Hello, everyone! 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. I will start every game off with a shortened preview of both teams, and some relevant stats that will help you make your decisions.
It also should go without saying, this is just a preliminary analysis of the slate: everything can change throughout the day, so make sure you are staying on top of any and all injury news and change your lineups accordingly! Let’s get started with the Analysis!
Vegas Lines ?
- – —
- 213.5 – IND 107.75 – DET 105.75
- 223.5 – CHI 112.25 – NYK 111.25
- 212.5 – TOR 108.5 – ORL 104
- – PHI – ATL
- 222 – MIL 118.5 – CLE 107.5
- – GS – NO
- 225.5 – HOU 118 – OKC 107.5
- 220 – SA 112.25 – POR 107.75
- 218 – DEN 112 – SAC 106
- 217.5 – UTA 111.25 – PHX 106.25
- 225.5 – LAC 120.5 – CHA 105
Advantage Situations ?
If you read my article yesterday, when Embiid was declared out I posted an update about how this would affect Drummond. If you follow me on twitter, as soon as it was announced officially, I explained how much worse the matchup was for Drummond, and how he would be overwhelming chalk, but would have a much harder time paying off. Last season, with Thaddeus Young at starting PF, the Pacers were one of the best front court defenses in the league. This year, while the sample size has been admittedly negligible, we have seen the Pacers get absolutely demolished at the Center position. Last game, against the absolutely terrible Cavaliers, the Pacers let Kevin Love put up 21 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals, while Tristan Fucking Thompson got 25 points with 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. The game before, the Pacers faced these very same Pistons and Drummond put up 32 points, 23 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 4 blocks. All in all, the Pacers are averaging 71.2 DKPPG surrendered to the C position, the 3rd worst in the NBA, and 57.4 DKPPG to PFs, the 5th worst. While I will also have a decent amount of Markieff Morris, Drummond should be one of the best plays on the day, in a game that should stay relatively close.
A couple of days ago, I talked about how Markieff Morris is one of the worst defenders in the NBA, and that Sabonis should be one of the first people you target. He responded by putting up a fantastic 27p and 13r, far exceeding value. Again, the sample size is laughable, but so far one of the only teams worse than the Pacers against the PF is these Pistons. On top of that, the Pistons are, by far, weakest at PG and PF defensively, which happen to be the only 2 positions they give up more than the current NBA average DKPPG. This tells me it may be more than a fluke of sample size. Until Griffin gets back, hammer PFs and PGs against Detroit as much as you can, assuming the talent level is there.
In this case, I am a big fan of Malcolm Brogdon as well. I don’t think he’s a much of a lock for production as Sabonis, but he is a very talented offensive player who will be doing most of the ballhandling, adding to an already fantastic floor. Don’t overthink this one – he is underpriced and Reggie Jackson is that bad at D.
Bulls vs Knicks
This may very well be the best game of the day for fantasy purposes. We have two teams with decent to great offensive pieces facing two really bad defenses in what should be a fast paced game that stays close. That sounds fantastic to me, and I plan on being over this game in several crucial places.
On the Bulls side, production will continue to come down to the 2 main stars – Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen. Normally, I would say that we should pick one, but this is a game where there’s room for both of them to exceed value, and I expect that to happen. In addition, assuming his price is reasonable, I will be a big fan of taking Coby White, who disappointed in his first time as a chalky play. I think this will serve to lower his ownership, even though he still has the same 30-40 DKP upside he had in the first couple games of the season. Having watched the first few games, I think it’s more likely that his first couple games were representative of his skill and output more than his last one.
The Knicks side is a lot harder to have faith in. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think the Knicks are going to play a close game, at a fast speed, and score a bunch of points against this horrorshow of a Bulls defense. I also look at the roster and see, as I’ve previously described, a bunch of better-than-average offensive players, who are horrific at defense, fighting for touches. RJ Barrett may be the only one set in stone, given his skill level and their desire to develop their first round pick. But, after that, we really do have what amounts to a roll of the dice. Elfrid Payton is a triple-double machine, but I don’t trust him to get the minutes, or do all the ballhandling anymore. Especially when he’s fighting Alonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr. and, to a lesser degree, Frank Ntilikina for minutes. He should still get 25, but that’s not enough. And none of the other options will get enough either. Marcus Morris, similarly, would be a solid PPM producer if we could trust him to get 35 minutes, but he is splitting time with Kevin Knox. Julius Randle was an amazing play until Mitchell Robinson came in and diluted the pool, pulling off usage in the starting 5, and increasing the amount of people who need to split time (Bobby Portins, Taj Gibson, Ivan Rabb). As it stands, I think Randle is, by far, the safest choice of everyone not named RJ Barrett, but he will also be the most expensive. I strongly recommend having a game stack today of this game. LaVine and Lauri with Barrett and at least one other Knick. The question is who do you like the most?
Rockets vs Thunder
While I expect this game to blow out, I think the odds of that happening are less than Vegas expects, and I also think there will be enough consolidated production on both sides you can take advantage of the game anyway.
On Houston, they have Westbrook and Harden, so no one else matters. I don’t mean to be glib, but that’s just how the production works. If someone else gets a shot up, it’s a fluke. If someone gets enough shots to have a productive game for their salary, it’s a shock. Still, Westbrook and Harden will continue to be the focus of this team, and both are actually underpriced. Westbrook, given how he’s performed so far, should be close to 11000, which he is 1700 under, and Harden should be right there with him despite his “struggles”. The only other person that is underpriced on this team is PJ Tucker, who should be closer to 6k. He is someone, as I’ve explained, that is a fantastic support player. That means he doesn’t need to score to produce a solid floor – his production comes all over the map, and he should continue to do so. Make sure you keep riding him while he’s a laughable 4600.
On the Thunder side of the game, their production is even more consolidated. I should warn you about giving too much stock to anything that happened in yesterday’s game against the Warriors – the Thunder were winning 70-37 at halftime. And then increased the lead in the 3rd quarter. This game was never close, so we saw some aberrations in terms of minutes and production. But we still learned what we had previously thought was correct – SGA is the best option on this team, and will be the primary option on this squad. He is also doing more ballhandling than CP3 and grabbing serious rebounds, making him a legit 3×2 threat every game. His price hasn’t come up enough yet. Danilo Gallinari will continue to be the #2 option. He put up 21 points and little else yesterday, but he didn’t really need to do anything. No one else will really matter. Dennis Schroder got a ton of run because the game blew out. I am still not convinced he won’t be greatly hurt by the emergence of SGA and the arrival of Gallo during regular games. If you think the Thunder will be in a blow out, though? Get Schroder in there ASAP.
Consolidated Production in Portland vs San Antonio
While this may not have the highest score, or the fastest pace, this game makes up for it by having a very small number of players that take shots. The best thing that can happen to us in DFS is consolidation. We don’t have to worry about who is going to get the ball (or, if we do, it’s between 4 or 5 players instead of 8 or 9).
I talked about this yesterday, and it came to fruition – there are 5 people on the Blazers who really have a chance of doing anything. Not all of them are going to go off every game, but some combo of these 5 are going to be the ones that put up actual DFS production – Dame Lillard, CJ McCollum, Hassan Whiteside, Rodney Hood, and Kent Bazemore. While Whiteside and Bazemore disappeared yesterday, the other 3 more than made up for it, playing an entertaining, close game against the dynamic offense of the Mavs. I would consider both Dejounte Murray and Derrick White to be well above average at defense. This means I would give a slight downgrade to Lillard but, again, if you want to play this side of the game, take your plays from these 5.
On the other side of the ball, the Spurs also only have 5 players that you can really count on for production from night to night – LeMarcus Aldridge, Demar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, Rudy Gay, and Bryn Forbes. LMA, DDR, and Murray and control the usage in the starting 5, while Gay and Forbes are running the 2nd unit. There’s not really anyone on the Blazers that is great at D, but no one who is really awful either. I would say the biggest advantage is going to be DDR on Rodney Hood, though LMA should be able to pull Whiteside away from the paint and make it really, really hard for him to keep up.
The Too-Cheap Suns
Yeah, I may be getting on this bandwagon a little too hard. But I don’t expect this ride to last, so we might as well enjoy it while we can. Right now, we have a Suns team that was supposed to be one of the worst in the league sitting at 2-1, but the record is even more incredible than that. In Game 1, they faced a similarly skilled Kings team. It was supposed to be a close game. Instead, the Suns won by about 30. They then lost their stud Center to a drug suspension. Game 2, they faced Denver, one of the best teams in the NBA, with one of the best Centers. And, again, they just lost their center. The Suns were one bounce away from a massive upset, losing 108-107. Even more surprising, Ricky Rubio had to miss their 3rd game, leaving them even weaker (especially at Defense). What’s worse, they were going against the Kawhi-led Clippers, a team that will be fighting for the NBA Championship. The Suns, somehow, managed to win this game 130-122, and it felt like they won by even more.
The Jazz are a great team and a great defense, no doubt. But they are not as good as the Clippers, and their D is not as good as the Clippers. If the Suns could put up 130 on them and win the game, they could do it again. The fact that Vegas only has Utah as 5 point favorites means they understand this as well.
The main problem we have is that the Suns have been successful by splitting their touches among a large number of players. As of right now Devin Booker (42.4), Ricky Rubio (38.3), Kelly Oubre (38.5), Frank Kaminsky (29.6), Dario Saric (24.5), and Aaron Baynes (23.8) are all averaging more than 20 DKP a game, with Jevon Carter (18.7) and Tyler Johnson (17.1) nipping at 20’s heels. Compare that to Utah – Donovan Mitchell (40.8), Bojan Bogdanovic (29.4), Rudy Gobert (22.4), Mike Conley (20.8) and Emmanuel Mudiay (20.5). So when the production is spread so much, targeting someone becomes more a question of hoping luck falls your way.
I think the Jazz backcourt is defensively weaker, for what it’s worth, so I would focus more on the Booker/Rubio/Oubre side of things anyway.
Centers Vs. The Hornets
I know the Suns just beat the Clippers, so anything can happen. But this is a really, really bad Hornets team that has a massive weakness the Clippers can exploit.
I want to again stress something to you:
PLAY EVERY SINGLE CENTER YOU CAN AGAINST THE HORNETS.
We have set rules like this in the past, and this year we will do it for Centers against the Hornets. I talked before about how the Pacers have let up a staggering 71.2 DKPPG to the Center position. I also told you how this puts them in 3rd place. That’s because there is a Hornets team giving up 119.8 DKPPG to Centers. I need you to read that again, because that is going to go up after tonight’s matchup with Anthony Davis. You need to slam the shit out of Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac tonight. Harrell is the better play, because he gets the most minutes and higher usage, but Zubac could absolutely destroy his salary even if he gets only 15 minutes. The Hornets really are that bad.
I know the odds are this game doesn’t stay close. But I really don’t care. I am never going to stop playing Centers against Charlotte because I like making money. I hope you will join me.
Washington has been playing like an 8000 priced player, but his price is still 6600. What’s more, the Clippers have been way worse against the PF position than anything else, as they have stuck Pat Patterson in there while they await the return of Paul George. Still, there is one glaring hole in the Clippers defense, and it just so happens to line up perfectly with the Hornets best player, who’s been the most consistent, and should have no problem getting all the minutes he can handle even if the game starts pulling away. I don’t think this game stays that close, and I don’t think there’s many members of this team that can win their matchups tonight. But I have a ton of faith in Washington, and I’m going to play a bunch of him.
Areas of Caution ⚠
Orlando vs Toronto
I don’t like this game for 2 reasons. First, this should be the worst game for production. When I started writing this slate up, no Vegas totals were out yet, but now that they are, I know I was right – this is going to be the lowest scoring game of the day. You have 2 slow, defensive-minded teams that don’t care how many points they score, as long as they win at the end. On top of that, no one is really priced at a discount. Everyone here is priced fairly for this game environment, assuming they all get right around value (5x). Pascal Siakam is close to 9k now. He has the best individual defensive matchup in the game, but his price is enough that I don’t expect him to really go to far over value. The same can be said for Vucevic, Lowry, FVV, and so on down the line.
If I go anywhere here, it will Markelle Fultz at 4400. He will be 5500 or so before long, and this is the only place in this game where the price is still sticking to what they expected out of him this season, instead of what he’s done.
Bucks vs Cavs
Probably the best team in the EC vs the worst team in the EC. Like I said the other day, in situations like this it pays to assume there will be no blowout from a game theory perspective if you are playing GPPs, since the ownership is going to be lower than it should be due to everyone thinking it will blow out. It’s a great way of creating leverage on the field – if it stays close and Giannis puts up 90 DKP at 10% ownership, you are going to be glad you took the risk here. The problem is reality exists. And in reality, we have a team that will clear 50 wins vs a team that will struggle to get to 20. On top of that, this is a great defensive Bucks squad, whereas pretty much everyone but Kevin Love is a rotating door on the Cavs side. If you take anyone here besides bench players, you are banking the Cavs are going to keep it close with the Bucks and I don’t think that happens more than 30 times if you play this slate out 100.
I will take some bench players, though, since they get back up run and would get some bonus minutes after the game gets out of hand. Namely George Hill (who is 1000 too cheap anyway), Jeremy Clarkson, Kyle Korver, and Ersan Ilyasova. All are backups who should get 20+ minutes and pay off their crazy cheap salary.
Nuggets vs. Kings
Another matchup between a team that will fight for the 1 seed and a team that will fight to not be 15th (unless they are tanking). Vegas thinks this one is going to stay closer, but I think this is the worst of the unbalanced games we’ll see today. Denver has been playing at the 3rd slowest pace to start the year, and the Kings, previously one of the fastest teams, is sitting in the bottom half. So now we have a blowout and a slow game. Both of those suck. Add to that that both of these teams have, at worst, decent defenses and you have a game that should blow out, go slow, and have a low score. If it doesn’t blow out, it’s most certainly because the defenses kept it close, not because the offenses went off.
If you break it down further, De’Aaron Fox, Bjelica, Richaun Holmes, and Dwayne Dedmon are all top 20 defenders at their position. While I don’t think anyone can stop Nikola Jokic when he’s hot, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Bjelica, Holmes, and Dedmon, who will be guarding the Denver bigs, make it harder for him than the field realizes, which would necessitate going under. As crazy as it may be, it’s possible that the defense gained from Bjelica and Holmes can offset the offense lost when Bagley went down, since both Bjelica and Holmes are decent scorers as well. The only 2 real subpar defenders on the Kings are Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes, both of whom would be tasked with guarding the wing. This means that, if I’m going with any non-punt Nugget, it would most certainly be Will Barton and Gary Harris. Both of those will easily be my 2 highest owned Nuggets.
The Kings have a couple of fantastic offensive pieces. If you stop them, they have no chance. Well, if Gary Harris is good enough to stop Devin Booker, you better believe he’s good enough to stop Buddy Hield tonight. With Bagley also out, this leaves very little in the way of bankable offensive pieces. De’Aaron Fox would be very intriguing if he weren’t 7300, coming off a sub-20 DKP performance (and another in game 1). Other than that, you are going for price plays here – Bogdan Bogdanovic, Bjelica, and Holmes.
The Too-Expensive Jazz
The Jazz have not been producing good offensive numbers this season, to put it mildly. Go back and check my analysis of the Suns to see how badly everyone is doing on a per-game basis. They only have one player averaging over 30 DKPPG, and only 2 averaging over 25 DKPPG. That is despite having Rudy Gobert priced at 8000 and Mike Conley priced at 7100, both of whom are being outproduced by Bojan Bogdanovic (who is also too expensive at 5400).
I like this game a lot more than most are going to. I want to have some pieces from both sides. But it’s hard to find someone on Phoenix because there’s too many good options. It’s hard to find someone on Utah because the few options they have are not just fairly priced, but too expensive.
If I go anywhere here, my favorite two plays are Donovan Mitchell, who has upside beyond his 7800 price tag as evidenced by the fact he’s averaging more than 5x value on that salary. He gets a matchup against a fast Suns team’s weakest link defensively in Devin Booker. While it’s possible Rubio will be tasked with guarding Mitchell, it would leave Mike Conley open, which is just robbing Peter to pay Paul.
The one play on the Jazz that’s underpriced is Emmanuel Mudiay, who continues to produce like a 4500-5000 priced backup, but is still sitting down at 3500. If you need a cheap play to help you get to the studs you want, he’s a fantastic option.
Situations to monitor ⏰
Joel Embiid’s Ankle
This will dramatically change the nature of this game, just as it completely changed how the Pistons game went. Everyone was gung ho for the Embiid/Drummond matchup but, once Al Horford moved over to Center, we saw a significantly worse matchup for both, and, if you listened to me, you were well under the field on Drummond with some exposure to Horford in GPPs. The real winner, I argued, would be Tobias Harris who could move over to PF and take on the worst defender on the Pistons. Well, if Embiid is forced to miss, I expect the same to happen – John Collins is a bottom 5 defensive PF. Horford moves over to Center where he gets a tougher matchup, while Harris moves over to PF and takes on John Collins, who is even worse at defense than Markieff Morris. Of course, Trae Young continues to be one of the worst overall defenders in the NBA, meaning you can take Ben Simmons no matter what, just get him close to “lock” status if Embiid is out.
If Embiid plays, I want Simmons still, but Horford gets the prime matchup at PF and I would be all over him. Harris moves to SF where he gets the harder matchup, so I would have less of him.
This also changes who you want to play. Trae Young gets a tough matchup no matter what, but he is matchup proof so I want a bunch of him every game this year, regardless of matchup. The real question is who does John Collins get? If Collins sees Horford (Embiid is playing), I am going to go under the field on Collins. If Collins gets Harris (Embiid is out), it’s all systems go on Collins tonight. Even moreso than Trae Young.
Jrue Holiday’s Knee
As of right now, even though there’s no Vegas total yet, the Pels are early 4 point favorites over the Warriors, which should tell you it’s not 2018 anymore. I think that that assumes Jrue Holiday plays. If Holiday is forced to miss, the Pelicans are a worse team, and the odds are good that the Warriors will make it a closer game (or even win.) There’s one major problem here – the Warriors are completely reliant on their backcourt for production. If Steph Curry and D’Angelo Russell can be somewhat mitigated, the Warriors are in an absolute fuckload of trouble. While Jrue Holiday’s top 10 defense would be a boon, in all actuality the Pels don’t lose much defensively with him off the court. Lonzo Ball is a top 10 defender, as is Josh Hart. Both of those players should be able to make life tougher on Curry in Russell, in conjunction with being able to increase pressure, since Glenn Robinson and Marquese Chriss aren’t going to kill them. I think the Pelicans do win this game, largely because, no matter what, the 2 legit offensive threats the Warriors have are going to have a hell of a hard time getting going, yet again.
Holiday’s status largely determines who we play on the Pels squad. If Holiday plays, it splits the production in the backcourt. As I noted a couple days back, Ball and Jrue both serve as valid ballhandlers, so neither wind up doing that great (though neither do too terribly). It also means Hart is the big fish on the bench. If Jrue is out, Lonzo doesn’t have anyone to fight for PG duties, and Hart sees a slight downgrade in usage and PPM, but that is more than made up for with the minutes he’ll get. In addition, while he improved himself last season, D’Angelo Russell is still a terrible defender, giving even more of a boost to Hart (should he start).
Last thing I want to look at is the front court. I expect Dray Green and Derrick Favors to just beat up on each other all game. Both should have a decent floor for cash, but I doubt either of them get anywhere near a ceiling game (or near exceeding value for what it’s worth). Also, with Kevon Looney out again, Marquese Chriss (3200) and Omari Spellman (3100) are still comicall underpriced, even if Dray plays a ton of Center.
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Check out the Preview I did on ALL 30 TEAMS.