The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features an eight-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Normally we would list the most expensive point guard option in this spot, but tonight there’s no clear choice with names like De’Aaron Fox, Lonzo Ball, Chris Paul, Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyle Lowry, and Jamal Murray all priced similarly. Given so many options, I’m just going to focus on my favorite choice of that top group.
Tonight that looks like Chris Paul. It’s a fun one tonight as the Thunder host the Clippers, and you know there will be no love lost between CP3 and his old team. Paul has topped expectations in 71% of his games this season with an average +3.88 Plus/Minus, and that’s jumped even higher to a +5.42 over the past month. He leads all point guard options with 13 Pro Trends tonight and might be the best option among a number of intriguing point guards.
Of course, you might be better off fading all those high-priced options and riding Terry Rozier. Rozier was Charlotte’s big money acquisition this summer, though he’s taken a backseat to Devonte’ Graham. But Graham is doubtful so that should free up Rozier for big time usage in a plus matchup against the Spurs. Rozier has averaged over 30 fantasy points in his list three games anyway and he looks like a star performer tonight, leading all shooting guards at both sites with over a +7.8 Projected Plus/Minus.
America learned the name Shake Milton over the weekend when he dropped 39 points on the Clippers. Milton is seeing a huge boost thanks to Philly’s injuries. He’s exceeded expectations in five straight, averaging an awesome +15.3 Plus/Minus during that stretch. He surely won’t score 39 again, but you should ride the hot hand anyway.
You know Patrick Beverley will relish the matchup with Chris Paul, two players who effectively replaced one another. Beverley is running ice cold and that has caused his salary to plummet to a spot where he almost has to outperform his implied point total just by showing up. He’s got over a +4.1 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites and he’s dirt cheap.
There are a bunch of great star options at shooting guard tonight, but it doesn’t look like Bradley Beal is one of them. Beal has been on fire, scoring over 30 points in five straight with two 50-point games, hitting at least 50 fantasy points in each of them. Unfortunately, Beal’s price tag has risen immensely too, and shooters can’t stay hot forever. Our models are quite tepid on Beal tonight, even giving him a negative Projected Plus/Minus at DraftKings. With other strong options available, he’s a name to fade tonight, especially since many others may ride his hot hand.
DeMar DeRozan is having one of his best seasons as a professional, and he’s exceeded fantasy expectations in 68% of his games this year. This is a nice spot for DeRozan against the Hornets, and he’s over a +5.6 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.
Minnesota is certainly happy with its D’Angelo Russell acquisition so far. DLo has exceeded fantasy expectations in five of seven Wolves games, scoring at least 25 points in four of them and taking on a huge usage with Karl-Anthony Towns out. There should be plenty of points against the Pelicans, so this is a great spot for a potentially huge Russell night, especially at FanDuel, where Russell has a +8.41 Projected Plus/Minus.
If you need a cheap option here, think about Alec Burks. Burks is in Philadelphia now after a trade from the Warriors, and that’s good news tonight since Philly is missing both Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson from its backcourt. Burks is averaging a +4.95 Plus/Minus on the season and can score points in a hurry given the opportunity for high usage. He’s over a +6.6 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.
What do we do with LeBron James tonight? When TNT scheduled this game, they surely figured it was a possible Finals preview. Instead, Philly can’t perform on the road and they’ll be missing three starters tonight, while the Lakers could be without Anthony Davis (questionable).
Our models are fading LeBron hard, giving him a negative Projected Plus/Minus at DraftKings, but those numbers are hurt by Philly’s presumed defense, which should be much worse with all their injuries, and James could see a boost if Davis is out. Then again, the Lakers could roll over Philadelphia too, which would hurt LeBron’s minutes. There are just too many ways this can go poorly, so I’m fading LeBron tonight at his usual steep price.
I’d much rather play the guy LeBron replaced, Brandon Ingram. Ingram is over a +6.1 Projected Plus/Minus tonight and that should be no surprise to DFS players who have ridden Ingram all season. Ingram has exceeded expectations in 72% of his season games with an average +4.76 on the year, and he should be a great play again.
Paul George makes his return to Oklahoma City tonight. PG has been a disappointing fantasy player all season but that gives you an opportunity to buy a star at a discount in a big spot if you believe in a revenge game. I like riding PG on a hunch at his very moderate price, and our models rate him over a +3.3 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.
I’m definitely buying Jaylen Brown tonight, and he could become a must-play if Jayson Tatum and/or Marcus Smart (both questionable) sit against the Nets. Brown has a 97% Bargain Rating at FanDuel with a +6.41 Projected Plus/Minus and has exceeded expectations in five straight. He’s a good play now and gets even better if Tatum or Smart sit.
Our models love Anthony Davis tonight, rating him over a +5.2 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites, but I’m not buying it. Davis is questionable with a knee injury, and I’m not confident he plays with Philadelphia missing three starters. Even if he does play, he could see limited action in what would likely be a blowout at that point. I’m just staying away from the Lakers tonight in a confusing spot.
You know who I’m not fading, maybe ever? Zion Williamson, that’s who. Zion has played 14 games now, and he’s exceeded fantasy expectations in 11 of them, averaging a +5.75 Plus/Minus. Zion’s price is rising but so is his stardom. He’s scored at least 20 points in 11 straight and shouldn’t have any trouble doing it again with Minnesota on the schedule. He’s over a +6.8 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites and is still a must-play for me.
Fellow rookie P.J. Washington had a great start to the season before falling off the map, but he’s playing well again now, exceeding expectations in seven of his last nine. The Spurs are a plus matchup for P.J., especially with LaMarcus Aldridge not expected to play, and Washington is over a +7 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites and should provide clear value.
Nerlens Noel is another guy that should provide value without a big ceiling. The Clippers provide a +3.39 Opponent Plus/Minus at the position, and Noel is over a +6.3 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites. He plays for only a bit above the minimum.
Our models just aren’t too excited about tonight’s most expensive options. Nikola Jokic has a killer matchup against the Warriors, with a +3.64 Opponent Plus/Minus and a +3.2 pace differential in his favor, but our models are fading him anyway, giving him a negative Projected Plus/Minus at FanDuel.
So what gives? Jokic is coming off a triple-double, but that was the first time he outperformed expectations significantly in eight games, and if you pay up for a stud, you need big time numbers. Still, Jokic is averaging a +7.18 Plus/Minus over the past month. He’s a fascinating option I wouldn’t totally rule out tonight, despite the models.
Another reason to fade Jokic is because there are actually a handful of nice alternative options at center tonight. Steven Adams won’t match Jokic’s ceiling, but he’s averaging a +8.82 Plus/Minus over his last 10 games and has an awesome matchup tonight against a Clippers team that’s been bludgeoned by centers all year. He’s over a +5.5 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.
Deandre Ayton has really been mashing since returning from suspension. He’s exceeded expectations in 66% of his season games with a +4.25 Plus/Minus average. He has a double-double in eight of his last 11 games and benefits from the continued Toronto injuries that should make his life a bit easier than expected tonight.
If you need a bargain option, Derrick Favors is your man. He’s got that same tasty matchup as Zion Williamson but without the big salary or, admittedly, the high ceiling. Favors is a solid cash play option at over a +4 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.