Hello, everyone! bathrobeDFS here with your daily basketball article. First, I will breakdown my lineup for yesterday’s main slate. Then I will go over tonight’s slate from the perspective of a one lineup player on Draftkings. It also should go without saying, this is just a preliminary analysis of the slate: everything can change throughout the day, so make sure you are staying on top of any and all injury news and change your lineups accordingly! Let’s get started with the Review!
Yesterday In Review:
The Bathrobe vs. Pocket_Saand Head-To-Head Series:
He is Cash. I am GPP. Let’s keep track of how a daily head-to-head stack up.
Day 1: Pocket_Saand wins 287 to 248.5.
All-Time Series Record: 0-1
When I started to check everything this afternoon, I noticed the already small spread of GS -1 had moved to a pick em, and that just cemented my desire to play both Jokic and run it back with someone (Curry was my favorite option). If this game stayed close it would be on the back of Jokic (as most Denver wins are), and Curry had the best matchup against Murray to run this back. I also really wanted to get Schroder and Butler tonight going against their old teams. I explained all of this in my analysis article, and there wasn’t really any injury news that pushed me off of these gus at those prices. This left me with a few spots for which I could average around 4k each. The first one I locked in was Holmes, who I also wrote about yesterday. Next, I wanted Len (as I wrote about yesterday) and Huerter but that would have left me with 3900 left and I didn’t want to take the risk on Iguodala or Beasley (or run both Len and Spellman, who were negatively correlated). If I pivoted down from either Huerter to Bembery or Len to Spellman, I would be left with 4200 and I was still not happy about any of the options there. However, if I pivoted down on both, I could get to Bobby Portis for 4500. While I know this is a risky play, I thought he would be underowned given how popular Atlanta plays were. On top of this, the coach had just said they are going to stop playing Robin Lopez, which will open up extra minutes for Portis. Even in the teens, low 20 minute mark, Portis has been putting up anywhere from the low 20s to high 30s in DKP and, against a fast Lakers team, I wanted to get him in there.
The Daily Slate:
Matchup Specific Ceiling (MSC) Pick of the Day
Matchup Specific Ceiling is a “quasi-metric” I use to make decisions. If you haven’t read my explanation, please check out this link right here
The explanation begins in the “injury/lineup news” section about halfway down.
In this section, I will pick the player who has fewest factors preventing him from reaching his ceiling, considering spread, pace, O/U, defense, usage, teammate health, and other factors.
James Harden - Anyone who understands what this section is about understands why I have to put Harden here tonight. True, I absolutely LOVE Donovan and Gobert, but putting anyone in this section besides Harden (13000) when he is matched up against the Nets, is disingenuous. First, as we have seen with his 57 DKP first half against Cleveland, Harden’s ceiling is over 100. That means that, even if he has a slightly lower chance to hit his ceiling than a Donovan/Gobert, that is offset by the extra points he has in his range. Next, while the spread isn’t as monumental as the 240 in the NO/GS game, 221.5 is still higher than average, and something that should normally be targeted. Especially considering the spread is only HOU -4. While the Nets are 21st overall this season in pace, they have been 14th over the last 2 weeks. Similarly, the Rockets, who are 29th overall, have been playing at the 22nd fastest over the last 2 weeks. This means the game will be faster than you might expect, and, what’s more, Harden is in a nice pace up spot against BK. When looking at defense, we can look first at the individual DRPM of the potential starters Harden will be seeing tomorrow: Russell is 61st out of 98 PGs. If Napier is healthy and starts, he is 67th. Joe Harris is 79th out of 88 SFs and Kurucs and RHJ are 49th and 53rd in the same category. The Nets don’t have anyone that can even smell the top 10 in DRPM at their position. As a team, the Nets, while not as bad as many, are still only 19th in DEFF as a team. Lastly, as is always important to consider when looking at Harden, the Nets give up the 10th most fouls in the NBA. In terms of usage, the gap between Harden and the 2nd place person is now as big as the gap between the 2nd place and 36th place players. With Capela joining CP3 on the sidelines, and the Rockets, for some reason, not able to sign Danuel House, there will be even more usage for Harden to eat tomorrow. Even if Gordon comes back, that will just offset the losses of Capela and House and won’t bring down the ceiling Harden has shown the last few games (and that’s even assuming Gordon isn’t severely limited in terms of minutes). House is someone that, while not spectacular, was still putting up 13 shots a game that Harden will have to account for. I know he’s gotten to the price point where I said he wasn’t going to be an automatic lock every day, but that was before Capela went down and they let House go back to the G-league. I don’t know what “too high” would be for Harden. I can just tell you, in this matchup against a Nets team that won’t be able to stop him in any fashion, 13k isn’t enough for me to look anywhere else first. I can only hope the other stars (and his astronomical price) can mute ownership a little bit.
Situations to take advantage of (in no particular order):
Aaron Gordon - As I said a few days ago, Gordon (7000) is a streaky player. When he gets hot, you want to climb on board and ride the wave until it crashes on shore. He just put up his 3rd straight game of at least 37 DKP (which would get you the 5x you need), all of which were in tougher defensive matchups than this. People will look at this game and want to attack Drummond with Vucevic, but I, again, will look the other way and ride the hot hand. What’s more, people are forgetting Vuc just had a baby. I don’t know if you know anything about newborns but good luck sleeping and getting any sort of meaningful rest. His recent performance might just be noise, but Vuc could be tired and slumping because he just had a baby. In that case, Gordon will keep being asked to step up (and he’s hot enough right now to do that). People may be scared off by the slate low O/U, but don’t be. This game is still expected to stay close with a spread of DET -3.5. Detroit has been playing exceedingly poorly, both defensively and overall, lately. And the Magic have a slight pace up environment they’ll be in. I won’t be all over this game, given how crazy some of the other spots are, but in a decent game environment for Gordon, in a game he may push for 40 minutes, you could do a lot worse at this price point today.
Reggie Bullock - While, again, I think most people if they look at this game are going to either spend up or not touch it, I think Bullock (4500) may be in the best spot, considering price. The best way to attack Orlando is with wing shooters, and Bullock has shown he will shoot 12 threes in a game if the situation calls for it (and it will). If he hits 5 of those, that will put you at damn near 4x already, and that’s ignoring all the other counting stats he will put up. If you wanna get all in on this game (which very, very few people will do), the 2nd best place to attack the Magic is at PF, meaning Blake (9200) may be incredibly expensive, but he is in a great spot today that he can take advantage of. Vuc is a great defender, which has the potential to limit Drummond’s usage (which helps Blake). Also Vuc is one of those stretch 5s, meaning he will be pulling Drummond over the floor, increasing the chance Blake will get the rebounds needed to get to the double-double bonus.
D’Angelo Russell - What some people call recency bias is sometimes just called “riding a hot hand”, especially when that “hot hand” just put up 47 DKP in 27 minutes against the Raptors and 55.75 DKP against the Celtics. While the Celtics were short handed, Russell (7300) still played an incredible game, and would have been tough to handle even had Irving and Smart started. Now he should be paired up with a terrible defender on the Rockets (whoever he is paired with, as long as it is not Tucker, will be terrible). He has climbed into the top 10 in usage in the NBA. The Nets and Rockets have been playing much faster the last couple weeks. This game is supposed to stay close according to Vegas and this is one of those situations where “if it stays close it will be on his back” is wholly relevant. Russell gets a bigger boost if Napier (4400) is out again. If not, Napier himself would be a fine punt play in this situation as well.
Spurs - I want to start this off by saying that, if I lived in a sports betting state, I would put a significant amount of money on the Over here. Right now this game has an O/U of only 218.5 (with an awesome spread of DAL -1). I’m not saying this is a low total. I am saying it’s lower than I expect this to end up. On the Spurs side of the ball, Rudy Gay (5300) will come back from his absence, and move back into the PF slot, in a good defensive matchup and at too cheap a price. This means that LMA (8300), who is still priced for the usage bump he gets from Gay being out, should move over to Center and have to deal with the #1 defense of Deandre Jordan. DeRozan (8100) may be one of the most underpriced players on this entire slate, given the weaknesses the Mavs have with shooters. However, the Mavs are another one of those teams who can be best attacked by people that shoot 3s effectively, and, I don’t know if you know this, but DeRozan does not take 3s. At all. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating. He has attempted ZERO 3 point shots this entire month. This means the person I want to mention is Bryn Forbes (4500) who is, without question, my favorite play in this game (price considered) and one of the first value plays I will lock in tonight. LMA, Gay, and DeRozan are not 3 shooters. White (5800) will put up a couple 3s a game, but he will be spending a lot of time, presumably, defending Doncic. Additionally, Belinelli is Questionable with a knee injury, taking away another 3 shooter. The Mavs are 11th in pace and the Spurs are 23rd, so he will also be in a nice pace up spot as well.
Jazz - As I said above, I was really close to picking both Donovan (9100) and Gobert (8500) as my MSC pick today and, if Harden wasn’t on this slate, I may have wound up on one of the two. The Clippers are a horrendous D, who play at the 8th fastest pace in the NBA. They are, by far, weakest against the PG and C slots. This means that Donovan, who will still be playing most of the point with Rubio, Exum, and Neto still out, will continue to get more than 33% of his team’s usage in one of the best spots possible for a PG. Similarly, Gobert, who just put up 25 rebounds against a much better (and that’s saying something) Andre Drummond, will face absolutely no challenge tonight and may be able to get a double-double off of offensive boards alone. Ingles (5900) is listed as Questionable on DK, but I can’t find that confirmed anywhere. He will be handling the ballhandling that Donovan does not, making him a great cash play at that price, with real tournament upside. Honestly, again, to be honest the Jazz are running an 8 man rotation, basically, against a D that will let them do what they want. No one is priced high enough for their minutes and potential DKP. There is no bad play here (if you stop at Korver (4200)), but those 3 should be your primary focus, based on predicted usage in this game.
Montrezl - I was (and am still) wondering about the many disparities in defensive metrics- how, for example, Gobert can be one of the best Defenders at the C position, but Utah can be weakest (and weaker than league average) against Cs. Someone offered the suggestion that, in this case, Gobert and the Jazz are bad at defending against the pick and roll. That means I would love to get all over Montrezl (7200) tonight. This game has a great O/U of 222 and a close spread of LAC -2, so there will be a lot of production and, given the strength of Montrezl lines up nicely against one of the main weaknesses on the Jazz, I will be jumping all over him today. He’s been playing out of his mind lately, with 2 40+ and 1 50 DKP game in his last 4. Get him now, in as good a spot as you’ll find him, when no one else will be anywhere near him tonight.
Pelicans vs Warriors - Two teams with a too many cooks problems, this game is one of the rare ones- it had an O/U that opened at 240. And the spread is close enough with GS -6. The Warriors are 10th in pace and the Pelicans are 5th. Only 2 starters are in the top 10 in DRPM for their position, Brow and Dray. Everything points to this being one of the highest scoring games we’re going to see (assuming, again, it stays as close as Vegas thinks it will). The Warriors managed to blow out the Nuggets around halftime, meaning the starters should be well rested enough we have nothing to worry about. Plus, with Cousins coming back on Friday, this might be your last chance to get these guys at these prices, and at this usage. The problem with this game (and the only problem this game) is the high prices and spread usage you get from both teams. With everyone healthy, Brow (11800) should command most of the usage on the Pels, but Holiday (8200) and Randle (7500) have both shown their ability to pay off at those salaries. Especially since Brow will be, presumably, defended by Dray Green, who is awesome and annoying as fuck as a defender (especially if you do not like getting kicked in your nuts), Randle will be defended by Looney, who is not, and Holiday will be guarded by Curry or Klay, neither of which are even mediocre this year. Elf Payton (5700) is not someone I am interested in playing, but you should understand he takes 10+ shots a game that other people can not take, and gets assists and rebounds that other people can not get. Ditto Mirotic and Moore. On the Warriors side, the Pelicans are, by far, weakest against SG, then slightly better but still bad against PG, then slightly better but still bad against SF. They are above league average against PF and C. Which means, how fun, Klay (6500) is in the best spot, coming off another hot shooting night. Followed by Curry (10100) and then Durant (9800). This game is probably going to determine how we all do on the slate - choosing which of the cooks to play (or whether to avoid them altogether, if you think there is a blow out or something) is going to make or break us tonight. Let’s hope we can choose right.
Situations to be careful of(in no particular order):
Raptors vs Celtics - In their last game, the Raptors played a 2 OT barn burner against the no-defense Wizards. That means their production was tremendous and, because of this, their prices are all up. Kyrie is no longer on the injury report, and Smart has had a few days to recover from an illness (not a muscle/physical injury), meaning the Celtics will be at full strength. And high priced people going against a team that is above average against every position is not a prescription for success. Even the injury news has been spoiled by DK, with FVV questionable, but Delon Wright (4300) has already been priced up over 1000 from where he was. On the Celtics side of the ball, with everyone healthy and splitting time, the only player that stands out is Kyrie (8600) who could easily drop 50 DKP in a game that should actually mean something to both teams. Again, it will be in a tough matchup and there may be better places to spend your money, but if you want a great GPP dart throw, look no further than Kyrie here.
Cavs vs Blazers - They say you shouldn’t predict blowouts, and, for a lot of people this makes perfect sense. If you play multiple lineups, or even MME, it makes no sense. If you play cash, it doesn’t really make sense. But for people, like me, that need every pick on their one lineup to hit to have a chance, you need to look at every factor you can. And what I am looking at right now is an O/U of 217.5 which isn’t high enough to make me want to ignore the spread of POR -12.5. This is also a game between the 19th and 29th ranked teams in pace, so not exactly a spot that will pull everyone’s production up. If you are one of those people that doesn’t care about blowouts for whatever reason, Lillard (9000) is a great, safe cash play with some upside in tourneys. Tristan (6200) will continue seeing run into the high 30 minutes when games stay close, so if you don’t plan for that, Tristan is in a great spot to go 6x value, even against the great D of Nurkic. Similarly, all of the Cleveland shooters are underpriced if this game stays close. Particularly Clarkson (5500) who is still the only Cav in the top 50 in usage in the NBA, and Burks (5200) who has a hot hand, and shown his ability to get into the 40 DKP range. Lastly, if Harkless (4000) comes back without any sort of minutes limit, his price has fallen far too much for what the Blazers ask of him (especially defensively).
Danuel House is now in the G league
Situations to monitor:
Bucks vs Grizzlies - Something miraculous happened. If you only look at the last 14 days of games, the Grizzlies are only 29th in pace (the Bulls fell to 30th)! That is the first time I remember the Grizzlies team not being last in pace any way you looked at. None should ever rule out Giannis (11000) in GPPs, especially at a 2000 discount from Harden, but you can’t be in a worse spot than “in Memphis against the Grizzlies.” However, this assumes that everyone on Memphis is healthy. We know Kyle Anderson is out. What we need to wait for is the status of Marc Gasol, who hurt his elbow during their last game. He is expected to undergo testing, and I hope news of his status comes out early in the day. If he misses, several things happen. First, Noah (3800) should move into the starting rotation. If he is not being given the Nene treatment, he should be one of the best punts on the day. Alternately, if Noah is limited, Rabb (3300) is one of those guys no one knows about, but can get decent run in games where Gasol is out. Also, while I never trust him to stay out of foul trouble JJJ (5600) becomes a great mid-level GPP play. What it means for MIL, though, is no one will be there up the middle to stop Giannis from attacking the basket all game. If Gobert is in, this game is going to be hard to target, but if Gobert misses, a lot of really interesting plays open, especially considering how (rightfully) hesitant people are to play people in Grizzlies games.
DSJ - If Smith plays, he will take enough usage and potential assists away from other folks, that I will be hesitant to play anyone from the Mavs. Smith is, however, questionable from a back injury and an illness so there are a couple ways he can miss. If he does, Doncic (8400) is still underpriced for his nightly triple-double upside and I would want to smash him i this spot, with a couple of those underpriced Spurs players.
Alright! That pick em Warriors/Nuggets game turned into a blowout REAAAAAL quick. I hope it didn’t hurt you all as much as it hurt me tonight! That’s the way it’s been going lately though! Every night either a blow out or injury (with some bad choices thrown in). Either way, I’m still trying to get better at building one lineup from my research, as I’m sure everyone is. Let’s have today be one of those days we all let it pay off!