This is not the most appealing five-game NBA DFS slate, but it’s a slate nonetheless! Let’s get to it…
New York Knicks @ Detroit Pistons (o/u 220.5, DET -7)
New York is 26th in defensive rating, 19th in pace.
Detroit is 12th in defensive rating, 21st in pace.
The Knicks “values” of last week have finally seen a price increase, especially on FD. This matchup looks far more appealing from a DvP standpoint, as Detroit ranks in the bottom half at every position. Still, Detroit is a decent defensive team and the Knicks rotation is always a bit complicated.
At $6100 and $5700 on FD, Trey Burke and Emmanuel Mudiay have about priced themselves out for me. On DK, priced at $4700 and $4500, both are still in play. And I prefer Burke over Mudiay.
With Enes Kanter seemingly back to earning starters minutes, he becomes one of the top options at center on any given slate. The $7600 on FD and $6800 on DK is still a fairly affordable price for 30+ minutes of Kanter. As good of a rebounder as Andre Drummond is, he’s a poor low post defender. So Kanter is in line for another big double-double, as the Pistons rank 27th in true shooting percentage.
Noah Vonleh also saw an appropriate price increase, and is no longer the plug and play he was last week. I don’t think his $6700 FD price is too high, I just don’t particularly love it vs Detroit. His $5600 price on DK is more reasonable.
This is a strong matchup for the Pistons, as the Knicks are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. The Knicks don’t typically get blown out, which means we should see strong minutes for all Detroit regulars.
Similarly to the Pistons, the Knicks are an inefficient basketball team, ranked 28th in the NBA in true shooting percentage. There’s a rebound for every single Knicks miss and Andre Drummond is usually the guy to get them. He’s pricey, but this is an elite spot for Drummond.
The Knicks lackluster defense will also benefit Blake Griffin, as his 50+ point upside at a sub-$10k price tag offers lots of appeal. For tonight’s slate I think it’s important having at least Drummond or Blake. I’d assume most will go Blake and Kanter at center. That decision might be chalky, but it’s hard to argue with that.
I don’t trust him for a second, but Reggie Jackson has quietly played 35+ minutes in back-to-back games. There’s big upside at his price if those minutes continue. I’ve been crushed by Jackson many times so I’m expecting the worst, but Jackson is a strong GPP target tonight.
With Reggie Bullock in the $5k range on FD, he’s no longer an appealing value. But his $4100 on DK is ok. I don’t have any interest in other Pistons values.
Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat (n/a)
Atlanta is 23rd in defensive rating, 1st in pace.
Miami is 9th in defensive rating, 10th in pace.
Atlanta is really annoying in NBA DFS, as coach Lloyd Pierce has deployed a 12-man rotation, with a select few maybe playing 30 minutes. However, the Hawks remain relevant in DFS because of their pace.
The two Hawks who concern me the least are Jeremy Lin and John Collins. Although his big games have been in blowouts, Lin has seen his minutes rise from earlier in the year and his production has followed. The Hawks are always capable of getting blown out, so there’s real upside for Lin at sub $5k. Collins will continue to see around 30 minutes a game as the Hawks develop him. I don’t love his price on either site, but he’s a very capable producer.
Trae Young is a sneaky GPP target tonight, as the Heat struggle to defend PGs. I don’t trust Young in the slightest, but there is an opportunity for a big game here. He’s a high-risk, high-reward play.
Coming off back-to-back strong games, DeAndre Bembry carries some GPP appeal. Once again, I don’t trust him in the slightest, but the upside is there.
If you’re in the need of a cheap center with tons of upside (and risk), then look no further than Dewayne Dedmon. Dedmon should see around 24 minutes in this game, with ample opportunities for blocks. The Heat play a bit faster and sloppier with Dragic out of the lineup, so Dedmon could see +steals too.
This is an elite spot to target Heat players, as the Hawks are a terrible defensive team that plays at the fastest pace in the NBA. Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson are both OUT.
He’s not cheap and he burned me during his last game, but I’m going right back to the well with Josh Richardson. He is Miami’s PG tonight, with an elite matchup. Richardson also benefits from the fact that the Hawks are ranked 30th in the NBA in turnover percentage, which should lead to +steals. His price might not be elite but this spot is.
If Kanter and Drummond weren’t on the slate and Bam Adebayo didn’t ball out his last two games, I’d be drooling over this spot for Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside is in an elite pace-up spot. As always the risk with Whiteside is his minutes, as coach Spo seems to really stick with Bam when he plays well. Bam is a super high upside GPP target tonight.
If he’s playing around the 30-minute mark, then Justise Winslow is too cheap at $5k on FD and $4200 on DK. Similarly to Richardson, Winslow will see +ball handling duties in a pace-up game vs a turnover-prone team.
D Wade was awesome in his last game vs Toronto, but I think he’s saving those type of games for good teams, not the Hawks. Ellington and McGruder are also ok values, but nothing too exciting.
Toronto Raptors @ Memphis Grizzlies (o/u 205, TOR -4.5)
Toronto is 7th in defensive rating, 11th in pace.
Memphis is 3rd in defensive rating, 30th in pace.
This is a good NBA game but a gross DFS game, as we get two REALLY good defensive teams. And the Grizzlies should be able to dictate their purposefully slow pace at home. I’m fine with targeting any of the studs, but even on a small slate I’m not interested in this game at all. I’d rather spend elsewhere.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Denver Nuggets (o/u 211.5, DEN -5)
Los Angeles is 10th in defensive rating, 4th in pace.
Denver is 5th in defensive rating, 26th in pace.
This is a fun Western Conference matchup between two good teams. It’s not the greatest spot for the Lakers, as they are in a pace-down environment vs one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
However, with that being said, LeBron James is an elite target. Two areas where the Nuggets struggle defensively are at PG, and vs athletic scoring wings. Luckily for LeBron he fits into both of those categories. His production hasn’t exactly been LeBron-like this year, so his price isn’t all that appealing, but he’s a tough fade on a small slate.
If you’re in need of a value SG, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has played his way back into Luke Walton’s rotation, getting around 27 minutes a game. It’s not the greatest spot for him, but KCP provides some cap relief with a decent floor.
If you’re fading LeBron, Lonzo Ball is an interesting target to consider. With Rondo still out, Ball will still see minutes in at least the mid-to-high 20’s. What’s appealing to me with Lonzo is the Jamal Murray narrative. They don’t like each other. It’s a different Lakers and Nuggets team, but Ball averaged 41.35 FD points and 41.88 DK points in four games vs the Nuggets last year.
Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma carry GPP upside but neither are trustworthy.
The Nuggets are in a pace-up game vs an improving Lakers defensive team. The issue with targeting Nuggets are none of them are particularly cheap, and with that deep bench, the team has multiple mouths to feed. Gary Harris is QUESTIONABLE.
Putting the Lonzo narrative aside, Jamal Murray has shown some consistency in his production over his last four games, with 34+ fantasy points. This is a strong spot for Murray in a pace-up game, and he should have all the motivation he needs to play well.
If Harris can’t go, Juancho Hernangomez and Torrey Craig provide some value on the slate. I don’t love Hernangomez at his elevated price, but he still carries some upside. Craig is more of a punt.
Nikola Jokic has taken a back seat to Mason Plumlee over the last two games. It’s hard for me to trust either at this point, and with stronger options at center elsewhere, both are strictly GPP differentiators tonight.
Indiana Pacers @ Phoenix Suns (n/a)
Indiana is 4th in defensive rating, 27th in pace.
Phoenix is 28th in defensive rating, 18th in pace.
The Pacers are on a second night of a back to back, and will be without Victor Oladipo again. Still, they get a Suns team that is struggling mightily on the defensive end. So yeah, this is a decent spot for the Pacers.
With Oladipo OUT, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, and Aaron Holiday are all usable values. In each case, their projected minutes are fine.
The last time I targeted Bojan Bogdanovic was his dud vs the Bulls. Since then I’ve been salty and all Bojan has done is consistently produce in the high 20’s. I don’t trust him at all, but the Suns lack of defense should give Bojan ample scoring opportunities.
The back to back scares me a touch with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, as both are a bit banged up. I don’t think they rest, but I don’t think either sees normal minutes. I certainly get the appeal of targeting either one of them, though.
Tyreke Evans has not been the smash play many expected since Oladipo went down. He doesn’t play enough to really warrant targeting him at his price tag. I do think Evans carries some GPP appeal here vs a bad Suns team on a second night of a back to back. It wouldn’t shock me to see an uptick in his minutes.
The Pacers are a good defensive team that purposefully slows the pace down for long stretches of the game. This is not a good matchup for the Suns.
The Suns “big 3” (I know I laughed too) of Devin Booker, TJ Warren, and Deandre Ayton all play huge minutes regardless of the score, but my worry for them is the pace-down environment and stingy Pacers defense. If I’m only making one lineup tonight, they wouldn’t be in it. With that being said, I’m fine using any of the three in GPPs.
Teams to Attack
Knicks, Hawks, Suns —-Lakers provide pace-up for Nuggets
None really. Pistons vs Knicks and Pacers vs Suns have some potential, but I don’t expect either game to get out of hand.
Top Targets – Honestly not many targets I’d consider elite. SG is a position to consider punting.
PG: Jamal Murray, Lonzo Ball, Reggie Jackson (GPP)
SF: LeBron James, Josh Richardson
PF: Blake Griffin, Noah Vonleh, John Collins
C: Andre Drummond, Enes Kanter
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.