Saturday brings an eight-game main slate at 7pm ET. Let’s jump in.
Game of the Day: Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder
If you’ve been reading these breakdowns for a while, you should know that the Nuggets are historically bad against opposing PGs this season.
The astronomically-high +9.3 FD Plus/Minus they’ve allowed to PGs this season is so far above and beyond what other teams have allowed it’s silly. Further, look at that Consistency: 36 of the 41 PGs projected for at least 15 FD points — some of them not even starters — have exceeded their salary-based expectations.
How do you think it’s going to go when the Nuggets have to face the most dominant DFS PG we’ve ever seen? If their first matchup was any indication, it won’t be pretty:
There will be blood. For today’s slate, note that DraftKings has been much more price-sensitive than FanDuel has. As a result, Westbrook is a much better value on FD, where his $12,200 salary comes with 13 Pro Trends and a 98 percent Bargain Rating.
Speaking of pricing inefficiencies, Russ’ new backcourt mate this season in Victor Oladipo remains much too cheap on FD at $5,900. He’s exceeded value in each of his last three games since returning and getting 30 minutes. He’s been wildly inefficient shooting the basketball, but that doesn’t matter that much when he’s playing nearly 40 minutes and taking 15-20 shots:
Also, it’s important to note Westbrook’s DFS correlations with his teammates, and specifically Dipo.
The Thunder obviously go as Westbrook goes, and there’s merit to using Dipo and even a guy like Andre Roberson as an extreme GPP punt play. Steven Adams is a solid option in all contest formats independent of his correlation numbers: He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in seven of his last nine games and averaged a whopping +7.09 DK Plus/Minus during that time. His moustache bro, Enes Kanter, hasn’t been far behind with a +7.04 Plus/Minus in that same period.
The Nuggets guys are interesting: Most of them, specifically the backcourt with Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay, and even Wilson Chandler profile more as cash-game options because of their limited ceilings. That said, they’ve all flashed low floors as well. Moderate GPP exposure to these guys is fine. The two guys who are legitimate values are Nikola Jokic and Danilo Gallinari. The latter struggled in his last game versus the Spurs, posting only 20.75 DK points in 27.8 minutes, but he had surpassed 37 DK points in each of his prior two games, and he’s only $5,400 DK, where he comes with a 90 percent Bargain Rating. Jokic is also a better value on DK today at $7,300, and he’s been excellent lately, exceeding salary-based expectations in eight of his last nine games and averaging a +9.51 Plus/Minus during that time. The matchup versus Adams and a top-10 Thunder defense isn’t ideal, but Jokic’s 54.3-point DK ceiling is worth pursuing in GPPs.
In terms of matchups, this slate is really pushing toward heavy Westbrook ownership.
I’m guessing that Kyle Lowry‘s ownership on DK will be higher than that of Isaiah Thomas because of their recent games: Lowry just dropped 55.0 DK points on the Jazz, whereas Thomas struggled against the 76ers, scoring only 31.0 points in 34.6 minutes. Further, Thomas is $100 more expensive today. That said, prior to that game for Thomas, he had scored 60 DK points in back-to-back games — one of those against the Jazz — and he’s now averaging a ridiculous +10.69 Plus/Minus over his last nine games. He owns the best non-Westbrook Opponent Plus/Minus among PGs and is a great value at $8,500 DK, where he also comes with 10 Pro Trends and a 95 percent Bargain Rating. Take advantage of the recency bias.
It isn’t Denver-extreme, but targeting the Hawks’ PG defense with Dennis Schroder has been profitable this season:
Deron Williams hasn’t crushed value lately, but he has averaged a respectable +2.15 FD Plus/Minus over his last nine games and costs only $6,000 DK and $6,100 FD. He’s projected for 31.9 minutes tonight, and if we add a 30-minute filter to the above trend, the Plus/Minus jumps up even more:
Deron is projected for only five to eight percent ownership and is a cheap bet to hit value in this matchup.
Kemba Walker faces the Spurs, who currently own the top defense in the league, allowing a stingy 101.3 points per 100 possessions on the season. The Hornets are currently 11-point road dogs implied for 98.5 points — the third-lowest mark in the slate. That said . . . Kemba is only $7,600 on FD. That gives him a salary-based implication of only 31.23 points to hit value.
It’s a brutal matchup, but is it $7,600 bad?
DeMar DeRozan has come back to earth after dominating the NBA over the first three weeks of the season, but he’s still been solid lately: He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in six of his last nine games and has averaged a +2.51 FD Plus/Minus during that time. He hasn’t dipped below 30 minutes since a week before Christmas, and he’s currently projected for 35.6 minutes and a 34.85 usage rate tonight against the Chicago Bulls. This game projects to be close, as the Raptors are currently 2.5-point road favorites implied for 105.25 points. They’re not extreme splits, but DeRozan has been slightly better and more consistent on the road this season than at home:
He’s currently the No. 1 SG in the Phan Model for DK, where his position-high $8,000 salary comes with a +3.35 Projected Plus/Minus and 11 Pro Trends.
Dipo is clearly the chalk SG today, but we’ll pivot up to Zach LaVine since we mentioned Dipo earlier. LaVine has a tough matchup against the Jazz, who rank third overall in defensive efficiency this season, allowing only 101.9 points per 100 possessions. Further, the Wolves are four-point home dogs implied to score a slate-low 94.25 points. That said, LaVine has actually been oddly better than his baseline against tougher competition:
Again, Dipo is clearly the guy to own, especially on FD, where he’s only $5,900 and $200 cheaper than LaVine. However, the latter is actually $500 cheaper on DK at $6,100. LaVine is a nice high-upside pivot in tournaments off of Dipo.
If you want to dip down to a punt play, look at Jeremy Lamb, who will start at SG for the Hornets with Nicolas Batum out. Lamb is particularly intriguing on FD, where his low $3,800 salary comes with a high +5.86 Projected Plus/Minus and an 86 percent Bargain Rating. He’ll likely be popular and definitely has downside at only 26.7 projected minutes and a matchup versus the Spurs, but he’s worth some GPP darts for the price and starting spot alone.
Jimmy Butler is SG-eligible on DK, and it might be wise to use him there because of how ugly the position is today. He’s been on fire lately and is only two games removed from dropping 85 DK points on the Charlotte Hornets on 52 real points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and three steals. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his last three games and has averaged a +6.94 DK Plus/Minus over his last nine. He gets Toronto tonight, who have been a below-average defense this season after losing rim protector Bismack Biyombo. They now rank 17th in defensive efficiency, allowing 105.2 points per 100 possessions. Butler is projected to be owned in only nine to 12 percent of DK lineups — likely because of his high $8,900 salary — but he leads all SGs with a 58.1-point projected ceiling.
Despite having an elite defender in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the wing, the Hornets have surprisingly been the most generous team in the league to opposing SFs this season:
Per our Trends tool, SFs projected for at least 15 FD points have scored an average of 27.8 points and exceeded salary-based expectations by 5.84 points. That bodes well for Kawhi Leonard, who has scored at least 39 FD points in five of his last six games and averaged a +4.03 Plus/Minus over his last nine. He’s currently the No. 1 SF in both the DK and FD Phan Models, and he comes with high Projected Plus/Minus values of +3.45 and +4.32.
The SF spot is brutal as well today, and Gallo might indeed be a viable cash-game option on DK, even against defensive stud Andre Roberson. Jae Crowder is perhaps the least sexy play in the slate, but he’s only $5,300 on FD, which means he needs a mere 21.1 points to hit value. He missed that last game against the 76ers, scoring only 13.9 points in 29.6 minutes of action, but he’s been above 21 in each of his prior five games. Crowder has one of the most narrow range of outcomes of any player, and his 34.7-point projected ceiling is probably a little optimistic. He’s a cash-game option only, but at that low price point and solid matchup against the Pelicans, Crowder likely won’t tank your lineup.
Paul George gets a Knicks team playing on the second leg of a back-to-back in which they obtained an emotional win over the Bucks. The Pacers are currently 7.5-point home favorites implied for 111.5 points — the second-highest mark in the slate. George is coming off a nice game against the Nets, in which he scored 26 real points on only 18 field-goal attempts. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in six of his last nine games now and has averaged a solid +3.04 Plus/Minus during that time frame. George will face up against Melo, who has a poor -1.70 Defensive Real Plus/Minus mark over the past year and has posted some embarrassing film lately of his lackadaisical defense: He ranks 75th out of 78 eligible SFs in DRPM. George is an elite tournament option on FD, where he leads the position with 14 Pro Trends and comes with an 81 percent Bargain Rating.
Anthony Davis is in a great spot tonight against a smaller Celtics frontcourt, but he could go underowned because of how chalky Westbrook is likely to be versus the Nuggets. Brow has scored at least 46 FD points in each of his last three games and has still posted a positive Plus/Minus over his last 10 despite a brutal game against the Spurs in which he scored only 19.3 FD points in 29.7 minutes of action. He owns a +1.67 Opponent Plus/Minus today, which is much higher than the marks of other high-priced PFs like Paul Millsap (who has a brutal matchup versus the Mavericks) and even LaMarcus Aldridge. Brow currently has a top-three rating in both the DK and FD Phan Models, and he comes with massive ceiling projections of 70.4 and 65.6 DK and FD points.
Tobias Harris actually takes the top spot in the Phan Model for FD, where his $6,000 salary comes with a +4.80 Projected Plus/Minus, eight Pro Trends, and an 86 percent Bargain Rating. He’s been crushing value lately . . .
. . . and gets a dream matchup today against the Blazers, who rank 28th in defensive efficiency this season, allowing an awful 109.8 points per 100 possessions. The Pistons are currently 3.5-point road dogs implied for 105.5 points against the Blazers, who have lost 12 of their last 16 games. Tobias is projected for 32.6 minutes and a 22.94 usage rate; he’s viable in all contest formats at that low price point.
Kristaps Porzingis has a large salary discrepancy between FD and DK: He’s $7,000 on the latter site, which gives him a high 97 percent Bargain Rating there. He’s taken a bit of a leap lately and has shown an elite ceiling outside of a few poor games against tough defenses:
Indiana has been awful against both PFs and Cs this season, and Porzingis owns a high +3.42 Opponent Plus/Minus today. He’s currently the No. 1 PF in the Phan Model for DK, where he’s projected for only nine to 12 percent ownership.
Andre Drummond faces the Blazers tonight, who currently rank 28th in defensive efficiency, allowing 109.8 points per 100 possessions on the season. Further, they are an atrocious rebounding team and have grabbed only 48.4 percent of the available boards — the sixth-worst mark in the league. That’s bad news for a matchup against the No. 2 rebounder in the league in Drummond, who averages 13.4 boards per game. He’s flashed a nice ceiling lately — he had 45.8 and 51.6 FD outings in back-to-back games just two games ago — and has massive upside in this contest. He’s currently a top-five center option in both the DK and FD Phan Models, and he comes with only nine to 12 and 13-16 percent ownership, respectively.
Joakim Noah brings risk because of his volatile minute loads — he played only 20.2 minutes last game against the Bucks — but he certainly has nice upside at only $5,100 on FD. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in seven of his last nine games and averaged a high +8.52 Plus/Minus during that time. He’s projected for a conservative 24.7 minutes today on the second leg of a back-to-back and gets an Indiana team that has been awful against opposing centers. Noah has a massive +4.01 Opponent Plus/Minus and is projected to be owned in only two to four percent of lineups. There are several elite options at the center position today, but paying down for a volatile Noah at low ownership could be a profitable move in tournaments.
Myles Turner exploded for 55.0 FD points last game against the Nets, and he returns with another elite matchup versus the Knicks. New York has been poor defensively this season and currently rank 25th in defensive efficiency, allowing 108.0 points per 100 possessions. Turner dropped 25-15 on Brook Lopez and can certainly put up another monster game against the older Noah. Turner is currently the No. 1 center in the Phan Model for FD, where his reasonable $7,100 salary comes with a position-high +4.87 Projected Plus/Minus, 11 Pro Trends, and an 81 percent Bargain Rating.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs: