New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors (-17) – 224.5
After averaging about 32.5 shot attempts in his first four games played, Anthony Davis has posted totals of 15.5 and 17 in his last two games, and his price has reached a season high of 11.1K on Draftkings tonight. Davis did post 80.25 DK points on 38 shot attempts in the first meeting between these two teams, but the recent trend in shot attempts combined with his price are concerning for his point per dollar output. The Pelicans lost Lance Stephenson, who posted 16 shot attempts in each of the last two games, to a groin injury, and he is reportedly going to be waived from the roster to make room for Archie Goodwin. Langston Galloway (3K) is an interesting punt play, he’s seen 15.5 and 10 shot attempts in the last two games, and could see significant time as the backup point guard in this match-up, it’s unlikely that Archie Goodwin will be a factor in this game. Terrence Jones (4.7K) received the spot start in the last game and played very well, posting 46.75 DK points in 28 minutes. However, he did not see the court in overtime, and Dante Cunningham (3.1K, 13.7% USG) will return tonight from a one game suspension. I love Terrence Jones as a player, but it’s very difficult to trust his minutes and usage. Cunningham was able to post 30 Draftkings points in 32 minutes against Golden State this year, but, again, it’s difficult to trust Alvin Gentry’s rotations in the frontcourt, not to mention Cunningham’s minuscule usage. Tim Frazier (6.6K) has seen 25 and 15 minutes over the last two games, he’s not in consideration without being able to bank on a heavy minutes total.
Being in too good of a spot is never a good reason to fade a team. Being 17 point favorites at home in a game with the highest total on the night between two teams in the top seven in the league in pace, the Warriors make for strong plays tonight. Kevin Durant (9.9K, 28% USG) has ceded a small amount of usage recently to Steph Curry (8.8K, 28.3% USG), but still remains the superior play because of his ability to produce in all categories. Both of these teams are terrible on the glass, the Pelicans are worst in the league at 44.9% REB, and the Warriors aren’t a whole lot better at 48.2%. Durant posted a season high 17 rebounds the first time these teams met this season. Klay Thompson (6.2K, 23.2% USG) is not playing very well to begin the season, posting a True Shooting percentage of 45.7% after shooting at 59.2% last year. He was able to post his season high of 41 Draftkings points in the first meeting between these teams, and he makes for a great high upside, lower ownership play in a potential slump busting spot. Draymond Green (7.8K, 15.7% USG) deserves consideration because of his triple double upside, but I prefer players with higher scoring upside at this price point.
Primary Plays: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis
Secondary Plays: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Langston Galloway
Houston Rockets @ Washington Wizards (-1.5) – 216
The Rockets bring the second worst defensive rating in the league at 109.2 to the Nation’s Capitol to take on the Wizards, who have struggled on offense so far this season, posting a 96.6 offensive rating, fifth worst in the league. This is a great spot to invest in the Wizards as they should out produce their year to date numbers in a cupcake match-up. John Wall (8.8K, 32.9% USG) should see little resistance on the perimeter, attacking the basket consistently and either looking to score or set up teammates. Markieff Morris (5.9K) has been used as the primary scorer with the second unit in the last two games, and his usage has taken a jump up to 26% from 21.6% in those games. He also gets to match-up with the turnstile known as Ryan Anderson with the first unit. Bradley Beal (5.6K, 24.7% USG) is another guy having a poor shooting start this season. A career 40% 3 point shooter, Brad is under 30% for the year, but a match-up with one of the worst defenses in the league good be just what he needs to access his ceiling. He’s also averaging 35 minutes per game. Marcin Gortat (6.2K, 13.2% USG) won’t offer much ceiling with such a low usage rate, but he is leading the team with 36 minutes per game, and he deserves consideration in this game, where he may see increased, high-efficiency opportunities around the rim.
James Harden (11.7K, 33.3% USG) is really the only Rocket I’m interested in using. I’m not sure who will guard him between Wall and Beal, probably a little of both, but neither of them are big enough to match Harden’s physicality. I don’t like any of the individual match-ups for the rest of the Houston starters. I suppose it bears mentioning that this is a Trevor Ariza (5.2K, 14.1% USG) revenge game, but I’m looking to roster higher usage players. As I’ve mentioned before, the Wizard second unit is one that I’m interested in attacking, and I suppose you could look to another revenge game candidate in Nene (3.6K, 17.2% USG). However, Scott Brooks has finally figured out over the last two games that Tomas Satoransky and Markieff Morris need to play with the second unit for them to have any chance of being successful, and they have been just since Brooks made the switch.
Primary Plays: John Wall, James Harden, Markieff Morris
Secondary Plays: Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Nene
Indiana Pacers @ Charlotte Hornets (-3.5) – 208
The Pacers have traditionally been thought of as a stout defensive team, but this year under new head coach Nate McMillan, they have been abysmal, allowing the fourth worst defensive rating in the league at 108.5. Kemba Walker (7.4K, 30.3% USG) has a great individual match-up with Jeff Teague. Nicolas Batum (6.5K, 21% USG) hasn’t shown a ceiling yet this year, but he catches a nice match-up with Monta Ellis. Marvin Williams is currently questionable with a virus, if he should miss this game, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes all stand to benefit with increased minutes and shot attempts, putting them squarely in play. Cody Zeller (4.4K, 19.9% USG) is a solid option in this game, but I don’t think he’s carrying much ceiling, he has yet to top 26 minutes in a game this season.
Charlotte has traditionally been a strong defensive unit, and that’s held true this year, posting the third best defensive rating at 94.1. The Pacers have been a team I’m hesitant to target outside of Paul George (7.9K, 26% USG) and Myles Turner (6.9K, 23.4% USG) this year, and this match up certainly isn’t enticing. It’s hard for me to quit Myles Turner, I’m always going to be enticed by his talent level, and his ownership should be way down after a handful of underwhelming games. Myles has the best individual match up with Cody Zeller and he could see a few extra shot attempts funnel his way given the relative difficulty of all the other match ups. I’ll probably go back to the well with him again in tournaments. C.J. Miles (4.1K) is an interesting salary relief option, he’s played 22 minutes per game with a 23.9% usage in the 4 games that Rodney Stuckey has missed.
Primary Plays: Kemba Walker
Secondary Plays: Myles Turner, Nicolas Batum, C.J. Miles, Cody Zeller
Miami Heat @ Oklahoma City Thunder (-5.5) – 203.5
Russell Westbrook (12.2K) and his league leading 41.3% usage rate are in play every time he’s on the slate. The Heat have been strong defensively, allowing a 100 defensive rating, good for seventh in the league, but I tend to side with Russell’s end of the match up more often than not. The only other players that are even considerable at this point on the roster are Steven Adams (5.7K, 15.1% USG) and Enes Kanter (4.9K, 27.7%). In this match up, I expect Adams to see a heavy dose of minutes to contend with Hassan Whiteside at the rim, and he is my preferred option of the two. He may also benefit from Whiteside rotating to protect the rim as Westbrook attacks it relentlessly, leaving him open for easy looks.
Speaking of Hassan Whiteside (8.6K, 28.8% USG), he leads the Heat in usage and makes for a strong play, despite the tough individual match up with Adams. Goran Dragic (7K, 23.7% USG), Tyler Johnson (4.7K, 19.2% USG), and Justise Winslow (5.6K, 22.8K) all deserve consideration in this game as well, but the Thunder aren’t a team I’m falling over myself to target, they’ve posted the fourth best defensive rating so far this year at 95.2. Tyler Johnson is averaging 30 minutes per game as the back up point guard and shooting guard, and he will face the easiest match up with the Thunder bench unit.
Primary Plays: Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Hassan Whiteside
Secondary Plays: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow
Orlando Magic @ Chicago Bulls (-7) – 203
The Bulls return home after a bad loss at Indiana for a potential bounce back spot against the Orlando Magic. On paper, the Magic do not match up well with the Bulls, but the Bulls are a tough team to peg on a nightly basis because of their usage tree. Dwayne Wade (6K, 25.4% USG) and Jimmy Butler (7.2K, 24.6% USG) are the only starters over 20% USG, and Wade faces the easier individual match up against Evan Fournier. Taj Gibson (5.7K, 19.0% USG) is only playing 26 minutes per game, but could see a slight bump in this game to counteract the size of the Orlando frontcourt. Doug McDermott (3.6K, 18.3% USG) has returned from his concussion and makes Nikola Mirotic unplayable for me at his 5.1K price point.
The Magic are another team with a very even usage tree which makes them difficult to trust in cash games. Evan Fournier (5.9K, 23.2% USG) leads the first unit and makes for a reasonable tournament play, while Jeff Green (3.7K, 23.8% USG) is the main scorer off the bench. Nikola Vucevic is questionable with a shoulder injury, if he were to miss tonight’s game, Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka would receive a bump in minutes, and Fournier would most likely see increased usage with the first unit.
Primary Plays: Dwayne Wade, Jimmy Butler
Secondary Plays: Evan Fournier, Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson
Detroit Pistons @ Los Angeles Clippers (-8.5) – 197.5
The Clippers have played very strong defense to begin the season, leading the league with a 90.7 defensive rating. It’s difficult to imagine the Pistons going into L.A. and finding offensive success, and if they do, I’ll be ok with missing the boat, I won’t be using any of their players tonight.
Blake Griffin (8K, 26.9% USG) still leads the Clippers in usage, with Chris Paul (8.5K, 25.6% USG) a close second. Both players are scoring the ball well and producing across all statistical categories, and both should be strong plays tonight. Deandre Jordan (6.8K, 13.3% USG) deserves consideration due to his defensive prowess, but I will always prefer to use players that can shoot the basketball. Jamal Crawford (3.9K, 22.4% USG) and Marreese Speights (3.5K, 27.6% USG) are reasonable salary relief options off the Clipper bench.
Primary Plays: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul
Secondary Options: Jamal Crawford, Marreese Speights, Deandre Jordan
Utah Jazz (-7) @ Philadelphia 76ers – 193.5
Joel Embiid (5.7K, 37% USG) remains on a 24 minute limit, but he’s seeing such insane usage combined with his True Shooting percentage of 65.1%, he’s always in play, especially at this price point. The Jazz and Rudy Gobert pose a challenge for him at the rim, but I think it’s possible that his combination of size and skill are just unstoppable regardless of match up, and I’m very willing to play him tonight. Sergio Rodriguez (5.3K, 21.7% USG) is averaging 30 minutes per game as the starting Point Guard for the 76ers, but George Hill is a difficult individual match up, I’m viewing him as tournament only in this match up.
Gordon Hayward (6.7K) returned from injury last game and immediately assumed a large role in the offense, posting a 34.8% usage rate in 36 minutes. George Hill (6.5K, 23.5% USG) and Rodney Hood (5.9K, 23.4% USG) both retained value despite Hayward’s return. Hill played 35 minutes with 15.5 shot attempts, and Hood saw 38 minutes and 14.5 shot attempts. The 76ers have been very generous to opposing guards this season, and I think Hayward, Hill, and Hood are all strong players tonight.
Primary Plays: Joel Embiid, Gordon Hayward, George Hill
Secondary Plays: Sergio Rodriguez, Rodney Hood