NBA Morning Thoughts 03.12.19

NBA Morning Thoughts 03.12.19

We’re back with an interesting seven-game NBA DFS slate, here are my top targets of the night…

PGs

Damian Lillard (FD $9700, DK $9200) vs LAC

This game has some significance as the Blazers are only two games in front of the Clippers in the West and any time we can target Dame in a meaningful spot we should. PG as a whole isn’t that great and Dame is the clear top target at the position as attacking the Clippers at PG has been a sound strategy all year. The Clippers are 26th in Advanced DvP against primary ball-handlers and in his most recent outing vs them Dame put up 55+ fantasy points. The Clippers are also on the second of a back to back and see their defensive rating plummet dramatically from 109.30 on normal rest to 116.22 on back to backs. Expect Dame to be highly owned, he’s an elite target in a weak(ish) position.

Patrick Beverley (FD $6200, DK $5500) vs POR

Because this game should be played in an intense playoff atmosphere why not try and squeeze in the most intense player on the court. Again, PG isn’t great tonight so I’m a fan of targeting Pat Bev as a safe middle priced option that also carries decent upside. Bev’s usage and true shooting percentage actually go up on B2B’s but overall his numbers don’t change much. What we get with Bev is safety as we know he’s going to play around 30+ minutes at high energy. His risk is, at times when guarding an elite opposing player, his only focus is on defense where he’s not collecting stats.

Colin Sexton (FD $5400, DK $4900) vs PHI

The Cavs are incredibly shorthanded tonight and that is there appeal. In the backcourt expect Matthew Dellavedova to remain out. In his last two games (without Dellavedova) Sexton has played 34 and 36 minutes and has produced 29+ and 40+ fantasy points. That production plays at his current price tags. On the year Sexton has seen a .04 FD and .06 DK point per minute increase with a 4% usage bump without Delly. While those aren’t great metrics it’s the minutes bump that’s essential as those five to six extra minutes are massive towards his ceiling. Listen, I hate the matchup vs Philly but it’s hard not to like Sexton at his price tag with Delly, Love, Nance all expected to be out.

Bonus: GPP Punt

Brandon Knight (FD $3500, DK $3500) vs PHI

Piggybacking off of what was just said about Sexton puts Knight in play. Targeting Knight last night worked out well as he continued his trend of seeing around eight to ten more minutes with Dellavedova out. With Love, Delly, and Nance OFF the court Knight has seen a .51 FD and .49 DK fantasy point per minute increase with an 11.04% usage bump. Do I trust him? No, but Knight is a strong punt at minimum price to consider. It wouldn’t shock me if he carries some ownership tonight.

SGs

DeMar DeRozan (FD $8900, DK $8400) vs DAL

The Spurs need to continue to win games as only one game separates them from the eight seed and two games gets them the five seed. This game has a touch of blowout potential as I don’t expect Luka Doncic to play. I don’t love DDR here at his increased price tag but it’s hard to ignore the matchup as the Mavs are 21s in Advanced DvP vs scorers and 24th vs primary ball-handlers. Most won’t pay up at SG tonight which will keep DDR’s ownership down, he carries appealing GPP upside.

Lou Williams (FD $7300, DK $7300) vs POR

The Clippers have been rolling and we’re starting to see Doc Rivers lean on Lou Williams a bit more. As mentioned in Alex Blickle’s “Staying Ahead of the Curve” article it’s crucial we monitor teams fighting for playoff seeding and their rotations and Lou Williams is a beneficiary of that. As long as this game stays close, expect Sweet Lou to be in the 33+ minute range where over the last 30 days he’s been producing at a 1.29 FD and 1.32 DK fantasy point per minute clip. After back to back monster showings expect Lou to be heavily owned. Portland ranks 13th in Advanced DvP against scorers and 14th against primary ball-handlers.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (FD $5500, DK $4900) vs SA

Tim Hardaway becomes an appealing high upside middle priced SG if Luka Doncic can’t go. While this NBA game would feature some blowout potential I don’t think THJ would be affected by that. As a Maverick, with Luka OFF the court, THJ has seen a 0.16 FD and 0.17 DK fantasy point per minute increase and an 11.19% usage bump. What that tells me is Hardaway is taking a ton of shots, he’s just not hitting them. The Spurs 20th ranked defense gives THJ a greater chance at hitting those shots and they rank 29th in Advanced DvP against scorers. While THJ has been more of a shooter on Dallas, with no Luka he becomes their primary scorer.

Bonus: Kendall Jenner

Jordan Clarkson (FD $5200, DK $5500) vs PHI

The Cavs have no one to play tonight and Jordan Clarkson gets to square off against his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend in Ben Simmons. Ah, the NBA. Clarkson has actually had some success vs the Sixers this year averaging 25.4 FD and 27.38 DK points in their two matchups. With Kevin Love OFF the floor, Clarkson has seen a 6.59% usage bump. No Love, Thompson, Nance, Dellavedova means Clarkson will likely play 27-30 minutes and have the greenest light possible. If he gets hot he has a real chance to smash those price tags. As always, Clarkson is strictly a GPP target.

SFs

Giannis Antetokounmpo (FD $12000, DK $11500) vs NO

There’s some blowout potential here, but Giannis is clearly one of if not the top target on the slate. The Pelicans play at a fast pace with poor defense and are 28th in Advanced DvP vs scorers, 30th vs point forwards, and 25th vs superstars. This couldn’t be any better of a matchup for Giannis and if this game stays close it’s hard not to see him get to 60+ fantasy points in this one. He’s not a must, but Giannis is the likely highest scorer on the slate.

Bojan Bogdanovic (FD $6800, DK $6200) vs NYK

Over the last 30 days, Bojan’s usage has been at 28.01 which is a fairly strong number for just a “shooter.” I say that because Bojan has become the primary scorer for the Pacers since Oladipo went down and is more than just a shooter. The Knicks are the 27th ranked defense in the NBA and, according to Advanced DvP, rank 22nd vs shooters and 22nd vs scorers. Whatever mold you want to put Bojan in the Knicks are a good matchup for him. His price is his risk as it limits his ceiling just a touch. Bojan is a bit scoring dependent so it’s hard for him to reach 40+ fantasy points unless he really gets hot. That being said, the Knicks provide the defense to allow Bojan to get hot and I think he will remain low owned because of his price risk.

JJ Redick (FD $5500, DK $5200) vs CLE

The Cavs are the worst defensive team in the NBA and with Jimmy Butler out, expect the Sixers to feed JJ Redick the ball a ton as he’s been struggling of late with his shot. The Cavs provide the perfect spot to get him going. JJ also sees strong metric bumps with Butler OFF the floor averaging 0.3 more FD and 0.33 more DK fantasy points per minute with a 9.36% usage bump. I love JJ tonight on both sites as he should see elite volume vs a terrible defense.

Bonus: Porter

Otto Porter (FD $ 7500, DK $6400) vs LAL

With Lavine unlikely to go expect Porter to be on the higher owned side tonight. While Porter hasn’t seen much of a production bump with Lavine OFF the floor over the last 30 days Porter has seen a 9.79% usage bump, which should translate against the Lakers pace and their recent defensive woes. I don’t love his FD price tag but he’s a top target tonight.

PFs

LaMarcus Aldridge (FD $8900, DK $8900) vs DAL

Aldridge falls into a similar boat as DeMar DeRozan as I don’t really like him at his increased price tag but the matchup and his recent production make him a top target. The Spurs need to win games and thus have been leaning on Aldridge who’s played 36+ minutes in six of his last seven games and has only been under 40 fantasy points just once during that span. If this game stays close, it’s hard not to see Aldridge in the 40+ fantasy point range.

Lauri Markkanen (FD $8300, DK $8200) vs LAL

With Lavine OFF the floor, Lauri has seen a 0.05 FD and 0.06 DK fantasy point per minute increase with a 3.81% usage bump. Those aren’t massive metric increases but the Lakers’ pace and recent lack of defense put Lauri in play as an elite target. I love Lauri tonight and I hope his $8k+ price tag keeps his ownership down a touch. Lauri’s risk is he’s been held to under 40 fantasy points in each of his last five games. In NBA DFS, it’s crucial to be ahead of the trend and this is a spot to target Lauri for a bounce-back performance as the Lakers rank 17th in Advanced DvP over their past five games against stretch fours compared to fourth from a YTD standpoint. This is not the same Lakers defense as we’ve seen all year and I expect all of their defensive metrics to continue free-falling.

Anthony Davis (FD $7600, DK $6800) vs MIL

I hate this, I truly do, and I apologize in advance. Anthony Davis has proven that he’s actually priced fairly and even a bit too cheap of late even with him only playing 20 minutes as he’s been over 40+ fantasy points in four of his last six games. That’s an OK ceiling, especially at his DK price. Do I want to play AD? Absolutely not but against guys such as Dwight Powell and Thad Young in his price range, it’s hard not to lean AD. Davis’ new role with the Pelicans is more of a stretch four/athletic four as he’s not banging down in the low post much. This happens to correlate well against the Bucks as their biggest weakness defensively has been against mobile and perimeter bigs.

Bonus: Suspension?

Marquese Chriss (FD $3500, DK $3500) vs PHI

Chriss is a GPP punt worth considering as long as he’s not suspended for his altercation with Serge Ibaka last night. The Cavs have basically him and Ante Zizic in their frontcourt, Chriss is going to see strong minutes. With Love OFF the floor, Chriss is a 0.87 FD and 0.88 DK fantasy point per minute producer. If he’s anywhere in the 25ish minute range, he provides cap relief and elite upside.

Cs

Joel Embiid (FD $10300, DK $10200) vs CLE

In his return from injury, Embiid was not limited much and did not seem to be at all rusty playing 28 minutes and producing 50+ fantasy points. Embiid’s price is still down and with no Jimmy Butler on the court, Embiid will be back to his productive ways pre-trade as a 1.65 FD and 1.66 DK fantasy point per minute producer. The Cavs have been somewhat stout vs opposing centers all year but Embiid should demolish Zizic, Chriss, Frye, or whoever is attempting to guard him. Embiid’s risk is a blowout, but he can still get there in three quarters and if the Cavs manage to stick around, Embiid should smash his $10k+ price tag.

Jusuf Nurkic (FD $9000, DK $7100) vs LAC

I’m more interested in Nurkic at his DK price than on FD as on FD, I’d prefer to just spend the $1.3k more and target Embiid. However, on DK at $7100, this is a smash spot for Nurkic, who is coming off of a disappointing outing at a similar price in a similar smash spot vs the Suns. While the Clippers defense has improved of late, we can still attack them at center. Nurkic will likely be on the low owned side and carries appealing upside.

Ante Zizic vs Jakob Poeltl

Ante Zizic is the chalk play at center tonight with Love OUT as he will play big minutes regardless of the score priced at $4400 on FD and $3700 on DK. Zizic has proven to be a capable producer in these sort of spots when the minutes are there. That being said, I worry a touch about Zizic here as Embiid is known to get opposing young bigs in immediate foul trouble. The pivot off of Zizic is Poeltl and I’m a big fan of going that route especially in GPPs. Poeltl is locked into 22+ minutes in a strong matchup against a Mavericks team that ranks 25th in Advanced DvP vs rim protectors. The Mavs are turnover prone and get their shot blocked a ton which plays well into Poeltl’s defensive upside. Poeltl is also blowout proof and if this game gets out of hand, it would benefit Jakob as he is a prime-time garbage time producer. Zizic is safer because of his price but I’m a fan of pivoting to Poeltl.

Situations to Monitor

The Baby Lakers

The Lakers have officially given up on the season and their rotation is a complete mess. It appears Kyle Kuzma is good to go tonight as he practiced in full on Monday. Kuzma’s availability has the biggest impact on Johnathan Williams as I don’t think the Lakers will limit Kuzma too much. Alex Caruso and Moe Wagner remain my favorite cheap Lakers. Moe is super interesting even with his price up as the Bulls provide an elite matchup. He’s looked good with his time on the court his last two games and as a young player getting his first taste of NBA minutes we know he will be active. Caruso has played 29 minutes in back to back games and is priced at $4100 on FD and $3400 on DK. He’s not a lock since he’s not the most productive per minute producer, but Caruso does provide some strong value especially on DK. I have little to no interest in playing any of the Laker veterans. If playing 150 lineups, I’d maybe have 5-7 lineups with LeBron. At his price and with limited minutes, I just don’t see any sort of ceiling while carrying too risky of a floor.

The T-Wolves

Depending on the status’ of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the T-Wolves have a ton of intrigue. I think KAT sits again while I’m truly 50/50 on Wiggins as all reports indicate he has a bruised thigh. While I’m no fan of bruises myself, I don’t think Wiggins needs a week off to recover. However, if both Wiggins and KAT don’t play, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson are the primary beneficiaries and would be elite targets on both sites. Teague sees a 12.72% usage increase while Gibson will be locked into 30+ minutes as a 1.1 FD and 1.11 DK point per minute producer. Keita Bates-Diop, Dario Saric, and Derrick Rose would be secondary beneficiaries. Diop is a borderline elite target as he’s played 34+ minutes with 23+ and 37+ fantasy point totals. He provides some safe cap relief priced at $4100 on FD and $3400 on DK. Diop is most affected by the status of Wiggins. If Wiggins plays I have zero interest in Diop. Rose and Saric are more GPP targets as their minutes have been inconsistent. Rose is a 1.22 FD and 1.23 DK point per minute producer with KAT and Wiggins OFF the court, he just needs the minutes.

If BOTH KAT and Wiggins play, I’d have minimal interest in any of the T-Wolves as the Nuggets are a stout defense and their rotation would be incredibly tricky to predict. KAT would be my favorite T-Wolves target.

If KAT is OUT and Wiggins plays, Taj Gibson remains an elite target. I’d have some interest in Andrew Wiggins dependent on if Ryan Saunders implements a minutes limit in his return. Wiggins is a 1.05 FD and 1.08 DK fantasy point per minute producer and carries a 30.56 usage rating with KAT OFF the floor.

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