NBA Morning Thoughts 03.07.19

NBA Morning Thoughts 03.07.19

With only a two-game NBA slate tonight I’m going to take a bit of a different approach for my article where I’ll highlight studs, mid-range targets, and GPP differentiators. For two-game slates, I recommend playing zero cash games and multiple GPP lineups. For example, if you typically play $60 a night and $40 in cash, I would play $40 worth of different lineups in a low entry GPP. If you’re a one entry sort of player, play less than your usual volume and make sure you only play single entry GPPs. Let’s get right to it.

Studs

 (Listed in order of preference)

DraftKings                                                                                      FanDuel

Paul George                                                                Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo                                          Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook                                                      Paul George

Damian Lillard                                                            Damian Lillard

We have four true studs on the slate with FD pricing them all a bit high and DK leaving Westbrook and Giannis in the $11k range but lowering Lillard and George’s. Because of that, on DK dollar for dollar Paul George is my favorite stud on the slate. Going George over Giannis allows you to build a fairly balanced lineup without too many dart throws. It even makes it fairly easy to construct a lineup with PG and Lillard, who is also priced down on DK and while dollar for dollar he likely makes more sense than Westbrook and Giannis he doesn’t carry the floor of either stud. I wouldn’t want to construct a lineup with JUST Dame and fading PG, Giannis, and Russ.

With George still priced up on FD, my top target is Giannis. The Pacers are an elite defensive team and the matchup is subpar but because of position strength (largely due to Bojan’s outrageous $7700 FD price) I prefer getting Giannis in there over Russ. At PG, there are options that are a bit cheaper that you can get away with compared to SF. I have no qualms playing the top two studs as on a small slate – PPD is less important than floor when it comes to high priced targets, these two carry the highest floor.

Mid Range

Darren Collison (FD $7000, DK $5800)

Collison has just been rock solid as he’s been under 30 fantasy points only seven times in his last 25 games. That is appealing consistency on a small slate. In a lineup where you may have to take some chances to try and differentiate, Collison helps elevate your floor and thus lower the risk of your dart throws. He’s rock solid on both sites and the Bucks provide a decent pace-up game environment for him.

Mo Harkless (FD $6000, DK $4200)

I have no clue what DK has been doing with Mo Harkless over the last two weeks as he continues to be criminally underpriced. There was a fear that the return of Evan Turner would ultimately see Harkless see his minutes drop last game, that wasn’t the case as Harkless played 32 minutes. Over his last seven games, he hasn’t been under 27 fantasy points, he’s a rock solid FD target and a super elite target on DK in a pace-up spot. I’d expect high ownership on DK as he offers safe cap relief and upside.

Centers

(in order of preference)

FD: Adams, Lopez, Turner, Nurkic

DK: Nurkic, Adams, Turner, Lopez

Nurkic is priced at $8600 on FD while being listed at $6700 on DK, hence the opposite rankings. Even though Nurkic’s production has seemed to take a slight hit since the addition of Enes Kanter, his minutes have remained somewhat consistent and he will never share the floor with Kanter. The Thunder rank 18th in Advanced DvP vs skilled centers so the matchup is fine and he has averaged 40.5 FD and 39.58 DK points in three matchups vs OKC this year. I like Nurk here a good amount he’s just really hard to fit in on FD at his price tag. That’s not the case on DK where he’s under $7k and priced below his floor. I’d expect him to be the highest owned center on DK and for good reason, this is a great price for him.

Adams leads the way on FD as my favorite target as he sort of just fits and his production over his last three games has been great. The Bucks are a brutal matchup for centers so hence the reluctance with Turner. Still, Turner is a blocks machine so he does carry appealing upside with potentially lower ownership. Brook Lopez is a bit of a boom or bust option but on FD it’s hard for me to get over the $1500 savings we get by going him over Turner with similar defensive upside.

Wes Matthews (FD $4700, DK $4300)

There is nothing sexy about targeting Wes but he remains priced down, playing strong minutes with decent production. His upside is minimal but as we attempt to jam in as many studs as possible in our lines we need guys like Wes Matthews to fill in. 30 minutes a game with 20+ fantasy points in seven straight games, he’s just a safe target.

Thad Young (FD $6600, DK $5700) vs Jerami Grant (FD $5700, DK $5100)

Thad is one of the few targets priced appropriately on FD and for that simple reason, he’s worth considering. With Sabonis still out, Thad is locked into strong minutes in a pace-friend game environment. Thad carries strong defensive upside and has been over 30 fantasy points in six of his last seven games. He’s another middle priced target that will likely be high owned that’s “safe” and carries upside. Grant is quite a bit cheaper and is the next option at PF if you don’t have enough to afford Thad. Ultimately, I’d much rather make targeting Thad a priority in my lines then assuming Grant will fit as a “last guy in”.

DK Only – Khris Middleton ($6300), CJ McCollum ($6100), Bojan Bogdanovic ($6000)

These are three shooters overpriced on FD but priced well on DK. As we know, DK provides a nice 0.5 3PT bonus thus helping justify all three of these targets. McCollum is in the most appealing game environment with Vegas listing OKC vs POR’s implied total 11.5 points higher than IND vs MIL. CJ will have an easier time to score in a more free-flowing game. That doesn’t mean I’m off on Khris or Bojan, I view all three in a similar boat. A strong case can be made based off of recent production that Bojan is the safest of the three as he’s been producing at a 1 FD and 1.05 DK point per minute clip with a 27.91 usage rating over the last 30 days. For someone who typically plays 30+ minutes a night Bojan’s per minute metrics are rock solid for his price.

Differentiators

On two-game slates, if you’re looking to take down a GPP and not share it amongst 100 people, you HAVE to take some major risks. Here a few of my favorite.

Nerlens Noel (FD $3500, $3400)

Noel is a defensive DFS monster, we all know that. Since the arrival of Markieff Morris Noel’s minutes are quite a bit down, that being said, he is still producing at over a 1+ fantasy point per minute clip. How does Noel win you a GPP? Well first off, he probably won’t, but Noel’s path to upside is Steven Adams foul trouble against Jusuf Nurkic. His other path to extended minutes is if Enes Kanter is causing problems for Markieff Morris in the low post. It wouldn’t shock me if Noel played around 15ish minutes here which could lead to 20ish fantasy points.

Nikola Mirotic (FD $5500, DK $4800)

Miro is too expensive to be considered a dart but he’s the definition of a boom or bust option. His minutes have stabilized around the 22-minute mark and the Pacers are a bad matchup for him. That coupled with his price will likely keep his ownership way down. Miro is intriguing simply for the “what if” he gets hot. If Miro gets going he has legit 40+ point upside at under $6k.

Pat Connaughton (FD $4600, DK $3200)

Right off the bat, it’s worth mentioning that Pat isn’t THAT cheap on FD. With George Hill out Pat will be in the Bucks rotation, that’s the most important thing to say. Pat is also coming off of a 22-minute doughnut vs the Suns where he failed to accumulate a single statistic in his time on the court. Not even a rebound could randomly fall to him. Previously, Pat produced 20+ fantasy points in four straight games. The minutes are there and I’m willing to overlook his doughnut against the suns as his ownership will remain down. Most will see his last game and just say “gross” and move on. Pat carries some sneaky upside but with a lot of risk.

Other GPP Punts to Consider

(Ranked in order of preference)

Cory Joseph (safest of all punts), Jake Layman, Tyreke Evans, Rodney Hood, Kyle O’Quinn, TJ Leaf

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