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OKC “at” PHX – 230pm
Vegas Total: 224 – PHX 114.5 – OKC 109.5
Injuries – OKC: Gallinari – DOUBTFUL / Adams – QUESTIONABLE / Schroder – OUT / Roberson – QUESTIONABLE / Noel – QUESTIONABLE
Injuries – PHX: Baynes – OUT
Pace – OKC: 24th – 98.6
Pace – PHX: 9th – 101.4
- In what will be shocking to no one, the entirety of this game will come down to the questionable players on the Thunder.
- OKC is sitting in the 5 seed. They have a very small chance of getting to 3rd or falling to 7th. Still, they are hobbled to say the least
- Phoenix is now up to the 11 seed, going 5-0 since the restart. They are .5 behind SA, who they would tie with a win. They are 1 game behind Portland for 9th seed. They are 1.5 games behind Memphis for the 8 seed. They are playing like nothing else matters, cause, if they lose, that’s probably it. Expect continued max effort from everyone.
- Yesterday, Steven Adams was out. Then, about an hour and a half before gametime, they decided he was going to play. Then, after the cooldown after warmups, they decided he was not going to be able to play and he would be out again. Also, out of nowhere, Nerlens Noel, his only real backup, was scratched. That left recently returned Mike Muscala at Center to play 28 minutes out of nowhere. He went 4-8 from 3, only got 3 rebounds (which was flukey, if you watched the game), and wound up with 20.25 DKP. His price came up to 3200 so, if Adams and/or is out, he has an almost-as-good matchup against the Suns that we should exploit.
- If Adams plays, I will be skeptical of him playing a full load of minutes. I’m sure this caution will be unwarranted and he’ll get his normal 28 minutes but, given yesterday’s scratch, I am going to be extremely limited in my exposure.
- If Adams is out and Noel plays, I will have some exposure to Noel. He is 4200 which is more than I would want but, if he gets the start, he should be able to exceed value on that. I don’t think that’s a slam dunk, though. It would also give me some exposure to Muscala as the player getting backup minutes
- If Adams and Noel are out, I will be all over Muscala.
- Additionally, with Gallinari not playing (or doubtful), the massive boost Darius Bazley will get tomorrow would be amplified since he would be the backup Center to Muscala if Adams and Noel are out. Bazley got 23 points and 7 rebounds yesterday. That was good for 37.25 DKP at 3400. His price fell to 3300. Even if Adams and Noel play, I am fine with going over on Bazley for the PF minutes he will get alone. If either Adams or Noel are out, Bazley is as good as a lock to me
- Additionally Abdel Nader would get some minutes here. He got 20 yesterday and put up less than 10 DKP. So, even if everyone is out, be wary of Nader paying off. Put him in deep GPPs or MME lineups, but don’t have faith in him
- The 2 SF options for the Thunder are also very underpriced for the game/matchup/injury situation. Luguentz Dort, who is not a play you can have a ton of faith in, is 4k and put up 26.25 two games ago and 25 DKP last game when everyone was out. Someone I like even more, though, and may wind up one of my favorite value plays on the day, is Hamidou Diallo. Since the restart he has put up, starting from game 1 – 17.5, 18.25, 19.5, 24.5, and finally, last game, 25.5. His price is only 3400. He is going to get minutes and production with Gallo out no matter what. He becomes, like Bazley, an amazing play at that price if Adams and/or Noel are out and Bazley is forced to play some C.
- Chris Paul and SGA are both fairly priced. CP3, at 8200, has the toughest matchup on the team, against Ricky Rubio. I generally don’t target people against him, as well as CP3 has played recently and as involved as he is.
- SGA is a crapshoot. He has a matchup I love – SG against PHX, where he should see some pretty bad Devin Booker D. The problem? He’s had some great matchups with Dennis Schroder out lately and done almost nothing with them at extremely high ownership. Even last game, with a bunch of folks out against the awful Wizards who had nothing to play for, he got 37 DKP in 36 minutes. He only put up 2 threes. I think the smart play is to go lighter on CP3 and SGA, which the field won’t. Even though that may be risky today
- On the Phoenix side, they are going to be facing a slow, tough defense. This is not going to be an easy game for them whatsoever at almost every position. However, there are some great places we should look cause, if you’ve seen the Suns recently taking on the fantastic Ds of Miami, Indy, and the Clippers, it hasn’t mattered.
- The Suns offense starts with two people. First, Devin Booker, one of the few people in the NBA with 50 real point upside. He got 35 last game on 15 of 26 shooting. That was good for 50 DKP. If the Suns need to win, they are going to put the ball in Booker’s hands and create as much space for him as they can. Or he’ll create it for himself. Even against some wonderful defenders.
- DeAndre Ayton is the 2nd offensive centerpiece for the Suns. He’s 8k and has been performing pretty well as well (though, at 8k, he’s only gotten you 5x once). If Adams is in, I would be lighter on Ayton. If Adams is out and Noel plays, know Noel is a very good defender. Still, I would probably wind up matching the field on Ayton (as I imagine he will be popular). If Adams and Noel are out, Ayton becomes a fantastic play and I would be a big fan of going hard on him. He’s going to get the minutes and he will certainly have the rebound advantage over almost everyone.
- Ricky Rubioi is ok, but I don’t wanna pay that much for someone with lower usage, who will see the D of CP3 or SGA.
- If you look at Cameron Johnson, his awesome games have come when he’s getting rebounds. He had a 43.5 DKP performance? 19 points and 12 rebounds. He had a 37.5 DKP performance? 14 points and 12 rebounds. Next game though (last game against a good rebounding Miami team?) Another 14 points but only 3 rebounds, getting you 22.75 DKP. If Adams and Noel are out, the rebound potential will be greatly increased and my exposure to Johnson will come based on that one factor. He’s not going to get the shots. That’s what Booker is for. He needs to get you the other stats to pay off. Especially at 5200.
- Cameron Payne finally failed to hit 20 DKP for the first time since the restart, getting 17.75 on a very cold shooting day. He only sunk 2 of his shots, getting 5 points, but still salvaged it with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. If his shot had fallen at his normal levels, he would have had closer to 25 DKP. Now, 3900 is getting to the point where that isn’t a huge deal. But he is someone who you could definitely keep in mind. I wish he was still 3400 or cheaper though.
- Jevon Carter had a career day, going 6-8 from 3 point land, on his way to 20 DKP and 36.5 DKP. I consider this a pretty decent fluke, even though he’s been getting the minutes. He hadn’t even put up more than 4 threes in a game in the restart. I assume his ownership will take a modest bump. I won’t go there.
DAL “at” UTA – 3pm
Vegas Total: No Total – UTA -6.5
Injuries – DAL: Doncic – OUT / Curry – PROBABLE / Porzingis – OUT / Finney-Smith – OUT
Injuries – UTA: Donovan Mitchell – QUESTIONABLE / Mudiay – PROBABLE / Juwan Morgan – PROBABLE
Pace – DAL: 18th – 99.4
Pace – UTA: 21st – 98.7
- Dallas is, basically, locked into the 7th seed. That is probably why they are resting-not-resting Doncic, Porzingis, and DFS. They would need to win their 3 games and have Utah lose both of their remaining games to pass them.
- Utah is in 6th place. As noted, with a small chance to fall to 7th. They are also .5 behind OKC for 5th. And 1.5 behind Houston (which is a smaller probability, for sure) for 4th. If OKC loses to PHX and UTA wins this game, UTA moves into 5th, and will have a meeting with, most likely, Denver. Who will probably still be missing 2 of their best players (or, if they come back, will be rusty). I think they’ll want to do that and not have too much issue here, facing the Mavs backup squad
- This leaves me worried of being too heavy on the Jazz players. As I noted last week, the Jazz this season had typically “rested” players during blowouts less than other teams. This close to the playoffs, though, makes me more concerned with the possibility.
- My ownership will probably be determined by the availability of Donovan Mitchell. With him nursing an injury, I don’t know why they’d push him in a game where the Mavs are missing their 2 stars. If he plays, I will have none of him. If he is out, the Jazz are just too cheap to ignore, especially in this game.
- Rudy Gobert will match up with Maxi Kleber, who is a great defender or Boban Marjanovic, who is a great defender. He is still a player that lives around 40 DKP with 50+ upside. And 7600 is just too cheap, especially if Donovan’s usage is spread out.
- Mike Conley keeps dropping 40 DKP games and he’s still only 6100. DK is just not pricing him up quickly enough. If Mitchell is out, I expect his usage to go up even more. Again, the only concern is blowout, but even at 6100 he could pay off. It will just make me not go “all in”
- Joe Ingles found his shot. The last 2 games he’s played minutes, he’s gotten 39 and 38 DKP. One of those was an OT game he played 46 minutes, though. Still, he is only 5700 and, if Mitchell is out, he should take a whole bunch of shots. I have no problem having some shares, again, just being careful
- A couple games ago, when Utah was resting people and Donovan Mitchell was out, Jordan Clarkson only played 24 minutes (to protect him as well). He still put up 33 DKP with the usage he got. He is putting up 14+ shots a game no matter what. While he is more scoring dependent (making him more of a boom and bust/GPP play), that 30+ upside if Mitchell is out is enticing.
- Royce da 6’4” has also been living at 30 DKP every game, but his price has stayed steady at 4800. Again, he’s not someone you are going to look to for scoring. He provides his value by filling up the stat sheet. And he’s doing a ton of that at too cheap a price.
- If you think this game blows out and they do rest some starters, make sure you have some exposure to Bradley, Niang, and Mudiay, all of whom get decent numbers in a backup role, and would excel in a backup/blowout scenario.
- On the Dallas side, we get to load up on some cheap backups playing a fantastic defense that won’t make production easy, or success guaranteed.
- I expect Tim Hardaway will be one of the most popular plays of the day. I think that may work against you and my ownership on him will be based entirely around what the field does. There is a chance Hardaway leads this team and puts up 30 real points and absolutely demolishes his 5600 price tag, breaking the slate. However, there’s a good chance that, like Doncic and Porzingis, Hardaway doesn’t play a full load of minutes and they rest him (like Ingles the other day with the Jazz, who played, was chalk, and only got a handful of minutes so he could also rest). If the field loves him, I will bet on him being rested. If the field is cautious, I will bet on him going off.
- As very tough as the matchup is, I also love Maxi Kleber at 4200. He can shoot and rebound and play good D, meaning he should be able to fill up the sheet and get you some good, guaranteed production (so long as he gets the minutes). If we can assume 30 minutes out of him 4200 is an absolute steal, and he could 8x that without too much issue.
- Behind Kleber is Boban, who started and still only played 6 minutes the other day. The difference is the Clippers played smaller that day and Utah will still have Gobert or Bradley on the floor most of the time. He is only 3k and he has one of the most insane PPM in the NBA. If you think he gets 15 minutes, you absolutely have to play him in 100% of your lineups. If you think he gets 6 again, don’t even bother. That’s the risk with Boban. I will wait until closer to game time, and use ownership to help make my decision. But I will assume Boban gets some run here, which I’m sure will cost me money today.
- Seth Curry is someone for whom I will take the same approach as Hardaway. If he is popular, I would bet on him being as cold as he was in his first game back, where he played 21 minutes and only got 3.5 DKP. not 35. Three point five. He went 1-7 from the field. If he is being ignored by the field, I will bet on him shaking off the rust and running with the usage he will get in the time he will be on the floor. Still, if you MME, you have to have some exposure here
- Ditto goes for Trey Burke who showed you 47 DKP upside in the first game back. If Doncic isn’t playing Burke may be my favorite play on this team. His usage and minutes are guaranteed and he’s going to be asked to shoot. 3700 is an absolute steal here.
- The same can be said for Delon Wright and JJ Barea, though to a much lesser degree.
- The sneakiest play here may be Justin Jackson, a kid who has done very well in the rare games for the Mavs when everyone else is out. He is not someone you can take as a guarantee, but he’s 3100 and he will see a ton of minutes here with DFS out as well. I expect him to get 20 DKP at least and, at 3100, I’d take that all day.
TOR “at” MIL – 630pm
Vegas Total: 228.5 – MIL 117 – TOR 111.5
Injuries – TOR: Gasol – DOUBTFUL / McCaw – OUT
Injuries – MIL: Giannis – PROBABLE
Pace – TOR: 12th – 100.8
Pace – MIL: 1st – 105.1
- The Bucks and Raptors are locked into the 1 and 2 seeds. Because of that, I am wary of going too heavy on this game, as I expect the teams to be more cautious with the players.
- That means, instead of 34 minutes, I expect Giannis, Middleton, and Bledsoe to get closer to 28 or 29. Giannis can still pay that off at 10600. Bledsoe can pay that off at 5400. But both have much more of a limited upside. There is no reason to push them, even if the Bucks lose the game. There is no negative to them losing (besides it sucks to lose). Middleton hasn’t seen his price correct with Bledsoe back so given everything, I will be light on him.
- One player I kind of love today is Brook Lopez who I would normally avoid as a Center against the Raptors. But Marc Gasol isn’t playing meaning, instead of facing one of the best defenders in the game, he will face Serge Ibaka, one of the worst. He has 46 and 49.75 DKP performances in 2 of his last 3 games. The one other game? 30.5 DKP. Four games ago? 33 DKP. Lopez is only 5300 with an easy matchup and he should be low owned today. I think it’s a pretty sneaky play that will go under the radar, even with the worry for limited minutes (which may, of course, prove unfounded)
- If you think everyone plays full minutes, Giannis looks good (but will see some tough D in FVV and Siakam regardless), Middleton is still overpriced, and Bledsoe is an absolute steal.
- George Hill keeps commanding the 2nd unit and surpassing 20 DKP. He should be over 4k. At 3700 you can get him for a slight discount. Even better if Bledsoe plays some limited minutes.
- Deep GPP play would be PatCon who is only 3200, and has a 20 and 25 DKP performance in 2 of the 3 games he’s played since he returned. I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets you 20+ DKP at 3200 again, which is wonderful.
- The 3 stars on the Raptors – Lowry, Siakam, and FVV are all fairly priced (if not slightly too expensive) for a game against the Bucks D. It’s also tough when you consider they have nothing to play for (except pride). Like with Dallas the other day, though, the best way to attack the Bucks is with 3s and these 3 guys are probably the best bets to do that. I wouldn’t play more than 1 of them at a time, but any one of them could go off (at the expense of the others) if their 3 point shot is falling.
- I expect Serge Ibaka to be chalk at 5100. Which is ok. He just got 43 DKP. Gasol is out and he should start. I just think that production was buoyed by 2 blocks and 3 steals, which you can’t count on from Ibaka, ever, which was a function of a matchup against the Grizzlies. The Bucks are not that sloppy and won’t give him that extra 12 DKP. That puts him closer to 30 DKP in 25 minutes of run. Which is more what I would expect. For 5100 that’s not bad at all, cause, as you saw, he has a greater ceiling and shouldn’t have too much problem taking the production he needs to. He’ll put up a couple 3s in a game too, which doesn’t hurt against the Bucks.
- I haven’t mentioned this since we’ve come back either, but the Bucks add 14% (most in the NBA), add 59% to 3s (most in the NBA), add 3% to rebounds, and add 16% to assists to the Center position. So, like I said, Ibaka being chalk is ok. I understand not locking him in, but he’s still an amazing play. The Bucks can’t stop 3s and they haven’t been stopping Centers all season.
- Deep GPP: Chris Boucher who should get the backup C minutes today at 3100. He got 18.75 DKP the other day in 14 minutes. He could do that again today, if not exceed it at almost no ownership.
IND “at” MIA – 8pm
Vegas Total: No Total – MIA -2.5
Injuries – IND: Warren – QUESTIONABLE / Sabonis – OUT
Injuries – MIA: Nunn – OUT / Butler – PROBABLE / Dragic – PROBABLE
Pace – IND: 22nd – 98.7
Pace – MIA: 27th – 98.2
- Indy and Miami are currently “tied” for 4th, though Miami wins the tiebreaker. That means this game is significant for…… home field advantage? For when they play each other as the 4 and 5 seeds? Basically, no one can get to #3 and there’s a chance they can fall down to #6 (Philly is one game behind them). I would say both teams want to win, but are ok with where they are or where they end up.
- This will, like every other game today, come down to the status of a Questionable player. This time it’s TJ Warren, who was questionable last game and dropped 39 real points and 48 DKP on the Lakers. He has absolutely commanded the usage on this team with Sabonis out. If he plays, I expect him to do the same against PF, the position against which MIA is generally the worst. Still, I expect him to see his fair share of Jimmy Butler’s D meaning, at 8400, while still good, he’s nowhere near a lock. Especially in what should be a slow game that doesn’t lead the slate in points scored.
- If Warren is out, everyone on the Pacers is far too underpriced for the usage they will get, but I worry about a blowout (and that everyone will get chalky). Still, I am fine with going pretty damn hard on Malcolm Brogdon especially, who should command most of the usage (as well as do the ballhandling) at only 6900. He should be an absolute lock for 40 DKP, especially with Nunn out and Dragic likely playing PG.
- I don’t want to play Myles Turner against Bam. Even if Turner is out.
- Victor Oladipo had his first breakout game last game, putting up 22 real points on 9 for 17 shooting, with 7 rebounds and 5 assists – good for 38.25 DKP. If Warren plays, I will have some exposure to Oladipo at his cheap price of 5800. If Warren is out, I will take the usage bump he gets and run with it. Hard.
- Everyone else here is ancillary, regardless of if Warren plays. Obviously, all of them get bumps with Warren out, but no one becomes a stone lock.
- The Holiday brothers, Aaron and Justin are more spotty than I would like. Aaron can get you 30 or 15 DKP. that’s a lot to ask for 4700 now. Justin has trouble passing 15 DKP, even if he’s running 2nd unit.
- You can run with Jakarr Sampson. He is 3000 and has 20+ DKP upside if Warren is out, but, again, that is questionable. Still, it really, really doesn’t take much for him to pay that off. I just worry they keep his minutes limited.
DEN “at” LAL – 9pm
Vegas Total: 221 – LAL 113.25 – DEN 107.75
Injuries – DEN: Harris – OUT / Barton – OUT
Injuries – LAL: LeBron – PROBABLE / KCP – OUT / Green – PROBABLE / Davis – PROBABLE / Caruso – PROBABLE / Howard – PROBABLE / Markieff – PROBABLE / Rondo – OUT
Pace – DEN: 29th – 97.2
Pace – LAL: 11th – 101.1
- Like with every Lakers game, I feel like ownership is going to be way, way too high here. I don’t think we need to play a stud today, and people are going to try and force them in there. I think the winning lineup may have a lot of money left on the table.
- The Lakers have clinched the top seed. If they’re playing for anything, it’s to knock the Nuggets down a place. They are only 2-4 since the restart because it truly doesn’t matter. It’s about keeping everyone healthy and fresh and getting them hot enough to make shots when they need. That’s why you see things like Dion Waiters getting 0 minutes for no reason one game. I don’t know how you can truly count on anyone here.
- The Nuggets are, again, just playing for seeding. They have some overpriced players and some underpriced players, but all are in a tough matchup against a good defense, and no one has an easy path to production
- Even with KCP out, there is no one on the Lakers I like or trust at their prices. Literally. LeBron will see an easier path without Harris and Barton there, but he’s been putting out 50-55 DKP or so, give or take. Which, at 10200, may not be enough value at that salary.
- Anthony Davis has been producing even worse. He is 9900 right now and hasn’t passed 36.5 DKP in the last 3 games. Including 30 minutes against a Rockets team that doesn’t play a Center.
- Kyle Kuzma is a potential play at 5200 given his ceiling, but, again, he’s been getting you, on average, about 5x. And there’s no reason to push an injury prone player when the top seed is locked down
- Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook should be the ones that are guaranteed minutes today at 3700 and 3300 but, like Waiters, who knows if they sit. Both are slightly underpriced, but no one stands out as a must play.
- On the Denver side, we have Jokic, who has easy 50 DKP upside every game, even when facing a great Center defense. He is only 9100. I am not 100% sold on him here – his 24 minutes against Portland is concerning – but, at the same time, Jokic is only 9100. He got 60 DKP last game, playing 42 minutes in an OT game. While, again, I don’t love him here, I still think he’s a good play
- There are two players I am a big fan of. First, Jamal Murray is only 7100. He just came back last game, needs to get into game shape for the playoffs, and got himself 53.5 DKP. His price fell 200 since then. I think he’s an amazing play and he may fly under the radar
- What can I say about Michael Porter. Dude is putting up 50 DKP a game, even if he needed OT to get there last time. He is still only 7700. I am waiting for him to cool off, and his ownership is massive. That makes him a smarter fade from a game theory perspective. From a reality perspective, he keeps helping you win. And, if the Lakers play moderate minutes or without full effort, he is going to keep eating.
- There is no one else on Denver I love. I like Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig at those prices. I think they are decent plays and won’t set you back at all. But the ceilings are lower than I would like and the odds of them getting there are lower than I’d like as well.