The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a six-game slate starting at 7:00 pm ET.
Russell Westbrook is currently questionable for today’s game with an ankle injury. He’s missed each of the Thunder’s past two games but did make it through a non-contact practice on Monday. If he does suit up, he’s in an interesting spot today against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have been a nightmare defensively this season, ranking 28th in defensive efficiency and allowing an average of 109.7 points per 100 possessions. That said, the Cavs team that will take the floor today is much different than the team that has struggled for the majority of the season. The new-look Cavs were impressive in their first game, allowing just 99 points to the Boston Celtics. Their starting lineup – George Hill, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Cedi Osman, and Tristan Thompson – was even more impressive, posting a defensive efficiency mark of 97.2. It’s a small sample size for sure, but things are pointing up for Cleveland. That said, Westbrook still deserves heavy consideration if active on DraftKings, where he has a Bargain Rating of 93 percent.
De’Aaron Fox has been an awesome value recently on FanDuel, exceeding salary-based expectations in seven of his past eight games. He’s been particularly strong in the two games since the Kings traded away Hill, averaging approximately 34 minutes and 31.5 FanDuel points per game. He has a nice matchup today against the Mavericks, who have allowed the sixth-highest Plus/Minus to the PG position this season. He’s likely underpriced on FanDuel, where he has a Bargain Rating of 90 percent.
Dejounte Murray should see a nice boost in value today with LaMarcus Aldridge joining Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay on the sidelines. He’s seen a usage bump of 5.0 percent with all three players off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.00 fantasy points per minute on FanDuel:
He played approximately 29 minutes in this same situation yesterday and scored 24.8 FanDuel points in a brutal matchup against the Jazz. He has a more fantasy-friendly matchup today versus the Nuggets, who currently rank 22nd in defensive efficiency.
What do the Raptors have to do to get some respect? They haven’t just been winning recently; they’ve been throttling teams, winning five straight games by at least 15 points. It’s resulted in an average of less than 26 minutes per game for Kyle Lowry during that time frame, which has dropped his salary to just $7,200 on DraftKings for today’s contest with the Heat. If they can actually give Toronto a game today, he’s almost undoubtedly underpriced: Lowry has historically been a solid value with a comparable salary:
James Harden has struggled to return value recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of -3.62 on DraftKings over his past five games. That said, it hasn’t been due to a lack of opportunities. He’s posted a usage rate of at least 37.8 percent in each of his past four games but has been affected by a combination of reduced minutes in blowouts and difficult matchups. He’s seen a solid salary decrease over that time frame, which gives him plenty of appeal today against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It’s a solid matchup, evidenced by his Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.98, and the Rockets lead the slate with an implied team total of 112.25 points.
The Nuggets have a tough matchup on paper today versus the Spurs. That said, San Antonio’s defense has not been the same since losing Leonard. They’ve allowed 106.4 points per 100 possessions with him off the floor this season, which would rank just 17th in the league.
With that in mind, the Nuggets appear to have two solid values at the SG position on today’s slate. Will Barton has been playing a ton of minutes recently, culminating with over 42 in his most recent game against the Suns. He’s exceeded value in six of his past seven games on DraftKings, where he has a Bargain Rating of 98 percent. Gary Harris is cheaper across the industry but has actually averaged slightly more fantasy points per minute over the past month.
Danny Green played over 30 minutes yesterday for the Spurs and could be in line for a similar workload today against the Nuggets. He’s averaged 0.88 fantasy points per minute over the past month, and that kind of production would make him a solid value at $4,600 on FanDuel.
Wayne Ellington has posted an average Plus/Minus of -1.64 over his past 10 games, and FanDuel has responded by dropping his salary to just $3,700. He’s still playing solid minutes, seeing at least 29 in four straight games, and the Heat are in the top pace-up spot of the day against the Rockets.
The SF position features two of the top studs of the day in LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Which player you prefer may ultimately come down to which site you’re playing on: LeBron has a Bargain Rating of 75 percent on FanDuel while Giannis has a Bargain Rating of 98 percent on DraftKings.
Let’s start with LeBron. He’s hit value in both games since the Cavs made their trades, which is not entirely surprising. Losing Isaiah Thomas has allowed LeBron to assume a larger portion of the offense, and so far this season he’s averaged 1.54 fantasy points per minute with Thomas and Kevin Love off the floor:
He has a strong matchup today versus the Thunder, who have allowed 112.9 points per 100 possessions with Andre Roberson off the court this season.
Giannis is arguably in an even better spot against the Atlanta Hawks, who rank just 26th in defensive efficiency. The Bucks’ implied team total of 107.75 doesn’t jump off the page, but it represents an increase of more than three points compared to their season average (104.4). The Hawks have been particularly weak against opposing SFs, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.31 on DraftKings.
Cedi Osman fever is real. He figures to be a much larger part of the Cavs’ rotation after their trades and played 29.5 minutes in their most recent game. He’s averaged 0.84 fantasy points per minute over the past month and remains affordable at just $4,100 on FanDuel.
If Westbrook (and Carmelo Anthony) were to miss today’s game, Paul George would vault to the top of the stud rankings. He’s posted a usage rate of 39.8 percent with both players off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.2 FanDuel points per minute:
If one or both players are active, however, he’s probably too expensive at his current salary across the industry. He’s seen a salary increase of at least $1,700 on each site over the past month.
Josh Richardson has scored at least 37.75 DraftKings points in two of his past four games, but his salary remains reasonable at $5,800. It results in a Bargain Rating of 97 percent, which makes him intriguing even in a tough matchup versus the Raptors.
There really is no stud option to even consider on today’s slate. Only four players have a salary of at least $6,000 on FanDuel, and none have a salary above $6,700. None of those players have a positive Projected Plus/Minus on today’s slate, and the only one that even approaches that status is Carmelo Anthony at $6,300. He’s averaged 0.95 fantasy points per minute over the past month and is currently projected for more minutes than all the other $6k-plus options (33.7). He also has the best Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.80 against the Cavs, making him the most appealing option of the group if he is active.
Davis Bertans will likely be among the highest-owned options at the position. He should draw another start for Aldridge, and Bertans has averaged roughly 30 minutes and 25 FanDuel points per game with him out of the lineup this season:
Unfortunately, he has been priced up quite a bit on today’s slate, which makes him far from a must-play against the Nuggets. Bertans has an Opponent Plus/Minus of just +0.58 on FanDuel, and the Nuggets have been the second-best rebounding team in the league this season.
Taj Gibson’s playing time has been a bit erratic recently. He’s played 32, 26, and 35 minutes, respectively, in each of his past three games, despite the fact that all three were decided by no more than five points. If he does see toward the high end of his minutes range today, he’ll have a solid chance to return value given his average of 0.79 fantasy points per minute over the past month.
Ryan Anderson has been priced down to $3,600 on FanDuel, which results in a Bargain Rating of 98 percent. That said, his playing time is a complete wild card at this point – he’s played 22.5, 30.0, and 8.5 minutes over his past three games – which makes him much better suited for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Nikola Jokic has been an awesome value over his past 10 games on DraftKings:
His average of 1.43 fantasy points per minute over the past month is the top mark at the position on today’s slate, and no one is projected to play more minutes than him at 34.4. His matchup with the Spurs isn’t ideal, but it still results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.01 on DraftKings. He’s a better value over there, evidenced by a Bargain Rating of 86 percent.
There’s a strong chance that Pau Gasol will be the highest-owned player on today’s slate. He played over 33 minutes yesterday against a tough Jazz defense and still managed to score nearly 50 fantasy points. He’s been the Spurs’ most-effective fantasy asset this season with Leonard, Aldridge, and Gay off the floor, averaging 1.17 fantasy points per minute:
The only possible concern is that Gasol is 37, plays for the Spurs, and is on the second leg of a back-to-back. It’s entirely possible that Popovich eases back on him today or even sits him despite the fact that the team is shorthanded. Assuming he’s in the lineup, however, he looks like one of the top plays of the day.
Choosing Karl-Anthony Towns instead of Gasol or Jokic on today’s slate could be an intriguing way to differentiate your lineups on FanDuel. He hasn’t been quite as good as Jokic and doesn’t offer nearly as much value as Gasol, but he does have the best matchup of the group today against the Rockets. It results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.40 on FanDuel, where he also leads all centers with 11 Pro Trends. His Bargain Rating of 60 percent doesn’t exactly scream value, but it is the second-highest mark among all centers priced above $4,500.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed.
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