NBA Analysis for August 12, 2020

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bathrobeDFS here with your daily analysis.

I will work through every game, analyzing any and all relevant data I can muster with regards to how they will perform in a DFS capacity.

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Some Notes About Today

  • Like the last couple of days, this is going to be an ugly slate. We are going to see a lot of stars do nothing. We are going to see things like Russ Westbrook have 64% ownership in the biggest DK tournament (I tried to warn you) and destroy your lineups. We are going to see things like Kyle O’Quinn get a late start and nearly put up a 50 DKP triple-double. It’s the end of the season. Weird shit is going to happen. Don’t play today if you don’t want to take a massive amount of increased risk. 
  • It’s actually going to be worse than the last couple of days. So few games mean anything today. So many people are questionable. So many stars that play will play half a game. And that will make it tough to trust and count on the 3rd string players who won’t get a full game’s run either. On top of all that, there’s only 4 games to choose from instead of 7, and none of those games have someone like Phoenix or Portland who are playing for their lives. Every team today has already rested people or has stars nursing minor injuries. 
  • Prepare to leave a lot of money on the table on both DK and FD. I mean thousands if you need to. Don’t be scared of it. 
  • The most important question: Can a specific star, in limited minutes, outscore their backup who will, at times, get 35 or 36 minutes today and command usage while they’re on the floor. Forget the question of value here, which should already be answered in many of these instances by the question itself. We are asking this about raw score, and that is where the difference between winning and losing will be today – the difference between having the unique lineup of smart plays that take 1st place, or a lineup of decent plays that had less chance to succeed, but everyone else was on cause of their price and brand name (and the need to fill as much salary as possible). 
  • You win by having the highest score. Not by using the most salary. Not by being the weirdest. Not by taking the most risk. Do your homework (or read this, where I do the homework for you). Follow the news during the day (if you can). Adjust when and where you need to. That was the difference between winning and losing yesterday, certainly. Not all punt plays are equal. 
  • For new players – make sure that, on Draftkings, you fill the PG/SG/SF/PF/C spots with the earliest games and fill the G/F and especially UTIL with the players playing the latest possible game. It is SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER to have someone locked into PG at 4pm than at UTIL if you need to make a change at 7. If you have them in UTIL, it completely removes your ability to take advantage of multi position eligibility, and it removes a ton of flexibility in changing things. Unless you are doing something like playing 2 Centers from the first game of a slate, leave the UTIL and G and F slots for late swap and lock the early players into the PG/SG/SF/PF/C slots.

Today’s Slate

IND “at” HOU – 4PM


Vegas Total:   230.5 – HOU 119.25 – IND 111.25

Injuries – IND:    Malcolm Brogdon – QUESTIONABLE / TJ Warren – OUT / Sabonis – OUT / Myles Turner – QUESTIONABLE / Oladipo – QUESTIONABLE

Injuries – HOU:   Russell Westbrook – DOUBTFUL / Eric Gordon – QUESTIONABLE / Danuel House – PROBABLE / Harden – PROBABLE

Pace – IND:   20th – 98.8

Pace – HOU:   3rd – 103.5


  • I am so, so glad this is the first game because the news here is going to be some of the most significant. This game has the highest total of the day and I do expect there to be a ton of production. We just have to figure out who to play
  • Russ doesn’t play back-to-backs, so we can expect him to sit. We can also expect James Harden to play, since he was designated as PROBABLE and not QUESTIONABLE. That means he will get, we assume 20-25 minutes at the very minimum. They are trying to protect Russ and he got 28 minutes yesterday. That means we get 25 or so minutes of Harden with no Westbrook on the floor. Even if all the Questionable Pacers play (which I doubt), Harden is still going to eat lunch here. He doesn’t play at half effort, even if the game doesn’t mean anything. If he’s in there, he is going to go hard and try to score as much as he can. While I normally advise caution with big plays in meaningless games, there is going to be so much value today, I have no problem starting your lineup with Harden. I know he’s going to be 75% owned. This is one of those times I will eat the chalk with the one lineup I’ll play today. 
  • Game Theory says to fade anyone that expensive at that ownership. I am also fine if you want to do that. God knows this slate is going to be crazy enough. I just don’t think it’s out of the question Harden does put up 60-70 DKP in limited minutes. 
  • Robert Covington seems to be good for 30 or so minutes regardless. Even with one of the other stars off the floor, he is still getting you about 5x here, so I think we can do better, but feel free to take a chance if the salary happens to work out. Warren and Sabonis are going to be out no matter what. He will have a very easy matchup
  • Eric Gordon will be back. I assume they ease him into action minutes wise, but will have no problem letting him put up a ton of shots while he’s on the floor to try and get his stroke back. He is a big risk of being rusty, sure, but, at 4100, he has serious upside if we see he is going to get 20-25 minutes. It also helps Harden’s chances for at least a 2×2, cause he’s gonna be passing it to Gordon for those perimeter shots all the time. Seriously, if you watch the game, expect Harden to draw the defense and pass it outside to Gordon to try and get him hot for the playoffs. Over and over.
  • This takes a lot of the luster off of the now-overpriced Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers, and Danuel House (assuming he returns as well). Rivers would be the most insulated here, but he is still 4800 which is up almost 2k in a 3 game span. He has 21, 23, and 60 DKP performances. I don’t think it’s crazy to think the 60 was an outlier and the 23 is more likely, at which point he’s just overpriced. 
  • Jeff Green normally gets a decent boost with Westbrook off the floor. Last time he only put up 18.75 DKP, though, so be cautious. His price is also creeping up there. Still, if I didn’t think he had 30 DKP upside at 4400 I wouldn’t bring him up!
  • On the Indy side of the game, we are still waiting on injury news. They could still be playing for seeding here, but I am not holding my breath that they’ll risk injury to do that. The fact so many players are listed as questionable shows their hand, as far as I’m concerned, so I am just going to write this as if everyone is out.
  • If they do play, I expect them to be limited. You know, cause of the injuries that have them questionable. 
  • So, assuming Warren, Sabonis, Brogdon, Turner, and Oladipo are out, we are going to see a lot of cheap dudes get a lot of production here against a super fast team that doesn’t play the best defense (and gets considerably worse defensively when Eric Gordon is on the floor). 
  • It’s always largely a function of who gets hot when we get down to games like this, but I think that the best bets for production at their salary are, in order: TJ McConnell (3500), Aaron Holiday (4600), Doug McDermott (3200), Goga Bitadze (3000), Justin Holiday (36000, Jakarr “I Wanna Talk To” Sampson (3000), Edmund Sumner (3000), and TJ Leaf (3000). 
  • Alize Johnson and Naz Mitrou-Long are the DEEPEST of GPP plays if everyone is out. They could decide to rest the backups and just let 3rd stringers and kids play. At which point these are the dudes that will go off. Don’t go here, though, unless you’re playing a bunch of lineups. Or some news comes out they’re starting.

TOR “at” PHI – 630pm


Vegas Total:   221.5 – TOR 114 – PHI 107.5

Injuries – TOR:    Kyle Lowry – PROBABLE / FVV – PROBABLE / Ibaka – QUESTIONABLE / McCaw – OUT / OG – QUESTIONABLE

Injuries – PHI:   Ben Simmons – OUT / Richardson – PROBABLE / Harris – QUESTIONABLE / Horford – QUESTIONABLE / Embiid – QUESTIONABLE

Pace – TOR:   12th – 100.8

Pace – PHI:   19th – 99.0


  • The Raptors are locked into 2nd seed. Philly is in the 6 seed but could theoretically move up if they get very lucky. That would be the difference between facing Boston or facing MIA/IND. Still, if they cared about it that much, they wouldn’t have rested everyone last game. 
  • Hopefully we get this news before lock, though I am not sure at all. If we don’t, this slate could get messy.
  • The Raptors have been rotating some days for their starters. Today, We should expect Lowry, FVV, and Gasol to play (limited minutes), while Ibaka and OG, at least, are going to rest. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Siakam rests, though there is no indication that will be the case. Still, I am very wary of anyone in the starting rotation here. Lowry at 8600 and FVV at 7300 are not James Harden, and I don’t know if they’re gonna get you the 40-50 DKP you want at those prices in limited time. 
  • If there is no indication they will be limited (they were not limited against Memphis), Lowry and FVV are decent plays, though if Philly rests everyone it’ll be hard not to assume a blowout 
  • My favorite Raptors are the backups that stepped up last game. I have to hope the field wasn’t too wise to how well they did, but Norm Powell (5300) put up 44.5 DKP, missing a 2×2 by 2 rebounds in only 27 minutes. And his minutes should go up with OG resting (presumably). Chris Boucher (4600) got 52 DKP in 29 minutes and, with Ibaka out (presumably) and Gasol limited (presumably), he could easily get you 9-10x again today. 
  • Matt Thomas should see his minutes crash down, so I don’t wanna go crazy, but he did get you over 30 DKP in 37 minutes last game and he’s only 3500. I expect it’s more likely we see that breakout performance go to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson though, at 3400. He will probably be my favorite punt play on this team. 
  • Ben Simmons is out. I also don’t think they’re going to push Embiid, Harris, or Horford. That means it will/should be in the hands of the 3rd stringers and backups. 
  • Expect Kyle O’Quinn to be the overwhelming chalk of the day. I don’t see how you can’t take the chance at 3k if Embiid and Horford are, indeed, out. I do not mind pivoting to Norvel Pelle, who would get the backup minutes and would not have to face the D of Marc Gasol for 20+ minutes. KOQ is a great play cause he’s 3k, but the matchup is not fantastic.
  • There are several other Philly backups who I would be very excited to take. In order: Mike Scott (3700), Raul Neto (3000), Alec Burks (4900), Glenn Robinson (4000), Korkmaz (3200), Thybulle (3600)

MIA “at” OKC – 8pm


Vegas Total:   220 – MIA 110.75 – OKC 109.25

Injuries – MIA:    Nunn – OUT

Injuries – OKC:   Adams – QUESTIONABLE / Schroder – OUT / Noel – QUESTIONABLE

Pace – MIA:   27th – 98.3

Pace – OKC:   22nd – 98.7


  • This game opened at 227.5 and fell down to 220. So I expect some crazy news to go down we don’t know yet
  • Last game Jimmy Butler put up 50 DKP and only played 29 minutes (due to blowout, though who knows if he would have gone back in). Butler has been hampered by injuries, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them let him get 30+ minutes to get and keep him in playoff shape. He has only been able to play in 3 of the Heat’s games so far. After Harden, who may be limited anyway, I think Butler is the safest star on the slate for production and minutes (until he’s ruled out in 2 hours). 
  • I know some of it had to do with blowout, but Bam Adebayo has only played 22 minutes in 2 of the last 3 games. I am not confident he will get 30+ minutes here and get us 6x on that 7700 price tag.
  • We know, for sure, Kendrick Nunn is still going to be out. That means I am going to be a big fan of both Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro today. Both have been crushing their salaries, and both have shown you considerably more upside. 
  • Kelly Olynyk has seen more spotty minutes and production lately. On top of that he’s dealing with a bruise to the thumb of his shooting hand. So I will lay off here
  • Jae Crowder is a relatively safe cash play at 5100 (assuming he gets 30 minutes), with higher upside. I just think that, on a slate like today where 5100 priced folks are going to be running things, there’s better choices out there.
  • Duncan Robinson, though, I feel is a much safer bet. He has been putting up 37 minutes in close games and still getting over 30 in blowouts. He is only 4900 and, if he has a game where he gets hot from 3, he could get you over 40 DKP. OKC is a tough team to do it against, though they could also be limited. 
  • Anyone else from the heat (like Iguodala, Jones, etc…) are deep GPP only, unless multiple people wind up missing. 
  • On the OKC side, they should have SGA and Gallinari back. That takes the shine off of everyone here. Miami is still going to have starters out for the time these guys are out, and Miami, like OKC, plays slow controlled D. I don’t have faith that any of them are going to get more than 30 minutes. So you have CP3, SGA, Gallo (and more) splitting usage and production, while getting limited minutes and no discount? No thanks.
  • It also makes me like the backups less, meaning having decreased exposure to people like Dort and Diallo and Roberson
  • How much I like Muscala and Bazley will be determined by the statuses of Adams and Noel. If both miss again, I’m all in on Bazley and love Muscala. If one miss, I love both. If both play, I am meh on both.

LAC “at” DEN – 9pm


Vegas Total:   229 – LAC 117.25 – 111.75

Injuries – LAC:    PatBev – OUT / Paul George – PROBABLE / Montrezl – OUT / Shamet – OUT

Injuries – DEN:   Harris – OUT / Barton – OUT / Jerami Grant – QUESTIONABLE

Pace – LAC:   8th – 101.6Pace – DEN:   29th – 97.1


  • This game goes off 5 hours after the first game, and the Clippers have ruled people out closer to tip off than this. Even if we don’t hear anything in morning warmups, I am legit scared of paying up for Kawhi or PG13 today.
  • Right now LAC has a 1.5 game lead over Denver and both have 2 games left. If LAC loses both and Denver wins both, Denver gets the 2 seed and has to face Dallas instead of Utah. 
  • I don’t know who I would want to face – the solid Utah team or Doncic and Porzingis. I would guess Dallas is an easier team meaning you want the #2 seed. But I don’t think anyone should be considered easy. 
  • Still, it’s possible both teams here actually try to win – LAC to clinch #2, and DEN to give them a chance to get #2 if they win and LAC loses their next games. 
  • With Denver still hit hard by injury, both Kawhi and PG13 are in fantastic spots (much better than stats would indicate). 
  • Additionally, LAC is, by far, weakest against Centers, meaning it’s a prime spot for Nikola Jokic to feast (if given the minutes)
  • All of them are considerably underpriced for their ceilings, but, even if both teams want the win, I don’t think we can count on anyone pushing themselves here, and I really don’t think we’re gonna see more than 30 minutes, if they even hit 30 minutes. That makes them GPP plays cause I think they could do well and hit high scores, but I don’t have absolute faith in any of them
  • If you want to start with Kawhi and Jokic today (after Harden) though, i don’t think you’re crazy at all.
  • With PatBev out, I don’t mind going hard on Jamal Murray, since RJax is so awful at defense. 
  • Lou Will had his first good shooting day, though he still only got 23 minutes. And it wasn’t even that good. He is still only 5500 and if he can get 32 DKP in that time on a bad day, he could crush it for you today if all goes well, especially with DEN’s best defenders out. 
  • I think Mike Porter is a fine GPP but his ownership will be too high for facing the Kawhi and PG13 D. 
  • Terance Mann (3000) is a great deep GPP play today too with PatBen and Shamet out.

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