The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features an 11-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET
Today’s slate is massive, so there are going to be a lot of quality options at each position. Damian Lillard stands out at PG. He’s playing huge minutes at the moment, logging at least 37.3 in six of his first seven games. He’s currently projected for 37.1 minutes in our NBA Models, which is the second-highest mark on the slate regardless of position.
Lillard is also in a strong spot vs. the Brooklyn Nets. This game owns the highest total on the slate at 237 points, and the Blazers’ implied team total of 120.0 points ranks second. Brooklyn has played at the fourth-fastest pace this season, and they are also below-average in terms of defensive efficiency.
Lillard stands out as a particularly strong value on DraftKings, where his $9,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%.
Aaron Holiday has earned more playing time as the season has progressed, and he’s coming off a season-high 31 minutes in his last contest. He has the potential to see a similar amount of playing time today given the Pacers’ current injury situation. Jeremy Lamb and Goga Bitadze have already been ruled out, while Myles Turner is expected to be a game-time decision. Holiday has been productive with his playing time this season, averaging 0.77 FanDuel points per minute, so another increased workload would make him an appealing value option at just $4,000 on FanDuel.
Unsurprisingly, Kyle Lowry has seen a boost in fantasy production without Kawhi Leonard this season, posting a positive Plus/Minus in six of his first seven games on FanDuel. He has arguably the best matchup of the day at the PG position vs. the New Orleans Pelicans (+4.72 Opponent Plus/Minus on FanDuel).
The Wizards are another team with a great matchup today. They’re taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who currently rank 24th in defensive efficiency. Isaiah Thomas stands out on DraftKings given his average of 1.29 DraftKings points per minute to begin the season. Ish Smith could also be an option on FanDuel (Bargain Rating of 71%). He’s played at least 28.3 minutes in four of his past six games.
Sticking with the Wizards, Bradley Beal has quietly blossomed into one of the better guards in the league. He doesn’t get a ton of attention because he plays for one of the worst teams in the NBA, but he’s currently on pace to average career-highs in scoring and assists per game. The scary part is that he hasn’t even shot the ball well this season: He’s shooting just 40.8% from the field and 28.8% from 3-point range. Those numbers are well below his marks from last season, so he has the potential to improve upon his average of 1.21 FanDuel points per minute moving forward.
He’s currently projected for “just” 34.2 minutes in our NBA Models, but he has played at least 40.5 minutes in two of his past four games. I love his upside in this spot.
Terrence Ross is out today for the Orlando Magic, which opens up a few additional minutes of playing time on the wing. That should be a positive for Evan Fournier, who has seen a reduction in playing time this season. That said, his salary is just $4,500 on FanDuel, which represents a decrease of $1,200 since the start of the season. This could be a nice buy-low opportunity in a massive pace-up spot vs. the Grizzlies.
The Pistons are expected to be without Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, and Tim Frazier once again today, which means we can go back to the well with Bruce Brown. He’s started at PG in each of the past three games, and he’s posted at least 40.9 FanDuel points in two of those contests. He wasn’t nearly as good in his last game, but his 23.6 FanDuel points still represented a positive Plus/Minus.
C.J. McCollum has struggled to start the season, but it’s easy to see better performances for him in the future. For starters, he’s actually averaging a career-high 20.0 shot attempts per game, but he’s shot just 40.0% from the field. His salary has decreased by $500 on DraftKings and $1,000 on FanDuel since the start of the season, so he’s a strong bounce-back candidate in an elite matchup vs. the Nets.
So this Giannis Antetokounmpo guy is pretty good, huh? He’s one pace to set new career-highs in virtually every category across the board this season, a scary thought considering he won the MVP last year. He’s currently averaging a ridiculous 2.01 DraftKings points per minute, which is virtually unheard of. Even James Harden couldn’t crack 2.00 DraftKings points per minute when he was dominating for the Rockets without Chris Paul last season. Giannis has absurd upside every single time he takes the court.
That said, this isn’t a particularly appealing spot for him. He’s taking on the Utah Jazz, who currently rank first in the league in defensive efficiency and 28th in pace. The Bucks are currently implied for just 110.25 points, which represents a massive decrease compared to their average of 122.2. Giannis’ resulting Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.96 on FanDuel is one of the worst marks on the slate.
The bottom line is this is one of the worst spots we’ll see for Giannis all season. He can certainly still go off, but there are better options today.
The injuries continue to pile up for the New York Knicks. Elfrid Payton and Mitchell Robinson will both miss tonight’s contest vs. the Mavericks, while Dennis Smith Jr. is questionable.
The Robinson absence in particular should result in a few additional minutes for Kevin Knox. He’s been a bit of a forgotten man this season despite generating significant buzz as a rookie. I guess that’s what happen when your team signs six different power forwards during the offseason. Still, he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past five games on FanDuel, and he doesn’t have to clear a very high bar to return value at just $3,900.
Jimmy Butler hasn’t really been asked to do much in his four games with the Heat this season. He’s logged 30.7 minutes or less in three of those contests, which has caused his salary to drop to just $7,400 on DraftKings. That said, he has averaged 1.37 DraftKings points per minute, and he should return to his normal workload if today’s contest vs. the Lakers stays competitive.
The Raptors should probably get more credit for their ability to develop players. Pascal Siakam turned into a superstar last season, and OG Anunoby has been excellent to start this season. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +9.19 on FanDuel and has averaged 0.90 FanDuel points per minute. He’s currently projected for 36 minutes vs. the Pelicans, which is the top mark at the SF position.
This could be one of the best opportunities all season to buy Anthony Davis at reduced ownership. It’s a loaded 11-game slate, he’s coming off a poor performance, and he has a brutal matchup vs. the Heat. Most people are not going to give him a second thought.
Still, Davis was so highly coveted by the Lakers for a reason. He’s one of the most talented players in the league, so he’s capable of overcoming a tough matchup. He still leads the Lakers in usage rate, and the team has been willing to play him around 36 minutes in games that have stayed competitive this season. He’s definitely an interesting option in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Jarrett Allen is priced at just $5,200 on FanDuel, which would make him tough to avoid if DeAndre Jordan is ultimately ruled out. Allen played more than 30 minutes with DJ out of the lineup in his last contest and responded with 31.5 FanDuel points. He’s averaged 0.95 FanDuel points per minute this season, but he’s the type of guy who is capable of producing at a rate of well over a fantasy point per minute.
If you’re the type of person who likes a good #RevengeGame narrative, then Kristaps Porzingis is your guy. He was considered to be the savior of the Knicks at this time last season before ultimately getting shipped off to Dallas so the Knicks could pursue bigger names in free agency. He’s been up-and-down this season, but he’s displayed an excellent ceiling for GPPs. His $7,600 price tag on DraftKings also comes with a Bargain Rating of 78%.
Al Horford leads the position with 13 Pro Trends on FanDuel, and he’s in an interesting spot today vs. the Denver Nuggets. They’ve taken a huge step back defensively this season, giving Horford an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.61 on FanDuel. He did struggle with Joel Embiid back in the lineup in his last game, but Horford has shown the ability to perform well with Embiid in the lineup this season.
As usual, the center position is absolutely loaded on today’s slate. That said, it’s hard to argue against Karl-Anthony Towns as the top option. He’s been absolutely dominant when on the court this season, averaging 1.81 DraftKings points per minute. He’s managed to increase his volume this season without sacrificing his trademark efficiency — he’s shooting 46.7% on 9.0 three-point attempts per game! — and he’s also made some strides as a distributor and defender.
Towns benefits from one of the best possible matchups today vs. the Golden State Warriors. Calling their defense a train wreck this season would be an insult to train wrecks. They’ve allowed a whopping 115.5 points per 100 possessions, which is the worst mark in the league by nearly four points. The Timberwolves rank first in pace, so they should have plenty of opportunities to feast in this matchup. They’re currently implied for 121.75 points, which is the top mark on the slate.
The Warriors are also particularly thin on the interior. They don’t have Draymond Green or Kevon Looney available tonight, so Towns should have a huge mismatch against whoever they throw at him. Towns’ resulting Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.62 ranks second at the position on DraftKings, where his $10,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 88%.
Paying down at center is also very viable today. Bobby Portis will likely move into the starting lineup given the injury to Robinson, and he’s averaged 0.93 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s currently projected for 25.9 minutes in our NBA Models, and Portis has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.61 with a comparable salary and minute projection on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).
Check out this video for a full tutorial for our Trends tool
Dwight Powell is another potential source of value at the center position. He’s averaged just 0.66 DraftKings points per minute this season, but he averaged over 1.00 DraftKings points per minute last year. He’s coming off roughly 34 minutes in his last game, so he has big upside at just $4,400 on DraftKings.
Hassan Whiteside was getting absolutely KILLED on TNT yesterday:
Charles Barkley goes in on Hassan Whiteside “His strength is going to the bank twice a month and stealing money” pic.twitter.com/LH6bQ0ONR1
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) November 8, 2019
That said, fantasy owners don’t have a ton to complain about with him. Sure, he’s not the same dominant force that he was when he first burst onto the scene in Miami, but he’s still averaging 1.30 DraftKings points per minute this season. That’s a lot of potential production at just $6,500 on DraftKings, especially considering his elite matchup vs. the Nets.
Pictured above: Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns (32)
Photo credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports