The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Sunday’s slate features seven games, scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET. The Chicago Bulls-Toronto Raptors game has been postponed.
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Another deep group at point guard to wrap up the weekend. Russell Westbrook remains on triple-double watch against the Boston Celtics if he plays in the second of a back-to-back. He has logged one in five of his last seven games and is second on the slate behind Stephen Curry in Fantasy Points Per Minute over the past month (FP/Min-M). That said, because of pricing and a position-worst Pace Differential (PaceD), Westbrook does not rank among the top 10 options.
The studs face off against each other. John Wall is the top point-guard play on DraftKings against Memphis, while Ja Morant is the top FanDuel point guard against Wall and the Houston Rockets.
Gauging the Minnesota Timberwolves rotation with Malik Beasley is going to continue to be a headache as guard minutes fluctuate. Jaylen Nowell outplayed Ricky Rubio on Saturday and might get another chance at 20-plus minutes against Phoenix. When Nowell does get decent run, he can log stats across the board and is only $3,700 on FanDuel and $3,800 on DraftKings. Jordan McLaughlin is also in play for Minnesota, but has shown little lately to warrant more playing time than Nowell.
The other point-guard battle that will see a lot of ownership is De’Aaron Fox and the Kings against LaMelo Ball and the Hornets in the late game. Fox is a top five play on both sites while Ball’s price has made him difficult to roster on DraftKings with a point guard-heavy pool. Ball and Fox could be a fun stack on FanDuel, as pricing has not caught up with Ball’s production. Regardless of price, he is projected to be rostered in under 12 percent of lineups on both sites. The Kings-Hornets game total is the most by 6.5 points and includes the two of the three highest team totals according to the Vegas Model.
Saban Lee is a top 10 Leverage play on both sites after his first dud with extended playing time.
Derrick Rose rates well but is coming off 37 minutes in Saturday’s win against Indiana. Rest or a minutes limit could be in play even with Tom Thibodeau as his coach.
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I think the most overlooked play is Kendrick Nunn with Trae Young questionable with a foot injury. Regardless, Nunn has the best Opponent Plus/Minus on both sites and is priced under $6,000. He projects to have under five percent ownership across both platforms.
If Jaylen Brown does not play Bradley Beal will see an increase in our NBA Model and ownership. He sits atop the point guard position in fantasy points on both sites and leads the position in Pro Trends on DraftKings.
Shooting guard depth is ugly and I would avoid paying down at the position. Eric Gordon is the best value on FanDuel at $5,300. He tops the position on FanDuel and should start with Victor Oladipo out.
David Nwaba is also in play for the Rockets with minutes available. He is $4,600 on DraftKings and is projected to see 24.5 minutes. Nwaba last played at those minutes about two weeks ago and posted 40 and 26 fantasy points.
Buddy Hield is a top two play at shooting guard, but continues to underwhelm without Tyrese Haliburton in the lineup. I would rather be too late on a ceiling game for him. He also projects to see at least 20 percent ownership across both sites.
Terry Rozier is in a smash spot against Sacramento and is a lock on FanDuel. He is tied with Devin Booker in Pro Trends and is a top Leverage and Bargain play.
The only player priced below $6,000 that is a top 10 play on both sites is Dillon Brooks.
The only small forward that is a top 10 play on both sites and is priced over $7,000 is Gordon Hayward. No surprise considering the expected scoring in the Hornets-Kings game.
While LeBron James is always in play as an elite fantasy and real-life player, I have no issue paying up for Jimmy Butler against Atlanta. There is a chance his matches up against Tony Snell and sees a small dip in overall production, but it is Butler’s defensive stats that will more than cover for any scoring issues if he is the focal point of Atlanta’s defensive scheming. Jimmy has a top three fantasy score projection on both sites and might have the least issues getting to his projection aside from James.
Danuel House gets the most out of his minutes with Houston and should see more playing time with Oladipo out for rest purposes. He has the top Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel but is expected to see a spike in ownership. With teammate David Nwaba having small forward eligibility on DraftKings, he would be a pivot off House to avoid ownership concerns.
R.J. Barrett continues to be frustrating to roster in DFS, but he is priced somewhere between $5,000-6,000 to often to not be tantalizing. He has a Ceiling projection of 42.69 points on FanDuel where he is a top play, but he has topped that number once this season. Play him with an expectation of 30 points.
Mikal Bridges is a low-owned option against Minnesota with not much cemented in the Timberwolves rotation. Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul will all dwarf Bridges’ ownership, making him the play if you want a piece of the Suns without handcuffing your salary. He is the fourth-best small forward play on both sites.
Jayson Tatum needs a good game regardless of Jaylen Brown’s status for their game against the Washington Wizards. Boston has the second highest team total in the slate’s second highest projected game total. He is sandwiched between the top tier players on DraftKings and should see similar ownership as them which is where he creates some value.
Despite being in the game with the lowest overall total, Julius Randle is primed to continue his strong play against Detroit. He has four straight double-doubles and has had a nice run on defense, logging five steals over his past two games. The Pistons are tied for the ninth-most turnovers per game at 14.6 and average 14.8 at home.
Bam Adebayo is a power forward on FanDuel and is the top play at the four. He is priced as the fourth best player at the position.
Nerlens Noel as seeing a lot of run out of necessity. Like Bam, Noel is a power forward on FanDuel and allows DFS players to roster a top center while getting savings at the four.
Brandon Clarke has a lot of value on DraftKings against the frontcourt-inept Houston Rockets.
Markieff Morris is the top power forward on DraftKings but is a full fade for me. He will have his hands full with either Draymond Green or Andrew Wiggins if Golden State wants Green on LeBron James. Morris also loses rebound work to Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, so his value almost strictly comes from being hot as a shooter.
The frontcourt combination of Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III has played well for the Kings as of late, with Bagley playing his best ball of the season. He is a top play on both sites and is priced outside the top 10.
Jarred Vanderbilt has turned his trust on the defensive end into a productive role offensively the past two games with minutes available. He gets a Suns unit that is not deep or scary on either end of the floor and should see no less than 20 minutes after a minutes reduction Saturday with a back-to-back scheduled.
I am not buying in to P.J. Washington’s blow-up game against the Golden State Warriors. He has a more difficult matchup with Sacramento’s frontcourt and has depending on defensive stats in his spike games. Washington has eight steals over his past three games, but one of them he recorded zero. He is also an inconsistent source of blocks, logging one over his past four games.
Deandre Ayton is the best overall play on FanDuel and the second overall player on DraftKings against Minnesota. His matchup against Karl Anthony-Towns is scarier in name and not on paper. Only the Charlotte centers have a better Opponent Plus/Minus than Ayton (which does not account enough for how well Richaun Holmes of the Kings has played).
Paying down under $6,000 for center is troublesome if you remove dual-eligible players on DraftKings. Cody Zeller is questionable for Charlotte with a sore hip, Kelly Olynyk has a difficult matchup with Atlanta’s frontcourt, and Robert Williams’ minutes are always in question in Boston. Marc Gasol has been seeing more playing time lately but will be in a faster paced game against Golden State. Kevon Looney is not an imposing defensive assignment for Gasol which helps considering Gasol’s best days are behind him. He is the third ranked center on DraftKings and is a 99% Bargain on FanDuel.
I am locking Richaun Holmes into my center position, allowing me to play two centers on DraftKings, especially with another option below the elite pricing tier.
Jonas Valanciunas gets the Houston Rockets in a smash spot considering they have no center that can match up with him. The Rockets have allowed monster games to Jarrett Allen, Joel Embiid, and Wendell Carter Jr., as well as serviceable games to teams with center questions in Toronto and New York. His ownership will be in a similar range as some of the top options, but is a tough player to pass on considering the matchup.
Mason Plumlee is probable so the Isaiah Stewart hype train will have to pull into the station.