Hello everyone! Before we get started, I want to give a big shoutout to Jason Spry and the team at Daily Fantasy Sports 101! They have given me an opportunity to discuss analytics with NBA DFS, something I love to research and play daily.
With my articles, I will focus on one game on the NBA Wednesday slates that I find most appealing for the evening. This may deter from some of the big games you normally see discussed on other sites.
I will also give you in-depth analysis backed by data.
I’m not going to just say: “Play James Harden at $11,500 because he is unstoppable and can go for 70 every night!” Sorry, too soon Rocket’s fans.
A simple Google search, asking “NBA DFS tonight“, will give you writers and websites that keep it minimal and offer broad, basic, big name players.
All in hopes you play them like the other 100K that read the page because they know those are players you were going to play anyways. Rarely is any of this backed by detailed data explaining why, besides the occasional, “great matchup” and “on a hot streak”.
This is where I will be of service!
I am going to offer you information that others charge you to view. I am going to breakdown a game that has great upside, and I am going to mention players from that game that should or should not be in your lineups.
The team I discuss should help make some money in your DFS lineups!
Will I be 100% right? Absolutely not!
Will I try my best to be as accurate as possible? Scouts honor!
So here we go!
Tonight’s NBA Slates
- Houston Rockets vs Orlando Magic 7:00 PM
- San Antonio Spurs vs Philadelphia 76ers 7:00 PM
- New York Knicks vs Washington Wizards 7:00 PM
- Minnesota Timberwolves vs Brooklyn Nets 7:30 PM
- Detroit Pistons vs Miami Heat 7:30 PM
- Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics 8:00 PM
- Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls 8:00 PM
- Indiana Pacers vs Milwaukee Bucks 8:00 PM
- Golden State Warriors vs Dallas Mavericks 8:30 PM
- New Orleans Pelicans vs Utah Jazz 9:00 PM
- Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets 9:00 PM <– My game of the night
- Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Lakers 10:30 PM
On this slate there are so many big names to be considered:
- Russell Westbrook
- Lebron James
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Demarcus Cousins
- Anthony Davis
- Kevin Durant
- Chris Paul
- Joel Embiid (Doubtful-Hand)
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Andre Drummond
- Nikola Jokic
- Steph Curry
- Ben Simmons
- John Wall
- Jimmy Butler
- Kyrie Irving
You will see these names all over other sites as topics of discussion, as to be expected. They will be highly priced and highly owned, and you will have to find a way to get some of them into your lineups in one way or another.
However, I will be discussing my game of the night, Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets, and the team that can surpass their normal scoring expectations, the Denver Nuggets.
A lot of great prices for this game with a Vegas line “over/under” scoring total of 218, currently behind the Houston Rockets vs Orlando Magic, for highest projected total score.
We are looking at a lot of possessions and scoring, with a lack of defense.
Phoenix has been a part of a scoring total that has gone “over” in three of their last five games.
Denver has done this in only one of their last five games. In the four games that went “under” the projected scoring total, Denver played a top ten defense in every one.
They are now set to play the worst defense they have faced since Sacramento. Phoenix is currently ranked next to last in points allowed per 100 possessions behind…. you guessed it… Sacramento.
When Denver played Sacramento, they went “over” the projected scoring total.
Denver currently sits as a middle-of-the-pack team that is tied for 18th in pace, but is top ten statistically for their true shooting %, effective field goal %, and offensive efficiency.
Basically, if they have to speed up to play with Phoenix (3rd in pace), they have a good enough offense that can keep up.
Time to breakdown the key players for this matchup from the Denver Nuggets.
You will see pricing for DraftKings (DK) and FanDuel (FD).
Jamal Murray ($6700 DK/$7300 FD)– Jamal Murray has scored 22 points per game in his last four games. In those four, he has also averaged 7.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. He is shooting 47% from the field. While his 3-Point % is way down at 21% during those four games, he is still shooting almost six 3-Pointers per game. If those start falling at a higher %, on top of what his production already dictates, look out! To add to his intrigue, Murray will now be guarded by Isaiah Canaan and Tyler Ulis. They are 136th and 188th respectively, out of 209 players, in overall defensive efficiency. (Amongst guards in the NBA that play over 15 MPG.) Even with the slight increase in price on both sites, Murray seems like a lock for 30-35 points in both DK and FD, with upside that has eclipsed 50+ fantasy points for both sites. And he is in one of his best matchups of the year on paper! He is looking at 5x value as a floor for both sites, with a ceiling up to 7.5-8x value! I am putting him in most, if not all of my cash and tournament lineups.
Emmanuel Mudiay ($3800 DK/$3500 FD)– If you play him at all, I feel very sorry for you. As the saying goes in the South, “Bless your heart.”
Gary Harris ($6300 DK/$6700 FD)– If you would have asked me three weeks ago who to play between Gary Harris and Will Barton, I would have said Gary Harris; now not so much. He was on fire in the start/middle of December, scoring no less than 35 FPPG in 5/7 games, including a 50+ pointer for both sites versus Boston. He has since cooled off, but has still been productive, averaging 27.46 FPPG on DK and 28 FPPG on FD in his last five. News for note, as is such with most of this Phoenix team, Devin Booker is a terrible defender statistically. He is currently sitting just above his teammate, Tyler Ulis, as the 173th rated defender amongst 209 eligible guards. For Harris, the floor is not great at 4-4.5X value, while the ceiling, as we have seen, can reach 7X if he his on fire. For cash games, I would pass with such a large slate, but for tournaments he is intriguing!
Will Barton ($6500 DK/$6600 FD)– If Will Barton does see the court when Devin Booker is guarding him, they may end up in an “anything you can do, I can do better” shooting contest, (I think Booker would win), and that could put Barton over the 30 point mark on either site. Barton’s priced is in a decent spot for the matchup. Currently, I think his upside is higher, having averaged 38 FPPG in his last two games for both sites. His 3-Point shooting has not been great in his last five games, having shot 26% in those games, he makes up for it with great production in rebounds and assists; 5.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in those same five games. This is very close to his averages for the season, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists.
An outlier for me is the minutes per game. Barton is very productive in his 31.2 minutes per game in his last five, but even in blowout losses to Golden State and Portland, Barton saw 10 minutes less per game for those two games, and is seeing seven less minutes per game to Gary Harris in their last five. Also, Harris has scored double digit points in almost every game since November 30th, except once, while Barton has scored under double digits in five games in that same timespan, with four of those in his last seven games.
If I have to choose between Harris or Barton, I am playing Harris in cash games because of the minutes played differential and higher floor. In tournaments, I lean towards Barton. Barton gets the added value of the SG/SF position on DK. He also has a higher ceiling, especially due to recent production in his last two games, and fantasy points per minutes played differential, which offers higher upside.
Wilson Chandler ($4700 DK/$5100 FD)- Wilson Chandler is seeing great minutes this seeing, 31.1MPG. And aside from his lack of shooting and scoring the last two games, he is still averaging 24.1DK/22.7FD points over his last five. Besides his last two games, where he finished under 20 fantasy points among both sites, he has scored more than 23 fantasy points in nine of his last twelve games. At that average, with his current price point, he is a 4.8X value for DK, and a 4.5X value for FD. Sweeten the opportunity while facing a group of forwards currently averaging 109.5 in Defensive Ratings amongst NBA forwards, (bottom 3% in the league collectively) and you have a guy who has high upside for tournaments while only being a moderate risk because of his mid-level price point. I like Chandler in tournaments for both sites. In cash, I am not in love with him, but would not be upset if you put him in your lineup, especially on DK.
Trey Lyles ($5100 DK/$6300 FD)– Similar stat checking as above. He is facing a terrible defensive group of forwards, and for a PF option, he likes to shoot the ball from 3-Point range often. For the season, he is shooting an amazing 46% from three, and 52% from the field. For his DK upside, I love him for cash and for tournaments. Yes, he’s $400 more than Chandler who can qualify for the PF position on DK, but he’s only scored under 20 FPPG twice since the start of December! At that time, his price was around the $3500-4000 range amongst both sites. Averaging 30.5 on DK and 29.1 on FD in his last five games, he has hit a 6X value on DK, and 4.8X value on FD during that span. He is a great play for tournaments on both sites, while providing slightly less value for cash on FD than on DK.
Nikola Jokic ($9000 DK/$9900 FD)– Nikola Jokic is the sixth highest in cost amongst eligible centers on DK, and fourth highest on FD. He had one of his best games of the season recently versus Philadelphia scoring 19 points, while getting 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks, and 1 steal. This got him 53 fantasy points on both sites! Interestingly enough, he has been starting at the PF position, while Plumlee gets the Center position. If he gets Marquese Chriss guarding him, Jokic could have a season-best game. Chriss is part of a Forward group that sits near the bottom in Defensive Efficiency facing Jokic, who sits 14th amongst qualified players for Player Efficiency Rating (PER), and 8th amongst the PF/C position. And yes, Chriss has played better offensively and defensively since being inserted into the starting lineup, but I don’t see him slowing down Jokic at all. Please say some parting words or prayers for Marquese Chriss. I am comfortable with Jokic in cash and tournaments as one of your top options. Love him in this matchup if it plays out like it should.
Mason Plumlee ($4400 DK/$5200 FD)– Plumlee has been a bit of a roller coaster recently. He has reached a high of 40 fantasy points and a low of 8 fantasy points, amongst both sites in his last six games. Same information as above, he will be guarded by Tyson Chandler and possibly Alex Len. They are both abover average rebounders, thus may hurting Plumlee’s rebounding total ever-so slightly. Overall, Plumlee has been too inconsistent to trust in cash, but in tournaments, there is decent upside for him on both sites. Personally I will not play him. If he squeezes out a 30 point night, shame on me, but it is not expected.
This player currently sits second on his team in PER and sixth overall in the entire league, besting one of his all-star teammates. He also sits third in the league in true shooting %. Final clue, he sits fourth on his team in PPG at 14, while averaging a double-double with 11 rebounds. His value ascends his basic stat lines because of his effectiveness to the team, particularly off the pick and roll, where his team leads the Western Conference in points scored, helping make them one of the best in the West.
The answer is……. Clint Capela
Once again, thank you to everyone who has helped me with this opportunity. I look forward to having more great information for you all season long.
Please feel free to offer any feedback you would like by reaching me at my email DrakePFSA@yahoo.com