• Welcome Back Hoop-Ballers, It is Friday, December 8th and that means it is time for another run down on some of my favorite plays for the slate. Tonight’s 8-game slate has a ton of injuries so I am here to help you decipher through and find where the value is.

    Before we go on, I should say that I am treating Anthony Davis as out tonight despite the GTD tag. A lot of players below are picked with Davis being out in mind, and him playing would obviously change some things as far as usages go in New Orleans.

    Point Guards

    Rajon Rondo $5,900- I have been all over Rondo since Davis has gone down. He just seems to be a lot more comfortable as the primary ball handler and Jrue Holiday seems to have no problem shooting 15-20 times a game in a shooting guard role. Rondo never offers a high scoring total, but without Davis he has seen a small uptick in rebounds. The Pelicans also have a double-revenge narrative with both Rondo and Cousins tonight.

    Kris Dunn $5,800- So let me see if I can understand Draft Kings’ algorithm correctly; guy scores 30+ DK points and plays 30+ minutes two games in a row and draws a solid matchup, so let’s lower his price. I have been on and off Dunn all year and tonight just seems like one of those nights to be on him. He seems to have a firm grip on the starting point guard job and has been making the most of it. David Nwaba is back and played 20 minutes last game, but Nwaba was playing a lot of small forward and shooting guard before getting injured so that does not really worry me.

    J.J. Barea $4,700- If Dennis Smith Jr (hip). is forced to sit out we should see a ton of Barea. The Mavs will likely keep him with the second unit, where he should be absorbing the most usage. With an averaged of 28.75 DK points over his last game, Barea makes for a strong play even with DSJ playing.

    Shooting Guards

    Gary Harris $6,400- Harris has quietly been crushing value without Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap. He is averaging almost 35 DK points in his last five games and has scored no less than 30 DK points in the last four. He offers that safe cash floor and a solid upside as well. This game should have one of the higher totals of the tight at 219, so getting some exposure to this game may be wise. His ownership should be fairly low at this price and I am hoping people keep trying to chase other Denver guards to guess on while Harris just keeps sliding under the radar.

    Jrue Holiday $7,100- Holiday will be close to a chalk play in all formats. He has been smashing value with Davis out and with a 39 DK point average over his last six should continue to do so at $7,100.

    Wesley Matthews $4,200- Wings against the Bucks are a real thing. Matthews doesn’t generally offer a ton of upside, but in the last matchup he dropped 43 DK points in 34 minutes. I like the play a whole lot more if DSJ sits, as it would secure his minutes in the mid-30’s.

    Small Forward

    Trey Lyles $4,000- Lyles has been inserted into a steady role since the injuries to Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap. He’s averaging 26 DK points in 24 minutes over the past four games. Without Fournier, the Magic will turn to Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon for offense. The Nuggets do not generally like to run lineups with both Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee; so Lyles may find himself next to both frequently if Will Barton is struggling defensively.

    JaKarr Sampson $3,400- Sampson played 32 minutes last game and unless the Kings make a call up from the G-league I expect much of the same. With Davis out, the Pelicans have been running out Dante Cunningham at power forward, so the fear of being forced off of the court is not really there. Sampson is a scrappy-hustle player. He is not going to light up the scoring category, but as we witnessed versus the Cavs, he has some rebounding upside. At $3,400 there are a lot worse near-minimum salary plays.

    Kevin Durant $10,700- There is not much that needs to be said, but I will talk anyway. If you’re spending up at small forward, then it is here. I would not expect another triple-double with Draymond Green expected back, but Durant sees a 4.4 percent increase in usage with Stephen Curry off of the floor and averages 1.39 DK points per minute. Klay Thompson only sees a small uptick in usage and will likely draw the tougher defender in Avery Bradley.

    Power Forward

    DeMarcus Cousins $11,800- This price will hopefully scare people off, but not me. His usage is an absurd 38.9 percent without Anthony Davis on the floor, a 3.9 percent differential. The price is massive, but after posting over 80 DK points, 60 seems pretty obtainable on a night to night basis without Davis. We also get the revenge narrative with Boogie facing off against the Kings. He absolutely destroyed in this matchup the last time these teams faced off and I expect much of the same tonight.

    Draymond Green $7,700- Green is in a fantastic spot tonight. Looking at the numbers as a whole, when Curry is out Draymond appears to only see a small uptick in usage. The key factor is that Green will be handling the ball much more, including with the second unit. Much of the offense will be funneled through Green and the Warriors will need bigger bodies on the court while Andre Drummond is out there. A little narrative is in play as well. Green played for Michigan State in college and was quoted saying it is ‘refreshing’ to come back to Detroit, so expect some friends or family in the stands. His minutes will be secure in the 22-25 range with the possible upside of 30 minutes.

    LaMarcus Aldridge $7,600- As you can probably tell, I am a fan of spending up at power forward tonight. LMA gets to star in the televised late night hammer. The fact that is televised relieves the notion of Popovich hitting Aldridge with a random late scratch. Kawhi Leonard is not expected to be back Friday, so Aldridge with still taking a large number of shots. The Celtics are one of the worst rebounding teams and Aldridge should have his way with either Al Horford or Aron Baynes in the post.

    Centers

    Dwight Howard $7,500- Perhaps my favorite center play on the board tonight. Hopefully the recent production scares off game log watchers, because Howard is due. Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller have both already been ruled out, leaving Johnny O’Byant as the primary backup big man. This means Howard should easily see 33+ minutes tonight. The Bulls will throw Robin Lopez at Howard. While Lopez has the size to stay in front of him, he is not half of the rebounder Howard is and we could see a ton of put backs and offensive boards tonight.

    Robin Lopez-$5,100- As I mentioned in with Howard, Lopez will likely be on the floor most of the time Howard is. With Lopez, we generally worry about the minutes and his seem safe here. I don’t think he offers huge GPP upside, but if you are trying to save at a little at center or need a safe cash floor Lopez fits that mold.

    Domantas Sabonis $5,600- I wrote him up last week when Myles Turner was questionable with knee soreness and this Friday Turner is questionable again. Whenever Turner is questionable Sabonis pops up on my radar. Once a non-believer, I saw the light when Sabonis filled in at center early in the season. The matchup against the Cavs would also secure his minutes, as the Cavs prefer to run Kevin Love at center. He usage does not go up a whole ton, but when averaging 1.09 DKPPM and the possibility of seeing 30+ minutes makes Sabonis an instant value.

    Honorable Mentions

    Will Barton $6,900- Barton always offers nice GPP upside and in this matchup he can easily hit 40 DK points. He is averaging 35 DK points over his last 5 games and since being inserted into the starting lineup two games ago has taken 34 shots. A 219 total combined with the pace at which the Magic play bode well for Barton. If I decide to hang around the middle tier for small forward, Barton will likely be my guy.

    Kemba Walker $8,100- I don’t love this price, but Walker offers 50 point DK upside in this matchup. I am not all over him because I think I will be opting for a few guys in the lower tier, but in the last matchup Kemba decimated the Bulls for 47 points, six rebounds and five assists.

    Marvin Williams $3,900- For the reasons I love Howard I think Williams is in play. He is cheap and without Kaminsky and Zeller should be safe for 30 minutes at power forward. He offers a decent upside, but his floor limits him to GPP’s. I may opt to play him to save salary in lineups without Howard to offer him a higher rebounding upside.

    Jordan Bell $3,700- No Zaza Pachulia tonight means Bell and JaVale McGee will have most of the defensive responsibility versus Andre Drummond. Bell Played 20 minutes last game after Pachulia re-aggravated his shoulder against the Hornets and managed 18.25 DK points without scoring an actual point. It is a similar situation against a large rebounding center, so I expect a similar workload.

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