a product of who they’ve played, the Spurs have been a top 10 rated defense over their last 10 games. Still, San Antonio doesn’t have the individual talent defensively to scare anyone off attacking them. This is an ok spot for the Thunder.
On a four game slate it’s always tough to fade a stud like Russell Westbrook. As always, Westbrook carries elite upside and a high floor. The Spurs slow pace could have an impact on his overall production, but on the flip side, stars typically produce well in primetime games. Westbrook will be one of the highest owned targets on the slate.
The same can be said about Paul George, except at a cheaper price. George’s price has finally come back down to earth at sub $10k on both sites, and the Spurs have struggled to defend opposing wings all year. George is an elite target tonight, and if you’re fading Westbrook, I think it’s wise to at least get George in your lineup.
The Thunder are a bit thin in the frontcourt after Nerlens Noel’s scary fall. That could mean we see more of Patrick Patterson, or more of Jerami Grant and Steven Adams (I think this is more likely). We’ve seen OKC go with Grant as their small-ball 5 for long stretches in the playoffs, and we could start to see that again now. Adams is already a lock for strong minutes, but even if he picks up 2-3 extra minutes that typically leads to more production. Both are strong targets tonight.
For San Antonio, this is an appealing pace-up spot for their players — albeit against the Thunder and their number 1 ranked defense.
I love to target DeMar DeRozan in pace-up games, and this is exactly that. DeRozan is capable of producing against anyone, so I’m not concerned about the Thunder’s defensive ability. DeRozan will be surprisingly low owned, as I think most will try and jam in Westbrook and Jokic. Fading Westbrook and going George, DeRozan, and Jokic gives you the opportunity to fit in all three. The Spurs lean on DeRozan vs top teams, he’s an elite target in this spot.
LaMarcus Aldridge will also be a bit of a forgotten man tonight, as he’s just not easy to fit into lineups. I don’t love him here, but he’s priced fairly on FD at $8100, and really appealing on DK at $7200. The Thunder’s pace could lead to added peripheral stats for Aldridge.
With Rudy Gay out, value opens up with Spurs players. The first player that typically comes to mind when Gay is hurt is Davis Bertans. I don’t think Bertans plays a ton, but he’s a usable cheap SF. Where I like to target the Spurs when Gay is out is at PG — Derrick White, Bryn Forbes, and Patty Mills all see their minutes solidified, as Pop tends to go smaller. All three are in play tonight, and I especially like Mills at his sub $4k price tag. Mills has played 26 and 30 minutes over the last two games with Gay out. Forbes is a lock for 30+ minutes at under $5k, and White is the most consistent producer of the three.
Detroit Pistons @ Sacramento Kings (o/u 224.5, SAC -5)
Detroit is 14th in defensive rating, 21st in pace.
Sacramento is 24th in defensive rating, 2nd in pace.
The Pistons are back on the slate to give me nightmares, as they find themselves one again in a pace-up spot. The Kings are one of the top teams to attack in DFS, so this is an elite matchup for Pistons players.
Ugh … where to start with Blake Griffin? It frustrates me to say this but this is an elite spot for him, as Blake shouldn’t have any issue scoring in the low post, and the Kings pace should lead to added production across the board. Recency bias is a thing in NBA DFS, and Blake’s ownership could be down a touch after disappointing many last night. This is a perfect bounce back spot for him, but be wary.
Andre Drummond showed signs of life last night on the glass, but not in the scoring department. Everything said about Blake can be said about Drummond, as the Kings pace should lead to added rebounding and defensive opportunities. This is an elite matchup for Drummond, his recent lack of aggression is his risk.
On a small slate in an elite matchup, Reggie Jackson is a usable lower middle priced PG to consider. There’s upside at his down price, and hopefully the Kings pace minimizes some of his risk.
Reggie Bullock is an interesting sub $5k SG/SF worth considering. I like Bullock here in a pace-up spot, as his minutes are consistently above 30 and he’s always capable of getting hot.
The Kings are not in as ideal of a spot, as the Pistons play at a fairly slow overall pace. Still, Kings players remain DFS relevant because of their own pace.
At $8600 on FD and $7600 on DK, De’Aaron Fox is on my radar mostly on DK. The Pistons have struggled to contain opposing PGs, and that’s a cheap price for Fox.
Detroit is the least efficient team in the NBA, so I have some interest in Willie Cauley-Stein. That being said, the return of Marvin Bagley has seemed to really impact Stein’s minutes. I’m assuming Stein will see big minutes here, as they need some size to keep Drummond off the glass. Both Bagley and WCS are in GPP consideration.
It also appears Bagley has impacted Nemanja Bjelica’s minutes. Bjelica is big enough to defend Blake in the low post, so I believe he should play strong minutes. Unfortunately for us, Dave Joerger will likely see it differently. Justin Jackson has been getting the majority of Bjelica’s minutes of late, so Jackson is a decent sub $4k option on both sites.
I don’t expect Iman Shumpert to play. If he’s out again, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield should be locked into strong minutes. I still prefer Bogdan even after a poor last game. He’s cheaper, which minimizes some of his risk.
A GPP dart throw worth considering is Yogi Ferrell. Ferrell has played 20+ minutes in back to back games. If Shumpert plays, I’d have no interest in Ferrell.
Teams to Attack
PG: Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving (FD), De’Aaron Fox (DK), Jamal Murray, Derrick White, Patty Mills
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Lou Williams, Monte Morris/Malik Beasley (if Harris out)
SF: Paul George – there’s really not much after PG I like
PF: Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris (FD)
C: Nikola Jokic, Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, Gortat/Gasol/Poeltl
Stefano Vaccarino is the NBA Product Manager for The Quant Edge. Formerly known as Rotodamus NBA on Twitter, Stefano provides consistently accurate NBA insights and predictions. His perception of the game and understanding of analytics allows him to identify profitable NBA situations.