It’s Saturday, and if you decided to take the plunge and roster Jerian Grant last night then shake it off, learn our lessons, forget the bodily harm you considered and let’s get into the sweetheart of a five-game main slate. Get down off the ledge and let’s get to it!
As always, if you have any questions, find me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72.
Stats from StatMuse, NBAWowy, NBA Stats and DFSGold
San Antonio Spurs @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Line: Spurs -2
The total may surprise when considering two of the slowest paced teams in the league, but they are also two of the top six offensive execution teams in the league and both are playing at a faster pace in recent games than their seasonal average.
When Tim Duncan misses a game, as he’s missed nine this season, the only guy who sees an appreciable increase in minutes or fantasy points is….Boban Marjanovic. But Boban has two things working against him when considering rostering him tonight. One is that his salary has risen to 3.7K, meaning hix 6x number is now 22.2. the second is that, even with Duncan out, Boban’s increase in minutes is only to an average of 15 minutes per game.
The main matchup is Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James. When those two last clashed, Leonard played 40 minutes and scored 46 DK points while LeBron played 37 and scored 36 DK points. At 1.3K less, Leonard is the better bargain between the two and still in the best position to make value as well as protect his floor.
Without Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker both have 23% usage rates, tops on the team (Leonard 22%). But against the Cavs last time out, Aldridge has a 14% usage and it’s been Parker the last three times against the Cavs who has had the highest usage, at 25-26%. Considering Parker’s 5.3K salary and his matchup against Kyrie Irving, Parker is in play.
For the Cavs, it’s clear Kyrie Irving is their thing. He has now gone over 30% usage in the games under Tyronn Lue and he’s led the team in usage against the Spurs, too. Looks like both PGs are in play as Irving’s salary is only 6.4K
– Tony Parker ($5,300)
– Kawhi Leonard ($8,200)
– Kyrie Irving ($6,400)
– LeBron James ($9,500)
Denver Nuggets @ Indiana Pacers
Line: Pacers -8
Question: Who has the highest usage rate on the Pacers over the last four games? Answer: Myles Turner (29%).
Ok, the follow up might be, “Ok, but isn’t that before he joined Paul George in the starting lineup? Won’t that usage drop when having the share the ball with Monta Ellis and PG13?
Question: Who led the team in usage against the Hawks, with George, Ellis and Turner in the starting lineup? Answer: Monta (20.2), George (23.6), Turner (34.4!).
Oh, the Nuggets are terrible against opposing frontcourts, over the season, the last three weeks and last week. Turner, as long as he’s starting, is a strong target here.
For Denver, Nikola Jokic has finally seemed to earn the floor time from Michael Malone and he is excelling. He’s such a versatile threat at center and has solid peripherals to support him even if the offense doesn’t come around to him (still 20% usage over last four games).
– Myles Turner ($5,300)
– Paul George ($8,900)
– Nikola Jokic ($4,900)
– Emmanuel Mudiay ($5,700)
Brooklyn Nets @ New Orleans Pelicans
Line: Pelicans -8.5
Keep an eye on who is starting for the Pelicans, as both Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis are still questionable as I write this. Last time out, Bryce Dejean-Jones started and had a solid game for the minimum (26+), but if Evans is back, the entire backcourt is over priced at this point, with Jrue Holiday now over 7K and even Norris Cole approaching 6K. The whole team has been rolling and their prices reflect that, only Alonzo Gee is still reasonable priced at 4.4K, but he lacks the ceiling to be impactful in tourneys, but is a solid cash punt at this point, especially with a solid team total tonight against the Nets.
The Nets best plays, nightly, are Brook Lopez at 7.1K and Thaddeus Young at 6.3K. Both play long minutes and have solid peripherals. The Pelicans have shored this up recently up front but are still a good target for these two guys. One place the Pelicans have still be a bit weak in recently is at the point and Donald Sloan is averaging 20 DK Net Points in January (strictly peripherals points), making him, at his 4.8K salary, solid if he can get the 35 minutes he got against Dallas last time out. Tourney-wise, Wayne Ellington is 3.3K and is playing nearly 30 minutes per game and can get 22-25 DK points if shots are falling. His floor is 3-5 DK points, but in a tourney spot against the Pelicans, who give up the fifth best 3-pt% this season, he’s a good punt play at SG.
– Jrue Holiday (assuming Evans out) ($7,100)
– Ryan Anderson (assuming Davis out) ($6,900)
– Brook Lopez ($7,100)
– Thaddeus Young ($6,300)
Washington Wizards @ Houston Rockets
Line: Rockets -3.5
Two fairly bad defensive teams, with the Rockets being extremely awful (2nd worst over last four game, fourth worst for the season). We’re waiting to see if Houston plays Dwight Howard on back to back games as the Rockets took on the Thunder last night in OKC. If he misses, James Harden is the top play tonight as the only pig at the trough for the Rockets. Pat Beverley has been playing really well lately since returning from injury and he’s still only 4.2K.
The Wizards are still limiting Bradley Beal to about a half game but Garrett Temple continues to play a ton of minutes, 38 his last time out. You want to attack the Rockets at the wings, so Temple, if starting, is still a target, even at 4.7K. The Wizards miscast John Wall as some kind of Brevin Knight, or in modern terms, TJ McConnell like facilitator until their deficit is such that they just turn him loose. It’s frustrating and it’s even more a factor when Beal is back, as shown in the game against the Nuggets where Beal and Ramon Sessions had higher usage rates than Wall, who had only a 23% rate. They lost. Marcin Gortat at 7K is a decent option, and even more so if Howard misses, as the Rockets get a little easier to score on without Howard.
– James Harden ($10,100)
– Patrick Beverley ($4,200)
– Garrett Temple ($4,700)
– Marcin Gortat ($7,000)
Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies
Line: Grizzlies -3.5
A battle of pace wills, as the Kings are a 102 possessions per games while the Grizzlies are averaging closer to 95 per game and 93 over their last four games. One of the nightly questions for the Grizzlies is who will get the minutes between Matt Barnes, Jeff Green and Tony Allen. When all three are healthy, it looks like Barnes is the one who will get the short end of the deal, proven out against the last game where he played a solid 25 minutes, but was third behind Green (32) and Allen (28) for playing time. Gasol is still the mainstay and main play for Memphis, and they lean on him against larger frontcourts like the Kings possess.
DeMarcus Cousins has been other worldly, but now so is his salary, at 11.4K. Rudy Gay is back, so that impacts, slightly but impacts, Cousins’ usage drops between 2-3% and his DKPPG goes down nearly seven points per game with Gay in play. Same for Rondo, at least on the DKPPG side, where Rondo drops from 45.2 without Gay to 39 with Rudy active. With most of the Kings salaries based on premium situations for each of them, they are almost all over salaried at this point. Target the stable roles on the Kings if you are going to go that route here or go cheap like for Darren Collison who, at 4.3K, has room for tournament upside.
– Marc Gasol ($7,500)
– Mike Conley ($6,200)
– Rajon Rondo ($8,500)
– Darren Collison ($4,300)