AP NBA Game Theory Decisions 11/9
Happy Friday Karma Nation! Tonight we have a nice seven game slate to tackle. Let’s dive right in. Final updates and the NBA Playbook will be posted around 5pm central.
Hornets AT 76ers -6, 225
Notables; No relevant injuries
PACE: +3 projected possessions
Bets; We are on the OVERS
The Hornets travel to play the 76ers who are undefeated on their home court. Joel Embiid has been an absolute beast playing at home averaging close to 55 DraftKings points a game. Now Embiid gets to face an undersized Hornets team. Cody Zeller will have the task of defending Embiid. Do I really need to say much more? This is a huge mismatch. In their first matchup, Embiid got off to a slow start just scoring one fantasy point over an almost five minute stretch. He still ended the game with over 50 DraftKings points. The other player on the 76ers side worthy of mention is Ben Simmons. At his current price of 9,800 on DraftKings, Simmons most likely needs a triple double to hit value. However, he has an advantageous matchup against Kemba Walker. You should also note he took 20 shots the last time these two teams played, which is almost double his season average in field goal attempts.
Joel Embiid, C, 11,200 -> Given the matchup, Embiid is the most obvious play in this game. He arguably has one of the safer floors on this slate. Elite play in all formats.
Ben Simmons, PG/SF, 9,800 -> Simmons will probably go overlooked as he just hasn’t put up the numbers to justify his current price tag. I can’t get over his 20 FGA’s. Imagine if we see this game roll out the same way but each team is much more efficient at getting the ball in the basket. Due note, they shot a combined 38% from the field in their last go around. If Simmons has a normal assists game and we see another 15+ field goal attempts, he could absolutely break this slate. With all of the above being noted, I’ll be tagging Ben Simmons as an elite tournament play.
Kemba Walker, PG, 9,400 -> I absolutely love that DraftKings keeps pricing Kemba above 9,000. No one is playing him and I think it is just a price thing. . . People must be stuck in that “it just doesn’t feel right to pay over 9k for Kemba Walker” mentality. Kemba is dominating usage and fantasy points per minutes for the Hornets and they will need his raw scoring upside to stay in this game. Kemba shot 35% from the field in their last matchup and still put up 60 DK points.
Ben Simmons + Joel Embiid + Kemba Walker, if you can make it work, could be a game stack that takes down this slate, if we see a similar pace and more efficient scoring.
Wizards AT Magic +3, 225
Notables; Jonathan Isaac OUT
PACE: +1 projected possessions
Bets: Wizards -3
Given the total, the matchup and many other things, this game should garner plenty of ownership. John Wall has a fantastic matchup and he is 300 cheaper than Kemba Walker. Although he hasn’t been as consistent this year, I’d wager that people will be clicking his name over Kembas or Ben Simmons -> which makes these players even more intriguing. Wall isn’t a bad play but if I want to win a tournament, is a semi chalky John Wall, who hasn’t been his usual self, the guy who is going to help me do that? I mean, sure, if the obvious spots pan out tonight, he could be that guy. However, I really worry about the pace in this game. We project a combined 1 extra possessions played, but Orlando has really been slowing games down. The last thing they will want to do is get into an offensive shootout with John Wall and Bradley Beal. This is a battle they probably won’t win.
I’m going to keep my point simple here-> If you have a good feeling about this game or a few players in it, then go with your gut. My gut is telling me to avoid this spot if possible. So that is what I’m going to do.
Pistons at Hawks +4.5, 225.5
Notables; Kevin Huerter probable
PACE: +6 projected possessions
Bets: We are on the OVERS
Do me a favor, go ahead and just forget that we are talking about the Pistons at the Hawks. Let’s just call them “Team One vs Team Two”.
Team One has two players who are the absolute focal points on offense. Both players dominate usage and have excellent fantasy point per minute rates. Both are also on the court 35+ minutes a game. They are also playing a team that doesn’t give any effort on defense. Lastly, both players are projected to go overlooked tonight.
Team Two is the fastest pace team in the league. They are averaging almost 12 more possessions per game than the slowest pace team in the league – this is a massive number. They have some young talent that can be extremely hit or miss which leads to some unpredictable rotations. However, their prices all reflect this unpredictability. And they face a team that is getting destroyed by opposing guards.
Personally, removing their team names really helped me look at this matchup in a practical manner. When I hear “Pistons at the Hawks”, I want to think. . . “Ah, boring matchup that we can probably take a pass on”. That just isn’t the case this year. Both of these teams are really pushing the pace and we could see a ton of very easy buckets.
Blake Griffin, PF/C, 10,000 -> Elite tournament play. Blake should go overlooked. Heck, I even want to pass him up, but we shouldn’t. He’s already hit 60+ multiple times this season and he will be in another position to do it tonight.
Andre Drummond, C, 9,600 -> Elite play. The Hawks are still giving up solid numbers to opposing centers, Drum is in a 20-20 type of spot. However, given that he is cheaper than Blake and that he has out performed him the last two games. I like Blake more in GPPs.
Trae Young, Kent Bazemore, & Taurean Prince -> All Elite tournament plays tonight. I think this game goes over the current total which means this game should stay fairly close. Surely one of these guys will help someone take down a tournament tonight.
Pacers AT Heat -1.5, 212
Notables; Dwayne Wade & Derrick Jones, Goran Dragic OUT
PACE: -3.1 projected possessions
Against the Spurs, the heat rolled out a nine man rotation. Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder all saw over 35 minutes. Those three arguably have the safest minutes upside tonight. Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Justise Winslow all saw over 30 minutes. Kelly Olynyk, Derrick Jones (OUT), and Bam basically weren’t relevant. Whiteside is coming off a MONSTER game and I do have some concerns about this game going small or Whiteside getting into early foul trouble.
Josh Richardson, SG/SF, 7,400-> Given the current scenario, Richardson has averaged 1.20 FP/min. Given the role he will take on, he has a very safe floor tonight. I’m fine with Richardson in cash or tournaments.
Wayne Ellington, SG/SF, 3,700-> He should easily push for 33+ minutes tonight. At 3,700, he is an elite value play in all formats.
Justise Winslow, SF/PF, 5,600-> Solid GPP play. WInslow should also push for huge minutes. He’s fairly volatile but he isn’t afraid to shoot the ball.
Hassan Whiteside, C, 8,200-> GPP play. I wonder what his ownership is going to be like tonight after his monster performance. Centers have had some success against the Pacers in the past and the public does love to chase. I’ll have Whiteside in at least one lineup, however I’m a bit concerned about the Heat going small.
Tyler Johnson, SG/PG, 4,300-> Tyler Johnson makes for an elite play at his price. He should see 30+ minutes tonight with Dragic and Wade OUT.
On the Pacers side, Victor Oladipo has been a beast over his last four games. With this being a pace down spot, I do have some concerns. He’ll for sure be in my GPP player pool given the nightly upside he can bring. Myles Turner is another intriguing tournament value play. Last year, Turner smashed in this spot as Whiteside just couldn’t get out to the perimeter to guard him. Domantas Sabonis has averaged right around 29 minutes over his last three games. He is a high FP/min player and makes a lot of sense at his price of 6,300. However, I personally feel Whiteside would struggle to guard Myles Turner, who is very capable of hitting threes vs Sabonis who does most of his work in the paint.
Victor Oladipo-> Fine GPP play. Myles Turner-> Contrarian GPP play. Domantas Sabonis-> Fine play.
Nets AT Nuggets -10, 212.5
Notables; DeMarre Carroll & Paul Millsap probable
PACE: -6.2 projected possessions
Bets: We are on the UNDERS
Last year this would have been a prime spot for fantasy production as the Nets ranked 5th & Nuggets 13th in overall team pace. This year they are two of the slowest paced teams in the NBA. We have many other spots that should go overlooked tonight, so I’m not going to try to get cute with this game. If I were to play anyone from either side, it would be Nikola Jokic as a tournament play.
Celtcs AT Jazz -5, 207
Notables; Kyrie OUT
PACE: -3 projected possessions
BETS: Celtics +5
Normally, this would be a spot I’d feel comfortable skipping over. However, Kyrie is such a beast offensively that with him being OUT it will open up a lot of usage and production. With Kyrie off the court, here is who benefits the most;
Gordon Hayward, SG/SF, 5,000, +4.7% usage, +0.10 fp/min
Marcus Morris, SF/PF, 5,900, +4.4% usage, +0.23 fp/min
Al Horford, PF/C, 6,200, +4.1% usage, +0.36 fp/min
Marcus Smart, PG/SG, 4,100, +2.4% usage, +0.12 fp/min
Terry Rozier, PG/SG, 4,900, -> averaged 1.0 fp/min last year with Kyrie OUT
Personally, I’m glad Marcus Morris is priced close to the 6k range. Even if he goes off, I have his ceiling right around 40 points. So at his price, and even with Kyrie OUT, I feel pretty good about fading him in this spot. However, he has been incredibly consistent this year, so I Get it if you want to plug him in. Given how this slate looks, I’ll want to maximize my exposure to the 2nd tier & stud range which would make it difficult to roster a player in the 6k range. Terry Rozier is the guy I want to lock into my lineups, or at least be overweight the field. When he got the nod to start last year he was excellent. After Rozier, Al Horford received a massive FP/minute bump with Kyrie off the court. Here’s how I’m ranking the Celtics players;
Terry Rozier (1st), Al Horford (2nd), Gordon Hayward (3rd), Jaylen Brown (4th~ value GPP), Marcus Smart/Morris/and Tatum all fall in line next and all make for fine plays.
On the Jazz side of this game, Donovan Mitchell is priced too low. Given his current price, he makes for an elite play in all formats tonight.
Timberwolves AT Kings +3.5, 231
Notables; Jeff Teague OUT
PACE: +5.7 projected possessions
With Jeff Teague off the court, Derrick Rose owns a 32% usage rate and 1.20 fantasy points per minute average. Hopefully the price increase to 6,800 will scare people away. Fact is, for his level of production he should be priced in the 7k range. The Kings are also one of the fastest paced teams in the league this year. This will only help Derrick Rose’s cause. Jimmy Butler and Karl Anthony Towns are the two guys that are giving me a headache. And given the matchup tonight, both are just way too cheap and should be considered elite tournament plays.
Derrick Rose, PG/SG, 6,800-> Elite play in all formats *as long as he is starting
Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, 8,600-> Elite tournament play
Karl-Anthony Towns, C, 8,900-> Elite tournament play
Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, 6,200-> Solid play in all formats. He’s raw scoring dependent, which lowers his ceiling a bit*
On the Kings side, Vegas thinks this game stays close, which means many of the Kings starters are in play. De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein have the safest minutes upside. Marvin Bagley and Nemanja Bjelica have been in somewhat of a time split, which makes them a bit riskier to target.
If you are multi entering tonight, given the total in this game and how the starters are priced, this makes for a perfect game to fully stack.
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