Jeremy's Daily Jewels
Throughout this NBA season I’ll be sharing some interesting notes and quotes I come across while doing my research for the upcoming DFS slate in a new DGCourtroom.com feature called: Jeremy’s Daily Jewels.
Today we’ll start with a few noteworthy quotes which could provide some tips ahead of Monday’s juicy 8-game slate.
Erik Spoelstra on James Johnson: “J.J. was one of the most special things that I've been a part of in my coaching career… But when we actually named him captain, it was the no-brainer of no-brainers… He has that type of voice, purity, intention and just natural leadership qualities to take on that role” (sun-sentinel.com).
Takeaways: Clearly Spo’ has a man-crush on his versatile big man and Johnson’s minutes and role seem to be set in stone with the Heat. As long as Hassan Whiteside remains sidelined with a bruised knee, both Johnson and Kelly Olynyk remain solid dfs plays. Plus, how can you not love a guy whose nickname is Bloodsport (according to basketball-reference.com).
Joel Embiid expressed his frustration in being forced to sit out the back-end of this weekend’s back-to-back in Toronto, telling NBC Sports Philadelphia, “I just want to feel like an NBA player.”
Takeaways: After playing 27 and 28 minutes in his first two games, “The Process” could be in line for a big game versus the Pistons Monday. Opposing centers are shooting a scorching 67.5% from the field against the Pistons so far this season.
After putting up three so-so performances to open the season, Avery Bradley should be someone to consider for cash games. Philadelphia is playing at the 6th highest pace in the league, whereas Bradley’s Pistons are ranked 20th. Tobias Harris has been playing lights-out to start the season, and while his price tag of $6.8K on Fanduel is rather steep, he’s locked in to 35+ minutes a night and shot 13-24 from the field in his last game versus the Knicks.
The Houston James Hardens, I mean Rockets, host the Grizzlies on Monday. As long as Chris Paul remains out and Harden’s price stays at $11.3K, it will be hard to keep the bearded one out of your cash game lineups. With Tony Allen no longer in Memphis, the Grizzlies should struggle to contain Harden. Clint Capela’s price is steadily rising despite the fact that he’s seen minute totals of only 18, 28, and 20 over the first three games. With that said, Coach D’Antonio will be relying on him to at least limit Marc Gasol’s production on Monday.
On the other side of this game, Mike Conley’s price dropped to $7.9K on Fanduel, making him a solid play in all formats. Coach Fizdale talked in the pre-season about how he wanted his team to run more this season. So far they’ve only improved their pace from 28th in the league to 22nd, but Monday’s game should provide an opportunity for the Grizzlies to play some up-tempo ball. Outside of large-field GPPs it’s hard to roster anyone on Memphis’ roster other than Conley or Gasol, even in a matchup versus Houston.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks will host the Hornets, who will still be without their two best wing defenders in Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Giannis’ price is now over $12K on Fanduel, but how can Charlotte contain the Greek Freak?
Centers versus Milwaukee are always in play for me, and I suppose that even includes Dwight Howard. While I wouldn’t advise playing D-12 in cash games, he isn’t a terrible GPP play on Monday.
According to allucanheat.com (props for the wittiness there), Goran Dragic’s parents flew all the way from Slovenia to watch his last game versus the Pacers. Dragic shot 7-11 from the field and finished that game with 23 real life points. One would think his parents would still be in town for at least the full home stand, right? Playing just over 30 minutes a night, Dragic could be feeling refreshed after sitting out almost all the preseason. After ending last season costing $7.9K on Fanduel, The Dragon is sitting nicely at $7.1K and could ball out again on Monday.
Despite spraining his ankle in a 128-94 trouncing of the Sixers on Saturday night, Jonas Valanciunas will travel with the team as the Raptors kickoff a 6-game west coast swing on Monday in San Antonio (raptorsrepublic.com). This likely signals that Valanciunas plans to return to action sometime during that span. In the meantime, expect Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira, who started the second half of Saturday’s tilt, to replace Valanciunas in Dwane Casey’s starting lineup. Bebe’s price rose to $5K on Fanduel, but exercise caution when deploying the young Brazilian in your dfs tournaments, as he tends to commit a lot of personal fouls.
The Toronto Raptors ranked 24th in pace last season, but through two games in 2017 they hold 6th highest value. Expect their rate of 103.8 to go down after they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, who traditionally play at one of the slowest paces in the league.
In the highest over/under of the night at 223, the Denver Nuggets host the Washington Wizards in what should be a fun up-tempo matchup. The Nuggets are playing at a snail’s pace of only 92.5 through 2 games, but that can be expected when playing the Jazz and Kings. It will be tough to feel good about any dfs lineup that doesn’t have exposure to this game.
Gary Harris is shooting 66% (6-9) from beyond the arc, ironically matching his performance at home versus the Wizards in a game on March 3rd last season, where he shot 6-9 from downtown and 10-15 overall. Harris’ price dropped by $300 to $5.7K on Fanduel. While coach Mike Malone continues to develop his young point guards in Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray, at times he’s relying on Harris to handle the ball for his club.
Nikola Jokic’s tag on Fanduel sank to $8.6K, its lowest mark since Janurary 17th of last season. Jokic averaged 0.11 more Fanduel points per minute at home than on the road last season, one of the highest in the league. Among all the Nugget’s rotation players, only Emmanuel Mudiay (0.18) averaged a greater differential. By contrast, Will Barton averaged 0.08 less Fanduel points per minute at home than he did on the road.
Paul Millsap will face a familiar foe in the former divisional rival Wizards, a team that he dropped Fanduel scores of 18.9, 46.0, 57.3, 41.3, 34.2, and 57.5 against when they met in the playoffs last season. Millsap’s price dropped to $7.8K, despite leading the team with a 27.7 usage rate through two games.
Otto Porter’s price has skyrocketed by $1,000 to $6.9K thanks to his godly performance against the Pistons on Friday. Fanduel is now listing him as a Power Forward, an already loaded position. During Markieff Morris’ absence, Porter has stepped up his game, averaging 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals. Fun fact: after signing a max-contract this past off-season, Porter is now the 17th highest paid player in the NBA (basketball-reference.com), ahead of both John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Be sure to check for news on Jason Smith prior to lineup lock. If he doesn’t return on Monday, Kelly Oubre will remain in the starting lineup and is very much in play versus the Nuggets. John Wall and Bradley Beal are always in play, despite both of their prices on Fanduel rising over the past week.
Owners of a league worst 42.8 rebounding percentage, the Dallas Mavericks have been out-rebounded by a stunning margin of 43 through their first three games. Keep an eye out for any news regarding Steph Curry and mouthguard-gate, otherwise Warrior players should be considered off-limits for cash games on Monday. It is noteworthy that Draymond Green’s price dropped by $700 to $7.7K on Fanduel. Klay Thompson has averaged 42.9 Fanduel points across his last six matchups versus the Mavs.
If both Dennis Smith Jr. and Devin Harris remain out on Monday, J.J. Barea and Yogi Ferrell are cheap options to consider at point guard. But now that both are priced at over $5K on Fanduel, I’m not sure there’s a ton of value left there.
Amid the turmoil in the desert, the Phoenix Suns and interim coach Jay Triano welcome the Sacramento Kings Monday, another team struggling to find their identity. Willy Cauley-Stein, whose price dropped to only $5.8K on Fanduel, makes for an interesting play as the Kings will play way up in tempo Monday. Buddy Hield averaged 0.12 more Fanduel points per minute playing on the road last season, but with Bogdan “Don’t Call Me Bojan” Bogdanovic expected to make his NBA debut on Monday, Hield’s usage and minutes may be take a slight hit.
The Dennis Schröder-less Atlanta Hawks are the only team in action on Monday playing in a back-to-back. Things could get ugly in South Beach (referring to the game, obviously not the women).
You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS