We have a busy 10-game NBA DFS slate on our hands, here are my top targets…
Ben Simmons (FD $9900, DK $8900) vs CHI
In his brief NBA career, Ben Simmons has never produced under 50 fantasy points against the Bulls (four game sample size). Simmons has made it his brief career to terrorize them averaging 57.15 FD points and 60.5 DK points. The Bulls struggle vs primary ball-handlers but have relatively contained point-forwards on the year, ranking ninth. Still, the Bulls struggle vs rebounders and Simmons has produced 50+ fantasy points while playing 40+ minutes in three straight games. Expect the minutes and production to be there again for Simmons tonight, he’s an elite target.
Kyrie Irving (FD $9400, DK $9300) vs SAC
I prefer Simmons over Kyrie tonight, but I wanted to list Kyrie because of the matchup. The Kings continuously get torched by opposing teams PGs and are 27th in Advanced DvP vs superstars. That adds up as the Kings rarely get blown out and create a perfect game environment for fantasy production. Kyrie is going to go on the lower owned side and in an elite matchup that is something we can exploit. Two things to keep in mind, Kyrie has rested twice this year on back to backs and has averaged around six fewer fantasy points on the second half of a back to back. Still, if Kyrie plays the Kings matchup outweighs that sample size.
Derrick White (FD $6700, DK $5400) vs ATL
White’s price has come up a touch but not high enough to scare me off with a beautiful matchup vs Atlanta. White is back to getting his full minutes load and has been over 35+ fantasy points in three straight games. The Hawks pace and propensity for turning the ball over will lead to added steals opportunities for White who is already a steals machine. Atlanta’s pace will also lead to added rebounding opportunities thus allowing White to start the break in transition, which usually leads to scoring opportunities (assists/points). On FD, if White wasn’t playing Atlanta I’d be a little concerned over his price but Atlanta provides a true ceiling matchup for him. On DK, White is too cheap and an elite target. He offers a safe floor with elite upside at $5400.
BONUS: Don’t Forget About Trae
Trae Young (FD $8400, DK $8800) vs SA
After a masterful run of production, Trae has been under 30 fantasy points in back to back games. That being said Trae has two strong excuses for his production drop, he was wrongfully ejected and he played an elite Pacers defense. Those are two issues we should get over quickly as Trae is back in an elite spot vs a bad Spurs defense. The Spurs are 29th in the NBA at defending primary ball-handlers and Trae is quite frankly just too quick off the pick and roll for the Spurs to contain. He’s still not “cheap” but five days ago we would have jumped ALL over Trae at this price tag as he’s averaging 1.23 FD and 1.32 DK points per minute with a 31.54 usage rating over the last 30 days. Don’t fall into the recency bias trap with Trae, he’s an elite target.
DeMar DeRozan (FD $9000, DK $8200) vs ATL
DeRozan has been on a bit of a roll of late, going for 45+ fantasy points in four of his last six games. With that production bump, DeRozan’s price has gone up, especially on FD. This is a simple case of an elite fantasy producer in an elite matchup as the Hawks are first in pace, 27th in defensive rating, and 30th in turnover percentage. With this game being played in Atlanta, I fully expect it to stay close throughout, giving DeRozan a real chance at hitting his 50+ fantasy point ceiling. Hawks rank 30th in the NBA vs opposing teams scorers, it’s hard to ignore the glorious Atlanta matchup.
Jordan Clarkson (FD $5000, DK $5300) vs BK
Clarkson smashed the Nets in a triple-overtime thriller his last outing going for 60+ fantasy points. While I hope everyone is not expecting that sort of production, in three games vs the Nets this year Clarkson has produced at a 1.22 FD and a 1.31 DK point per minute clip with a 38.47 usage rating. That is elite production for someone priced where he is. The Nets are 17th in Advanced DvP against opposing team’s scorers and Clarkson is averaging 26.9 minutes per game (26.25 in his last four games). So in essence, if Clarkson is around his season average and produces at his season average rate against the Nets, Clarkson should be over the 32+ fantasy point mark. While Clarkson is always tough to trust, shockingly, at his down price I believe Clarkson provides fairly safe value with elite upside.
Josh Hart (FD $4400, DK $3300) vs DEN
No Kyle Kuzma and potentially no Brandon Ingram means Josh Hart is in line for some big minutes tonight. Denver is not a good matchup to attack but with Hart, it’s simply about the minutes and price. Expect Hart to be on the heavier owned side, especially on DK, as Hart is a 0.73 FD and 0.74 DK point per minute producer with Ingram and Kuzma OFF the floor likely playing over 30 minutes tonight. Hart also sees a 3.16% usage bump with Ingram and Kuz out. Hart offers cap relief and upside.
Allonzo Trier (FD $5200, DK $4500) vs PHO
In his last eight games, Trier has played 26, 18, 29, 28, 21, 32, 24, and 30 minutes. While there is some inconsistency with his minutes they are overall consistently up than where they had been. What intrigues me about Trier has been his production during that span as he’s produced at around a .95 fantasy point per minute clip. The risk is two of those games were complete duds and his price is up. So why is Trier a top target? It’s the upside his Phoenix Suns matchup provides as they currently rank as the 29th worst defense in the NBA. If Trier is anywhere around the 25+ minute mark he has a real chance to smash his increased, yet still cheap enough, price tag at low ownership.
BONUS: The Man with no Position
Luka Doncic (FD (SG) $9300, DK (PG/SF) $9100) vs WAS
The Mavericks are a bit of a frustrating team to target with them in full on tank mode, but I thought Luka was worth mentioning for GPP consideration because of this glorious matchup. The Wizards pace and lack of defense makes them susceptible to opposing PGs production while also giving up the most fantasy points to superstars. He’s only a rookie, but Luka is a fantasy superstar. The sites have Luka in three different positions, I don’t have a favorite site to play him on he’s just worth mentioning as there’s a high probability he gets overlooked. Any time a stud in an elite matchup has a chance to be on the lower owned side he qualifies as a strong GPP target.
LeBron James (FD $12700, DK $11300) vs DEN
The Lakers are officially a mess. I’m not paying $12700 on FD for LeBron, I get it, and with Kuzma out and Ingram also potentially out, he will have to do everything but Denver is an elite defense and there is some serious blowout potential here. On DK, however, LeBron is still priced a bit too cheap based off of his 30.58 usage rating and the 40+ minutes he’s expected to play. If you think the Lakers hang around or even win this game then I recommend playing LeBron as the only way that happens is if LeBron has one of his “moments”. To recap, FD he’s a bit too pricey for me; DK he’s an elite target.
Justise Winslow (FD $6900, DK $6300) vs CHA
With Goran Dragic out, Winslow will be back to running the show for the Miami Heat. Winslow sees a 3.64% usage bump with Dragic OFF the floor and also sees around a four-minute increase in playing time. Charlotte is middle of the pack ranking both 13th vs primary ball-handlers and point-forwards. I’m interested in Justise as he’s been a 1.04 FD and 1.02 DK point per minute producer with Dragic OFF the court over the last 14 days and should play 32+ minutes. I don’t think he carries elite upside in this matchup but SF isn’t great, especially on FD, he’s a safe middle priced option.
Jabari Parker (FD $5600, $5100) vs DAL
Parker is more of a GPP play as he’s been the definition of boom or bust since joining the Wizards. In nine games as a Wizard, he’s been over 35+ fantasy points in five of them. In those five games, he’s averaged around 40 fantasy points. In his four games under 35 fantasy points, he’s averaged around 14 fantasy points. Those are massive discrepancies in production and the definition of a GPP target. When Parker is on, he provides elite value at both of his price tags. The Mavericks have been fairly stout vs opposing PFs but where they have struggled is against scorers. Parker is a scorer off the bench for Washington. He’s a huge risk but he will be on the lower owned side with elite upside.
Gordon Hayward (FD $4800, DK $3900) vs SAC
I just wanted to mention Hayward after his impressive take-down of the Warriors last night. Do I expect it to happen again vs Sacramento? Not particularly, but Hayward is SO cheap on both sites it doesn’t take him much to hit any sort of value. The Kings provide an ideal matchup for Hayward to build off of last night’s performance. I’d expect him to be relatively high owned. If the Celtics decide to rest Kyrie on the back to back Hayward would become a bit more appealing.
Kevin Love (FD $8200, DK $7500) vs BK
Attack the Nets at center! Kevin Love is the Cavs center at the moment and after three straight 28 minute games, it wouldn’t shock me to see him eclipse the 30-minute mark tonight. Love has been producing at an elite level averaging 1.22 FD and 1.31 DK points per minute. The Nets matchup should provide a slight bump to those per minute metrics. If he’s anywhere between 30-36 minutes Love offers elite upside. My hope is that Love remains on the lower owned side with people fearing his price with his minutes but the secret about attacking the Nets at center has been out for a while now, I think he will be relatively owned. Still, I love Love in this spot, he’s an elite target.
LaMarcus Aldridge (FD $8200, DK $7600) vs ATL
Our third Spur of the night and we can credit the glorious Hawks matchup for that. I prefer both Derrick White and DeMar DeRozan over LaMarcus Aldridge but that doesn’t mean Aldridge is not an elite target. As mentioned previously, I expect this game to stay relatively close with it being played in Atlanta. Aldridge will be able to expose whatever big he’s matched up against all night and the Hawks pace and 16th ranked true shooting percentage should lead to added rebounding opportunities. If Jakob Poeltl is ruled out, Aldridge is locked into big minutes. Look for him to get to the basket and make it 40+ fantasy points in four out of his last five games.
Rodion Kurucs (FD $3800, DK $3500) vs CLE
Kurucs is a usable value on both sites if Treveon Graham is ultimately ruled out (he’s currently listed as doubtful). Kurucs has been a 0.78 FD and 0.79 DK point per minute produced and would likely play 25+ minutes vs the worst defensive team in the NBA. He’s far from a “must” as a value, but he’s someone who has consistently outperformed his price with increased minutes. If for some reason Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got the start over Kurucs I’d prefer Rondae over him. As frustrating as his rotation can be to predict, with Kenny Atkinson typically any Nets starter sees 20+ minutes.
BONUS: Fizdale Pt. 2
Noah Vonleh (FD $4700, DK $4600) vs PHO
Vonleh is a strong .95 FD and DK point per minute producer and in his last three games, Vonleh has played 22, 27, and 33 minutes. Does that mean he is officially back in the Knicks rotation? I have no idea, but if he’s anywhere in the 24+ minutes range in an elite matchup vs the Suns he provides cap relief and elite upside. His risk is Dave Fizdale. On paper, going up against DeAndre Ayton, this feels like more of a Mitchell Robinson game as Ayton has size and strength over Kornet and Vonleh. However, Fizdale is immune to logic this year. If Vonleh’s newfound minutes are a consistent trend and not an anomaly, Vonleh provides elite value.
Karl-Anthony Towns (FD $11500, DK $10800) vs DET
KAT’s been absurd over his last five games averaging over 60 fantasy points and carrying an elite 32.33 usage rating over the last 14 days. The Pistons rank 28th in advanced DvP against skilled centers such as KAT, which makes a ton of sense as Andre Drummond is a poor interior defender. KAT’s price will soon begin to creep up but for the time being, he’s priced appealingly in an elite matchup while producing at an absurdly high level. He’s an elite target.
Nikola Jokic (FD $10900, DK $10600) vs LAL
The pivot off of KAT is Jokic as he’ll likely be on the lower owned side based off of recent production. The Nuggets are finally healthy and have thus begun to eat into each other’s production, which has led to Jokic’s production drop. Still, this is an elite matchup vs the Lakers, who are 23rd against skilled centers and 29th against fantasy superstars. Jokic’s price has come down a touch too, which leads to a greater upside and a bit of a safer floor. Jokic’s risks are blowout and Denver’s depth, he’s an elite GPP target.
Willie Caulie-Stein (FD $6000, DK $5800) vs Robin Lopez (FD $5700, DK $5000)
WCS and Robin Lopez are the two middle priced options at center I’d consider and both are borderline elite targets. WCS is in the worse matchup on paper but with no Bagley, his minutes have been up and Boston is a poor rebounding team, ranking 20th in rebounding rate. If WCS was $500+ more expensive, I’d be off on him but this is a rock-solid price for him based off his expected minutes. Lopez has sneakily been a production monster as has yet to see that dramatic of a price increase. In his last 10 games, Lopez has consistently played over 30 minutes while producing over 30+ fantasy points. At his price tags on both sites, that offers safe value and upside. The Sixers remain undersized which could lead to added offensive rebounds and tip-ins. I’m still leaning WCS as Lopez is on the second of a back to back where he has seen on average two fewer minutes per game. Still, both are safe middle priced options at center.
Alex Len (FD $4100, DK $4500) vs SA
The cheap GPP center we have to consider is Alex Len. Chalk Alex Len did what many expect chalk Alex Len to do last game, flop. If John Collins can’t go with Dedmon and Spellman both ruled out the minutes will be there for Len who produces at a 1.15 FD and DK point per minute clip with Collins, Dedmon, and Spellman OFF the court. The Spurs aren’t an intimidating defensive team, Len would continue to carry his tremendous upside at his price.
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.