Welcome to the final 2019 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.
With the NBA season winding down and MLB DFS just a few days away, I am going to be shifting my focus entirely to MLB after this slate. With so many teams opting to rest players, inconsistent rotations and extreme value on every slate pushing chalk Stars and Scrubs builds, this feels like the right time to step away and focus on baseball. After writing up nearly every NBA slate this season, it has been an extremely fun ride once again and I sincerely thank all of you for reading along with me and the other writers at Fantasy CPR. I hope you have enjoyed Picks and Pivots and will stay with us each day as we move into Fantasy Baseball season. Just think, this is the last time you have to see a picture of Tim Hardaway Jr. for months – I know, I am sad too.
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 – Monday Slate Overview:
With four games on this NBA DFS slate, we actually have playoff implications in every single game and very oddly, at least as I write this early Monday AM, we have very little new injury news that impacts these teams.
The Sixers/Magic kick this slate off at 7PM EST as the lone early game and we get a battle between two teams in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Magic sit one game out of the 8th seed right now, in ultimate win-now mode and we saw last game against Memphis that this is a team leaning heavily on a core 6 man rotation that includes their starting five and 6th man Terrence Ross. This game has a 220 total and a 2.5 point spread but it also represents the game with the lowest projected pace – speaking of pace, 7 of the 8 teams on this slate get a projected pace decrease.
The Thunder/Grizzlies are the second game on this slate as OKC remains right in the middle of a jumbled Western Conference playoff picture. The Thunder right now sit in the 6th seed but are only .5 game ahead of the Spurs for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.
Russell Westbrook ($19.5K) is the premier spend on this slate in my opinion, coming into this game fresh off another triple-double and has now put up 65+ fantasy points in four of his last five games. All year long the usage and production between Westbrook and Paul George has been fairly even but the last week we are seeing Russ take on a far bigger role as his usage has jumped from a season long 31% rate to 34% while PG13 has dropped from 29% to 24%.
George is priced up at $17.7K tonight and would need roughly 62 fantasy points to hit GPP value (3.5x) on this slate which makes him feel like a drastic over price. Over the last 12 games, PG13 has only managed to it that 62 fantasy point mark one time which was a OT game against Portland.
Westbrook meanwhile would need around 68 fantasy points which when you consider he has been putting up 65-66 in 3 of his last four, makes this feel entirely too cheap for a player with slate breaking ability.
The Suns/Jazz game has a 15 point spread and it scream stack or stay away as a result. If you are only playing one line-up tonight, this is probably the game you cross off as both previous meetings have been a blowout and the Suns have failed to top 100 points in either game.
NBA DFS – Ice In My Veins!
There is one game that has massive playoff implications for both teams involved and Vegas seems to be supporting our focus as the Nets/Blazers have the highest total (225) and fastest projected pace of any of the four games going tonight.
The Blazers are in the 4th spot in the West right now, just a game behind the Rockets but only 3 games from dropping down to the 8th seed while the Nets are trying to hang on to the 6th seed just .5 game in front of Detroit and a 1.5 games ahead of the Heat for the 8th seed.
The only real injury news we have on this slate remains that C.J. McCollum is out which means go ahead and fire up the duo of Damian Lillard ($17.9K) and Jusuf Nurkic ($12.7K) here tonight against Brooklyn.
In the three games that McCollum has been out, Dame has dropped 50, 63 and 65 fantasy points with a 30% usage rate and 1.66 FP/M output. Nurkic meanwhile has failed to top 35 fantasy points in any game but all that has done is drop his price down to a near must play spot against a Nets team he went for 48.5 fantasy points the last time they met.
The rest of Portland is really about mixing and matching depending on what you need and how you intend to approach this slate. Al Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless are both priced fairly at $8.5-$8.6K which means they need 30+ fantasy points to hit GPP value. While the minutes are safe with both players, it feels like both are more cash game targets as Harkless has failed to top 30 fantasy points in 7 straight games and Aminu has only done it once in his last 20 games.
For GPP’s I would rather go with the bench guys – Enes Kanter ($7.4K) and Seth Curry ($7.4K) and shoot for upside. Kanter has gone for 3.5x value in 5 of his last 14 games including the last time he faced Brooklyn and dropped 31 fantasy points on the back of 18/9 in only 19 minutes of court time. Curry meanwhile is averaging 25.4 fantasy points in the three games McCollum has missed which would exceed 3.4x value at this price point.
On the Nets side it all starts with D’Angelo Russell ($15.7K) who over the last two weeks has a massive 36% usage rate while putting up 1.5 FP/M and has put up 20, 25, 25 and 33 FGA over his last four games. With the rest of the Nets rotation in flux right now, everything is on the shoulders of D-Loading and the trio of Russell, Dame and Nurkic will be at the core of my lineups tonight.
Finding the “other” plays on the Nets is always the hardest part as Brooklyn continues to play a deep and inconsistent rotation, most recently moving Caris LeVert back to the bench in favor of DeMarre Carroll.
Normally through the year, the question becomes which of Russell OR Spencer Dinwiddie ($11.4K) you plan to choose but I think we can roll them out as the top duo in the Nets player pool. Over the last two weeks, Dinwiddie has the second highest usage on the team at 29% and what you see time and time again is that Kenny Atkinson is using this duo on the court together quite often and normally closing with Dinwiddie on the floor alongside Russell. The volume for Russell is always the story but look at Dinwiddie’s recent game logs – 14, 16, 16 and 17 FGA – so you could argue that locking in both Nets guards gives you the large majority of their offensive usage.
All year long we have attacked Portland with wings and Rodions Kurucs ($7.7K) becomes a cheap value play with substantial upside which allows us exposure to that match-up and correlates nicely alongside a Russell/Dinwiddie pairing. Kurucs is an energy guy, someone who looks to get easy baskets around the rim and gets his DFS upside from rebounds, blocks and steals. The most recent game logs will likely keep folks away but look back just a bit further, a three game stretch from 3/4-3/9 where he went for GPP value in every game.
NBA DFS – Sample Lineup and Slate Overview:
Please note – this sample lineup is meant to be illustrative and should not be considered a Plug and Play lineup.
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G: Russell Westbrook
G: D’Angelo Russell
F/C: Jusuf Nurkic
F/C: Enes Kanter
F/C: Rodions Kurucs
UTIL: Spencer Dinwiddie
UTIL: Seth Curry
Slate Overview: As much as this is about stacking up the best game environment tonight in Brooklyn/Portland, it is also about taking a stand against the other games.
We are banking on the blowout in Utah and with the Sixers being fully healthy, are we really going to pay up for any of the Philly stars in a huge pace down spot against Orlando.
The Nets/Blazers game stack simply needs to start with Russell/Dame/Nurkic but then I think you can go a variety of ways. The safe plays like Harkless/Aminu give you minutes safety and stability while you can roll the dice with plays like Kanter/Curry off the bench for more GPP upside. On the Nets side, frankly anyone outside of Russell right now is a GPP play and it becomes likely we do not get lineup confirmation before lock with this game tipping off three hours after the Sixers/Magic tip-off.
Take some GPP shots tonight, this slate actually has a nice mixture of star power and games that matter and at least initially, we do not have the load management issues which will drive must play chalk value.
Thank you all again for reading Picks and Pivots all year long – we say goodbye to the NBA for now as we pivot to our picks (see what I did there) for MLB DFS this week.
Stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all the latest NBA DFS news and analysis each and everyday across FantasyDraft, FanDuel and DraftKings.