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.
The NBA world has been abuzz about the return of a superstar to his former home on Wednesday – and of course I’m talking about Tyler Zeller coming back to Cleveland.
The Cavaliers have been much better, both offensively and defensively, over the course of their five-game winning streak. We can still attack them at both forward positions, which puts Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Alan Crabbe, and even DeMarre Carroll in play for us. Despite shooting only 5-14 from the field in his last game, RHJ put up 37 Fanduel points against Golden State.
Crabbe, who led the league in three-point field goal percentage last season, is hot right now – shooting 14-27 from beyond the arc in his last three games.
LeBron James is now at his highest price of the season, $12K on Fanduel. Earlier this season he started at point guard against the Nets and dropped 65 Fanduel points. He’s still the de-facto point guard for as long as Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose, and Isaiah Thomas are sidelined, however, with Jose Calderon on the floor he does seem to have the ball in his hands a bit less than before.
Despite spraining his ankle in the Blazers win over Memphis Monday, Dame Lillard told reporters after the game: “I’m playing” when asked about his status for Wednesday. If Dame Dolla didn’t have that #MambaMentality, then C.J. McCollum would be in a great spot against Philly. Either way, McCollum’s price is down on Fanduel and could be in line for a big game after not recording a single assist or steal on Monday. It doesn’t hurt either that C.J. played his college ball just over an hour outside of the city.
Jusuf Nurkic will be a candidate to get into early foul trouble while attempting to cover Joel Embiid on Wednesday.
Keeping up with the theme of the night, Evan Turner is going back to Philly where he began his NBA career, but is in no way, shape, or form a good dfs play on paper.
Over the past week, Portland has given up the fewest Fanduel points per minute to their opponents. They’re also 1st in total rebounding and 2nd in team defensive rating.
We’ve now seen that both Embiid and Ben Simmons are essentially matchup proof, so feel free to roll out either in your tournament lineups. It’ll be tough to pay $10.2K for either of these guys on a massive 14-game slate, but you can probably get them at some of their lowest ownership of the season.
John Wall versus Kemba Walker should be a fascinating matchup to watch, but both are expensive on Fanduel and you’d be hoping for a 50-60 fantasy point eruption if you roster either. Both the Wizards and Hornets rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of DvP against the point guard positon.
Pat Beverley had some strong words for his teammates following their loss to the Knicks on Monday, telling the Los Angeles Times: “We’re not playing hard; the first unit, not the whole team. I challenged the first unit to play harder.”
Blake Griffin and Wesley Johnson have the premier matchups of the Clippers’ starters against the Hawks. Blake, however, is now the most expensive he’s been on Fanduel since November 5. Wes will be making his 8th consecutive start in place of Danilo Gallinari, and has been filling up the stat sheet over his last 3 games. Losers of 11 straight games, there’s been some speculation that Coach Doc Rivers could be on the hot seat if his team doesn’t turn it around sooner rather than later.
With Beverley back in the lineup, Lou Williams’ minutes are expected to slide back into the mid to upper 20’s. Though he had a poor game on Monday, he will continue to see plenty of usage whenever he’s on the court. Sweet Lou is a staggering $1.7K cheaper on Fanduel than he is on DraftKings. At that price ($5.4K), he’ll be a great tournament option when he returns to his hometown of Hotlanta to face one of his former teams, as long as he doesn’t spend all night Tuesday in the club making it rain with Pacman Jones.
With Hawks ruling out both Mike Muscala and Luke Babbitt ahead of Wednesday’s game, we could see Ersan Ilyasova move back into the starting lineup. The real winner, fantasy-wise, in this situation would be rookie John Collins. Collins played a season-high of 36 minutes on Monday, falling one rebound short of a double-double. The rookie has a major problem with picking up fouls, but theoretically it would benefit him if Ilyasova draws the start which would allow Collins to avoid covering Blake Griffin for some of the night.
Kristaps Porzingis could not shake the stringy defense of Toronto’s Pascal Siakam when they met last Friday in The 6. It is worth noting that Serge Ibaka missed that game which allowed Siakam to slide into the starting lineup. With Ibaka now back and starting again, it would be wise of Coach Dwane Casey to give the second-best Cameroonian in the league, Siakam, some extra run off the bench. Unless we hear he’ll start over Ibaka, I’m not touting Siakam as a dfs play, however, I do think he’ll continue to cause nightmares for Porzingis on the interior, forcing KP to shoot a few extra three-pointers.
It makes zero sense for Kyrie Irving’s price on Fanduel to go down by $500 on Fanduel after a 60-fantasy point game, but it nevertheless did. He’ll draw a much tougher matchup down along Biscayne Bay in Miami, but already has a 43 Fanduel point game in American Airlines Arena this season.
We can find a cheap source of value in Spurs point guard Patty Mills. Mills has settled in nicely as the team’s starting point, and it’s encouraging to see his minute totals over 32 in each of the last two games. Now the Aussie gets a juicy matchup with the Pelicans, who are hemorrhaging fantasy points to both guards and the small forward positions. Over the past few years Rajon Rondo has become a push-over on the defensive end.
Kyle “Slow-Mo” Anderson is another cheap option on the Spurs who is severely underpriced on both Fanduel and DraftKings. In his last game, Anderson fell only 4 rebounds shy of a triple-double.
Karl-Anthony Towns has looked lethargic and especially dopey on the defensive end where he’s allowing opposing centers to shoot 61% over the past week. This is one of several factors that make Nikola Vucevic one of the top plays at center on the entire slate – and he’s sure to come with low ownership. His price is down on both sites ($7.6K on FD and a yummy $6.9K on DK) and Vuc has always shown the tendency to string together both his good and his bad games in bunches. He finally got off the schnide against Indiana and now draws another top matchup for centers.
Both Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler find themselves in great matchups on Wednesday, but you really have to search for a reason to play any one of the Timberwolves’ big four unless someone else is sitting out – especially on the largest slate of the entire season. DraftKings, where Butler is only $7.4K, may be the one exception to what I just stated.
Wednesday also marks only the second-time Kevin Durant will use the visitor’s locker room at Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC. Durant and his “sprained ankle” sat out Sunday’s game in Brooklyn, but all signs point to him just getting a day off to freshen up before their game against the Thunder. Coach Steve Kerr told reporters that this was just a precautionary move. KD practiced in full on Tuesday, and when asked about his status for Wednesday he told the media: “I don’t know. We’ll see how it feels in the morning.” (Translation: I’m ready to ball). It’ll be interesting to see if the OKC fans great him with the same virtual they did last season.
The cupcakes shall be out in full force.
Russell Westbrook is likely to have just as much motivation for this one as Durant. On Monday he was able to pick up his first triple-double since October 28. Last season in Durant’s return, Westbrook dropped 47 points and fell 2 assists shy of a triple-double (although he did have one if you count his 11 turnovers). In that game, Russ finished with a usage rate of 49.5% - probably the highest such rate you’ll see now that Stephon Marbury has graduated to the Chinese Basketball Association.
The Nuggets caught a rough break on Tuesday when it was announced that all-star PF Paul Millsap needed surgery on his wrist and could miss up to 3 months. Coach Mike Malone could elect to keep Kenneth Faried in the starting lineup, but it’s quite evident that Malone has a distain for the Manimal. His other option would be to shift Wilson Chandler back to the 4 and then start Will Barton at the 3. Either way, Will Barton will be an A1 play on Wednesday, as he has shown time and time again he always comes through with a big game when asked to take on a larger role.
I’d even have no issue if you wanted to go “Judge’s Special” and roll with Gary Harris and Barton as your two shooting guards.
On a 14-game slate we’d normally consider a Dallas versus Memphis game as full MC Hammer, but there’s still some value to be had with Memphis PG Mario Chalmers. For dfs purposes, Dallas has become the hot, new go-to matchup for opposing point guards – although it hasn’t quite reached “flow-chart” status. Maybe we can call this the “Venn diagram” matchup?
Two more players will be facing their former teams when Eric Bledsoe and the Bucks visit Greg Monroe and the Suns. Bledsoe has nabbed 10 steals in his past 3 games and would be a tremendous play even without the whole revenge narrative at only $6.4K on FD and $6.5K on DK. He should also see a few extra minutes with backup PG Matthew Dellavedova listed as out on Wednesday.
Moose Monroe has put up a great game, an average game, and a porous game in his first 3 contests with his new team. Tyson Chandler is expected to return on Wednesday which puts a serious damper on Moose’s fantasy prospects.
John Henson will miss this game for the Bucks, presumably marking the return of Thon Maker to the starting lineup. The Bucks are also without Mirza Teletovic and (of course) Jabari Parker, so maybe rookie D.J. Wilson creeps up into the rotation.
The Chicago Bulls will find themselves in the toughest possible situation when it comes to NBA back-to-backs – traveling from the west coast to Utah, where they not only will be playing at altitude but will also be losing an hour when they change time zones. We can consider the Bulls’ side MC Hammer for this slate.
When Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox squared off in the 2017 NCAA Sweet Sixteen, Fox’s Kentucky Wildcats got the best of Ball’s UCLA Bruins when Fox dropped 39 points on Ball’s squad. When the two had the opportunity to meet again in the Las Vegas summer league, Ball ended up sitting out the game with a mysterious groin injury. And in the NBA preseason when the Kings and Lakers met again, Ball once more sat the game out because of a mildly sprained ankle. This has led to the conspiracy theorists on the internet going nuts over speculation that Ball is afraid of playing against Fox. You can include DeMarcus Cousins as someone who follows that line of thinking.
Only the Bulls and Lakers are on the second night of a back-to-back.
Let’s Talk About Pace, Baby:
WAS (15) @ CHA (8)
BKN (1) @ CLE (13)
POR (24) @ PHI (4)
LAC (17) @ ATL (11)
BOS (20) @ MIA (18)
TOR (14) @ NYK (25)
DEN (12) @ HOU (10)
DAL (21) @ MEM (28)
ORL (6) @ MIN (16)
SAS (30) @ NOP (7)
GSW (5) @ OKC (19)
MIL (27) @ PHX (2)
CHI (22) @ UTA (23)
LAL (3) @ SAC (29)
(League rank as of 11/21)
I’d love to hear any feedback in the comments section below.
You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS