The Rockets’ small-ball era is off to an interesting start. After beating the Lakers on the road in their first game following the Clint Capela trade, it looked like Houston was really onto something. Since then, the Rockets have lost two games in a row. One loss was a buzzer-beater loss to the Jazz and the other was a blowout loss to the Suns, although Russell Westbrook was resting. There are going to be growing pains utilizing a new strategy and, so far, we have seen a good amount of variance from game-to-game.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
SHOWDOWN CAPTAIN’S PICKS
Set your lineups here: NBA $150K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st]
FIVE BETTING TRENDS
— The Celtics have won each of their last seven games.
— The Rockets have failed to cover the spread in four of their last five games following a home loss.
— Seven of the Celtics’ last eight road games against Western Conference opponents have gone UNDER the total points line.
— Jaylen Brown has scored the first basket in each of the Celtics’ last two road games.
— Jayson Tatum has scored 25-plus points in each of the Celtics’ last five games.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
CelticsAs if the Celtics being on a seven-game winning streak wasn’t impressive enough, they have done it while missing key players throughout the stretch. Finally, the entire team is healthy. This is good for Boston and less good for us seeking value. Jayson Tatum ($9,600) has been on fire lately, but he figures to take a step back in usage. He is the one core player for the Celtics who has stayed healthy throughout this recent winning streak.
My favorite high-end play on the Celtics is Kemba Walker ($8,800). His playing time has been capped at 30 minutes the last two games as he was making his way back from a knee injury. With a couple of games under his belt, I expect we will see him back to playing full minutes. It looks like Walker is back to 100% and the Rockets are last in DKFP allowed to point guards.
As a slightly cheaper play, Daniel Theis ($6,000) could have a lot of success on the glass against a small Houston team. He returned after missing two games with an ankle sprain last game and scored 36.25 DKFP in 31 minutes. Enes Kanter ($5,800) took a playing time hit with Theis back, and he only saw 17 minutes of run.
Jaylen Brown ($7,600) also came back from an ankle injury last game. He didn’t look quite like himself, scoring just 24.75 DKFP in 35 minutes. The playing time was encouraging and he has upside with his price down. The ankle injury might still be a problem, making him slightly risky and more of a GPP than cash play.
RocketsAs is the norm when the Rockets play in a Showdown contest, we are usually choosing between James Harden ($18,300 CP/$12,200) and Russell Westbrook ($16,200 CP/$10,800) for captain. Both are fine plays although I lean towards Russ for the salary savings. He’s also been the better of the two players of late when both stars are active. Westbrook has scored over 50 DKFP in 10 of his last 11 games while Harden has scored under 50 DKFP in five of his last nine games. The floor for Russ seems a bit higher.
In the mid-range, I really like Robert Covington ($6,400). Houston traded Clint Capela and a first-round pick to land Covington, implying it has a massive role in store for the wing. He played light minutes in his first couple games with the Rockets and got up to 35 minutes in their last game. Given how liberal this team has been with minutes for starters, we could see Covington start to play close to 40 minutes on a nightly basis.
There have been a lot of jokes made about the Rockets starting P.J. Tucker ($4,600) at center and it probably isn’t warranted. Despite the small lineups, the Rockets aren’t getting crushed in the rebounding department and Tucker has returned solid fantasy value. He’s scored over 20 DKFP in three of his last four games and his price tag remains pretty cheap. Houston is leaning heavily on Tucker and he’s played as many as 41 minutes in the last few games.
THE OUTCOMEWill small ball come up big again? I don’t think so. This should be a close game, but the Celtics are riding a nice winning streak and are finally getting healthy again. With the starting lineup healthy and unrestricted, I like Boston to win a tight game as Houston is still working out some of its chemistry and rotations.
Final Score: Boston 118, Houston 116
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