Welcome to the Wednesday edition of NBA DFS Picks and Pivots, a fantasy basketball column focused on helping you find the best core lineup for this slate of DFS action!
For those of you finding us for the first time, the concept behind NBA DFS Picks and Pivots is to first identify key building blocks that can be used for any roster construction and then identify pivot points to help differentiate your lineup in hopes of a big payday!
Tuesday’s DFS slate was a dicey one to navigate as we had a ton of injury news for the games biggest stars (John Wall, Joel Embiid etc) which meant we needed to wait on news in order to set our line-ups. With the Sixers news failing to come out before lock, I avoided that game entirely and instead opted to build my line-up around a steady core of Timberwolves stars who I knew would get their normal allotment of minutes and paired them with three of my top plays – Kristaps Porzingis, Bradley Beal and Lonzo Ball. Porzingis was an absolute monster on this night as he dropped 66 points on Fantasy Draft behind 37 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocked shots and correlated perfectly with Lonzo Ball who put on a show in MSG with 43 FD points of his own helping me wrap up some big wins on my first night playing on Fantasy Draft!
Picks and Pivots is not a simple “best plays” column but rather it focuses on slate strategy and roster construction to help give you insight into how I will look to play this slate! The goal of this article is to dig through the slate, highlight our top plays and go position by position to help you identify the best slate strategy across your NBA DFS line-ups.
As always, we will look to update our final lineup thoughts prior to lock on our twitter account @FantasyCPR so make sure to give us a follow for all the late breaking lineup news.
Without further ado, let’s get into today’s slate!
NBA DFS: Top High Priced Guards:
As I mentioned yesterday, the last few days in the DFS industry as it pertains to the NBA have forced me to re-think the sites I want to play on. Although the late swap/injury swap issue is one I think the industry should address, what has stood out to me more than anything is the lack of customer service that the bigger sites have shown in the wake of the most customer “unrest” I have seen since I started this column. I made the decision to move my bankroll yesterday to Fantasy Draft and if you want to give a new site a try, please feel free to use my referral link for 10% rake back!
As such, I am going to alter my format a bit, focusing more on the Guard/Forward positions more broadly with my top high-end and value plays and will also work in my predictions for PlayLine and their daily $1M Perfect Line-Up contests!
On to today’s picks – Looking over this slate initially, it stands out to me that only three of the eighteen teams in action see any sort of material pace boost so at first glance there are very few must have spots although there is one game in particular that allows for an interesting core stack!
Victor Oladipo ($18,000 on Fantasy Draft) gets a home match-up against his former Oklahoma City Thunder team and considering his recent play he feels grossly under-priced after he dropped 71 FD points in his last game against the Nuggets. The big key to watch here is the status of Darren Collison who remains questionable for this game and we have seen that Oladipo’s usage jumps nearly 6% with Collison off the court while sporting a massive 38.9% usage rate with 1.3 FP/M.
The other key injury to watch here would be the status of Andre Roberson who is also questionable to play and would eliminate an elite wing defender for the Thunder, opening up an even greater path to a monster night for the Pacers star.
What really stood out to me on the Pacers side of the ball in their last game was that they ran essentially an 8 man rotation where 6 players logged 30 or more minutes without Collison on the floor, so similar to the approach I took yesterday with the Timberwolves, I think there is value building around a Pacers core that we know will log heavy minutes and you simply start that core with Oladipo in all formats!
Kyrie Irving ($15,600): With the news that Al Horford and Marcus Morris will rest tonight against the Nuggets, the Celtics become a team that we need to have interest in when building our DFS core. So far this season, with those two players off the court, Irving sees a 2% usage boost while putting up a team leading 34.6% usage rate and 1.14 FP/M. The Celtics and Kyrie more specifically get the added benefit of taking on a Nuggets team that is ranked 26th in DvP and 23rd in Def-Eff against the PG position which puts Irving in a position to put up elite numbers tonight.
PLAYLINE PLAY: Kyrie is one of the players in the PlayLine $1M Perfect Line-Up Bonus tonight where we have to predict the number if points he will score. On the season, Kyrie is averaging 23.7 points per game but considering the usage boost with Horford out and the match-up with a Nuggets defense that cannot defend the point, I would push my projections to the high 20’s tonight when building your PlayLine!
Kyle Lowry ($15,100): The Raptors have one of the highest implied team totals on the slate and see the largest pace bump of any team in action with their match-up against the Suns which puts them in a great DFS position tonight. These two teams just squared off a few games ago and we saw Lowry rack up 20 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds on his way to 48.5 FD points which would exceed 3.2x value at this price point. The Suns rank dead last in DvP and Def-Eff to the PG position so this is another clear smash spot for Lowry and on Fantasy Draft where he is $1,600 cheaper than DeMar DeRozan, he is my preferred play!
NBA DFS: Top Value Guards:
Looking for value on this slate (under $10k) at the Guard position is a bit of a challenge and with so many elite guards in massive upside spots, I think it makes sense to pay up at the position rather than scrape the bargain bin. If you are looking for some value though, the Bulls are an interesting spot as they have been priced down due to their match-up with the Utah Jazz. Now let’s be clear, the Bulls have one of the lowest team totals and see one of the largest pace decreases on the slate so this is certainly not a stack spot, but a player like David Nwaba ($7,900) catches my eye as he has exceed 3x value in each of his last three games for the Bulls, putting up 24, 28 and 30 FD points in those contests while logging 26-32 minutes across those games!
As I mentioned with Victor Oladipo, Darren Collison is questionable to play tonight which could open up a starting spot for Cory Joseph ($8,500). The biggest positive with Joseph is that we know the Pacers will run him for major minutes as evidenced by the 31 minutes he played last game. The issue however is that with so much usage funneling towards Joseph, there is essentially no ceiling for Joseph making him a value play that I will likely fade entirely.
Early in the day I see very little value at the guard position on a site like Fantasy Draft so my recommendation would be to allocate the salary to pay up at the position and utilize some of the value in other spots (more on that in a minute) to ensure you can afford plays like Oladipo, Kyrie and Lowry!
NBA DFS – Top High Priced Forwards and Centers:
Paul George ($14,100): Revenge narrative anyone? Paul George returns to Indiana for the first time since leaving the Pacers and although he put up a massive dud in his first game against them this year as a result of 6 fouls that resulted in only 19 minutes of court time, this seems like a spot we can go right back to the well and correlate with our Oladipo play. PG13 finds himself priced below guys like Otto Porter and T.J. Warren on Fantasy Draft as a result of his recent play and injury and considering the 50-60 point upside he has shown this season ( three games of 50+ FD points in his last nine) I believe there is massive profit potential to be had here tonight and he will be one of the first players in all my line-ups!
PlayLine Play: Russell Westbrook is one of the key players in the $1M Perfect Line-up bonus tonight and with Paul George now healthy I think this is a good spot to take a strategic stance and project that Westbrook will score closer to his season average of 23 points with the expectation that PG13 is the focal point of the offense tonight!
Steven Adams ($12,700): The Pacers rank 30th in DvP and 29th in Def-Eff against the Center position and Adams absolutely smashed in this spot earlier this season when he racked up 17 points, 11 rebounds and 40.75 FD points which would return 3.2x value at this price point. On a site like Fantasy Draft where we get the double-double bonus, Adams gives you even more upside in this spot than a site like FanDuel and if you are building around this game stack he makes for a reasonable addition at this price point relative to his upside.
Jayson Tatum ($13,300): No player on the Celtics sees a bigger usage boost (6%) with Al Horford and Marcus Morris off the court than Jayson Tatum. Tatum also sees the largest FP boost with an additional 7 FD points when these two are off the court and will get the added benefit of attacking a Nuggets team that will be without Nikola Jokic on the interior.
NBA DFS – Top Value Forward/Center Plays:
Aron Baynes ($7,600): With Al Horford out tonight for Boston and Nikola Jokic out for the Nuggets, this looks to be an elite spot for Aron Baynes who will be tasked with playing major minutes against an undersized Nuggets team!
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In the last two games that Horford misses, Baynes racked up two impressive outings including a 21 point, 8 rebounds performance against the Lakers and with his added minutes security tonight he is going to be a top value play no matter what site you play on!
Lance Stephenson ($8,000) and Bojan Bogdanovic ($8,900): As I mentioned earlier, with Collison off the court the Pacers ran an extremely tight 8 man rotation with players like Stephenson and Bogdanovic both logging well over 30 minutes of court time! Stephenson was the player who saw more time running the point with Collison out as he scored 12 points while racking up 6 rebounds and 6 assists on his way to 27.5 FD points which would exceed 3.4x value at this price point! Bogdanovic meanwhile has played 35 minutes or more in three straight games having exceeded 3x value in two of his last four games making him a solid addition to a Thunder/Pacers stack at a reasonable price point!
Best of luck in your NBA DFS contests and please stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all the latest DFS news and analysis!