A new week of NBA DFS is upon us! It’s a smaller-than-normal Monday slate, but it’s shaping up to be one of my favorites of the early season. There are a lot of appealing matchups and targets. Let’s get right to it…
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Detroit Pistons (o/u 220.5, OKC -1.5)
Oklahoma City is 1st in defensive rating, 9th in pace.
Detroit is 8th in defensive rating, 20th in pace.
The Thunder head to Detroit to play a Pistons team that has won five straight games. I don’t particularly view this as a pace-down game for OKC, but it’s not an ideal matchup.
At first glance this isn’t the best spot for Russell Westbrook, but I like him here. Russ loves to attack the glass and the Pistons are one of the least efficient teams in the NBA, ranking 25th in the NBA in TS%. It’s rare to expect a big rebounding day out of a PG, but it’s especially important for Russ’s fantasy production, as he LOVES to push the tempo when he grabs a board. That usually means a bucket or an assist for him.
One area where you can attack the Pistons is at center. Priced at $7300 on FD and $6400 on DK, Steven Adams is firmly in play. As good of a rebounder as Drummond is, he’s a bad low-post defender.
Because of the Pistons defensive ability, I’d rather spend elsewhere than on Paul George.
Currently the Thunder boast the best defense in the NBA, so this is a bad matchup for the Pistons.
Blake Griffin is the only Piston on my radar, as I think his size will be difficult for Jerami Grant to defend in the low post. Griffin is a tricky DFS target as he’s pricey and produces well in three categories, but he has zero defensive upside. Blake hasn’t registered a steal or a block in six straight games, which is impressively inept. Still, this is an interesting spot for Blake, as he tends to play up to his competition.
If you’re looking for a punt at PG, Ish Smith is priced at $3700 on FD and $3500 on DK.
Drummond is a monster and I get the Reggie Jackson revenge game narrative, but this is a tough spot for both. I’d rather spend elsewhere.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Brooklyn Nets (o/u 212, BK -6)
Cleveland is 30th in defensive rating, 28th in pace.
Brooklyn is 20th in defensive rating, 24th in pace.
This is an ok spot for the Cavs vs a terrible Nets defense. The Cavs are tricky to target in DFS, as their rotation frustratingly seems to change on a game-by-game basis.
Tristan Thompson remains the most reliable Cavalier. I’m in a bit of a pickle here as I LOVE targeting centers vs the Nets, but I HATE Thompson in DFS. He’s priced fairly with an elite matchup, so yes, Thompson is firmly in play tonight.
Based off of last week, Cedi Osman and Rodney Hood are going to get big minutes going forward. Hood hasn’t done a ton with his minutes, but his price offers upside. I prefer Osman over Hood, as he has shown more consistent production.
It appears Alec Burks is part of the rotation, and is producing ok. Burks is a usable punt, priced at $4000 on FD and $3800 on DK.
The rest of the Cavs aren’t very appealing, as George Hill will eat into Collin Sexton’s minutes. And Burks hurts Jordan Clarkson. I’m a fan of Larry Nance Jr, but clearly Larry Drew is not.
This is also a strong spot for the Nets, as they are gifted a game vs the worst defensive team in the NBA.
Since Caris LeVert broke his leg, D’Angelo Russell is averaging 18.8 shot attempts per game. He’s not cheap but this is a great spot for Russell, as he will take around 20 shots vs a terrible defense. The Nets, playing on normal rest, should lock in Russell for strong minutes.
With Spencer Dinwiddie appearing to stay in the Nets starting lineup, Shabazz Napier becomes a really intriguing value at PG. Napier is essentially playing Dinwiddie’s bench role, and his price is only going to go up if Dinwiddie continues to start. He offers great cap relief with strong upside.
Picking the right Jarrett Allen game is never easy, but this is an interesting spot. The Cavs defend opposing centers pretty well, but what intrigues me about Allen are the +blocks when up against Tristan Thompson. Thompson will be a menace on the offensive glass, but that will give Allen added opportunities to block Thompson’s put-backs.
If Joe Harris can’t go, DeMarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe become usable values. Of the two, I prefer Carroll.
Denver Nuggets @ Toronto Raptors (o/u n/a, TOR -6)
Denver is 3rd in defensive rating, 27th in pace.
Toronto is 9th in defensive rating, 14th in pace.
This game features two really good teams with a lot of expensive players in a pace-down environment, and that’s not typically a good formula for NBA DFS. This is a better matchup for the Nuggets.
He’s strictly a GPP target, but I really like Nikola Jokic in this spot. In a quantitative field, saying a player “is due” isn’t the greatest look, but Jokic is due. What draws me to Jokic is his minutes from his last game, and he faces either an undersized Serge Ibaka, or a mediocre defender in Jonas Valanciunas. Once his minutes are back in the 30-minute range, Jokic won’t be this cheap again.
I’m only interested in Gary Harris because of his price on both sites. His $6400 price tag on FD is fair. His $5100 DK price is way too cheap.
Jamal Murray? Paul Millsap? I’d rather spend elsewhere. Not that I don’t think either are capable of producing in this spot, I’d just rather spend elsewhere.
Attacking the Nuggets in DFS this year hasn’t been the wisest strategy, so this is a tough spot for the Raptors. It’s important to monitor Kyle Lowry’s status, too. I think he plays.
Kawhi Leonard is only in play for me at his elevated price tag if Lowry does NOT play. The Nuggets have given up some decent games to opposing wings. Fred VanVleet would also benefit if Lowry can’t go.
Because of Jokic, Jonas Valanciunas may see a few added minutes because of his size. Jonas as always remains a strong GPP target.
I’m off of Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam tonight, as this isn’t the best spot for either of them and there are other appealing options at their position.
Washington Wizards @ New York Knicks (o/u 227.5, WAS -1)
Washington is 27th in defensive rating, 6th in pace.
New York is 25th in defensive rating, 15th in pace.
This is an appealing NBA DFS game to target, as both teams are terrible on the defensive end and the Wizards provide a pace-up game environment for the Knicks. Otto Porter and Dwight Howard are OUT for Washington.
Whenever playing a bad defensive team, John Wall and Bradley Beal are worth considering. Vegas expects the Wizards to score around 114 points tonight, and Wall and Beal will be a big part of that. As usual, I prefer to target Wall over Beal.
With Porter and Howard OUT, Kelly Oubre and Markieff Morris should see strong minutes. I’d prefer if Morris remained with the second unit, as he sees a favorable usage bump. Oubre has been frustrating this year, but he provides cap relief and upside with his expected minutes in a +matchup.
If Jeff Green can’t go, Austin Rivers is usable. If Green plays, he’s also a decent value.
I love attacking the Wizards and tonight is no exception. Trey Burke is OUT for the Knicks.
With Burke OUT, Emmanuel Mudiay is an elite value PG worth considering, priced at $5000 on both sites. Mudiay should see his minutes drift into the 30-minute range. I also expect Mudiay to be high owned.
No Burke should also solidify Damyean Dotson’s minutes. He’s an appealing sub $5k target at SG.
With low foul trouble risk and a down price, I love Noah Vonleh priced at $5500 on FD and $5300 on DK. In a pace-up spot, Vonleh provides tremendous upside.
This is still a great spot for Tim Hardaway Jr, and you can target him with confidence even after he disappointed vs Washington earlier in the year.
On paper this is a great spot for Enes Kanter. The issue with targeting Kanter is his inconsistent minutes. It’s tough to trust Kanter in cash, but he’s a strong GPP target at center, as Washington doesn’t have anyone that can stop him on the boards. I fear David Fizdale will go small with Washington, which would limit Kanter’s minutes, as he is easily exposed on the perimeter when Markieff plays the 5.
Golden State Warriors @ Atlanta Hawks (o/u 232, GS -10.5)
Golden State is 18th in defensive rating, 17th in pace.
Atlanta is 19th in defensive rating, 1st in pace.
As always the Hawks are a team to ATTACK in DFS, as they are a fast-paced, turnover-prone team. The risk for targeting Warriors studs is the blowout concern. Draymond Green and Damian Jones are OUT for Golden State.
I love targeting PGs vs the Hawks, and tonight Steph Curry gets that honor. Curry is not cheap at all, which is worrisome in a game that features serious blowout risk. Still, this seems like the perfect spot for Curry to get back into his comfort zone after missing extended time.
With Draymond and Jones OUT, Jordan Bell should see a decent minutes bump. The Hawks play fast and are turnover-prone, which is beneficial towards Bell’s defensive upside. He’s also blowout proof. Kev0n Looney and Jonas Jerebko will also get a slight minutes bump.
I don’t mind targeting Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson, but for tonight I’d rather spend elsewhere. Both are priced as if Curry wasn’t playing, and I don’t know if this game stays close long enough for either to provide any value. Still, this is an elite spot for both, so there is GPP appeal.
Targeting Hawks players is always a challenge because none of their players play extended minutes. This game will be played at a rapid pace, so there is appeal on the Hawks side.
This is a sneaky strong spot for John Collins, who is one of the few Hawks seeing consistent minutes in the 30-minute range. Collins will be a problem for Golden State on the boards and in the paint, and he’s also blowout proof. On DK, priced at $5300, Collins is way too cheap. He’s an elite target there.
This game environment is also beneficial for Taurean Prince. Prince is usually good for around 30 minutes, depending on foul trouble. He’s a bit of a risk, but I love his upside priced at $5600 on FD and $4800 on DK.
I get wanting to target Trae Young vs his player comp (Steph Curry) coming out of the draft, but he’s incredibly tough to trust.
Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves (o/u 221.5, HOU -1.5)
Houston is 26th in defensive rating, 29th in pace.
Minnesota is 17th in defensive rating, 11th in pace.
This isn’t as appealing a spot for the Rockets as it would have been a few weeks ago. The Timberwolves have improved defensively since the Jimmy Butler trade.
With Chris Paul back, James Harden is now a touch overpriced. Harden is a stud who carries immense upside, which always makes him worth considering. I’d never say to not play Harden, but he’s tough to fit in tonight. Chris Paul falls into the same boat.
With Clint Capela finally priced appropriately on DK, he’s less intriguing. Still, this is a decent spot for Capela, who will carry low ownership.
The Rockets are a team we can attack tonight, as they continue to struggle mightily on the defensive end.
For some reason, Karl-Anthony Towns SMASHES the Rockets. In four games in the 2016-17 season, Towns averaged 63.35 FD points and 66.44 DK points. In the 2017-18 season, Towns in four games averaged 54.2 FD points and 54.19 DK points. I’m not sure what it is but KAT LOVES to play the Rockets. The Rockets have defended opposing centers fairly well thus far, but I’m taking KAT’s historical data seriously. He’s incredibly appealing, priced at $9400 on FD and $9000 on DK.
Robert Covington continues to play huge minutes since arriving in Minnesota. He’s a bit pricey but RoCo remains a solid upper middle priced option at SF.
Andrew Wiggins remains lost.
Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose continue to eat into each other’s production, and they’re both too pricey for me to warrant considering. Teague is ok on DK, priced at $5600. Taj Gibson and Dario Saric similarly cut into each other’s production. However, their respective prices offer some value.
Los Angeles Clippers @ New Orleans Pelicans (o/u 238.5, NO -3)
Los Angeles is 13th in defensive rating, 8th in pace.
New Orleans is 24th in defensive rating, 3rd in pace.
The Clippers are on a second night of a back-to-back, and gifted with an elite Pelicans matchup.
The back-to-back helps Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as he improves by six fantasy points on both sites when the Clippers have played on a second night of a back-to-back. The Pelicans provide an elite matchup too, so Shai is a really strong middle priced option at PG.
Vegas thinks the Clippers are going to score around 116 points tonight. That’s a very high number, and Tobias Harris will be a big part of that. He’s not cheap, but this is an elite spot for Harris in a pace-up game.
He’s not easy to fit in at his elevated price, but this is the sort of game where Montrezl Harrell thrives. Harrell will see huge minutes, as the Clippers don’t have another big on the roster that’s athletic enough to play at the expected pace.
In a pace-up game that will feature a ton of scoring, it’s hard to ignore Lou Williams. That being said, Sweet Lou is seeing about a five-minute decrease on second night’s of a back-to-back.
The Clippers are decent defensively, but are a team worth attacking in NBA DFS because of their pace.
This one is fairly straightforward. The Clippers are awful vs opposing bigs because of their pace, and Anthony Davis is the best big in the NBA. Not sure how you fade him on DK, priced at $11500. On FD, sure, $12700 is an insane price tag. But there are plenty of middle-priced targets tonight that carry big upside where Davis is easy enough to fit in. I’m not fading AD in this spot. He’s usually the top play on any given slate, and tonight he’s on a different tier than everyone else.
The Clippers have been prone to giving up big games to opposing ball handlers, so Jrue Holiday and his awesome floor remain firmly in play.
His price is up now, but Tim Frazier is still a fine target because of this matchup. I’d expect Frazier to have decent ownership.
Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic remain GPP targets. With AD in the lineup I prefer to target Mirotic over Randle.
If E’Twaun Moore can’t play, Solomon Hill and Darius Miller become usable punts at SF.
Teams to ATTACK
Cavs, Nets, Wizards, Knicks, Hawks, Rockets, Clippers, Pelicans
Warriors @ Hawks
PG: Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Emmanuel Mudiay
SG: Jrue Holiday, D’Angelo Russell, Gary Harris (DK)
SF: Kawhi Leonard, Taurean Prince, Kelly Oubre
PF: Anthony Davis, Montrezl Harrell, Noah Vonleh
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Steven Adams, Tristan Thompson, John Collins (DK)
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.