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Two Game Slate
Oklahoma City Thunder (32-22) at New Orleans Pelicans (23-31)
Vegas Total: 231.5 – NO 117 – OKC 114.5
Injuries – OKC: Darius Bazley – OUT / Andre Roberson – OUT /
Injuries – NO: Brandon Ingram – QUESTIONABLE / Kenrich Williams – QUESTIONABLE
Pace – OKC: T22 – 98.4
Pace – NO: 3rd – 103.5
Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – OKC: Dennis Schroder (28th) / Danilo Gallinari (51st) / Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (56th)
Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – NO: Brandon Ingram (23rd) / Jrue Holiday (44th) / JJ Redick (101st) // Zion would be 16th if he Qualified
T10 DRPM (2019): Dennis Schroder (3rd – PG) / Kenrich Williams (8th – SG) / Josh Hart (10th – SG) /
B5 DRPM (2019): JJ Redick (2nd WORST – SG) /
The last “slate” before the all-star break! This should be a horrible one, as most 2 game slates are. On a slate this small, the odds are really good that either you’ll share a jackpot because everyone will have the same chalky batch of lineups, or someone with some insane lineup that makes no sense will win tonight. Still, it’s our last real NBA action for a week (apart from NBA all-star game), so I expect a lot of folks to go all in. And I’m here to help you do that, so let’s get going.
We can start here with the only thing even close to a Lock Spot on the slate – PGs against New Orleans. Even that isn’t a Lock Spot anymore – NO has fallen to 2nd worst in DvP against PGs and, in terms of value numbers, they’ve fallen all the way down to 8th worst. That’s a far cry from where they had been several weeks ago. While it’s not necessarily all roses – the Pelicans still increase scoring by 4%, 3s by 4%, assists by 8%, and steals by 18% to PGs, while lowering turnovers by 9% (all of which sets up beautifully for Chris Paul to have one of the best value performances on the slate, and someone I would be over the field on) – there’s something else we should understand holistically about this slate: The defense is ridiculous. Everywhere.
I’m not kidding here. Let’s look at DvP numbers. The Pelicans are bad against PGs. They are also worse than average against PFs. Add onto that the Clippers are worse than average against Centers and you have the only spots on the entire slate where a defense is worse than average. So, if you’re counting, that means 3 out of 20 positions. The Pelicans are average against SG/SF/C (and will get better and better at PF/C the longer Favors plays). The Clippers are above average against everything but Centers. Both The Celtics and Pelicans are above average against everything. It’s slim pickins out there. Like I said, A bad, bad two game slate.
So, apart from Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari, who I’ve shown would have the only positional advantages in this game (as well as Dennis Schroder, who would run backup PG for enough minutes it deserves mention on such a small slate), who else are we going to look at here? That question is best answered by usage and value numbers.
In terms of value, the Pels remove the 11th most value from SFs (which isn’t bad for an overall bad D). This proves largely irrelevant anyway, as Terrence Ferguson isn’t exactly doing anything on the court but defending.
Against SGs, the value numbers aren’t fantastic, but that’s more a function of Jrue Holiday missing an extended period of time. Since he’s come back, the entire guard defense has improved dramatically (as I’ve shown above). This means I don’t mind taking a GPP chance on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the hopes that Jrue will be sicced on Chris Paul, but I don’t have a tremendous amount of faith in it working. I expect him to be overowned for his role in this game and for the defense I expect him to face, but, again, on a 2 game slate you have very few choices. Especially this slate, where usage is so consolidated among so few expensive dudes.
Steven Adams is also someone going drastically overowned. New Orleans has 2 fantastic defenders at the position now, with Derrick Favors nearly elite. While Favors was out at the beginning of the season, the Pels were about league average against Centers (when it came to value). Since then, they’ve worked their way up to 9th best against the position. Adams can’t be ignored cause of the 2 game slate (like everyone else), but, again, he is someone I think the field is far too heavy on (he’s projected for roughly 45% ownership right now) given his usage and the defense he’ll be up against. I’d rather take a GPP chance on Nerlens Noel, who has seen his price fall from 4600 down to 3200 after some weak performances lately.
On the other side of the ball, as I noted earlier, the Thunder are above average against every position. So, first, we should look through value numbers and see if there are any sneaky spots that stand out (that may go under the radar). Here, we see the Thunder really fantastic against PG/SG/SF/PF. Against Centers, though, I am surprised to see the Thunder increase value the 7th most to the position – they increase scoring by 2%, 3s by 15%, assists by 9%, steals by 7%, and FG% by 1%. This points me toward Zion Williamson pretty hard. Somehow, he’s only projected to be 35% owned or so, which is crazy given the usage he’s been getting. I also don’t mind taking Derrick Favors at his low price/ownership as well. The Pelicans have been running a rotation that will start Zion and Favors together at the start of the game/3rd quarter but, pretty shortly thereafter, stagger them so one of them is playing Center and one of them is on the bench. Fire them both up, though Zion’s usage gives me greater hope for his ceiling (though I wish I could bank on 30-35 minutes).
Everything else here depends on the status of Brandon Ingram. While no one here has a fantastic defensive matchup, there is still going to be more than enough usage for their pricing. Ingram (7200), Holiday (7400), and Ball (7000) are going to see more hands in their face than usual, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore them (especially on a 2 game slate), and it doesn’t preclude them from getting 40-50 DKP tonight (which is a good 6x). If Ingram is in, I am going to prioritize him, followed by Holiday and Ball. I won’t go nuts on any of them, but, again the price is right. If Ingram is out, on the other hand, I will have no problem loading up on Holiday and Ball (as they should see a massive usage bump), as well as investing in the cheaper plays of Josh Hart and JJ Redick, who would get a nice bump.
If you want some deep GPP plays here (which are always needed in a two game slate), I have no problem taking a run on a smattering of Melli (though I’d be less likely to take him if Ingram plays), and Frank Jackson (who’s been getting 22+ minutes a game the last couple of games, and is 3000 – again, if Ingram is out). Anyone else is a real, real risk. Including someone like Jaxson Hayes.
LA Clippers (37-17) at Boston Celtics (37-16)
Vegas Total: 227 – BOS 114.25 – LAC 112.75
Injuries – LAC: Patrick Beverley – QUESTIONABLE
Injuries – BOS: Jaylen Brown – PROBABLE / Robert Williams – OUT
Pace – LAC: 8th – 102.2
Pace – BOS: 17th – 99.4
Top 4 Usage (with NBA Rank) – LAC: Kawhi Leonard (6th) / Paul George (14th) / Lou Williams (22nd) / Montrezl Harrell (38th)
Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – BOS: Jayson Tatum (24th) / Kemba Walker (25th) / Jaylen Brown (47th)
T10 DRPM (2019): Patrick Beverly (2nd – PG) / Marcus Smart (8th – PG) / Kawhi (3rd – SF) / Jayson Tatum (1st – PF) / Daniel Theis (5th – C) /
B5 DRPM (2019): NONE