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 five-game slate starting at 6 p.m. ET.
Kyle Lowry has been carrying an insane workload for the Raptors recently. They’ve been extremely shorthanded and Lowry has logged at least 40.1 minutes in three of his past four games.
He could be asked to shoulder the load again today vs. the Spurs. Fred VanVleet remains out, while Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol are both questionable to suit up. Head coach Nick Nurse said that the questionable tag was “optimistic” for both, so there is no guarantee that either player is able to return to the lineup.
If that’s the case, Lowry is going to be extremely appealing in a plus matchup vs. the Spurs. They’ve struggled this season, ranking 24th in defensive efficiency, and Lowry has increased his usage rate by a team-high +5.7% with VanVleet, Siakam, and Gasol off the court. He’s averaged 1.25 DraftKings points per minute in that situation, which represents a sizable increase compared to his season average of 1.07.
Paul George will miss his second straight game for the Clippers, and Patrick Beverley absolutely dominated with George out of the lineup in his last contest. He recorded 46.75 DraftKings points and was just one assist shy of a triple-double vs. the Golden State Warriors.
His current matchup vs. the Nuggets isn’t nearly as appealing — they’ve played at the second-slowest pace in the league — but Beverley is simply too cheap at the moment. His $4,800 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 78%.
Trae Young is questionable with a hamstring injury, but he’s in an elite spot if he’s able to suit up. He’s taking on the Brooklyn Nets, who have been crushed by opposing PGs this season. It results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.83 on FanDuel, which is the top mark at the position. Young has also been an excellent investment recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +5.46 over his past 10 games, and his $10,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 75%.
Kyrie Irving is the wild card at the PG position. He’s playing his first game in nearly two months, which makes him a risky investment. He will almost certainly be on some sort of minute restriction, and he’s currently projected for just 27.5 minutes in our NBA Models. That said, Irving is capable of filling up the box score in a hurry — his average of 1.43 FanDuel points per minute is the top mark at the position — and his salary has decreased by -$2,000 over the past month. His current $7,700 price tag on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%, and the Nets’ implied team total of 118.0 is the top mark on the slate.
DeMar DeRozan has quietly been playing his best basketball of the season recently. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past nine games on FanDuel, and he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +9.94 over his past 10 contests. That said, his price has actually decreased by -$500 over the past month, and his $7,400 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 91%.
He’s in an interesting spot today vs. the Raptors. It’s a tough matchup, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.10, but this is also a #RevengeGame. DeRozan averaged 22.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 9.5 assists in two games vs. the Raptors last season, so don’t be surprised if he has a little extra gas in the tank for today’s matchup.
Gary Harris might be the most boring option in fantasy basketball. He’s averaged just 0.65 FanDuel points per minute, which is a pretty sizable decrease from his average last season (0.77). His usage rate is down to a career-low 15.1%, and he’s also shooting just 41.8% from the field and 31.4% from 3-point range.
Still, it’s hard to ignore him at $4,100 given the sheer volume of minutes he’s playing. He’s currently projected for 34.0 minutes, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.83 (per the Trends tool). Harris has averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.69 over his past 10 games, so that’s a pretty reasonable expectation for him on today’s slate.
D’Angelo Russell will be back in the lineup tonight for the Warriors, and his production has been excellent when he’s managed to suit up. He’s averaged 1.27 DraftKings points per minute this season, which is the top mark at the SG position. He may be on some sort of minute restriction, but he can do a lot of damage vs. the Grizzlies in limited minutes. They rank fifth in pace and tied for 22nd in defensive efficiency, and Russell owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.29 on DraftKings.
Devonte’ Graham is coming off one of his worst games of the season, scoring just 11.9 FanDuel points over 25.5 minutes vs. the Jazz. He’s in another tough spot today vs. the Suns, but his salary has decreased by-$1,100 over the past month. He has some buy-low appeal.
This position is a little thin at the top today. Only two players are priced above $5,700 on FanDuel, and Kelly Oubre is the most expensive option at $7,000.
That said, Oubre is definitely worth your attention. He’s been fantastic since arriving in Phoenix last season, and he’s averaged 0.98 FanDuel points per minute this season. He leads the position with 37.1 projected minutes, and his 12 Pro Trends rank second at the position. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.60 over his past 10 games and a Consistency Rating of 92% over the past month, yet his salary has actually decreased by -$500 over that time frame.
Sticking with the Suns, Dario Saric’s minute count has been all over the place this season. Still, he played more than 20 minutes in his last contest, and he’s priced at just $3,100 on DraftKings for today’s matchup vs. the Hornets. He’s an appealing punt play given his Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.10.
OG Anunoby is underpriced on FanDuel, where his $4,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%. Norman Powell will return to the lineup today — which will effect Anunoby’s playing time — but he should still see a large workload if Siakam and Gasol are unable to suit up.
Will Barton has been nearly as good as Oubre recently, and you can get him at a slightly cheaper price tag on FanDuel. He’s increased his production to 0.99 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, and he leads the position with 13 Pro Trends. He also stands out as a better pure value than Oubre on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 91%.
Kawhi Leonard figures to be one of the highest-owned players on today’s slate with George out of the lineup. He dominated in that situation in his last game, scoring 61.3 FanDuel points and leading the team with a usage rate of 38.0%. Overall, Kawhi has averaged 48.31 FanDuel points per game in 11 contests without George this season.
That said, this is far from a smash spot vs. the Nuggets. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.41 on FanDuel, and the Raptors are playing on the road. Denver has historically been one of the toughest venues in basketball for opposing players, and comparably priced players have averaged a Plus/Minus of -4.42 when playing the Nuggets on the road over the past three seasons.
Kawhi is a stronger option today on DraftKings, where his $9,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 75%.
Brandon Clarke isn’t playing huge minutes in his rookie season, but he’s been very impressive when on the court. He’s averaged 1.14 FanDuel points per minute, which is more than guys like Serge Ibaka, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Draymond Green.
With that in mind, his $4,500 salary is pretty reasonable for his matchup vs. the Warriors. They’ve been an excellent matchup for PFs this season, giving Clarke an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.97.
Speaking of Draymond Green, he has PF eligibility on FanDuel and PG/SF eligibility on DraftKings. He stands out as a better option on DraftKings, where his $5,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 75%. The Warriors have made an effort to limit his minutes recently, but he’s still averaged 1.00 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Paul Millsap missed his second straight game yesterday, and Mike Malone has insisted that they will not rush him back. That means Jerami Grant could draw another start today vs. the Clippers, which would make him an appealing value at $4,000 on FanDuel. He struggled yesterday vs. the Cavs, but he racked up 36.0 FanDuel points in 33.6 minutes two games ago.
If the only thing you could do correctly in DFS was identify which games Nikola Jokic was going to explode, you could be a very profitable player. It looked like he was turning a corner recently, and then he posted a usage rate of just 17.8% in his last game. It was a smash spot vs. the Cavaliers and the Nuggets ended up losing a competitive contest, so there was really no excuse for him not to be more aggressive.
Sadly, this is the kind of boom-or-bust production we’ve become accustomed to with Jokic. There doesn’t appear to be any method to his madness — he can smash in bad spots and flop in good ones — so you just have to pray you made the correct decision with him on each slate he’s available.
That volatility does typically result in reduced ownership, but that probably won’t be the case today. There just aren’t a ton of stars to choose from, and Jokic does have a strong matchup vs. the Clippers. He has arguably the top ceiling on the slate if he plays to his full potential, but it’s anyone’s guess if we’ll actually see it tonight.
If you don’t want to ride the roller coaster with Jokic, Montrezl Harrell is an appealing option on the other side of that matchup. He’s seen a usage bump of +1.8% with George off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.18 FanDuel points per minute. The Nuggets have also been a juicy matchup for centers this season, giving Harrell an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.44 on FanDuel.
Alex Len is another center with a strong matchup. He’s taking on the Nets, who have surrendered big games in bunches to opposing centers this season. Len has been coming off the bench recently, but he could move into the starting lineup if Young or De’Andre Hunter are unable to suit up.
Deandre Ayton has scored at least 33.3 FanDuel points in each of his past five games, which makes him a very reasonable target at $7,800. He’s also projected for just 9-12% ownership, which gives him one of the top leverage scores at the position. He’s an appealing GPP-pivot.
Pictured: Spurs SG DeMar DeRozan (10)
Photo credit: Michael Reaves-Getty Images