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 ?
- 217.5 – BOS 110 — TOR 107
- 229 – MIN 116.5 — CHA 112
- 225 – BKN 116.75 — NYK 108
- 218.5 – OKC 112.5 — WAS 106
- 228.5 – NO 115.25 — DAL 113.25
- 221.5 – MEM 111.5 — CHI 110
- 221 – DEN 116.25 — PHX 104.75
- 226.5 – POR 113.75 — SAC 112.75
- 218 – LAL 110.75 — UTA 107.25
Advantage Situations ?
Enes Kanter out
This actually provides an upgrade to some players and a downgrade to others. On Boston, Kanter wound up getting the start in game one. Right now the Celtics don’t have a PF that can slide over to the 5, they have a SF that’s sliding over to the 4.
This means we are going to see Robert Williams (3200) and Daniel Theis (3200) cover 100% of the C minutes. Even if they split the minutes down the middle, both should easily be able to more than exceed value at that price. Marc Gasol is a good defender for sure, but Serge Ibaka isn’t, and they are both going to see both. And, again, at 3200 how can you go wrong? This actually serves as a downgrade to Gasol and Ibaka, though.
As I explained a couple days ago, Kanter is one of the worst defensive Centers in the NBA (if not the worst). Even if Theis and Williams were bad defenders (which they aren’t), they’d still be defensive upgrades to Kanter. If you go by DRPM, which I will, last season Theis had a DRPM of 1.80 (which, since he’s ranked as a PF, puts him 14th best). Williams had a DRPM of 0.40. Kanter was at -1.46, making him the 2nd worst Center in the NBA behind Willy Hernangomez.
If Kanter was playing I would be over the field on the Toronto Centers. As it stands, it makes it easier to consolidate – I will take Siakam first, who will absolutely rip through Gordon Hayward. Then I will take Fred VanVleet who spent game 1 looking like what Kyle Lowry should be. He was awesome, he was everywhere, and they let him run the court.
If Lowry is going to be more expensive for a secondary player, I’ll go where the money is – FVV and Siakam. In terms of exposure to Boston, this early in the season, I want to find pricing inconsistencies, and I just don’t see any. If anything, the Celtics players (minus the 2 Centers), are slightly overpriced.
Eventually, it is going to get into everyone’s heads that the Hornets Center defense is one of the worst in the NBA, if not the worst. Gone are the days when the Nets lead the league in futility – now the Hornets are going to take that mantle and run with it.
Cody Zeller is a really bad defender, and he is the best of the 3 terrible options. On top of that, he missed practice on Thursday, and may not be back with the team in time for the game. If he is out, he will be replaced in the lineup by Willy Hernangomez. Remember him, from before?
When I was talking about how Enes Kanter was the 2nd worst Center defensively behind Willy Hernangomez? Yeah. No one on the Timberwolves is going to need to take a shot.
Just run with KAT. Like in their first game, and like in every game that’s coming this season, he’s going to be the best option on this team, and one of the best options on the slate.
Nicholas Batum Broken Finger
I want to make one thing clear – the incredible performance of the Hornets kids in game 1 was much more a reflection of the futility of the Bulls defense than some kind of coming out party for Charlotte. They are not going to be one of the top teams in the EC. They’re not going to be a better than average offense when all is said and done. Hell, I don’t think they’re much better than the 13 seed. Still, that doesn’t mean there’s a void of talent, as you saw in game one.
We just have to understand what happened and why. As I explained in my analysis a couple days ago, the Bulls have a fantastic defender at PG now in Satoransky. Because of this, I didn’t have a lot of faith in Terry Rozier and, by extension, the rest of the Hornets. Well I was right about Satoransky shutting down Rozier – he went 2 for 10 for 7 points with only 6 assists. What I was wrong about was the situational viability of some of the kids.
Dwayne Bacon, one of the 2 stars of game 1, filled in as the main offensive threat in the backcourt. While Rozier was being smothered, Bacon put up 21 shots. He only hit 8 of them, but he still wound up with 22 points and enough ancillary stats across the board that made him one of the best values on the slate. Now, his main threat for playing time, Nic Batum, has a broken finger and Bacon should keep getting all the minutes and shots that he can handle. He should also be seeing the defense of Andrew Wiggins, someone who is just as bad defensively as Zach LaVine in every way, and, honestly, he will have no problem exceeding value again if he is getting more than 20 shots a game. The question: is he going to need to, with Rozier seeing the subpar defense of Jeff Teague?
The 2nd star of the game for the Hornets was PJ Washington, who played 38 minutes and went 9 for 17 (including 7 for 11 from 3) for 27 points. He did not get a ton of other stats, though. If he hadn’t had such a good shooting day, he would have been a mediocre producer at best. This game, instead of seeing the poor defense of Lauri Markkanen, he will see a lot of Robert Covington, one of the best individual defenders in the NBA.
The only other player I would consider from Charlotte is Devonte’ Graham, who got 23 points and 8 assists in 27 minutes. If you take away Batum, who got less than half a game with the broken finger, the Hornets only played 8 players all game. As long as they keep 6 players in the 30+ minute range, all of them will be viable, we will just have to play the matchups and expect the worst. Never forget – this is still a really, really bad team.
Nets vs Knicks Defense/Pace
I was originally going to put this game in the “be careful” tier for a couple reasons – point chasing and blow out risk – but then I remembered that this isn’t the Knicks team from last year, and I need to really give everyone a tabula rasa to start the season. So what did we see in the first Knicks game? A bad team, sure, but one that is going to be a lot more competitive.
Also one that runs at a really high pace with some spotty D. That sounds like one of the best teams to stack against now. On the Nets side, we saw Kyrie Irving dominate minutes and usage. He put up an astonishing 33 shots, scoring 50 points and damn near pulling off a triple double, getting 7 assists and 8 rebounds on top of his awesome scoring display.
I told you in my preview, Kyrie is going to be an amazing play every day, a constant 50 DKP threat, and should be worth 10k before too long. He’s still only 9k, and he has just as good a matchup as last game. Elfrid Payton will play PG most of the time, and he’s really bad defensively. The odds of him getting 50 two games in a row is really small. But the odds of him taking another 30 shots is not.
I also think that the Knicks are weakest defensively against the front court, especially as long as Marcus Morris plays 40 minutes a game. This means I think it would be sneaky to pivot off a chalky Kyrie and go with Caris LeVert, who got 19 shots of his own (for a line of 20p/5r/4a/3s), is 2500 cheaper, and has one of the easiest defensive matchups on the slate. Speaking of which, remember before, when I talked about how Kanter was the 2nd worst defensive center behind Willy Hernangomez? You know who was 3rd? Julius Randle.
That means I will also be a fan of taking a Jarrett Allen that will go largely overlooked. His only concern last season was playing time and, even with the addition of DeAndre Jordan, he still wound up with 36 minutes in the first game. What was even better? He played a ton of PF next to Jordan, meaning that Allen is going to get a bunch more time on the floor and we can start trusting him more. His 6p/9r is going to keep people off him, but don’t ignore that he also got 5 blocks. He is going to outmatch whoever he plays against at the 4, and the Nets might have finally solved the question of what to do with the big, talented Allen. Oh, hey, I didn’t see you there.
I just wanted to point out that Bobby Portis, the Knicks primary PF, was also a bottom 5 defender at his position meaning you can also take a good shot on Taurean Prince, who put up a 2×2 where he filled the stat sheet, something he has always been able to do. He put up 6 of 13 shooting for 15 points, with 11r/2a/2s/1b and 0 TO.
Lastly, as I pointed out before, Spencer Dinwiddie entered tonight with the 3rd highest usage (in a 1 game sample). He only played 19 minutes but, in that time, he put up 13 shots, for 14p/3r/2a. He wasn’t on the court a lot – the starters all played nearly 40 minutes – but when he was, he had the ball in his hands, and he was shooting.
If they relax the starters to a reasonable 32-35 minutes, Dinwiddie could see 25-28 minutes tonight, and absolutely crush it. His price has fallen to a more reasonable 4800, and I want a lot of him there.
Knicks vs Nets Defense/Pace
Lost in all the glowing stats I just discussed regarding the Nets’ first game, I buried the lede in one important way – even with all the offensive production, even with almost every starter getting you some serious production, even with Kyrie Irving dropping 50 points, the Nets still lost 127-126. I know losing to KAT is something that happens to a lot of teams, but normally not when you play as well as the Nets did on the offensive side of the ball.
The reason the Nets lost was the defense let them down, and did so at a high pace. While I expect the Nets to win this game handily, I also expect this to be close enough we will see the starters play a full complement of minutes. And those starters will be playing for 2 teams that have shown they play quick and without D. There will, rightfully, be a ton of ownership on the Nets, but don’t ignore the Knicks tonight as well.
There’s a good chance this is the highest scoring game on the night, and it will take both teams to get there. What’s really good for us is the Knicks have a small number of players who are going to get enough minutes that you even need to consider them – First, Elf Payton is going to be the PG that plays the most, but he only got 26 minutes in game one and didn’t start, so he could be considered a GPP play. He has upside, but you can’t trust him. Next, RJ Barrett, rookie of the year candidate, dove right in, getting 37 minutes, putting up 21 points, and filling the stat sheet otherwise. He should easily outmatch Joe Harris, who is awful at defense.
At SF, Marcus Morris played 40 minutes in the Knicks’ first game. He was tied for the team lead with 18 shots, and led the team with the 26 points he got. He also put up 4r/1a/3s, so he filled the sheet enough to pay off his low salary. This game, he gets the toughest matchup on the team, Caris LeVert, so I understand if you want to be more cautious with Morris here. Bobby Portis manned PF for 33 minutes, and he was one of those 2nd or 3rd tier glasses, if you remember my analysis from yesterday. You can consider him a GPP play given the minutes, but there are other players who are going to draw the usage, and Portis will be left to deal with the crumbs.
Lastly, Julius Randle is one of the bottom 3 defensive Centers in the NBA, but also an offensive powerhouse. He put up 25p/11r/6a/3s in 35 minutes and, now that he gets a matchup with the Nets and Jarrett Allen (who he grossly outmatches), I expect him to do even better tonight. That 8100 price tag will also keep his ownership low, regardless of his upside.
All this is ignoring that Mitchell Robinson, their best player last year, should return from his injury and play a good chunk of time in the front court. This is a Knicks team with a surprising amount of options in a fantastic game. Do not let your memories of last year cost you money this year.
Facing some really tough coverage, Beal managed to go only 7 for 25 in his first game. He put up 19p/6r/9a/4s, so it wasn’t a bad line at all, but it wasn’t the elite level play we would normally expect. Part of that had to do with him being ejected, but, to be fair, he had already gotten 32 minutes at that point.
I think it’s safe to say that, barring any other freak ejections, we can expect closer to 40 minutes from him with 30 points and, again, damn near triple double stats. He’s going to draw an even tougher defensive matchup against Chris Paul but there’s very little else to worry about on OKC.
Beal is going to have the ball in his hands an overwhelming amount of the time, and I stand by the fact he will sit over 10k salary most of the season. Especially while he’s under 9k, I will hammer him every single day. The upside is just far too great for that price. It’s hard to accurately assess the rest of the rotation from the Wizards, either. While they only lost by 8 points, that obscures the fact that they were down 23 going into the 4th quarter.
So when you see that Thomas Bryant only got 31 minutes, or that Rai Hachimura only got 25 minutes (and didn’t get his last rotation), you could be worried. But you have to understand the context of why. Personally, I plan on being over the field on both, Rai especially.
Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis
The Mavericks are a much better team this season, largely because they have a fully healthy Porzingis. They also showed that they are 2 mom-buckets of usage on top of their team. And they still put up fantastic numbers despite seeing somewhat limited minutes due to the blowout (they were up 23 points almost halfway through the 4th quarter). Doncic went 12-19 for 34p/9r/3a/2s in 33 minutes. Porzingis only got the 29 minutes but still managed to go 7 for 16 for 23p/4r/2a/1b/1s, which is actually a pretty bad game for him.
That can be expected given his long layoff and I expect him to be in the swing of things before too long. Now they get an amazing matchup against a team that plays horrible defense at a super fast speed, that they are expected to lose. I understand if you want to take some crazy GPP stab on one of the 2nd/3rd tier players, but I am going to keep almost all of my Mavs ownership to these 2, for good reason.
The New Look Grizzlies?
There are a few surprises from the early going of this season. None of which is as big as the pace in the MEM/MIA game. I called them the Molasses Grizzlies all of last season because they played at so slow a place, they rendered themselves and their opponents largely unusable on decent slates. The standard NBA pace is 100 (possessions/game).
Last season, the Grizzlies were under 90. That is incredible. The Heat were also one of the slowest teams. Somehow, they managed to play a game with a pace of 112 right out the gate. I don’t know if the Grizzlies have had a game that fast in the last few years. While, again, it’s far too early to say anything for certain, it’s possible the Ja Morant Grizzlies have undergone a dramatic change in philosophy, and we have found ourselves another bad team that runs at a breakneck speed and can’t play D.
If that is, indeed, the case I am going to be way, way over the field in this game. Part of DFS is taking informed risks – if this is indeed a new look Grizzlies, I want to take as much advantage of that as I can before the field adjusts. What’s better is they get a Bulls team that just got demolished by an awful Hornets team by playing fast and without D. Two teams that play fast without D going against each other? This could be the game of the night and no one realizes it yet.
That means give me an absolute fuckload of Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine on the Bulls. Both are the mom-buckets at the top of the Bulls that everyone with fight with. In game one, Lauri went off. Odds are it will be one of them every game, with the potential for exceeded value out of both. On the Grizzlies side, no one is priced over 6600 meaning we can go nuts. 10 players on the Grizz played between 16 and 30 minutes, but a lot of that had to do with massive foul trouble.
Jonas Valanciunas only got 16 minutes cause he had 5 fouls in that time. Dillon Brooks only saw 18 minutes because of the same issue. Ja Morant got into foul trouble in the 2nd and got pulled, and Jaren Jackson Jr lost some time in a couple of places. Neither saw more than 30 minutes, but both likely would have. On top of that, the Heat had worked up a 12 point lead late, and all the normal finishers got pulled for the backups with 3 minutes left in the game.
That being analyzed, I think it’s clear that need to have a fantastic amount of Morant, Valanciunas, and Jackson in our lineups today, with Brooks a legit GPP play no one will be on. I think the bench players are going to be overvalued, so I want to stick to the starters here, that should get to 35 minutes in this game.
It looks like that, after the usage goes to Chinese Ambassador and Greedy Asshole LeBron and Anthony Davis, there is enough for 1 player to have a fantastic game. In their first game, that honor went to Danny Green, the only other player to get more than 30 minutes.
In fact, After Brow (37), CAGA Lebron (36), and Green (32), only 2 other players on this Lakers team had more than 20 minutes – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who did nothing in 27 minutes, and Avery Bradley, who got 24 minutes and did almost nothing.
If you weren’t CAGA, Brow, and Green, you did pretty much nothing the whole game. I expect that to continue this game because, honestly, why wouldn’t they? This is where the talent is, and they are going to get as many looks as they can all game. If they double the 2 elite players, Green is the one who will step up and take the shot.
Even in a tough matchup against the Jazz, none of these guys are priced high enough. I expect an especially great game from Brow, at the very least, given how inexplicable awful the Jazz were against Centers last center.
He will be my favorite play on this team, by far. Danny Green at 4600 is embarrassingly cheap, as well.
Oh Boy did Conley shit the bed in the first game. Getting into foul trouble and only playing 26 minutes would be bad enough if you don’t add the fact that he went 1 for 16 from the floor. He put up 5 points, 5 assists, 0 rebounds, 0 blocks, and 1 steal. My god that’s awful. But I know that we should consider that a fluke – on the worse end of the production bell curve.
We know that Conley is talented. He know he’s, generally, going to get the minutes and the shots. Now everyone is going to be off him because of how awfully he did, his price is going to come down, and we are going to get the same ceiling as normal. To me, that’s the best time to strike. Don’t let emotion and recency bias get the best of you.
Situations to monitor ?
The Thunder’s Lack of Minutes
There are only a select few players on this team that are going to get enough work to pay off. Two of them, Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari should be no surprise to you. Both were the two big guns on this team heading into the season. What may have surprised you from the Thunder’s first game was the emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
I talked before game 1 about how CP3 was aging and needed people to pass to to be effective nowadays. He can do a lot, but he’s also old. Shai came over from the Clippers as someone who was more a bit player, but showed flashes when he was given the run. Well, the most surprising thing from game 1 is that SGA played about 37 minutes and no other player on the Thunder passed 30. Dennis Schroder and CP3 both got 30 minutes, while Gallo only had 28. This is on opening night of what was a close game the entire way. If you check the game flow, something you should make a habit of doing (or just letting me do it for you) – you see that the rotations in and out weren’t a response to any kind of personnel change on the Jazz. They just… wanted to give everyone enough minutes that they’d be intriguing but not enough to make them worthwhile plays for the price.
LET ME SAY THIS – it is still really early in the season. Way to early to make any kind of set judgement about ANYTHING we have seen so far. All we can do is take note of as much as we can, as see what holds up and what was a fluke of sample size.
Is it possible CP3 and Gallo get 38 minutes tonight against a shitty Wizards defense and go off? Absolutely. They are good (and cheap) enough to keep them in your GPP pool. Am I going to count on any player on this team besides SGA?? Not in this game. SGA, though? I’m all in tonight.
The Pelicans 12-Man Rotation
Like with the Thunder, this is a team that has a few fantastic options, and are in a fantastic game. However, also like with the Thunder, when you look at the box score and game flow, you get really worried. Especially when you consider how popular this team/game is going to be. Jrue Holiday got 41 minutes.
He did very little with it (6 for 15, 13p/6a/4r/2b), but some of that can be explained away when you understand how fantastic his defenders were. He should have a much easier time today and he proved that, just from the minutes alone, you can count on him every game. I love him today.
Brandon Ingram was next with 35 minutes. He had a breakout performance, going 8 for 19 from the field for 22p/5r/5a/2b/1s. His price has gone up, but not nearly enough at 7100. He showed he has the talent and the trust to be one of the major attack pieces on this team the entire season. He showed some real upside with the Lakers, but had his usage limited by too many cooks.
If the Pels let him be a leader, he should find great success. So Ingram? Love him today. Now we come to the problem – 10 players on this team saw between 10 and 30 minutes. That means Jrue and Ingram are not on this list. The Pels used a 12 deep rotation, and ALL of those players saw at least 10 minutes. I don’t know how you can trust anyone with that knowledge. Lonzo Ball only saw 24 minutes. Derrick Favors saw only 20 minutes, though that was due to foul trouble. JJ Redick saw 27.
All of these players are going to be GPP plays, at best, going forward. Again this is a great matchup tonight with a fantastic score and it’s expected to stay close. But you still can’t count on these 3, you can just hope that the gameflow will override any minute limits they see. Apart from Jrue and Ingram, the rest interest in the Pelicans is going to be the cheap players – Nickeil Alexander-Walker only saw 12 minutes on the floor, but put up an incredible 10 shots.
He only went 1-10, but if he has a good shooting day, even at 12 minutes, he pays off his 3400. Josh Hart saw 28 minutes, the 3rd most on the team, and put up a double-double. HE IS STILL ONLY 3200. Even Nicolo Melli, at 3400, got 20 minutes and put up 14 points and 5 rebounds. He went 4-5 behind the arc, so his PPM isn’t sustainable, but his price is still too low. So, in summary, Josh Hart is one of the best plays on the entire slate. Brandon Ingram should be one of your favorite mid-tier plays.
Jrue Holiday has the chance to redeem himself for game 1 and, if he gets 40 minutes again, should have no problem doing so. And there are just too many super cheap GPP plays here – Melli and NAW especially. Just be aware that a 12 deep rotation is really, really bad for fantasy purposes, especially when only 2 players can be counted on for more than 30 minutes a game.
Nuggets vs Suns
With news that Deandre Ayton is going to miss 25 games because of a ridiculous and archaic policy, this game just went from “oh this could be interesting” to “easy blow out.” The Suns are a better team than they were last year, sure, but a lot of that has to do with the continued maturation of players like Ayton.
Losing him for any stretch of time is an insurmountable obstacle, thrown in the Suns’ path one game into the season. This Nuggets team is going to be fighting for the top seed in the WC, while, with this news, the Suns will be struggling to stay out of the 15th seed.
So, while there is going to be a ton of hype around Nikola Jokic today, and for good reason, you have to ask yourself: how many minutes is he going to need to play? The Nuggets are favored to win this game by 12 points. That is a fucking joke. The Nuggets will be up 12 points before halftime, and it won’t get closer.
By the end of the 3rd quarter, the Nuggets will be ahead enough that none of the starters will need to play the 4th quarter, if the coaches choose to hold them back for the long season. I know Ricky Rubio is a good defender. He might make it harder for Jamal Murray to go off, but he was never the focus anyway. Stopping the Nuggets is about stopping the big guys – Jokic and Paul Millsap – while also trying to stop their bench from pulling away with the game.
The Suns, with Aaron Baynes at Center (or, god forbid, Cheick Diallo) and bottom-5 defender Dario Saric at PF have no chance. And when the Suns try to pull defenders off of the wing to help out with the larger offensive threats, they have WIll Barton and Gary Harris to punish you from the outside. And that’s, again, ignoring how much better the 2nd unit for Denver is than Phoenix, and how much more out of hand the game will get when those 2 groups match up. Listen. I’m not saying don’t play the Nuggets.
That would be a stupid thing to say. Even dumber to tell you not to play Jokic. But I know that this game is going to be far too popular when weighed against the risk of severely limited minutes for their offensive stars. I know that Vegas is underselling the risk of a blow out. And I know that, as good as Devin Booker is, he is going to see a constant double team that will include Gary Harris, who should be able to give him fits. Have some exposure to this game. You need to.
If the Suns can keep it close, Jokic can push 80-90 DKP tonight. But there’s also a chance that he gets you a solid 40-45 DKP and that’s all they need out of him for the night.
I also absolutely love the idea of going heavy on the super cheap Nuggets backups who would get a decent amount of run against the awful Suns 2nd unit and also be in line for some extra run when this game gets out of hand . That means I’m looking at Jerami Grant, Torrey Craig, Malik Beasley, and Monte Morris as great, great value plays today.
Portland vs Sacramento
This is another game I see as a bit of a trap, and will come with fantastic ownership. Just like with the Nuggets, I am not telling you that you need to fade Dame Lillard, CJ McCollum, or Hassan Whiteside, clearly the best 3 options on this team. I’m telling you that sometimes Vegas is wrong and you need to look at the game in front of you.
This is a matchup between a Blazers team with 3 legit stars and decent enough ancillary pieces that they gave the Nuggets, one of the best teams in the NBA, a run for their money, and a Kings team that just lost to the Suns, one of the worst teams in the NBA, by 30. Listen, I get it.
The Kings have a couple of really great offensive pieces. But Marvin Bagley hurt his thumb and will be out until December. And Buddy Hield may not play due to an ankle injury. Losing Bagley is bad enough to make me think this game blows out pretty easily, but if Hield is even slightly hobbled by the ankle injury, it could be even worse for the Kings, as he will provide even less resistance to Lillard or McCollum as usual.
Like I said about Jokic, I am not telling you to fade this game. I am telling you that this Kings team is the one that’s gonna be in the fight for worst team in the WC this season. They just got embarrassed by another awful team, and lost one of their 2 best players as well. I will have some exposure to the top 3 from Portland, but everything else will be muted. Nemanja Bjelica and Richaun Holmes become very interesting, cheap options.
Both have shown you easy 2×2 upside, and both are going to get a ton of minutes tonight. If Hield misses, you should also lock in Bogdan Bogdanovic, who will see 35 minutes regardless of the score. I will also scatter some Mario Hezonja and Kent Bazemore in there, as the Portland players that have good 2nd unit usage, and would see the biggest benefit in a blowout.
Make sure to follow me on twitter @bathrobeDFS. I provide analysis and news through the season there, especially after injury news/lineups break at night.
Make sure to join #RobeNation on Flick: download the app on your phone, and then search by the codeword “bathrobedfs.” If you are having any issues, send me a tweet @bathrobeDFS and we will work it out!
Check out the Preview I did on ALL 30 TEAMS.