WATCH: NBA RECAP – STEPHEN CURRY
Friday’s nine-game slate features the six worst NBA teams in terms in defensive efficiency: Lakers, Nuggets, Nets, Kings, Suns and Blazers. Couple that with some notable injury issues in Sacramento and Denver, and we have the foundation of the evening from a DFS perspective.
1. Garrett Temple, SG, Kings: OUT – Temple (hamstring), Rudy Gay (Achilles) and Omri Casspi (calf) are all out, leaving the Kings extremely thin on the wings. Look for the them to start veteran Matt Barnes at small forward and leave Arron Afflalo at shooting guard while boosting the minutes of rookie Malachi Richardson off the bench. Barnes only averages .773 DK points per minute on the year, but he has an excellent shot at 30-plus minutes Friday night in a home game against a Suns team which ranks third in pace and 26th in defensive efficiency.
2. Deron Williams, PG, Mavericks: QUESTIONABLE – Williams has missed the last four games due to a toe injury and J.J. Barea (calf) remains out. If Deron misses again in Friday night’s game against the Blazers, expect Yogi Ferrell to draw another start. Ferrell has averaged 30.0 DK points per night while playing 37.3 minutes over the last three, but he’s no longer a free square as his price has climbed to $5,100. Still, there remains some room for profit in both Yogi and Seth Curry ($5,800) in a matchup against a Blazers team which ranks 25th in defensive efficiency. Damian Lillard ranks a woeful 72nd among point guards in defensive real plus/minus.
3. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Nuggets: OUT – The Nuggets’ injury report is worth watching closely. The dominant Nikola Jokic (hip) is expected to return on a minutes limit, which would sap usage and shot-attempts from all other players while he’s on the floor. But it’s unclear how many minutes he’ll play. Meanwhile, Danilo Gallinari (groin) is out, Will Barton (ankle) is probable and Emmanuel Mudiay (back) is on a minutes limit. If Barton is limited and Mudiay and Jokic only play 20 minutes, guys such as Kenneth Faried, new starter Wilson Chandler and Jameer Nelson would be looking at heavy minutes. Rookie Juancho Hernangomez (brother of Guillermo) is a sneakier option here if we can project at least 20 minutes. He’s averaging .786 DK points per minute on the year and costs just $3,400. I believe Chandler, who averages a strong .968 DK points per minute, is the safest option by a wide margin.
4. DeMar DeRozan, SG, Raptors: QUESTIONABLE – DeRozan has missed five of the last six games, giving us a nice glimpse of how the Raptors’ offense functions without him. Kyle Lowry goes from 43.0 DK ppg with DeRozan to 48.2 without and Norman Powell goes from 10.9 vs. 28.8. Of course, prices have just about fully adjusted here, as Lowry is up at $8,900 and Powell is at $5,700.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Isaiah Thomas Against the Lakers
Avery Bradley’s recent absence has pushed Isaiah Thomas into the MVP conversation. IT2 is averaging an outrageous 50.5 DK points per game in the 13 Bradley has missed this year, and he has at least 50 DK points in six of his last seven outings. Now Bradley (heel) is doubtful again and Thomas gets a very plus matchup against a Lakers’ defense which allows 2.92 more DK ppg to point guards than salary-based expectation (via Fantasy Labs). That’s the fourth-worst mark on the slate. The Lakers are also in a back-to-back road spot and PG D’Angelo Russell – coming off a knee injury – played 31 minutes Thursday night in Washington. Even at a season-high $10,000 on DraftKings, Thomas is set up nicely. He’ll likely come at reduced ownership due to blowout concerns.
1. Paul George Against the Nets
A player doesn’t have to be cheap to be underpriced. That’s the case with Paul George Friday night, as he costs $8,100 but is worth significantly more. That’s due to a matchup with a Nets team which is among the worst in the NBA at defending all positions, but are especially atrocious against wing players. George’s price has only gone up $200 over the last five games even though he’s topped 45 DK points in four of them. Coming off a fluky 3-of-14 game against the Magic on Wednesday night, I don’t think there’s any reason to be gun-shy on George.
GPP LEVERAGE PLAYS
1. Brook Lopez Against the Pacers
Over the last two games, Lopez has scored just 27.75 and 23.0 DK points. That’s correlated with a shooting slump as he’s just 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) from the field and 6-of-10 (60.0 percent) from the free-throw line. Lopez shoots 50.7 percent from the field and 79.5 percent from the stripe in his career, so we should expect some positive regression here. A great time to do it is against the Pacers, a team which has the third-worst Opponent Plus/Minus vs. centers on the slate. Lopez is the ninth-most expensive center on the slate at just $6,500 and will likely be far less owned than his opponent Friday night, Myles Turner.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Jeff Teague, Yogi Ferrell (if Deron Williams is out), Isaiah Thomas (if Avery Bradley is out), Russell Westbrook, D’Angelo Russell,
SG: Jimmy Butler, Arron Afflalo, Seth Curry (if Deron Williams is out), Devin Booker, James Harden, Matthew Dellavedova
SF/PF: Paul George, Jae Crowder (if Avery Bradley is out), Wilson Chandler, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Matt Barnes, Serge Ibaka, Harrison Barnes
C: DeMarcus Cousins, Myles Turner, Clint Capela, Karl-Anthony Towns, Mason Plumlee, Marc Gasol
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.