September 3, 2020, 12:00 am
DFS Delivery: Wednesday September 3rd, 2020
By: Aaron Asmus (@AsmusSports)
This 2-game slate with one of the games being the start to a new series is a much better slate than we had yesterday with actual viable cheap and mid-tier plays to make different constructions work. Hopefully, you were able to profit playing Jokic over Murray last slate as I don’t think we’ll get the same ownership discrepancy (Murray was twice as highly owned as Jokic in cash games) with them being similar in price again. I want my expensive spends to be focused on Denver/Clippers which will have a significantly higher total and a better overall game environment for fantasy scoring.
That said, I don’t think there’s necessarily a “wrong” way to build on these short-2 game slates and we’re embracing huge amounts of variance just by playing. Especially in tournaments, be very picky who you X out of your player pool and leave all possible avenues open for different roster builds.
This has been predictably a tough series to peg down because of how good defensively both of these teams are leading to very erratic scoring numbers (FVV 8-22, 3-12 from 3, Lowry 0-7 from 3, Kemba 6-18, 1-8 from 3 in game 2). The minutes distribution has made things easier though as both teams are playing strict 7-8 man rotations only extending that number if foul trouble happens. I think we’ll see a lot of people gravitate towards Kawhi and Jokic as building blocks for lineups and relying on the good value in this game to create their lineups. That leaves a good opportunity in tournaments to start teams with Jason Tatum or even cheaper with the upper 7k guards like Lowry, FVV and Walker as building blocks and relying heavily on the value in the Denver/LAC game. It’s not all too viable to extend into the value for this game outside of Theis/Anunoby/Williams, outside of large-field GPP fliers.
Daniel Theis PF/C ($5,200) Theis gaining PF eligibility likely makes him the most popular play on the slate. It’s pretty clear Boston intends to ride Theis in this series with Williams backing him up in a 15-18 minute role. F is a weak position on DK as it is and Theis doesn’t block you from playing Jokic or Zubac in the next game. On the season, he’s an excellent FPPM producer (0.96 FPPM with Hayward and Kanter off the floor) making him one of the better values on the slate. Normally we’d like to find cheaper options for value, but on these playoff slates, $5,200 for 28+ locked in minutes is too good to pass up. He’s a lock in your cash games and a very difficult tournament fade, even at high ownership.
OG Anunoby SF/PF ($5,100) Anunoby is almost the exact same play as Theis; he wouldn’t be cheap under normal slate conditions but with these condensed rotations and tight pricing, paying $5,100 for 35+ minutes is a no-brainer in cash games. Him going 4-6 from 3 carried his 32.25 DK performance in the past game, but he also didn’t have any blocks or steals, which is normally where his upside comes from. Positional scarcity also matters as most of the top-tier and super cheap value plays are at the guard position. Being under the field in tournaments on OG makes a lot of sense, due to his low floor and there being some options on Denver to pivot too in this range. He’ll be a staple for my cash teams though.
Jayson Tatum SF/PF ($9,200) Tatum is my favorite tournament play of the day by a large margin. He was largely forgotten on the last slate and I think that could very likely happen again, despite coming off the 55 DKP performance. With Kawhi being a priority spend for $1,000 more, Jokic and Murray taking ownership at the same price and Paul George being $1,000 cheaper, Tatum gets stuck in this no-man’s-land pricing where he’s difficult to put into optimal builds. Starting with Tatum will give unique builds and a chance to be different from the majority of roster builds.
Denver/Los Angeles Clippers
I’m finding most of my preferred plays are coming from this game. Leonard and Jokic will likely be the two highest projected players on the slate and are both very affordable at $10.3K and $9.5k respectively. It starts to get a little thin with the value plays if you try to play both, but it’s still viable with pieces like Shamet, Craig and Gary Harris all of whom will be in play in any format.
Denver is going to need Gary Harris to get up to speed quickly to help defend George and Kawhi on the wing. I think Craig, Grant and Harris are going to eat virtually every minute of the 2 and 3 spot to try and keep up with them. MPJ showed us last series that he just isn’t ready to play defense at a playoff level and the match-up gets significantly worse for him with George and Kawhi being the primary wings.
Nikola Jokic ($9,500) I’m not entirely sure if the market is going to correct itself when it comes to choosing between Murray and Jokic at nearly the same price, but it’s just not a contest for me; Jokic is the play. The rates got discombobulated in the Utah series, but I think a lot of that had to do with Murray’s completely unsustainable shooting performance and the Nuggets just letting that ride. There’s just so much more upside once the offense starts getting run through him again and his assist rate rises back to its regular season levels. He’s not a must play in cash games, since C is such a strong position, but I would certainly keep him in your pool while being vastly overweight him in tournaments.
Ivica Zubac ($4,800) The Clipper soon found out that they can’t really play Harrell his normal minutes at this point and Zubac has really thrived in his role as a defensive anchor, getting up to 33 minutes in the game 6 against the Mavericks. He’s just going to have to play all the minutes he can handle to match-up with Jokic and Harrell not being up to speed with his conditioning or play. Zubac is going to be an anchor in cash and I’d love to be overweight him in tournaments as well. Theis-Jokic-Zubac is an incredible floor for a cash game at a relatively cheap cost
Kawhi Leonard ($10,300) The price tag is elevated past what were normally used to seeing for Leonard and it might not be high enough. I think there’s a case to be made he’s been the best player in the playoffs thus far and has been dominant in every game. His stats in the Mavericks series (32.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 63.9% TS, 30.7% USG) in 39.2 MPG show a ceiling we aren’t used to from regular season Kawhi. I want either him or Jokic (or both) as anchors for my cash team. In tournaments, I’d look to take an underweight position and build heavier around Tatum/Jokic as core pieces.
Paul Millsap ($4,300) Shout-out to the Hoop-Ball podcast (with Mike Apotria and myself) for this call, but it makes a ton of sense with how I think this series is going to play out. Millsap has been awful in the playoffs outside of one game and hasn’t seen any sort of consistent minutes floor yet. But in this series, I think Denver is going to heavily rely on Grant, Craig and Harris to defend Paul George, leaving very little time for Grant to slide down to the 4. And if MPJ doesn’t see much action in this series because of his defensive ineptitude, that leaves Millsap as the primary guy to take the minutes at the 4. I’m not expecting anything huge from him, but I think somewhere in the 26-28 minute range is extremely likely and he’s by far the best FPPM producer down in this range on the slate. Fire him up in tournaments and I think he’s going to be in play in cash at this tag.
Landry Shamet ($3,800), Gary Harris ($4,200), Torrey Craig ($3,600)
I’m grouping all these guys together as viable cheap punts to fit mega-stud lineups. They aren’t safe plays, but we can be reasonably confident they’ll have a minutes role into the mid-20’s. I’d rank them Harris-Shamet-Craig in order of preference.
That’s it! Please message me on twitter if you have any questions about the slate @AsmusSports or have any feedback about the article. I’d love to get a chance to talk NBA DFS with you readers and find ways to get better myself.