NBA Morning Thoughts 12.04.18

NBA Morning Thoughts 12.04.18

Here we have a small, five-game slate, highlighted by an injury-bitten Suns vs. Kings game. Ahh the beauty of NBA DFS! I’m generally way too excited to watch a Suns-Kings game that won’t include Devin Booker, and potentially TJ Warren. Let’s get right to it…

Chicago Bulls @ Indiana Pacers (o/u 208.5, IND -8)

Chicago is 22nd in defensive rating, 17th in pace.

Indiana is 4th in defensive rating, 27th in pace.

The Bulls will be a bit of a mystery tonight, as Fred Hoiberg was the first coaching casualty of the year on Monday. Historically speaking, teams tend to play with a bit more energy during the first game with a new coach. Still, this is not an ideal matchup for Chicago. Even with Victor Oladipo sidelined, Indiana is a strong defensive team that plays at a purposefully slow pace.

Even with Lauri Markkanen back, I don’t mind targeting Zach LaVine here. LaVine’s high floor carries some intrigue on a small slate with not a whole lot to pay up for.

Priced at $6200 on FD and $5400 on DK, Lauri Markkanen is an interesting GPP risk. His 25 minutes in his first game back were promising, and he’s underpriced if he plays around 30 minutes.

Wendell Carter Jr is someone who I think will benefit with Hoiberg gone. as I’d expect new head coach Jim Boylen to consistently play Carter in the 30-minute range. Plus, Markkanen is a really nice fit next to Carter, who is a gifted passer. Carter is too cheap on DK, priced at $4800, and priced appropriately on FD at $5800.

The Bulls have been a team to attack in NBA DFS this year, and I don’t really expect that to change under Boylen. The Pacers are a tricky team to target, as none of their players play huge minutes.

The Bulls struggle defending long-range shooting, giving up around 12.2 threes per game, ranking 28th in the NBA. This puts Bojan Bogdanovic on the radar tonight. He’s not easy to trust, but this is a nice spot for him.

Besides a dud vs the Lakers, Myles Turner has produced fairly well since Oladipo went down. There is always risk with Turner, especially at his increased price tag, but he offers elite upside vs a Bulls team that struggles to defend centers.

I’d love to target Domantas Sabonis, but his price is a bit much. Sabonis deserves to be playing around 30 minutes a night, yet he’s in the low 20’s.

Even at his elevated price tag, Darren Collison is fine to target on a small slate. Collison is a steals machine and the Bulls rank 21st in the NBA at taking care of the ball.

Thaddeus Young and Tyreke Evans are what they are. Strictly target them if you’re playing 15+ GPP lineups.

Orlando Magic @ Miami Heat (o/u 208, MIA -2.5)

Orlando is 17th in defensive rating, 23rd in pace.

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

This isn’t the prettiest game on the slate. There’s not a ton of value, and it’s a pace-down situation for Miami. Goran Dragic remains out, while Tyler Johnson looks like he’s good to go.

Nikola Vucevic has been rock solid vs Miami historically, despite a dud in an earlier meeting this year, averaging around 46 fantasy points in five games from 2016-2018. And Vucevic has been an elite producer of late, so you can target him with confidence.

I don’t have a ton of interest in the rest of the Magic players. Both Jonathan Isaac and Evan Fournier are very cheap and play enough minutes to warrant consideration.

Terrance Ross is on a hot streak and seeing more minutes, but I’m not interested in him at his elevated price.

Typically, I’m interested in Hassan Whiteside when he is up against a traditional big. Coming off of a monster outing vs Utah, this is a decent spot to target Whiteside, as the matchup vs Vucevic should keep him around the rim. My one worry is Vuc’s high low-post usage could affect Whiteside’s rebounding totals.

With Tyler Johnson back, targeting the Heat backcourt is less appealing. Johnson is too pricey for me, considering he’s fresh off of an injury in an unappealing matchup.

Josh Richardson continues to carry some appeal because of his high floor. He’s a bit overpriced considering he will see less time on the ball with Johnson back, but on a small slate with no stars you have to spend up somewhere.

Portland Trail Blazers @ Dallas Mavericks (o/u 220, DAL -1.5)

Portland is 20th in defensive rating, 18th in pace.

Dallas is 12th in defensive rating, 13th in pace.

This is the slight pace-up game for the Blazers vs a much-improved Dallas Mavericks defense. On a smallish slate with relatively decent pace, this is one of the better DFS matchups tonight.

Up against DeAndre Jordan tonight, Jusuf Nurkic is a strong target on both sites. Nurkic should be around the rim all day, and has no threat of being exposed on the perimeter. And opposing centers have had decent success vs the Mavericks thus far this season.

The only thing holding me back from targeting Damian Lillard is his price. Dame is always capable of a monster outing, but his price limits some of his upside and adds to his risk. If Dame had a higher floor I wouldn’t mind it as much. Still, Dame is the most expensive player on the slate for a reason.

It’s an elite matchup for CJ McCollum, but he is also too expensive. On a small slate, yes, McCollum is worth considering. But his price limits his upside unless he has a big scoring night. The peripheral stats for CJ just haven’t been there this year, and the fact that Terry Stotts doesn’t stagger CJ and Dame anymore hurts CJ’s usage.

If Evan Turner is ruled out again, Moe Harkless is an interesting sub $4500 option at SF. Harkless should see around 30 minutes, which is appealing for someone with his sort of activity on the court.

This isn’t the matchup where I look to target Al-Farouq Aminu.

The Blazers haven’t been great defensively, making this a decent matchup for the Mavericks. The issue with targeting Dallas players is the deep rotation.

My favorite target on Dallas is Harrison Barnes. This is a good matchup for Barnes, who offers a high floor with some upside and is priced fairly on both sites.

I’m less interested in his revenge narrative and more interested in Wes Matthews’ price and matchup. This is a decent spot for him. He should see good minutes, and is priced at $5100 on FD and $4700 on DK.

With Dennis Smith Jr, JJ Barea, and Luka Doncic all probable, it’s hard for me to target any of them at their prices, as they all eat into each other’s minutes.

With an elevated price and more appealing targets at center, I’m staying away from DeAndre Jordan.

San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz (o/u 214.5, UTA -6)

San Antonio is 29th in defensive rating, 25th in pace.

Utah is 13th in defensive rating, 21st in pace.

In years past, this would have been a matchup I would have run away from as fast as I could. Presently, it’s still not the most appealing game on the slate, but it’s not a complete fade. Vegas seems to like Utah in this spot, and I think this game goes back and forth throughout.

With LaMarcus Aldridge playing mostly at the 5 for San Antonio, he has been a more consistent rebounder than he was last year. Plus, opposing centers have had strong success vs the Jazz thus far. He’s still not cheap, but there’s upside at his $8000 FD price and $7600 DK price.

On a big slate I wouldn’t be particularly interested in DeMar DeRozan, but that’s not the case tonight. For me, DeRozan has appeal anytime San Antonio is up against a Western Conference playoff contender, as the Spurs tend to lean on DeRozan and Aldridge vs good teams. The Jazz and Spurs will likely be fighting for a playoff spot this year, so yes, DeRozan is worth considering on this smallish slate.

This isn’t the spot where I want to target the Spurs PGs and Rudy Gay. There is more appealing value elsewhere.

This is a strong spot for the Jazz, as San Antonio has not played well defensively all year long. The issue with targeting Jazz players is their plethora of options.

A 1 vs 1 I foresee coming up often tonight will be Donovan Mitchell vs DeRozan. Mitchell played really poorly on Sunday vs Miami, and that scares me a little at his current price. Still, the upside is there because of the Spurs lack of defense.

Jae Crowder is an interesting sub $5500 SF worth considering. The Spurs poor defense should leave Crowder open for the corner three a couple times. He’s a low-owned target worth considering.

Rudy Gobert is too expensive for me. There are other centers priced more appealingly on the slate.

Ricky Rubio is fine. I just prefer to target him in pace-up games, and this is not one of them.

Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns (o/u 226, SAC -6)

Sacramento is 21st in defensive rating, 2nd in pace.

Phoenix is 28th in defensive rating, 20th in pace

Here it is! The DFS jewel of the night. The Kings run at a scorching pace, with minimal defense being played by both teams. The Suns are truly a bad defensive team, so Sacramento players are in an elite spot.

The first player I was drawn to on the slate was De’Aaron Fox. Fox is an elite target, as he should be able to get to the basket and find open teammates all game. The Suns are a turnover-prone team, too, which should lead to added steal opportunities for him.

Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield are both worth considering, as their prices and minutes offer upside in an elite matchup. The leash appears to be off of Bogdanovic, as he’s played 30+ minutes in three straight games.

The status of Marvin Bagley will impact Willie Cauley-Stein’s and Iman Shumpert’s minutes a touch. If Bagley can’t go, both are fine to target. If Bagley plays I’d be wary, especially on Cauley-Stein. Kosta Koufos saw some of Bagley’s minutes last game, and Harry Giles was a DNP.

The Suns are your source of value tonight in a pace-up spot vs the Kings, so expect them to be a bit chalky. Devin Booker is OUT, while TJ Warren is DOUBTFUL.

With Booker out, Elie Okobo is an elite value target on both sites. Okobo should play strong minutes in a friendly game environment. I love targeting PGs vs the Kings, and Okobo should get 30+ minutes at the point priced at $4700 on FD and $4400 on DK. Sign me up.

I’d expect Deandre Ayton to be the highest-owned center on the slate. He should be featured with a down price in a pace-up game tonight. You can target him with confidence.

Trevor Ariza could see some ball handling duties with Booker out. Ariza is likely to be the Suns player that gets a bit overlooked, too.

With TJ Warren DOUBTFUL, Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges are the main benefactors. Jackson is an elite target tonight, as he should see big minutes in the perfect game environment for him. Meanwhile, Bridges should be locked into 30+ minutes and is priced under $5k on both sites.

A sneaky GPP target tonight is Richaun Holmes. Holmes has seen his minutes creep up, and has been producing really well. This is a perfect spot for Holmes to record a monster steals and blocks game.


Teams To Attack

Bulls, Spurs, Kings, Suns

Blowout Potential


Top Targets

PG: De’Aaron Fox, Darren Collison, Elie Okobo

SG: DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Wes Matthews

SF: Harrison Barnes, Trevor Ariza, Bojan Bogdanovic, Mikal Bridges

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge, Josh Jackson, Wendell Carter Jr

C: Nikola Vucevic, Jusuf Nurkic, Deandre Ayton

Good luck!