Tonight’s matchups bring us a modest, six-game slate. The Warriors are hosting the Lakers in the night’s biggest game total and point spread and only one game is under 200, meaning a good bit of fantasy goodness. Do you go stars/scrubs or a balanced lineup? There are some good options out there so let’s sort it all out. As always, if you have any questions, hit me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72.
Indiana Pacers @ Washington Wizards
Line: Wizards -2
The Pacers are near the league average in pace at 98.72 poss/gm while the Wizards are one of the league fastest pace team, fourth overall with 101.93 poss/gm. The Wizards are 11th in Offensive Rating (OFFRAT) while the Pacers are, again, middle of the league. In Defensive Rating (DEFRAT), the Pacers are now a robust third overall while the Wizards are 12th worst. George Hill is probable for the Pacers, reducing the value of Monta Ellis and the bench guys, Rodney Stuckey and CJ Miles, who is also probable for tonight’s game.
John Wall playing better at home has always been a thing and this year, even after 10 games, it’s still sort of true. His personal OFFRAT is 107 at home versus 99 on the road, but his DK points per minute is almost the same, rocking a 1.10 at home and 1.14 on the road. Where this perhaps has an impact is with his teammates, of which Bradley Beal, Kris Humphries and Otto Porter all see significant jumps in their fantasy production at home. Against the Pacers, who are weakest defending the SG and C positions, Beal and Marcin Gortat could be plays here.
For the Pacers, the Wizards give up points on the wings, so Paul George would ordinarily matchup well here, especially given his recent run of nine straight games over 40 DK points. However, that run has pushed his salary to nearly 10K (9.9K), so he’s not setup to return much value here, but he’s a solid play if you have the dough, given the tightness of this game and his personal matchup. It’s hard to find any solid salary plays among the starters, so if you are in a tourney, the matchup for Stuckey looks good if he gets some extended run. With George Hill back, that won’t be as likely, but Stuckey’s 3.9K salary has the most likelihood of making value in tournaments.
– John Wall ($8,400)
– Bradley Beal ($6,700)
– Paul George ($9,900)
– Rodney Stuckey ($3,900)
Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks
The Celtics continue their uptempo ways, fifth overall in pace while the Hawks are middle of the pack. The Hawks are eighth in OFFRAT and Boston is 13th and defensively the Celtics are fourth best and the Hawks are 14th. Kent Bazemore and Tiago Splitter are out for the Hawks and Marcus Smart is out for the Celtics.
I may love this game a little too much. These are two well coached teams that execute well and the matchup is super-close between these two teams. The Hawks abandon the offensive glass, leaving plenty of opportunities for Jared Sullinger to pile up some boards, as he did when grabbed 10 in 24 minutes against Atlanta earlier this season. The Hawks are also weak against aggressive point guards, so with Marcus Smart out, Isaiah Thomas will be very active in this game. In fact, highly active players tend to accrue the hustle stats against the Hawks, who play a little more precise and methodical than down and dirty, so Jae Crowder is a good play here as well.
Going against the Celtics, the Hawks can use their greatest strength, their talented front court of Paul Millsap and Al Horford to take advantage of the weaker interior Celtics defense. Paul Millsap is looking banged up right now with a sore shoulder, but his ability to fill the stat sheet makes him a nightly play and Al Horford scored 39 when these two teams last met. With Bazemore out, it’s a mess, minutes wise, to replace him. Kyle Korver has not hit value at his current salary in nine of his last ten games and Thabo Sefolosha gets just enough peripherals to get close to value, but his lack of scoring prevents him from being a solid play.
– Jared Sullinger ($6,300)
– Jae Crowder ($5,700)
– Paul Millsap ($8,200)
– Al Horford ($6,900)
Dallas Mavericks @ Memphis Grizzlies
Line: Grizzlies -3
Dallas is a top ten pace team, but the Grizzlies are fourth slowest. Defensively, the Grizzlies have picked it up a little bit and are now only 10th worst in the league while the Mavs are 10th best. On offense, the Grizzlies are sixth worst while the Mavs are 10th best, somehow.
The key here, for Memphis, will be if Zach Randolph is playing or not. If he’s out again, it’s all the Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, who both get significant lifts from Z-Bo’s absence. If Randolph does play, however, he’s in a solid spot against Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Powell. The former has a personal 105 DEFRAT while the latter has a foul problem against bigs like Randolph. The Mavs are sound defensively on the wing, especially with Chandler Parsons back, so Mario Chalmers off the bench isn’t as good a play as he has been recently.
Dallas may have cobbled together an efficient offense, but there isn’t anyone who stands out on a nightly basis to make it happen. That’s great for coach Rick Carlisle, but not so hot for looking for plays in the mix here. If this game is going to stay as close as Vegas thinks it will, it’ll probably be in some part because Deron Williams played well to make it so. Williams has had three straight games over over 35 DK points, value even at his current 5.8K salary.
– Marc Gasol ($7,300)
– Mike Conley ($6,600)
– Deron Williams ($5,800)
– Wesley Matthews ($4,300)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Denver Nuggets
Line: Clippers -6.5
The Clippers and the Nuggets are right next to each other in pace, both in the top half of the league at nearly 100 poss/gm. The Clippers are the fifth best team in OFFRAT while the Nuggets are just in the bottom half of the league in that category. Defensively, both teams are in the bottom ten in DEFRAT. Kenneth Faried is doubtful and Joffrey Lauvergne is questionable.
The Nuggets are so thin in the frontcourt now that’s it’s hard to think that they could go big and matchup with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan unless there are major minutes ahead for both Nikola Jokic and JJ Hickson, especially if Kenneth Faried is out. Jokic’s last three games has yielded 50, 14.5 and 34.75 with the low game due to only getting 18 minutes against Phoenix. If they have to go big, and you would think that against the Clippers, then he’s firmly in play if Lauvergne misses again with his sore back. Darrell Arthur is also a potential play, given his 34 minute, 33 DK point game against the Warriors Sunday and his 3.5K salary tonight. As for team lead usage player, the rookie PG Emmanuel Mudiay, it’s tough to roster against Chris Paul but he has to be looked at considering the game total, the spread and his usage.
The Nuggets are attackable on nearly all fronts, so take your pick here. Jordan has a relatively reasonable salary at 7.4K as compared to Blake (9.4K) and Chris Paul (8.5K). Those three, though, are the Clippers offense, as nearly half of all the total game events for the team go through those three. With JJ Redick back, he and Jamal Crawford are splitting the production from that SG spot and negate each other in fantasy goodness.
– Nikola Jokic ($4,000)
– Emmanuel Mudiay ($5,900)
– Blake Griffin ($9,400)
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,400)
Chicago Bulls @ Portland Trail Blazers
Line: Bulls -2.5
The Bulls are ninth in pace and the Blazers are 10th slowest. Portland is ninth in OFFRAT and 11th worst in DEFRAT while the Bulls are sixth best defensively and eighth worst offensively. Derrick Rose is expected to play tonight while Aaron Brooks is out.
It’s an interesting game for Portland, as the crux of their usage is in the backcourt, with Damian Lillard with 31.6% and CJ McCollum with 26.2. But the Bulls so far this season have been far more vulnerable inside. Still, Lillard is definitely in play as is Mason Plumlee, who has been very solid in DK points since Meyers Leonard’s injury. In his last three games, Plumlee has scored 31.5, 37 and 42.25 DK points.
While Plumlee has been good offensively, he can be attacked defensively and Pau Gasol is reasonably priced at 7.1K in sort of a Tim Duncan like role for coach Fred Hoiberg. His minutes will cap his ceiling, but as a cash game play, he’s a good play here against Plumlee. If Rose does play as expected, he’s a reasonable play at 6K given his team leading usage and positive matchup with Lillard.
– Damian Lillard ($9,000)
– Mason Plumlee ($5,700)
– Derrick Rose ($6,000)
– Pau Gasol ($7,100)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors
Line: Warriors -17
The Warriors are third in pace, tops in OFFRAT and fifth in DEFRAT. The Lakers, on the opposite end of the spectrum, are 12th in pace, third worst offensively and third worst defensively.
Forecasting blowouts can be tough, but in Oakland, with a 23.9 disparity in NetRtg, you can feel pretty sure this is a three-shift game for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and company. On a six-game slate, however, it’s hard to pass on a game total of 214 and if they do annihilate the Lakers, it’s likely due to some massive production from those guys. I think there’s enough on the slate to pass in cash games, but tourney exposure is sound, especially for Curry.
The Lakers are a mess everywhere. Kobe is still a usage king at 28% but he has only returned value once in his last nine games. Jordan Clarkson is a volume minutes play, but his 0.79 DKPPM rate is meh with and without Kobe on the court. He’ll need his usual 35+ minutes to get value, even at 5.2K. Even with Kobe on the court, the Lakers have been getting 30+ minutes with three guards, with rookie D’Angelo Russell getting increased minutes the last two games. Russell has had 33.6 and 35.78 minutes in those games, both with Kobe, and has scored 30.75 and 32.75, both well over his value at 4.5K. Curry is excellent, but he is the weakest defensive link in a super-strong defensive unit, meaning that Russell is in maybe the best spot of the three guards.
– Stephen Curry ($10,900)
– Klay Thompson ($6,300)
– Kobe Bryant ($6,100)
– D’Angelo Russell ($4,500)