NBA Narrative Watch: Lauri Markkanen’s Bobblehead Night

Hello DFS community, welcome back to the DFS Narratives article. I’m going to highlight my favorite NBA narratives for this upcoming week. I am a believer that narratives matter, and even if there’s no scientific proof it impacts a player’s performance, they are just a fun part of DFS.

Let’s do a quick recap of how some of the narratives from last week panned out:

The Return of Jiminy Buckets – Sigh, I had high hopes for Jimmy Butler facing his old Minnesota teammates, but a blowout and his high-usage friends named Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons stole the show. Butler wasn’t awful, but he finished with just 35.25 DKFP and it felt like he took a backseat to his teammates. I still consider Butler a very vengeful person, but it wasn’t a very vengeful performance.

This Cousins Ain’t No Family Member – Anthony Davis faced off against the Warriors and former teammate DeMarcus Cousins, who missed this game as he still wasn’t cleared to return to the court from his Achilles injury. Davis finished with 72 DKFP, which was very good despite his salary being at $11,800. Overall, I would say this worked out well.

Farewell, D. Wade – Dwyane Wade faced his former team, the Bulls, in what was a #revenge and #hometown game. It was his final time playing in Chicago and Wade dropped a cool 37.5 DKFP at low ownership and a cheap $4,800 price tag. Wade nearly triple-doubled in this outing and was clearly playing with some extra motivation in a win against his hometown team. Thank you, Mr. Wade.

Shaqtin’ A Happy Birthday Fool – JaVale McGee celebrated his 31st birthday in style, dropping 36 DKFP in just 16 minutes. That’s right, McGee had a 12-point, 14-rebound double-double in roughly a quarter and a half of playing time. It was an impressive performance and he took advantage of the Rockets lacking a true center to match up against him. Happy belated birthday, JaVale.

Let’s now look at some of my favorite narratives for this upcoming week:

Monday January 21 – The Revenge of Enes Kanter: I know it’s been two seasons now, but Enes Kanter faces his old buddies on Monday, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kanter spent three seasons with the Thunder, but was traded to the Knicks in 2017 as part of the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder. Kanter left on good terms and even sent the fans a thank you video, saying he wasn’t mad and understood the NBA was a business. While Kanter is now part of the Knicks’ second unit and hasn’t been getting as much steady playing time lately with the Knicks moving toward a youth movement, you know he’ll want to show up against his former team if given the chance. Kanter is merely a deep GPP option given that he’s no longer getting starter minutes, but he always possesses elite upside.

Tuesday January 22 – Along The Jordan River Flows A Stream of Vengeance: It’s a small slate on Tuesday, but it features a #revenge game for DeAndre Jordan of the Mavericks when he takes on his old team, the Los Angeles Clippers. Jordan has had good success against the Clippers in two prior meetings, where he’s dropped 54.3 and 48 DKFP, respectively. The Clippers also rank among the worst teams at guarding opposing centers, placing 30th in DvP and allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers. With the Clippers plagued by injuries (they will be without Danilo Gallinari and possibly Lou Williams), this could be another spot where Jordan feasts on his former team.

Friday January 25 – Lauri Markkanen Getting His Bobblehead On: Ah, the good ol’ bobblehead narrative. That’s what we have on Friday with Bulls stud Lauri Markkanen against the Clippers. With the Bulls in desperate need of scoring, Markkanen has provided a steady dose of buckets and has become one of their more reliable scorers this season. Both the Clippers and Bulls rank among the bottom-third of the league in defensive efficiency, so I’d expect a good amount of points to be scored in this game. If you want to chase the bobblehead narrative and hope Markkanen comes alive on his special day, I’m not opposed to it.

Friday January 25 – Khris Middleton Swag: It’s a small giveaway for the first 5,000 kids aged 14 years and under, but the Bucks will be giving away Khris Middleton jerseys to the little ones. The Bucks take on the Hornets in this game, a team he’s scored 42.75 and 31.25 DKFP in two meetings this season. Middleton has been a model of consistency, scoring double-digit points in every game so far this January. Middleton is typically someone I target in DFS when Giannis Antetokounmpo is out since he benefits from increased usage, but he may be worth a look in this spot if you think he’s extra motivated on his jersey giveaway day.

Saturday January 26 – Happy Birthday, Grandpa Carter: It’s amazing, but Vince Carter is still throwing down dunks in the NBA at age 41. On Saturday, Carter will celebrate birthday number 42 in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Carter is still part of the Hawks’ rotation, but is averaging just 14 minutes per game this season and generally doesn’t see enough playing time to make a huge dent to your DFS lineups. While I like the birthday narrative, I probably won’t grab many shares of Carter given his reduced role.

Thanks for reading, and good luck this week. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@allanlemdfs) and let me know what your favorite NBA narratives are this week. May variance be on your side.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is fathalpert) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.