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.
"We’re going to need (John Henson) to step up, him and Thon and D.J. (Wilson) and Giannis (Antetokounmpo) will all see some action at the five." – Bucks Coach Jason Kidd regarding the news that Greg Monroe will be out for two weeks (jsonline.com)
"He's similar to Dame (Lillard) in the way he wants the ball and he's not fazed by any type of pressure. He loves basketball, just loves the game. And he's a tough kid. He's tough and he wants challenges and embraces challenges. It's been fun to watch this rapid progression." – Suns Coach Jay Triano on his point guard, Mike James (oregonlive.com)
“‘Yeah,’ (D’Angelo) Russell said when asked if he was 100 percent fit. When asked if he was just looking for his rhythm, he replied, ‘It’s as simple as that.’” – D’Angelo Russell (nypost.com). Phoenix is atrocious at defending the PG and SG positions, and this is a prime bounce-back spot for the slumping D’Angelo Russell.
The Indiana Pacers are sorely missing Myles Turner on the interior, allowing up the 2nd most points in the paint per game during his extended absence. The Lakers are giving up the 3rd most followed by the Suns with the 4th most.
On the flip side of that, the Sacramento Kings have allowed the 2nd lowest percentage of shots from opponents to come in the painted area, at only 21% (basketball-reference.com).
The Kings are second to last in terms of total rebounding percentage. With Turner out of the lineup, Domantas Sabonis has pulled down double-digit boards in every game except for Portland, where he had 8 (Portland leads the league in rebounding).
With Sabonis popping up on the injury report Monday, the Pacers would be extremely thin in the front-court should he miss this game. Thad Young and the ghost of Al Jefferson would figure to see increased minutes.
Sacramento has defended the SF and PF positions well this year, but have allowed the 3rd most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute to the PG position, 5th most to SG, and 2nd most to centers. Darren Collison, who’s facing his former team, and Victor Oladipo must be licking their chops.
The starting small forwards in this game are expected to be Bogdan Bogdanovic for the Kings and Bojan Bogdanovic for the Pacers. This has no real fantasy impact but it’s gotta be a first in league history!
George Hill will be returning home to Indianapolis where he spent 5 years playing for the Pacers and attended college at IUPUI. Hill has recorded usage rates of just 9.0 and 9.3 in his last two starts.
Zach Randolph is questionable to return to the starting lineup on Tuesday, but if he does it would downgrade Skal Labissiere from a solid value to only a GPP dart-throw. Z-Bo, if he plays, and Willie Cauley-Stein should eat on the inside against a Turner-less Pacers squad. Indiana is giving up the second most blocked shots in the league to the center position.
In a game expected to be so fast we may need to bring in the NASCAR experts, the Suns @ Nets matchup opened with a Vegas game total of 231 and features the 1st and 2nd ranked teams in terms of pace.
Allen Crabbe failed to capitalize after drawing the start when DeMarre Carroll sat out the Nets’ last game, recording only 8/2/1 over 27 minutes. Sean Kilpatrick benefitted the most in Carroll’s absence, scoring 19 Fanduel points in only 10 minutes of game action.
Look for Caris LeVert to get it going in this up-tempo match up. LeVert’s best three performances of the season (28, 34, and 30 Fanduel points) have all come against teams ranked highly in terms of pace (Indiana, Atlanta, and Orlando).
Devin Booker will be a popular play fresh off his 34 point/ 46 Fanduel point performance. While I’m not throwing cold water all over the excitement of playing Booker Tuesday, I do want to point out that SG is the only position the Nets’ defend well – allowing the 27th most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute. Even in a poor matchup, Booker has a solid floor of at least 25 fantasy points.
T.J. Warren, along with Booker and the Suns’ point guards, seem to have settled into their defined roles under new coach Jay Triano. Warren is the safest play and deserves to be the highest-owned Sun on Tuesday. The frontcourt, mainly Marquese Chriss, Josh Jackson (who is playing both the 3 and the 4), Dragan Bender, Alex Len, and Tyson Chandler, are having their minutes toyed with by Triano. Chriss has the most upside if he gets the minutes, but after playing a solid first half in the last game against Portland, Triano sat him the entire second half until reinserting him in garbage-time with only 2 minutes left.
After Jarrett Jack and Jamal Murry posted their best games of the season against the Nets, Mike James rolls into BK looking to do the same. Opposing point guards are shooting 46% on field goals and 43% on 3’s against Brooklyn, and both rank among the top 5 highest percentages in the league. He’ll look to stretch out and rub his dirty cowboy boots all over the Barclay Center’s couch while screaming “I’m Mike James, b----!!”
Something will have to give when Oklahoma City, the league’s worst defensive rebounding team, meets up with Milwaukee, the league’s worst offensive rebounding team. Interestingly, OKC is ranked 5th in offensive rebounding and Milwaukee 6th in defensive rebounding. Despite their rebounding woes, the Thunder hold the 3rd best defensive rating in the Association.
At $12.6K, Giannis Antetokounmpo has reached the highest price of any player on Fanduel yet this season. The Greek Freak is coming off his “worst” fantasy performance, putting up “only” 53 Fanduel points in a win at Atlanta. Of the top individual performances this season in terms of real life points scored in a game, Giannis holds 5 of the top 23 spots. On a 4-game slate, Giannis is simply un-fadeable in cash games, and a very risky fade in tournaments.
Milwaukee’s usage rates on the season are about what you’d expect: Giannis leads the team at 33.8, Khris Middleton is second at 25.6, and Malcolm Brogdon holds down a 20.1 usage rate. With Greg Monroe and his 23.8 usage rate missing some time, those shots will have to go somewhere else. The smart money would be on Giannis seeing even more shots.
Opponents are shooting only 41.9% against the Thunder, the 3rd lowest mark in the NBA.
Consensus across the dfs industry seems to be that the Milwaukee Bucks, behind Malcolm Brogdon’s defense, are very tough on opposing point guards. I decided to take a deeper look and saw that that’s not necessarily true. The Bucks are actually allowing the 7th most pace-adjusted real-life points per minute to point guards. When it comes to stats other scoring (assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, and turnovers), the Bucks rank 17th. What this says to me is that when you have a point guard who relies mainly on scoring, the Bucks present one of the better matchups. For a guy like Russell Westbrook who depends on those peripheral stats, Milwaukee is not that great of a matchup.
With all of that said, getting 45-50 points from Westbrook on a 4-game slate is a lot more valuable than it would be on a 10-game slate. He’s by no means a bad play, but don’t sacrifice playing Giannis just to fit Westbrook in your lineup.
It will be interesting to see if Giannis guards Paul George or Carmelo Anthony (or even Westbrook). In an interview at Monday’s practice, Bucks Coach Jason Kidd praised Melo as someone who “puts so much pressure on your defense and then you look at Melo being able to stretch the defense and be able to knock down the three but also be able to get to the free-throw line.” He went on to call Paul George a guy who “can do it all on both ends” (jsonline.com). It’s only a small clue, but it possibly suggests he will use Giannis on Melo, and Middleton on George, obviously giving PG the better matchup.
The Bucks are traditionally among the worst in the league against centers, and here’s a simple flow chart to help us out:
(Contrary to popular belief, Steven Adams does indeed have a pulse, mate)
The current #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Pistons, will be playing way up in pace when they visit Staples Center to face the Lakers Tuesday. The Lakers have the 3rd highest turnover percentage in the league, so look for the Pistons to nab plenty of steals, primarily Avery Bradley.
Bradley, off three straight games with 30+ Fanduel points, has also recorded 8 steals during that span. Despite acquiring Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the offseason, the Lakers are giving up the 2nd most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute to opposing shooting guards, making Bradley one of the top plays on the entire slate.
I also like Tobias Harris to get it going in this up-tempo matchup with the Lakers, an opponent he recorded Fanduel scores of 38 and 29 points against last season. Harris is most valuable in fantasy when he’s doing more than just scoring, and a fast game against the Lake Show should provide an opportunity to put up those peripheral stats.
Reggie Jackson has been semi-consistent to start the season, and this may be the first time anyone has ever described him as such. Road games aren’t typically the spot where we want to roster Jackson, as last season he averaged 0.16 more Fanduel points per minute when playing in the Motor City.
After 4-straight 40+ Fanduel point outings, Andre Drummond’s price has skyrocketed to $9.2K on Fanduel, higher than it was all last season. Now may be the time to hop off the Drummond Express, as Brook Lopez and the Lakers’ style of play presents a difficult matchup for him to defend on paper.
Speaking of Bro-Lo, his $5.4K price tag on Fanduel would normally be something we want to take advantage of. The only hindrance is Luke Walton and his unpredictable rotations. Lopez’s minutes have been in a free-fall, with totals of 28, 32, 17, 22, 23, and 17 on the season.
The Pistons are giving up the 2nd most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute to opposing small forwards, making this a tempting spot to roster Brandon Ingram.
Ingram and Lonzo Ball are really the only the cash-game options on the Lakers, as they are both locked in to 30+ minutes a night. Ball saw his price drop from $7.8K to $7.2K on Fanduel after two sub-par performances and finds himself in a get-right spot against Reggie Jackson and the Pistons. Zo’ is only shooting 31% from the field and 56% from the free-throw line on the season, so most of his fantasy points will come from assists, rebounds, and steals.
Don’t expect Caldwell-Pope to get revenge on his former team by means of a massive fantasy performance. Behind Avery Bradley’s defense the Detroit Bad Boys are allowing the 29th most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute to opposing shooting guards. KCP, at only $5K on Fanduel, could be a tournament option if you think he can buck this trend.
Kyle Kuzma injured his hip in the Lakers’ last game in Salt Lake City, but got in a partial practice on Monday and is expected to play against the Pistons. Should he not suit up for Tuesday’s contest, it’s anyone’s guess who Luke Walton would give those extra minutes to. Against the Pistons who, outside of Drummond, are not an exceptionally big team, maybe someone like Jordan Clarkson would get more run.
Clarkson will be a tempting tournament option on this slate, primarily because he offers 30+ fantasy point upside at a salary of only $3.9K on Fanduel.
The Suns, Kings, Bucks, and Pacers are on the front-end of a back-to-back.
Let’s Talk About Pace, Baby:
What’s your take on this spooky 4-game Halloween slate? I’d love to hear any feedback in the comments section below.
You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS