NBA

NBA Morning Thoughts 12.07.18

NBA Morning Thoughts 12.07.18

After last night’s gross three-game NBA slate, we are gifted with a beautiful 10-game NBA slate on Friday. Let’s get right to it…

Indiana Pacers @ Orlando Magic (o/u 206, ORL -1)

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

Orlando is 16th in defensive rating, 25th in pace.

There’s not too much to get excited about when it comes to targeting Indiana players tonight. Orlando isn’t a great defensive team, but since both teams play at a slow pace this isn’t the environment that’s conducive to big fantasy production. The issue with targeting Pacers players now is they’ve all seen a price increase with Victor Oladipo sidelined, and they’re no longer priced at a discount.

INJURIES: Victor Oladipo OUT

Since Dipo got hurt, Darren Collison has seen his minutes and production stabilize. Collison has always been a fairly consistent producer when the minutes were there, and they’re there now, averaging a little over 30 in his last five games. He’s not cheap on either site, but I’m still fine with targeting Collison.

Strictly on DK, priced at $6400, Myles Turner is an ok target. I don’t particularly like attacking Orlando at center, as Vucevic’s high low post usage tends to draw his opponent away from the rim. Still, Turner has been awesome since Dipo went down. He’s a bit too pricey for me on FD.

I’m off of the rest of the Pacers, especially on a 10-game slate. Domantas Sabonis is always intriguing but he’s just too pricey for me to target with his expected minutes, especially in a down matchup.

INJURIES: None

I don’t want anything to do with Magic players. I’d rather spend elsewhere on a 10-game slate.

If you’re desperate for Orlando exposure, Nikola Vucevic is always a capable producer. The Pacers, however, are the fifth toughest team against centers in terms of DvP. Jonathan Isaac is priced fairly cheap and is always capable of a big performance because of his defensive upside.

Denver Nuggets @ Charlotte Hornets (o/u 218, DEN -1)

Denver is 5th in defensive rating, 27th in pace.

Charlotte is 17th in defensive rating, 12th in pace.

Denver heads to Charlotte as road favorites in a game that’s not terribly exciting. It’s a slight pace-up spot for Denver, as Charlotte is playing at home and in the top third in the NBA in terms of pace. Opposing wings and centers have had moderate success vs the Hornets this year.

INJURIES: Will Barton OUT, Isaiah Thomas OUT, Gary Harris OUT

If Nikola Jokic was still priced in the high $8k range, I would have been all over him tonight as Charlotte doesn’t have anyone in the low block that can guard him. Jokic, priced at $9500 on FD and $9300 on DK, has a price tag just high enough to think twice about using him. Still, I like this spot for Jokic, he’s an elite GPP target.

With Gary Harris OUT Jamal Murray is an appealing upper middle priced option at PG. Murray has shocked the DFS world by being somewhat consistent with his production this year, especially with Harris OUT.

With Harris and Barton OUT Juancho Hernangomez is in line to see 30+ minutes tonight. Hernangomez is a proven and capable producer, and he offers fairly appealing value at $5k on FD and $4400 on DK.

This is a brutal matchup for Charlotte, as Denver continues to be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.  Still, it helps that this game is being played in Charlotte.

INJURIES: Marvin Williams OUT

You can attack Denver at PG, and Charlotte has a pretty good PG by the name of Kemba Walker. Kemba tends to show up vs top competition, this is a decent spot for him. The issue with targeting him tonight is the plethora of options at PG.

Last game, with Marvin Williams out, I was a bit surprised when Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was announced as the starter. And I’m fine targeting MKG as a value SF if he starts again. The big takeaway for me was that no Marvin seemed to stabilize Nic Batum’s minutes. Both FD and DK priced Batum up a touch, but he’s still under $6k so he’s a decent target. Kaminsky and Bridges are riskier GPP targets.

His upside is limited, but if you’re in a pinch and don’t know what to do with around $6k at SG you should consider Jeremy Lamb. Lamb continues to produce around 5x value night after night.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Detroit Pistons (o/u 220.5, PHI -2)

Philadelphia is 10th in defensive rating, 7th in pace.

Detroit is 9th in defensive rating, 15th in pace.

I’m lumping both teams’ breakdowns into one for this matchup. This is a fun game featuring two beef-related narratives. We have the Andre Drummond vs Joel Embiid beef, and my personal favorite, the Kendall Jenner narrative involving Blake Griffin and Ben Simmons. Oh, the NBA. In terms of numbers, this is a solid spot for both teams, as they both play at a fast pace. One point of concern that is worth mentioning: The Pistons have been isolating Blake in the low-post A LOT lately, which can absolutely kill the flow of the game. This game will feature that, but I think it will be done in a much quicker way.

UPDATE: 11:00am ET Joel Embiid OUT

INJURIES:  Joel Embiid OUT, Ish Smith OUT, Reggie Bullock QUESTIONABLE

I hate saying it because I love to watch him but Joel Embiid is on my you know what list. Embiid is looking to bounce back from a dismal performance vs the Raptors, and I’d expect his ownership to be fairly low, with most people paying up for some late-night hammers. But this is a smash spot with a narrative for Embiid, and he put up 60+ fantasy points in their previous meeting.

Unlike Embiid, I’m not particularly interested in Ben Simmons and his Kendall Jenner narrative. I’m not 100% against it, I just prefer targeting other players in his price range.

UPDATE: No Embiid will lead to a slight usage bump for Ben Simmons. Simmons is not a must but becomes a much more intriguing target.

Jimmy Butler remains too cheap on DK, priced at $7400. On FD, at $8100, Butler is also in play. I get that we’ve seen Jimmy less aggressive at times on offense since arriving in Philadelphia, but at those prices Butler is worth the risk because of his upside in GPPs.

UDATE: Similarly to Simmons, Butler will be more of a focal point on offense with Embiid OUT. Butler see’s the largest Sixer usage bump with Embiid off the court.

With Joel Embiid OUT, Mike Muscala becomes a usable punt at center.

In his last meeting vs the Sixers, Blake Griffin went for 60+ fantasy points. Blake is overpriced for what his production has been his last 10 games, but this is a good matchup with a good narrative. The Sixers have been exposed by PFs all year, and it seems like we get a bit of a motivated Blake vs Simmons.

UPDATE: Blake doesn’t have Embiid’s low post presence to deter him from posting up frequently tonight. Blake is an elite target.

As much as I and the rest of the world loves Embiid, you can attack him in DFS. Andre Drummond is a low-owned, high-upside GPP target worth considering tonight. Drummond’s risk is Embiid LOVES to force opposing centers he doesn’t like into foul trouble. That is a HUGE risk with Drummond and exactly what happened to him in their previous meeting. Still Drummond is priced down with a decent matchup.

UPDATE: Drummond becomes a much less risky play with no Embiid as his foul trouble risk goes out the window. Drummond should be able to dominate Mike Muscala and/or Amir Johnson on the glass.

With Ish Smith OUT, Reggie Jackson is a very interesting sub $6k PG. Jackson should be locked into around 30 minutes unless Casey goes with Calderon for an extended period of time. The other risk would be Casey giving Galloway PG minutes. Still, Jackson is a decent play as long as the minutes are there.

Stanley Johnson and Wilson Chandler are usable cheap SFs tonight.

Toronto Raptors @ Brooklyn Nets (o/u 222.5, TOR -9)

Toronto is 7th in defensive rating, 13th in pace.

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

The Raptors head to Brooklyn as road favorites, coming off of a huge win vs Philly. Vegas thinks there is some blowout potential here, but speaking as a Nets fan here, I know they don’t get blown out at home. Instead, they go up by 15 or 20 and blow it all in the fourth quarter.

INJURIES: Norman Powell OUT

I have zero issue targeting Kawhi Leonard tonight, as the Nets provide him a safe haven of production. That being said, with his price up a touch it’s not easy fitting Kawhi in your lineups.

As we should all know by now, targeting centers vs the Nets tends to be a good DFS strategy. He’s listed as a PF, but Serge Ibaka is the Raptors starting center. This is an awesome spot for Serge, priced at $6600 on FD and $6200 on DK.

The Raptors have another center coming off the bench that’s worth thinking about in Jonas Valanciunas. Jonas plays a frustratingly small amount of minutes so he’s strictly a GPP target, but man, this is such a smash spot for him. At $5100 on FD and $4600 on DK, he offers elite upside.

I’ve been a bit off on Kyle Lowry of late, but if there’s a time to target him it’s vs the Nets priced under $8k on both sites.

For the Nets, this is a slight pace-up game vs a good defensive team. The Nets are always tricky to target in DFS because coach Kenny Atkinson hates us all and likes to play 13 guys a night. With Brooklyn seemingly healthy again, expect a long rotation.

INJURIES: Caris Levert OUT

On a big slate I’m not particularly interested in any Nets player. I get it … how could I think the Nets stay in this game, yet not like any of their players for fantasy purposes? It’s simple: Rotation and their prices.

If you’re looking for Nets exposure, D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen are always capable of that GPP upside you look for. Joe Harris is a decent value SF.

Sacramento Kings @ Cleveland Cavaliers  (o/u 221.5, SAC -3)

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

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

This may be one of the few times this year the Kings will be road favorites, as they head to Cleveland to play a bad Cavs team. I’m not particularly worried about Cleveland’s pace, as I don’t consider the Cavs “pace conscious”. Meaning, since they are a bad team they don’t particularly play at a specific pace for their own gain, they just play to the opponents’ pace. The Cavs’ 30th ranked defense is appealing.

INJURIES: Marvin Bagley III QUESTIONABLE

De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic are the two names that jump out at me when looking at this matchup. Fox is looking more and more like a future star. I love his game, and he should be able to exploit a bad Cavs defense. Bogdan has impressed since returning from his injury, boasting strong PPM numbers. His price and minutes could limit his upside a touch, but still, this is a strong spot for him.

Similar to the Nets, the Kings provide DFS goodness but it’s not easy to target them, as they have a fairly deep rotation. I’m off on the rest of the Kings players.

INJURIES: Kevin Love OUT, David Nwaba OUT, Sam Dekker DTD, Ante Zizic QUESTIONABLE

Jordan Clarkson and Alec Burks are the two Cavs that stand out to me in this matchup. Clarkson is always an intriguing target in these pace-up spots, as it just means more opportunities for him to take some bad shots! DFS players don’t particularly care that they are bad shots, as long as he just hits a few of them. Burks is similar to Clarkson, the faster the pace the more opportunities he gets to score. Burks should play around 20 minutes, which is appealing at his cheap price.

Typically I love to target opposing PGs vs the Kings, and Collin Sexton is worth considering. The issue with Sexton is he’s starting WITH George Hill at the moment. Hill isn’t a production hog by any means, but he takes away just enough of Sexton’s touches to affect his output. Still, Sexton priced at under $5k on both sites is incredibly appealing vs the Kings.

I like the spot for Tristan Thompson, but I hate his price: $7800 on FD and $7300 on DK is just a bit too much. I say that knowing that his price isn’t THAT bad considering his numbers. I just hate Tristan, and I am a cranky, biased writer. If I were making political picks, one would call me a partisan hack.

Memphis Grizzlies @ New Orleans Pelicans (o/u 217, NO -5)

Memphis is 4th in defensive rating, 30th in pace.

New Orleans is 24th in defensive rating, 3rd in pace.

The Grizzlies find themselves in an elite spot vs a Pelicans team that provides them with a pace-up game environment and bad defense to attack.

INJURIES: Chandler Parsons OUT, Dillon Brooks OUT

The best position to target the Pelicans is at PG, and tonight Mike Conley gets those honors. Conley isn’t cheap on either site, priced at $9200 on FD and $8400 on DK, but he’s been about as consistent as it gets this year. This is a ceiling spot for Conley. He’s an elite target.

After FD grossly overpriced Marc Gasol, he’s back in targetable territory after back-to-back poor performances. On a 10-game slate featuring some appealing stars, Gasol isn’t easy to target but the appeal is there.

I usually look for role players in pace-up spots to find nice value, but the Grizzlies role players sort of eat into each other’s minutes. On DK, Jaren Jackson Jr carries an appealing price tag of $6100, though $7400 on FD is a bit too pricey for me. JaMychal Green has seen his minutes up in his last two games, has shown a huge production spike, and is an appealing value on both sites.

The Grizzlies are my least-favorite team to attack in DFS, as they play at a purposefully-slow pace, with really good defense. So this is definitely a brutal spot for the Pelicans.

INJURIES: Elfrid Payton OUT

Because it’s the Grizzlies, I’m not paying up for Anthony Davis at $12900 on FD. That’s insane to me. On DK priced at $11000, Davis is a much better gamble. Of course, Davis is also matchup-proof and capable of an 80 burger on a nightly basis.

I’m off of the rest of the Pelicans. It looks like Nikola Mirotic WILL play, which hurts Julius Randle a tremendous amount. The Grizzlies matchup has me off of Jrue Holiday at his elevated price, too.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Chicago Bulls (o/u 216.5, OKC -8.5)

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

Chicago is 20th in defensive rating, 17th in pace.

Another team entering the night as a road favorite, and this one makes the most sense. I have some serious blowout concerns in this one, as the Thunder have the fourth highest net rating (OFFRTG – DEFRTG) in the NBA. The Bulls? Just 28th in net rating. This is a good matchup for the Thunder, so if the Bulls are able to hang around, OKC studs have some strong upside.

INJURIES: Andre Roberson OUT

Neither are easy to fit into lineups and blowout is of some concern, but this is a strong spot for both Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Westbrook is a bit tougher to fit in at his price tag. George has been pretty awesome this year, and is still priced somewhat appealingly. George has an incredibly high floor, and 50+ upside is there if Chicago stays in it.

Attacking the Bulls at center is a strong strategy. After a somewhat disappointing outing vs the Nets, Steven Adams is back in play. He’s a little pricey, but his high floor makes him a safe option.

With the Thunder getting a bit healthier on the wings, Dennis Schroder and Jerami Grant are no longer as appealing as they were the last few weeks. I’m ok with targeting either at their prices, but I’m not actively trying to fit them in.

Not much needs to be said about this matchup for the Bulls, as they play the toughest defense in the NBA. Another challenge with targeting Chicago is its deep rotation, as some of its injured players seem to be ready to return.

INJURIES: Bobby Portis QUESTIONABLE, Kris Dunn QUESTIONABLE, Denzel Valentine OUT

Considering the matchup and that Portis and Dunn might be available to return, I’m off on all Bulls players tonight. I’d rather spend elsewhere.

IF you’re desperate for Bulls exposure, and IF Portis doesn’t play, Lauri Markkanen is worth considering. IF Dunn doesn’t play Zach LaVine is also worth considering. That’s a lot of ifs.

Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs o/u 226, SA -1)

Los Angeles is 8th in defensive rating, 5th in pace.

San Antonio is 29th in defensive rating, 23rd in pace.

This is now the fourth time these two teams have met, so we sort of know what to expect here. The Lakers will play at a fast pace and attack the Spurs weak defense. It’s a strong spot for LA.

INJURIES: Brandon Ingram OUT, Rajon Rondo QUESTIONABLE?

Using the TQE Player vs Team Tool, LeBron James has averaged 60+ fantasy points in three games vs the Spurs so far. With Brandon Ingram OUT and assuming Rondo doesn’t play, LeBron will have even greater ball handling responsibilities. He’s an elite target tonight.

With Ingram OUT both Josh Hart and Lance Stephenson are interesting punts worth considering. On FD I don’t mind playing both and dropping the lowest score of the two. Stephenson is incredibly appealing if Rondo is also unable to go, as he would likely be the backup PG and should see around 20 minutes.

Kyle Kuzma also sees a bump in minutes with Ingram out. I’m fine with using Kuzma, but he’s far from a lock because of his high price.

Lonzo Ball is perhaps the biggest benefactor with Ingram OUT and IF Rondo remains OUT. Lonzo produced really well earlier in the year with both out, he’s locked into strong minutes. $5700 on DK for Ball is an elite price.

Meanwhile, this is an elite pace-up spot for the Spurs, who seem to find their legs whenever they play the Lakers. Although the Lakers are an improved defensive team, their pace outweighs their defense.

INJURIES: Pau Gasol OUT

Using the TQE Player vs Team Tool, DeMar DeRozan is averaging 57+ fantasy points in three games vs the Lakers. So yeah, DeRozan is an elite target tonight.

Using the TQE Back to Back Tool, whenever LaMarcus Aldridge is NOT on a back-to-back he is safe to target. Although pace doesn’t typically effect Aldridge that much, this is a good spot for him, as he should see added rebounding opportunities.

Rudy Gay has had his strongest outings vs the Lakers as well. Priced under $6k on both sites, Gay is firmly in play again.

The Spurs three-headed, lackluster monster at PG is always a bit of a challenge. Against the Lakers there’s value somewhere between Derrick White, Patty Mills, and Bryn Forbes. It’s just never easy picking the right one. Lonnie Walker is also making his debut tonight, which is important. I’m curious to see how and what position Pop deploys him at.

Miami Heat @ Phoenix Suns (n/a)

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

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

The Heat head to Phoenix to play a Suns team that is struggling to score double digit first quarter points. Whiteside won’t play in this game for “personal” reasons, but I’m pretty positive coach Spo suspended him.

INJURIES: Hassan Whiteside OUT, Wayne Ellington OUT, Dion Waiters OUT, Goran Dragic PROBABLE

With Whiteside OUT that opens the door for Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk. FD has Bam priced at $5500 (at PF) and Kelly at $5100. On DK, Bam is priced at $4200, Kelly $4000. Regardless of those prices, they are elite targets vs a terrible Suns team. Both Bam and Kelly were over 30+ fantasy points during the one game Whiteside missed this year, and I expect similar production with an elite matchup. I’d also expect both to be fairly high owned.

With Dragic looking good to go tonight, I’m off of the rest of the Heat players.

And oh boy, the Suns. The Suns the Suns the Suns. What to do with them … strictly from a matchup standpoint, this is an OK spot for them. Still, the Suns are on a second night of a back-to-back, and have played an embarrassing level of basketball during their last two games.

INJURIES: Devin Booker OUT, TJ Warren QUESTIONABLE

On a 10-game slate, I don’t have any interest in targeting Suns players. I’m ready to bury them into oblivion. If by some miracle TJ Warren plays, and is said to not be on a minutes limit, I would be somewhat interested in him.

Elie Okobo … De’Anthony Melton … Josh Jackson … Trevor Ariza … Mikal Bridges … I get it, they provide some value. But it’s not value I’m desperate to fit in my lineup. Bridges remains my favorite value of the group, if and only if Warren is ruled out. Melton and Okobo are a bit more interesting on DK.  

Golden State Warriors @ Milwaukee Bucks (o/u 239.5, MIL -1.5)

Golden State is 19th in defensive rating, 18th in pace.

Milwaukee is 6th in defensive rating, 4th in pace.

Going from Heat-Suns to Warriors-Bucks is the equivalent of going from the library to the bar in college. This is a fun game to watch for all purposes. For the Warriors, yes, the Bucks are a stout defensive team, but the implied pace of this game outweighs that. Vegas thinks there will be around 240 combined points, and yeah, that’s a lot.

INJURIES: Draymond Green OUT, Damian Jones OUT, Boogie Cousins OUT

Steph Curry had a brutal game vs the Bucks in their initial meeting, including suffering a prolonged injury. I don’t think the Warriors have forgotten about that. I get the risks but this is a nice spot for Curry. Of the 240 points Vegas thinks will be scored, Curry should have a good chunk of those.

Kevin Durant is also firmly worth considering. This is the issue with targeting the Warriors: They have so many studs it’s always tricky to predict which of them you like. Tonight because of positional strength, I’d rather go Curry, but Durant is just as capable.

Kevon Looney and Jonas Jerebko remain decent value fillers at their respected positions. They aren’t playing a ton, but they are producing well. High-paced games are where value bigs usually fill up on peripheral stats and easy layups.

I’m not that interested in Klay Thompson, but as always Klay carries intriguing GPP upside.

Attacking the Warriors with Green off the floor is a strategy I’m fond of in DFS. Expect the Bucks to come out strong in front of a LOUD home court crowd tonight.

INJURIES: John Henson OUT, Ersan Ilyasova QUESTIONABLE

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the top player on the slate for me tonight, and it’s not particularly close. In 26 minutes vs the Warriors in their previous meeting, Giannis went over 50+ fantasy points. I expect this game to stay much closer, and that will lead to added Giannis production. The Warriors style of play is conducive to steals, blocks, rebounds, and transition layups/dunks, all things that Giannis excels at. The hardest question of the slate for me is: Do you save $1000 and go LeBron, or spend up on Giannis?

Frantically-paced games are where I like to target Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe starts this game with 5+ rebounds and 5+ assists because of the pace. The $7700 on FD and $7200 on DK is certainly not cheap, but this is the game to spend up on him.

The Khris Middleton drama is interesting and I’m not sure what to make of it. Middleton doesn’t come off as the type of player who will be impacted by it. I wouldn’t target all three of the Bucks studs, but two of the three is totally fine. I prefer Bledsoe over Middleton.

If you’re fading BOTH Bledsoe and Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon is a sneaky GPP target tonight, priced under $6k on both sites. I’m a fan of Brogdon’s game and this is the sort of game environment that benefits him.

With Curry back, this is not the spot I want to target Brook Lopez. He will get exposed on switches on the perimeter.

 Summary

TEAM TO ATTACK

Nets, Kings, Cavs, Pelicans, Bulls, Spurs, Lakers, Suns, Warriors-Bucks matchup

BLOWOUT POTENTIAL

Thunder @ Bulls, Heat @ Suns, Raptors @ Nets, Kings @ Cavs (minimal)

TOP TARGETS

PG: Steph Curry, Mike Conley, Eric Bledsoe, De’Aaron Fox, Lonzo Ball, Darren Collison, Reggie Jackson

SG: DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, Bogdon Bodgonovic, Jordan Clarkson, Josh Hart

SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, Juancho Hernangomez, JaMychal Green(DK), Lance Stephenson

PF: Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, Bam Adabayo, Kelly Olynyk

C: Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol, Nikola Jokic (GPP), Steven Adams, Jonas Val (GPP)

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To all subscribers, don’t forget to join us in our chat as we break down lineups and injury news throughout the day up until lock.

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NBA DraftKings GPP Breakdown 12/6

NBA DraftKings GPP Breakdown 12/6

This three-game NBA slate is absolutely hideous. I have been trying to convince myself otherwise all day but I just can’t do it. However, there is still money to be made so let’s check out four GPP plays that I like on DraftKings. 

Core 4

Nik Stauskas (DK $3,100)

With C.J. McCollum ruled out, Stauskas should at least see a bit of an uptick in minutes. I really want to see Evan Turner start just because Turner takes up so much usage on the second unit and I would like for some of that usage to go to Sauce. I rarely play for blowouts, but I am absolutely playing for that tonight and building accordingly. Stauskas is going to get all the blowout run, and he could certainly get hot from three and annihilate this price tag. 

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NBA Morning Thoughts 12.06.18

NBA Morning Thoughts 12.06.18

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.

KNICKS

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.

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.

INJURIES: None

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.

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The Verdict | Top NBA GPP Plays, 12.5.18

The Verdict | Top NBA GPP Plays, 12.5.18

Welcome, to the Judge’s Verdict. After yesterday’s brutal NBA slate, we have a glorious 10-game NBA slate tonight. Let’s get right down to business.

Here are some of my top tournament plays for tonight’s slate.

Note: The numbers in parenthesis refer to the salaries of that particular player. The first number is the FanDuel (“FD”) salary, while the second number is the DraftKings (“DK”) salary.

Colin Sexton (4.8, 4.9)

With John Wall out tonight, the entire NBA DFS world will be playing Austin Rivers, me included. However, you guys already knew to play Rivers, so I shall not insult your intelligence by writing about him here. Another guy we can look to roster is “Sexy Sexton.” He was 6.2K on FD six days ago and now is down to 4.8K on FD. What changed? Actually, not much. Sure the corpse of George Hill came back and is now starting alongside Sexton. However, Hill provides defense and basically nothing else. He certainly is not going to steal usage from anyone at this stage of his career. Sexton is still playing 30+ minutes a game and taking 14 shots a game with Hill back in the lineup. In a pace up matchup vs. the Warriors tonight, Sexton is a sneaky tournament play with upside. A lot of people will be fearful of a blowout here, but Sexton has been getting blowout minutes – so that is not going to deter me from rostering Sexton tonight.

Note: Rivers is an SG on FD and a PG/SG on DK. On FD, another wacky Wizard, Satoransky will be a popular punt tonight at PG.

Bradley Beal (8.5, 8.4)

As mentioned above, John Wall is out tonight, so most will flock to Beal tonight with glee against the wondrous pace and putrid defense of the Hawks. I will be playing Beal in cash games, but I do think it’s an interesting fade in tournaments. Beal sees a four percent usage bump without Wall, but his fantasy points per minute barely go up at all. Last year, Wall was out for a large portion of the season, and Beal was very underwhelming in a lot of those games. The biggest beneficiaries were the secondary players on the Wizards (Otto, Markieff, Oubre). I still have nightmares of watching Beal last year without Wall be very passive for large stretches of games. Remember, there was lots of chatter about how happy the Wizards were without Wall last year because everyone was getting a chance to touch the ball and taking lots of shots. While this might be good for the Wizards in real life, this is not what we want if we roster Beal tonight. So, to recap: Beal in cash games, yes. Beal in large tournaments, I do not mind the fade.

Robert Covington (7.0, 6.6)

I do not envision many people rostering Covington tonight, but small forward (especially on FD) may be my least favorite position. Covington is playing close to 38 minutes a night since being traded to Minnesota, and he has six straight games of at least three steals/blocks, and in five of those games, he’s had at least four steals/blocks. So, on a site like FD, you’re basically starting off the night with a free 9-12 fantasy points. He is stuffing the stat sheet, and if he can just make a few shots, he is going to get close to 40 fantasy points. Covington can be a frustrating guy to roster, as he may only take eight shots and stand in the corner for LONG stretches each game – however, his usage has increased since being traded, and his minutes alone put him in play for me every night as long as his price stays at or below 7K.

Aaron Gordon (7.3, 6.8)

Gordon is always a tournament option for me, and his price is close to 1K too cheap on all sites. He was dealing with a lingering back issue early in the season, but that finally looks to be behind him. He was terrific last night against Miami, putting up 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block in 35 minutes, and recency bias may make him a popular play tonight. However, I’m hoping most people will stay away due to the low over/under against Denver and Paul Millsap defense. Hell, I will be staying away for this reason in cash games. But, a superior talent if playing well can overcome any defense, including the balky knees of an aging (yet crafty) Paul Millsap.

All The Centers!

Center is loaded tonight, and I probably will look to roster several on DK. Dedmon’s price makes almost no sense to me at 3.9K against the Wizards. He is by far my favorite punt center on the slate. If spending up, I think Jokic will smash again tonight against Vucevic. And if you want a midrange play, I will continue to roster John Collins, who should be flying up and down the court against the Wizards.

On FD, it’s tougher, as we only get to roster one center. If I can find the salary, I’ll plug in Jokic at 9.4K. For a punt, I am strongly considering Jonas against Embiid tonight, as Toronto will need his big body to combat Embiid down low. My sneaky tournament play in the mid-tier range is DeAndre Jordan against the Pelicans. In that fast pace game, I’m hoping he can somehow stumble into 5-6 steals/blocks. So, to recap: there are so many glorious center plays, I would build the rest of my lineup first – and plug in a center towards the end, as you can find a solid one at any price.

Alright, the Judge’s Verdict is in and it is final. Good luck tonight!

If you have any comments/feedback, I’d love to hear it. You can find me on twitter @DanielAGreen1. Also, be sure to check out my NBA DFS podcast DG Courtroom every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the NBA season.

Use promo code TheJudge to get $10 off your first month of our all sports month to month subscription or $25 off our NBA season pass.

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NBA Cash Breakdown 12/5

NBA Cash Breakdown 12/5

Pretty big 10-game NBA slate tonight. We got the news half way through the day that John Wall was going to miss tonight and that is obviously big news and we need to figure out how to best take advantage of that. The matchup with the Hawks just elevates that even more as it is one of the best matchups in basketball. Nikola Mirotic is still questionable, which is obviously huge, as we saw what Julius Randle was able to do without him in the lineup. Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith are questionable, which, again, is obviously huge. Gary Harris being out for Denver certainly bumps Murray a bit for me. That is pretty much it on the injury side, now let’s take a look at who you should be targeting in your cash games tonight. 

Core 4

Steven Adams (DK $6,700) (FD $7,700) 

I like him on DK quite a bit more, but man, this matchup is so good. We just saw Tristan Thomson kill BKN for 19 and 14 for 44 DK points in 34 minutes. Adams and TT are pretty similar players and the rebound upside is massive here. Brooklyn also drives to the rim a ton so the block upside should also be there. BKN is also fourth worst on the defensive glass which should lend itself to some offensive rebounds and easy put backs. I have written up Adams before and I just love playing him in cash games. 

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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.

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The Verdict | Top NBA GPP Plays, 12.4.18

The Verdict | Top NBA GPP Plays, 12.4.18

Welcome, to the Judge’s Verdict. Yesterday, we nailed the Jokic pick but didn’t get the breakout games we needed from Prince and Vonleh. Tonight, we have a five-game tricky NBA slate with some of the teams we loathe like Miami and Indiana. J-Rich and Tyreke are just constant trolls in our lives.

Here are some of my top tournament plays for tonight’s slate.

Note: The numbers in parenthesis refer to the salaries of that particular player. The first number is the FanDuel (“FD”) salary, while the second number is the DraftKings (“DK”) salary.

De’Aaron Fox (7.5, 7.9)

Fox has become one of my favorite players to watch in the NBA this year, and tonight he faces a Phoenix team (without Devin Booker) that ranks third-worst in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Booker’s replacement, Elie Okobo, will be one of the highest owned players on the slate, and I like both Okobo and Fox in this matchup. Fox got off to a blazing start this year and has cooled slightly since Bogdanovic rejoined the rotation. Bogdan hurts all of the Kings’ backcourt players because he has the ability to handle the ball and dictate offense for long stretches of games. However, lately, I have been encouraged with the Fox/Bogdan lineup together, and Buddy appears to be the odd man out on most nights. Fox is still seeing well over 30 minutes a night and averaging 13 points, six assists, three rebounds, three steals, and one block in the last week. Against a Phoenix team that turns the ball over at one of the highest rates in the league, Fox should feast tonight.

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NBA Cash Breakdown 12/4

NBA Cash Breakdown 12/4

We have a pretty ugly five-game NBA slate with no real studs to pay up for. Basically our main focus tonight is an NBA basketball game between the Kings and Suns…I am not sure how to feel but here we are. 

Core 4

Josh Jackson (DK $5,300) (FD $5,600) 

I don’t think I have to dive into all the numbers here. The Suns are playing in a massive pace up spot, and they don’t have Devin Booker or T.J. Warren available for tonight. Couple that with a 30 percent usage rate from Jackson without those two on the floor, and you just play him. They couldn’t raise his price enough on this slate and he is way too cheap for his expected role tonight. 

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