Let’s Talk About Pace, Baby:


At this point in the NBA grind, season-long stats tend to be unreliable when it comes to predicting nightly dfs outcomes. This is especially true with respect to one statistic directly correlated to fantasy points allowed: pace of play. Simply put, more possessions in a basketball game allow for more opportunities to score fantasy points.


Here, we’ll look at where teams rank in pace from the beginning of the season through January 14, versus where they rank since January 15. I chose January 15 because, when you deduct the week-long all-star break, we’re left with about a month-long sample.

Pace chart.jpg


The biggest takeaways here are that the Clippers, Cavaliers, Bulls, Thunder, Knicks, and Pistons are all playing at a significantly faster pace over the past month.


On the other hand, the Magic, Sixers, Nets, and Rockets are each playing at a slower pace, and therefore, they are giving up less fantasy points to their opponents.


Someone explain this: Blake Griffin leaves the Clippers and they rise close to 10 spots in pace, while his new team, the Pistons, also jump about 13 places.


Even Swaggy P is confused.



Using a similar line of thought, we can also compare team defense versus position (DVP) rankings over the same two periods of time.

DVP chart.jpg


And now, on to Monday night basketball. We’re presented with a 10-game slate that may look daunting at first, but upon further review, we can identify some teams that are in less-than-ideal situations.


Detroit (on a back-to-back) at Toronto is not a very appealing game; although, Jonas Valanciunas is due for one of his massive performances, and a tired Pistons squad could be the perfect remedy. He’s a better play on DraftKings where he’s $800 cheaper.


Houston (also on a back-to-back) facing Utah, at altitude, does not project to be much of a fantasy friendly environment.


Neither does Memphis at Boston.


Outside of possibly Vic Oladipo, I want to steer clear of the Indiana at Dallas game.


Now, we can focus on the six tasty, high-totaled matchups.


Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are scheduled to make their returns to action for the Nets, and, in typical Nets fashion, they’ll both likely be on some sort of minute restriction.


Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell should both go overlooked as solid, mid-priced guards who get a super-high ceiling matchup against Chicago.


Playing big guys against Brooklyn has proven to be cash money in dfs, so Bulls backup center Bobby Portis, and even starter Cristiano Felicio, will find themselves in premier spots on Monday. Robin Lopez being inactive for the Bulls indicates that the team wants to give Felicio big minutes, but only if he’s not overmatched on the defensive end.


According to the handy-dandy DVP chart that appeared earlier, the power forward position against the Lakers screams “play me.” Super-talented rookie John Collins finds himself in the dynamite spot Monday, priced sub-$6K on both Fanduel and DraftKings.

John Collins.jpg


Lonzo Ball is back for the Lake Show, which, contrary to popular perception, gives a huge boost to second-year wing player Brandon Ingram. On the season, Ingram is averaging almost two more fantasy points per 36 minutes when he shares the court with Ball.


Since January 1, Jimmy Butler has missed six full games for the Timberwolves. Let’s take a deeper look at how Jimmy Buckets’ teammates have fared in those six contests without him.

Twolves chart.jpg


Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, and the ageless J-Crossover, Jamal Crawford, see the biggest bumps in FD/36 (Fanduel points per 36 minutes), as compared to their season average (far right column).




Back-2-Back Watch:


Detroit, Houston, and New Orleans are playing on the second night of a back-to-back set, which is also the third game in four days for each club. More times than not, players who’ve logged heavy minutes in the first two games do not play their best in this scenario.




You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @zinneDFS