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Nets at Pacers – 217.5 – IND 112 – BK 105.5
This game is going to be super tricky due to the fact it’s so one-sided, and that so much ownership is going to Victor Oladipo. At 4100, I think I’m going to come in under the field here. As I’ve explained several times, the Nets are actually really good against SG/SF/PF and near Lock Spots against PG/C. So, while 45%-60% of the field takes a run at 25 minutes of a still-rusty Oladipo playing in a tougher spot, I will be loading up, instead, on Brogdon, who I like in GPP and love in Cash, and Sabonis, who often sees the Center advantage over Turner. Still, Myles Turner himself should be a solid GPP at only 5100, though his usage isn’t too high and his 35 DKP last game was buoyed by 5 blocks.
On the other side it’s harder to trust anyone at all. Indy is one of the best Ds in the league and they are well above average against every position but C. So, if you want to take a chance or two on Jarrett Allen or DeAndre Jordan, I understand. Still, with how inconsistent they (and their minutes) have been, it’s tough to have much faith in either. Dinwiddie and LeVert are GPP plays, but they’ll be seeing some pretty tough D themselves. Still, you can’t deny how they’ve been playing with Kyrie out and this very well may be the last game before his return – all the more reason to put it all out there before all the usage gets sucked back to Kyrie.
Hawks at Magic – 219 – ORL 113.75 – ATL 105.25
This game is also the story of 2 teams. The Hawks are going to struggle against a slow, defensive Magic team. They are going to do worse from the field, slower, and without nearly enough of a discount. Still, the Magic are a slow, defensive team that kind of sucks so there are plenty of times when a hot shooter or dominant PF can take advantage of them. So, given upside, you have to keep Trae Young and John Collins in your GPP pool. I don’t think they’re slam dunks here by any means, but, if this game stays close and exceeds expectations, you’re going to want to have some exposure to the guys most likely to own most of the production. I also have no problem taking Kevin Huerter for his matchup against a weaker Orlando Wing defense, though I dislike his 6300 price tag. I have no problem taking Dewayne Dedmon at 4400 given that, in his first game with the Hawks, he got 33 minutes and 28.5 DKP. I don’t love his matchup but I love the price and opportunity he’ll have.
On the other side, the Hawks have become the worst defense in the league (in terms of allowing fantasy points to the opposition). Right now they give up 240.5 DKP to other teams, which is monumental. They are worse than average against every position, though, as I often point out, they are incredibly, incredibly awful against the wing in general and SFs in particular. That means I am going to prioritize Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross, though, honestly, everyone is underpriced after a recent run through some slow, defensive teams. This should be a good chance for Orlando to pass 110 points for only the 2nd time in 10 games. I respect Dedmon’s D, but Vucevic is at least 1100 too cheap for this matchup and for his ceiling.
Hornets at Pistons – 205.5 – DET 104.5 – CHA 101
A 205.5 total isn’t something you’d normally want to target, but this game is close enough and will be bad enough defensively, I think there’s a couple great places to load up. First, Charlotte is, and will continue to be, a Lock Spot against Centers/Bigs. So give me more than the field of John Henson (3700), Thon Maker (4300), and Christian Wood (7200), all of whom are really underpriced for their usage and their roles in this game. All 3 have a fantastic shot at getting you at least 6x, which is what you should be striving for with every spot on your roster.
On the other side, I am going to be attacking Detroit at guard as hard as I can, especially since Reggie Jackson is back to playing significant minutes every game. We’ve seen both of them put up 50 DKP pretty consistently this year, but Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier are still only 7100 and 6300, respectively. I think both are in a great spot to go drastically overlooked, especially in a game against the tanking Pistons. I also don’t mind taking a deep GPP chance on PJ Washington, who I have no faith in, but is only 4400, which is insane for him.
T’Wolves at Raptors – 230.5 – TOR 120 – MIN 110.5
With Minnesota in the shitter the rest of the season, losing their best defender in RoCo, I have no faith that this game won’t completely blow out, especially in Toronto. Even if D’Angelo Russell plays, he will just suck usage from Beasley and KAT, and he’ll still face the fantastic backcourt Raptors D. If Russell is out again, I expect Beasley to get a huge usage bump again, and I will have exposure to him, but I respect the defense of FVV far, far too much to be anything but muted in that respect. I will, however, have a bunch of Jordan McLaughlin. Additionally, with Marc Gasol out and Serge Ibaka an absolutely pathetic defender, I have no problem loading up on KAT (and only KAT). My ownership of him will be “meh” if Russell plays, and over the field if Russell is out.
On the other side, like I said, I don’t expect this game to stay close. And I don’t expect Minnesota to provide any resistance. I think the best play here is Pascal Siakam, who is going overlooked, is underpriced at 8100, and gets the advantage of facing a Minnesota team that should now be awful against PFs (which means getting an advantage of those in the field that automate everything, and still base their numbers off of RoCo’s PF D). Alternately, with KAT the statistically worst Center, I have no problem taking some chances on Ibaka, I just worry that he is so insanely chalky today. Still, can’t deny the matchup, his price, or his ceiling.
Kings at Bucks – 228 – MIL 119 – SAC 109
This is another game that should not be that close. On top of that, even though he’s not limited by any real boundaries, the Kings are the 2nd best team in the NBA against PFs, where Giannis mainly plays. They reduce scoring by 6%, rebounds by 5%, and assists by 3%, while also reducing blocks by 15% and steals by 18%. I have no problem with some exposure to Giannis, just know the Kings are really no joke against them. That means, I am going to buck the field here and play this game as if it’s one of the few games Giannis is content to sit back and let the production come from other places – that means heavy investment in Eric Bledsoe, who gets the benefit of De’Aaron Fox’s awful D, and Khris Middleton, who should have little problem with the wing D. Bledsoe and Middleton, by far, should have it the easiest on the Bucks and I wouldn’t be shocked if this game stays closer than you think, and Giannis underperforms.
On the other side, there are a couple of great ways to attack the Bucks – with 3s and at Center. That means, on the 3s front, loading up on Buddy Hield (who is top 3 in the NBA in 3PA per game) as well as Bogdanovic and Fox. Additionally, I am going to have an absolute FUCKLOAD of Harry Giles III tonight. He finally got up to near 30 minutes last game and, if everything goes right, I expect the same out of him tonight. He is only 3500, and the Kings are without Holmes, Bagley, and the recently acquired Alex Len. For that reason Bjelica is also very underpriced at 6000.
Jazz at Mavs – 217.5 – UTA 109.5 – DAL 108
The Jazz are, easily, one of the best defenses in the league no matter what metric you are using. They are well better than average against every position, with 2 possible places to attack them – not great spots, mind you, but the best of some bad options. As it stands, the Jazz are still league average against Centers, as they have been all year (and were last year). I will continue to attack them with Centers when I deem necessary and, today, that means having a bunch of Kristaps Porzingis, who should be playing a ton of Center today and getting all the usage he can handle with Doncic still out. 8400 is too cheap for someone who should get 50 DKP if the game stays as close as Vegas thinks. Additionally, I have no problem trying to attack Mike Conley as an individual defender. While this situation is a lot more volatile and harder to predict, I would guess that honor would fall to Jalen Brunson, who’s price is a little too high on DK, but that should work to keep the ownership off him. Lastly, Seth Curry is on fire lately, so take some of him in GPPS.
On the other side, this Mavs team is also well above average defensively against every position – even moreso when Brunson is in the starting lineup. That means I will be pretty much under the field on these Jazz players given their pricing and their shared usage. Sure, some GPP exposure to Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley given price/ceiling, but I will still have less ownership than the rest of the folks out there.
Spurs at Nuggets – 216 – DEN 111.5 – SA 104.5
Attack the Spurs is simple – the shorter the position you play, the better shape you are in. That means I am going to be coming under the field on the extremely chalky Nikola Jokic and, instead, going way, way over the field on Jamal Murray, who should see a significant boost with the absences of Barton and Porter. He is 7k and coming off back-to-back 54.25 and 42 DKP performances. Both those were against significantly better PG defenses than SA has. I think anyone else here is, at best, a deeper GPP play (like Jordan McRae or Torrey Craig).
On the other side, I don’t like attacking the Nuggets. They are another one of the top defenses. They play slow. And they are healthy enough I am concerned with the Spurs having good enough angles to attack. If this were a smaller slate, I would take some stabs on DeRozan and LMA, and I will still have some exposure in GPP given their prices/usage, but, as it stands, the only player on this team I am excited to play is Patty Mills. He’s back down to 3500 after a couple of terrible performances, but this is the kind of game Pop normally uses him the most in, as he puts up a ton of shots in the 2nd unit, in hopes he can help close the gap.
Heat at Warriors – 219 – MIA 112 – GS 107
his game, as well as how much exposure I have to it, will come solely down to the status of Jimmy Butler. As I explained on Friday in my last article, the Heat are a much different team when Butler is out. The kids take over the Heat and they play faster and with worse D. I mean, they’re not the Hawks, but it’s enough that we can take real advantage by coming up over the field (and betting the over in Vegas).
So, if Butler is OUT, I am going to be loading up on Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, and Derrick Jones Jr, all of whom would be in fantastic defensive spots, and are grossly underpriced for their usage here. I would have some exposure to Bam Adebayo, though I do expect Dray Green to do everything he can to make his life hard. I would also increase my exposure to the Warriors, as the defense gets worse and they should be in better spots to produce. This means taking a decent amount of Ky Bowman, with some Andrew Wiggins and deep GPP exposure to Green, Chriss, Lee, and Pascall (though I only like to use him if Green is out)
If Butler is IN, I am going to have some Ky Bowman regardless, due to his price not adjusting for the absence of D’Angelo Russell and his new role. I will also have some exposure to Butler himself if he faces no limits. Otherwise I am going to be coming in well under the field here.
Suns at Lakers – 229 – LAL 120.75 – PHX 108.25
The odds are good this game doesn’t stay anywhere near close and, since this game has the Lakers, we are going to see the ownership look like this game was supposed to be a 240 total that was also a Pick Em, instead of a healthy Lakers team, at home, taking on a Suns team that will be missing Saric, Baynes, Kaminsky, and could be without Deandre Ayton. Even if Ayton plays, the Lakers are absolute murder against Bigs, so he’s not someone we can trust, and he’s awful defensively, giving a huge boost to everyone on the Lakers, particularly Anthony Davis. If I go anywhere over the field here, it will be Davis and some backup/blowout dudes like Kuzma, Rondo, and Cam Johnson (at 3400).
If Ayton is out, I will be forced into some heavy Diallo exposure, but know he is going to be chalk and, again, the Lakers are amazing against Bigs. Still, 3100 is a good price. I will also take some extra exposure to Ricky Rubio at 5600, as I expect some extra usage to fall in his lap and PG is the only position against which the Lakers are below league average defensively.