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 Southeast Division leading Orlando Magic could once again be without both their first and second-string point guards, Elfrid Payton and D.J. Augustin, when they host the New York Knicks on Wednesday. Augustin is expected to sit this one out while Payton experienced a setback to his hamstring at practice on Tuesday and his status is in serious jeopardy (orlandomagic.com). Since the line for this game was released early on Tuesday night (214 o/u, Magic -5), it would lend credence to the idea that Payton won’t play but we should still check the news following shootaround on Wednesday.
The Knicks allow the 3rd most pace-adjusted Fanduel points to opposing point guards, but when we dig a little deeper into the numbers we’ll see that they’re giving up only the 21st most real-life points per minute but the 2nd most non-scoring Fanduel points per minute. This bodes well for both Jonathon Simmons and Shelvin Mack who would be expected to split the bulk of the minutes again – neither Simmons nor Mack rely purely on scoring to get their fantasy points.
For whatever it’s worth, the Magic’s game notes have Simmons listed as the starter. Jon Simmons started the last game and saw 21 minutes and Mack saw 23 minutes off the pine. Interestingly, the two were not on the court together for a single minute of action in their last game.
After Evan Fournier’s abysmal 2-14 shooting performance against Boston his price has plummeted to $6.1K on Fanduel.
Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic are both players who need to grab you 10+ rebounds in order to put up a solid fantasy performance at their current salaries. They’ll have their hands full as the Knicks rank 3rd best in total rebounding percentage. Gordon only recorded rebounding totals of 5, 5, 6, and 2 in four starts last year against the Knicks. Vucevic saw his price increase by a whopping $1.1K on Fanduel – not typically an ideal situation where we like to roster players (think of pricing as stocks: buy low and sell high).
Orlando is ranked 23rd in defensive rebounding while the Knicks are leading the league in second-chance points per game (16.7).
New York, playing up 14 places in pace, would typically be the side for us to target if they weren’t traveling for the second half of a back-to-back. The fact that this line opened at ORL -5 is a bit alarming as well. New York continues to stay hot though, shooting 60% as a team in their victory over Charlotte on Tuesday.
Kristaps Porzingis continues to crush and lead the league in usage percentage. If there’s one guy on the Knicks who the back-to-back shouldn’t concern you too much with, that would be PorzinGod. He’s tied with teammate Enes Kanter for the 8th most points in the paint per game. Any baskets he can get you from the outside is just a bonus.
A jump shooter such as Tim Hardaway Jr. is typically the type of player you want to avoid on a back-to-back. But because THJ has been contributing in more ways than just by scoring, he’s not completely eliminated from our player pool on Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Lakers are giving up the most points in the paint to opposing guards at 26.8 per game. Kyrie Irving should have no problem beating Lonzo & Co. off the dribble and getting to the hole whenever he feels like it. Uncle Drew is currently scoring the 9th most points in the paint in the league among guards.
Within hours of being released, the game total on the Lakers vs. Celtics game rose by 2 points and the spread moved from Boston -9.5 to Boston -8.5 – indicating the sharp money is coming in on the over and on the Lakers side.
Jaylen Brown could not get his shot to fall in their last game, shooting 1-5 from downtown, but the young athletic wing can thrive in an up-tempo back-and-forth type game.
Al Horford fell one assist shy of a triple-double on Monday against the Hawks and will be welcoming a familiar foe in Brook Lopez. Bro-Lo has been on fire over his last 3 games but a cross-country trip tends to slow down some hot streaks. Now that their prices are similar, I’ll take Horford to get the upper hand in this matchup in an easy choice.
Lonzo Ball may be busy hosting an autograph session at a trading card shop in Boston before the game in order to raise some bail money for his little bro, LiAngelo. Even though Boston has been great against opposing guards to start the season, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and especially Jordan Clarkson are each so cheap that we shouldn’t be overlooking either.
The Lakers’ best rookie so far, Kyle Kuzma, is starting to get a little pricey but still has seen 37 and 38 minute totals in his two starts during Larry Nance Jr.’s absence. If the Lakers want to keep the game close and have a shot to win, they’re going to need a big performance from Brandon Ingram. Ingram has grabbed 7 and 10 in the two games Nance has been out, up from his totals of 3, 5, 1, and 2 in the four games before that.
Finally we arrive at the curious case of Julius Randle. Clearly still in Coach Luke Walton’s doghouse, Randle has not played more than 18 minutes in any of his last five games (although he would have seen more action against the Nets if it weren’t for him fouling out in only 16 minutes). We know Julius is a beast when he gets on the court but Walton needs to prove to us he’s willing to carve out a larger role for his big man before we can trust him as a dfs play. It’s very interesting how Randle is being used strictly at center as a backup to Brook Lopez while the two are almost never on the court together.
Dion Waiters will be a risky play all season as he continues to deal with a bum ankle and is only one tweak away from exiting the game and leaving you with a big fat goose egg in the score column. After missing two games to attend the birth of his child, D Waiters will rejoin his squad in Phoenix for a dream matchup with the Suns. With the narrative fully in place, it will be tempting to roster Waiters against the team who’s allowing opposing shooting guards to notch the 6th highest percentage on field goals in the league.
One of the best articles I’ve ever read was written by Dion Waiters for The Player’s Tribune titled: The NBA Is Lucky I’m Home Doing Damn Articles. It’s not fantasy relevant, but we’re all intellectuals here right? I highly recommend it.
Let’s hope that somehow Goran Dragic goes under the radar on Wednesday when he returns to his former home in Phoenix to face the team allowing the 4th most pace-adjusted Fanduel points per minute to point guards. After two tough matchups where he faced Pat Beverley defense and then had to chase around Steph Curry all game, The Dragon will finally find himself in an absolute blow-up spot on Wednesday night. Since joining the Heat, Dragic has played in Phoenix twice and dropped 40 and 37 Fanduel points in those games.
Black belt holder and part-time MMA fighter James Johnson was awesome against the Warriors on Monday and is also probably the answer to the question “what if Chuck Norris played basketball?” Johnson did everything to keep his team in the game and even finished with a 26% usage rate. This performance could jump start a nice little hot streak if Miami continues to play in close games – as that’s when Coach Erik Spoelstra tends to play his big man heavy minutes. That little $200 price drop on Fanduel makes me think JJ isn’t through having huge performances before his tag shoots back up over $7K.
The fact that Miami is 24th in the league in rebounding and probably rank favorably in DvP versus PF and C can be misleading due to the absence of their 7’0 center from Marshall whose name will not be spoken here for at least a solid week after that ghastly performance on Monday. Listen, foul trouble and even injuries suck but they’re all part of life for dfs players. But getting benched for Bam Adebayo?! That’s enough to put you on the *ish list until further notice.
Kelly Olynyk only costs $3.9K on Fanduel, bring him into play as a very intriguing value play against the Suns who are allowing PF’s to shoot 54% against them on the season. Clearly the Heat’s frontcourt situation is in flux so keep an eye out for any comments from Coach Spo at shootaround regarding this. The guy who started at center for them in the last game told the Miami Herald, “Last game, I played 31 minutes. I thought I played great [Sunday versus the Clippers]. Today, I played 16 minutes. So I really don’t know what I’m going to play [Wednesday] in Phoenix.”
Minnesota has the 9th highest turnover percentage in the league and Golden State leads the league by scoring an incredible 23.4% of their points off fast-breaks. In comparison, the Lakers score the second highest percentage of their points off fast-breaks at 14.9%.
Minnesota is the so-called “flow-chart” matchup for point guards, so you have to love Steph Curry on Wednesday. Curry is coming off his, by far, worst outing of the year where he only shot 5-19. It genuinely looked like just an off-night and not the start of a slump for Curry, who was facing the Goran Dragic-led defense that has only allowed opposing point guards to shoot 35% on the season. Curry will be smack-dab in the center of the conversation even with the other great options at PG on this slate.
I think it’s safe to assume that everyone reading this follows basketball and knows what you’re getting with Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. They’re all in play in a game we’re going to need some exposure to – unless your building multiple tournament lineups then fading it in a few could be a smart strategy.
Minnesota has been off and resting since Saturday as they prepare for the league leaders in offensive rating, the Warriors. Jeff Teague has averaged 3.3 turnovers in his last six matchups with Steph Curry. It’s likely that the T-Wolves will turn to Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns to carry the load on the offensive end.
Jimmy Butler has not meshed well with his new teammates in Minnesota so far. He’s registered 14% and 13% usage ratings in his last two games and has only averaged 6.5 attempted shots. As bad as it’s been, eventually his Timberwolf teammates are going to need him to turn back the clock to his Jimmy Buckets days and help them win a big game. Towns is the safer play with just as much upside, but Butler is $2K cheaper and is going to win somebody a tournament within the next week (source: Nostradamus).
The Pacers and the Knicks are on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Lakers kick-off their east-coast road trip by playing their first game in 2 nights.
Let’s Talk About Pace, Baby:
NYK (19) @ ORL (5)
IND (11) @ DET (25)
LAL (3) @ BOS (26)
MIA (17) @ PHX (2)
MIN (15) @ GSW (6)
(League rank as of 11/7)
I’d love to hear any feedback in the comments section below.
You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS