Game Flow Notes
HIGH O/U – Timberwolves vs. Warriors- The total in this game is 225.5 with a spread of 16. The Warriors will continue to pursue their quest for greatness, but I think this one could be closer than advertised. The Wolves will rely on Karl Anthony-Towns 28% usage 35+ mpg to help keep them in the game. I have him projected at 45 DKFP, but think he could exceed that if Andrew Bogut (questionable) were to miss this game. The Warriors are all about Stephen Curry. He has a 34% usage rate and should be the top fantasy scorer tonight.
LOW O/U – Spurs vs. Jazz- The total in this one is the lowest on the night at 185.5 with a spread of 3. The Spurs are locked into the playoffs, so we could see some guys resting for Coach Popovich. The Jazz are fighting for a playoff spot, so they should put forth their best effort. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge will be the go to guys for the Spurs, assuming they actually play. The Jazz will look to Gordon Hayward for most of their scoring. Hayward is seeing 36 mpg and has a usage rate of 25%. He has put up 35+ DKFP in the last two games and his matchup might be made a bit easier if the Spurs rest some of their stars.
Pace of Play
HIGH PACE – Blazers vs. Kings – This game was close to being the highest scoring, but missed out to the Warriors by a couple of points. With a projected game pace of 102.3, this is the most uptempo game on the night. It’s a terrific spot for Damian Lillard and his whopping 30% usage rate. For the Kings, DeMarcus Cousins is expected back from a rest day and a suspension. He has struggled against the Blazers a bit this year (39 DKFPPG in 2 games against POR) but it would be surprising if those struggles continues against one of the weaker interior defenses in the NBA.
LOW PACE – Cavaliers vs. Bucks- This is the 2nd slowest game on the evening (Spurs/Jazz, noted above, are slowest) at a 93.8 projected game pace. Kyrie Irving is questionable, which means King Lebron James could be the primary ball handler. Against the Hornets he had a 35% usage rate and put up 60+ DKFP. I think he could easily put up 50 DKFP on the night if Kyrie sits. The Bucks have their own star in the making in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak has been on fire as the starting PG for the Bucks and has a usage rate of 23%. He is seeing over 35 mpg and can fill up a stat sheet. I have him projected at 40+ DKFP tonight.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Chris Paul (LAC) vs. Los Angeles Lakers-The Lakers are ranked 30th against opposing PGs. Paul is seeing a usage rate of 27% and while his scoring might dip with Blake Griffin back, he should see a slight boost in assists to compensate. Paul also loves beating up on the Lakers. Paul has averaged over 50 DKFPPG when the Clippers are the home team at the Staples Center against the Lakers in his career.
WORST – Reggie Jackson (DET) vs. Miami Heat- The Heat are ranked 2nd against opposing PGs. Jackson has a nice usage rate of 28% and sees over 30 mpg. My only issue with him is his inconsistency and his ability to put up duds. At $5.8K on DK, I think he may hover right around value at 30 DKFP.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – CJ McCollum (POR) vs. Sacramento Kings- The Kings are ranked 30th against opposing SGs. McCollum has a 27% usage rate and should be able to reach value in this matchup. He has averaged 42 DKFPPG in two matchups against the Kings this year already.
WORST – Rodney Hood (UTAH) vs. San Antonio Spurs- The Spurs are ranked 1st against opposing SGs. Hood has a 22% usage rate and has had some nice production this season. However, I am not touching him given the difficult matchup.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Jordan Hamilton (NOR) vs. Philadelphia 76ers- The 76ers are ranked 29th against opposing SFs. Hamilton has put up some nice numbers as the starting SF for the Pelicans. He is seeing a usage rate of 21% and is playing over 30 mpg. With a price tag of 3.9k I love him as a GPP option as I could see him getting 25+ DKFP.
WORST – Gordon Hayward (UTAH) vs. San Antonio Spurs- The Spurs are ranked 1st against opposing SFs. Hayward and the Jazz need wins to keep them locked into the 8th spot. Hayward has a 26.3% usage rate and is playing over 35 mpg. I don’t like this matchup at all, but at this point in the year sometimes you need to consider the value of a given game over the matchup. The Jazz need to go all out, meaning Hayward will be on a shortlist of players locked into their full allotment of minutes and production.
Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Ed Davis (POR) vs. Sacramento Kings – The Kings are ranked 30th against opposing PFs. It genuinely boggles my mind to see Ed Davis not get over 25 MPG, but the ex-Tar Heel only averages about 20 minutes this season. He has a usage rate of 12% and as much as I would love to roll him out in a phenomenal matchup, he is deep tournament play at best on a full slate of games.
WORST – LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS) vs. Utah Jazz The Jazz are ranked 1st against opposing PFs. Derrick Favors came back from injury against the Suns, but didn’t do much offensively. However, he did show us why the Jazz were still the top PF defenders in the league. LMA boasts a usage rate close to 30%, but with the Popovich factor here I am staying away. I think he comes in slightly under value tonight.
BEST – Alexis Ajinca (NOR) vs. Philadelphia 76ers- The 76ers are ranked 30th against opposing Cs. Due to Anthony Davis being shut down, Ajinca is seeing a usage rate of about 25%, he has also hit value in his last 4 games. I love his price and I think he will see 25+ DKFP tonight.
WORST – Greg Monroe (MIL) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs are ranked 1st against opposing Cs. Monroe could start or come off the bench (thanks Jason Kidd), but whatever happens we know he will have a tough matchup. He is only seeing about 25 MPG and has a usage rate of 23%. I still like his price, but I think he comes in slightly under 25 DKFP tonight.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
DeMarcus Cousins ($10,200)- Hopefully Boogie enjoyed his rest for no reason at all. He should see his regular 35% usage rate in a great matchup. There is absolutely no reason that he should see less than 50 DKFP tonight.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Alexis Ajinca ($3,900) – How can you not love Ajinca at $3.9K in this matchup? He has proven he can hit/exceed value at this price point even in challenging matchups. I am going to roll this guy out until his price jumps significantly.
Dud of the Night
Rudy Gay ($6,700) – I can’t understand why Gay’s price hasn’t dropped. He has been wildly inconsistent and is only seeing a 19.4% usage rate. Until his price matches his play he will continue to be the Dud of the Night.
*DKFP DraftKings Fantasy Points