AP NBA Game Theory Decisions 12/3
Happy Monday Karma Nation! We have a seven game slate to tackle. Let’s dive in.
Thunder AT Pistons +1, 219.5
Terrance Ferguson and Henry Ellenson OUT.
PACE: Thunder rank 9th & Pistons rank 10th in possessions per game. This is a slight pace up spot for both teams, with a +1.5 projected total possessions.
Defense: We can attack the Pistons through opposing guards (27th vs PG & 29th vs SG). We want to avoid whoever is guarding Blake Griffin, he is elite at initiating fouls. We can attack the Thunder at the SG (rank 24th) and PF (rank 21st) positions. We want to avoid Paul George and Russell Westbrook defense, both have been excellent this year.
This game is definitely viable from a fantasy perspective. We have two fast paced teams that are both pretty predictable in the minutes and usage categories.
Russell Westbrook, PG, 11,200, Elite Play -> RWB owns a 34% usage rate & is averaging 1.58 fantasy points per minute. We have multiple studs on this slate so we will have some decisions to make unless some elite value plays open up. [Elite overall DvP matchup]
Paul George ~> Assuming he gets full minutes in this matchup, he feels safe to get you around 40 fantasy points. However, if I’m targeting this game, I’d much rather play Russ and run it back with Blake Griffin who is 300 more than PG13.
Stephen Adams, C, 6,400 -> Solid Play. Again, my preference is Russ but Adams should log big minutes to match up with Drummond. Adams does have a safe floor with his 1.06 fantasy point per minute average.
Blake Griffin, PF/C, 8,800 -> Solid to Elite Play. Griffin is playing 36 minutes a game, owns a 28.5% true usage rate, and averages 1.22 fantasy points per minute. He hasn’t been efficient shooting the ball over his last three games but he has still put up 41 DK points in each.
Andre Drummond ~> Drum has a tough matchup against Adams who I tend to avoid in the paint. My preference is to take the savings and better matchup that Griffin will have.
Reggie Jackson, PG/SG, 5,200 -> GPP play. Reggie’s minutes tend to fluctuate with how he is playing. Dwane Casey appears to be very confident in Ish, reggies backup. Those two often end up in a timeshare, but Reggie does have upside at his current 5,200 price tag on DK.
Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, 4,000 -> GPP Value. One of OKC’s leaky spots is vs opposing shooting guards. Bullock is almost entirely shot dependent but the matchup is elite for his skill set. He makes for an interesting GPP value on this slate.
Ish Smith, PG, 3,500 -> Punt Value. If we want to fit two studs into our lineups we will need some cheap value. Ish will be in the game against Dennis Schroder, who isn’t a great defender. Ish is almost a lock for around 21 minutes as well.
Warriors AT Hawks +10.5, 234.5
Draymond Green, Alfonzo McKinnie are OUT. Alex Poythress is OUT. Jeremy Lin and Dewayne Dedmon are Probable.
PACE: Hawks rank 1st and Warriors 17th in possessions per game. We project +5.4 and -0.5 possessions for GSW/ATL. Overall, this is a massive pace increase.
Defense: The Hawks rank 28th in defensive efficiency. It’s best to attack them with the opposing teams highest usage & fantasy point per minute players. The Warriors rank 3rd in overall defensive efficiency.
Stephen Curry, PG/SG, 9,500 -> Elite play. Curry owns a 1.37 FP/min average and 30.5% usage rate when on the court. He played big minutes in his last game but his shot wasn’t falling. A matchup against Trae Young should fix that. Even if this game blows out, it will most likely be due to Curry putting up a big number. Elite rebound spot for the Chef.
Klay Thompson ~> With Curry back, we saw his usage drop quite a bit in the Pistons game. He’s raw scoring dependent which makes him a bit too expensive for my liking. I’d rather pay up for Chef Curry.
Kevin Durant ~> Same reasoning as Klay, I’d like to see KD’s price come down a bit before I will get him into my rosters. Also, paying up for KD means it would be difficult to fit Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook into your build.
Kevon Looney, PF/C, 3,700 -> Value punt. Looney will get the start tonight. Still, this frontcourt is going to rotate like it usually does but Looney should see in the mid 20’s for minutes. With those minutes, he should be able to get you around 18-24 points.
Taurean Prince, SF, 4,800 -> Elite Value. Prince might be one of my favorite value plays on this slate. He was 6,100 the first time these teams played each other this year. He put up 34 DK points on 39 minutes of play. He’s arguably one of the Hawks best players and they will need a big game from him tonight.
John Collins, C, 5,300 -> Solid to Elite. Collins is playing at an elite level since returning in November. He has been logging at least 30 minutes a game and should be able to dominate the Warriors frontcourt with Draymond out.
Trae Young, PG, 6,000 -> Solid GPP. Trae Young is a true boom or bust play. He’s at home and a matchup against the best shooter in the league should get him pumped up. A Curry + Young combo in GPPs is really interesting tonight.
Dewayne Dedmon, PF/C, 3,800 -> deep GPP value punt. His minutes are always a concern but he has major upside at this price. Overall, a very risky play.
Kent Bazemore, SG/SF, 4,600 -> GPP only. Very similar to Dedmon, Bazemore is a boom or bust type of option.
Cavaliers AT Nets -6, 211
David Nwaba, Ante Zizic, Sam Dekker OUT, Joe Harris Questionable.
PACE: Cav’s rank 30th and Nets rank 20th in overall possessions per game. This is a pretty massive overall pace down spot. However, there are many things to like in this game.
Defense: Cavs rank 26th and the Nets rank 22nd in overall defensive efficiency. We can attack the Cavs at any position. We can attack the Nets using opposing frontcourts.
Both teams injury situations and lack of solid defense make a few pieces in this matchup interesting. So even though the Cavs are one of the worst teams in the league, we can absolutely target one or two players from this team because of their very tight rotation. Example;
Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, and Cedi Osman all logged massive minutes. I’d argue that Hood/Osman minutes could fluctuate based on how they are playing but Trist is the guy who is absolutely locked into his role. The only risk I see would be foul trouble with him, which I don’t see as a huge issue against the Nets.
Tristan Thompson, C, 6,500 -> Elite play. I think TT has a very clear path to at least at 15/15/3 (blk/stl) type of game. He has massive minute upside and an elite floor/ceiling in this matchup.
Alec Burks, SG/SF, 3,800 -> Solid to Elite Value. The only thing holding me back from making Burks an all around elite value play is his minutes risk. If I knew he was getting 25+ minutes, I’d have him tagged as an elite play.
Cedi Osman, SF, 4,700 -> GPP Value. Osman is becoming more and more raw scoring dependent. His minutes appear to be safe as he has seen 30+ mins through his last 4 games.
Rodney Hood, SG/SF, 4,300 -> fine to solid value. Hood isn’t a high fantasy point per minute producer but he has been logging big minutes lately.
Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, 5,000 -> fine to solid GPP. Minutes are always a risk with Clarkson, but he isn’t afraid to shoot the ball. He would be all around solid at his price but with this being a pacedown spot, I have him tagged right between fine and solid.
Larry Nance Jr~> I’ve been fading this guy and will continue to do so. Sure, we might see his upside sometime soon but he needs lots of blocks and steals to get there. Those two things are very unpredictable.
D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, 7,700 -> fine GPP. D’Russ has a very high ceiling and very low floor, which we saw last week. With this being a pace down spot and his price at an all time high, I think he can be avoided unless you are multi entering a bunch of lineups.
Allen Crabbe, SG/SF, 3,700 -> Solid GPP value. Crabbe is raw scoring dependent but has 40 DK point upside if he catches fire.
Demarre Carroll, SF/PF, 3,900 -> Solid GPP value. His minutes is going to be the main risk but he could see around 25+ if he is playing well. GPP only. He makes for a great punt play on FD.
Jarrett Allen, C, 5,500 -> Solid GPP. My preference is Trist, because he should see more minutes.
Nuggets AT Raptors -6.5, 218.5
No major injuries to report.
PACE: Nuggets rank 26th and Raptors rank 12th in possessions per game.
Defense: Nuggets rank 4th and Raptors rank 2nd in defensive efficiency.
Gary Harris, SG, 5,100 -> Elite play. Harris logged 36 minutes in his return against Portland Friday night. He also took over 20 shots. This play is pretty self explanatory.
Paul Millsap~> This feels like chasing points. Most likely a fade for me.
Juan Hernangomez, SF/PF, 4,400 -> Fine value play.
Nikola Jokic, C, 8,200-> Fine GPP. Can’t remember the last time I played Jokic. And not playing him hasn’t hurt me one bit. He’ll have a blowup game someday, I just have no read on him right now. I’ll most likely fade this spot. I might roll him out in one smaller buy in GPP just in case.
Kyle Lowry~> I’d rather pay up to John Wall or Steph Curry.
Kawhi Leonard~> I’d rather pay up to some of the other studs I’ve listed in this article.
Wizards AT Knicks, +1.5, 229
Jeff Green Probable, Otto Porter Questionable, Lance Thomas & Trey Burke OUT
PACE: Wizards rank 8th & the Knicks rank 15th in overall possessions per game. This is a slight pace bump for the Knicks.
Defense: The Wizards rank 25th and Knicks rank 27th in overall defensive efficiency. We can attack the Wizards backcourt and frontcourt, however they have been tough against shooting guards. We can attack the Knicks at any position.
The main problem with targeting players from the Knicks is their unpredictable rotations. With Burke OUT, they still have 10 players who will likely see time on the court. However, things should be less muddied in the backcourt and I’d give bumps too; Emmanuel Mudiay, Damyean Dotson, and Allonzo Trier.
Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, 5,000 -> Solid Play. I’m not completely solid on Mudiay. However, he has put up 46, 45, and 30 DK points over his last 5 games. He also put up a 6 and 14 point dud.
Damyean Dotson, SG, 4,500 ->Solid to Elite GPP value. Dotson is the man who could go overlooked. Dotson isn’t afraid to take shots and I like his ability to rack up peripheral stats.
Allonzo Trier, PG, 3,800 -> Solid GPP Play. Burke went out early and Trier only saw 17 minutes. He played well in these 17 minutes. . . And with that said, I’d like to direct you back to my comment about the Knicks unpredictable rotations. GPP consideration only for me.
Tim Hardaway Jr, SG/SF, 6,900 -> Solid GPP. The Wizards have been excellent at limiting shooting guards. With that said, THJ’s minutes are arguably the safest and he could take 20 shots in this game.
Noah Vonleh, PF/C, 5,300 -> Solid Play. Vonleh is a low usage player who relies on a combination of peripherals and scoring to pay off his salary. He’s had four tough matchups that has really limited his peripheral scoring. A matchup against this small Wizards team should really benefit him.
Enes Kanter, C, 6,600 -> Elite GPP. Box score watchers will most likely be scared off due to Kanters last two games. But really, they just weren’t great matchups to showcase his elite fantasy point per minute rate. He has put up over 50 DK points twice in his last eight games. Not many players under 7k can say that.
John Wall, PG, 9,300 -> Elite play. Wall had a few off games but he bounced back nicely against the Nets. I view this matchup as a similar one. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Wall finish with 46 to 54 DK points.
Bradley Beal / Otto Porter/ Markieff Morris ~> Fine GPP darts. My main interest is in John Wall because you typically know what you are going to get.
Clippers AT Pelicans -2.5, 236.5
Pat Beverley Probable. E’Twaun Moore probable.
PACE: Pelicans rank 5th and the Clippers rank 7th in overall possessions per game. Overall, this is a significant pace up game on this slate.
Defense: Clippers rank 9th and the Pelicans rank 11th in overall defensive efficiency. The Pelicans are elite against opposing frontcourts. The Clippers are fairly balanced across the board.
The Clippers are one of my least favorite teams to target; they are a deep team with two of their higher fantasy point per minute players coming off the bench.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander~> I like Shai, but I’m most likely spending up and spending down for value at this position. The matchup against Frazier is solid but 5,500 just feels like he is priced appropriately, if not slightly overpriced.
Danilo Gallinari~> Gallo has put up over 40 dk points once all year. He has a fine floor but at 6,600, I want someone who can get me 45+ in GPPs.
Tobias Harris & Montrezl Harrell~> Both are priced near Blake Griffin and I’d probably rather pay up for Griffin if I was targeting a player in this range.
Lou Williams, PG/SG, 4,900-> Deep GPP. His minutes have been insanely volatile.
Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, 8,300-> Fine to Solid play. With Davis, Mirotic, Randle healthy and Frazier taking over PG duties, I feel Jrue is about 400 to 500 too expensive. He feels like a fine cash/optimal play.
Anthony Davis, PF/C, 11,500 -> Elite play. This really feels like a slate we are going to want a combination of TWO studs and some deep value. Davis and Russ are both in spots where they could put up 65 to 70 DK points.
Rockets AT Timberwolves +1.5, 222
Both teams are healthy.
PACE: Rockets rank 28th and Wolves rank 18th in overall possessions per game. This is a pace down spot overall.
Defense: Both teams are elite at defending opposing backcourts.
This could end up being the wrong move but my plan is to fade this game entirely. With Chris Paul back, I think we could see the Rockets trend back to their elite defense on the perimeter and Capela is active enough to where he could give Towns some problems. Additionally, paying almost 9k for Capela just doesn’t sound like a great idea. And I’m ranking Russ ahead of Harden tonight.