NBA DFS: Matchups to Exploit March, 4, 2016
If you had used the Five Star Plays on the DraftPros’ Player Rater last night to build your DraftKings’ NBA DFS lineup, and not done any other research, you would have had a very good night. Here’s a sample lineup using only Five Star Plays:
PG Goran Dragic – $6700 (41.75 DK points)
SG Dwyane Wade – $7100 (41.5 DK points)
SF Mirza Teletovic – $5700 (23.75 DK points)
PF LaMarcus Aldridge – $6600 (38.5 DK points)
C Alex Len – $5600 (31.75 DK points)
G Devin Booker – $4600 (43.25 DK points)
F Kawhi Leonard – $7700 (59.75 DK points)
Util Deron Williams – $5800 (29.75 DK points)
Total: $49800 – 310 DK points
In the $1 DraftKings ‘And One’, 310 DK points was good for a 70th place finish and a 14X return on your $1 investment. It also would have cashed in every 50/50, league and double up. It goes to show you that the information provided in the Player Rater continues to provide maximum results, and I for one, couldn’t be happier, as I’m basing my play every night around the player rater. On a night with only four games, I had exposure to the highest return on value (Devin Booker) at 10.5% ownership. He had a career high 34 points as the Suns-Heat contest ended up returning a lot of predictable value.
There were obviously a ton of great plays in the Thunder-Warriors game last night, but due to the pricing of the elite options, I suggested yesterday that fading the entire game could be a profitable strategy due to a lack of value on the slate. Of the eight plays in our Five Star only lineup above, five were players I wrote up in yesterday’s Matchups column. It was obviously only a four game slate, but you still have to be able to read between the lines in order to differentiate yourself, and the key to differentiation yesterday was building around the three games that tipped before Golden State-Oklahoma City.
We return to the land of large slates tonight, as we have ten games to work through tonight, and this slate isn’t any prettier than last night’s. Three games currently have spreads of 9.5 points or higher and we don’t have a spread for Lakers-Hawks as of this writing, so I’m anticipating a fourth game with a spread this high. There are no $10000 players on either site, so roster construction is going to be different all around, as some will decide to load up on whatever value opens up and mix in as many $9000 players as possible while others will build around balance and no value. I’m going to rely on matchups to pave my way, and I’ll use my usual format to do that.
BOLD UNDERLINE will denote a matchup that should be attacked with extreme bias. STANDARD BOLD will represent a matchup that can be attacked liberally, but due to either game situation or the personnel available to attack with, has a degree of risk. BOLD ITALICS represents matchups that should only be attacked with the right player, and can otherwise be ignored. STANDARD ITALICS represent matchups best ignored overall. With ten games to choose from, I’ll outline three matchups per position. Let’s dive in.
Based on his current role and volatile minutes, I’m not a major fan of Elfrid Payton ($5300FD/$5200DK) at his current price, but the matchup with the PHOENIX SUNS on the second night of their back to back is a prime spot to lend out a little bit of trust. Payton has exceeded salary based point expectations in four of his last five games, playing over 29 minutes per game in each of those contests. Phoenix allows point guards to score 3.01 points above expectation, worst in the league, and the second most DK points per night to the position overall. Orlando is favored by 13 points with a beautiful 114 point implied total and Payton is averaging 29.25 DK points per game in contests with a total of 214 points or more. It’s only a two game sample, but when it comes to Payton’s up and down season, we need to grasp on to whatever positive data we can. Orlando is not a good team in their own right, which means a full complement of whatever minutes Scott Skiles decides to hand out should be available. I’d be sour on Payton’s overall outlook if Evan Fournier returns to the rotation tonight, so beware of that.
Jeff Teague ($6000FD/$5900DK) is in my favorite overall spot tonight, priced below $6000 on DraftKings for the first time in a month and facing the LOS ANGELES LAKERS on the road. We don’t have a total or spread as of this writing, but I would be assume Atlanta opens as a seven to nine point favorite with the game total hanging around 210. Either way, Teague has been really good lately, exceeding salary based point expectations in nine of his last twelve games, and he’s done it in limited minutes, playing 30 minutes or more only five times in his last twelve. I’ve noticed that Dennis Schroder ($5100FD/$4800DK) has been closing games for Atlanta recently, and the matchup certainly puts him in play as well. The Lakers allow the most DK points per game to opposing point guards and they score 1.87 points above expectation. Both are priced down ahead of this pristine matchup, and I think both them go overlooked tonight.
Picking on the BROOKLYN NETS with your point guard has been a profitable play lately, and Emmanuel Mudiay ($5400FD/$5400DK) is again in play at home in a second consecutive favorable matchup. Mudiay dropped 39.5 DK points on the Lakers at home on Wednesday night, his second consecutive performance exceeding expectations after three straight under. Mudiay is involved in a point guard mess in Denver at the moment, with DJ Augustin and Jameer Nelson also vying for minutes, but he is still the starter and still getting the majority of the minutes, playing over 30 minutes in ten of his last twelve. Brooklyn allows point guards to score 1.79 points above expectation and the sixth most DK points per game overall.
REMAINING MATCHUPS: ORLANDO MAGIC, WASHINGTON WIZARDS, TORONTO RAPTORS, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES, DENVER NUGGETS, INDIANA PACERS, NEW YORK KNICKS, PHILADELPHIA 76ers, ATLANTA HAWKS, CHARLOTTE HORNETS, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS, PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS, MILWAUKEE BUCKS, UTAH JAZZ, BOSTON CELTICS, MIAMI HEAT
Victor Oladipo ($6600FD/$7100DK) somehow saw his price come down after a dud against the Bulls on Wednesday and DFS players get to take advantage of those savings in the best possible matchup with the PHOENIX SUNS. Phoenix is in the midst of the underrated “Florida Two-Step”, losing to Miami last night before heading north to Orlando tonight, and they just don’t play any defense against guards. Phoenix allows a league high 2.38 points above expectation to shooting guards and the third most DK points per game to the position. Oladipo has slowed down lately after a torrid three game stretch, exceeding salary based point expectations only twice in his last five games. There’s a lot to like tonight regarding this unusual spot for Orlando. Oladipo averages 5.68 DK points per game more when the game total is 214 points or more. He’s averaged 49.5 DK points per game when Orlando has been a double digit favorite. Orlando’s minute distribution is suddenly volatile after their recent dud in Dallas, but I trust that as long as Oladipo stays out of foul trouble, he’ll log maximum minutes.
You can afford to spend up in unusual places tonight, and a great spot to do that is through DeMar DeRozan ($7700FD/$7400DK) against the PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS. Portland allows shooting guards to score 1.30 points above expectation along with the ninth most DK points per game to the position. DeRozan has exceeded salary based point expectations in four of his last five with his one dud coming in a tough spot against the Cavaliers where he left the game for a long period of time due to injury. DeRozan is as safe as it gets when it comes to minutes, ranking eighth overall in the NBA in minutes played per game. DeRozan has averaged 39.62 DK points per game in his last two meetings with the Trail Blazers and is a strong contrarian option tonight, as most will choose not to spend up towards the top of the player pool at shooting guard.
Zach LaVine ($5300FD/$5600DK) is still massively underpriced on FanDuel, but he’s about where he should be on DraftKings based on his recent production. His shooting guard eligibility has pretty much pushed Andrew Wiggins out of nightly consideration, and tonight he’ll go against a MILWAUKEE BUCKS squad hemorrhaging points to shooting guards. The Bucks allow the sixth most DK points per night to the position along with 1.59 points above expectation, making this a fantastic spot to target the suddenly consistent LaVine, who has exceeded salary based point expectations in eleven of his last twelve games. LaVine is averaging more minutes and fantasy production per game on the road this season, and is averaging 4.13 DK points per game more when Minnesota is assigned a team total of 104 points or more. This should be one of the better games to target tonight, and LaVine is a great way to get mid-range access.
REMAINING MATCHUPS: WASHINGTON WIZARDS, ATLANTA HAWKS, CHARLOTTE HORNETS, DENVER NUGGETS, INDIANA PACERS, LOS ANGELES LAKERS, ORLANDO MAGIC, TORONTO RAPTORS, PHILADELPHIA 76ers, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS, MIAMI HEAT, BOSTON CELTICS, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES, BROOKLYN NETS, NEW YORK KNICKS, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, UTAH JAZZ
I’m not going to recommend Luol Deng in consecutive columns, and I don’t expect Joe Johnson to be a consistent source of fantasy goodness for this Miami team. But I am interested in picking on the PHILADELPHIA 76ers with small forwards, so I’m going to make the contrarian call on Justise Winslow ($4400FD/$4500DK). I had exposure to Winslow last night in a blowout spot against Phoenix because I assumed he was going to get extended run. Phoenix actually made a game of it, but it didn’t keep Winslow from playing 29 minutes for the sixth time in his last eight games. On the second night of a back to back in an equally juicy spot, I would expect that Winslow gets the same or more run tonight. Philadelphia allows small forwards to score 1.41 points above expectation along with the sixth most DK points per night to the position. Winslow is highly involved in the Heat rotation, playing a lot of second unit minutes alongside Hassan Whiteside, giving him plenty of opportunity for rebounds off of blocked shots. Winslow is likely to see a lot of Robert Covington and Jerami Grant, who average a combined 3.9 turnovers for game, increasing the likelihood of steals. Miami is one of those teams we have to watch on the second night of a back to back, and although Winslow’s splits don’t indicate a big change in production on the second night of these scenarios, I’m going out on a limb in suggesting that he is the Miami small forward play in this pristine matchup.
With no $10000 players to decide between, Carmelo Anthony ($8900FD/$8600DK) stands out as a high priced option that could have a big game. Anthony draws the BOSTON CELTICS, who allow small forwards to score 1.22 points above expectation and the eighth most DK points per night to the position overall. Anthony is having his best all-around season as a pro, averaging 8.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game to go with his usual 20+ points per game. Anthony is averaging 5.88 DK points more per game when the Knicks have a team total of 100 points or more and a whopping 45.17 DK points per game when the Knicks are 9.5 point underdogs or larger. He’s a little overpriced on FanDuel, where we don’t get bonuses and turnovers cost us a full point, but on DraftKings, where the double double is rewarded and turnovers can be negated by three pointers, he is a fantastic option with the splits to back it up.
Paul George ($8500FD/$8100). Yuck. I have to mention him because his matchup with the CHARLOTTE HORNETS is certainly one we like and his DraftKings’ price is back where it was at the start of the season. For the first time in a long time, George is actually priced where he belongs, because we know he has 50-60 DK point upside, but he’s proven to have among the lowest floors of those priced comparably. Charlotte allows small forwards to score 0.67 points above expectation and the eleventh most DK points per game to the position. George is averaging 47.5 DK points per game in two meetings with the Hornets this year, and after a real stinker on Wednesday, he should be lower owned tonight.
REMAINING MATCHUPS: PHOENIX SUNS, BROOKLYN NETS, MILWAUKEE BUCKS, ORLANDO MAGIC, MIAMI HEAT, INDIANA PACERS, NEW YORK KNICKS, ATLANTA HAWKS, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, DENVER NUGGETS, WASHINGTON WIZARDS, LOS ANGELES LAKERS, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES, UTAH JAZZ, TORONTO RAPTORS, PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
I don’t quite understand why Julius Randle ($6100FD/$5900DK) has a depressed price on DraftKings, but the matchup with the ATLANTA HAWKS is one I’m going to attempt to exploit with mass exposure tonight. Randle averages a double double on the season and has exceeded salary based point expectations in seven of his last nine. The Hawks have been extremely friendly to physical rebounding types like Randle, allowing 1.31 points above expectation to power forwards. Atlanta matches up best with finesse style teams, and while Randle possesses ball handling prowess and an ability to drive to the hoop, he is best known for his rebounding. Randle currently sits in an eleventh place tie in rebounds per game in the NBA and draws the second worst rebounding team in the league. Randle’s DraftKings price is back under $6000 for the first time since late January, making this a great spot to get on a player with 15 rebound upside.
My other favorite play at power forward today is Gorgui Dieng ($6300FD/$6600DK) against the MILWAUKEE BUCKS. The Bucks allow the fifth most DK points per night to opposing power forwards, allowing 1.17 points above expectation. Dieng was unable to respond to his season high DraftKings’ price tag of $6800 over his last three games, and subsequently saw his price drop to a more manageable point. Prior to this most recent three game skid, Dieng had exceeded salary based point expectations in seven of his previous nine games with four 40+ DK point performances mixed in. The Bucks don’t have the size or physicality to handle a player with Dieng’s skill set, and he should see lower ownership again due to recent performances.
In that same game, Jabari Parker ($5900FD/$6500DK) stands out in an equally friendly matchup with the MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES. The T’Wolves allow power forwards to score 0.67 points above expectation and Parker has been an elite fantasy option of late, exceeding salary based point expectations in six of his last eight by an average of 15.7 points per game, making him a 7X performer in those contests. He has shown great scoring upside lately, scoring double digit points in nine straight with four 20+ point performances and career high 36 points against the uber friendly Houston Rockets on Monday. I think Minnesota-Milwaukee will be battled in the paint, and the big men stand out on each side.
REMAINING MATCHUPS: LOS ANGELES LAKERS, PHILADELPHIA 76ers, BROOKLYN NETS, PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS, INDIANA PACERS, CHARLOTTE HORNETS, DENVER NUGGETS, NEW YORK KNICKS, BOSTON CELTICS, ORLANDO MAGIC, MIAMI HEAT, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, PHOENIX SUNS, TORONTO RAPTORS, UTAH JAZZ, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS, WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Al Horford ($7800FD/$7400DK) would be overpriced on any other night, but a matchup with the LOS ANGELES LAKERS has him priced right where he should be. The Lakers are the best matchup for centers on the entire slate, allowing 2.35 points above expectation to centers along with the fifth most DK points per night to the position. Horford has seen a nice minutes bump lately, playing over 38 minutes per game in his last six, and while a blowout looms, I’d still expect him to pick up 30-32 minutes despite tomorrow’s meeting with the Clippers in the headlights. Horford has exceeded salary based point expectations in ten straight games, so if you’re looking for the strongest 5X candidate on the board tonight to provide a nice base for your lineup, look no further than Big Al. I don’t see the ultra-high ceiling he’s shown off recently being necessary tonight, but he can certainly take advantage of a weak post defense like the Lakers and easily hit his number in reduced minutes.
Keeping with the theme of players who are likely to get you to 5X value, Mason Plumlee ($5200FD/$4800DK) certainly has that opportunity against the TORONTO RAPTORS tonight. Plumlee has been extremely consistent since his price dropped below $5000 on DraftKings, exceeding salary based point expectations in six of those nine games by an average of 8.9 points per game, nearly a 7X return on value for a sub-$5000 player. Toronto is under the radar bad against centers, allowing 2.09 points above expectation coupled with the ninth most DK points allowed per night over their last five games. Portland is two games away from completing their six game Eastern Conference road trip, so while they are road weary, I see them giving us a competitive performance in a high degree of difficulty spot overall.
The bandwagon is likely to empty just a bit tonight for Hassan Whiteside ($8600FD/$8300DK) after a dud last night, but don’t be fooled into believing the dud was his fault. For some reason, Eric Spoelstra decided that Amare Stoudemire was the better option to close out last night’s win against the Suns, and he limited Whiteside to only 23 minutes, his lowest minutes total in almost a month. Tonight, Whiteside and the Heat take on the PHILADELPHIA 76ers, the team allowing the most DK points per night to opposing centers to go with 1.97 points above expectation. Maybe Spoelstra was using foresight to limit Whiteside’s minutes ahead of this back to back spot, but either way, Hassan should absolutely dominate this matchup in whatever minutes he’s allotted tonight. In an earlier matchup this season, Whiteside scored 40.75 DK points in only 29 minutes of play, scoring 13 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking eight shots. Whiteside leads the NBA in blocks by over a block and a half per game, and has averaged 4.1 of them in his last ten games including games of six, eight and ten blocks in that timeframe. Philly has no answer for the ‘Eater of Worlds’ tonight.
REMAINING MATCHUPS: ATLANTA HAWKS, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES, BOSTON CELTICS, DENVER NUGGETS, PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS, BROOKLYN NETS, MILWAUKEE BUCKS, ORLANDO MAGIC, INDIANA PACERS, MIAMI HEAT, NEW TORK KNICKS, CHARLOTTE HORNETS, PHOENIX SUNS, WASHINGTON WIZARDS, UTAH JAZZ, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS