Welcome to the Saturday 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 across FanDuel and Fantasy Draft while breaking down our PlayLine strategy!
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!
Friday’s DFS slate was all about Russell Westbrook who went off for 27 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists while logging nearly 80 fantasy points and frankly was the cash line difference maker on the night! It was a night driven by the stars as players like CP3, Giannis and The Brow all went for 50-60 fantasy points and ensuring you had rosters built around the studs was the key to cashing tonight!
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:
Chris Paul ($16.5K on FantasyDraft and $9.6K on FanDuel): Chris Paul is simply playing at another level right now, consistently showing up as one of the top raw point plays on each of the most recent slates and tonight with a showdown against Giannis and the Bucks, I think he makes for one of the best plays on the entire slate.
The interesting thing about this slate is we don’t have a ton of huge pace up spots outside of Minnesota taking on Phoenix, as thirteen of the sixteen teams in action see a pace decrease off their season long numbers. The Rockets are expected to see a pace decrease tonight but still maintain the highest implied team total on the board, exactly in line with their season long average so Vegas may expect some decreased possessions but the same old high scoring Rockets to show up!
With this game being IN Houston, I actually expect the pace to favor the Rockets more than Vegas may be expecting as the home team generally is the one to dictate the game flow. CP3 comes into this game with a 30% usage rate over the last week, while putting up 1.5 FP/M and has between 58 and 62 FD points in three of his last give games which puts him right at our FD target of 3.5x and exceeds 6x on a site like FanDuel!
Lou Williams ($14.2K on FD and 8.5K on FanDuel): With all the injury news yesterday on the Clippers, the obvious beneficiary was Lou Will but the general buzz around the industry was that he was simply too expensive to play especially on a site like FanDuel. In large field GPP’s on FanDuel, Williams was under 10% owned however on FantasyDraft he was MUCH more popular as the price point was just a tad bit too low!
Williams didn’t put up a massive DFS score last night but still managed to log 23 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds while taking 14 shot attempts. After taking 20+ shot attempts in three of his previous four games, I would expect to see him bounce back tonight with even more offensive volume and after a relatively “blah” performance the buzz around him may have work down but the underlying logic remains strong in locking him in. With Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, Austin Rivers and Patrick Beverly off the court, Lou Will has a near 40% usage rate this season and I am willing to invest in him again tonight as the upside is simply too high with this much volume available!
NBA DFS – Top Value Guards:
Milos Teodosic ($8.7K on FD and $5.5k on FanDuel): I was all over Milos yesterday as my top value guard so was quite upset when he got ruled out early in the day but we know the day off was simply for rest and he should be a full go tonight! If last night was any indication of life with Austin Rivers/Patrick Beverley – we saw Juwan Evans log 40 minutes of court time which means that Milos could be in for some heavy usage as one of the “fresher” legs on the back to back.
This Clippers/Heat game is not one I think we should overload on as it has a mediocre 205 game total and a slow pace environment but the circumstances for the Clippers makes this a spot where we need to have interest as the open usage/volume combined with the bargain pricing makes them a great foundation to build around as it opens up the ability to spend for studs on this slate.
Milos put up 28.5 FD points in his last game against Orlando which would exceed cash game value on both sites and although the match-up with Miami is not as good as the one with the Magic, the expected bump in court time and usage make this a spot to anchor to tonight in all formats!
J.J. Barea ($11.7K on FD and $5.6K on FanDuel): Speaking of low scoring, slow-paced games – we get the Mavericks and Spurs – WOO HOO! Oh by the way the Spurs are on a back to back, we already know Kawhi Leonard is sitting out and who knows who else Pop will decide to rest tonight.
With Dennis Smith Jr. on the shelf still, Barea continues to be a great source of value and this match-up against the Spurs is an exploitable one we saw with Chris Paul last night. Obviously Barea is not the same talent level as CP3, but Barea just played this Spurs team in essentially the exact same scenario as he will face tonight and in that game he put up 33 FD points in 24 minutes!
If you want to dig even deeper into the bargain bin Yogi Ferrell ($9.4k FD and $4.4K FanDuel) makes for an elite value play who crushed in this match-up with 32 FD points win 32 minutes of court time last time they faced off!
With the news that Tony Parker would sit out tonight, Dejounte Murray ($8.5K on FD and $3.6K on FanDuel) become an elite punt play as he put up 30 and 40+ fantasy points in the last two games that Parker sat out!
Last but not least, Andrew Harrison ($8.5K on FD) continues to log major minutes for Memphis with all their back court injuries and has put up just under 29 fantasy points per game over his last three outings which would exceed 3x value at this price point!
NBA DFS – Top High Priced Forwards and Centers:
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($19K on FD and $12.2K on FanDuel): The more I play on multiple sites the more I find the pricing differenced a fascinating part of my research and tonight its interesting to me that Giannis is the second highest priced player on FanDuel but the fourth highest on Fantasy Draft. While we cannot clearly call someone priced this high a value, I do think his FantasyDraft price is a bit too low as he has hit/exceeded 3x value (57 FD points) in each of his last three games.
Obviously the teams are different this year, but Giannis averaged 60 FD points a game in two meetings with the Rockets last year and to me, he is THE stud to pay up for on this slate especially when you can correlate him with Chris Paul at the guard position.
PlayLine Play: Giannis is one of the key players in the FREE $1M Perfect Line-Up Challenge on PlayLine tonight where we need to predict his point output! Last year Giannis scored 31 and 32 points in his two meetings with the Rockets and we have seen him score 32 + points in four of his last seven games. I would look to predict him for a score higher than his 30 PPG season average tonight and hope this is a massive ceiling game in a showdown with the high scoring Rockets!
LaMarcus Aldridge ($14.7K on FD and $8.5K on FanDuel): Earlier this season LMA was a popular target as the lone Spur left to hold things down and he excelled nightly in that role putting up monster DFS numbers on multiple occasions. With Kawhi Leonard back, the “buzz” around Aldridge has dropped off significantly but this is a great spot to jump on a guy I think will be criminally over-looked tonight as Kawhi has already been ruled out AND the Spurs are on a back to back which means guys like Parker/Ginobili etc could be rested as well.
The match-up with Dallas is a HIGHLY exploitable one as they simply cannot stop opposing bigs and Aldridge proved that when he racked up 33 points, 10 rebounds and 60+ fantasy points in their last outing. The price for Aldridge has dropped significantly and I could argue he has as much upside as any F/C on the board tonight and will likely have some of the lower ownership when it comes to “stars” at the position!
NBA DFS – Top Value Forwards and Centers:
Greg Monroe ($10.4K on FD and $5.9K on FanDuel): With Tyson Chandler questionable for tonight’s game due to a personal matter, we need to keep an eye on the news here as we could get another start for Greg Monroe in an absolute dream spot against Minnesota and KAt defense who is ranked 28th in DRPM at the Center position. Monroe has put up 33 or more fantasy points in three of his last four outings which would exceed cash game value at his price points and he has demonstrated upside for even more in this match-up tonight against Minnesota.
Jonas Jerebko ($7.1K and $3.5K) is looking like one of the best value plays on the board tonight with Rudy Gobert unlikely to suit up due to injury. Jerebko stepped up in a big way last night racking up 34+ fantasy points in only 24 minutes of action and at near minimum price would be an easy to utilize value with clear GPP upside.
Derek Favors ($10.9K and $4.9K) left yesterday’s game with a face laceration but I would expect him back tonight and on FanDuel he makes for an elite value play as he averaged 37 FD points in the 8 previous games that Gobert missed for the Jazz.
Last but not least, with Kristaps Porzingis questionable tonight, it could be a….gulp…Michael Beasley night who may be a bit over priced on FanDuel at $5.5K but at only $8k on FantasyDraft he is one of the best GPP plays on the slate as this is a player who has shown 40+ fantasy point upside when given the start for Porzingis this season!
NBA DFS – Sample GPP Line-Up and Slate Overview
Please Note: This is NOT an optimized line-up, it is simply illustrative to show the type of roster build we can have using the logic previously laid out in Picks and Pivots. My actual line-up may differ from the line-up shown here.
FantasyDraft Sample Line-Up
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G: Chris Paul: $16.5K
G: Lou Williams $14.2K
G: Milos Teodosic $8.7K
F/C: Giannis Antetokounmpo $19K
F/C: LaMarcus Aldridge $14.7K
F/C: Greg Monroe $10.4K
Util: Michael Beasley $8k
Util: Dejounte Murray: $8.5K
FanDuel NBA Sample Line-Up
PG: Chris Paul ($9,600)
PG: Yogi Ferrell ($4,400)
SG: Lou Williams ($8,500)
SG: CJ Williams ($3,500)
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,200)
SF: Doug McDermott ($3,900)
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge ($8,500)
PF: Jonas Jerebko ($3,500)
C: Greg Monroe ($5,900)
Slate Overview: We have a ton of injury news to watch tonight as the status of guys like Porzingis, Tyson Chandler and the Jazz front-court could define how we want to attack this slate. With teams like San Antonio on a back to back, we should see some more value open up so keep an eye on the news and adjust accordingly!
Best of luck in your NBA DFS contests and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all the latest DFS news and analysis!