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 nine-game slate, with games starting at 7 p.m. ET.
The Brooklyn Nets deserve to be treated as the top team target on the slate. They’re in an elite spot against the Sacramento Kings, who rank last in terms of defensive efficiency and lead the slate with an implied team total of 124.25 points. They will also be without Kevin Durant for the fifth consecutive game.
Kyrie Irving should see one of the largest boosts in value with Durant out of the lineup. He’s increased his usage rate by +3.5% with Durant off the court since the team acquired James Harden, resulting in an average of 1.23 FanDuel points per minute. His matchup vs. the Kings also results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.35. Overall, he possesses similar upside to the top point guards on the slate, but he comes at a nice discount.
Michael Carter-Williams will continue to operate as Orlando’s starting point guard, and he can provide excellent fantasy value in that role. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in all five games since returning to the lineup, and he’s averaged 0.86 FanDuel points per minute over that time frame. He’s way too cheap at just $4,500 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 87 percent.
Dennis Smith Jr. burned a lot of people Sunday. He had an average ownership of more than 54% on DraftKings, but he finished with just 12.0 DraftKings points over 15.4 minutes. That should result in significantly less ownership today, which makes him an interesting bounce-back candidate. He will likely draw another start, and he has the potential to rack up fantasy points in bunches if he can avoid getting benched. He’s currently projected for 29.2 minutes in our NBA Models, and Smith has averaged 0.85 DraftKings points per minute in limited playing time this season.
Lillard has been doing everything for the Blazers recently, which is not surprising with C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic sidelined. He’s coming off a brutal performance in his last game, but he was limited to just 28.6 minutes in a blowout loss. He had played at least 36.5 minutes in each of his previous four contests, and he scored at least 52.1 FanDuel points in each of those games. Expect a better showing tonight vs. the Nuggets.
James Harden is a point guard on DraftKings and a shooting guard on FanDuel, but he’s a bonafide stud wherever you choose to roster him. He’s been fantastic over his past 10 games, posting an average Plus/Minus of +5.84 on FanDuel, and he’s scored at least 59.6 FanDuel points in four of his past five games. Overall, he’s averaged over 52.0 FanDuel points in nine games without Durant as a member of the Nets, which makes him an elite option. Factor in a juicy matchup vs. the Kings, and he’s easily one of the top studs to pay-up for on today’s slate.
Kevin Huerter has played a ton of minutes recently, and he’s projected for 35.3 minutes vs. the Cavaliers. Those minutes haven’t led to much fantasy success – he’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in four straight games on DraftKings – but he’s uncharacteristically struggled to shoot the ball during that stretch. He’s just 18.2% from 3-point range over his past four games, but he’s closer to a 40% 3-point shooter for his career. He’s due for some positive regression, and that could start tonight vs. a Cavs’ squad that ranks tied for 25th in defensive efficiency.
Collin Sexton is carrying a massive workload for the Cavs currently. He’s logged at least 35.4 minutes in each of his past five games, and he’s eclipsed 40 minutes in three of them. Sexton has averaged 0.93 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he’s capable of doing some damage with that much playing time. He’s a nice value at $6,900 on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 75 percent.
If you’re looking for some cheap exposure to the Nets on DraftKings, Landry Shamet could be your guy. His $3,400 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%, and he’s increased his production to 0.77 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He’s currently projected for 25.6 minutes in our NBA Models, which would give him a good chance to return value against the Kings.
Small forward is one of the weaker positions to pay up at, but Kawhi Leonard is worth some consideration on FanDuel. He owns an excellent matchup vs. the Wizards, who have been arguably the best matchup in fantasy this season. They rank first in pace and tied for 25th in defensive efficiency, and the Clippers’ implied team total of 122.75 ranks second on the slate.
That said, there are some blowout concerns here. The Clippers are favored by a slate-high 12 points, so Leonard could spend the fourth quarter on the bench if this game goes according to script.
Michael Porter Jr. should continue to benefit from the Nuggets’ current injury situation. Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green, Gary Harris, and P.J. Dozier have all been ruled out, which means Porter should be looking at another expanded workload. He’s played at least 30.5 minutes in two of his past three games, and MPJ has averaged 1.01 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Danilo Gallinari owns one of the better matchups at the position, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.97 vs. the Cavaliers. He’s been a bit boom-or-bust recently, but there have been more booms than busts. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in five of his past eight games on FanDuel, where his $4,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 72%.
Khris Middleton stands out as one of the best pure values at the position on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $7,200, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 87%. Middleton has averaged a Plus/Minus of +7.41 with a comparable salary this season, so this could be an excellent time to buy low on him (per the Trends tool).
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been absolutely balling recently. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +8.92 over his past 10 games on DraftKings, and he’s scored at least 65.25 DraftKings points in six of his past seven games. His price has come up a bit over that time frame, but not nearly as much as it should have. The Bucks are currently implied for 121 points vs. the Timberwolves, which ranks third on the slate. Overall, Giannis owns the highest ceiling projection in our NBA Models, so he’s one of the top options for tournaments
Sticking with the Bucks, Bobby Portis is a very interesting option at just $4,800 on FanDuel. His price has come down a bit after some poor recent performances, but he’s still averaged an elite 1.15 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. Portis also owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.84 vs. the Timberwolves, so he has the potential to pay off his salary without a ton of playing time.
If this game turns into a blowout — which is definitely possible given the 10.5-point spread — Portis would have the upside for a monster game. That gives him an excellent ceiling without much downside.
Richaun Holmes returned for the Kings in their last game, but that didn’t have much of an impact on Marvin Bagley. He played just under 29 minutes, and Bagley has averaged 1.06 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. His price has come up a bit across the industry, but he should be able to pay it off if Harrison Barnes is ultimately ruled out. Barnes is currently listed as questionable, so make sure to monitor his status using the Labs Insiders tool.
Nerlens Noel has PF eligibility on FanDuel, which is where he’s most valuable. He’s a savant in terms of blocks and steals, and you get three points for each on FanDuel. He’s seen plenty of playing time with Mitchell Robinson out of the lineup, which makes him very appealing at $5,300.
Today’s slate is absolutely loaded with superstars. Nikola Jokic is yet another player who needs to be on your radar. I’m not sure how you choose between Harden, Giannis, and Jokic today, but getting two of those guys into your lineup seems like the preferred strategy. It’s going to be tough, so hopefully, some value opens up as the day progresses.
Jokic has been doing a little bit of everything for the shorthanded Nuggets recently. He remains one of the best passing big men in league history, and he’s displayed more aggression as a scorer recently. Overall, he’s scored at least 55.1 FanDuel points in seven of his past nine games, and he’s displayed a ceiling of 80+. He should feast against the Blazers’ pitiful defense, and Enes Kanter in particular has no chance of guarding him.
Brook Lopez’s playing time is down, but so is his salary on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $4,400, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 92%, which makes him an excellent buy-low target. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.85 vs. the Timberwolves, and Lopez has averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.52 with a comparable salary this season.
Clint Capela is underpriced across the industry for his matchup against the Cavaliers. Capela has been excellent recently – he’s scored at least 43.25 DraftKings points in four of his past five games – and the Cavaliers have struggled in the paint defensively. They’ve been solid on the glass, but they’ve been far worse in that department with Andre Drummond off the court.