Monday brings a seven-game main slate starting at 7pm ET. Let’s jump in.
In today’s slate, there are large pricing discrepancies in the PG position. Our Bargain Rating metric can help identify where you should get your exposure to players, and today is an especially important slate to note those differences. On DraftKings, John Wall is currently the No. 2 PG in the Phan Model, and he’s going to be a popular cash-game option, along with the guy $900 cheaper than him, Kyle Lowry. Both guys lead the position on DK with +6.95 and +7.25 Projected Plus/Minus values, and they both offer Bargain Ratings of 90 and 95 percent. Wall has a higher projected usage rate, but Lowry has a superior Opponent Plus/Minus. Both are playable in all contest formats, and roster construction will likely determine which you roster.
Deron Williams missed value for the first time in six games last outing, but his minutes have remained steady: He’s been at 30-plus in each of his last five games, and he’s projected for 33.7 minutes and a 22.05 usage rate tonight. Starting PGs against the Nuggets are almost always in play: Deron has a high +3.59 Opponent Plus/Minus. Many of the high-priced stars are in great spots — you can add Chris Paul to the ‘Stud’ group against the Blazers — but finding value options is a bit tougher. D-Will and Patrick Beverley stand out as options with very safe floors, and both face awful defenses. Beverley gets the Nets, who are second-worst in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing 109.6 points per 100 possessions. Both players are fine in cash games, and D-Will has a higher projected ceiling at 44.9 DK points.
Chris Paul is an elite tournament option, as he’s in a weird price range relative to Wall and Lowry. He’s $8,900 on DK, where he comes with a +3.35 Projected Plus/Minus, 10 Pro Trends, and a 90 percent Bargain Rating. He’s $800 more than Lowry there, and he’s only $100 cheaper than Wall, who has done this in his last seven games:
For those reasons, CP3 could be overlooked in guaranteed prize pools. That makes him an elite pivot, as he’ll face a Portland team that ranks third-worst in defensive efficiency on the year, allowing 109.5 points per 100 possessions. Opposing PG Damian Lillard is one of the worst guard defenders in the league, as shown by his awful -2.33 Defensive Real Plus/Minus. The Blazers could elect to put Moe Harkless on CP3 instead, but that would give Paul a significant quickness advantage. Paul had a massive 20-point, 20-assist performance last game, and he has upside is just as high in this matchup.
James Harden is an enigma in this slate: The Rockets have easily the highest-implied point total at 121.75 in a game with a massive over/under of 229 points. He’s facing the Brooklyn Nets, who rank second-worst in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 109.6 points per 100 possessions. Brooklyn is also the second-fastest team in the league, averaging 103.9 possessions per game. Those factors all set up for a safe, massive floor for Harden. That said, the Rockets are huge 14.5-point favorites. There’s a reasonable chance that Harden could see reduced minutes as a result. It’s very difficult to fade him in this spot, but, if you can roster only one high-priced ‘Stud,’ Harden may have to be more of a tournament play in favor of a center we’ll discuss a bit later . . .
Wesley Matthews has been excellent lately:
He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in eight of his last nine games, averaging an impressive +7.50 FD Plus/Minus during that time. He has an excellent matchup today against the Denver Nuggets, as highlighted by his +2.29 Opponent Plus/Minus. Denver currently ranks 24th defensively on the season, allowing 106.6 points per 100 possessions. Matthews is projected for 35.9 minutes and a 21.92 usage rate tonight, and he’s a fine cash-game option on both sites. He’s also projected for fairly low ownership — specifically nine to 12 percent on FD — because of Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Speaking of Giannis Antetokounmpo: he actually leads all SGs on FD with a +7.22 Projected Plus/Minus. He’s better priced on FD, where his $9,800 salary — which is $1,600 cheaper than Harden’s — comes with 13 Pro Trends and a 75 percent Bargain Rating. Harden leads the group with a projected ownership of 36-40 percent, and Giannis is a pivot down in both salary and ownership, as he’s projected for 26-30 percent ownership in tournaments. Other than a disastrous 18.7-point FD outing two games ago against the Hawks — who boast the third-best defense in the league — Giannis has been above 40 FD points in nine of his last 10 games. His current salary puts him at an implied total of only 40.88, which is something he can easily exceed even with a negative Opponent Plus/Minus against the Raptors of -1.94.
The SF spot is absolutely brutal today, and I’ll list Rudy Gay as the ‘Stud’ here merely because of his top-three price point and positive matchup against the Lakers, who have been awful defensively, ranking dead last in defensive efficiency on the season. They’re allowing an embarrassing 109.7 points per 100 possessions. Gay struggled in their first meeting, scoring only 29.1 FD points in 32.6 minutes, but he’s now $600 cheaper, and there aren’t very many usable SF options today. Gay has a +1.07 Opponent Plus/Minus and is projected for 33.6 minutes and a solid 25.14 usage rate tonight. That’s about all you can ask for in this current slate.
Harrison Barnes will likely be the chalky cash-game option, as he’s only $6,100 DK and $6,400 FD and has a plus matchup against the Nuggets. This is a huge pace-up game for the Mavericks, who play at the second-slowest pace in the league: The Nuggets average 7.5 more possessions than the Mavs. Barnes is projected for 36.2 minutes and a 26.67 usage rate tonight, and he boasts a +1.44 Opponent Plus/Minus. He’s currently the No. 1 SF in the Phan Model for DK, where he comes with a +3.05 Projected Plus/Minus and eight Pro Trends. He’s played at least 30 minutes in each of his last 15 games and at least offers some safety in that regard.
Trevor Ariza isn’t a sexy play, but he does have an elite +3.95 DK Opponent Plus/Minus against the Nets. Again, the Rockets are currently implied for a slate-high 121.75 points, and it’s smart to try to get a piece of this game beyond the usual suspect in Harden. Ariza has typically played well in large spread games: According to our NBA Trends tool, Ariza is averaging a +1.90 DK Plus/Minus over the past three years in games as a double-digit favorite. He has hit value in 52.4 percent of such games, and in his most recent one — last month against the 76ers — he had 42 DK points. He’s in play in GPPs and potentially even sneaks into cash-game consideration on FD, where his $5,500 price tag comes with a +3.19 Projected Plus/Minus and 68 percent Bargain Rating.
While Blake Griffin isn’t an elite cash-game option given positional scarcity and slate dynamics, we’ll list him in this spot because of his price point: He’s $9,000 on FD, which is a whopping $2,600 more expensive than the next option in Julius Randle. There’s quite a bit of value in this position today, which makes paying up for Blake a potentially profitable move in GPPs. He has an elite matchup against the Blazers, as shown by his +3.34 Opponent Plus/Minus. Portland also ranks 25th in rebound rate this season, grabbing only 48.3 percent of the available boards. Blake is projected for 33.4 minutes and a 27.94 usage rate. He seems like a lock for a double-double and certainly has upside for a massive game at probable low(er) ownership.
We discussed in-depth Nikola Jokic‘s minutes downside in today’s NBA Daily Fantasy Flex podcast. It’s hard to ignore his price points and recent play. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his last three games since returning to the lineup, scoring 29.7 FD points or more in each game. He’s only $5,600 on FD, where he comes with a position-high +4.85 Projected Plus/Minus, 10 Pro Trends, and an 86 percent Bargain Rating. His matchup is below-average today against the Mavericks, who play at the league’s second-slowest pace. That said, he’s still the No. 2 PF in the FD Phan Model, and that’s even with a low minute projection of 24.0. He’ll likely be fairly chalky at 17-20 percent projected ownership.
Julius Randle has exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his last four games, scoring at least 28 FD points during that time. He’s been at 33 minutes or higher in three of those four games, which is an impressive feat for a Lakers player. He’s currently projected for 32.2 minutes and a 22.11 usage rate today, and he’ll face a Kings defense that remains poor defensively, allowing 105.8 points per 100 possessions. Randle had 32.1 FD points on 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists earlier this year against the Kings, and he’s projected to outperform his salary by 3.44 FD points tonight. He’s playable in all contest formats.
Given the ugliness of the center position today, DeMarcus Cousins is perhaps the most important cash-game player in the slate. He’s the No. 1 center in the Phan Model for FD, where his high $11,000 salary comes with a position-high +5.35 Projected Plus/Minus, 13 Pro Trends, and a 68 percent Bargain Rating. He has an absolutely elite matchup against the league’s worst defense in the Lakers, who have allowed a miserable 109.7 points per 100 possessions on the season. As a result, he has a sky-high Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.91. He posted 44.8 FD points last time out against the Lakers in 35.95 minutes of action, barely missing a double-double on a 28-9-4 line. He’s projected for 35.6 minutes and a 37.8 usage rate this time around.
Boogie is actually the No. 2 center in the DK Phan Model, just behind Washington’s Marcin Gortat. He’s been very solid lately and hasn’t dipped below 30 minutes in the last 15 games. He’s had double-digit rebounds in five of his last six, and he’ll face a Miami team that ranks only 21st in rebound rate, grabbing 49.3 percent of the available boards. Miami has been very generous to opposing centers this year: Gortat has a +4.12 Opponent Plus/Minus. It’s hard to fade Boogie on either site, but Gortat is likely the second-best value on the slate if you absolutely have to roster Harden and can’t fit Boogie into the lineup.
DeAndre Jordan had a massive 21-point, 23-rebound night against the Brooklyn Nets six games ago, and he has an enticing matchup tonight against the Blazers. Portland is awful defensively, allowing 109.5 points per 100 possessions, and the Blazers are also a terrible defensive rebounding team: They’ve grabbed only 48.3 percent of the available boards this season. Jordan actually boasts the highest Opponent Plus/Minus among all centers at +5.61, and he’s currently the No. 3 option on DK, where his reasonable $6,500 salary comes with a +2.55 Projected Plus/Minus, eight Pro Trends, and a 66 percent Bargain Rating. His ownership should be reduced with Boogie in the slate, and he has 20-20 upside. He’s an elite GPP leverage play as a result.
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