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.
On a night with only 5 games and lots of the top-shelf players in good spots, you have love both John Wall and Bradley Beal, who may even go somewhat overlooked. Wall is coming off possibly his best game of the season despite putting up only 10 shots. He also attempted a remarkable 18 free throw attempts, one of the highest totals I can recall seeing all season. The whole “get motivated to play Lonzo Ball” narrative is already a little too played out, but you would think Wall still hasn’t forgotten about his poor performance against the Lakers early in the season.
Markieff Morris has seen his minute totals rise from 14 to 17 to 27 and now seems to be playing with no limitations. Getting a player who spent most of last season between $5K - $6K for only $4.5K at home against the Lakers? Yes please.
On the other side of the ball, Julius Randle is in a total smash-spot if only Coach Luke Walton would give him the minutes. In the Lakers’ Wednesday night game against the Celtics, Walton even inserted the ghost of Andrew Bogut into the game before Randle! Since the Larry Nance Jr. injury, Randle has only seen 16, 17, and 21 minutes of action. Granted, he was in foul trouble against the Nets and again last night. Because the Wizards’ big men don’t drive to the hole and create many shots on their own, on paper Randle looks to finally be in a spot where he can avoid foul trouble and crush value again. He’ll be one of my favorite low-priced tournaments plays on this slate.
Lonzo Ball at only $6.5K on Fanduel will be enticing, although he did see 38 minutes of action last night. On the season, Ball is performing much better away from Staples Center, with his two biggest performances coming in Phoenix and last night in Boston.
Brandon Ingram appears to be in the best spot against the Wizards – who are the worst team in the league at defending the SF position. Ingram turned it on in the second half last night against the Celtics, and now has 6 straight games of 27 or more Fanduel points. Ingram is attempting fewer than 2 three-point shots per game, making him someone we shouldn’t be too concerned with on the second night of a back-to-back.
Both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins again will be great plays when the Pelicans travel from the Dirty South to “We the North” to take on the Raptors. Serge Ibaka seems to have lost a step or two and opposing power forwards are shooting 54% from the field against Tornoto, 3rd highest in the league. Jrue Holiday’s salary on Fanduel is down to only $6.5K – the same as Lonzo Ball.
While I keep digging and digging and looking for some place we want to attack Toronto, the Raptors seem to be middle-of-the-pack in almost every statistical category – 17th in team rebounding, 15th in defensive rating, 16th in pace, and allowing the 11th highest field goal percentage to opponents. As of now it looks like the Raptors will need to do some wheeling and dealing again before the trade deadline if they want a realistic shot at beating the Cavaliers, Celtics, and Wizards in the eastern conference. I heard someone make a great point on NBA Radio on Sirius yesterday, and that was – are any of the Raptors’ players still ascending to their peak, or have they all already reached their maximum potential and are now trending down for their career?
The highest totaled game of the night (228) features the LeBrons visiting H-Town to take on the Hardens. It was just announced that Derrick Rose will miss this game with an ankle injury, meaning LeBron James will probably get the start at point guard again. LeBron started at point in 3 games when Rose missed earlier this season, putting up two monster performances of 63 and 65 Fanduel points followed by a 30-point dud on the road at New Orleans. Traditionally, LeBron has not performed all that well against the Rockets, as he often deferred to Kyrie Irving in those games. LeBron’s price is up there right with AD and Boogie, but if he decides he feels like playing he could have another monstrous performance on TNT. Let’s just hope he wasn’t out late last night chasing around any Instagram models.
Kevin Love should provide a mismatch for the Rockets’ centers when he’s on offense, but don’t expect another 16-rebound effort against Clint Capela and the boys. Capela, on the other hand, is down to only $6.8K on Fanduel and that puts him in play for us even though the Cavaliers have been the 3rd best in the league defending opposing centers. J.R. Smith is one of the best value options on the Cavaliers, coming off a game in which he shot 5-7 on 3-pointers. Smith plays a lot better at home in the Quicken Loans Arena than he does on the road, but with D Rose sitting the Cavs can be expected to take plenty of 3-point shots against the Rockets.
The very first guy I locked into my lineups on this slate would be James Harden. After dropping 56 real-life points against the Jazz of all teams, he must be salivating to see the Cavaliers and their (lack of) defense come strolling into town. We’ve been let-down throughout the first 3 weeks of the season by Harden in Chris Paul’s absence, but he finally seems to have gotten things rolling and we’ll hope he can string together a few massive performances.
Especially if Luc Mbah a Moute sits this one out, P.J. Tucker can be expected to get a lot of run and is one of my favorite value options tonight at the SF position. We like how the Rockets run a very predictable 9-man rotation, and if Mbah a Moute is out we can expect Tucker to assume the 6th man role. Even if Luc plays, Tucker will likely be called on to guard LeBron for most of the game and should still see close to 30 minutes of action.
Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza are also solid mid-range options against the Cavaliers. Gordon has the higher ceiling and if for some reason Harden doesn’t live up to expectations, that would likely mean Gordon is the one to pick up the slack.
Even though Philadelphia is playing way down in pace, we can still target some of their cheaper guys who seem positioned to give us solid value on this slate. J.J. Redick is in a great spot, as Sacramento has been atrocious at defending both guard positions. Redick is no stranger to playing the Kings from his days with the Clippers, and last season shot 5-9 and 6-8 from beyond the arc in his two visits to SacTown.
Now that both Jerryd Bayless and Markelle Fultz are out, T.J. McConnell has been consistently seeing 25-30 minutes of action and is in a great spot again on Thursday. Both Redick and McConnell saw their prices dip on Fanduel after their last game in Utah.
Joel Embiid should be motivated and primed to come out and make a statement after being forced to sit out the Sixers last game against the Jazz. I’d love this play even more if he wasn’t all the way up to $9.6K on Fanduel, although he’s a much more reasonable $8K on DraftKings. On a night when Embiid has a chance to dominate, he’ll be lowered owned because of all the other studs in his price range.
Unless we get news regarding the Kings resting anybody or making a change to their starting lineup, it’s hard to love any of their players – despite how cheap they may be. Philadelphia allows opponents to block more shots than any other team in the league, but Willie Cauley-Stein, the top shot-blocker on the Kings, has gotten off to an ice-cold start and is only averaging 20 minutes per game over his last 4.
Outside of Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets look to be lost on the offensive end. Wilson Chandler, down to $4.3K on Fanduel, is very tempting as a value option although he has struggled mightily while making the transition to playing the SF position alongside Paul Millsap and Jokic. The Joker is clearly the top option, in fantasy and in real life, on Denver’s squad.
The Nuggets backcourt remains a mess with Emmanuel Mudiay taking minutes away from Jamal “The Broken Arrow” Murray and even Will “The Thrill” Barton spending time at point guard. It’s obvious that Coach Mike Malone does not have set rotations and likes to ride the hot-hand. All three of these guys, plus Gary Harris, can be considered for tournaments with Harris being the one most likely to see 30+ minutes on a nightly basis.
Paul Millsap has the best matchup of all Nuggets as we consistently like to attack the PF position on OKC. After a putrid performance against the Warriors where he only saw 15 minutes, Millsap bounced-back nicely shooting 7-11 in his last game. It was a little alarming that Millsap only recorded 2 boards in that game, but we can expect that number to improve against the Thunder who are only ranked 19th in total rebounding.
Last season, we would’ve locked Russell Westbrook into our lineups against the Nuggets even if he cost $20K. Things are different in OKC this year, and Russell might even be considered a contrarian play in this spot on only a 5-game slate.
Paul George has been solid but not spectacular on the season. At a price of $8K on Fanduel, he’s only shown a ceiling of about 5X value – not something dfs players can be thrilled with. I do like Carmelo Anthony a bit in this spot, returning to where his NBA career began in Denver. Coming off a 4-17 shooting performance, Melo’s price is at a season-low of only $6.8K on Fanduel and should bounce-back nicely here.
The Lakers are on the second night of a back-to-back.
The OKC Thunder are the only team playing their first game in 2 nights.
Let’s Talk About Pace, Baby:
LAL (2) @ WAS (10)
NOP (7) @ TOR (16)
CLE (15) @ HOU (13)
PHI (4) @ SAC (29)
OKC (18) @ DEN (12)
(League rank as of 11/8)
I’d love to hear any feedback in the comments section below.
You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS