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.
With yet another massive 12-game slate on tap for Friday, in this column we’ll focus more on the games we want to target, and less on the MC Hammer (Can’t Touch This) games.
To simplify things, we can probably break the games on this slate down into three tiers:
Full Throttle Targets
Cleveland @ Washington
Brooklyn @ Los Angeles Lakers
Indiana @ Philadelphia
Phoenix @ New York
Pick and Choose Your Spots
Miami @ Denver
Houston @ Atlanta
New Orleans @ Dallas
Milwaukee @ Detroit
MC Hammer (for cash games)
Boston @ Oklahoma City
Chicago @ Orlando
Charlotte @ San Antonio
Toronto @ Utah
Right off the bat we are blessed with the Clevelan (no that’s not a typo, they just play no D) Cavaliers traveling to Washington to face the Wizards in a potential preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Last season these two teams played a memorable 140-135 overtime game, a 127-115 game, and an early season 105-94 contest.
Markieff Morris will start at PF for the Wizards and be limited to around 15-16 minutes. Otto Porter was back at practice Thursday and is expected to start (NBC Sports Washington). Porter will slide back to the 3 upon Morris’ return, and we can also expect his 7.5 rebounds per game to creep back down closer to the 4.5 rebounds he averaged last season. At $7K on FD and $7.1K on DK, Porter is priced right for game-stacks.
John Wall finished with only 6 assists in his last game while deferring to Bradley Beal for most of the night. Look for Wall to rack up a few more dimes in this one, as Cleveland is allowing the most assists per game in the league. Beal shot 12 three-pointers in the Wiz’s last game and averaged 10 per game against the Cavs last season. On the year, Cleveland is allowing the 2nd most three-point attempts per game (34.6) and the 4th highest percentage (39.7%).
The Cavaliers were atrocious in defending the pick-n-roll in their last game with the Pacers, so look for Wall and Beal to do the same with Marcin Gortat.
Kelly Oubre (Aruba) Jr. will return to his 6th man duties but should be in play for tournaments. For as long as Morris remains on a minute limit, Oubre could see a little extra run off the bench. The Tristian Thompson-less Cavaliers will shift Kevin Love back to the center position, a situation which should lead to coach Scott Brooks playing Porter at the 4 and Oubre at the 3 for most of the game when Morris is off-court.
Even with Thompson’s injury, not much should change for us fantasy-wise with the Cavaliers. LeBron James and Kevin Love, our two main targets on Cleveland thus far, should each grab a few more boards (if they feel like putting forth any effort). Jae Crowder should move back to the starting lineup but has struggled mightily this season. Crowder did face the Wizards 10 times last season as a member of the Celtics and averaged 30.3 Fanduel points, however he also averaged 33 minutes in those contests.
In Kevin Love’s three starts at center he shot only 4, 3, and 5 three-pointers. In his five starts at PF he shot 7, 6, 6, 8, and 6. Love has shown a solid floor with only 2 games this season scoring below 35 Fanduel points, however his price has risen from $7.7K to $8.1K on FD. I’m considering him a better play on DK where he’s only $7.5K and nearly a lock for the double-double bonus to go along with some treys.
LeBron James, at $10.6K on both sites, appears to be the best play on the Cavaliers. $10.6K is still his second lowest price tag of the season. After coach Ty Lue publicly called out Bron for not being in basketball-shape, look for him to come out with something to prove once again.
If the Philadelphia 76ers go with the same starting lineup as their last game, they’ll roll out 6-4 J.J. Redick, 6-9 Robert Covington, 6-10 Ben Simmons, 6-10 Dario Saric, and 7-0 Joel Embiid. In comparison, Thad Young, the starting power forward for Indiana, is only 6-8. This could lead to matchup problems for the Pacers.
Indiana is in the top-12 for most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute allowed to ALL FIVE positions! After dropping a 60-bomb on Atlanta, Joel Embiid’s price on Fanduel has reached $9.3K, although you can get him for a much fairer $8.3K on DK. The Process came away with 3 steals and 3 blocks against the Hawks, and while it’s unlikely to expect the same results two games in a row, the Pacers do allow the 3rd most blocked shots per game at 6.3.
T.J. McConnell has been great off the bench, playing 28-minutes a game during Markelle Fultz’s absence. He has lost some of his value on FD, thanks to a $5.7K price tag, but remains a great play on DK at only $4.9K.
J.J. Redick sat out practice again on Thursday and if he can’t go Friday, that would mean more shots for McConnell, Embiid, Robert Covington, and especially Dario Saric. Saric averaged 13 shots and 30 minutes of game action during the two games Redick missed, up from his season average of 21 minutes a game.
Myles Turner will miss at least one more game, again putting all the Pacer starters in play for us. Domantas Sabonis has been incredible in his absence and saw his price dip from $6K to $5.6K on Fanduel. Philadelphia, though, is rebounding the ball well, ranking 8th in the league in total rebounding percentage. Regardless, “Doma” is still a top play as we love to play centers against Philly, who gives up the 5th most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute to the position.
Another player who saw their price drop on FD is Darren Collison – who’s also $500 cheaper there than on DK. The same goes for Victor Oladipo who saw his price drop by $700 on FD, and is $800 cheaper on there as than he is on DK. Perhaps the algorithm on Fanduel projected Turner to return for this one, and anytime we can spot an “error” in pricing it’s something we should take advantage of. Philly is defending the PF very well, ranking 30th in terms of pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute allowed.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will most likely garner lower ownership than LeBron at the SF position and is always in play for all formats. The Greek Freak found himself in foul trouble during the Bucks’ last game at Charlotte and finished with only 14 real-life points. After registering only 14 and 16 shot attempts in his last two games, look for that number to increase as the Bucks will likely turn to their star to carry them in this road tilt.
Reggie Jackson accumulated 0.16 more Fanduel points per minute when playing at home last season, one of the highest marks in the entire league.
According to pistonpowered.com, Andre Drummond underwent surgery in the offseason to repair his deviated septum – a process that’s expected to help him sleep better at night and have more energy during games by improving his ability to breathe through his nose. He’s seen 35 and 40 minutes in his last two games so perhaps it’s working. He’ll cost you a pretty penny but is still in a great matchup against the Bucks – who are allowing opposing centers to shoot 57.8%. Both Drummond ($8.2K) and Giannis ($11.2K) are significantly cheaper on DraftKings.
Elfrid Payton is questionable for Friday and, if he’s not subject to any sort of minute-restriction, could make for a tournament play against the Bulls who give up the 3rd most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute to point guards.
We can consider all the Magic starters, along with Jonathon Simmons, as tournament plays on Friday. Personally, I feel that their prices are inflated right now because of all the extra usage they were soaking up during Payton’s absence.
What an up-and-down two days it’s been for Houston sports with the Astros championship on Wednesday followed up by the Deshaun Watson news on Thursday. The Rockets will travel to meet up with the Hawks in a matchup that sounds like it came from a Drizzy Drake tape (Houstatlantavegas).
Will this finally be James Harden’s monster breakout night? It could be. The Beard finished with a disappointing 43.5 Fanduel points his last time out, but wasn’t needed much down the stretch because it was a blowout. Harden caught fire in the third quarter though, scoring 19 points that included 4-7 from downtown. Last season at Atlanta he fell one assist shy of a 30-point triple-double, but was also playing very well heading into that game. On Wednesday Harden was under 25% owned in tournaments and figures to be similarly low-owned after failing to meet value in his last game.
Whenever the Rockets are outside of H-Town we can always look at Ryan Anderson as an option. If Harden owned the third quarter of the last game, Anderson owned the second quarter in which he scored 13 points against the Knicks. Against Atlanta, who’s dead last in total rebounding percentage, The White Rhino can probably grab you a few boards to go along with 15 or so points and easily meet or exceed value at only $4.8K on Fanduel.
Because the Hawks are a putrid rebounding team, we can also look to Clint Capela in this spot. He’s probably a better play on DK where he’s only $6.9K compared to $7.7K on Fanduel. Hotlanta also gives up the 4th most pace-adjusted blocked shots per minute to opposing centers.
After a few mediocre games, Eric Gordon is down to his lowest price in over a week and is also in a good spot. If the Hawks stick Kent Bazemore on Harden, Dennis Schroder would likely be called on to defend Gordon.
At $6K on FD, Timothy Hardaway Jr. is more expensive than he was all of last season. Still, he’s gotten into a nice little groove over the past three games and I see no reason why he couldn’t put up another 30-40 fantasy point performance. He’s attempted exactly 10 three-pointers in each of those three contests and opponents are shooting 40.6% from outside versus the Suns, 2nd highest in the league.
According to nydailynews.com, Kristaps Porzingis left practice early on Thursday because of an illness. As of Friday morning, Lordzingis is listed as questionable and should he not be able to suit up, Tim Hardaway Jr. would likely see more shots, Jarrett Jack and Enes Kanter would both take on a larger workload, and Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, and yes, even Michael Beasley would even become top values. B-Easy is so big time he even wears a watch on his ankle. I suppose it’s to let the haters know his time is coming.
Some things you just can’t make up.
I love both point guards, Jarrett Jack and Mike James, in the Phoenix–New York track meet as value plays on Friday. The Knicks give up the most pace-adjusted assists per minute to the PG position while the Suns give up the most pace-adjusted steals per minute to point guards.
Despite Courtney Lee being a solid defender, Devin Booker will still take plenty of shots and should have a 30-point floor yet again. While the stats may make it appear as though Booker was shut down in the second half against the Wizards, he was just deferring to T.J. Warren who had the hot hand. Warren has been en fuego over his last 5 quarters and is still a solid play despite a price hike of $1.1K on Fanduel. He’s likely to draw Tim Hardaway Jr.’s defense who, despite his reputation, has actually been a decent defender and shown a lot of hustle.
Unless we get news regarding a bump in minutes for anyone, the Phoenix frontcourt is too risky to touch in cash games on Friday’s slate. The Knicks ranks 2nd in the league in total rebounding percentage. With that said, and especially if Kristaps Porzingis is out, Marquese Chriss, Alex Len, and even Tyson Chandler could all be in play for tournaments. Back when he was a double-double machine, Chandler spent the prime of his career with the Knickerbockers.
Moving on from the team dead last in rebounding (Atlanta), the next game involves the team that’s 2nd to last in rebounding – the Dallas Mavericks. Surprisingly, the Mavs allow the 6th lowest amount of points in the paint to opponents per game, likely due to the slow pace they play at. Still, both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are squarely in play for us on Friday night in Dallas. Last season AD recorded Fanduel scores of 60, 51, 60, and 54 against the Mavs.
Despite playing at the 5th fastest pace, the New Orleans Pelicans only allow the 19th most raw Fanduel points per minute to opponents (all positions combined). The opening Vegas game total of 213 would lead you to expect this would be higher scoring than most other Mavs games. Last season the two teams met 4 times: the two games in New Orleans had final scores of 111-104 and 121-118, and the two games in Dallas had final scores of only 91-81 and 96-83.
Dennis Smith Jr.’s price has plummeted on Fanduel and is now lower than it has been at any time this season, besides for opening night. Smith, the best basketball player out of Fayetteville NC since J Cole walked on at St. John’s, has recorded only 3 total assists in his last two contests and New Orleans is giving up the 7th most assists per game in the league. DSJ always seems to be a popular play but nevertheless is a great tournament option.
It will be exciting to watch Hassan Whiteside square off with Nikola Jokic when the Heat visit the Mile-High City to take on the Nuggets.
Sometimes it’s useful to go back and look at a guy’s game logs to see how well and how many minutes they’ve played in previous games at Denver due to the high altitude. Hassan Whiteside played 32 minutes and went for 55 Fanduel points last season, and dropped 62 Fanduel points in 38 minutes at Denver the year before that.
Denver coach Mike Malone, when asked about his second-year point guard breaking out of his early-season slump, told the Denver Post: “He’s not backing down, and I see his confidence growing in the last four or five games, He’s a different Jamal Murray than we saw earlier in the season.”
Brook Lopez finally got it going last night against the Trail Blazers and will look to stay hot against his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Last offseason, Lopez was traded to LA along with the Kyle Kuzma draft pick in exchange for D’Angelo Russell.
Russell went off for 33/6/4 in his last game and is sure be playing with a chip on his shoulder Friday. D-Lo is $400 cheaper on Fanduel so I like him a little bit better there.
The Nets’ wing players are less appealing when nobody sits, but are all still in play for us against the Lakers. The same can be said of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and the Lakers are giving up the most pace-adjusted rebounds per game to opposing power forwards.
For the second straight game, Kyle Kuzma was a menace off the bench for the Lake Show. With Larry Nance Jr. sustaining an injury on Thursday night and his status for tomorrow in doubt, both The Kuz and Julius Randle become mighty appealing at $4.7K on both sites. While Kuzma will (rightfully) come with high ownership after a strong performance on national TV, Randle would figure to have just as much upside. Brook Lopez is just too cheap right now and would also get a major bump if Nance can’t go.
Jordan Clarkson is also way too cheap right now at $3.9K on Fanduel. Because Luke Walton sometimes plays Kuzma at the 2 or 3, Randle’s absence could force him to play Kuzma more at the 4 and should result in a boost to Clarkson’s minutes too.
Brandon Ingram, who couldn’t manage to string together many solid games last season, is playing with confidence this year and has a big opportunity against Brooklyn – another up-tempo game which should allow him to grab lots of rebounds, steals, and even blocks.
Lonzo Ball is playing like [insert steaming pile of poo emoji] on offense right now, but a date with the Nets at home could be just what the doctor ordered. ‘Zo is still only a tournament play. Maybe he needs to switch things up and try rocking the Shaq shoes for a game.
Only the Lakers and Spurs are on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Pistons, Nuggets, Bulls, Pelicans, and Mavericks play again on Saturday.
Let’s Talk About Pace, Baby:
MIL (22) @ DET (23)
CHI (27) @ ORL (3)
IND (9) @ PHI (5)
CLE (16) @ WAS (8)
HOU (14) @ ATL (11)
PHX (2) @ NYK (18)
NOP (6) @ DAL (26)
CHA (10) @ SAS (24)
MIA (13) @ DEN (19)
TOR (12) @ UTA (30)
BOS (25) @ OKC (21)
BKN (1) @ LAL (4)
(League rank as of 11/2)
I’d love to hear your take on this 12-game slate or just any general feedback on the article by leaving a comment in the section below.
You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS