Game Flow Notes
HIGH O/U – Pistons vs. Magic- When the top total is 209 on the evening, you know there is a lot of uncertainty in the NBA right now. The spread in this one is 2, so it should be close at least. I love both Center plays in this game, Andre Drummond and Nikola Vucevic. Drummond has been in sort of a rough patch, but his 24.8% usage rate and 30+ MPG put him in play on a nightly basis. I love how he matches up against Vucevic and think he can put 40+ DKFP up tonight. Vucevic, on the other hand, has been doing work off of the bench for the Magic. He has a usage rate of 25% and is seeing 30+ MPG. I think he will take the challenge against Drummond head on and put up 40+ as well.
LOW O/U – Hornets vs. Knicks- With a total of 197 and a spread of 4.5, this game takes the title for lowest projected total tonight. With Nicolas Batum questionable, Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin should be able to take advantage of any absence. Both guys will see usage rates of 25%+ and will have to play 30 minutes. The Hornets are still competing for playoff seeding, so they won’t pull the finger off of the trigger yet. The Knicks are filled with uncertainty, due to another lost season. Carmelo Anthony should play and will boast a usage rate of 30%. My only fear is that his minutes are limited due to rest/shutdown. I am staying away due to that factor.
Pace of Play
HIGH PACE – Pelicans vs. Celtics – This game is the fastest game on the night, with a projected game pace of 101.9. The Pelicans are in shutdown mode as well, but have been riding the hot handed guard, Tim Frazier. Frazier is pure value tonight as he should get the start and about a 25% usage rate. He does have a tough matchup, but he should be able to put up 25+ DKFP on the evening. The Celtics will continue to ride Isaiah Thomas, who is now in the 30/30 club. IT2 is seeing over 30 minutes a game and has a usage rate of 30%. I have him projected at 45 DKFP tonight and think that he should easily hit this total.
LOW PACE – Cavaliers vs. Pacers- The Cavs/Pacers are actually the 2nd slowest game on the evening. The projected game pace in this one is 95.6. With the Cavs locked into the 1 seed, it will be interesting to see if anyone rests. As of right now, LeBron James is playing and should have a usage rate of 31%. He should see about 40+ DKFP tonight and will make for a great play. The Pacers are still sort of competing for playoff seeding, so they will continue to play their main guys. Paul George is probable, but should play and see his full 30 minutes of court time. I expect another 40+ DKFP out of him as well.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Chris Paul (LAC) vs. Los Angeles Lakers-The Lakers are ranked 30th against opposing PGs. These teams are coming off of a back-to-back and Paul put up 47 DKFP last night. I don’t think that he is in danger of resting, so he should see his full gambit of 30% usage and 40+ DKFP.
WORST – Tim Frazier (NOR) vs. Boston Celtics- The Celtics are ranked 1st against opposing PGs. Frazier put up a nice 35+ DKFP last evening and should see similar burn tonight. He does have a tougher matchup, but with 30+ minutes and a 25% usage rate I have to utilize his value.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – J.J. Redick (LAC) vs. Los Angeles Lakers- The Lakers are ranked 28th against opposing SGs. Reddick only turned in 21 minutes last night and produced 14 DKFP. This concerns me coming into the back-to-back. I think he still has an opportunity to hit value, but I won’t have any exposure.
WORST – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (DET) vs. Orlando Magic- The Magic are ranked 5th against opposing SGs. KCP is a streaky shooter and has the ability to get hot any night. He boasts a usage rate of 18% and plays over 35 minutes a game. I think he comes in at value tonight, but also doesn’t make my short list of premiere targets.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Otto Porter (WAS) vs. Brooklyn Nets- The Nets are ranked 24th against opposing SFs. I like Porter’s spot and price ($5,300) tonight against a terrible Nets team. He has a usage rate of about 15% and is seeing over 30 minutes a game. I think he goes over value tonight and makes for an interesting GPP play.
WORST – Kevin Durant (OKC) vs. Portland Trail Blazers- The Trail Blazers are ranked 4th against opposing SFs. However, Durant is basically matchup proof. The only thing you have to worry about here is if Billy Donovan will decide to rest anybody. If he doesn’t, we will get a 30% usage rate out of KD and close to 50 DKFP.
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Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) vs. Houston Rockets – The Rockets are ranked 29th against opposing PFs. Old Man Dirk has a usage rate of 29% and hovers around 30 MPG. He has come in under value in 4 out of his last 5 games, so he worries me despite the strong matchup.
WORST – Marvin Williams (CHA) vs. New York Knicks The Knicks are ranked 6th against opposing PFs. Marvin is entirely too shot dependent for me, but I will play him in spots. However, tonight isn’t the night I roll him out. His 14% usage rate and average of 24 DKFPPG make him out of play. I just think there are better options tonight.
BEST – Jared Sullinger (BOS) vs. New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans are ranked 29th against opposing centers. Sullinger is so inconsistent it drives me crazy. He has a usage rate of about 23% and sees 25+ MPG, but sometimes he doesn’t produce. I can’t see how he comes in under value, and therefore I love him as a GPP.
WORST – Ian Mahinmi (IND) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs are ranked 1st against opposing centers. Mahinmi sees about 30 MPG and has a usage rate of 13%. I don’t like playing centers against the Cavs, and I think we will see Mahinmi come in slightly under value this evening.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
James Harden ($10,200)- The Beard put up a nice 67 DKFP performance against the Thunder last game. I have him projected as the highest fantasy scorer on the night, with a whopping 50+ DKFP. He has a usage rate of 30% and sees over 40 MPG. With the Rockets competing for a playoff spot, you really can’t do any better than Harden tonight.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Alexis Ajinca ($4,100) – I am sticking with my man Ajinca again tonight. He pulled down value for us last night and got the DK fire symbol. He is starting at center for the Pelicans, and is essentially the only big they have. I think that he will see a usage rate of about 20% and will score close to 25 DKFP tonight.
Dud of the Night
Kyrie Irving ($7,200) – With his streaky play, I feel like Irving is priced too high. He came in under value last game with 27 DKFP. He does have a usage rate of 28%, which is great, but he is having trouble producing with the ball in his hands. The Pacers are good against PGs and should keep Irving at bay tonight.
*DKFP DraftKings Fantasy Points