DFS Articles

  • DFS Picks: Friday, April 19

    Good afternoon, it is Friday April 19 and we have three playoff games to look at for tonight’s DFS slate. As you know here at Hoop Ball we are partnered with DraftKings so we will be using their pricing as a base.

    I am switching things up a little for today’s article and instead of just listing my favorite value on the card I will be going game by game, listing the players who I will have in my player pool tonight. I generally run out multiple lineups and making sure they correlate is extremely important. For example: If I am looking to play a stud from both the Thunder and Raptors you could easily correlate it by playing Russell Westbrook with Kawhi Leonard or Paul George with Pascal Siakam. Both options would allow you to spend up at small forward, while still having exposure to at least one of the highest projected scorers on for each team.

    This is just one example on a way to correlate, but there and hundreds of ways. An example of negative correlation would be playing a power forward and center from the same team. Yes, they could both hit value, but in a GPP we are looking for the best possible outcome to win a tournament and they those two positions tend to eat into each other’s rebounding upside. I will get to a specific example of this negative correlation in this article.

    Now let’s jump right into some playoff action!

    Raptors @ Magic – 211 ½ Game total – Raptors +4.5

    Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard – $8,200 – Leonard put the Raptors on his shoulders during Game 2 and will look to continue doing so throughout this series. Small forward is generally a spend up vs. spend down position. Leonard is at a fair price and I am expecting this game to stay a little closer than the last with the game being in Orlando.

    Pascal Siakam – $7,300 –Siakam has taken on a scorer’s role during the playoffs. Over the first two games of the series Siakam has shot 40 times and has averaged 39.5 minutes per game during that stretch. I am expecting decent ownership, but he feels like a great cash option with some GPP upside.

    Kyle Lowry $6,800 – Lowry said coming into playoffs that he is expecting to be more of a facilitator. Well, he dropped 43.5 DK points while only dishing seven assists. He is still sporting a usage rate of 20.3 percent and while I am not expecting another 43 DK points I do think 35 is on the table. We have a lot of great point guard options on tonight’s slate and lineup correlation is important with the Raptors’ starters.

    Magic

    Nikola Vucevic – $7,800 – This is just a stupid low price for Vucecic. He maintained a salary over $9,000 for the majority of the season should be hovering around $8,500 right now. Obviously the matchup is difficult, but the Magic are at home and need Vucevic to perform in order to stay in the game. He has a 26.6 usage rate and it is bar far the highest of the centers on the slate.

    Aaron Gordon – $6,200 – I never feel too comfortable about playing Gordon, but he is underpriced and makes for a solid pivot off of Vucevic if you are still trying to have some exposure to the Magic. Power forward is not that deep today and Gordon offers cash and tournament upside. I would not play Vucevic and Gordon in the same lineup unless I was stacking this game up.

    Celtics @ Pacers – 203.5 Game total – Pacers -3

    Celtics

    Kyrie Irving – $8,900 – Irving is simply the driving force of this team. He has been looking to get his teammates more involved on offense, while still scoring at a monstrous clip. We have plenty of good options at point guard and we have seen how low scoring these games could be, but he is clearly the best option on Boston.

    Marcus Morris – $4,700 – Morris was the chalk two days ago and everyone who started him suffered. I do not expect him to light the world on fire, but we need value and I am hoping Morris left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and we see a slightly depressed ownership.

    Pacers

    Myles Turner – $5,700 – Let me start by saying I do not feel comfortable with any of the Pacers on tonight’s slate, but someone has to get there right? Turner has been getting the Horford treatment throughout the series and while I do not expect that to end I know there is still upside for tournaments in there. His price tag has dropped low enough to the point where we could temper expectations, but still hold out hope for a big rebounding and blocks game. Thad Young and Domantas Sabonis could be in play as well if you find you want to get some exposure on the Pacers side, but did not want to occupy your center position.

    Wesley Matthews – $3,900 – Matthews may have cost the Pacers a shot at winning Game 2, but he is a veteran and is under $4,000. There is not much of a ceiling, but if you are starving for value there are worse spots you could go.

    Blazers @ Thunder – 222 Game total – Thunder -7.5

    Blazers

    Damian Lillard – $9,100 – Lillard time has already begun and I do not see the reason to jump off now. Having C.J. McCollum back has freed up some space for Lillard, but I just love this matchup. He is only $200 more than Irving, but the expected pace and game total of this game is much higher. Lillard and Russell Westbrook have a feud brewing and these two guards get up to play against one another.

    C.J. McCollum – $6,900 – Honestly, I feel like we could jump off McCollum after a big game, but he is still underpriced and that leaves him in my player pool. Much of this will come down to ownership to me and if I get the feeling that everyone is on him by around lock and I will pivot elsewhere. When we only have three games on the slate taking a stance is important. Now, I am not fading him, but I will be under the field on him.

    Enes Kanter – $6,500 – Kanter burned some people last game and I was one of them. He took a trip to the locker room and when that happens it’s hard to come back and hit value. I expect Kanter to play more than the 20 minutes he did last time out and his salary has dropped $500.

    Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless are in play, but they are not grading out for me as spectacular plays. It would come down to them just fitting into my lineup, rather than going out of my to play them.

    Thunder

    Russell Westbrook – $10,200 – There is not much that needs to be said. Westbrook is severely underpriced for a player who provides 80 DK point upside. I mentioned the rivalry forming between him and Lillard and Westbrook is an emotional player who uses that to fuel his fire. It is going to be hard to avoid Westbrook, especially knowing he is only $1,300 more than a popular Irving.

    Paul George – $8,700 – George says his shoulder is fine, but I do not believe that completely. Still, we know his upside and now his price has dipped below $9,000. I like Westbrook more, but small forward tends to be a garbage position and locking in one of the studs could be worthwhile.

    Steven Adams – $5,900 – Adams will continue the fly under the radar throughout the series, but he simply has the best matchup on the court. We never expect Adams to come out and shoot a ton, but he gets to value without scoring and could in this matchup if he needs to. I will have a lot of exposure to this game and while Adams may not be my first option at center I still think he is one of the better cash plays.

    Dennis Schroder – $5,200 – Schroder is strictly a tournament play. In the first game we saw him play 36 minutes and take a boatload of shots. In the last game we saw his minutes dip down to 20 and he let everyone down. I am throwing that game out the window for blowout purposes and leaning towards the first game representing a better sample size. We may not get the 36 minutes that we are looking for, but I feel confident he plays at least 28 minutes and takes 10-plus shots.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments.

  • DFS Picks: Friday, April 5

    Welcome back, It is Friday, April 5 and we have a massive 13-game slate to sort through for tonight’s DFS card. The season is coming to an end and we are seeing some players rest, get shut down and even get new opportunity. Basically, there is a ton of volatility in DFS at the moment and you will either take advantage of it or get taken advantage of. Targeting the teams with something to play for is ideal, we want secured minutes and usage tonight and we have 13 games to pick from. We don’t need to get cute here unless you are trotting out multiple lineups in a mass-GPP.

    Before we dive into some plays, here are a few notes:

    The studs are always in play and offer a security blanket with raw points on nights we see this volatility. James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Paul George are all in play, but I am leaning more towards a balanced approach.

    The Golden State Warriors’ studs will be a complete fade for me.

    Lakers are in play. I did not mention any in the picks portion because we are going to want some news. As of now I feel it is safe to assume Kyle Kuzma will miss another game. The only priced up options I have any interest in would be Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. It’s not a great matchup, but it is better than the Warriors and they both saw their minutes decreased slightly during the blowout. Lou Williams would be my favorite play on the Clippers’ side of the ball. If you are playing the game theory that it does blow out then we could look at Robert Williams again. Alex Caruso is in play regardless, but it starting to reach a point in salary where it saps some of the value out. You’ll hear me say violative a whole lot today and the two most volitive teams in the NBA are playing tonight being the Lakers and Knicks.

     

    Point Guard

     Goran Dragic vs. Timberwolves $6,100 – I mentioned wanting to target players with something to play for, well the Heat are playing for their playoff lives and Dragic has now played massive minutes in four games straight. We’ve seen the ceiling twice over the past four games, making Dragic a sold tournament play, but a little more risky in cash.

    Reggie Jackson vs. Thunder $5,700 – I am really looking for Blake Griffin to sit out again if I am targeting Jackson. With Griffin off of the floor Jackson sees an uptick in usage of 5.6 percent, bringing it to 30.1 percent. That is massive and he also gets a matchup against his former team, who struggles against opposing point guards.

    Trey Burke vs. Grizzlies $4,600 – Most of the Dallas players are questionable at this point due the load management, but if we see Jalen Brunson and Luke Doncic sit out we need to look at Burke. He would immediately become one of the better values on the slate and draws a matchup against a no longer scary Memphis defense. In fact, the Grizzlies defense has been straight trash. We need to monitor the news.

    Shooting Guard

     Luka Doncic vs. Grizzlies $9,200 – I mentioned Burke a moment ago if Brunson or Doncic were to sit, but if Doncic plays he becomes a top option on the slate. He always possesses a massive ceiling and if he plays I think it is safe to assume at least 32 minutes form him. The Mavs have nothing to play for, but Doncic still wants to prove why he deserves rookie of the year.

     Delon Wright vs. Mavs $6,500 – Mike Conley is doubtful again and that means we could look at Wright again despite the price tag. The Mavs may be without their starting backcourt tonight and that would only benefit the athletic Wright. The Grizzlies are beginning to get cute with their lineup, so I only feel comfortable with the few players we know have guaranteed minutes.

     Jamal Crawford vs. Pelicans $3,600 – You are going to see me talk a whole lot about this game throughout the article. With Devin Booker being ruled out for the season we are going to see a ton of usage and minutes get distributed and Crawford just so happens to play the same position that Booker did. Now, his minutes are not safe, but if Crawford plays he should see close the 30 minutes and will not be afraid to shoot. We have a 13 games to pick from tonight and I would not knock anyone if they did not want to risk their lineups with Crawford and opt for more appealing options on the Suns. Another cheap option could be Jimmer Fredette who played 21 minutes in the last game. Neither player is afraid to shoot and there will be plenty of shots to go around.

    Small Forward

     Aaron Gordon vs. Hawks $7,400 – The Magic are another team fighting to get into playoffs and I think we could expect heavy minutes from all of their starters if this game stays close. Gordon is a player who thrives in up-tempo games. We’d love for his price to be closer to $7,000, but this matchup has my mouth watering for some of these Magic players and Gordon and a center we will get to are my favorite options.

     Josh Jackson vs. Pelicans $5,900 – Jackson will be the chalk of the night, but for good reason. Devin Booker (ankle) has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and this has now become Josh Jackson’s team. We’ve seen some pretty big games from Jackson when Booker has missed games earlier in the season. This is going to be one of my favorite games to target and most of my love comes from the Suns’ side of the ball.

    DeAndre’ Bembry vs. Magic $4,900 – I am targeting this game, but I am less in love with the Hawks due to how stout the Magic defense has been. Kevin Huerter and Kent Bazemore have  been ruled out and that is going to open the door for some wing minutes. Bembry’s price feels a little high, but if I were to land on him as one of my last positions filled I wouldn’t be mad. I could see playing Trae Young and or John Collins in this spot, but mostly in smaller game stacks.

    Power Forward

     Christian Wood vs. Suns $6,500 – Wood burned a lot of people on Wednesday, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a point per minute monster. He only played 20 minutes in the last one and that was with Anthony Davis sitting out. I think that at this point it is safe to assume Davis will sit again. The only worry we have with Wood is his minutes. We want him playing at least 26 minutes if we are paying this price tag, but we just do not know. Still, the matchup could not get any better and Wood is worth a look in tournaments.

    Richaun Holmes vs. Pelicans $6,200 – I was high on Holmes during Wednesday’s slate and that was in a matchup versus the Jazz and it payed off. The Pelicans play big and the Suns are going to need size once again. He played a whopping 38 minutes in the last game and Holmes is a fantastic point per minute producer. This is a game with a high total and includes two teams who play at an above-average pace. Holmes will be one of the first bodies I put into my core lineup.

    Ivan Rabb vs. Mavericks $5,300 – Rabb may be in line for big minutes again if the recently signed Tyler Zeller is not available to play after signing with the Grizzlies for the rest of the season this morning. Rabb got a massive price increase, sapping a lot of the value away from him, but the matchup is good and we’ve seen a decent ceiling from him before. I like him more cash than I do tournaments, but he is viable in both.

    Center

     Andre Drummond vs. Thunder $9,900 – Drummond has been of the most consistent players all season long and has hit another gear with Blake Griffin sitting out. Drummond is averaged 59 DK points over his last five games and while this matchup is not the best on paper I still think Drummond warrants a strong look for his ability to break a slate.

    Nikola Vucevic vs. Hawks $9,600 – We have two fantastic options to spend up on at center tonight. Vucevic draws a matchup against one of the worst defenses and the Magic enter must-win mode. I expect big minutes from Vucevic if this game stays close and he has smashed the Hawks already this season with an average of 53 DK points in three games. If I had to choose at the moment I think I would rather play Vucevic over Drummond, but it’s close.

    Honorable Mention

    Donovan Mitchell vs. Kings $8,400 – It’s always a toss up for me when it comes to Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. If it’s a good matchup for one it tends to be just as good for the other. Ricky Rubio is currently being listed as questionable and as you could tell by my center picks I am leaning towards going in the opposite direction of Gobert. Not saying he is a bad play, he is in a great spot, I just like Drummond without Blake and Vucevic against the Hawks slightly more.

    Elfrid Payton vs. Suns $7,100 – This is a fantastic matchup for Payton against his former team. Everything is there for him, but the minutes. The minutes have been down over the last few games and if I knew he was going to play more than 30 minutes he would be a lock. He’s a bit risky, but with this matchup I am going to have a few shares in some GPP’s.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any questions or comments. Good luck!

  • DFS Picks: Friday, March 29

    It is Friday March 29 and with fantasy seasons coming to an end it becomes the perfect time to dive into DFS. We have March Madness, the start of the MLB season and the NBA all happening at once. This means the sharks that play other sports cannot put all of their attention into the NBA anymore and it becomes a great opportunity to take advantage. Luckily for me, I only play season-long fantasy baseball and always give the NBA my complete attention.

    Going into the night we are hoping to have the news on whether or not Paul George will give it a go. Obviously, if he is out we look at Russell Westbrook. He is in play either way, but sees an insane uptick in usage with George off of the floor.

    Point Guard

    Damian Lillard vs. Hawks $10,100 – I am going right back to the well on this one. Lillard let me down Wednesday, but that game was a blowout and Lillard only saw 28 minutes and shot 12 times. The Hawks should keep this one closer and the pace of this game is expected to be fast.

    Kemba Walker vs. Lakers $8,500 – We have so many well-priced guards to choose from on tonight’s slate, but Walker is one of my favorites. The Hornets have not been mathematically eliminated yet and Walker is playing for a bonus. It is key to monitor and track players achievements towards the end of the season and we have a few guys looking to make All-NBA teams. If you want to play Trae Young or Kyrie Irving over Walker I won’t knock you, they are all great plays, but for me it’s Walker.

    Trae Young vs. Trail Blazers $8,300 – Trae is going to be popular for those wanting exposure to this game, and for good reason. Young is trying to show why he believes he deserves rookie of the year after back-to-back 30-plus point games. I would like to see the minutes slightly higher, but I’ll take 34 minutes if he continues shooting 20-plus times per game like he has over the last three games.

    Shooting Guard

    Jamal Murray vs. Thunder $5,900 – I like Murray, but I would only play him at shooting guard because of how stacked point guard is on tonight’s slate. The Thunder may be without Paul George for tonight’s game and if that is the case we are going to see Russell Westbrook use a lot of his energy on offense. If I am targeting a position against the Thunder I tend to go with the backcourt. In three games this season Murray is averaging 36 DK points against the Thunder.

    DeAndre’ Bembry vs. Trail Blazers $3,900 – Taurean Prince has already been ruled doubtful and we know we are looking for the value in this game to get the studs we want. Bembry plays multiple positions and should absorb at least 10 of Prince’s 30-plus minutes per game. The other options are Kevin Huerter and Kent Bazemore. I am leaning Bembry and Huerter for cash and tournaments, while Bazemore would only be in tournaments. It helps that all of these guys are eligible to play at both shooting guard and small forward.

    Small Forward

    Miles Bridges vs. Lakers $4,900 – He isn’t the shiniest option, but small forward is weak and it’s a great matchup versus the Lakers. Over his last five games Bridges has averaged 32 minutes and 32 DK points per game. At a point per minute and playing 30-plus minutes he becomes a viable option for value.

    Jae Crowder vs. Wizards $4,500 – The Jazz get an uptick in pace with this game. Crowder is someone who always flies under the radar and is slightly underpriced. He should be good for 26 minutes no matter what and if this game goes small or gets out of hand, he should see a few more. We do not have a ton of value at the moment and Crowder is one of my safer cash plays with a little tournament upside.

    Power Forward

    John Collins vs. Trail Blazers $6,900 – We are going to want to target some Hawks – I’ve said this multiple times – and to be honest they are all in play. If I am avoiding Trae Young in a lineup I am looking towards Collins. His play of as of late has not been the best, but going against one of the worst pick-and-roll defenders in the league could change that. I’ve mentioned about four players from the Hawks so far in this article and I would look to have at least one of them, but more likely two in every lineup. Dewayne Dedmon is an option as well if you are looking for the slight savings over Collins.

    Derrick Favors vs. Wizards $5,800 – Let me start by saying I would not play both Favors and Crowder in the same lineup. The have an impact on one another’s value. Favors has been in great form and the shot attempts have been there over the last four games. His minutes are never impacted by blowouts and the matchup is a fantastic one.

    Center

    DeMarcus Cousins vs. Timberwolves $7,100 – We have some center options to choose, but Cousins feels like he has one of the safer floors tonight. He also possesses some solid upside in a matchup that we have seen centers take advantage of throughout the season. Karl-Anthony Towns has improved on his defense, but it is still a matchup worth taking advantage of.

    JaVale McGee vs. Hornets $7,000 – These minutes feel real and until I see them drop again I am treating this as the norm going forward. His rebounding rates are off of the wall and he gets a matchup versus a Hornets frontcourt that has been nothing short of lackluster. We have some good centers on the board, but McGee possesses one of the higher ceilings out of them.

    Enes Kanter vs. Hawks $5,500 – Like I said with Lillard, I am going right back to the well with Portland. Kanter only played 21 minutes in his first start for Jusuf Nurkic, but again, the game got out of hand. The Hawks stink at rebounding and I fully expect Nurkic to take advantage of it and I am hoping to take advantage of him flying under the radar after burning a few people of Wednesday. A pivot off of Kanter would be playing two centers and Zach Collins or Al-Farouq Aminu at one of the forward positions.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. Let’s catch a win tonight!

  • DFS Picks: Friday, March 22

    Welcome back! It is Friday, March 22 and we have seven games to break down for tonight’s card. We have a lot of March Madness going on tonight and that is why I am here to funnel you the information while you can remain firmly planted on your couch immersed on basketball. On a more serious note, this is a great time to capitalize on those who want to get action, but whose focus and research is in other places. I love college basketball, but my priority will always be the NBA.

    A lot of tonight’s lineup construction will be dependent on how you correlate your plays. For instance, if you are targeting a few of the value options starting over there in Memphis it makes sense to play a bigger name on the other side of the ball in hopes it remains close. If you are targeting a one-off in this game because you are worried about a blowout it makes sense to choose an option whose minutes would be safer regardless of score or comes in as a superb value.

    Let’s jump right into this.

    Point Guard

    Russell Westbrook vs. Raptors $10,800 – We are going to have some studs to spend up on and if I am choosing one it’s Westbrook. I want exposure to this game and we just watched these two teams play two days ago. It went how one would imagine; Paul George struggled with Kawhi Leonard guarding him. Those are generally the only two guys I target from the Thunder and tonight it’s narrowed to one.

    Rajon Rondo vs. Nets $6,800 – Trying to peg the rotation or minutes for anyone on the Lakers is difficult, but we know there is going to be value somewhere and the matchup is solid. Rondo’s minutes have been consistent and when he gets the minutes he generally produces. Rondo generally explodes with the counting stats and it will only easier to get assists with the update that LeBron James is expected to play.

    Delon Wright vs. Magic $4,900 – The matchup is slightly rough against a stout Magic defense, but we have so many injured bodies on the Memphis side of the ball that I am obligated to mention a few. Wright played 40 minutes in their last game in which Avery Bradley out and now we have the news that Mike Conley is being listed as doubtful. Wright will likely be the chalky play, but we could pivot to Tyler Dorsey or Justin Holiday as well for some value.

    Shooting Guard

    D’Angelo Russell vs. Lakers $8,300 – He’s just been on fire as of late and he gets a revenge matchup versus the team that moved him two summers ago. There is without a doubt some bad blood here, regardless of what anyone says, but even if we take that away we still have a fair price and great matchup for a guy who could break a slate. Expect his ownership to be high, but he is going to be hard to fade.

    Fred VanVleet vs. Thunder $5,200 – No Lowry means fire up your shares of VanVleet. He should be chalky again, but he did just drop 36 DK points on the Thunder two days ago. We have cheap options we could pivot to, but this game should stay close and competitive; the same can’t be said for some of the Memphis value guys.

    Small Forward

    Kyle Kuzma vs. Nets $6,500 – LeBron James coming back should give Kuzma a few more open looks, which he could definitely use after shooting 39 percent from the field over the last five games. The Nets can’t rebound and with LeBron James back we also have to imagine they run Kuzma at the five for stretches.

    Rudy Gay vs. Rockets $5,400 – I generally do not target Gay, but I do not love a lot of the options at small forward tonight. If this game goes small he should see more than 30 minutes. The Spurs have been playing like the Spurs as of late and I am expecting Pop to do what he has to do in order to keep this game intact.

    Bruno Caboclo vs. Magic $3,500 – He played massive minutes in the last game and there are even fewer bodies for the Grizzlies tonight. I never feel confident in Bruno, but he offers upside with his rebounding and defensive abilities. We have to keep in mind that when he did play big minutes it was a one-point game and it a solid matchup versus the Rockets. We do not have that same avenue here, but a solid pivot could be Chandler Parsons if you are worried about it getting out of hand. He should play at least 22 minutes regardless of a blowout. Both of these plays are risky, but if you need to save money they are there.

    Power Forward

    Kevin Love vs. Clippers $7,700 – I do not love the price tag, but Love is no longer on the injury report and is playing one of the league’s worst rebounding teams in the Clippers. We want to know Love is playing 30 minutes before we pay this price tag, but he was questionable with a head injury coming in, nothing lower body or shoulder related. Every option listed at small forward is also power forward eligible on DraftKings if this is a spot where you’d rather save than spend up.

    Pascal Siakam vs. Thunder $7,200 – Siakam is coming off of a great performance against the Thunder and with Kawhi Leonard likely guarding Paul George we should see Siakam draw Jerami Grant. Siakam handles the ball more with Lowry out and it is a home game on a night where he just received the NBA Cares Community Assist award. I’m guessing something small during the pre-game for him, but it’s a small-added narrative – he is a great play regardless.

    Center

    Nikola Vucevic vs. Grizzlies $9,600 – Anytime Vucevic and Nikola Jokic are on the same slate we tend to see Vuc’s ownership dip. He may not offer as high of a ceiling as Jokic, but he has been one of the most reliable fantasy contributors this season. The plays in this game are going to come down to whether or not you think it stays close enough for the starters to play all four quarters. We have to keep an eye out on the other center in the game as well. Joakim Noah (knee) was added to the injury report Friday morning and if he were forced to miss, we may see big minutes from Jonas Valanciunas again, vaulting him into consideration.

    Clint Capela vs. Spurs $7,400 – Capela has performed well against the Spurs this season. In three games he is averaging a massive 20 points and 17 rebounds for just fewer than 50 DK points per game. It is a fair price tag and there is not a lot else to love or trust at center tonight.

    Hassan Whiteside vs. Bucks $5,000 – Whiteside offers tournament value coming off of the bench in limited minutes. We’ve seen him put up some massive double-doubles and his price has come down to a point he peaks my interest. If Bam Adebayo were to miss Whiteside would vault into consideration, but otherwise he is a GPP flier.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments.  A big thank you to those who competed in Wednesday’s “Beat the Expert” contest. I got smoked, but it is always a blast.

  • DFS Picks: Friday, March 15

    Welcome back to another edition of my Friday DFS picks on DraftKings! It is March 15 and we have eight games on tonight’s slate to break down. It is going to be an interesting night with all of the value that should be available, but a lot of the news needs to be monitored throughout the day. This is an early look and we have to be able to adjust to the news.

    A big thanks to everyone who came out and competed in our Wednesday “Beat the Expert” contest. It is always a ton of fun and the community we have here at HoopBall is no joke.

    I listed some of my favorite plays by position, but to be honest I love the guys in the “Honorable Mention” section as much as I do the guys at their positions. We have plenty of point guards to choose from and the mid-tier price range is where I am looking to attack tonight.

    Let’s jump right into this!

    Point Guard

    Ish Smith vs. Lakers $3,900 – Reggie Jackson rolled his ankle in the Pistons’ last game, the same ankle that had been nagging him all season. He is currently being considered questionable and while Jackson downplayed the injury, these ankle injuries tend to blow up the following day or after the game once a player takes his shoe off. If Jackson sits Smith would vault into chalky, free-space territory.

    Emmanuel Mudiay vs. Spurs $4,200 – Dennis Smith Jr. is out, so iit seems safe to assume Mudiay will play 32+ minutes. I do my best to avoid the Knicks at all cost, but this may be a spot to give a second look.

    Kemba Walker vs. Wizards $8,200 – We got burned in this spot not too long ago by Walker, but I am not afraid to go back to the well. Hopefully the sour taste he left people with lowers his ownership. He is by no means a must-play because of the other guard options we have on this slate and the other options we have to play on the Hornets side of the ball.

    Shooting Guard

    Devin Booker vs. Rockets $8,100 – I have a rule when it comes to Booker. When they are facing a good team I completely avoid him, unless I am playing a few players on the other side. I never one-off play Booker because any game involving the Suns could get out of hand. That being said, the Suns have been competitive lately and in any game they are, it is safe to assume that it is because of Booker’s play. So if I am playing any James Harden, Chris Paul or Clint Capela, I will likely have Booker in there as well.

    Lou Williams vs. Bulls $7,100 – Sweet Lou is always a fantastic tournament play. He comes off of the bench with a massive usage and draws one of the better matchups for the day. For some odd reason, people tend to shy away from players who come off of the bench and I try to take advantage of that. These teams met up earlier in the season and Williams dropped 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for 66.5 DK points. I by no means expect another triple-double, but the 30 real life points could be in play again. Danilo Gallinari is currently questionable and if he were forced to sit out than Williams vaults up my board even more.

    Small Forward

    Kyle Kuzma vs. Pistons $6,200 –If you are asking me if I feel comfortable playing any Lakers the answer is no, but if I have to choose one it’s Kuzma. The minutes should be secure and the shot attempts should be there for him. You could say the same for Rajon Rondo, but he needs others to hit their shots to really get his assist value and Lakers do not seem like a team with a ton of scorers surrounding Rondo. I am not forcing Kuzma into lineups, but I will have some shares of him at small forward.

    Marvin Williams vs. Wizards $4,600 – This is a game that will be worth targeting. We already know Kemba Walker is in play in this matchup, but he isn’t the only one playing in a pace-up spot. With (likely) no Zeller I am expecting Williams to see a few extra rebounds. He missed the last game due to an illness so he may fly under the radar, but the price is fair and he offers some eligibility at a position I am not to fond of.

    JaMychal Green vs. Bulls $3,600 – Green started for Gallo last game and did pretty well with the minutes. If we hear Gallo is out again than Green may be one of the best value plays on the board. Problem with that is this game is the last one of the night and we may not have the news by then.

    Power Forward

    Blake Griffin vs. Lakers $7,700 – This is simply because of price. I think Andre Drummond has the better matchup on paper, but how is Griffin only $7,700 in this matchup? He is by no means a must-play, but there is a lot worse you could pick than Griffin at under $8,000.

    Bobby Portis vs. Hornets $6,100 – Portis has some risk involved, but that is what makes him great for tournaments. He has dropped at least 40 DK points in three of his last four games and the Hornets will be without their best frontcourt defender in Cody Zeller. This game will have a high total and we already know the Wizards need to win games to keep their playoff hopes alive. I am not going overboard, but a few shares of Portis seems right in the spot.

    Nemanja Bjelica vs. Sixers $4,600 – We are going to want all the news before considering Bjelica. Marvin Bagley made his return last game, but Bjelica was inserted into the starting lineup. We could see the same lineup today with the Sixers playing with a little more size. This is also a back-to-back for the Kings and we could see them rest or limit Bagley.

    Center

    Joel Embiid vs. Kings $9,900 – Embiid is in a great spot and has a great price. This is a matchup he should crush and as of now Ben Simmons is currently being considered questionable. If Simmons were to miss we would see everyone one the Sixers get a boost. We have another great center we could spend our money on, but I am not shying away from Embiid.

    Andre Drummond vs. Lakers $8,800 – This is just a smash spot for Drummond. The price tag is more than fair and they Lakers have an abysmal frontcourt. The only thing that is stopping me from locking in Drummond is Griffin’s price tag and the other centers we have available.

    Willy Hernangomez vs. Wizards $3,200 – No Zeller and we saw Hernangomez start in his place last game. This is a dream matchup on paper versus the Wizards and what it comes down to is Hernangomez’s minutes. He is generally a point per dollar smasher and even in 24 minutes he could produce some pretty solid production.

    More than Honorable Mentions

    Chris Paul vs. Suns $6,900, Jusuf Nurkic vs. Pelicans $7,400, Elfrid Payton vs. Blazers $6,600

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. Now go crush tonight!

  • DFS Picks: Friday, March 8

    Good afternoon, it is Friday March 8 and we have a nice nine-game slate on our hands for tonight. It is always good to get back into the groove after a short two-game slate like Thursday. Tonight’s slate should be a fun one. We have value, stud options and plenty to choose from. When looking at the top options I’d rank James Harden and Russell Westbrook above Nikola Jokic and Paul George, but they are all always in play. Let’s jump right into this.

    Point Guard

    Ben Simmons vs. Rockets $9,100 – I am going to continue rolling out these Sixers while Embiid is out. Simmons is still not priced right and could triple-double in any spot. I like another Sixer a little more on this slate, but it would be foolish to not mention Simmons. Nonetheless, he is not my favorite point guard option on the slate, but viable.

    Kemba Walker vs. Wizards $8,100  – We do not need to think about this one too much. Walker is severely underpriced in one of the best fantasy matchups on paper. I was all over Luka Doncic the other night because of this matchup and I will not be shying away from Walker on tonight’s slate. He is by far my favorite point guard on the slate.

    Frank Jackson vs. Raptors $3,200 – Jrue Holiday has already been ruled out and we know his minutes and usage need to go somewhere. Jackson should see a boost and while I am not expecting too much from him, he is still a value play. He likes to shoot and even if this game gets out of hand it should not impact Jackson’s minutes. This game is simple for me – if you think it is going to stay close than Elfrid Payton is a great play at $5,000. Jackson is in play either way, but does not offer up the same ceiling as Payton.

    Shooting Guard

    Jeremy Lamb vs. Wizards $5,600 – I like Lamb for many of the reasons I like Walker. This matchup is too juicy and there will be points scored. Lamb has seen his DK points per minute rise since moving to the bench, but his minutes really haven’t changed. I would like him to be slightly cheaper, but in this matchup warrants the price and getting some exposure to this game may be crucial.

    Avery Bradley vs. Jazz $4,700 – Ughh, I hate recommending Avery Bradley on any slate. His early-season form keeps popping in my head, but Bradley has slowly turned it around his being shipped over to Memphis. He’s averaging 27 DK points over his last five games, but what is more impressive is his shot attempts. In that span Bradley has taken 77 shot attempts.

    Gary Harris vs. Warriors $4,000 – Harris finally saw his normal allotment of minutes, but his price isn’t reflecting that just yet. This will be a great game and the Nuggets are going to need their best defenders for as many minutes as possible to stay in this one. I wouldn’t be expecting another 35 DK points, but a cool 28-30 seems optimal at Harris’ price.

    Small Forward

    Justise Winslow vs. Cavs $6,200 – Winslow continues to be one of the safer options on the slate, but still holds some upside as well. The Cavs are dreadful and it isn’t just against opposing point guards. Goran Dragic is currently being considered questionable, but I would not be surprised to see him sit out another game. These teams have met up three times already this season and Winslow is averaging 40 DK points per game in those meetings. If this game stays intact for four quarters I think it’s safe to predict Winslow for 35 DK points. I am not going overboard on this game, but Winslow feels like the safest play in it.

    Will Barton vs. Warriors – $5,900 – Fast paced games are made for Barton. He has been getting the minutes and he is starting to look like the old Will Barton we used to know. Barton has faced the Warriors already this season and dropped 29 DK points. Now, that doesn’t sound too great, but he did it in only 23 minutes. Over the last four games Barton is averaging 33 minutes, so I will be expecting 30 DK points at the very least if this game stays intact.

    Royce O’Neale vs. Grizzlies $3,300 – Ricky Rubio and Raul Neto have already been ruled out and in the past we’ve seen Royce take advantage of the opportunity when Donovan Mitchell slides over the point guard. It’s an ugly matchup, but he is another guy that would still see some fourth quarter run regardless of the score of the game. Kyle Korver has been playing great and should se an uptick with the guards out as well, but if it gets out of control he would be one of the first ones sitting.

    Power Forward

    Kevin Love vs. Heat $7,800 – Love is the workhorse for this team and as long as he is on the court that is not changing. This isn’t the same matchup we were targeting him in on Wednesday, but the minutes and rebounds are safe and we have to expect a nice scoring game from Love soon. I am expecting much less ownership tonight than he had versus the Nets and the upside is the same, we just might not feel as safe about it versus the Heat.

    Tobias Harris vs. Rockets $7,400 – I am jumping right back onto the Harris bandwagon. After a horrible game the last time out I am hoping for a solid bounce back here for Harris. The matchup is a solid one and I am not expecting P.J. Tucker to hold him back. The Rockets like to shoot from deep and that could lead to longer rebounds for Harris.

    Danilo Gallinari vs. Thunder $6,200 – This is a game that should garner some ownership and for good reason. I do not love the personal matchup if Gallo draws Paul George, but this team is trying to win games and Gallo is the primary offensive weapon. I think he is just a tad underpriced. Gallo is averaging 33 DK points per game over the last five games and in three meetings this season against the Thunder he is averaging 38 DK points. We might not need to go here on this slate, but he is a viable option and should be low owned.

    Center

    Nikola Vucevic vs. Mavericks $9,200 – This is a dream spot for center. The Mavs are terrible at rebounding and Vucevic is one of the league’s best rebounding centers. He is at more than a fair price and should see a slightly depressed ownership with Jokic only being $900 more in a matchup versus the Warriors.

    Clint Capela vs. Sixers $6,700 – Capela was injured when these two teams met up earlier in the season, but they did play two times last season and wait for it; Capela crushed. In the two meetings last season Capela averaged 14.0 points and 17.5 rebounds per game. That was with Joel Embiid on the court.

    Steven Adams vs. Clippers $6,200 – If you read Vucevic’s breakdown than you have a good idea why I listed Adams as well. The Clippers are right next to the Mavs when it comes to a great matchup for opposing centers. In three meetings this year Adams is averaging 37 DK points per game and we know he always has a safe floor as well. Adams is viable in both tournaments and cash games.

    Honorable Mentions

    Aaron Gordon, Robin Lopez, Kenrich Williams

    Remember to monitor the news and adjust accordingly. More value will certainly appear throughout the course of the day and adjusting our rankings is a must. Thank you guys for checking out the article and if you have any questions or comments you could always find me on Twitter @MikeApotria.

  • DFS Picks: Friday, March 1

    Welcome back Hoop Ballers! It is Friday, March 1 and we have seven games to open the new month. As always we have some top-tier studs on the board in LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. They face off against each other in the late game, and both are priced up but still in play. I’d lean LeBron given Giannis’ playing time concerns, but I would not be surprised to see the Greek Freak play with some fire against LeBron.

    Nonetheless, we have plenty of other spots in we could target and a ton of high paced games and pivots. More value will surely open up throughout the day, but as of this morning these are some of my favorite value plays on the slate.

    Point Guard

    Kemba Walker vs. Nets $8,200 – This price tag seems a tad too low. We’d expect a slight price bump given that matchup versus the Nets, but Walker’s price has actually dropped $300 since their last game. Walker will surely be a popular play and if you are looking to pivot off of him Trae Young ($8,100) has been hot and has a similar price tag.

    Elfrid Payton vs. Suns $5,600 – His lowest score over the last three games is 34.75 DK points and he has yet to hit the threshold where we fade. It’s a fantastic matchup versus a Suns team that plays at a fast pace and bleeds fantasy points. It will be hard to not have some sort of exposure to the Pelicans backcourt. Still waiting for a random triple-double from Payton and keep in mind this is a revenge game for him.

    Rajon Rondo vs. Bucks $5,000 – Rondo may fly under the radar in what will be one of the best games of the night. The Lakers have been a dumpster fire as of late and the recent play forced Luke Walton to make another change to the starting lineup. If Rondo is starting and playing 30-plus minutes we have to consider him. I don’t love the matchup for point guards, but he played 36 minutes in the Lakers’ win last game and dropped 48 DK points. I’d run to the bank with 30 DK points and take whatever else I could get from this matchup.

    Shooting Guard

    Jrue Holiday vs. Suns $7,900 – Everything I mentioned with Payton’s matchup could be said for Holiday’s. The Suns do not have a decent defender outside of Richaun Holmes. The organization mentioned limiting Holiday’s minutes going forward, but we haven’t really seen any sort of limitations on him thus far. He is averaging 43 DK points over his last over his last four games and has already dropped 46.5 DK points on this Suns team earlier in the season.

    Tyler Johnson vs. Pelicans $5,000 – Johnson has been playing well in his new threads. He is averaging 36 DK points over his last three games, one game is slightly inflated, but now we are hearing that Devin Booker is questionable with a toe injury and if he is forced to sit we should see Johnson handle plenty of minutes with increased usage. Johnson is in play for me regardless of Booker’s status, but if Booker does in fact get ruled out he becomes a chalky play. I’d also take a strong look at Josh Jackson and Kelly Oubre if Booker does sit. If Booker plays he becomes a fantastic play in this matchup.

    Pat Beverley vs. Kings $4,900 – Bev has quietly returned to the form that fantasy owners love. He’s been aggressive on defense, fighting for rebounds and playing big minutes. This is going to be one of the higher scoring games on the night and Bev is my favorite guard on the team. He’s dropped 38. 5 and 45 DK points over the last two games and scored 23.5 DK points in 25 minutes in the three games the two teams have met this season. If he were to play 35 minutes that would equal to 32.9 DK points at 0.94 DK points per minute.

    Small Forward

    Khris Middleton vs. Lakers $6,600 – Middleton has begun turning his play around following the All-Star break. Over his last four games Middleton is averaging 39 DK points. Everyone will be on LeBron and Giannis and for good reason, but this may lead to Middleton flying under the radar slightly and I don’t mind taking advantage of that.

    Jeremy Lamb vs. Nets $5,300 – Lamb has been crushing since going to the bench. In fact, he is averaging 1.24 DK points per minute since going to the bench, while his season average is 1.01 DK points per minute. It is a great matchup versus the Nets and allows us to get some exposure to this game if we are not spending up on Kemba.

    Moe Harkless vs. Raptors $3,800 – I don’t love this matchup, but Harkless has been taking advantage of the minutes left behind by an injured Evan Turner. If you need the value he’s there, but I am not in love with the play this early and looking for value to break later.

    Power Forward

    John Collins vs. Bulls $7,000 – How is Collins only $7,000 in this matchup? The Bulls play at one of the league’s fastest paces with one of the worst defenses. Collins dropped 53 DK points on this Bulls frontcourt already this season and just came out with a bang against the Timberwolves last game with 38 points and eight rebounds.

    Nikola Mirotic vs. Lakers $4,800 – This is a dream spot on paper for Mirotic, but the question is, does he see the minutes? Well, we know they are comfortable with rolling him out there for 27 minutes like we saw last game, but that was also an overtime game so will he need to play that much? Personally, I don’t care, I know the upside is there now and if this game gets out of hand early he should still see some decent run. He can provide value in limited minutes as well and while everyone will be jamming the studs into this game I am leaning towards the value.

    Jabari Parker vs. Celtics $4,700 – I will always reiterate the fact that Parker should only be played in tournaments. He is one of the better GPP values on the slate given his upside, but his floor is also extremely low and could sink lineups. The Celtics have an excellent team defense, but Parker should draw a few plus individual matchups against the Celtics second unit. I am not going overboard on Parker, but I will definitely have a share or two.

    Nemanja Bjelica vs. Clippers $3,800 – Bjelica has been phased out of the rotation for the better half of a month now, but the injury to Marvin Bagley should open up some playing time for him again. He only played 10 minutes last game, but Bagley also played 20 minutes in that game and we can’t imagine a world where the Kings want to run out Harry Giles big minutes. This puts Bjelica in play along with another name we will get to in a moment.

    Center

    Julius Randle vs. Suns $8,000 – Randle has been playing big minutes and that means big DK point totals. I am never worried about Randle burning me and his upside is immense in this game. There is not much that needs to be said here, but if for some reason we hear Anthony Davis is ruled out he would only be better (obviously).  The sky is the limit for Randle in this matchup.

    Robin Lopez vs. Hawks $4,900 – Lopez is finally seeing a price increase, but not enough to scare me off of him in this matchup. The Atlanta frontcourt is just as poor defensively as the Bulls’ and while Lopez isn’t an offensive juggernaut, he should continue playing heavy minutes and have plenty of rebounding and block upside.

    Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Clippers $4,500 – WCS will be chalky tonight with Marvin Bagley ruled out, but someone has to take advantage of the minutes and usage and over the last few weeks we have been seeing plenty of Bagley at the five. This price tag is great and so is the matchup. We target bigs against this weak Clippers frontcourt and there is no reason to shy away from it tonight, especially with this game’s total.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Kyrie Irving, Eric Bledsoe, Al Horford and Harry Giles (GPP value play)

    As always you guys can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions and comments. Good luck!

  • DFS Picks: Friday, February 22

    Welcome back! It is Friday, February 22 and we have nine games to look at for tonight’s DFS card. Last night we had our weekly “Beat the Expert” contest and needless to say I was smoked by my own plays. Sexton and LeVert let me down, but it is a new slate and a new day and that means a new article. We don’t have nearly as many high-priced plays as we did last night, but just as much value. Let’s break this bad boy down and get ready for tonight.

    Point Guard

    Kyle Lowry vs. Spurs $7,200 – While most will be targeting Kawhi Leonard versus his former team I will opt for Lowry. He was crushing heading into the All-Star break and should draw a positive defensive matchup against Patty Mills or Bryn Forbes. It’s DeMar DeRozan’s first game back in Toronto and I have a feeling his best friend Kyle will show up as well.

    Jeff Teague vs. Knicks $5,900 – This is going to be dependent on news for me. If Karl-Anthony Towns is forced to sit out I think we have to look at Teague, as well as Derrick Rose. I would lean Teague over Rose in this matchup, simply because Teague will draw a defensive matchup against Dennis Smith Jr. If Towns does play you could still consider Teague, but he would not see nearly as much usage and there is another point guard around the same price range I would gravitate towards.

    Ricky Rubio vs. Thunder $5,800 – We have a few point guards floating around this price range, but Rubio is my favorite. Russell Westbrook is known for turning the ball over and not playing the best defense. In two meetings this season Rubio is averaging 11.0 points, 9.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds. That has translated into 35 DK points per game. This game will have one of the higher game totals on the night and should stay close with the Thunder only being favored by 3.5 points.

    Shooting Guard

    Landry Shamet vs. Grizzlies $4,000 – News came out that Shamet would remain in the starting lineup going forward. If Shamet is shooting the ball, odds are it is a 3-pointer, so don’t be as afraid of the low shot attempts. We have a ton of value so we may not need to go towards Shamet in a game with a low total, but there are worse ways you could spend $4,000.

    Kent Bazemore vs. Pistons $4,200 – Bazemore is a player we know can stuff the stat sheet. The news came out that Kevin Huerter is going to be doubtful and this should equal more run for both Taurean Prince and Bazemore. Both are in play, but I am leaning Bazemore.

    DeMar DeRozan vs. Raptors $7,300 – We target emotional players in there returns to former teams. In other words, this is a solid revenge spot. This will be the first time DeRozan will travel back to Toronto. He dropped 60 DK points when these teams met up earlier this season in San Antonio and I’d expect him to play with a similar fire he had that night. According to Josh Lewenberg, Raptors beat writer, DeRozan was on Serge Ibaka’s cooking show over the summer and said he was going to drop 50 points on the Raptors.

    Small Forward

    Danilo Gallinari vs. Grizzlies $6,800 – Reports indicate that Gallo’s minute restriction will be lifted following the All-Star break. With Tobias Harris out of town we have a good idea of who will take the shots and where the usage will go. This isn’t a game we want to load up on, even though we have fair price tags. I don’t think I would have Shamet and Gallinari in the same lineup.

    Otto Porter vs. Magic  $6,200 – Porter has been nothing short of comfortable is his new threads. He has taken 20, 15 and 14 shot attempts over his last three games. His usage rate is right up there with Lauri Markkanen’s and Zach LaVine’s, but at a nice discount. Porter is considered a tournament play for me, as it seems like we have safer cash options.

    Jabari Parker vs. Hornets $5,500 – The definition of a tournament play, Parker has scored more than 39 DK in three out of four games; he only managed 8.25 DK points in the other. Talk about variance. Still, this game has the highest game total on the board and Parker is still underpriced for what his upside is.

    Power Forward

    Blake Griffin vs. Hawks $8,900 – Any time the Hawks are on the slate we are going to want to target them. They bleed points and play at an extremely fast pace. Griffin and Andre Drummond and very close in price and are both fantastic plays. I am only going to with one and as of now we have a lot of potential value at center.

    Domantas Sabonis vs. Pelicans $5,500 – Anytime we see that Myles Turner is questionable we have to think about Sabonis. He would become a near lock if starting, and against a Pelicans team that could play some big bodies he should see plenty of minutes. The minutes are not the important thing to look at, but he will also absorb a much higher usage with both Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner off of the court. Again, Sabonis is only a play for me if Turner is out.

    Dario Saric vs. Knicks $4,800 – Saric is expected to remain in the starting lineup and is probably my favorite play on the Timberwolves side of the ball. His minutes were limited last game, but it also came in a blowout versus the Rockets where Capela was out and the Rockets played smaller. KAT is currently being listed as questionable and if forced to sit out would immediately thrust Saric into must-play territory. Taj Gibson would also become a viable option and they could even be played together.

    Center

    Nikola Jokic vs. Mavs $10,100 – Jokic is my favorite play over 10k on the slate. Paul George and Russell Westbrook are obviously always in play, but Jokic has the most favorable matchup against a Mavs team that shipped their biggest center away before the deadline. He dropped 66 DK points on the Mavs earlier this season and it’s hard to imagine anything less than 50 DK points tonight if this game stays intact. If you don’t have the money for Jokic and still want some action in the frontcourt we could look at Paul Millsap ($4,600). This just feels too cheap for Millsap if he is playing 28+ minutes.

    Robin Lopez vs. Magic $4,000 – Lopez is expected to remain the starting center for the Bulls and if that means he is in play. We have another cheap option at center we will get to in a minute, but I am all for offering pivots and Lopez feels safe in cash, but still offers some decent upside at his price to fit in some studs.

    Joakim Noah vs. Clippers $3,800 – Enter the other center previously mentioned above. Jonas Valacunias has already been ruled out for personal reasons, which vaults both Ivan Rabb and Noah into play. One more frontcourt absence and we could probably even play both of these guys, but as of now I will take the discount with Noah.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments.

  • DFS Picks: An Early Look at Thursday, February 21

    Welcome back after an eventful All-Star break. We should all be well-rested and unless you are a degenerate like me who played DFS during the break you are likely chomping at the bit to get back into this. Well on Thursday we have an awesome six-game slate to look forward to and I have been all over them all week long.

    Of course, we have plenty of high-priced studs to choose from and I am not going to get into breaking them down as value plays. Let’s be real, James Harden, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all in play. As always with the Warriors players we are correlating them to the game. This means if we think it is going to stay close for four quarters we could look at Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. If not we take a longer look at some of the bench options over on Sacramento. Either way I still want some action in this game and I think Curry is my favorite Warrior. At this point he may be one of my favorite plays in general due to his price tag.

    If you want a pivot you could look at Damian Lillard versus the Nets. Not at all a bad play, but we can’t play everyone and as of now I’m listing Curry ahead of him for a similar price tag. My secondary play on the Warriors is Draymond Green. Both he and Curry just feel criminally underpriced in what is a great spot on paper.  The only starter on the Kings side of the ball I am looking to get exposure to is Buddy Hield ($6,400). In three games against the Warriors this season he is averaging 43.3 DK points and has helped keep these games intact.

    As for James Harden, yes, he is in play. We know the Rockets are starting to get healthy once again and a report came out that Clint Capela is expected to play. With both Paul and Capela on the floor we see Harden’s usage dip down to 35.6 percent. It sounds almost comical using the word ‘dip’ in there, but it is actually a significant decrease from the almost 43 percent usage he was seeing with both Paul and Capela off of the floor.

    That being said, he will likely draw less ownership than he has over the past few weeks and even when both Paul and Capela were healthy Harden dropped a 50-point triple-double on the Lakers earlier in the season. The upside will surely be there and I will have some exposure, but will lean Paul and Gordon over him in some other lineups. This will, in turn, allow me to get some exposure on the Houston side of the ball and still manage to fit either Giannis or LeBron in my lineup as well.

    Now that we got those high-priced studs that we are all looking to jam in out of the way we can break down some of the value plays we might need to make this all work.

    Don’t forget to join tomorrow’s Beat the Expert contest on DraftKings! There will be cash for the top 20 finishers, a Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee gift pack for second place and a Hoop Ball t-shirt for the top dog. You can enter multiple times, as well, and reserve your entry by clicking right here.

    Point Guard

    Chris Paul vs. Lakers $7,600 – If you are looking for a narrative to buy into on Thursday’s slate, look no further than Spit-Gate. Let’s not forget earlier in the season when Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo got into a pushing match leading to what we now know as “Spit-Gate 2019.” Take the narrative out and this is still a great spot for Paul. Over his last three games Paul is averaging 33.1 minutes and a whopping 43.6 DK points per game and has notably cut into James Harden’s usage and assist totals. In the two previous games that Paul has faced the Lakers this season he has averaged 21.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 33.3 minutes per game.

    On Thursday we are expecting Clint Capela to return to the lineup after an extended absence. This is an early look, but from what I am seeing he is practicing without any limitations and could play without any restrictions. Now If I had to bet I would expect a slight minutes restriction, but we have to remember Capela hurt his thumb and this shouldn’t have impacted his cardio while he was out. This all bodes well for Paul, who has made a living off of running pick and rolls. We have some pivot options around Capela’s price range of $7,000, but if we hear he is playing without any restrictions he would immediately become one of my favorite center plays on the board.

    Rajon Rondo vs. Rockets $5,800 – Again we have the narrative in place for Rondo as well, but either way he still makes for a solid play Thursday night. Before CP3 incident, Rondo was on his way to a triple-double in only 29 minutes of play. Lonzo Ball is still out following the All-Star break and we know the Lakers are going to need their scoring to come from Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James in order to keep pace with the Rockets. If the game stays close this should equal a good number of assists for Rondo and allows us to get some cheaper exposure on the Lakers’ side of the ball.

    Collin Sexton vs. Suns $4,900 – 22, 21,14,18 and 24 are the shot attempts Sexton has taken over the last five games. During that span Sexton’s usage has been 27.8 percent and has translated into .93 DK points per minute. That’s not too bad for a guy who is averaging 38.8 minutes over the last five games, granted one was overtime.

    Jordan Clarkson is firmly in play as well, but feels more viable for tournaments given his price tag and volatility.  Clarkson is averaging 32.6 minutes over his last five games and has taken full advantage of them. During that span he has sported a team-high usage rate of 32.6 percent leading to 1.10 DK points per minute. His numbers are slightly inflated from the overtime game versus the Nets, but the usage does not lie. Both draw a fantastic matchup against a Suns team that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency against opposing point guards.

    Shooting Guard

    Devin Booker vs. Cavs $7,700 – Booker seems to be slightly underpriced coming out of the All-Star break and this may be a time to take advantage. He has had plenty of time off to help rest up and comes in against a Cavs team ranked dead last in team defensive efficiency. Before the break, the Cavs started Brandon Knight at shooting guard. This may not happen again, but there is no reason why Booker shouldn’t be able to take advantage of one of the worst defensive guards. Book has a ton of tournament upside on this slate, but limit your Suns exposure, as this game may not be as high-scoring as some may think.

    With T.J. Warren out once again I think it is safe to fire back up some Oubre. Again, I would not over-expose myself to this game, just grab a few pieces you feel confident in and work them with your lineup construction.

    Eric Gordon vs. Lakers $4,400 – This price tag just seems absurd for Gordon. Yes, I know we have a fully healthy Rockets’ team now, but Gordon will still handle the helm off of the bench and take plenty of shot attempts. When Paul, Harden and Capela are all healthy we till see Gordon absorb a usage ate of 24.1 percent. That is the second-highest on the team next to James Harden’s massive 43.2 percent. But as we dove in Harden’s numbers a little earlier, we know that fluctuates with who is on the court.

    With Gordon we know he is the only scoring threat on the court for the Rockets’ second unit and there is no reason why he wouldn’t close out the game as well. Gordon’s faced the Lakers three times this season and is averaging 25.8 DK points in 32.1 minutes per game. If you are playing Harden or Paul and do not want Gordon in the same lineup due to correlation you could look to Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,500) or Dywane Wade ($4,300) as pivots. I feel that both are underpriced, but also a tad bit riskier.

    Small Forward

    Ben Simmons/Jimmy Butler vs. Heat $7,900/$7,200 – The news of Embiid being ruled out shook up some of my lineups. Over the past two weeks Embiid has been sporting a usage rate of 31.7 percent over the last two weeks. I used a two week sample size that way I could get a better understanding of how his usage may be distributed amongst some of the newly acquired players. It’s a small ample size, but with Joel Embiid off of the floor over the last two weeks we see Jimmy Butlers DK points per minute skyrocket to 1.70 DK points per minute while having a usage of 26.6 percent. Simmons has been someone we would immediately target when Embid has missed games in the past, but Simmons usage has been down since the arrival of Tobias Harris. I am willing to take some shots though, we can’t forget the price tag Simmons was seeing earlier in the season when there were three big names in the Philly starting lineup and thats what we have again tonight. It also helps that Thursday night is Australian heritage night. For those who did not know Ben Simmons is Australian.

    Kyle Kuzma vs. Rockets $5,900 – Kuzma’s rebounding numbers have taken a massive hit since LeBron James has returned to lineup, but if we take a look at the Lakers as a whole over the past five games, we will see that Kuzma actually has a team-high usage rate of 28.3 percent. That is translating to 1.04 DK points per minute, leaving plenty of room for upside on Thursday’s slate.

    Caris LeVert vs. Trail Blazers $5,100 – Don’t look now, but LeVert managed to play 31 minutes the game prior to the All-Star break. Now, the Nets medical staff said LeVert has an appointment this week to be re-evaluated, but this sounds like the medical staff is just doing their jobs and we should have word prior to tip-off of his availability.

    Barring any setbacks, I am expecting a few more minutes for LeVert here and even if he manages around the 30-minute mark again he is still too cheap. We have a very limited sample size of LeVert’s usage without Spencer Dinwiddie playing, but LeVert has a usage rate of 30.9 percent during that time and that’s turned into 1.16 DK points per minute. Let’s not forget the breakout this kid was having prior to injury.

    I am not against playing D’Angelo Russell in this matchup, but after looking at the numbers it is clear Russell takes a major hit when sharing the floor with LeVert. In fact, his usage drops by 2.1 percent and he averages .27 fewer DK points per minute. Of course, Russell still possesses immense tournament upside, but I’d rather go with a few safer spots in cash. Portland’s defense is not bad by any means, but they are currently ranked 20th in the league for defensive efficiency vs. opposing small forwards.

    Power Forward

    Larry Nance Jr. vs. Suns $7,200 – I have to list Nance for the obvious reason: he has been smashing as of late. His price tag now reflects this though and we know Kevin Love is starting to get healthy once again, and earlier in the season the Cavs were reluctant to play Nance big minutes when the bigs were healthy. For me, I want to hear that Nance is starting and with Ante Zizic back that may not be the case. He is in a fantastic matchup and he should chew up the glass.

    As I mentioned earlier, I am limiting my exposure to this game on both sides of the ball and hoping to capitalize later in the night. Again he is a fantastic play as the Suns are the second-worst team in the league in defensive efficiency versus opposing centers, but I won’t be shocked if I am slightly underweight once I start constructing my lineups.

    Tobias Harris vs. Heat $6,600 – I am mentioning just about everyone from the Sixers following the Embiid news, because well, they are all in play. Embiid’s usage will be distributed mostly amongst Harris, Butler and Reddick. These will be the guys who are expected to take on a larger scoring role for me. Yes, Simmons usage will go up, but mostly from handling the ball, not shooting. Harris is underpriced for what he could with Embiid out of the lineup. I’d expect a few extra rebounds for Harris as well.

    Al Horford vs. Bucks $6,000- This game has the making to be one of the more competitive ones on the night. There is a decent chance these two teams could face off in playoffs and we have already seen them play. Horford only managed to play in the first meeting, but still showed up with 18 points, eight assists and five rebounds. That does not sound like a big game, but that accounts for 38.8 DK points and would in turn be a steal at $6,000.

    Now, Horford obviously won’t put up the exact same numbers, but if he comes out of the break anywhere close to the form that he went into it with we should be in good shape. In the two games prior to the All-Star break Horford turned it on, averaging 20.0 points, 6.5 assists and 11.0 rebounds for an average of just over 50 DK points per game. It also allows us to have some rock-solid exposure across from Giannis if we are playing him.

    The Bucks have one of the league’s top defenses, but the one spot where they remain the most vulnerable is against opposing centers, where they are ranked 15th in defensive efficiency.

    Marvin Bagely vs. Warriors $5,800 – As I mentioned earlier, this article is an early look and as of now we do not have any of the game totals or spreads available, but we have to imagine this one having one of if not the highest total on the slate. Any time we have the Warriors playing we have to worry about blowout risk, but these two teams have played three times already this season and they have all stayed within five points.

    Bagley has averaged 19.9 minutes against the Warriors this season, but the last time these he got to face them was back in December when he was still seeing limited minutes because, well the Kings are the Kings. As of late those minute totals have risen slightly as the team is figuring out how bad Nemanja Bjelica is. It’s not the best price, but he should be low-owned and if the game were to get out of hand he should still see minutes in the mid-twenties. We’ve seen a lot of centers limited against the Warriors in the past and if this is the case Bagley could take advantage of playing some small-ball five in place of WCS.

    Center

    Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nets $7,400 – This is going to be a complicated situation that will either win or lose you some money. We know targeting centers against the Nets is an easy way to make money and Nurkic fits the build perfectly. His price tag is more than fair given the matchup, but the one thing lingering in the back of my mind is Enes Kanter’s playing time. There is not a chance these two will play alongside of each other and this means Kanter will eat into Nurkic’s playing time. Update: Kanter has been added to the player pool at $5,500. Strictly a tournament play given his upside in limited minutes, but we have plenty of centers to choose from on this slate.

    Now, Nurkic could easily smash in this spot only playing 28 minutes, but the lingering fear that he only sees 24 minutes is there. Hopefully, casual fans forget about this because as of now Kanter is not even being listed in the player pool for Draftkings and will surely suit up on Thursday night. For me, Nurk is strictly for tournaments and we could easily pivot to Ayton or Capela (if we know his minutes will not be limited) if needed.

    Deandre Ayton vs. Cavs $7,000 – I don’t care who starts center for the Cavs, they are bad at defense regardless. The Cavs have allowed opposing centers to grab double-doubles in each of the past three games, and it would have been over the last four games had the Wizards not played Thomas Bryant, Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker evenly. Let’s keep in mind the other three teams they faced following the Wizards game: the Nets, Knicks and Pacers. None of these teams have offensive minded centers and that is exactly what Deandre Ayton is.

    Kevin Love is back and should see a slight increase in minutes and those would only place another poor defender in front of Ayton for longer. I mentioned only playing one player from the Suns per lineup and, as of now Ayton is my favorite option. I think this game will garner a ton of ownership. I think limiting your plays and hitting on the few that should overperform in what is otherwise expected to be a low-scoring game is the way to go. Ayton also makes for a great pivot off of the some of the other options whom we are a little less certain about.

    Boban Marjanovic vs. Heat $3,500 – Enter the chalk of the night, BOBAN! With Embiid ruled out I think it’s safe to expect at least 18-20 minutes from him and we know what he could produce in those minutes. Any more minutes than that is a bonus. There is some merit in fading him at this ownership, but it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t make value. When it’s all said and done I will probably have two Sixers in most lineups.

    Ed Davis vs. Trail Blazers $3,400 – Enter my sneaky play of the slate. This has a little gut feeling to it, but I think Davis could be in store for a big rebounding game against his former team. As of now we do not have a ton of value, but as I mentioned this is an early look and we generally have some more value open up closer to lock. Jarret Allen has struggled against bigger bodied centers in the past and there is perhaps no center with a bigger body than Jusuf Nurkic. Not to mention, the Blazers also added Enes Kanter during the All-Star break.

    The Nets may need at least 22 minutes out of Davis in this one. If you are telling me some of those minutes come against the terrible defense of Enes Kanter, even better. Before Kanter’s arrival, the Blazers held their own against opposing centers, but they also are ranked 25th in the league when it comes to allowing opposing centers to score in the paint.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. Good luck to everyone competing in our Hoop Ball “Beat the Expert” contest this week. These are always a ton of fun and our community is growing week by week.

    Remember to monitor Hoop Ball for news and information. It is extremely important to adjust to the news as it breaks, including the games after lock. We know the Suns vs. Cavs and Heat vs. Sixers games are the first to lock. It is going to be hard not having any exposure to the first game, but I could get away with the shares I have shares in the Sixers vs. Heat, making it easier to adjust to later games. Remember if you are playing anyone in these games to play them at their primary position, not the guard, forward or utility spot. This will give you more options to choose from if you are adjusting to news on the fly after lock.

    *Major news to monitor: Damian Lillard – Currently listed as questionable as of Thursday morning. I’d have interest in C.J. McCollum and Seth Curry if Lillard is ruled out.

    Let’s crush a GPP for Hoop Ball!

  • DFS Picks: Rising Stars Challenge

    Welcome back to another Friday edition of my DFS picks. Yes, it is the All-Star break, but that doesn’t mean DFS gets a break! We have a fun little game to keep us entertained and why not have a little action on it. Let me start by saying do not use a lot of bankroll tonight. It’s a crapshoot with these games and on one-game showdown slates I generally take the approach of going with a cheaper option as my leader and fitting studs in the other spots.

    Tonight is slightly different though, we can’t guarantee than any one player will see more minutes than the other. We are going to be taking stabs at who we think could have the biggest games in limited minutes and I think targeting what the players who have had high usage rates during the regular season and are in good matchups is the way to go.

    So here we are, these are some of my favorite players to target in tonight’s game.

    Ben Simmons $8,200 – Simmons shined during last year’s rising stars game, dropping 11 points, 13 assists and 6 rebounds. We can’t really expect big minutes from anyone in this game, so I am targeting the players who could stuff counting stats or get hot from the field.

    Deandre Ayton $5,800 – You are going to see a theme of playing a lot of players from the World Team. It’s not for any particular reason; I just like the matchups and believe they have some of the better producers in limited minutes. This does not mean I am going to play all of these guys. Ayton draws a start against Jarret Allen and we know from DFS the Nets are putrid against bigs. The same could be said for Ayton’s defense as well, so this firmly places John Collins and Allen in play as well. But Ayton is cheaper than Allen, so in my initial lineup that is the direction I am going.

    Trae Young $7,800 – Young was tearing it up heading into the All-Star break and this is the type of game suited for him; little defense and crazy shots from all over the floor. We know Young has unlimited range and could easily take the MVP award if he gets hot.

    Luka Doncic $9,200– I don’t really feel the need to elaborate too much on Donic. The kid is a stud and loves to put on a show for the fans. He is going to be the highest-owned player for sure, which warrants a fade, but that is going to be hard to do unless you’re trotting out multiple lineups.

    Bogdan Bogdanovic $7,600- Another player who exploded in last year’s game, Bogdanovic is not shy about shooting and figures to be the most explosive player off of the World Team’s bench. I don’t know if we could expect another 26 actual points, but I love the fact that he dialed up 13 shots from distance in last year’s game.

    So there you have it. Like I said, I will have most of my ownership invested in these guys, but I will still have plenty of shares of other players. I will mostly avoid players such as Josh Okogie, Cedi Osman, OG, SGA, Kevin Knox and Rodions Kurucs (if he plays).

    As always you can reach me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. Good luck and don’t forget to save your bankroll, don’t go overboard tonight!

  • DFS Picks: Friday, February 8

    Welcome back to another Friday edition of my Hoop Ball DFS plays. It is February 8 and we have eight games to look at for tonight’s card. Things could seem a little foggy following the trade deadline, but paying attention and monitoring the news could be key to capitalizing on depressed salaries and guys in new roles.

    As of now, we are still waiting on some pretty important news that will dictate the slate. This is whether or not Paul Millsap and Joel Embiid will suit up. For this reason I left any players in this game out of my analysis. Just know if Embiid sits we will see Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons get a massive boost. Tobias Harris is underpriced on his new team and, if playing, would make another solid value play. Now, I am really only looking at these guys if Embiid sits. If Paul Millsap sits we have to look towards Mason Plumlee and Trey Lyles once again. Obviously Embiid is in play if he suits up and so is Nikola Jokic. These are two guys I will never argue against playing, but as of now I think I am headed in a different direction.

    Now that we got that out of the way, let’s jump right into my favorite value plays on the slate. You will also notice plenty of pivots on the same team. This is because I love the opportunity and matchups these players are in. I expect both players to see upticks and play well, but the pivots are also priced apart, making construction easier to tinker with.

    Point Guard

    Eric Bledsoe vs. Mavs $6,700 – Khris Middleton has already been ruled out for tonight’s game due to rest and we have seen Bledsoe take on a heavier role when this has been the case in the past. His price is slightly elevated, but Bledsoe has been crushing it over the last four games and that is with Middleton in the lineup. We will have another solid option on the Bucks later if you can’t afford Bledsoe.

    Dennis Smith Jr. vs. Pistons $5,800 – It feels like DSJ has faced the Pistons multiple times over the last few weeks and that is because he has. The Pistons are pretty lousy at defending point guards and it feels like DSJ is just starting to ramp things up on his new team. Knicks head coach David Fizdale said he is giving DSJ the keys to the car and letting him do what he wants while he is out there. I’d expect another big one from him, so long as he sees 30-plus minutes.

    Collin Sexton vs. Wizards $4,500 – Finally, we can breathe knowing some of these guards are out of Cleveland. Sexton should continue seeing a boatload of minutes and last game we saw him take 24 shot attempts from the floor with Cedi Osman out. You read that tight, I said 24 shot attempts. This is massive usage and an amazing matchup for pace. I will also take a long look at a slightly more expensive Jordan Clarkson. It’s hard to imagine one, if not both of these guys going nuts for their price in a close matchup. Kevin Love (foot) is currently a GTD, but him playing would not have much of an impact on the guards other than a few less shots for Sexton.

    Shooting Guard

    Dwyane Wade/Dion Waiters vs. Kings $5,000/$3,900 – I listed both Waiters and Wade because I think they both have a solid chance to see a few extra minutes following the trade deadline. It is a great matchup for shooting guards and the Kings just recently shipped their best perimeter defender (Iman Shumpert) off to Houston. These are both tournament plays, but Wade has quietly been crushing as of late, scoring over 37 DK points in three of four games. Waiters offers some upside if he shoots like he wants to. We have a lot of value on tonight’s slate and may not need to go there, but he will surely be low-owned in the late-night hammer.

    Tomas Satoransky vs. Cavs $5,700 – Let’s not beat around the bush on this one. Sato feels safer in cash, but in a matchup versus the Cavs he could easily crush and pay off his salary for tournaments as well. I am targeting this game quite heavily, but we are also going to want all of the news before making too many decisions. It helps that he is small forward eligible.

    Malcolm Brogdon vs. Mavericks $5,600 – Brogdon is in a similar boat to Bledsoe tonight with Khris Middleton out. They should both play more than thirty minutes and both see increased usage. I don’t think I would play both Brogdon and Bledsoe in the same lineup, so it is going to come down to construction and salary.

    Small Forward

    Andrew Wiggins vs. Pelicans $6,000 – This is merely a usage play. The Timberwolves may be without both Teague and Rose again and we have been seeing Wiggins take advantage of the usage. Strictly a tournament play.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. vs. Bucks $4,900 – THJ came out and played 26 minutes in his first game with the Mavericks. The days of Hardaway taking 24 shots from the floor are likely gone, but so are DSJ and Harrison Barnes and someone is going to take some shots other than Luka Doncic. I imagine he will see a few extra minutes and that will lead to some extra shot attempts. The Bucks have a stellar defense, but they have struggled against shooting guards in the past.

    Power Forward

    Lauri Markkanen vs. Nets $7,000 – The only reason I am not starting center for the Chicago Bulls is because I had to be up early this morning to provide content. No, but seriously, Lauri is by far their best option at center and we are always looking to target bigs versus the Nets. We do not have word at the moment on whether or not Otto Porter will suit up for the Bulls, but Zach Lavine is currently being listed as questionable and if either one or both were to sit out Markkanen would absorb massive usage. He is in play for me regardless of who is in or out and the Bull I feel the most comfortable playing.

    Thomas Bryant vs. Cavs $5,200 – Bryant cooked last game for over 50 DK points, but now we have Bobby Portis coming into town to mooch some minutes. I am only playing Bryant if we hear Portis is out and hoping for another 30-plus minute game. Bryant is an excellent point per minute producer and as I mentioned before this is a matchup we just cannot ignore. If Portis does suit up I think we have to consider him.

    Dwight Powell vs. Bucks $4,400 – We saw Kleber draw the start at center last game, but with Harrison Barnes shipped off to Sacramento we may see Kleber slide down to power forward. If this is the case Powell would likely draw the start. Both of these guys are in play, but for me I’d lean Kleber is cash and Powell in tournaments.

    Center

    Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Pelicans $10,000 – I feel as though Towns has been overlooked as of late in the DFS community. Tonight will probably be similar as we have a lot of top tier centers on the board tonight and Towns is expected to be guarded by Anthony Davis. The Timberwolves are depleted and desperately need a big game from him to stay alive. These two teams have faced off three times this season and Towns is averaging 67 DK points in those games.

    Hassan Whiteside vs. Kings $6,800 – Shhhh, keep it down, Whiteside has quietly played over 30 minutes over the last two games. Heat head coach Erik Spolestra mentioned switching up the lineup and trying new things. One of these switches was inserting Kelly Olynyk into the starting lineup. Now, pivots have been the theme of the article and this is another one for you. I will likely have exposure to either Kelly O or Whiteside in most lineups.

    Robin Lopez vs. Nets $4,000 – Well, for now it doesn’t look like Lopez will be bought out and that leaves him as one of the last remaining centers on the roster. Cristiano Felicio is bad, end of discussion. The Bulls do not seem concerned with developing him. Lopez played 29 minutes last game and if he sees those minutes against a weak Nets’ frontcourt I see a big rebounding game coming his way. I probably would not play Lopez and Lauri in the same lineup.

    As always you could find me on Twitter @Mike Apotria with any of your questions or comments.

  • DFS Picks: Friday, February 1

    We are back on the first of February and tonight looks like it is going to be a little more relaxing than are typical Friday slates. We only have five games to break down and with so many high priced studs we are going to need some obvious value. Lucky for us, the Knicks mortgaged their team and will not have their new players available.

    To keep it simple, we are playing Knicks with some high priced studs, mixed in with one or two players from another game. The two best games to target are going to be the OKC vs. Heat game and the Rockets vs. Nuggets. Westbrook and Paul George are very much in play and should go lower owned than Harden and Jokic, but I will get to Harden in just a minute.

    Point Guard

    Allonzo Trier vs. Celtics $5,300 – We are in a similar situation as we were last night with the Mavs. None of the players involved in the trade are expected to be available leaving the Knicks with a depleted roster. I do not expect this game to stay close though, and targeting the Knicks we know will have minutes and usage is essential. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone and with Frank Ntilikina hurt it really only leaves Trier to handle to ball. Knicks’ head coach David Fizdale has talked up Trier all season as a scorer and he may have his way with the usage tonight.

    Tyler Johnson vs. Thunder $4,200 – We have a lot of high priced players on a short slate so we are going to need some value. With everything going on in New York we may not need to go to Johnson, but he feels like a solid cash play. Justise Winslow remains the better option for tournaments and his price tag of $5,800 leaves ample opportunity for value.

    Shooting Guard

    James Harden vs. Nuggets $12,900- Don’t think about this too much, if we hear Chris Paul is going to sit out tonight’s game on the first half of a back-to-back we play James Harden. If Paul plays he is no longer a must-play.

    Malik Beasley vs. Rockets $4,400 –If you are leaning towards the high priced players on OKC then Beasley may be one of your plays for value. He has taken double digit shot attempts over the last four games and his minutes seem safe the upper twenties. Without Jamaal Murray, Beasley and Monte Morris will handle to point guard duties and I’m going to lean towards the guy who will likely draw lower ownership and has a cheaper price tag.

    Small Forward

    Kyle Anderson vs. Hornets $4,400 – Anderson draws a solid matchup against a Hornets team that has struggled against athletic wings this season. His minutes are back to where they were before the injury and while he is not a scorer, Anderson has shown us he can provide counting stats across the board. If Conley sits or gets traded he becomes a near must-play.

    Mario Hezonja vs. Celtics $4,200 – Super Mario may be my favorite Knick on the board tonight. His minutes and usage should be elevated with all of the missing bodies and I am not worried about the blowout with him expected to come off of the bench. Kevin Knox is in play as well, but a like the slight discount in Hezonja.

    Power Forward

    Kenneth Faried vs. Nuggets $6,900 – This game is going to be targeted heavily and for good reason. Faried is one of my favorite plays in this game and has been nothing short of productive since signing with the Rockets. I’m not worried about Nene cutting into his minutes and let’s not forget where Faried played for most of his career and made his name as the Manimal.

    Paul Millsap vs. Rockets $5,000 – Millsap is severely underpriced and saw 34 minutes in his last game. Nikola Jokic is undeniably the force down low for the Nuggets, but Millsap has made a career off of chipping in counting stats across the board and has plenty of opportunity in what should be a close game.

    Center

    Nikola Jokic vs. Rockets $10,900 – His recent play warrants his current price tag. Jokic is in play regardless of whether or not Chris Paul plays, but if he sits I can promise I will have a lineup with both Harden and Jokic. The only man with the size to guard Jokic is Nene and he will see limited minutes at best.

    Marc Gasol vs. Hornets $7,900 – Conley is currently questionable and missed shootaround. If he sits or gets traded there is an obvious boost in usage headed Gasol’s way. As the deadline approaches it becomes riskier and riskier playing guys on the trade block, but everything I am hearing is leaning more towards Conley being moved first.

    Luke Kornet vs. Celtics $4,300 – Let’s not forget who was Fizdale’s favorite toy when he was healthy. He’s coming off of injury, so I am slightly worried about where his minutes will be, but if Kornet sees the workload he was seeing before he becomes a fantastic value play.

    Like I said earlier, I did not mention anyone from OKC because they are all squarely in play, it is just going to come down to which games you are targeting more and whether or not Chris Paul plays.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions and comments. Thank you always for the support and let’s continue smashing slates this season.

  • Schifferle’s Daily Fantasy Picks ($)

  • DFS Picks: Friday, January 25

    It is yet another Friday. The weekend is fast approaching but before it gets here we have a ten game slate to hit on for DFS. This is going to be a fun one too, we have loads of value and of course the wonderful decision of whether or not we play James Harden. That is completely up to you and to be honest I am a little torn on this slate. We have enough value to jam him in there, but the team and defensive matchup warrant a fade.

    Point Guard

    Kemba Walker vs. Bucks $8,100 – We have a ton of cheap options tonight for point guard, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore Walker. He has torched the Bucks in the two times these teams have faced off the season and I will mention 1 player on the Bucks I have a ton of interest in tonight that it makes sense to run back with Walker. I wouldn’t play Walker in any lineups that have Harden because it is going to be hard to fit in the Bucks player we are looking forward to.

    Dennis Smith Jr. vs. Pistons $4,800 – DSJ is back with the team and after watching his last performance it is safe to say he is well rested and playing with some fire. In his first game back with the team he played 36 minutes and dropped 33.5 DK points.  We have a lot of value at point guard today and many options cheaper than DSJ, making him a solid pivot option.

    Shabazz Napier vs. Knicks $3,600 – As of the morning I am writing this we still do not know if Spencer Dinwiddie is going to need thumb surgery. If he’s out I think we could turn to Napier for a solid value play. Obviously, D’Angelo Russell is going to see a major uptick and should be locked into at least 30 minutes per night without Dinwiddie, but he’s priced up a ton at $8,600. Napier was starting to see his minutes increase even when Dinwiddie was fully healthy and if Russell gets off to a rough start or the game gets out of hand Napier would have his way in the fourth quarter.

    Shooting Guard

    Jerryd Bayless vs. Jazz $3,600 – Jeff Teague is questionable (I’d say doubtful) and Derrick Rose is currently questionable after spraining his ankle last night versus the Lakers. Tyus Jones is also still in a walking boot, so that only leaves Bayless to run point. Bayless has been a DFS diamond in the rough over the Timberwolves’ past two games and because the Rose injury happened after the pricing came out we get a fantastic price on him once again. I wouldn’t think about this one too much if Rose is out. It’s not the best matchup, but I find it hard to imagine Bayless scoring less than 20 DK points if he plays 30-plus minutes.

    Tyler Johnson vs. Cavs $4,200 – Last game Johnson was inserted into the starting lineup. This dampers Justise Winslow’s value, but gives Johnson a nice boost. He played 35 minutes in the game he started and tonight the Heat draw one of the best matchups on paper against the Cavs.

    Small Forward

    Giannis Antetouknmpo vs. Hornets $10,700 – If you’re not playing James Harden I’d be looking towards Giannis. He may not have the same upside night-to-night, but we know this is a fantastic matchup for the Greek Freak and he has 70 DK point upside in it. Harden has a difficult matchup of his own, so this may be the night we fade him. Personally, if I run out 10 lineups Harden would still be in four to five of them and Giannis is in at least three.

    Kelly Oubre Jr. vs. Nuggets $5,700 – Oubre thrived last night with T.J. Warren out. He didn’t start, but that’s ok because he had a ton of usage off of the bench and basically has his way on the bench for the Suns. He played 35 minutes and took 18 shot attempts. Josh Jackson drew the start and is intriguing himself, but I am leaning Oubre knowing he is a better point per minute producer and his minutes would likely be safe regardless of a blowout.

    Justin Holiday vs. Kings $4,100 – He has been playing a boatload of minutes since Kyle Anderson has gone down with an injury. He isn’t the same point per minute producer as he was with the Bulls, but Holiday can rack up steals and peripheral stats quickly and this is his kind of matchup. We have a ton of value tonight and Holiday will probably go a little overlooked.

    Power Forward

    Tobias Harris vs. Bulls $8,200 – Harris has been taking advantage of Danilo Gallinari’s injury and there is no reason to believe it’s stopping. The Bulls are a fantastic matchup and I see Harris grabbing a double-double in this matchup. He’s seen a price increase, but it’s well worth it.

    Jaren Jackson Jr. vs. Kings $5,400 – Foul trouble is always the issue for JJJ, but this is a matchup we have seen him crush in already this season and I am not worried about Nemanja Bjelica drawing fouls. In three games against the Kings this season JJJ has averaged 28 minutes, but that has equaled an average of 36 DK points in those games. He should be lower-owned and possibly overlooked, but his priced is cheap enough for upside that I am willing to take a shot on him in some spots.

    Paul Millsap vs. Suns $5,100 – I am not in love with this game as it seems set up for a blowout. The Suns are on the second half of a back-to-back and travel into Denver. If I am playing anyone on the Nuggets it’s Millsap, but I am not feeling over confident. The suspension of Nikola Jokic will help out most of the other Nuggets, at least.

    Center

    Marc Gasol vs. Kings $8,300 – I really dislike center on tonight’s slate. Not just the matchups, but also the prices all seem elevated. Both way we have to play someone in this spot and if I’m spending up I think it’s on Gasol. He came out and dropped a triple-double in the first game since the Grizzlies released the news on a potential trade. Marc Gasol does not need to showcase himself, but he may be a little pissed at the front office. I wouldn’t play Gasol and JJJ in the same lineup. I have a lot of love the Grizzlies tonight and although I did not mention Mike Conley he is very much in play. I’d prefer to spend up on Walker and hope to hit on another Grizzlies starter.

    Noah Vonleh vs. Nets $5,800 – Vonleh comes into play if we know if David Fizdale is going to banish Enes Kanter once again. After telling him he was going to start early in the day, Fizdale gave Kanter a DNP-CD. He was pissed following the game and basically requested a trade. Fizdale said it was based on matchups and the Rockets going small, but either way this is news we are going to want. If we hear Kanter is starting I think he is 100 percent in play, even in limited minutes. If he sits we are likely looking at Noah Vonleh starting center and I am looking at whatever center is facing the Nets.

    Enes Kanter vs. Nets $4,700 – I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole if he’s not starting. I probably won’t even take any chances if we don’t have the news, but if we do hear that Kanter is starting I feel comfortable playing him at the price. He could easily smash in only 24 minutes.

    As always you could find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments. This is an article for DFS, but there is no reason you can’t target the value plays as streamers in daily leagues as well.

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