The slates on DraftKings and FanDuel are quite different today. The main slate for both starts at 8pm ET, although it is five games on FD (which offers the rescheduled Pistons-Blazers game) and four on DK. This breakdown focuses mostly on that slate. Let’s jump in.
Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies
This is the only game for which we currently don’t have Vegas data, but given that these teams both own top-three defenses and play at bottom-five paces (93.0 and 95.3 possessions per game) this game will likely have limited DFS appeal.
George Hill returned to the Jazz lineup last night and put up 36.5 FD points in 32.8 minutes. The Jazz have played excellent basketball with Hill this season, winning eight straight games with him as the starting PG. Rodney Hood has struggled lately, but he has positive correlation numbers with Hill:
Hood is a great wing to have in the current NBA, but he’s much better as a secondary or even tertiary ball-handler instead of the primary handler that he’s oftentimes been with Hill out and Gordon Hayward unable to play 48 minutes. Hood played only 20 minutes last night and put up a mere 12.5 FD points, but his prospects could change now that the Jazz are fully healthy. He’s only $4,200 FD and is projected for a low nine to 12 percent ownership.
The other guy who is too cheap is Derrick Favors, who got up to 34.4 minutes last night and dropped 33.7 FD points. He’s projected for only 28 minutes, but he’s still only $4,300 on FD, where he needs just 16.7 points to hit value. Even in a tough matchup against this Grizzlies defense, that total is attainable: Favors has a large +5.66 FD Projected Plus/Minus and a 97 percent Bargain Rating.
Of the other two guys, Hayward and Rudy Gobert, the latter actually owns larger splits with and without Hill in the lineup. Per the On/Off tool, Gobert has averaged 0.4 more DK points without Hill and a +0.7 Plus/Minus differential. Hayward has been better with Hill in the lineup. Still, there’s reason to believe that Hill’s presence will be a collective tide that lifts the other boats of the Jazz. Perhaps wait to have large exposure for a non-B2B game against a tough Grizzlies team, but there’s upside here.
The Grizzlies aren’t particularly enticing in cash games at their price points, but they’re cheap enough — especially Marc Gasol at $7,000 DK — to warrant exposure in guaranteed prize pools. They’ve played solid ball lately and had an epic comeback last game versus the Warriors. Mike Conley continues to crush against great teams, putting up 54.0 DK points in 40.9 minutes against the Warriors last outing. Per our Trends tool, he’s been his best against negative matchups:
Zach Randolph had another stellar game last outing even with JaMychal Green back in the lineup. It’s tough to roster him at only 23.5 projected minutes against this elite Utah defense, but he has enough upside to warrant GPP exposure.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Phoenix Suns
Vegas: 218.5 over/under, Cavs -9
Here are correlation numbers for the Cavaliers:
Of note, the ‘Big 3’ are all somewhat positively correlated or at least not negatively correlated. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have the most positive numbers together, whereas Kevin Love has been very consistent this year regardless of the other two.
And it’s difficult not to want to roster all of these guys against a Phoenix team that plays at the third-fastest pace in the league, averaging 102.6 points per 100 possessions, and owns the 23rd-ranked defense, allowing 107.0 points per 100 possessions. The Cavaliers trail only the Warriors with their implied total of 113.75 points.
All three are in play against the Kings, and Kyrie is especially viable on DK, where his $8,200 salary comes with a +4.75 Projected Plus/Minus, 11 Pro Trends, and a 93 percent Bargain Rating. LeBron, on the other hand, is a better value on FD, where he’s $10,100 and has a whopping 14 Pro Trends. Love is fine on both platforms, as is Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye, the latter of whom is projected for only 20.4 minutes but has exceeded salary-based expectations in three straight games. Over the 13 games in which the Cavs have been at least nine-point favorites (as they are today), both Frye and Thompson have averaged positive Plus/Minus values:
The Cavs can be attacked at the guard positions, and Devin Booker will likely get the benefit of avoiding solid wing defender DeAndre Liggins:
That said, Bledsoe is certainly more than viable in tournaments at only $6,900 DK, the lowest he’s been in the last two months. He has a ridiculous 16 Pro Trends and also owns a high +4.55 Projected Plus/Minus and a 97 percent Bargain Rating. DK has been matchup-sensitive in its pricing this season, but this salary is extreme. Take advantage while you can.
Detroit Pistons at Portland Trail Blazers
Vegas: 214.5 over/under, Blazers -3.5
I’ll be brief on this game since it’s not offered on DK and we discussed it in yesterday’s NBA Breakdown. The Blazers have terrible long-term defensive numbers, ranking 28th in efficiency on the year and allowing a poor 109.8 points per 100 possessions. Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, and Tobias Harris all have elite matchups and should all have sizable FD ownership.
Damian Lillard played well in his first game back, but it’s likely that he could draw a bit of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope if he gets hot, which limits his ceiling. KCP will start on C.J. McCollum, who is now overpriced with Lillard back, but KCP is one of the best defensive guards in the league, and the Pistons have no qualms shifting him onto a PG when needed, as they’ve done against the Warriors over the last couple of years. The wings for Portland are especially intriguing because of their price points: Al-Farouq Aminu ($4,500) and Maurice Harkless ($4,700) have exceeded salary-based expectations by 4.12 and 1.27 FD points over their last nine games. At those price points and projected minute totals of 33.0 and 30.1, they’re more than viable in GPPs and perhaps even cash games.
Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings
Vegas: 223 over/under, Warriors -11
In such a small slate, deciding how much exposure you want to each of the Warriors’ ‘Big 4’ is key. Let’s take a look at their correlation numbers:
Overall, there’s not much here: Stephen Curry has slightly positive correlation with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, but the rest of the guys are either not correlated at all or negatively correlated. The best action may be to decide which of Curry and Kevin Durant you’d prefer heavy exposure to in tournaments and then shape the exposure to the other three around that decision: If you go with Steph, you can have larger exposure to the others, whereas if you have more Durant then you should probably have lower exposure to the other guys. Durant and Green in particular have negative correlation data . . .
. . . as well as negative on-court conversations:
Draymond ain’t happy with KD pic.twitter.com/bc97cDJaZg
— Full Court Prez (@fullcourtprez) January 7, 2017
Durant and Curry are both projected for high DK ownership levels — 36-40 and 31-35 percent — and both have positive one-on-matchups against Matt Barnes and Darren Collison, who have awful Defensive Real Plus/Minus (DRPM) marks of -1.1 and -2.0. Curry has exploded over his last two games, putting up 58.5 and 53.3 DK points on 40 and 35 real points. Durant has also been up there at 54.8 and 52.8 DK points over his last two, although both are a little inflated due to an overtime game against the Grizzlies last outing. These two are still often negatively correlated, and while it’s not impossible that they both have 50-plus DK outings today it’s not probable. The narrative after the last game (in which Durant ignored a Steph pick-and-roll and went ISO) is that the Warriors will look to feature Steph more, but both of these guys are excellent plays. The Warriors could ride the hot hand.
The Warriors have been elite on both ends of the floor this year. They now rank fourth in defensive efficiency, allowing only 102.0 points per 100 possessions. That said, their weak spot in the starting lineup is at center with Zaza Pachulia, who is a fine help defender in a team scheme but may have a lot of trouble against a monster post player like DeMarcus Cousins.
Except for one bad game about a year ago, Boogie has been historically excellent versus the Warriors, and these games have been with better defensive center Andrew Bogut on the team:
With Durant and Green able to take turns on Rudy Gay, Cousins will likely be the Kings’ entire offense. He’s certainly a solid option, especially on FD, where his $10,800 salary comes with a +4.03 Projected Plus/Minus, 14 Pro Trends, and a 75 percent Bargain Rating.
After Cousins, it’s just fringe GPP darts for the Kings. Gay has brutal matchups everywhere on the floor, and Darren Collison and Ty Lawson have cannibalized each other’s production when both have been in the game. With Lawson playing (per our NBA On/Off tool):
Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Lakers
Vegas: 216 over/under, Lakers -2
The teams in this game have limited collective talent, yet the Vegas total of 216 and spread of only two points is definitely intriguing for DFS purposes. The problem is that none of these guys often plays big minutes: Only Evan Fournier, Serge Ibaka, and Julius Randle are projected for more than 32 minutes, and they’re just barely above that mark.
Aaron Gordon has played excellent basketball lately and is the best option in this game, especially at his oddly low $4,800 FD salary. Of the players in this contest, he’s the highest-rated one in the FD Phan Model, with a high +4.97 Projected Plus/Minus, eight Pro Trends, and a 98 percent Bargain Rating. Fournier has an even higher FD Projected Plus/Minus of +5.08, and he will look to bounce back after putting up only 23.8 and 16.7 FD points in his two most recent games since returning from an injury.
Ibaka and Nikola Vucevic are more than viable tonight, as they own large Opponent Plus/Minus values of +2.76 and +5.43, and they’ll face a Lakers team that has been truly awful defensively this season, ranking second to last in efficiency and allowing an awful 110.0 points per 100 possessions. These guys (as well as Elfrid Payton) don’t have huge ceilings in this up-and-down Orlando offense, but they likely do against this terrible Lakers defense. The Magic are currently implied for 107.0 points.
The Lakers are actually implied for 109.0 points, but none of their players outside of Randle is projected for more than 30.8 minutes. Randle should be the chalkiest of the group — he’s projected for 21-25 percent DK ownership — and he’s been excellent lately, exceeding salary-based expectations by an average of 7.12 DK points over his last nine games. He’s a worthy GPP dart on both sites at $7,000 and $7,300. D’Angelo Russell has been hot lately, exceeding value in five straight games and averaging a +5.37 Plus/Minus over his last nine. He’s projected for just over 30 minutes, although he’s probably fairly priced and has a tough -0.25 DK Opponent Plus/Minus. The best values are Nick Young and Brandon Ingram, who are only $4,400 and $3,700 FD. The latter had one of his best games of the season last game, putting up 30.2 FD points in 28.2 minutes. This is a tough matchup for both players, but they’re cheap enough to warrant GPP exposure: They’re projected at only five to eight percent ownership.
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