This article last updated 10/29/2018 – Featured image from Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images
After a really strong start to the NBA season, I’ve had a couple of down days. I attribute part of this to having a very busy back half of last week, and not getting an opportunity to do my due diligence during my research process. On heavier volume days, I typically do several hours worth of research and studying of the slate before setting my lineups and making decisions. When I’m really running hot, it is usually because I’ve researched many days in a row and the things that I’m seeing from one slate translate into an edge on the next slate. There are things that you see while watching games that are hard to quantify statistically, like how confident someone looks while they’re playing, how emotionally invested they seem in the games and the season, and how their coach seems to be responding to them and using them, among other things. I’ve been a bit unplugged from that over the last 3-5 days, and that has been evident in my DFS results.
Let’s see if we can get back on the right track beginning this week!
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis are both OUT tonight, but there are still plenty of studs to choose from on this 9-game slate.
Kyle Lowry has been destroying all year, and he’s still priced under $9k on FD. He is my highest projected player at the PG position on FD tonight despite being $1000 less than Stephen Curry and $1700 less than Ben Simmons. He should see 33-35 minutes on a great team in a matchup against the Antetokounpo-less Bucks. The implied total for this game is sort of middle of the road tonight, but the spread is tight, and even without Giannis, the Bucks shouldn’t get blown out, so Lowry should play his full allotment of minutes and should continue to be heavily involved in the offense. Kawhi Leonard is also resting tonight, which will up Lowry’s usage further.
Another great value, stepping down a little bit in price from Lowry, is De’Aaron Fox. He has also played very well, only falling below 30 fantasy points in one dud of a game against the Nuggets in which he played only 20 minutes. He is generally better than a fantasy point-per-minute player and should see 34-35 minutes in a game in which his team is a 9.5-point underdog.
I just can’t seem to quit Dennis Smith Jr, even when he does me wrong. I played him on the 20th when he played 30 minutes but only managed 8.7 fantasy points, and I played him on the 26th when he was a last-minute scratch and cost me $555. Otherwise, though, in his other 4 games, he’s scored between 30.6 and 37.4 FD points, and he is coming off of his heaviest game in minutes played of the season last night against the Jazz. His price has decreased to $6400, and at that price tag, a 30-38 point fantasy performance is pretty nice.
There are some other guys that look to be in decent spots tonight that you should be considering as well:
- Stephen Curry
- Trae Young
- Derrick Rose
- Goran Dragic
- Jamal Murray
Let’s get the band back together and have Lowry and his old teammate DeMar DeRozan playing together again on our fantasy teams tonight. DeRozan has a nice matchup against the Mavericks and should play a ton of minutes… Probably about 37-40. He’s already had 2 60+ FD point fantasy performances this season, and another nearly 50-point game, hasn’t played less than 33 minutes (and has played as many as 45!) and is still priced under $9k. The only downside to this game for DeRozan is that it isn’t against the Lakers.
The Pelicans are another good place to look at the Shooting Guard position tonight. Jrue Holiday is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, priced at $8k on Fanduel, which is 5th amongst shooting guards while having my second-highest raw points projection at the position of the evening. We can’t spend up on every roster slot, though, and I’m projecting Frank Jackson to see more than 25 minutes tonight for the Pelicans at minimum-price. It won’t take much for him to pay off his salary at that price, and he’s a smart guy to target as one of your minimum-priced punts on Fanduel tonight. Elfrid Payton and Anthony Davis are both out, so Holiday and Mirotic will be leaned on heavily to score points, but Jackson will also play a heavy allotment of minutes. I don’t hate the idea of playing Holiday and Jackson together.
Rodney McGruder has been on fire as well, posting 4 consecutive 30+ point fantasy nights and still priced at only $5600. He should see 30 minutes or so again tonight and is once again a good value play. For some reason, my model doesn’t particularly care for him, and I’d like to dig in and find out what it sees that it doesn’t like, but I think he’s a good play so I’m going to against the model tonight on this one.
Other guys that can’t be ignored at shooting guard tonight include:
- Victor Oladipo
- Zach LaVine
- Tim Hardaway Jr
- Monte Morris
- Jimmy Butler
- Kent Bazemore
- Justin Holiday
With AD out, Nikola Mirotic should see an uptick in minutes and usage. He will likely see close to 35 minutes tonight and is a 1.1 FP/min guy. The Pelicans are 9-point dogs to the Nuggets, and unless they get run out of the gym, Mirotic should play until the end.
Jabari Parker has been seeing major minutes with everyone else on the team seemingly injured, and his production has been good. He’s another guy for $7000 salary that I think is a great mid-range value.
LeBron James has been in the winning GPP lineup in 3 of his 6 games so far this season, hasn’t had a fantasy night below 45 points and is playing in the highest total game of the day with only a 2-point spread. The Timberwolves have a pretty good defense and James is expensive at $11,800. Kevin Durant has a very similar projection in my model for $1200 less salary, but with so much other value on the board at Small Forward, I’m not sure I’ll get up to either one of them. I just wanted to make sure I brought them up, as they are both very viable plays this evening.
Other guys that should definitely be considered at the position tonight include:
- Robert Covington
- DeAndre Bembry
- E’Twaun Moore
- Rudy Gay
- Tyreke Evans
- Josh Richardson
- Anthony Tolliver (only if Andrew Wiggins is still out!)
Paul Millsap should be in line for a big game against the Pelicans without AD. His price has decreased to $6600 after a few uncharacteristically poor games, but he is a better player than his recent box scores indicate. Ownership should also be depressed on him because of recency bias, so this looks like a great “buy low” spot for him.
If you are paying up at PF, Draymond Green and LaMarcus Aldridge both have reasonably good outlooks tonight, but this does not feel like the position to pay up at this evening.
Serge Ibaka has been playing very well off of the bench for the Raptors, leading that strong second unit, and sees increased minutes and usage when Leonard is out. Pascal Siakam will start at power forward for the Raptors, but Ibaka is priced comparably and has better upside.
Here are some other Power Forwards to keep on your radar tonight:
- Kelly Olynyk
- Dario Saric
- Marvin Bagley III
- Brandon Ingram
- Kyle Kuzma
- Noah Vonleh
If he plays, you have to like Julius Randle as one of the top values at the Center position tonight. He is probable and should see a full allotment of minutes with Davis off the floor, but planar fasciitis can be extremely painful, and I worry that it could impact his ability to stay in the game and log big minutes. Ultimately, his low price of $6300 and increased opportunity will probably bring me on board for playing him tonight, but I don’t feel super comfortable with it.
Dewayne Dedmon saw his minutes increase from 14 in his first game of the season against the Mavericks to 26 against the Bulls a couple of nights ago. He had a nice double-double performance, and while I don’t think we can expect 5 blocks every night, it showed that his value ceiling is huge as long as he is priced down like he is right now. This is another area where I feel good about spending down and having a guy who is unlikely to completely bust, and might end up having a nice 30-35 fantasy point outing.
JaVale McGee came back down to earth a little against the Spurs two nights ago, posting his first single-digit scoring effort of the season, but saving his fantasy line with 4 blocks. He is a limited minutes kind of guy, but this is going to be a high-scoring affair against the Timberwolves and I don’t hate McGee at $6600.
I have Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic each projected over 50 fantasy points tonight, so if you’ve got salary available for the Center position, I like both of those guys. If he plays, I think Randle matches the production of guys like Karl-Anthony Towns, DeAndre Jordan, Enes Kanter, and Hassan Whiteside for a lower salary, so I think I’ll either spend up to the top, spend down to Dedmon, or roll the dice on Randle playing full minutes tonight.
I’m not really considering any other centers strongly this evening outside of Randle, Dedmon, Embiid, and Jokic.
Games To Target
This could be an interesting night to do some game stacking.
LAL @ MIN – Vegas O/U 240 – LAL favored by 2
The 2-4 Lakers travel to Minnesota as 2-point road favorites in a game that is expected to have 240 points scored in it. The Lakers are 4th in pace of play and 3rd in points per game so far this season while the Timberwolves are 9th in pace and 13th in points. The Lakers also give up the 2nd most points per game in the league while Minnesota is ranked 10th in that category. This should be an exciting, fast-paced game and would be a fun one to look at stacking.
ATL @ PHI – Vegas O/U 232 – PHI favored by 11.5
This is not a game I would look to stack, but Atlanta’s defense is pretty horrible and they play at the fastest pace in the league, which will speed up the young 76ers team’s game. There is a risk that the 76ers blowout the Hawks and the studs like Simmons and Embiid don’t play a ton of minutes, but if Atlanta can manage to keep the game competitive into the 4th quarter, this could be a nice place for 76ers players to heavily outproduce their averages so far this year.
Good luck this evening! Take down a big one!