This is potentially the worst slate of the year, as it features two likely blowouts and a Rockets-Jazz matchup that isn’t particularly exciting. If you’re looking to take a day off from NBA DFS, this is a good night to do so. And just a heads up: With the ugly slate tonight I thought I’d try a different format for my article.
Hope you enjoy it!
New York Knicks @ Boston Celtics (o/u 217.5, BOS -12)
New York is 27th in defensive rating, 16th in pace.
Boston is 2nd in defensive rating, 22nd in pace.
This is a brutal matchup for the Knicks, as they’ll face one of the strongest defensive teams in the league. Plus, Dave Fizdale’s willingness to switch up the rotations mid-game makes targeting any player on the roster a real risk. Still, at the moment, the Knicks continue to be a decent source of value.
INJURIES: Trey Burke, Lance Thomas OUT
TOP TARGETS: Noah Vonleh, Emmanuel Mudiay
Since Vonleh’s monster run of production, he has seen his numbers drop a bit. But the minutes continue to be there for Vonleh, so his down price offers upside. With Trey Burke OUT, Mudiay should see around 35 minutes again, and on a small slate I don’t really care who the matchup is against.
GPP: Enes Kanter, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
Robinson and Knox are blowout proof. The minutes will be there for both of them regardless of the score. Even though the minutes aren’t always there, Kanter carries big GPP upside. Whether it’s Horford or Baynes on him, Kanter should be able to score and grab boards.
FADE: Tim Hardaway Jr, Damyean Dotson, Allonzo Trier, Courtney Lee
Hardaway Jr is affected if there’s a blowout, so he’s not worth the risk at his price. Lee’s emergence seems to have directly impacted Trier, so I’m off of both. I’m a fan of Dotson, but he’s just a bit too pricey for me to trust vs a stout defense like the Celtics.
This is a solid matchup for the Celtics, as they get a Knicks team who would struggle to defend me. With this game being played in Boston, there is the blowout concern to consider.
TOP TARGETS: Jayson Tatum
I just like Tatum in this spot, as he should be able to score at will vs the Knicks. Typically studs defer to the younger studs when facing a bad team, and this game has that sort of potential. PF is fairly brutal tonight, so Tatum is in a good spot.
GPP: Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier
First, Kyrie is always worth considering. If this game stays close, Kyrie has awesome upside and is a borderline top target. Hayward is coming off his best game of the year, and while you shouldn’t expect that sort of production again, this one is a nice spot for him. Gordon has also seen some blowout minutes this year, as Stevens continues to “rehab” him his own way. Rozier is only in play if you think this game gets out of hand. He won’t kill you at his price, making him a solid FD “free” punt.
FADES: Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris
With the Celtics looking healthy again I’m not particularly interested in these guys, because they all eat into each other’s production, even on a small slate.
Phoenix Suns @ Portland Trail Blazers (o/u 215.5, PHO -14)
Phoenix is 29th in defensive rating, 20th in pace.
Portland is 21st in defensive rating, 17th in pace.
The Suns were down 43-13 at one point against the Kings in their last game. It’s not a stretch to say Phoenix is horrible and will likely be down by 20+ before halftime vs Portland. That being said, with the Suns injuries there is some value that opens up. It’s just not the safest value.
INJURIES: Devin Booker OUT, TJ Warren DOUBTFUL
TOP TARGETS: Trevor Ariza, Mikal Bridges, Josh Jackson, Richaun Holmes
Mikal Bridges seems like the safest of the Suns targets, as the rookie is blowout-proof and putting up decent numbers with his minutes. Ariza is intriguing, as he has seen more ball handling duties with Booker and Warren off the floor. I’m less confident in Josh Jackson, but the fact remains he should play 25+ minutes with a really good matchup and decent usage. Holmes seems like more of a GPP target, but I’m expecting a blowout here, and if that’s the case he will see 20+ minutes. Richaun is a huge PPM guy.
GPP: Deandre Ayton, Elie Okobo, De’Anthony Melton, Troy Daniels, Jamal Crawford
Ayton is closer to a fade for me, but he warrants consideration because if Phoenix is able to keep it close, Ayton will be a major reason why. Okobo vs Melton is a question impossible to answer — play one and hope he’s the guy who produces. On FD, I don’t hate the strategy of playing both and having one be your expected drop score.
The Suns are banged up and super cheap. You could plug in any of their healthy players and I wouldn’t be totally opposed to it.
The Blazers are tough to break down today. Although the matchup is appealing, I don’t see how this game stays close after watching the Suns-Kings game. CJ McCollum is a bit banged up, and it’s important we monitor his status leading up to lock. I don’t think he plays.
INJURIES: CJ McCollum QUESTIONABLE
TOP TARGETS: Jusuf Nurkic, Evan Turner, Zach Collins/Meyers Leonard
I’m most nervous about Nurkic because of the potential blowout, but this is a smash spot for him. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Blazers force feed him the ball in the low post vs an inferior team. If McCollum doesn’t play Turner sees a slight usage bump and more ball handling responsibilities vs a bad team. I’ve grouped Collins and Leonard together because it’s the same idea. I’d only want to target one of them, but both will see big minutes and production if the Blazers run away with it.
GPP: Seth Curry, Nik Stauskas
Both jump into GPP consideration if McCollum doesn’t play. I’d prefer Curry over Stauskas.
FADES: Damian Lillard, Al-Farouq Aminu
Fading Dame on a three-game slate vs the Suns? Yeah, that could be considered risky, but I’m just not paying $10k+ for 2.5 quarters of Dame. Even if this game didn’t have blowout potential, Dame would still be considered too pricey for me.
Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz (o/u 217, UTA -2)
Houston is 25th in defensive rating, 29th in pace.
Utah is 12th in defensive rating, 21st in pace.
The Rockets are still trying to round into form, and face a Jazz team in a similar situation. Utah has shown flashes of defensive ability, but it has been far from consistent. This is the one game on the slate that should stay close.
INJURIES: Brandon Knight – GTD
TOP TARGETS: James Harden, Clint Capela
If I’m spending $10k+ on a player tonight, it’s for James Harden. Take his floor on a three-game slate and move on. Centers have been torching the Jazz of late, and Capela has been torching everyone of late, so this is a great spot for him even at the elevated price.
GPP: Chris Paul, PJ Tucker
Paul is priced fairly on both sites, but he’s not the easiest guy to trust in the $8k range with Harden playing. The minutes are always there for Tucker, and that is strictly the reason he’s worth considering on a three-game slate.
FADES: Eric Gordon
This isn’t an ideal matchup to play Gordon, especially with Paul and Harden healthy and in the mix.
The Jazz probably have the strongest matchup on the slate, as the Rockets haven’t been able to stop anyone.
TOP TARGETS: Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder
Mitchell is a tough fade vs a bad Rockets defense on a three-game slate. Mitchell tends to show up vs top players, and he gets Harden tonight. Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder are also firmly in play, again because of Houston’s inept defense, but also due to their respective appealing prices. I’d expect to see more Crowder at the 4 against Tucker, and then Derrick Favors.
GPP: Ricky Rubio, Rudy Gobert (DK), Derrick Favors, Kyle Korver
Rubio and Gobert are more GPP targets for me, as they’re a touch overpriced in my eyes. Gobert is strictly a DK target for me — the upside is there at $8300. And I think Favors is an interesting GPP target. At first glance this isn’t the typical matchup Favors plays well in, because he sees a drop in minutes. That is certainly a concern, but he will be up against Tucker and Isaiah Hartenstein during the game, and those are two exploitable matchups for Favors. Korver is worth considering because he’s priced around the minimum and should see close to 20 minutes, and that has some appeal on a small slate.
FADES: Rudy Gobert (FD)
The $9800 is just too much for me to want to target Gobert. I’d rather play Capela over Gobert, and Capela is $700 cheaper. Still, $8300 for Gobert on DK is worth considering.
Teams to Attack
Knicks, Suns, Rockets
Knicks @ Celtics, Suns @ Blazers
PG: Kyrie Irving, Emmanuel Mudiay
SG: James Harden, Donovan Mitchell
SF: Trevor Ariza, Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges
PF: Jayson Tatum, Noah Vonleh, Josh Jackson, Collins/Leonard
C: Clint Capela, Jusuf Nurkic, Richaun Holmes
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.