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.
Russell Westbrook has had an interesting season. He spent the majority of the early season serving as more of a distributor, resulting in his lowest usage rate since his sophomore season. That said, he’s reverted to his old style of play recently, posting a usage rate of at least 31.4% in six of his past seven games. He’s averaged a usage rate of 34.8% over that time frame, which would be the second-highest full season mark this season.
Westbrook has shot just 39.2% from the field and 22.2% from 3-point range over that same span, which has kept his fantasy production down, but he has huge upside if he’s going to continue to play that style of basketball.
He’s in an interesting spot against the Timberwolves, who have been poor defensively with Robert Covington off the court this season, and the Thunder’s implied team total of 118.25 is tied for fourth on the slate. However, this will be their first game since the firing of Tom Thibodeau, so it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. Still, Westbrook should be popular on a slate without Anthony Davis or James Harden.
The Pacers’ PG situation could be an interesting one to monitor prior to lineup lock. Both Corey Joseph and Darren Collison are listed as questionable, which could create some potential value.
Of the two, Joseph looks like the more appealing fantasy option. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +2.19 over his past 10 games on DraftKings and has played at least 27.5 minutes in three of his past four games. He’s also significantly cheaper at $3,500 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 93%.
Both players would have excellent matchups against the Cavaliers, who rank dead last in defensive efficiency this season.
De’Anthony Melton could be a nice source of value if Devin Booker is ultimately ruled out. Booker is listed as doubtful as of writing, and Melton has seen a team-high usage bump of +6.4% with Booker out of the lineup this season. He’s in an excellent spot against the Kings, who have played at the second-fastest pace this season.
Trae Young could be an interesting target for the shorthanded Hawks. They’re already without Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince, and Kevin Huerter has been downgraded to questionable. Young has seen a usage bump of +4.8% with all three players off the court this season, and his $5,900 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.
Kyle Lowry was limited to only 31.5 minutes in his first game back from injury but could see a slight bump in playing time on Tuesday. He’s in an elite spot against the Hawks, who have played at the fastest pace in the league this season, and the Raptors’ implied team total of 121.0 points ranks second on the slate.
Bradley Beal has been an awesome value recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +7.23 over his past 10 games on DraftKings. He’s been even better in games without John Wall, averaging 50.97 DraftKings points and a +9.7 Plus/Minus over eight games. He continues to play huge minutes, and only teammate Trevor Ariza is projected for more than Beal’s 38 on today’s slate.
He’s in a great spot against the 76ers, who have played at the seventh-fastest pace this season. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on DraftKings, where he owns a Bargain Rating of 97%.
Alec Burks replaced Rodney Hood in the starting lineup in the Cavs’ last game and logged 23.25 DraftKings points in 35.5 minutes. He’ll likely remain in the starting lineup against the Pacers, and his $4,500 salary on FanDuel results in a Bargain Rating of 86%.
Bogdan Bogdanovic has been an excellent value recently, scoring at least 36.75 DraftKings points in four of his past five games. He’s seen ample playing time in those contests and is currently projected for 35 minutes in our NBA Models. He remains underpriced on DraftKings at $5,900.
Lou Williams is a volatile option, which makes him an ideal target for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). He’s particularly appealing on FanDuel at $6,800, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 75%. He owns a significantly higher ceiling projection than virtually every other player in his price range and should command minimal ownership.
The top of the SF position features an interesting trio of players in Paul George, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard. Durant and Leonard have the best matchups against the Knicks and Hawks, respectively, but those come with blowout concerns. The Warriors are currently listed as 17-point favorites, which is the largest spread of the season, while the Raptors are favored by 13.5. Both players could wind up seeing reduced minutes if their games get out of hand.
That could make George the preferred target at the position, especially on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 90%. He would also benefit if Dennis Schroder is ultimately unable to suit up. George saw a usage bump of +4.7% in his only game without Schroder this season, resulting in 66.25 DraftKings points.
Otto Porter will continue to come off the bench for the Wizards but will not be on a minute restriction against the 76ers. That makes him really appealing on FanDuel, where his $4,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He’s averaged a ridiculous 1.40 FanDuel points per minute over the past month and is currently projected for 28.5 minutes in our NBA Models.
T.J. Warren is another SF who seems massively underpriced on FanDuel. His $6,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%, and he should be the Suns’ offensive focal point if Booker is unable to suit up. He’s seen a usage bump of +2.6% with Booker out of the lineup this season, resulting in an average of 0.98 FanDuel points per minute.
The Knicks’ rotation has fluctuated wildly over the course of the season, and Mario Hezonja appears to be in fashion at the moment. He logged more than 31 minutes seemingly out of nowhere in their last game, which makes him an intriguing target at $3,200 on DraftKings. He’s averaged 0.82 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so he can do some damage from a fantasy perspective when given the opportunity to play.
The stud options are limited at the PF position on this slate, but Domantas Sabonis could be worth some consideration if Myles Turner is unable to suit up. Sabonis played 30.5 minutes with Turner out of the lineup in their last game, resulting in 36.2 FanDuel points. Sabonis in an excellent spot against the Cavaliers, and his $7,100 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 90%.
Josh Jackson is expected to replace Booker in the starting lineup if he’s unable to suit up, which would make him a steal at $4,100 on FanDuel.
Jackson has scored at least 32.2 FanDuel points in two of his past three games and leads the position with 11 Pro Trends.
Marvin Williams would be an interesting option if Jeremy Lamb is unable to suit up for the Hornets. Williams has played more than 34 minutes in each of his past two games and has scored at least 31.5 DraftKings points in both. He’s in a nice spot against the Clippers, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.89 on DraftKings.
Marvin Bagley returned from an extended lineup in his last game, but the Kings are opting to exercise caution and rest him on the second leg of a back-to-back. Nemanja Bjelica has fared well with Bagley out of the lineup this season, which makes him an interesting option at $5,300 on DraftKings. That said, the Kings have utilized a deeper rotation recently — Bagley, Bjelica, Harry Giles, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufus all played at least 13.5 minutes in their last game — so he might not see as big a bump in playing time as expected.
The 76ers have been shorthanded recently but are expected to return to full strength on Tuesday. Jimmy Butler and Wilson Chandler have each missed the past two games with illnesses, but both players are not listed on the injury report today.
That will obviously dampen the appeal for Joel Embiid, but he’s in an absolute dream spot against the Wizards. They’ve been the worst rebounding team in the league this season, and have been particularly bad with Dwight Howard off the court. They also rank just 27th in defensive efficiency, giving Embiid an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.94 on DraftKings. It’s a tough call between him and Westbrook for the top mark on the slate, but it’s possible to squeeze both into the same lineup.
Bismack Biyombo has started each of the past two games for the Hornets, but Willie Hernangomez might actually be the better source of value on this slate. He’s averaged a stout 1.26 DraftKings points per minute over the past month and is currently projected for 21.5 minutes in our NBA Models. He’s in an elite spot against the Clippers, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.18 on DraftKings.
Deandre Ayton is another member of the Suns who could benefit with Booker out of the lineup. He’s increased his assist rate by +5.6% in games without Booker this season and has averaged a Plus/Minus of +7.31 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. He leads all players at the position with 14 Pro Trends, and his $7,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 90%.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed.
Pictured: Suns C Deandre Ayton
Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports