NBA Morning Thoughts 12.05.18

NBA Morning Thoughts 12.05.18

There’s a 10-game NBA DFS slate tonight, so let’s get right to it…

Golden State Warriors @ Cleveland Cavaliers (o/u 233.5, GS -11)

Golden State is 18th in defensive rating, 28th in pace.

Cleveland is 30th in defensive rating, 15th in pace.

The Warriors face the worst defensive team in the NBA tonight. Though the Cavs are improving a bit defensively, this game carries loads of blowout concern. Draymond Green remains OUT.

Steph Curry and Kevin Durant should always be considered vs a terrible defensive team, but I’m not so sure this one stays close enough for either to be worth their price. Still, because it is a strong matchup both are considered good GPP targets.

Klay Thompson can also be considered in GPPs, but I’m not actively trying to fit Klay into my lineups.

The trio of Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko, and Kevon Looney all remains decent value bigs on both sites. It’s not the pace-up spot like it was vs Atlanta, but all three play enough to warrant considering. Looney is the safest of the three, as it seems Steve Kerr trusts him the most.

Targeting the Warriors is a decent strategy, especially in a potential blowout. They tend to play looser in these games, which leads to less aggressive defense and more turnovers. Unfortunately for the Cavs, they play a long rotation, minimizing my interest in targeting them.

Since he was traded from Utah, Alec Burks has played 23, 26, and 28 minutes. Coach Larry Drew has implemented him early and his production has been fairly ok. Burks is blowout proof so the minutes will be there regardless. He’s a strong value SG worth considering.

Another value on Cleveland worth considering is George Hill. Ew. Yeah, I know. Still, Hill played 35 minutes last game, and is priced at $4100 on FD and $3700 on DK.

With his price up and Curry back looking to expose bigs on the perimeter, I’m not interested in Tristan Thompson. I do think this is a sneaky spot for Larry Nance Jr, as he’s blowout-proof but more importantly his athleticism makes him a better defensive matchup. Still, Nance is strictly a GPP target.

Denver Nuggets @ Orlando Magic (o/u 208.5, DEN -5)

Denver is 4th in defensive rating, 26th in pace.

Orlando is 14th in defensive rating, 23rd in pace.

Orlando has held its own defensively thus far this year. Combine that with the Magic’s slow pace and this isn’t the best spot to target Nuggets players. There is some interest in Denver, though, as Gary Harris is OUT, opening up minutes and usage for other players.

Nikola Jokic is coming off of a monster performance vs Toronto and is a decent target tonight. Defensively, Jokic will get Vucevic, which is a matchup he can deal with athletically. The risk is Vucevic’s high low post usage tends to bring centers just far enough away from the rim to affect their rebounding totals. Orlando’s strong DvP number vs centers is an indication of that.

With Gary Harris OUT Jamal Murray should be locked into strong minutes with a slight usage bump. I can never trust Murray and the matchup isn’t ideal, but he’s a decent middle priced option at PG.

Juancho Hernangomez and Malik Beasley are the two main “value” beneficiaries with Harris and Barton OUT. Priced at $5000 on FD and $4400, Hernangomez is my favorite of the two, as sometimes Mike Malone likes to go with Monte Morris and/or Torrey Craig over Beasley. Juancho should be locked into around 30 minutes. Trey Lyles might also see some added run.

The Nuggets are an elite defensive team and have won six straight games. Yeah, this is a bad matchup for Magic players. Plus Orlando is on a second night of a back to back.

Considering the matchup and the back-to-back I’m off of all Magic players on the slate. Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon always carry some appeal, but on a big slate I’d rather spend up elsewhere. I do think it’s worth noting that both Gordon and Vucevic have seen production bumps on the back end of a back-to-back thus far, Vucevic has averaged two minutes more, Gordon has averaged three minutes less.

DJ Augustin is what he is. He’s not my favorite value PG on the slate but he’s usable.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Brooklyn Nets (o/u 217.5, OKC -7)

Oklahoma City is 1st in defensive rating, 8th in pace.

Brooklyn is 21st in defensive rating, 24th in pace.

The Thunder head to my hometown and get a favorable matchup vs Brooklyn. Although they aren’t any good the Nets rarely get blown out at home, so I’m not too concerned about the potential blowout.

This is an elite matchup for Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is coming off of a poor performance during a blowout win vs Detroit, and this is the perfect bounce-back spot. Russ’s price is also down a touch on both sites at $11000 on FD and $11100 on DK. He’s not a must but I’m a fan of Westbrook tonight.

Targeting centers vs the Nets is always a good idea, and Steven Adams gets that privilege tonight. Adams is priced up a touch on FD at $7700 so he’s not a must, but the upside remains. On DK priced at $6700 Adams is an elite cash game option.

He’s cheap considering his high floor, so Paul George is another member of the Thunder worth considering. It’s risky and I think you’d need to have some Nets exposure too, but I don’t mind stacking Westbrook and George in GPPs.

For the Nets, this is a brutal matchup, as the Thunder are the best defensive team in the NBA. I do think the Nets will hang around in this game, but I don’t particularly like any of them from a DFS standpoint.

I’m cringing as I write this as he’s burned me all year, but this is a sneaky good spot for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Thunder provide the pace-up environment in which Rondae thrives in. I like him at his down price in a pace-up spot because of his defensive upside.

I’m not particularly sure why Shabazz Napier didn’t see his expected 25ish minutes last game, but I don’t think that is a trend that will continue. As long as Spencer Dinwiddie is starting Napier remains a decent value PG.

D’Angelo Russell is a bit pricey for me vs an elite defensive team. I’m OK with targeting Dinwiddie in GPPs but he’s a bit risky. Jarrett Allen as always carries that GPP upside we love, but as always is tough to predict.

Washington Wizards @ Atlanta Hawks (o/u 234.5, WAS -5)

Washington is 27th in defensive rating, 6th in pace.

Atlanta is 23rd in defensive rating, 1st in pace.

Oh yeah. After watching the Kings go up 43-13 last night in a game I wanted to (and did) stack, I immediately moved on to today’s slate a depressed and defeated man. What soon happened was a medical marvel as my depression was cured at the sight of this game. We get two of the worst defensive teams facing each other, and there’s not much more you can ask for from the NBA DFS Gods.


I’d expect him to be fairly high owned, but John Wall is an elite target tonight at PG. I LOVE to target PGs vs the Hawks, as they’re a turnover-prone team and Trae Young is too small to guard anyone. Wall should be able to get to the basket AT WILL vs Young. Can’t ask for a better spot for Wall.

His price is up, but Bradley Beal is also an elite target tonight vs Atlanta. Beal has been playing huge minutes and continues to produce at a fairly stable clip. He won’t be as high owned as Wall, so you can target him with confidence.

UPDATE: With Wall now ruled OUT Bradley Beal is even more of an elite target tonight. Beal will be chalky but it’s chalk that is hard to pass up.

No Wall also puts Tomas Satoransky firmly in play as a value PG. Satoransky will likely be high owned, it’s an elite matchup.

No Wall will also give usage bumps to Otto Porter and Markieff Morris, Porter is super intriguing now even at his elevated price.

Otto Porter and Markieff Morris remaining intriguing targets even at their elevated prices. Porter at $7100 on FD scares me, but this matchup makes it ok. Markieff is a bit safer in the low $6k range on both sites, as he will see strong minutes at the 5 vs a team that takes a lot of shots and misses a lot of shots.

We know attacking the Wizards in NBA DFS is a wise move, so it’s a great spot for Hawks players. The risk with targeting Hawks is their inconsistent rotation. Taurean Prince is OUT for this game.

Trae Young has seen an impressive usage bump with Prince off the court, and couple that with the Wizards matchup and Young is an intriguing target for tonight’s slate. Although Young feels a bit overpriced and his minutes aren’t where I want them to be, he has actually produced really well in elite matchups.

With Prince OUT I’d expect Kent Bazemore to either return to the starting lineup or see extended minutes. Bazemore is a strong option tonight in an elite matchup that always carries some risk.

After a monster performance vs the Warriors, I’d expect John Collins to be a fairly popular target tonight. He’s not cheap on FD at $7400, but his $6300 on DK is a bit more reasonable.

Jeremy Lin and DeAndre Bembry are strong GPP targets worth considering. Both could and should see a slight minutes bump with Prince OUT. I’d expect Bembry to be fairly high owned. I’m worried that Justin Anderson will cut into some of Bembry’s minutes.

At $3700 on DK, Kevin Huerter is a decent punt. His $4600 price on FD is pushing it a touch, but still usable.

Charlotte Hornets @ Minnesota Timberwolves (o/u 221, MIN -1)

Charlotte is 15th in defensive rating, 11th in pace.

Minnesota is 17th in defensive rating, 13th in pace.

The new-look Timberwolves have been playing stronger defense at a much slower pace. They are no longer a team to attack in NBA DFS. The Hornets will be without Marvin Williams, and Cody Zeller is PROBABLE.

With Williams OUT we should see more minutes for Miles Bridges and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and even (potentially) Frank Kaminsky. He’s tough to trust but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Frank start, and if he does start he’s a usable punt. Bridges was the main benefactor off the bench in the game Williams went down, but I don’t love that he’s priced up at $5500 on FD. On DK priced at $4100, Bridges is far more in play. Because of his defensive activity, Kidd-Gilchrist carries appealing upside whenever he has a shot at extended minutes.

Kemba Walker is strictly a GPP differentiator if you are trying to stay away from Wall tonight.

The Hornets play at relatively appealing pace and are a decent defensive team. They are far from a team to avoid, but Minnesota’s newfound depth make them a bit of a tricky team to target.

Robert Covington continues to play big minutes and produce fairly consistently. At his price Covington’s upside is a bit limited, but he’s a decent cash game option because of his high floor.

As far as the rest of the T-Wolves, I’d rather spend elsewhere. Karl-Anthony Towns is fine but not really someone who is fitting into my builds. Andrew Wiggins remains lost unless he lucks into a few steals, and the Hornets are the least turnover prone team in the NBA. Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose continue to cut into each other’s production. Taj Gibson and Dario Saric do the same to each other, however their prices make them easier to target.

Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Pelicans (n/a)

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

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

The Mavericks are in an elite spot here vs the Pelicans, a team that plays fast and are horrible defensively. Dallas is on a second night of a back-to-back, which is concerning when you factor in that the Mavs have been banged up. No Vegas line suggests that there could be some rest news coming from Dallas, as I don’t think Nikola Mirotic’s status is what’s holding that up.

At first glance Dennis Smith Jr and Luka Doncic are my favorite Mavericks to target. That said, I will update the Mavericks section once there is news. If no news comes out before 4pm, be sure to stop by in our chat for all of the latest updates.

The Pelicans are in an ok spot considering the pace factor and defensive rating of the Mavericks. Nikola Mirotic is QUESTIONABLE.

If Mirotic can’t go, Julius Randle would become an elite target at center. Randle is a stat hog so whenever the minutes are there the production usually follows. No Mirotic would impact Anthony Davis’ production a touch, as Davis will have to share the court with Randle, who refuses to share all of the appealing Pelicans production.

On most nights it’s pretty tough for me to fade Anthony Davis. Still, Davis is priced at $12800 on FD and Dallas is one of the stingiest teams against opposing frontcourts, so I don’t think paying up for that price is worth it. With that being said, Davis is an absolute stud who is capable for 80+ fantasy point production on any given night.

After his spectacular effort vs the Clippers, Jrue Holiday is now priced up a touch, limiting his upside even more. Still, Jrue remains a solid cash game target, as he has one of the safest floors in the league.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors (o/u 229, TOR -6)

Philadelphia is 11th in defensive rating, 7th in pace.

Toronto is 8th in defensive rating, 14th in pace.

This is a fun Eastern Conference Atlantic Division rivalry game between two of the East’s best teams. Both of these teams are good and this game has some meaning, so the overall implied pace of this one is more important than both team’s strong defense.

Joel Embiid is priced down on both sites, at $10700 on FD and $10300 on DK. That is fairly cheap considering Embiid’s is priced almost at 5x his floor. I’d imagine Embiid is a highly owned cash game target.

Anytime Jimmy Butler is in a meaningful game I have some interest, and this is a meaningful game. Butler is priced down on both sites at $7900 on FD and $6900 on DK. Sure his recent production is a bit worrisome, but $6900 is just too cheap, Butler is an elite target on DK.

I’m not particularly high on Ben Simmons tonight as the PG position is fairly strong. I’d rather spend elsewhere.

In their previous meeting, Kawhi Leonard went for 50+ FD/DK points. Kawhi remains firmly in play priced under $10k on both sites. You can target Kawhi with confidence.

Serge Ibaka is an appealing middle priced option at PF. Ibaka tends to show up in home games vs rival teams, as that boost of adrenaline from your home crowd can lead to added activity on the defensive side of the ball. Ibaka produced well in the Raptors previous meeting with the Sixers.

I’m fine with targeting Pascal Siakam or Kyle Lowry. I just don’t love it. Lowry has become extremely passive on the offensive end, and his lack of scoring makes him a bit too risky for me in DFS. Siakam continues to impress, I just prefer targeting Ibaka.

Jonas Valanciunas remains a usable high upside GPP option at center.

Detroit Pistons @ Milwaukee Bucks (o/u 227.5, MIL -7.5)

Detroit is 9th in defensive rating, 20th in pace.

Milwaukee is 6th in defensive rating, 5th in pace.

This is a tough matchup for Detroit vs an elite Bucks defense. The Pistons do get a pace-up bump, though.

I love Andre Drummond tonight, and I hate that I do. Drummond has had two brutal games recently, and his price has dropped dramatically on both sites: $9300 on FD and $8800 on DK. That’s too cheap for Drummond, who is a double-double machine. The Bucks are tough on centers, but Drummond should dominate Brook Lopez on the offensive glass. It’s really hard to fade Embiid, but this is an elite price for Drummond, and I don’t mind using the $1k difference to upgrade elsewhere. Ugh.

Drummond is the only Pistons player I have real interest in. Blake Griffin hasn’t hit 5x value in six straight games. Sure, he’s capable of it, but a matchup vs the Bucks isn’t ideal.

This is also a poor matchup for Milwaukee, as Detroit is a good defensive team that offers a pace-down game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a stud, but he’s too pricey for me on both sites considering the matchup. Similarly to Davis, though, Giannis is capable of going for 70+ fantasy points on any given night.

You can attack the Pistons at center, as Drummond is not a good low post defender. So Brook Lopez is an appealing lower middle priced option. The minutes and production have been there for Brook, and his price remains cheap.

Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Eric Bledsoe are all fine to play, but I’d rather spend elsewhere on a large slate.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Memphis Grizzlies (o/u 212.5, PK)

Los Angeles is 16th in defensive rating, 9th in pace.

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

It’s always a brutal matchup for any team playing the Memphis Grizzlies, and tonight the Clippers are that unlucky opponent.

The Clippers have a lot of options that aren’t that cheap. I’m staying away from all of them tonight.

If you’re desperate for Clippers exposure, Tobias Harris carries the safest floor. Montrezl Harrell carries the highest upside, and the Grizzlies grit n’ grind style of play doesn’t particularly effect him.

The Grizzlies, however, are in a DFS friendly spot in a pace-up game. And you can attack the Clippers at point guard and at center.

Luckily for the Grizzlies, they have a good point guard and center: Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are strong plays. On FD, Conley and Gasol are a bit priced out for me. I’d consider them GPP differentiators from Wall and Embiid. But on DK, Gasol is too cheap at $8600 vs a Clippers team that gets absolutely torched by opposing bigs. Gasol is too big for Harrell and Marcin Gortat is too old to guard anyone. Conley is priced at $8600 on DK — not cheap but certainly appealing.

I’m not particularly interested in any of the other Grizzlies. Jaren Jackson Jr is ok in GPPs.

San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers (o/u 222, LAL -8)

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

Los Angeles is 7th in defensive rating, 4th in pace.

This is the third meeting of the season between these two teams, and the Lakers are MUCH improved defensively compared to earlier in the year. The Spurs, meanwhile, are in a strong pace-up spot here.

DeMar DeRozan has gone for 60+ fantasy points in each of the two earlier meetings between these two. DeRozan is from LA, and in an elite pace-up game, I expect him to bounce back after a terrible effort from all Spurs players last night. I continue to love to target DeRozan vs the Lakers.

Normally I’d consider Rudy Gay a rest candidate here, but after playing only 18 minutes in last night’s blowout loss, I don’t think that will happen. Gay is priced appealingly in a pace-up game.

If you’re in the need of a sub $5k PG, Derrick White seems to have started to figure it out. Even last night, White still produced well from a per-minute standpoint.

Because this is the second night of a back-to-back, I’m totally off of LaMarcus Aldridge. Go to our Back to Back Tool and search for Aldridge, and you’ll see why. Maybe playing only 21 minutes last night will keep him a bit fresher for tonight.

The Spurs continue to struggle defensively, so this is a strong spot for the Lakers. LA can be a tricky team to target though, with a deep bench and lots of capable ball handlers.

I’m fine with targeting LeBron James, as the Spurs provide little resistance to him. LeBron’s production has not been consistently great considering his price, but the upside remains.

Kyle Kuzma has been on a bit of a hot streak of late. The issue with Kuzma is his price. He’s tough to trust at $7000 on FD and $6600 on DK. Still, Kuzma carries some GPP appeal.

On a large slate I’m not really interested in forcing the rest of the Lakers in my lineup.



Teams To Attack

Cavs, Nets, Hawks, Wizards, Pelicans, Spurs, Lakers(Pace)

Blowout Potential

Warriors @ Hawks, Spurs @ Lakers, Thunder @ Nets

Top Targets

PG: Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, Trae Young(GPP), Dennis Smith Jr, Tomas Satoransky

SG: DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler (DK), Kent Bazemore, Alec Burks

SF: Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis/Durant (GPP), Otto Porter, Juancho Hernangomez

PF: Anthony Davis (GPP), Markieff Morris, Serge Ibaka, Frank Kaminsky(if starting)

C: Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol (DK), Steven Adams (DK), Brook Lopez