NBA Analysis – January 12, 2021

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bathrobeDFS here with your daily analysis.

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Main Slate

Vegas Lines

(Today’s Update in Parenthesis)

209.5 – PHI 108.25 – MIA 101.25
231 – BK 116 – DEN 115
205 – UTA 107.75 – CLE 97.25
223 – LAL 114.25 – HOU 108.75 (222 – LAL 113.75 – HOU 108.25)
216.6 – SA 109.25 – OKC 107.25 (218.5 – SA 110.25 – OKC 108.25)
228 – GS 115 – IND 113 (226.5 – GS 114.75 – IND 111.75)

Advantage Spots

Nikola Jokic

You know what I love? When things line up perfectly. Like, when you have a team who is bad against Centers going against a Center that is playing better than anyone in the game. Isn’t that fun! Here you have a Nets team that is just bad against Centers and, while I understand it is still early in the season, this is something that has been an issue for years and hasn’t changed tat all.

Right now, the Nets are increasing scoring by 12%, 3s by 22%, rebounds by 2%, assists by 6%, FG% by 7% and decreasing turnovers by 23% to Centers. Almost all of those numbers are flirting with league worst. 

While I have no problem taking a chance on Jamal Murray, and I do expect him to have a great game, I think Jokic has the potential to put out the highest raw score on the slate in this matchup. The only questions we have to answer are; how popular is he (I expect him to be relatively chalky, but that lebron and harden and curry will eat into that own%), and is he too expensive for you? Putting him in the price range of the elite of the elite may not be what you’d like to pay for him but, with Porter still out, I am fine with paying that. Especially if it helps that chalky ownership get lessened. 

I am also good playing JaMychal Green who needs to be 5k, and is staying underpriced.

Kevin Durant

While, as I pointed out earlier, it is still too early to say that “this is how things will be all year”, as of right now, the Nuggets PF defense, anchored by an injured Porter and an aging Millsap, has been a huge, glaring weak spot for the team. 

Currently, the Nuggets are well better than league average against PG/SF/C and slightly worse than league average against SG. If you saw all those things together, you would assume that the Nuggets are, give or take, a better than average defense. However, they are actually 13th worst (which isn’t, like, abysmal overall, truth be told). They are so bad at PF it is bringing the whole team D down.

They are currently 4th worst against PFs. They increase scoring to the position by 14%, 3s by 32%, assists by 22%, steals by 5%, FG% by 10%, and reduce turnovers by 9%. They decrease rebounds and blocks, which isn’t shocking given how Jokic has been playing, but it’s still a huge boost to almost everything else we’d want out of a PF.

When that PF is Kevin Durant, who is still underpriced, is showing you 60 DKP potential every game, and is going to soak up a ton of Kyrie Irving’s usage, you gotta go in and hard. Add onto that, again, that I expect a ton of people to look at the LAL/HOU game for spending up, and I think you can get away with a Jokic/Durant stack in what should be a great game, played close, with some really good scoring condensed into the hands of only a few people. 

Anyone else on BK is priced fine for GPP, and too cheap for their ceiling. Joe Harris at 5400 sticks out to me in particular, though, as always, if he shot doesn’t fall he will be worthless. And, additionally I don’t like playing wing guys against Denver’s big guns of Harris and Barton. Still, as I said, the only other weakness they’ve shown so far is SG, so Harris is someone I’d take a GPP chance on since he’s shown you his ceiling. 

If Durant is rested on the back-to-back, give me all of the LeVert, Harris, TLC, and anyone else you wanna play. It won’t be a great game. They’ll be in a good spot to get blown out. But we’ve seen them overcome before and it’s not out of the question they do it again, easily. 

Andre Drummond

Generally speaking, I am going to be hammering SFs against Utah. Until they show otherwise, they have proven to be very weak against the position (as I pointed out the other day when I suggested you play Middleton against them and he went off). However, given the injuries ransacking the team, with almost all of their guards down for the count, we are seeing a lot of Isaac Okoro play SF. And, if you weren’t aware, this is a dude that regularly plays 40 minutes and gives you less than 10 DKP. If you want to take a chance on him for 3400, then be my guest. He’s certainly a decent GPP play that you’ll get at 0 ownership, but he has a great chance of giving you almost nothing but frustration.

In my article the other day, I also pointed out that, historically, Utah has been shockingly bad at stopping production from Centers. Since then, they’ve gotten worse. They’re not worst-in-the-NBA (as they are against SFs), but they are 9th worst right now. And, given the crazy % of usage on this team that goes to Drummond, I would expect them to be even worse than that come Wednesday morning. 

I think the Bucks game is a good indicator of what’s to come – missing Garland and Sexton and a bunch of other players, Drummond wound up playing 41 minutes against a MIL team that is similarly historically deficient against Centers. He went 11 for 23, dropping 26 points and 24 rebounds en route to 63 DKP. While I think that’s a bit more than you could count on today, I wouldn’t be shocked if he does get a similar allotment of minutes, and if he does get another 20/20 on the way to 55 or so DKP. 

Last night, we saw the Cavs as a team underachieve, putting up only around 90 points. Drummond battled foul trouble and wound up with an underwhelming 19 points and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes. Okoro, on the other hand, had a decent showing with 12 points in his 40 minutes, though, again, he didn’t really do much for his value even at his low price point. The player I was most interested in, though, had been Dotson, who also underperformed, getting 14p/6a/3r/1s/1b. Given he had over 40 DKP a couple games back (and Sexton and Garland should still be out, leaving him to run point again for 37 minutes), I have no problem taking a shot on him at his 5k price tag either. I would just put him as a distant second tonight behind Drummond on this team.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles

I am curious to see what the Spurs do tomorrow. In their last game, with DeRozan out, they decided to start Trey Lyles who wound up getting 20.5 DKP in 3300 minutes. Not great, but just fine for 3300. He wound up with 5 points and 10 rebounds, showing you the potential for a 2×2 if everything goes right. 

Keldon Johnson got 34 minutes and only took 6 shots. He did terrible and didn’t come close to justifying the price. He is not in a good spot against OKC. Dejounte Murray got 36 minutes and wound up with only 11p/4r/5a. Like with Keldon, not enough to justify his price. He also is not in a good spot against OKC. 

Lonnie Walker got the start and played 30 minutes, going 9 for 19 from the field, putting up 25 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block. He was tied for 2nd most FG attempts on the team and he absolutely crushed value. He has the chance to do it again, but he isn’t in a great matchup. Patty Mills was the other player to put up 19 shots in the game. 13 of those shots were 3 point attempts. He only hit 3 of those, which is uncharacteristic. He could have had a fantastic day if he had some better luck shooting. Coming off the bench, I do like Mills just fine, especially for the price, and especially with DDR still out.

The Spurs leader in FGA, though, was LaMarcus Aldridge, who put up 21 shots. He had a poor shooting day, going 9 for 21. He also got 9 rebounds, missing out on the 2×2 bonus by 1. He put up nearly 40 DKP (and could have gotten over 45) for a 6500 salary and his price fell 200 to 6300. 

He, unlike everyone else, is in a very good spot. Right now, despite having Al Horford, a solid defender, man the C position, the Thunder are 2nd worst in the NBA against the position. The numbers are bad, too. For example, they increase points scored to Centers by a league leading 21%. They increase FG% by a league leading 30%. And, if LMA is going to continue to eat up a bunch of DDR’s usage at a low price, against a team that is incredibly bad against his position, you have to go hard on him.

Given that Lyles could play some 5 with LMA playing the 4, I have no problem taking a chance on him as a punt play, as I mentioned earlier. I just think LMA is in a good spot here, if this game stays close, to get you a good 7-8x value on his price.

SGA and Diallo

I kind of hate this analysis today. It seems like I am just picking the expensive players but, truly, they are all in fantastic spots and I absolutely love them all. Like everyone else I’m talking about, the Spurs are pretty good defenders against almost everyone. They have one weakness – guards, specifically PGs. And guess who plays PGs for OKC, is hot as fire, is getting tremendous usage, and is still nowhere near the 10k I told you he needs to be for you to consider avoiding him.

The last 3 games, SGA has gotten 51, 52, and 55 DKP. He is in 3×2 territory every game – putting up 5, 10, and 6 rebounds, with 9, 7, and 7 assists. He is also capable of getting you blocks and steals. 

I have no problem starting your lineups with SGA today. He has been doing that well. And I like the spot for him a ton.

I also don’t think it’s point-chasing to take a flier on Hamidou Diallo, who is coming off of 2 consecutive 43.25 DKP games. Two games ago, in 29 minutes, he went 8 for 13, good for 23p/11r/2a/1s. Last game, he played 24 minutes and went 10 for 14, good for 25p/3d/4a/4s. It would be crazy to expect him to continue that level of consistency, but he has proven he could be the big guy off the bench, and he, like SGA, is in a good spot to exploit a weakness on the Spurs. 

His price has come up nearly 2k in the last 2 games, which should keep ownership on him low as well.

Don’t play him expecting 40+ DKP again, but even if he gets 30-35 DKP at 5300, you shouldn’t complain! Just be aware of his ownership – if he’s popular, now is a good time to fade. If the field won’t pay for him, feel free to give it a go. 

Malcolm Brogdon

The Warriors are not a very good defensive team up and down the roster. They do, however, have Dray Green on the team playing 30 minutes a game and, if you know Dray, you know he is making life very hard on at least one Big on the opposing team. Tonight, that victim should be Sabonis, making him a GPP-only play. Sure he could go off anyway. He has the talent and the range to do so. But, with news that Oladipo is not likely to play, I imagine he will be more popular than he deserves.

PG, however, has been the worst position for the Warriors to defend. They are currently 7th worst in the NBA against the position (in terms of added value). None of the numbers really stand out as fantastic, but there are a couple flukey numbers in there – for example, they decrease blocks to PGs by 29%. If numbers like that get to a normal level, GS would be doing significantly worse than 7th worst. 

I should point out that, given Curry’s ability to find a shot and get open, it is likely that PGs against the Warriors will continue to not get too many blocks. However, It is making them look better than they actually are against the position, which is the point I was making. 

So, when you have 3 players that are getting most of the usage on the team and 1 of them is out and 1 of them is wrapped up in Dray Green, that leaves you a pretty great spot for the other one. Especially when he lines up against the weakest position on the other team in a high-scoring and close game. He could easily eclipse 50 DKP today which I’d take for 8600 every time. 

The absence of Oladipo should open up a bunch of usage and minutes falling to Dougie McDermott who stepped it up yesterday and got you 31 DKP in the 30 minutes he played. He was an unsustainable 8 for 10 from the field, but, at 3900, even a mediocre game from the man could pay off and could help you fit extra studs in your lineup. Aaron Holiday is in the same boat, though I do not expect him to get you value, even at 3300. 

Caution Spots

Utah Jazz’s Crazy Pricing

I don’t like the pricing here and, apart from Drummond and some punt type plays, I don’t really like this game at all. We are going to see a very slow game with, I would guess, the lowest total score of the day by quite some margin. The Cavs haven’t been winning every game, mind you, but they have been doing exceptionally well at holding opposing teams to around 100 points or under. The problem with the Cavs is they keep coming in at around 90 points. Meaning this game is a whole lot of Yuck.

On top of that, the major defensive liabilities – Garland and Sexton – are expected to be out. Meaning the only major weakness the Cavs have shown defensively so far is against PFs, where the Jazz are playing Royce O’Neale who is 5700. WHAT?!?!?

There is just no one on the Jazz priced anywhere near fair enough for this game. Sure, I get that Mitchell and Conley and Gobert could all hit 50 DKP. They all have that in them. I would have some exposure in MMEs. I wouldn’t fade them completely. I just wouldn’t expect any of them to get 6x (or even 5x) here tonight.

Golden State’s Fair Pricing

This is supposed to be the 2nd best game of the night according to Vegas. It’s got the 2nd highest total and it’s supposed to stay close the whole time. On top of that, with Oladipo doubtful, it should feature a slightly worse Pacers team and the potential for slightly more scoring (even though the Vegas total has gone down since the news broke).

This bodes very, very well for Steph Curry, yet another high priced play that looks good today. Add onto that the fact that, so far, Indy has been awful at defending guards, and are increasing scoring and 3-point shooting and FG% by quite a bit to both PG and SGs, and you have a stew going, baby. Curry has shown you easy 70 DKP potential this season, even against teams like the Clippers. He should have no problem handling this Pacers team. Like Jokic, he has the potential to be the highest scoring player on the slate.

The issue with Curry is what makes him a GPP play – is his shot going to fall? Now, he’s one of the best shooters in NBA history. Full stop. So him having a game where he is cold the whole time is rare. But it has happened in 2 of his last 3 games now. 3 games ago, he went 5 for 17 (1 for 6 from 3) and got 28 DKP in 35 minutes. Last game, he went 2 for 16 (1 for 10 from 3), for 29.25 DKP in 38 minutes. Even with Dray Green, Curry is going to have bad games if his shot isn’t falling, like every shooter in the game. So feel free to play him today. Feel free to go over the field, even. Just be aware that those 30 DKP games are looming, and seem to be about as likely as a 70 DKP game. 

Dray Green, like Curry, is a GPP play. He seems to show up in big games and then disappears the rest of the time. So far, he has played 4 games this season where he saw a normal allotment of minutes. He has put up 20, 23, 15, and 39 DKP in those games. He got 12 and 23 DKP in the games where he played limited minutes. Which means he’s had one good game so far this season and 5 games where he came in well under value. I personally won’t be playing him at 5600 unless it’s the playoffs. But I get the allure in GPPs given his 3×2 upside.

No one else on GS comes at enough of a discount and has the ball in their hands enough to trust at their pricing. You can get Kent Bazemore and Damion Lee as deep GPP plays for cheap, but don’t expect even 20 DKP out of them.

Situations to Monitor

Status of MIA@PHI

As of right now, the following players are OUT due to health and safety protocols or injury:

Jimmy Butler

Bam Adebayo

Goran Dragic

Avery Bradley

KZ Okpala

Moe Harkless

Kendrick Nunn

Udonis Haslem

Seth Curry

Tobias Harris

Shake Milton

Furkan Korkmaz

Matisse Thybulle

Terrance Ferguson

Vincent Poirier

As of right now, the following players are QUESTIONABLE:

Meyes Leonard (injury)

Ben Simmons (Out last night with injury)

Terrance Ferguson 

This leaves the following people definitely available for both teams:


Guards/Wings – Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Andre Iguodala, Gabe Vincent

Forwards/Bigs – Kelly Olynyk, Precious Achiuwa, Max Strus, Chris Silva


Guards/Wings – Tyrese Maxey, Danny Green, Isaiah Joe, Dakota Mathias

Forwards/Bigs – Joel Embiid (PROBABLE), Dwight Howard, Mike Scott, Tony Bradley, Joe Reed

For those bad at counting, that’s 8 people for Miami, 9 for Philly..

It’s not a copout to say whoever plays in this game is viable. The prices just aren’t high enough for the scoring and the pace. These teams are going to play super fast without the bigger names (specifically Butler, who drastically slows the games down) and with significantly worse defense. 

My order of preference is Maxey -> Herro -> Embiid → Green -> Robinson -> Olynyk -> Scott -> Precious -> Reed. But it’s really close once you get down past the Robinson/Olynyk tier. Just be aware of who winds up playing, and get the most important dudes. My projections will be free, and here to help you out.

Injuries in the LAL@HOU Game

Another game with some major injuries. Given the fact we have a 223 total and LAL is projected to win by 5.5, I would expect all of these guys to play. But, right now, we are seeing LeBron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall, and Eric Gordon listed as QUESTIONABLE. All four are significant names that would have major implications on the way we play. Especially with Danuel House already out for HOU.

If everyone plays, I am going to be under the field on this game (in most spots). We have seen something different so far this year with the Lakers. Maybe it’s a reflection of age or the injuries they are nursing, but it’s no longer a 2 man + 1 operation. We are seeing LeBron and Brow have their fair share of production, sure. But they are barely clearing 50 DKP most games, if they approach it at all. We are also seeing a fair amount of work trickle down to Schroder AND Montrezl with some extra work yet still falling to the cheaper punt guys. 

The problem? No one is really exceeding value. Most of the time, they’re having trouble hitting it. And, if the Lakers are only projected to get 114 points, LeBron at 10k, Brow at 9500, Schroder at 6100 and Montrezl at 6000 are all more than fair enough in terms of price. Sure, I wouldn’t be shocked if this game turns into a shootout between James Harden and LeBron (or Brow), but I think that is significantly less likely than what ownership will be. 

I would guess ownership on this game is going to look like it has a 240 total. And it just doesn’t deserve that (even though it is a good game).

So, if Wall is out, I am hammering Harden and Wood. If Gordon is out, I am going to slam McLemore with some Sterling Brown or Nwaba in deep, deep GPPs. If LeBron or Brow are out, I like Harden (or Wall or Wood [especially if Brow is out]) a whole lot more, as well at THT on the Lakers. 

Other than that, while I would have a game stack here (even when entering just a couple lineups), for my one GPP lineup, I am going to look to the expensive players in other games and hope that this one continues to see too much ownership and too little production for the prices.

I mean, there are very few teams I’m not going to go over the field on Christian Wood against, as long as he’s under 10k. The Lakers, when Brow plays, are one. 

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