This article last updated 10/25/2018 – Featured image from Google Images / BET
Last night was stressful. My main lineup featured Devin Booker (on track for a great game, but didn’t play in the 4th quarter because he tweaked his hamstring) and LeBron James (41.1 FD points at halftime, but didn’t play most of the second half because the Lakers blew out the Suns). I should have easily been well over the minimum cash line in all of my GPPs with the lineup that I had, but those two guys going out made things quite interesting toward the end of the night. In the Fanduel Monster last night, the top 134 positions are paid. At the start of the 4th quarter in the Warriors vs. Wizards game, I was in 131st place. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were both having great games, and while Steph sat out the 4th quarter, Durant was playing pretty late into the game. I did have Jeff Green and Markieff Morris on that lineup, so there was some hope that they could score enough to keep me floating above the cash line. Late in the third quarter, Green blocked a shot as the shot clock expired. It initially was credited statistically as a block (which in my opinion, was correct) and that pushed me up into about 100th place or so, and I was feeling pretty good about everything. The block got wiped out of the stats a bit later, though, as I guess they decided the shot clock violation happened prior to the block. I dropped to 134th place, the last position that pays out, and figured my night was likely over with about 7-1/2 minutes to go in the game. I watched until the end, and with about 3 minutes remaining in the game, I fell to 136th, just outside of the cash line. Just about a minute before the game ended, though, my team jumped back up to 131st place. Morris and Green were still out of the game, and my score didn’t change, so either another stat correction happened or somebody turned the ball over to lose points. In either case, across all contests, I was floating just above the minimum cash line and it turned out to be a pretty profitable night.
I had a ton of Kent Bazemore last night, but he didn’t make the final cut for my main lineup. I had no idea he would come in at such a low ownership percentage. I had him between 0.3% and 1% ownership in every lineup he was on, and I sure wish I had played more of him. Looking back at my article from yesterday, I really identified some winning plays, especially at the guard positions. I had Dennis Smith Jr and Cameron Payne as the top two value plays at PG. Smith hit 5.4x value and Payne went 9.7x. Stephen Curry was my top raw points projection at the position, and he ended up as the #1 PG with 6.6x value, even though he didn’t play at all in the 4th quarter. Kent Bazemore was my top PT/$ value at SG, and he went 8.1x value with 54.1 FD points. I completely missed Lance Stephenson (12.2x value – 47.6 FD points), DeAndre’ Bembry (11.7x value – 45.7 FD points), and Damyean Dotson (9.8x value – 40 FD points). Scoring is way up in the NBA this year, and I think we are frequently going to see guys come out of nowhere with huge games, so we need to be able to identify those guys and be on them BEFORE their big games happen, not after.
Let’s dig in to tonight’s slate.
Games To Target
DEN @ LAL – Vegas O/U 237.5 – DEN favored by 3 with an implied team total of 120.25 points
This game has the highest total of the night by 17 points. It also only has a 3 point spread, and the Lakers are coming off of a blowout win where they looked unbeatable. I know the Suns aren’t great, but the Lakers were zipping the ball around with crisp, accurate passes, they were shooting well, playing unselfish team basketball, and generally looked completely different than their first few games. The Nuggets have looked like one of the best teams in the league this season, so this could be a fast-paced, exciting, high-scoring game.
There are 3 other games tonight, and I don’t think any of the other 3 are good candidates for stacking. We should be looking to pick off individual plays from other games and focusing primarily on the Nuggest @ Lakers game.
Projection-Based Rankings By Position
These rankings are based on my personal NBA model’s daily projections. I will provide rankings for raw point projections and PT/$ value projections.
Targets and Analysis
It’s a short slate, and ownership will be concentrated on the late night game. I recommend playing relatively light, because there is likely to be some overlap on the top lineups, and try to find smart ways to differentiate your lineups.
Lonzo Ball gets one more game tonight with Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram both suspended. His game has blended well with LeBron’s, and he’s played relatively well, but his FD point totals of 33.4 and 32.2 while Rondo has been out have been good, not great. I think I’ll be laying off of Lonzo tonight, as I think he’ll be pretty heavily owned, and I think it’s more likely that he has another decent game or a bad game than an elite game.
Russell Westbrook could be the stud to pay up for tonight. Boston is a tough out for anyone, but the game is in Oklahoma City and it’s a very tight 1-point spread, so the game should be competitive. Westbrook looked good in his first game of the season, and I think he builds on that performance tonight. He’s very expensive, so it’s a big decision to play him, but he’s definitely in consideration for me for my main lineup.
The other guys I’m looking at for my lineups are:
- George Hill
- DJ Augustin
- Ish Smith
- Damian Lillard
Reggie Bullock is still dirt cheap at $4700. He hasn’t had a really great game, but he has played 29 and 41 minutes, and minutes equal opportunity in NBA. He should see 30 minutes or more again tonight, and at that price, it’ll be hard for him to pay off his salary.
One of my favorite plays of the night is Gary Harris. I think he has really taken a step forward this year and I love this matchup for him. He’ll get about ~35 minutes or so tonight in an up and down game and should be primed for a big night. At $7100, he’s pretty much a lock for my main lineup.
The other dudes on my radar are:
- Rodney Hood
- Josh Hart
- Dennis Schroder
- CJ McCollum
- Evan Fournier
LeBron James was on pace for an 80+ point fantasy night last night, but the Lakers obliterated the Suns and LBJ didn’t play much in the second half. I said earlier that Westbrook might be the stud to pay up for tonight, and he will almost definitely be lower owned with the same upside, but LeBron is coming into this game after only having to play 28 minutes last night, so he should be well rested. Again, this game is the highest total on the slate and should be competitive. I wouldn’t be surprised to see LeBron play 40 minutes tonight, and I think if he does, a 60 point game is probably his floor.
I don’t think Paul George can pay off his $9000 salary with Westbrook back, and I’m concerned about Gordon Hayward‘s minutes, although his $5600 price tag makes it easier to take a shot on him. Cedi Osman‘s price has come way up, and I don’t think he’s a good value tonight.
That leaves me spending down on my second SF position, and I like Lance Stephenson to carry his momentum over from last night or Jonathon Simmons to provide great value.
Lineup AlertKevin Love has been ruled out of tonight’s game. Make sure to get him out of your lineups!
I was watching the Pistons game a couple of nights ago, and the commentators made an interesting note that this past summer was the first one in Blake Griffin‘s pro career when he was able to work on improving his game instead of just aggressively rehabbing from an injury to try to be ready to play. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder, and he’s playing the best basketball of his life right now. My only concern here is that the Cavaliers suck, and if a blowout does happen, Griffin may not get his full allotment of minutes.
Kyle Kuzma is another Laker who looks like a good value tonight. He came back down to earth last night after exploding in the previous game, but he still played 29 minutes and should see about the same tonight.
Nikola Jokic has no business being listed as a Power Forward, but that’s how Fanduel sees him apparently. The Lakers have been giving up massive production to opposing big men this season. Deandre Ayton put up 47.5 FD points last night, posting a 22 point, 11 rebound, 3 assist, 3 block line across 31 minutes. Prior to that, they gave up 37 points, 10 boards, 5 assists, a steal and a block to LaMarcus Aldridge. Jokic should destroy tonight.
Other guys I’m looking at for my PF position:
- Jayson Tatum
- Paul Millsap
Andre Drummond is probably going to be the highest scoring player at the position tonight, but he’s expensive. Nikola Vucevic has opened up the season on fire, but his minutes are always questionable. JaVale McGee has been getting over 1.5 fantasy point per minute to start the year, which is incredible, but his minutes are also limited, and coming off of an away game last night in which he played 25 minutes, I’m not confident he’ll see much more than 20 minutes tonight.
Steven Adams is the guy who has been more consistent, getting 33-35 minutes per game and averaging around 40 FD points per outing. I’ll probably spread my ownership out at Center tonight, as I don’t have a strong favorite.
With the news that Kevin Love is out tonight, Tristan Thompson may provide a good value opportunity at $4700. Jusuf Nurkic is in play tonight as well.
Good luck tonight, make all the money!