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 give you a first look at the day’s NBA DFS slate, including our top picks, plays and pivots, using FantasyDraft pricing as a reference to help you build your best fantasy basketball line-up and win big.
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.
Tuesday’s NBA DFS was all about the revenge narratives and sometimes, narratives fail – I know, that was a painful sentence for me to write – it would be like telling you to fade Tim Hardaway Jr. or roster Jon Lester in MLB DFS but I need to be honest. The truth is, the Sixers and Jimmy Butler were in a great spot but where the hope was Embiid/Simmons would defer to him in this revenge spot, the reality was that Embiid/Simmons took over, both scoring over 50 fantasy points as the second and third highest scoring plays on the entire slate. Chalk this one up to season long variance and let’s move on to the next slate – maybe it will be someones birthday or there is a bobble head narrative we can attack!
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 help you identify the best slate strategy across your NBA DFS line-ups.
As always, we will look to update our final lineup thoughts throughout the day 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 – Wednesday’s NBA DFS Slate Breakdown:
Looking at this slate initially there are two things that jump out at first glance – we have a crazy high-priced star decision and a game environment that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Here is how I look at this decision – this is a player who has gone for 75+ fantasy points in each of his last three games, which even at this elevated price tag would return over 3.2x value. On FantasyDraft, locking him in still gives you $11K per player for the rest of your build so I am not sure you really need to make a decision – the price is still a tick too cheap and the roster build is not overly constrictive on FantasyDraft – fade him if you want, I won’t be.
The only reason I think you could, and people may, besides the price tag is that they want as much of this Golden State- New Orleans game with a massive 240 total that is 20 points higher than any other game on the slate, has the fastest projected pace and a boat load of stars that could in theory match The Beard.
The Warriors are fresh off a 30 point whooping of the Nuggets and this tweet from Mark Medina last night, pre-game, is something I think we need to watch today. Now Golden State did have a 30 point lead by the end of the third quarter so they were able to take their foot off the gas a bit but guys like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green still all played 30+ minutes in this beat down.
The Warriors have a 123 total, the highest on the slate and it is over 5 points higher than their season average, the biggest boost on the slate – so Vegas is certainly not expecting any slowdown from the Dubs here.
The question becomes – you want the stars in this game or you want to build around The Beard?
NBA DFS – Building your Core:
If we start with the context that my goal is the prioritize James Harden tonight, it means I am taking a stand on the other star plays, specifically in Golden State-New Orleans – so I am out of the Curry/KD/AD price range and looking elsewhere tonight.
As I noted, putting in Harden leaves you around $11K per player tonight and that is perfect because nearly the entire Rockets/Nets player pool sits in that range so it becomes stack city.
Let’s start with the Nets – the only player other than Harden that is healthy and over $11K is D’Angelo Russell ($13.7K) and if I am playing Harden, I think the correlation with D-Russ is an elite high upside pairing. The Nets will be without Crabbe/LeVert/Dudley again tonight with Napier questionable and it looking like RHJ is probable to return.
Take a look at D-Russ’s numbers against the Celtics last time out – a 40.5% usage rate with 1.5 FP/M – this is what he is capable of doing on any given night, especially if the Nets remain short-handed with guys like LeVert, Crabbe, and potentially Napier out.
Over the last three games, Russell has shot the ball a whopping 66 times, one of the top marks in the NBA, nearly identical to guys like Westbrook and Curry as examples. Any other player with this kind of usage and volume would normally cost you $16-$17K or more which is why D-Russ is one of my favorite GPP plays every night – how many guys in this price range have clear paths to 50-60 point ceilings?
The return of RHJ could make this a bit jumbled in the front court and my guess is that it sends Treveon Graham back to the bench and likely caps the minutes of Demarre Carroll who has been a 30+ minute fixture with RHJ sidelined. We need to keep an eye on the news here as RHJ remaining out would put Carroll back on track but if RHJ does come back, I think he would be limited while also capping the upside of DC.
The rest of the Nets here all become nice secondary plays for value with Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris and Rodions Kurucs all locked into 30+ minutes and starters roles. This is a pace down spot for the Nets, but we have a close spread and short-handed rotations which make their mid-range price tags ideal secondary plays to build around Harden-Russell.
On the Rockets side – it becomes the usual cast of characters – Austin Rivers, Gerald Green, and PJ Tucker. With Clint Capela out, I am not playing the Nene value game – so would limit my exposure to these wings/guards – it is worth noting that Danuel House, who has been playing 30+ minutes failed to reach an agreement with the Rockets and will head back to the G League on a two way contract which makes the other remaining Rockets here even better plays.
The key here is not a single player had over a 20% usage rate in that game and only Gerald Green put up over a FP/M so my take here – use these guys as last men in, not priority plays. Normally I would think these Rockets would be popular but after the Celtics value burned everyone in this spot last time, I wonder if folks are hesitant to go back to the well?
NBA DFS – Late Night Hammer:
As much as I want to prioritize Harden and run it back with some Brooklyn guys, I think you simply need to find a way to get late night exposure to this Golden State-New Orleans game.
If you are playing Harden, fitting in AD or Curry/KD is likely not a feasible path unless we get some crazy value throughout the day but I do not think that means you simply fade and pray here – there are multiple mid-range plays that have significant upside and give you ceiling plays in this game environment.
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The Pelicans have Nikola Mirotic ($10.6K) back in the fold and we have seen him play 21 and 26 minutes off the bench in his return and although the official news is he has no minutes restriction, he was limited to only 17 minutes last game. If we get news Mirotic is a full go, this may be a great buy low opportunity as he put up a team high 48 FPTS in 32 minutes when these two faced off on October 31.
Elfrid Payton ($10.9K) has only played 30+ minutes one time since coming back from injury, but in this pace/point boost game environment, this may be a similar buy low spot for Elf.
On the Warriors side of this game – Klay Thompson and Draymond Green sit just above $12K and become the “pivot” options on the Golden State side as elite pairings if you opt to ride with Harden as your big spend.
Draymond (49) and Klay (30) both had strong outings the last time these two teams faced, in a game where the Warriors had both Curry and KD, so the path to upside is clearly supported by this game log.
What I like about it from a strategy perspective is that you are correlating your fade of Curry/KD by planting your flag with Klay/Draymond instead. You are hoping you get the perfect storm frankly – you hope this is a night where Klay goes off, capping the upside of Curry and Durant, and those that went with the Warriors studs instead of The Beard get the added blow-back of fading Harden. It is a bit of a “have your cake and eat it too” scenario but when building lineups, I like to consider the game scripts I am hoping for if I go that roster build.
Slate Overview: At first glance, I am loving this as a GPP slate – I think you can go multiple routes, building around Harden and then stacking the secondary pieces in Golden State/New Orleans OR flip it and prioritize the Warriors/Pelicans stars and build around it with Rockets/Nets value.
One key note – please remember this is an 8PM EST lock tonight so we get an extra hour – plan accordingly!
Stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all the latest NBA DFS news and analysis across FantasyDraft, FanDuel and DraftKings each and every day!