With the deadline lurking and so much uncertainty during these next two days I think it’s apropos for a Top Targets addition of Morning Thoughts. Here are my favorite targets for tonight’s NBA DFS slate…
Kemba Walker (FD $9300, DK $8800) vs DAL
Kemba has back to back 60-burgers and while I don’t think he will make it three straight, Kemba is clearly playing with confidence again. Dallas provides a slight pace-up game but I also expect Dallas to struggle defensively, as they look to incorporate their new pieces. I believe a big reason for the recent bump in production for Kemba has been his touches, as his time of possession has been similar to how it was the first month of the season. I still have my doubts and it feels a bit like chasing points, but it’s hard to ignore Kemba based off of his recent production.
Chris Paul (FD $7600, DK $7100) vs SAC
Paul is still priced down, and after playing 33 minutes in his last game we can expect 33+ tonight in an elite matchup vs the Kings. The best position to attack pace is at PG, and the Kings are ranked 24th in DvP against PGs. Paul continues to look relatively healthy and while he hasn’t taken many shots, he has shot the ball well. Simply put, this is just a great matchup at a good price for CP3.
Patty Mills (FD $4300, DK $4200) + Bryn Forbes (FD $4400, DK $4300) vs GS
See Spurs below.
Elie Okobo (FD $3800, DK $3500) vs UTA
It’s a brutal matchup but I don’t expect Devin Booker to play, which would lock in strong minutes for Okobo at a super cheap price. He would become an elite value.
BONUS DLo DK Only
D’Angelo Russell DK $8100 vs DEN
SG is fairly strong overall so it’s tough to play Russell in that position on both sites. But on DK with PG eligibility, DLo is a really intriguing target. The Nuggets continue to regress defensively, ranking 22nd in defensive rating over their last 15 games. Even before this recent decline in defense, the one area where we could attack the Nuggets was at PG. Russell typically improves his production vs good teams, so this is a spot for a DLo 50-burger. We can never trust him though, so he remains a GPP only target.
James Harden (FD $14000, DK $12600) vs SAC
Harden vs the Kings during this insane run of production speaks for itself. Again, Harden has me speechless, as he’s somehow not even that overpriced. Do I feel good about spending that much for him? No, but I feel worse when he puts up 80.
Jrue Holiday (FD $9400, DK $9000) vs CHI
Jrue has burned some people in two of his last three games, but seemed to right the ship during his last game vs Indiana. This one is also fairly straightforward, as Jrue has averaged 1.29 FD and 1.3 DK points per minute with Davis, Randle, and Mirotic OFF the floor. The Bulls give up a ton of wide-open shots, which could mean we see +assists from him. We know what Jrue can do as the focal point of the Pelicans offense, and tasked with an appealing matchup vs a bad Bulls defense, Jrue is in line for a strong game. He continues to be a rock-solid option and is priced fairly on both sites.
Klay Thompson (FD $7100, DK $6200) vs SA
The Spurs are playing their bench tonight against the Warriors, so it’s tough to trust any of the studs. With that being said the Warriors LOVE to force Klay the ball vs bad teams, and the Spurs are going to be a bad team tonight. This year Klay has torched the Lakers (without LeBron), Bulls x2, Knicks, and Kings. Tonight’s Spurs team reminds me of the Bulls, but just coached well, I don’t think Pop cares about this game though, and if Klay gets going early at home…look out.
BONUS DENVER LETHAL SHOOTERS
Monte Morris (FD $6400, DK[PG] $6100) + Malik Beasley (FD $5500, DK $5700) vs BK
Gary Harris is already ruled out, and if Jamal Murray is scratched again we can look to target both vs Brooklyn. The Nets have played at one of the fastest paces in the NBA over the last 15 games and Morris and Beasley have been on fire — both are now top 10 in the NBA in 3PT%. Both carry similar per minute production with Murray and Harris OFF the court: Morris is at .91 FD and DK PPM while Beasley is at .89 FD and .91 DK PPM. That’s around 32 fantasy points per 36 minutes, and we can give both a slight bump based off their newfound confidence and the Nets matchup.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (FD $11900, DK $11400) vs WAS
I actually don’t like targeting Giannis at either of those prices, but he remains an elite target tonight because he is a stud in an elite matchup vs the Wizards. The price makes him not a must for me, but with so much value it’s acceptable.
Darius Miller (FD $4800, DK $4800) vs CHI
Darius Miller continues to be a boring Pelicans value, but with SF fairly weak overall (specifically on FD) he’s a usable target with an elite matchup vs Chicago. Miller is a 3PT shooter and the Bulls give up the sixth most 3PTM per game, and 37.3% of opposing teams shot attempts are 3’s vs the Bulls. That means the Bulls don’t play perimeter defense and give up a lot of wide open three-point looks. I wouldn’t be shocked if Miller hit 4+ 3’s tonight.
Rudy Gay (FD $6000, DK $5900) + Davis Bertans (FD $4300, DK $4100) vs GS
See The Spurs at the bottom.
*NOTE: On FD SF is fairly weak, on DK with a lot of SG/SF eligible players it is a stronger position. Khris Middleton is a SF on DK priced well in a good spot.
Lauri Markkanen (FD $7800, DK $6900) + Bobby Portis (FD $6800, DK $5900) vs NO
Alex Blickle mentioned in his Staying Ahead of the Curve column that the Pelicans have been getting destroyed by bigs since Jahlil Okafor started seeing big minutes. That makes sense! Okafor isn’t known to be a gifted defender, and the Pelicans play with pace. But … how bad is he, really? Over the last seven games the Pels are 28th in DvP, just behind the Nets. Any team that’s Nets bad vs bigs is worth our attention. Lauri isn’t cheap, but something has clicked with him of late, going for 40+ fantasy points in three of his last four games and consistently being over the 30 point fantasy mark. I love him at his DK price — that feels safe with his floor and is loaded with upside. Portis is more of a GPP risk, as Jim Boylen likes to frustrate us. Still, Portis’ activity should give Okafor and Diallo problems. I think both are elite plays and I don’t mind stacking them in GPPs.
Kenrich Williams (FD $5400, DK $5000) + Cheick Diallo (FD $4100, DK $3700) vs CHI
The other forward pairing in the Bulls vs Pelicans matchup also carries a ton of intrigue. Kenrich is still too cheap, and I’m hoping people get scared off by the price raise. Williams will play 30+ minutes and is averaging .88 FD and .91 DK points per minute with Randle, Davis, and Mirotic OFF the floor. Per-36 that equates to 31.55 FD and 32.2 DK points and that is not factoring in the elite nature of the matchup. Diallo is a 1.16 FD and 1.11 DK fantasy point per minute producer, and has played 22 and 23 minutes his last two games. If Diallo is in that minute range again tonight with an elite matchup vs the Bulls, Diallo provides strong cap relief with elite upside.
BONUS “MANIMAL” ADDITION
Kenneth Faried (FD $8000, DK $7000) vs SAC
Faried is not cheap and I continue to prefer him more on DK than on FD, but it’s tough to ignore him in a juicy matchup vs the Kings. While the Kings have slowed down their pace they still have been a top-10 pace team over the course of their last 15 games. They’re playing fast enough and Faried should have no problems gobbling up boards all game. I expect another monster double-double from Kenneth, though I consider him more of a cash play on FD at his $8k price tag.
Nikola Jokic (FD $10800, DK $10600) vs BK
Oh baby, this is a dream matchup for Jokic, as the Nuggets head to Brooklyn in what will likely be a high-scoring, back-and-forth game. Jokic is the exact type of center that destroys the Nets and over his last three games vs Brooklyn he’s averaging 64.13 FD and 65.75 DK points. Jokic could potentially even continue to get a usage and production bump if Jamal Murray isn’t able to go. He is a super-elite target tonight, so target him with confidence.
Jahlil Okafor (FD $7800, DK $7300) vs CHI
The Bulls are the mini-Nets when it comes to attacking them at center, and Jahlil Okafor is the beneficiary of that tonight. Okafor continues to impress while every trade-able asset the Pelicans have, not named Jrue Holiday, continue to sit out with “injuries”. If there is one thing this Anthony Davis trade fiasco has done, it’s make Okafor money and Jah has taken it in stride. Okafor has been under 40 points just three times in his last eight games. He continues to play a ton of minutes with strong fantasy production, and he should have no problem producing against the Bulls tonight.
*Note: Julius Randle is not confirmed out but I don’t expect him to play amongst all these Pelicans trade rumors.
Marvin Bagley – DK Center $5800 vs HOU
Bagley is still relatively cheap on both sites. There are other bigs I prefer targeting, but I just wanted to continue to note that this is a price we can exploit on Bagley. He has a size mismatch over Faried and an everything mismatch over Nene. The minutes should continue to be in the 30-33 range, and he won’t be priced this cheap for too much longer. I think the secret is sort of out after his monster last game, so I’d expect him to be on the heavier owned side. Typically the Rockets have contained opposing bigs, but Bagley should be able to score in this spot.
San Antonio is resting DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, meaning A LOT of production opens up, and it also means the Spurs will likely get blown out by Golden State. Here are the Spurs per minute numbers with DeRozan, Aldridge, and White OFF the court.
Rudy Gay sees the biggest bump in production — 1.5 FD and 1.48 DK PPM are ELITE numbers. The risk with Gay is how much he plays, as he’s the one Spur who isn’t blowout proof. I like Gay a lot but that worries me. Forbes, Mills, and Bertans are the three that see the biggest minute bumps, and all three provide strong value tonight, Bertans is my favorite. People are going to jump on Belinelli but he worries me too. The GPP punts I’d consider are Chimezie Metu and Lonnie Walker IV. Lonnie is super interesting as the Spurs have invested a high draft pick on him — this could be used as an opportunity to see if he’s ready to go vs NBA competition since coming back from injury. There is a chance they use Walker in the “DeRozan” role, and his per minute and usage numbers are fairly strong. His sample size is very small though. Metu is considered a “point-forward” type player in the G League, but is much more of an energy guy in the NBA. Still, the Spurs tonight are more G League than NBA and if the minutes are there he carries strong upside. Jakob Poeltl is also an interesting value, but my concern with him his I’d rather spend up on some other centers.
I’m mostly staying away from the Dallas backcourt. Doncic is clearly worth considering, but personally I prefer to spend elsewhere. Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell are decent values — the Mavs have no size so the minutes will have to be there for both. I prefer Kleber. If you’re playing multiple GPP lines I don’t mind taking a shot on Tim Hardaway Jr, as we’ve seen him come out firing when he’s motivated and/or mad.
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.