The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Sunday features a six-game main slate starting at 6 p.m. ET.
Russell Westbrook has sat out two of the Rockets’ past three games, but he’s been dominant when he’s been on the court recently. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +11.42 over his past 10 games, yet his average salary has barely budged. He has a tough matchup today vs. the Jazz, who rank eighth in defensive efficiency, but Westbrook is underpriced across the industry given his recent production.
The Heat are a nice source of value at the PG position. They’re going to be without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, which means some different players will see increased usage. They also shipped out Justise Winslow and Dion Waiters before the trade deadline, which leaves them pretty shorthanded in the backcourt.
Expect Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn to handle the majority of the playing time. Nunn is the starter and is currently projected for more minutes in our NBA Models. He’s also slightly cheaper across the industry, which makes him the safer target. Dragic has seen a bigger bump in usage with Butler and Herro off the court this season, so he might have a bit higher upside.
Both guys are drastically underpriced on FanDuel, where each owns a Bargain Rating of at least 95%.
The game between the Grizzlies and Wizards is definitely one you’re going to want exposure to. Both teams rank in the top six in pace, and Washington also ranks dead last in defensive efficiency. Overall, the 239.5-point total is the top mark on the slate.
On the Grizzlies side, Ja Morant stands out as an obvious target. He’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in four straight games, which has caused his salary to drop by -$1,200 over the past month on FanDuel and -$900 on DraftKings. He’s a nice buy-low option.
De’Anthony Melton also deserves some consideration on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 93%. He’s averaged 1.07 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s currently projected for 24.3 minutes. That should be enough for him to pay off his $4,000 salary.
Coby White has struggled to stand out in a crowded Bulls’ backcourt this season, but perhaps that will change moving forward. Chicago is playing for the future at this point, so it makes sense to start funneling a few additional minutes to White. That’s exactly what happened in their last game, and he responded with 32.7 FanDuel points over 31.2 minutes. White has averaged 0.93 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he can take advantage of a few additional minutes.
If you like targeting stud players at reduced ownership, James Harden is your guy on today’s slate. He’s struggled in back-to-back games, and things don’t figure to get much easier vs. the Jazz. Harden owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.95 on DraftKings, which is one of the worst marks at the position.
That said, Harden still owns one of the highest ceilings on the slate, and nothing about his recent struggles is particularly concerning. He still posted a usage rate of over 40% in his last game but played limited minutes and was less productive than usual in the peripheral categories. He’s going to bounce back eventually.
Lou Williams is another player who has struggled recently, posting a negative Plus/Minus in each of his past three games on FanDuel. That’s caused his salary to decrease to $5,400 on FanDuel for today’s matchup vs. the Cavaliers, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%. It’s a great matchup, with the Cavs currently ranking 29th in defensive efficiency.
Williams should also see a boost from the Clippers’ injury situation. Kawhi Leonard will get the night off for rest, and Patrick Beverley remains out with a groin injury. Williams has increased his usage rate by a team-high +5.4% with both players off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.19 FanDuel points per minute.
Bradley Beal is basically a required target if you’re looking to stack the Wizards-Grizzlies game. He has been priced up quite a bit recently, but that hasn’t stopped him from posting an average Plus/Minus of +10.65 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. His median, ceiling, and floor projections are very comparable to Harden’s within our NBA Models, and he’ll save you a decent chunk of salary.
Kevin Huerter has been playing huge minutes for the Hawks recently. He’s logged at least 36.6 minutes in six of his past seven games, and he’s averaged a respectable 0.83 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s underpriced at $5,000 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%.
Paul George has played less than 26 minutes in each of his past two games, but his box score is a bit deceiving. Both of those games have been in hand in the fourth quarter, so George spent more time on the sidelines than on the court. He did play 31.2 minutes in the Clippers’ last competitive contest, so the lack of playing time appears to have more to do with the game script than a minute restriction.
With that in mind, it should be safe to fire him up today vs. the Cavs. His salary across the industry is very reasonable, and he will obviously see a boost in value with Leonard and Beverley on the sidelines. He’s averaged 1.63 DraftKings points per minute with both players off the court this season, and he’s averaged 42.56 DraftKings points over just 27.4 minutes in four games with both players out of the lineup.
Dillon Brooks is another potential target for the Grizzlies. He’s been very effective recently, averaging 1.02 DraftKings points per minute, and he’s currently projected for 31.4 minutes in our NBA Models. He’s a strong option at $4,900 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 87%.
The Jazz are in a massive pace up spot vs. the Rockets, so Bojan Bogdanovic has more upside than usual. He’s been a strong option to begin with recently, posting a positive Plus/Minus in seven of his past eight games, and his $5,700 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 86%. He also leads the position with 11 Pro Trends.
Trevor Ariza hasn’t exactly dominated as a member of the Blazers, averaging 0.65 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. That said, he’s priced at just $3,600 on DraftKings, and he’s currently projected for 35.4 minutes in our NBA Models. It’s hard to find someone that cheap with that much potential playing time, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.87 (per the Trends tool).
Bam Adebayo has PF eligibility on FanDuel, where he stands out as one of the best overall plays of the day. He’s underpriced at $8,000, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 86%, and he has a dream matchup vs. the Blazers. They have been abysmal vs. opposing big men this season, giving Adebayo an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.77. Adebayo has also increased his usage rate by +3.9% with all of the currently injured/traded Heat off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.26 FanDuel points per minute.
Sticking with the Heat, Jae Crowder should have a chance to make an impact in his team debut. There are plenty of minutes up for grabs today, and it seems likely that he’ll see more than Andre Iguodala since Iggy hasn’t played basketball all season. Crowder has averaged 0.90 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he doesn’t need a ton of playing time to pay off his $3,900 salary.
Jaren Jackson Jr. was limited to under 20 minutes in his last game, but he should return to his normal workload today vs. the Wizards. That should spell success. The Wizards rank dead last in team rebound rate in addition to defensive efficiency, which has made them an excellent matchup for opposing big men all season.
John Collins stands out as one of the best pure values at the position on FanDuel, where his $7,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. His matchup vs. the Knicks isn’t ideal — they’ve actually been pretty good against opposing big men this season — but Collins has averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.45 with a comparable salary this season.
Joel Embiid was well on his way to a monster game in his last outing, scoring 33.5 DraftKings points and posting a double-double in the first half vs. the Grizzlies. Then his neck started bothering him, and he didn’t play a single minute in the second half.
That is a bit of a concern today, but Embiid will be back in the lineup vs. the Bulls. His salary continues to decrease across the industry, and he’s down to just $8,200 on DraftKings. That represents a decrease of -$1,000 over the past month, and his current price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%. He should smash the Bulls as long as he’s not limited given his Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.76.
It’s hard to look past Montrezl Harrell on FanDuel at just $5,500. His salary has dropped by more than -$1,000 over the past week, giving him a Bargain Rating of 96%. He should benefit from the Clippers current injury situation — he’s increased his usage rate by +3.7% with Leonard and Beverley off the court — and his matchup vs. the Cavs results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.09.
How in the world are the Rockets going to handle Rudy Gobert today? They’re playing without any traditional big men at the moment, so Gobert should be able to dominate them on the interior. He’s not a guy who typically gets fed in the post, but he should be able to do plenty of work on the offensive and defensive boards.
Pictured: Clippers SG Lou Williams (23)
Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey-Getty Images