Game Flow Notes
HIGH O/U – Bulls vs. Rockets-The highest total on the evening is 215.5 with a spread of 6. The Bulls are trying their best to sneak their way into the playoffs. They have relied on Pau Gasol all season and will continue to look to him for scoring tonight. Gasol has a usage rate of 25% and can fill up every stat category. I have him projected at 45 DKFP tonight in a great matchup. The Rockets are still all about James Harden. Harden is a guy that can put up 50 DKFP based on his 32% usage alone. I think he is our best shot at a 50 burger tonight, even in a tougher matchup.
LOW O/U – Magic vs. Pacers- The lowest total on the night is 207.5 with a spread of 7.5. The Magic have been decimated by injuries, but will get Nikola Vucevic back tonight. Vuc has been sidelined with a sore groin, so the Magic will gladly welcome his 36.8 DKFPPG. For the Pacers, Paul George is seeing over 35 MPG and has a usage rate of 32%, so I think he goes for 45+ DKFP tonight.
Pace of Play
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HIGH PACE – Celtics vs. Trail Blazers- The projected game pace in this one is 101.10. The Celtics have been fast all season and haven’t seen their pace drop below 100. This game will be a battle of the guards, as the Celtics rely on Isaiah Thomas and his 31% usage rate to do most of the scoring. The Trail Blazers have a similar situation, as Damian Lillard is a 30+ usage rate player that should put up 40+ DKFP.
LOW PACE – Nets vs. Cavaliers – The projected pace in this one is 97.50 and the slowest on the night. The Nets have been all about the bigs as their backcourt is injury riddled. Brook Lopez is out tonight, so his 32% usage rate and over 30 MPG will be distributed throughout the roster. Thaddeus Young looks to be the main beneficiary of Brook’s absence. For the Cavs, Kyrie Irving is questionable, which would mean more usage for the well-rested LeBron James. The King sat out last game, so he should be fresh and ready to dominate a poor Nets team with his 32% usage rate.
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard Matchups
BEST – Patrick Beverley (HOU) vs. Chicago Bulls-The Bulls are ranked 28th against opposing PGs. Beverley has always been a defensive guy when looking at stats, but he has seen his usage rise to about 15% this year. Bev is playing over 30 MPG, and I have him projected at 25 DKFP tonight.
“He has scored an average of 40 DKFPPG and is a lock for a 30 percent usage rate”
WORST – Damian Lillard (POR) vs. Boston Celtics- The Celtics are ranked 1st against opposing PGs. Lillard is an elite PG and has the numbers to back it up. He has scored an average of 40 DKFPPG and is a lock for a 30% usage rate. I think this game will be a battle of the guards, and I love Lillard as a contrarian tournament play.
Shooting Guard Matchups
BEST – Gary Harris (DEN) vs. New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans are ranked 26th against opposing SGs. I thought Harris was coming along, but he is back to producing fantasy point outings in the teens nightly. He does have a usage of 15% and has the court time (30 MPG), but he lacks the ability to score a lot of fantasy points.
WORST – Monta Ellis (IND) vs. Orlando Magic- The Magic are ranked 5th against opposing SGs. He has a usage rate of 20% and is seeing court time in the 30s. Ellis has the same problem a lot of SGs have… he only shoots. I want a guy that can fill up every category, not just one.
Small Forward Matchups
BEST – Mike Dunleavy (CHI) vs. Houston Rockets- The Rockets are ranked 30th against opposing SFs. Usually, I would say based on the matchup, have some tournament exposure, but not tonight. Dunleavy doesn’t do much and sees less than 20 MPG. There are certainly better options tonight.
WORST – Evan Turner (SG) (BOS) vs. Portland Trail Blazers- The Trail Blazers are ranked 3rd against opposing SFs. Evan has been great subbing in for an injured Jae Crowder (who is currently a game-time decision). He has a usage rate of about 20% and plays 30+ MPG. I have him projected at 30 DKFP tonight if Jae Crowder sits again.
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Power Forward Matchups
BEST – Taj Gibson (CHI) vs. Houston Rockets- The Rockets are ranked 29th against opposing PFs. Gibson is questionable tonight with a rib bruise and only gave 10 minutes last game. I love this matchup, but I worry about the injury and the 15% usage rate. With Pau Gasol back, most of the production goes through him.
WORST – Thaddeus Young (BKN) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers The Cavs are ranked 1st against opposing PFs. Thad always seems to make for a great cash game play, as he is extremely consistent. He was rested on Tuesday, and Brook Lopez has already been announced as OUT tonight. Young has a usage rate of 22% and I have him as the 2nd highest ranked PF on the slate. I’m certainly not opposed to playing Thaddeus as a tournament flier tonight, especially with Lopez out.
BEST – Nikola Jokic (DEN) vs. New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans are ranked 29th against opposing centers. Jokic put up 30 DKFP last game when he broke out of his mini-slump. He has about an 18% usage rate and has been seeing a lot more court time. I think he gets to the 30 DKFP mark again this evening.
WORST – Brooklyn Nets Center vs. Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs are ranked 1st against opposing centers. Even against the tough Cavs defense, Lopez was probably the best C on the slate. However, the Nets have decided to rest him tonight. Now we should see more Willie Reed ($3,000) or Thomas Robinson ($3,500), and both guys make for great value plays given their salaries. T Rob put up 40 DKFP last game when he started for Thad Young and I love Robinson again tonight.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
James Harden ($10,600)- The Beard is seeing over 40 MPG and a usage rate of 32%. He can score on demand and has the ability to put up a lot of DKFP on a nightly basis. I expect to see 50+ DKFP on the evening and he may even put up more.
Save Big Bucks by Drafting
Thomas Robinson ($3,500) – Robinson should get the start with Brook Lopez resting tonight. He is coming off of a 40 DKFP performance and should see a usage rate of about 20%. The matchup isn’t ideal, but he will have a lot of minutes to get something done tonight.
Dud of the Night
Kenneth Faried ($5,800) – Faried is working his way back from injury, but he still hasn’t got his feet underneath himself. When he plays, he has a usage rate of 20% and can put up double-double numbers. However, I think he comes in below value this evening.
*DKFP DraftKings Fantasy Points