NBA Morning Thoughts 11.30.18

NBA Morning Thoughts 11.30.18

We’ve got an 11-game NBA DFS slate on our hands. Let’s dive right into it…

Chicago Bulls @ Detroit Pistons (o/u 217, DET -9.5)

Chicago is 21st in defensive rating, 15th in pace.

Detroit is 12th in defensive rating, 19th in pace.

The Bulls have surprised me of late, especially on the offensive end. They are no longer a Zach LaVine-centric NBA DFS team. The Pistons are a mediocre matchup for them.

Jabari Parker has been balling, and is still priced appealingly. I’d expect Parker to be a fairly popular target tonight considering his recent production. Parker always carries some risk, but he’s been over 38 FP’s in each of his last five outings.

Justin Holiday continue to play MASSIVE minutes at a decent price. I’ve bought into the Holiday hype train, and I think it continues. His $6k FD price and $5400 DK price are both totally fine. You can attack the Pistons on the wing.

I was touting him before he was consistently starting, but I’m officially off of the Ryan Arcidiacono hype train at his elevated price of $5500 on FD. On DK, Arcidiacono is still safe to target at $4400.

Weeks ago Zach LaVine was the first and only Bull I’d talk about, but it’s now a new Bulls era! LaVine continues to be a rock-solid expensive option at SG. His usage rate gives him the high floor we look for in cash games.

The Pistons get a Bulls team that has improved a touch defensively, but are still not good by any means.

After probably the worst game I’ve ever seen Andre Drummond play, he is back on my radar tonight with an elite matchup vs the Bulls, who get torched by bigs. Drummond’s $9300 price on DK is WAY too cheap for a center who carries 20-20 upside on any given night. Drummond is a strong target on FD, and an elite target on DK.

Blake Griffin is the opposite of Drummond in terms of what site to target him at. On FD, Blake is too cheap at $9100 with an elite matchup. The $9600 on DK is fine, but I’d rather target Drummond at his price there.

Reggie Jackson has been over 30 fantasy points in his last three games, which is a rare feat of consistency for him. It’s a strong matchup, and I’m fine with targeting Jackson. But I think it’s still hard to trust him.

Utah Jazz @ Charlotte Hornets (o/u 216.5, CHA -2)

Utah is 13th in defensive rating, 20th in pace.

Charlotte is 10th in defensive rating, 12th in pace.

This is a gross DFS game with some high-priced targets. Charlotte has been a surprise on the defensive end this year, and have been quite effective vs opposing bigs.

If I’m looking for Utah exposure the guy I’d want is Donovan Mitchell. I don’t particularly love Mitchell in this spot, but he carries the most appealing matchup out of all the Jazz players.

Jae Crowder and Joe Ingles carry some interest if Kyle Korver doesn’t play. Each could pick up a few added minutes.

Rudy Gobert is always capable, but I don’t see the upside here vs Charlotte. On a large slate, I’d rather spend elsewhere.

The Jazz continue to not be themselves from the last few years on the defensive end, but have slowly begun to improve.

The only Hornet on my radar shouldn’t be a surprise: Kemba Walker. Kemba has been consistent throughout the year, and boasts one of the most appealing usage rates in the NBA. This is far from an elite spot for him, but you can continue to target him with confidence.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics (o/u 209, BOS -13.5)

Cleveland is 30th in defensive rating, 28th in pace.

Boston is 2nd in defensive rating, 22nd in pace.

This is a brutal matchup for the Cavs, and I don’t want anything to do with them on a large slate facing an elite defensive team. David Nwaba remains OUT. And it’s important to monitor the Alec Burks situation.

If you’re desperate for Cavs exposure, Cedi Osman remains my favorite to target.

If Larry Nance Jr remains in the starting lineup, Nance would provide big upside at his price but with risk.

There is serious blowout potential here for the Celtics playing at home vs a bad team. Still, the Celtics deep roster is a bit thinner tonight with both Jaylen Brown and Al Horford OUT.

With Horford OUT, Aron Baynes is an elite value play on the slate. It’s tough to fade Baynes at $3500 on FD and $3300 on DK. Even in 20ish minutes, Baynes should smash his price vs a bad Cavs team.

With Brown OUT, Marcus Smart is likely to get the start again. Smart played 39 minutes last game with Brown out, and he should be around the 30-minute range again. Smart is also an elite value tonight.

I get the Kyrie Irving revenge narrative, but I don’t believe that’s an issue anymore with LeBron in LA. Kyrie is always capable though, and the Cavs are a bad defensive team, so this is a nice spot for him. His risk is the potential blowout at his price.

I’d rather spend elsewhere than on the Celtics other pricey targets.

Washington Wizards @ Philadelphia 76ers (o/u 235, PHI -7.5)

Washington is 29th in defensive rating, 6th in pace.

Philadelphia is 15th in defensive rating, 7th in pace.

Determining which Wizards decide to show up has not been my favorite thing about this early NBA DFS season. Expect the Wizards to be down big early, then slowly come back. This is a friendly DFS matchup, as the Sixers play at high pace and have been regressing on the defensive end.

John Wall and Bradley Beal are usually the first two names when you think about the Wizards and DFS. Beal has surprisingly been the more stable producer of late, but I would rather target Wall here. It’s a solid spot for both of them. There will be lots of points scored in this game, and they will be a big part of that.

With Dwight Howard out, the appeal is still there for He Who Shall Not Be Named. His minutes and production were surprisingly consistent with Dwight OUT before his dud last game vs the Pelicans. I’d expect Brooks to go back to closing out the game with Wall, Beal, Oubre/Green, him, and Markieff Morris, so he should be around the 30-minute mark. I hate that I am once again considering him tonight.

UPDATE: He Who Shall Not Be Named has been ruled OUT

I’m curious to see who the Wizards decide to start at center tonight vs Joel Embiid. Morris will likely play the most minutes at the five, but he’s too small to guard Joel, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see added run for Thomas Bryant or Mahinmi. I only mention Mahinmi because Brooks might want to go back to the more experienced defender vs Embiid.

Play Kelly Oubre at your own risk.

UPDATE: With Porter OUT Oubre becomes a really appealing value target. Oubre will likely be chalky tonight but he’s in line for HUGE minutes.

The Wizards have probably been my favorite team to ATTACK this NBA DFS season. They play fast and have zero interest in playing defense until mid-way through the 4th quarter, or if down 27 in the first quarter.

I hate that I LOVE Ben Simmons tonight. His down price and this sort of game environment is perfect for him. I’ve been scared to target Ben in the $9k range with Jimmy Butler around, but tonight is the exception. This is an elite spot for Simmons.

As mentioned previously, the Wizards have no one who can guard Joel Embiid tonight. Embiid’s only risk is if the Wizards attempt to run him off the court, but even then Brett Brown tends to stick with Embiid. Embiid is an elite target tonight.

Because it’s the Wizards I have no issue targeting Jimmy Butler, either. I wouldn’t want all three in the same lineup, but all three carry DFS appeal. Butler’s $7400 DK price is cheap.

JJ Redick is an interesting sub $6k SG to consider tonight. JJ will have a ton of open looks in a fast-paced game.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Brooklyn Nets (o/u 212, PK)

Memphis is 5th in defensive rating, 30th in pace.

Brooklyn is 22nd in defensive rating, 24th in pace.

The Grizzlies head to Brooklyn with Marc Gasol considered a game-time decision.

IF Marc Gasol PLAYS, then he is worth considering even at his elevated price tag. Always target centers vs the Nets! This would be an elite matchup for him.

IF Gasol is OUT, then Jaren Jackson Jr and JaMychal Green become elite plays on both sites. Jackson Jr would offer nice upside as an upper middle priced PF. Green would be an elite value PF worth considering, as he would likely get minutes at the five, which is always a good thing vs Brooklyn.

Mike Conley is priced out for me on both sites, but this is a decent spot for him. If Gasol can’t go Conley would see a usage bump. He’d be option A on offense vs a bad defensive team, and that’s appealing.

This is a brutal matchup for the Nets, facing a Grizzlies team that carries an elite defense and a purposefully slow pace. I have no interest in any Nets players, as figuring out which Net gets the majority of the run is not worth it on a big slate.

Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs (N/A)

Houston is 28th in defensive rating, 29th in pace.

San Antonio is 24th in defensive rating, 25th in pace.

We’ve got two Western Conference playoff hopefuls in a game that will be played at a SLOW pace with little defense. Chris Paul’s status is the major question looming over this game, and this entire slate quite frankly.

If Paul can’t go it becomes tough to fade James Harden. Harden will have the ball in his hands essentially every Rockets possession while he’s playing, and is still priced under $12k.

Eric Gordon would continue to be the second beneficiary if Paul can’t go. I don’t think Gordon is a must at his elevated price tag, as the slow pace of this game will affect him the most. Still the usage and opportunity is there.

This is not my favorite spot for Clint Capela. On a big slate, I’d rather spend elsewhere.

If Paul plays I wouldn’t have much interest in any of the Rockets. Harden would still be ok to target, but I’d rather spend up a touch more to get Anthony Davis on FD or save a touch to get Davis on DK.

The Rockets have been really bad defensively, especially in Paul’s absence. This is a good spot for Spurs players.

I feel like DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge will get overlooked a bit tonight. This is a very exploitable matchup vs a bad defensive team. The fact that they’re playing a Western Conference favorite adds a bit of a qualitative factor for both, too. If looking to go with a more balanced approach, I like getting one of them in your lineup.

Mills, White, and Forbes continue to split minutes in the backcourt. That rotation gets cloudier by the game, and with other PG values available I’d rather stay away.

Rudy Gay’s minutes total over the last two games is concerning. I’m assuming that his minutes will be back up tonight, as the Spurs are facing a Western Conference playoff foe. Rudy is risky.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Miami Heat (o/u 229.5, NO -3)

New Orleans is 26th in defensive rating, 3rd in pace.

Miami is 8th in defensive rating, 10th in pace.

The Pelicans head to Miami in what should be an appealing NBA DFS game. The Heat have played decent defense with a strong pace throughout the year.

There is a ton of strong value on this slate, making Anthony Davis fairly easy to fit in tonight. The pace of this game is appealing for Davis, and Miami doesn’t really have anyone who can matchup with him athletically. Whiteside is too slow, Bam is too short, and Kelly is well,  he’s just Kelly. As usual, Davis is an elite target tonight.

Miami struggles to defend primary ball handlers, putting Jrue Holiday firmly in play. Jrue has been rock solid all year, and he’s still priced fairly on both sites.

I guess it’s the Tim Frazier era in New Orleans now? As long as Frazier continues to start and is under $5k, he is worth considering. It’s hard to expect another 40+ FP outing this time, but Frazier still provides decent value.

The Pelicans continue to be a team to attack in NBA DFS, as they play bad defense and at a very high pace. This is an elite matchup for Heat players. Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson are both OUT.

The best position to attack the Pelicans is PG. Josh Richardson and Dwayne Wade are the de facto Heat PGs. I really like both tonight, even at their elevated prices. Richardson continues to be one of my favorite DFS targets, period.

Hassan Whiteside is strictly a GPP target, and even that is a bit risky for me. Whiteside can’t keep up with Davis, so I’m expecting Bam Adebayo to see added run. I’m more interested in Bam as a high-upside value GPP target.

Justise Winslow’s sub $5k price on both sites is keeping him on the radar. He’s tough to trust but there is upside at that price and this matchup.

James Johnson is becoming cheap enough to consider targeting, and this is a good game environment for him. Still, I’d prefer if he was in the 20-minute range.

Atlanta Hawks @ Oklahoma City Thunder (o/u 225, OKC -13)

Atlanta is 20th in defensive rating, 1st in pace.

Oklahoma City is 1st in defensive rating, 9th in pace.

Although the pace the Hawks play at is appealing, targeting their players is never much fun, especially when you consider they’re playing the #1 ranked defensive team in the NBA. Jeremy Lin is considered QUESTIONABLE.

Taurean Prince remains too cheap if he’s going to play in the 30-minute range. The $5600 on FD and $4800 on DK are good prices for Prince in a pace-y game. If Lin is not able to go, I believe that would actually help Prince a touch.

John Collins should continue to see around 30 minutes. On FD he’s a bit too pricey for me at $6900, but on DK, priced at $5600, Collins carries some appeal. It’s always tough to trust Collins, but this game should be played at a frenzied pace, leading to +rebounding, scoring, and defensive opportunities.

If Lin can’t go that should lead to a few extra minutes for Kevin Huerter and Kent Bazemore. Last game with Lin out, Bazemore was the primary ball handler for stretches when Trae Young was on the bench. Both provide some value.

This is an elite spot for the Thunder, but it’s also littered with massive blowout concerns.

Russell Westbrook carries elite upside if the Hawks are able to keep this close (a big if). I have no issues targeting him.

It’s an interesting spot here for Paul George, as he’s priced down with an elite matchup. The reason for George’s down price is the return of Westbrook. The Hawks turn the ball over a ton, and that’s conducive towards George’s style of play.

Is this a Dennis Schroder revenge game? This is an interesting spot for Schroder, as his price is down in an elite matchup with a narrative. I really like Schroder here, and his ownership will be fairly low.

At $4500, Jerami Grant is still way too cheap on DK.

It’s not much of a surprise to see Steven Adams’ rebound numbers drop since Westbrook’s return. Considering the blowout potential here, I think I’d rather spend elsewhere at center.

Orlando Magic @ Phoenix Suns (N/A)

Orlando is 18th in defensive rating, 23rd in pace.

Phoenix is 27th in defensive rating, 18th in pace.

Orlando heads to Phoenix to face a struggling Suns team, so this is a +matchup for the Magic. Aaron Gordon is QUESTIONABLE. Gordon’s availability is a crucial component hanging over this game. It’s important to monitor his status.

If Gordon is OUT, expect Jonathan Isaac to step back into the starting lineup. Priced at $4900 on FD and $4400 on DK, Isaac would provide tremendous value and upside.

Regardless of Gordon’s status, Nikola Vucevic continues to produce big numbers across the board. He’s certainly not cheap, but this is a good spot for him. On a big slate, Vucevic will be under-owned.

Jonathan Simmons, Evan Fournier, and Terrence Ross would see slight bumps if Gordon was forced to sit. Ross and Fournier see the biggest minutes bump, and both carry appeal vs a bad Suns defense.

This is a decent spot for the Suns, as Orlando is far from a team to avoid attacking in NBA DFS. TJ Warren is QUESTIONABLE. My guess is Warren plays, but the Suns have recently demonstrated a flare for the “Thibs,” so be wary of his status heading into lock.

I really like Devin Booker in this matchup, and quite frankly I’m not particularly sure why. Orlando has defended opposing guards fairly well thus far, and the emergence of Elie Okobo last game hurts Booker’s usage a touch. Still, there’s no one on Orlando that can matchup with Booker. If Okobo comes off the bench, Booker gets the nod at PG and it’s either Augustin or Fournier on him for long stretches. Both are exploitable matchups. Booker at $8200 on FD and $8300 on DK carries strong appeal.

With Isaiah Canaan out of the picture, Elie Okobo played 31 minutes off the bench in their previous game. Okobo is priced at the minimum on DK, and at $4400 on FD. He has the opportunity to provide elite cap relief and upside on DK.

I’m not particularly interested in Deandre Ayton in this game. Richaun Holmes, strictly on DK ($3600), is an appealing value target. His production has been pretty great of late. Still, he’s too pricey on FD to trust at $5100.


No Warren gives Devin Booker a slight usage bump. Josh Jackson will stepping into the starting lineup and should see good minutes. Jackson is a strong value as his play has improved of late. Mikal Bridges is also a value worth considering.

Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers (o/u 214.5, POR -2)

Denver is 3rd in defensive rating, 26th in pace.

Portland is 17th in defensive rating, 14th in pace.

This is a game I’m struggling with. It features two really good Western Conference teams, lots of expensive players, frustrating rotations, and good defense. My feeling is it’s a better matchup for the Nuggets. Gary Harris remains QUESTIONABLE.

Jamal Murray is a volatile NBA DFS player, but has seen his production be a bit more stable in recent weeks. I still don’t trust him, but this is an ok spot for him. Murray tends to show up vs good competition.

Mike Malone has decided to revert to his old ways and frustrate us when trying to target a Nuggets center. Jokic has seen his minutes go down, while Plumlee’s minutes have gone up. That trend will stop eventually. I just have no idea when, and anyone saying they know for sure is lying. Jokic priced under $9k carries GPP appeal as a very high-risk, high-reward target. Plumlee is way too expensive to consider on FD at $6100, but offers decent value on DK at $3800.

If Gary Harris can’t go, Malik Beasley or Torrey Craig should see good minutes and provide value. Still, Malone is inconsistent with who of the two gets the run.

The Nuggets have been a really good defensive team to start the year, so this is a tough spot for the Blazers. My interest in the Blazers stems from them playing at home vs a top Western Conference opponent.

This is a revenge spot for Jusuf Nurkic, but more importantly, Denver plays a traditional, slow-moving center for 48 minutes, which should keep Nurkic’s minutes rock solid. I love him tonight even at his elevated price on FD. He’s a strong GPP target.

I should have rephrased “my interest in the Blazers stems from them playing at home vs a top Western Conference opponent” to “my interest in Damian Lillard stems from him playing at home vs a top Western Conference opponent.” Dame Dolla usually steps up in these sort of situations, and it helps the Nuggets struggle to defend PGs. This is an elite spot for Lillard.

The other Blazers don’t carry much interest on my part.

Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers (o/u 222, LAL -3.5)

Dallas is 9th in defensive rating, 21st in pace.

Los Angeles is 11th in defensive rating, 5th in pace.

The Mavericks head to LA to face a Lakers team on a second night of a back to back. The Lakers have drastically improved on the defensive end lately, but still provide a pace-up spot for the Mavericks.

Luka Doncic takes his second LA tour, and I’m interested. He will be low-owned as he remains a touch overpriced but I like this spot for him a lot. The Lakers pace should allow Doncic to see added peripheral stats.

I don’t have much interest in the other Mavericks, as Dallas’ PG situation is now a bit murky with Devin Harris in the picture with JJ Barea and Dennis Smith Jr. Barea’s production has been great of late, but I’m not fond of his price increase.

Harrison Barnes is OK but he doesn’t provide much upside. Wes Matthews is a usable sub $5k SG.

This isn’t the ideal spot to target Lakers players, as Dallas provides a pace-down game environment and is a tough defense to face. It doesn’t help that this is the second game of a back to back.

With a banged-up ankle and poor play, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Lonzo “rested” tonight. If Lonzo for some reason doesn’t go, I’d be very interested in Brandon Ingram, as he would see added PG minutes at an appealing price. Ingram always carries some defensive upside, but his offensive production has disappointed thus far in the season.

LeBron James is a stud, so if you want to target him do so with confidence. That being said, I’d rather spend elsewhere then on LeBron tonight.



Bulls, Cavs, Wizards, Nets, Spurs/Rockets, Hawks, Pelicans, Suns


Hawks @ Thunder, Cavs @ Celtics, Bulls @ Pistons(not likely but worth listing), Wizards @ Sixers(not likely but worth listing)


PG: Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Tim Frazier, Elie Okobo(DK)

SG: James Harden(if CP3 OUT), Devin Booker, Dennis Schroder, Marcus Smart

SF: Paul George, Josh Richardson, Jabari Parker, Jonathon Isaac(if AG OUT), Kelly Oubre

PF: Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin(FD), LaMarcus Aldridge, Jaren Jackson Jr + JaMychal Green(if Gasol OUT), Josh Jackson

C: Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond(DK), Jusuf Nurkic, Aron Baynes