Big Wednesday brings us a large order of basketball in the way of an 11-game slate. Top teams like the Warriors, Clippers, Hawks, Raptors and Pistons are there as well as top players Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George and James Harden. And that’s leaving a dozen top players out. There are a lot of combinations with a slate like this, so let’s sort it all out. As always, if you have any questions, hit me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72.
(Stats per NBA Stats, StatMuse, NBAWowy)
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New York Knicks @ Charlotte Hornets
Line: Hornets -5
The Knicks are on the back end of a back to back and so are the Hornets, having returned home from Minnesota. Both teams are middle of the roadish in pace and the Hornets have four points per 100 possessions worse defensive than the Knicks. The Hornets, however, are four points better than the Knicks in scoring per 100 possessions.
With Marvin Williams and, more specifically, 21 minutes per game of Cody Zeller, the power forward position can be a weak spot for the Hornets and rookie Kristaps Porzingis is the guy to take advantage. Porzingis has great size and skill and his production, while excellent and on par with value, has been limited by a limited role with the Knicks so far. Not wanting to rush the lad, the Knicks have been limiting the rookie to 24 minutes per game. Free Porzingis! A back end of a back to back is a great time to lean on the youth, which could mean more time for ‘Zingis, but he’s a tourney play only due to the lack of commitment to minutes.
Not mentioning Carmelo Anthony twice in a row in a Game Breakdown probably violates some laws but the truth is he’s capped by how high or low the game ceiling is and, in a slower game like this, he just can’t get to the value of his salary slot because there aren’t enough possession to purely score. Anthony has a DK Net Points score of 17.5 (DK points then subtracting out the points scored), but it’s not enough to get him to that top level of player. For example, Paul Millsap’s DK Net Points is 24.3, for Andre Drummond, it’s 33.9. Still, he’s the only guy you can count on to get 32+ minutes on the team as he’s averaging near 34 mpg. The next guy in line is Langston Galloway at 27.8. With a big like Jefferson in the game, Robin Lopez, who had 35 DK points Tuesday night, might get some solid run and he’s somewhat reasonably priced.
As I mentioned yesterday, Charlotte is overpriced in relation to their production so far this season. Nic Batum has been solid in his peripherals, with a solid 18.1 Net DK Points, giving him the firmest base on which to roster if you had to roster someone on Charlotte, especially considering that it’s at the SF wing that they’ve been more vulnerable in fantasy production. They are also weaker at PF, though that would change if Porzingis (94.5 personal defensive rating) played more. Marvin Williams is next on the team in DK Net Points and continues to be alright priced, though his ceiling is comparatively low.
– Robin Lopez ($4,800)
– Langston Galloway ($4,600)
– Nicolas Batum ($6,500)
– Marvin Williams ($5,500)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Orlando Magic
Line: Magic -7
The Lakers are playing the second end of a back to back and the Magic had the night off last night. Both teams play more uptempo than league average with the Lakers at #5 and the Magic at #15. The teams are even in offensive rating, but the Lakers are way worse than the Magic defensively, especially at PG and up front. Nikola Vucevic is questionable for the game.
The Lakers are a mess, as I’ve said before, and they are almost always a target for opposing point guards. So wipe away those tears of the season so far, Elfrid Payton, your time has arrived. Evan Fournier continue to play big minutes for the Magic and the usage for the team in general is split pretty evenly across the low 20s for all the starters. If Vucevic misses, Dewayne Dedmon has been a popular punt, but his price has gone up almost 2K, and with his foul trouble, I’m staying away. The points are so spread out and all the starters’ salaries are so high that only Tobias Harris at 5.9K really looks able to make his number.
Los Angeles is still yielding 28 percent of possessions to Kobe Bryant when he’s on the floor. NBA Stats has a metric called Player Impact Estimate, which measures the percentage of a team’s successful plays that player has been responsible for. Bryant is currently tied for eighth on the team with Brandon Bass. Still, usage, but yeah. Kobe sat in Miami so he’s going to play against the Magic. There’s nobody you can really count on in here, especially knowing how much Kobe is going to occupy. Metta World Peace has played three games since he came back and, in both limited and extended roles, made his number. He’s a tourney punt play only who is questionable to play on the back end of this back to back.
– Elfrid Payton ($5,600)
– Tobias Harris ($5,900)
– Kobe Bryant ($6,100)
– Metta World Peace ($3,100)
Toronto Raptors @ Philadelphia 76ers
Line: Raptors -9.5
Toronto and Philadelphia come in with similar pace numbers, averaging around 99 possessions per game. Toronto is in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating and the Sixers are the worst in offensive rating and bottom ten in defensive rating. Nerlens Noel is questionable with sore wrists. DeMarre Carroll is questionable with plantar fasciitis. Robert Covington and Tony Wroten remain out. Toronto is on the back end of a back-to-back and Philadelphia had the night off Tuesday night.
Toronto gets a Philly team that has been gauged just about everywhere except the shooting guard position. Kyle Lowry played and had 52.25 DK points against the Knicks poor backcourt and, while T.J. McConnell has been a great story and value this past week, he has not been a good defender, giving up 108 points per 100 possessions. The 76ers have been beaten up front, too, but the Raptors don’t commit to playing Jonas Valanciunas more than about 29-30 minutes per game. DeMar DeRozan had a good matchup and made it work for 39.50 DK points, which is about right on value at his salary.
If Noel is out for Philadelphia, then it enhances both Jahlil Okafor and Jerami Grant. Okafor hit it for 46.25 DK points Monday on 25 shot attempts (!). Grant scored 23.75 his last time out with Noel out of the game, which is good value for his 4.1K salary. T.J. McConnell has been great, but his price has skyrocketed to 5.5K, which is too much for a guy who just doesn’t score. He has cracked the RABS100 list (rebounds, assists, blocks and steals per 100 possessions) but needing around 32-33 points for value, he would need to score more and he hasn’t scored in double digits yet this year.
– Kyle Lowry ($8,000)
– DeMar DeRozan ($7,200)
– Jerami Grant ($4,100)
– Jahlil Okafor ($6,600)
Indiana Pacers @ Boston Celtics
Line: Celtics 2.5
The Celtics are the fifth fastest team in the league so far this season at 103.23 and the Pacers are near the bottom, averaging 97.64 possessions per game. Both teams are in the bottom half of the league in offensive rating and top ten in defensive rating. Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley are questionable.
If Bradley and Smart miss the game, the attention turns to Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner. In the 23 minutes this season (52 possessions) that Smart and Bradley were off the court AND Thomas and Turner were on the court together, Thomas used 37% of possessions and Turner 28.8%. The C’s are notorious for spreading out the minutes and production and Tuesday night was no exception, as only Thomas and Jae Crowder played more than 30 minutes. Turner was next with 28 minutes. The four-man bigs rotation of Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and David Lee means that, until there’s an injury, there will be low minutes for each of them. Sullinger still can deliver as a tourney play, but only that.
Paul George is finally inching closer to star salary range now that he’s at $8.8K. George has delivered 50+ DK point games four times this season and three of those were in his last four games. With the best defenders on the Celtics possibly missing the game, George should enjoy the matchup. Both CJ Miles and Rodney Stuckey offer tournament options as both have a high ceiling in DK points per minute, but both are fighting for floor time with Monta Ellis and George Hill starting in front of them.
– Isaiah Thomas ($7,200)
– Evan Turner ($4,600)
– Paul George ($8,800)
– George Hill ($6,100)
New Orleans Pelicans @ Atlanta Hawks
Line: Hawks -9.5
The Pelicans are sixth fastest in the league in pace while the Hawks are in the middle of the pack in that category. The Hawks are the fourth best offensive rating team while the Pelicans are dead last in defensive rating. Anthony Davis left the game Tuesday with a hip injury and may be the dreaded game time decision. Jrue Holiday has not been playing back-to-back games as he recovers from his injury and he played Tuesday night, so he’s at least questionable for this game. Tyreke Evans, Norris Cole and Kendrick Perkins remain out.
The Hawks have been starting games awful slow, even at home, and it almost cost DFS players some significant minutes as the team was a minute away from having the plug pulled as they trailed Minnesota Monday night. But, they pulled through. Jeff Teague could be suspended for one game for hitting Nemanja Bjelica in that Monday night game. If that happens, lock and load Dennis Schröder, who is already a decent value at 4.4K off the bench. Dating back to last year, Schröder’s usage went up to 29.5% with Teague on the bench or out. The Hawks have been getting great offensive play out of Kent Bazemore and while his salary has moved up to 5.2K, his production still fits the value line. Paul Millsap plays the most minutes, on average, and continues to deliver value to his 7.9K salary with a RABS100 score of 16.6. The Pelicans are weak in the backcourt, thanks to the Holiday on-court rehab and no Evans, either. Asik helps a beleaguered center defense, but he’ll struggle with Al Horford in terms of getting up and down the floor. Advantages all around for the Hawks and, if Davis does miss the game, it could get ugly very quickly.
For the Pelicans, Davis is a slam dunk play because of the Hawks aversion to the offensive glass. With Holiday likely to sit, Ish Smith gets a nice lift. Ish delivered over 43 DK points Tuesday night, off the bench, and is nice-priced at 4.8K. Should Davis miss, the Hawks have always struggled with keeping up with the shooting of Ryan Anderson. Anderson, like Ish, had a 43.25 game Tuesday night and did it, again like Smith, in less than 30 minutes.
– Dennis Schröder ($4,400)
– Paul Millsap ($7,900)
– Ish Smith ($4,800)
– Ryan Anderson ($5,700)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Dallas Mavericks
Line: Clippers -5.5
Both the Clippers and Mavericks are in the top half in pace, but the Clippers are fourth in offensive rating while the Mavericks are in the bottom half in both offense and defense rating. Javale McGee is out and Chandler Parsons remains on a strict 15 minute limit.
The line isn’t out on this game as of this writing, but given the mismatch here it could have blowout potential. The Clippers come in strong with Blake Griffin taking another step forward in his statistical growth, popping on to the RABS100 chart at #25 with 20.4. Griffin is also getting to the foul line regularly, ranking sixth in FTA per 100 possessions. He’s a probable 50-burger every time out, though the Mavericks will have to keep it close to get Blake there tonight.
This game marks the return of DeAndre Jordan to Dallas since he spurned them in the offseason after the Mavericks thought they had a deal with the young center. Jordan will surely get booed in Dallas, so it’s hard to know if he’ll get angry and play harder or if it will negatively impact his play, if any impact at all. Jordan ranks third in the RABS100 chart, getting 26.9 DK points from everywhere else but scoring. The Mavs have struggled to defend the frontcourt all season, since right about after the time Jordan did the about face and re-signed with the Clippers.
Figuring out who will be successful on any given night for the Mavericks is a tough task and their salaries reflect that. Dirk Nowitzki is the highest salary player on the site, and he’s at 6.4K. Was concerned about value play Dwight Powell picking up fouls against Anthony Davis, and he did before Davis left the game with his injury. Going up against Blake Griffin isn’t any easier.
– Blake Griffin ($9,500)
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,800)
– Zaza Pachulia ($5,600)
– J.J. Barea ($3,800)
Brooklyn Nets @ Houston Rockets
Line: Rockets -12.5
How bad are the winless Nets? The Rockets, who have gotten pantsed by 20 points or more in three games this season, are a 12 point favorite. The Rockets are a top 10 team in pace while the Nets are bottom five. The Rockets have been surprisingly average offensively while being awful defensively and the Nets have just been bad at both. Terrence Jones and Patrick Beverley are questionable and Donatas Motiejunas is out. For the Nets, Brook Lopez is probable to play.
The Rockets have been weak in the frontcourt defense, so Lopez makes some sense here. The Rockets miss a good bit of shots and Lopez has had two games of 45+ DK points in his last three games. Thaddeus Young has also been playing well, scoring over his value in two of his last three games.
The Nets have been weak in shooting guard defense and the Rockets have one of the best in James Harden. Harden is #1 in getting to the free throw line, getting 12.7 free throw attempts per 100 possessions. Marcus Thornton has been getting minutes with Jones out and has been scoring over 30+ DK points in two of his five games and never scoring less than 24.75 in any of those games. You can score on Lopez, as his 107 personal defensive rating indicates, and Dwight Howard has been scoring since returning, healthy, to the Rockets lineup.
– James Harden ($10,100)
– Dwight Howard ($7,200)
– Brook Lopez ($7,100)
– Joe Johnson ($4,800)
Golden State Warriors @ Memphis Grizzlies
Line: Warriors -7
Tough game here. The Warriors are the third fastest pace team and the Grizzlies are the fourth slowest. The Warriors are first in both offensive and defensive rating. The Grizzlies continue to surprisingly struggle defensively, being seventh worst in the league, allowing 105 points per 100 possessions. Brandon Wright is currently questionable for the game.
The spread is seven so maybe it could be closer than the 50 point shellacking in Oracle earlier in the month. The Warriors suppress every team’s offense, so it’ll be hard to identify any value with Memphis. Sometimes, The backcourt can sometimes be beat defensively, so Mike Conley could be alright.
For the Warriors, it’s hard to go against Curry on any night and Draymond Green is making value at his number as well. Festus Ezeli has been a good punt play but with Bogut back in the lin
– Stephen Curry ($10,500)
– Draymond Green ($6,900)
– Mike Conley ($6,000)
– Matt Barnes ($3,500)
Milwaukee Bucks @ Denver Nuggets
Line: Nuggets -2.5
The Nuggets are middle of the pack in pace, with 100.49 possessions per game. The Bucks are slow, with 95.64 possessions per game. These two teams are ninth and tenth worst in defensive rating, making their average offensive ratings shine a little brighter. Michael Carter-Williams and OJ Mayo continue to miss time and are questionable for tonight. Wilson Chandler, Jusef Nurkic and Joffrey Lauvergne are out and Jameer Nelson questionable for the Nuggets.
Denver’s been vulnerable in the backcourt being undersized and under-experienced. Milwaukee’s backcourt situation has been a mess and it’s been hard to trust anyone even in the absence of MCW and Mayo. Jerryd Bayless has been getting my call but has been inconsistent. Still, I like his matchup here against the Nuggets and would send him back out there again at 4.5K. Greg Monroe has been great inside offensively and continues to deliver, getting 45 DK points Tuesday night.
The Bucks have been soft at defending the power forward, giving Kenneth Faried a chance for a nice game here. It’s been three games since Faried has delivered value, but his matchups against the Warriors and Jazz were understandable. He gets in a good spot here with so many of his frontcourt brethren out. If MCW misses the game, then I like Emmanuel Mudiay to produce with his 28% usage rate against the likes of Tyler Ennis.
– Greg Monroe ($8,300)
– Giannis Antetokounmpo ($7,400)
– Emmanuel Mudiay (S6,100)
– Kenneth Faried ($6,500)
Detroit Pistons @ Sacramento Kings
Line: Kings -1.5
The Kings are the second fastest paced team in the league and the Pistons are the eighth slowest. Both teams are in the bottom ten in offensive rating, but the Kings are third worst in defensive rating while the Pistons are in the top ten in that category.
While Boogie Cousins has been out of the lineup, Andre Drummond has risen to the top of the centers. Drummond’s minutes per game and every other meaningful stat has gone through the roof without Greg Monroe around. With Cousins possibly playing power forward in this game, Drummond might stay out of foul trouble and vice versa. Fans can only hope as these two will be fun to watch. The Kings have also been able to be attacked from the wings, so Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who always gets a ton of minutes, is in play here.
The Pistons have been difficult at every position to score upon, so you have to focus on Cousins and Rondo, both of whom put up good peripherals and are plus talents at their positions. Rondo pitched a complete game (48 minutes) against the Spurs. With Darren Collison against questionable for the game, Rondo has more value.
– Andre Drummond ($9,400)
– DeMarcus Cousins ($9,800)
– Rajon Rondo ($6,800)
– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,000)
San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers
Line: Spurs -7.5
The Spurs and Blazers are both around 99 possessions per game, which is in the bottom half of the league. Both teams are in the top 10 in offensive rating, and while the Spurs are second in defense to behind the Warriors, the Blazers are in the bottom ten.
The Spurs are so hard to trust in terms of playing time. With Portland being bad on defense in the backcourt, Tony Parker and his 4.4K salary should be on point. But Parker isn’t getting the minutes to make good on a matchup like that, leaving a good bit of the production to Patty Mills, who put up 30.25 and 28.5 games in his last two. I’d love to play Tim Duncan at 6K, but on the road you and without a minutes guarantee, it’s hard to pull the trigger. Same for Kawhi Leonard at 8.2K.
As for Portland, their backcourt, while struggling defensively, is launching shots offensively. Damien Lillard is in play for every game, at 31.7% usage. Mason Plumlee has quietly locked down the interior, getting 33 minutes his last time out and producing three games of 29.5 points or higher in his last four outings.
– Damian Lillard ($8,900)
– Mason Plumlee ($5,500)
– Kawhi Leonard ($8,200)
– Patty Mills ($3,200)