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.
One of, if not the most, frustrating part of fantasy basketball is watching players on your roster get into early foul trouble and then never finding their rhythm for the rest of the game. While foul trouble may at first seem completely random and unpredictable, there are certain metrics we can look at that will at least give us a reliable indication of potential foul trouble – specifically if you’re contemplating whether to choose a player who is prone to picking up fouls (i.e. Marquese Chriss or Jusuf Nurkic).
First, we can look at which teams and positions are drawing the most fouls this season. These stats use Fanduel positions and are in terms of personal fouls committed by opponents per minute. A ranking of 1 means the most fouls have been committed and a ranking of 30 indicates the least number of fouls have been committed against the specific position.
Some things that stand out should be quite obvious when we think about it – opponents are committing lots of fouls against Pelicans big men, as well as against Cavaliers SF’s and Sixers bigs. Opponents are committing the 2nd most fouls against the Phoenix Suns, which probably means that the Suns are either playing more aggressive than other teams or that they have the refs in their pocket like Tim Donaghy.
For players who are averaging over 20 minutes per game played this season, the following is a list of the 50 players who are committing the most personal fouls per minute.
(why is almost every young power forward on that list?!)
On to Wednesday’s slate now, where we get the Wizards taking a trip down to South Beach to take on the Heat.
Both John Wall and Brad Beal are the cheapest they’ve been this month on Fanduel. Unfortunately, neither will be in a great spot on Wednesday against Miami – who is limiting both guard positions to field goal percentages under 40% this season. Both Wall and Beal have similar usage rates of right around 28% on the season, making Beal clearly a better play from that perspective when you consider their prices.
On the Miami side, both Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow provide solid value – priced in the mid-$4K range on Fanduel. Washington is continuing to struggle with defending the SF position, even since Kelly Oubre Jr. moved back to the bench. Both J-Rich and Justise are young players who are returning home after a grueling 6-game road trip – a place where young guys tend to perform better.
We’ve been watching Dennis Schroder’s price drop and drop and drop like the stock market in 1929 (too soon, I know). I think Wednesday is finally the day we can fire him up with confidence. Sarcramento is the 7th worst team against point guards and the spread (ATL -3.5) indicates this should be a close game.
Ersan Ilyasova is expected to return to action for Atlanta on Wednesday, thus returning Luke “The White Rabbit” Babbit to unplayable status.
If the Knicks were an all-around young team it’d be tough to predict how they come out and perform after their emotionally-draining 4th quarter collapse against the Cavaliers. Thanks to some veteran leaders such as Enes Kanter, I think we can expect them to come out angry and somewhat focused when the struggling Jazz invade Madison Square Garden.
Most of the value in this game will be found on the Utah side – specifically with Donovan Mitchell, who is demanding his name be put into the Rookie of the Year conversation. Ricky Rubio struggled mightily against the T-Wolves and Mitchell took advantage of being the de-facto point guard on the floor during stretches in the second half. Donovan is shooting 20-37 over his last two games.
In Utah’s last game against Minnesota, they were down by more than 25 points at one point and Coach Quin Snyder’s rotations were just plain wacky. Jonas Jerebko drew the start over Thabo Sefolosha (who was actually chalk Monday night on Fanduel, why?!?).
Derrick Favors will start at center again, however the Knicks rank 4th in total rebounding percentage and his price tag of $6K on Fanduel hardly has any value left in it.
The Spurs and Timberwolves will be an MC Hammer game (can’t touch this) for cash, but I do think the Minnesota starting five is priced nicely on Fanduel and is in play for tournaments. San Antonio is traveling to play the second night of a back-to-back, and Coach Gregg Popovich surely has some surprises in store for us with his rotation. Other than super-large field gpp’s, the Spurs will be completely MC Hammer on this slate.
One of the juiciest fantasy spots of the night will be when the Cavaliers invade the Queen City of Charlotte. Coach Steve Clifford confirmed on Tuesday that Nicolas Batum will be returning to the starting lineup but with a strict minute restriction. We absolutely love to attack the Cavs at the guard and wing positions so this puts a damper of the fantasy prospects of Jeremy Lamb and even to an extend Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk – who could lose a few minutes since Lamb will now be coming off the bench too. With that being said, all of these guys shouldn’t be that popular and could be high-upside tournament plays if you’re willing to risk it.
With Batum returning, contrary to some people’s beliefs, Kemba Walker could really benefit from playing next to another highly-skilled passer and will be the #1 Hornet you want to own on Wednesday. From nba.com, Kemba is second to only James Harden in the highest percentage of pick-and-roll plays run. The Cavaliers as a team are atrocious at defending such plays, so teaming up Kemba Walker and pick-and-roll mate Dwight Howard will be a positively-correlated play. The numbers show that Cleveland is tough on opposing centers, but they have struggled mightily with a strong physical presence down low, even though this isn’t the D-12 of olden days.
LeBron James played like absolute [garbage emoji] in the first three quarters of his last game, looking as passive as ever until he finally turned it on in the fourth quarter, falling one rebound shy of a triple-double. Ironically, LeBron also fell one-rebound short of a triple-double twice last season against the Hornets. While his price is still down at $11.3K on Fanduel, it’s tough to see how he fails to give you 50 fantasy points in even his worst game, with or without Derrick Rose in the lineup.
Rajon Rondo is expected to start for the Pelicans on Wednesday, but will be limited to roughly 14-16 minutes. Rondo obviously will not be a play for us while he’s on such a strict limit, and his return will also hurt Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore the most. Even when Rondo takes on a full workload, his presence as a pass-first distributing point guard would theoretically benefit both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. In watching the Pelicans play early in the season, Boogie Cousins has spent as much time handling the ball as Jrue – who’s natural position is SG. Boogie could be looking at a small decrease in his opportunities on the offensive end upon Rondo’s return.
With the Raptors rolling into town on the second end of a back-to-back, both AD and Boogie will be tremendous plays again on Wednesday. Neither Davis (41 FD points) nor Cousins (45 FD points) performed exceptionally well last week in Toronto. They should both turn it around in the rematch.
The second-place team in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Pistons, draw a tough matchup in Milwaukee against the Bucks. While Andre Drummond has been dynamite to start off the season, it should be noted that his current price tag of $9.4K on Fanduel is high than it was all last season. He does draw a superb matchup with the Bucks, and can save you $2.5K from Cousins. Assuming nothing goes wrong, Drummond is a good bet to get you 50 fantasy points on Wednesday.
Steven Adams will likely sit again for the Thunder while Carmelo Anthony was limited in practice on Tuesday and can be considered seriously questionable for Wednesday. Facing off with his brother Jerian and the Bulls, Jerami Grant will be a great value play for only $4.7K on Fanduel, especially if he starts.
Elfrid Payton’s price is down to $6.8K on Fanduel, and he’ll have a decent matchup with the Trail Blazers on Wednesday. Since Elf has returned to the lineup, him and Aaron Gordon have not shown much chemistry, with most of Gordon’s production coming when Payton is off the court.
Despite being in somewhat of a slump, shooting 4-16, 7-16, and 4-14 in his last three games, Dame Lillard has still averaged over 6 rebounds and over 6 assists during that period. Dame is due for a bust-out game and his counterpart in Payton is not a very good defender. Lillard’s backcourt mate C.J. McCollum is also down to a season-low price tag of $6.9K on Fanduel.
Getcha’ popcorn ready for when the Sixers (highest turnover % in the league) meet up with the Lakers (2nd highest turnover % in the league).
All eyes will be on the two rookies everybody is talking about – Thomas Bryant and Furkan Korkmaz! On the undercard, it also features a matchup between two pretty decent rookie point guards in Lonzo Ball and Ben Simmons. Both Ball and Simmons will look to shine in this ESPN game and make for tremendous dfs plays.
Of all the potential value plays on Wednesday’s slate, perhaps my favorite one is Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson’s minutes are fluctuating anywhere between 20-27 per game, but even at the low end of that range he is proving he can crush 5X value at his miniscule price tag of $4.2K on Fanduel. The lowest single-game usage rate Clarkson has recorded this season is 20.4, and the second lowest is 24.1.
Outside of the Clippers, at least one opposing big man in every game has been dominant against the Sixers lately. Julius Randle is the best bet on the Lakers to be the next, even though Coach Luke Walton hates his guts and refuses to play him big minutes unless it’s absolutely necessary. Kyle Kuzma struggled, shooting only 20-53 (38%) on the Lakers’ recent road trip, but will be in a prime bounce-back spot at home.
Surprisingly, Walton’s young Lakers hold the 4th best team defensive rating in the league. But because they are playing at the 4th fastest pace, they fantasy points will still be there for the taking. Outside of Simmons, we can also look to Robert Covington who was absolutely en fuego Monday night in Staples, shooting 5-8 from three-point land, including the game-winner late in the fourth. The Philly backcourt features two value options in T.J. McConnell and J.J. Redick to go along with a cheap Dario Saric at PF. Saric dropped 46 Fanduel points last season at the Lakers.
Pace-adjusted DvP shows that the Lakers are the best team in the league at defending opposing centers. Brook Lopez, who spends most of his time hanging around outside on the arc, is a difficult draw for many opposing big men. If Joel Embiid exerts his will and makes his presence felt on the inside from the get-go, the Lakers may be forced to turn to Julius Randle at center, allowing the Sixers to dictate matchups for the game. With a hefty price tag of $9.7K, it will be a gamble to roster Embiid on Fanduel. But it is hard to bet against a guy who wears his own jersey to the club.
Both the Spurs and the Raptors are playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
Let’s Talk About Pace, Baby
SAC (29) @ ATL (10)
WAS (9) @ MIA (17)
UTA (24) @ NYK (22)
CLE (12) @ CHA (11)
IND (8) @ MEM (30)
DET (23) @ MIL (27)
SAS (25) @ MIN (14)
TOR (15) @ NOP (7)
CHI (28) @ OKC (20)
ORL (6) @ POR (21)
PHI (3) @ LAL (4)
(League rank as of 11/14)
I’d love to hear any feedback in the comments section below.
You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS