DFS Articles

  • Thursday DFS Plays with Andrew Buckner

    POINT GUARD

    ISAIAH THOMAS – BOSTON CELTICS (FD-$10,000, DK-$9,300)

    I know I recommended Thomas last week, but I have to follow where the stats lead. Thomas can score big even against talented defensive point guards, and tonight he faces the 28th ranked scoring defense versus the point guard position. I expect him to exploit the Bulls defense to the fullest.

     

    MICHAEL CARTER WILLIAMS – CHICAGO BULLS (FD-$4,900, DK- $5,100)

    MCW gets a solid matchup against a much smaller Thomas, and is playing between 25-30 minutes per game. He can produce without scoring and is reasonably priced. Get him in your lineups.

    UPDATE: D-Wade is out, and this should give MCW the minutes he needs to hit or exceed value.

     

    SHOOTING GUARD

    BRADLEY BEAL – WASHINGTON WIZARDS (FD-$7,600, DK-$7,100)

    When he is on, Beal can light it up. Over the Wizards previous four games he is averaging 28 points per, including 41 against Cleveland. In his last outing he scored 22 points in just 22 minutes. I look for him to continue his hot streak, even against a solid Pacers defense.

     

    JIMMY BUTLER – CHICAGO BULLS (FD-$9,700, DK-$9,100)

    We must pay up for Butler, and hopefully he will reward us. He notched a double-double in his first game back from injury despite having just two field goals. Even though Boston has been good of recent against the shooting guard position, I can’t bet against him on such a limited slate.

    UPDATE: With Wade officially ruled out and Butler having no minutes restriction, this becomes a must-play scenario.

     

    SMALL FORWARD

    JAE CROWDER – BOSTON CELTICS (FD-$6,100, DK-$5,600)

    Crowder plays a ton of minutes and often flirts with a Double-double (though he rarely attains it). He gets a spectacular matchup against a Chicago defense that is ranked 26th against the small forward position.

     

    PAUL GEORGE – INDIANA PACERS (FD-$8,600, DK-$8,200)

    Washington is a mid-tier defensive team against small forwards, and George can do it all. He gets minutes, he is athletic, and can score big when hot. I am getting him into my lineups tonight.

     

    POWER FORWARD

    MARKIEFF MORRIS – WASHINGTON WIZARDS (FD-$7,400, DK-$6,900)

    On a two game slate it’s no surprise the options are limited. Luckily Morris gets a great matchup against the Pacers who rank in the bottom third against power forwards. Morris has four double-doubles in his last nine games, and has a great shot at another tonight.

     

    AMIR JOHNSON – BOSTON CELTICS (FD-$3,700, DK-$3,300)

    Chicago is just average against power forwards, and although Johnson probably won’t score thirty, his price makes him a solid salary relief option on this slate. His minutes vary wildly which is scary but even limited production will have him hitting value.

    A player like Johnson could be the difference between winning and losing.

     

    CENTER

    MARTIN GORTAT – WASHINGTON WIZARDS (FD-$7,300, DK-$6,000)

    This was my toughest position to fill tonight as the matchups just are not there. I love the way Gortat plays, and he see big minutes excluding blowouts. Myles Turner is a solid scorer, but I think Gortat will be able to exploit him on the boards. The last time these teams played Gortat grabbed 16 total rebounds. I will be playing him.

     

    MYLES TURNER – INDIANA PACERS (FD-$6,500, DK-$5,500)

    Turner struggled against the Wizards and Gortat the last time the teams played, but on this slate I can’t avoid him. Although Turner is not a dominate rebounder, he can get hot offensively which I am banking on tonight. I am not ecstatic about Turner, but I can’t justify playing Robin Lopez or Horford over him on this slate.

  • LaMagna’s Locks: DFS Plays of the Day for Wednesday

    Tonight is a full slate of 14 games. We have eight players with a salary over $10,000 tonight. With so many expensive players, you are going to need to find value plays in order to pack in a few studs. You are also going to need exposure to a few games with Lakers/Suns, Knicks/Thunder, Bucks/Nets, and Heat/Rockets at the forefront of my focus. As you work your way through the slate, consider the players that I have analyzed below. Let’s win some cash tonight!

     

    Point Guard

    James Harden ($12,200)

    It’s cooking time in Houston. A rested James Harden on his home floor is frightening. He has a 34.7% usage rate on the season with a 51.3% assist rate and 12.5% rebound rate. Outside of Russell Westbrook, nobody is putting up numbers like James Harden. I give Harden the edge over Russ tonight mainly due to scheduling and how potent I expect the Rockets offense to be tonight.

    After a brutal stretch of away games, the Rockets have had a very friendly February schedule and have not played since Saturday. The Rockets also do not play again until after All-Star Break, so Harden should see a full run of minutes which should be 36-38 minutes. Another advantage he has over Russell is his proficiency from behind the three-point line.

    Just look at Harden’s game against the Magic last week. His usage (36.2%), assist rate (48.1%), and rebound rate (9.0%) in that game are very close to his season averages. The pace in that game was 101.7 which is just barely higher than tonight’s should be. Harden had 59 DraftKings points on 6/21 shooting for the game including 3/10 from deep! He does not even have to shoot particularly well to reach value.

    Harden is an intriguing cash and tourney play given the value in tonight’s slate, and I will definitely be firing him up in a lot of my teams.

     

    Shooting Guard

    Victor Oladipo ($6,000)

    Victor Oladipo is one of my favorite plays of the day. The Oklahoma City Thunder are having their struggles right now but nothing cures a bad run like playing the New York Knicks. Vegas set the over/under for this game at 218.5 with the Thunder favored by seven.

    The Knicks are going to see a lot of Russell Westbrook pull-up jumpers and slashes to the rim, but they are also going to see a lot of sharpshooting from Victor Oladipo on the wing. Victor has been playing a full run of about 36 minutes in the majority of Oklahoma City games barring blowouts. He has a usage rate of 20.9% with an 11.8% assist rate and a 7.1% rebound rate.

    As a reference point, he had rates of 21.1%, 20.1%, and 6.7% in the respective categories against Golden State on Saturday. Although Golden State plays quickly, the Warriors are not the friendliest DFS matchup. Nevertheless, Oladipo scored 32.5 DraftKings points with just one steal and zero blocks. The Knicks are a much easier matchup, and Oladipo should have a field day.

     

    Small Forward

    Gordon Hayward ($7,300)

    Small forward is not the easiest position tonight, but Gordon Hayward presents a high floor option. The Jazz take on the Trail Blazers tonight where they are favored by 8.5 with an over/under of 205. Portland is terrible defensively and plays at a fast pace, a nice combination for opponents’ production.

    Furthermore, it appears as if Al-Farouq Aminu will not play tonight, leaving Portland without one of their best defenders in the forward spot. All signs point to a big game from Gordon Hayward who has been a steady source of production, especially in the absence of Rodney Hood. Without Hood in the starting five, Gordon receives a slight usage bump.

    In addition to a high usage rate (27.9%), Hayward racks up assists and rebounds. His ability to pad the stat sheet secures his high floor. Even with just points in those three stat categories, Hayward should hit 5x his price. He should steal a couple loose balls and perhaps register a block.

    Basically, even if he has an average game, he should reach value. If his shot is falling and if the loose balls go his way, Hayward could have 45-50 DraftKings points.

     

    Power Forward

    Kelly Olynyk ($4,300)

    When a player is hitting value against slow-paced teams like Utah and Dallas, he is worth monitoring in the short term. Kelly has scored 20+ DraftKings points in eight of his last nine games including a 40.75 monster two games ago at Utah. Over his last ten games, he is playing 22.5 minutes per game off the bench and trending upward.

    Tonight Boston plays Philadelphia at home. The 76ers are a team to target both in terms of matchup and pace. With an efficient player like Olynyk, it should only take a little over 20 minutes for him to hit value in a matchup like tonight’s. At his season averages in usage rate, rebound rate, and assist rate, I would project Olynyk to exceed value. However, in addition to his minutes trending upward, his usage is also increasing of late.

    In fact, over his last six games, Olynyk has a usage rate of 23.3%, significantly higher than his season average of 18.7%. I view Kelly Olynyk as a strong value play tonight with a high floor and high ceiling. Let’s ride the hot streak and capitalize on his low price.

     

    Center

    Greg Monroe ($5,400)

    The Bucks play in Brooklyn tonight, and Milwaukee is currently favored by 5.5 points with an over/under of 220. You need to have exposure to this game. Greg Monroe should be a fairly popular play tonight and for good reason. Jabari Parker’s injury significantly affects the productivity of the Milwaukee offense, and somebody needs to fill that role.

    On Monday, the one filling the role was Greg Monroe and should be Monroe going forward. He had 25 points and 13 rebounds against Detroit on Monday, an incredibly efficient performance from an incredibly efficient player. Over his last two games, Monroe has played 26 and 31 minutes. Notably, John Henson did not even see the floor the past two games, so Monroe’s minutes appear to be secure.

    At a conservative 25 minutes, I have Monroe projected for about 15 points and 9 rebounds. Given his expanded role within the offense, he should rack up a few assists. If he blocks a couple shots and snags a steal or two, he could have 35 DraftKings points very easily. He’s an elite play for me in cash games and tourneys.

  • Saturday’s DFS Plays With Leander Wallace: Houston we have liftoff

    What You Need To Know

    Highest Over/Under

    1. Suns @ Rockets – 231.5
    2. Nuggets @ Cavs – 230
    3. Warriors @ Thunder – 227

    Highest Combined Pace of Play

    1. Suns @ Rockets
    2. Warriors @ Thunder
    3. Nuggets @ Cavs

    Point Guard

    Stud – Kyrie Irving (FD – $8,300, DK – $8,400)

    Kyrie can explode on any given night. But then you get a chance to roster him in a game that has one of the highest projected totals of the night and a game that will be played at an incredible pace and then he really becomes tough to pass up. Steph has been incredible of late and will probably have a good night as well, but I am choosing to save some cash and go with Kyrie.

    Middle Tier – Patrick Beverley (FD – $5,400, DK – $5,600)

    Beverley is playing in the highest projected scoring game of the night as well as the game with the highest projected pace. He will have plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy points. He has also had three nice games in a row and now faces a Nuggets team that is 21st in the league at defending his position.

    Value Play – Jameer Nelson (FD – $4,400, DK – $4,400)

    Nelson has received over 30 minutes of playing time in three straight games now. If Mudiay is out, Nelson is a terrific option. He had a great night on Friday against the Knicks, and he is also getting to face a team that is 27th in the league at defending opposing point guards.

    Shooting Guard

    Stud – James Harden (FD – $12,500, DK – $12,900)

    Harden’s matchup along with his ability to go for an insane amount of fantasy points make this matchup too sweet to pass up. I certainly will have him in all of my cash lineups. Harden has the potential to put up 70+ fantasy points on any given night, and you don’t find that except in a handful of guys in the league.

    Middle Tier – Devin Booker (FD – $6,800, DK – $6,800)

    The Rockets aren’t the only team that will benefit from the up and down style of this matchup. The biggest worry in this one is that the Suns can’t keep it close, but I think they hang on just enough for Booker to get his minutes and his numbers as well.

    Value Play – C.J. Miles (FD – $4,200, DK – $4,100)

    Monitor Thaddeus Young’s situation and if he is out Miles becomes a very solid play at an extremely affordable price. Young is expected to be out and Miles has the ability to have a monster game, but even if he doesn’t explode he should have a great opportunity to reach value.

    Small Forward

    Stud – LeBron James (FD – $11,100, DK – $10,200)

    While everyone will be focused on Durant’s return to OKC, I will take LeBron against the Nuggets in a matchup that could lead to one of his signature monster games. KD could explode at home or he could struggle. The Thunder/Warriors game also has the potential to be a blow out which would keep KD from playing his full amount of minutes. LeBron should need a nice performance to help his team win on the road in the altitude of Denver.

    Middle Tier – Will Barton (FD – $5,800, DK – $6,300)

    Barton has been out of his mind over his last three games.  With his athleticism and the pace this game should be played at, I don’t see Barton’s hot streak coming to an end against the Cavs.

    Value Play – T. J. Warren (FD – $4,500, DK – $4,900)

    Warren can flat-out score the basketball and he has done that of late. He has had at least 26 fantasy points in four of his last five games, and now the Suns’ young player gets a matchup against the 29th ranked defense in the NBA against small forwards. With Warren only needing around 22.5 points to reach value, he should have every opportunity to reach his potential tomorrow.

    Power Forward

    Stud – Blake Griffin (FD – $9,700, DK – $9,500)

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it is my strategy here.  Griffin is playing extremely well right now and is still priced under $10k. His matchup isn’t ideal, but without CP3 there to take some of the scoring and play making load off, I believe Griffin will continue to put up gigantic numbers.

    Middle Tier – Ryan Anderson (FD – $4,700, DK – $5,100)

    Anderson hasn’t exactly been killing it of late, but as you can see at the top of this post the Rockets are in a very favorable matchup for offensive basketball.  Anderson should see plenty of opportunities to launch treys all over the court. The Suns rank 25th in the league at defending power forwards and with so much attention on Harden, Anderson could the man left open.

    Value Play – Marquese Chriss (FD – 3,900, DK – $3,700)

    I don’t feel particularly confident with any of the value choices at the power forward position — at least not in cash games. However, it’s possible that the Rockets run away with this game and an uptempo game with meaningless minutes for a guy like Chriss could lead to a big night.

    Center

    Stud – Nikola Jokic (FD – $9,900, DK – $9,000) 

    Jokic is one of those players that makes it so easy to have a basketball man crush on. Men his size shouldn’t be able to pass like he does or just generally play basketball like he does. However, the fact that he can really helps us in fantasy basketball because Denver’s young center can rack up fantasy points in a hurry. I will use him in at least a few lineups due to his tremendous upside, and he is more than a good choice in cash games on DraftKings as well as he is $900 cheaper than on FanDuel.

    Middle Tier – Clint Capela (FD – $5,300, DK – $5,900)

    Once again I return to a game that should be basketball chaos and is simultaneously beautiful. Well, at least when the Rockets have the ball. Capela has the ability to rack up fantasy points in a number of ways and has been solid of late. His price on both sites is reasonable and he is in a game that you should be targeting.

    Value Play – Frank Kaminsky (FD – $4,800, DK – $4,600)

    Frank may be in line for some extra minutes with Cody Zeller going down with a quad injury. If Zeller is indeed out, Kaminsky would most likely play enough for his value to easily exceed his price. Keep an eye on the injury news as the day moves along and if Kaminsky starts, he is a nice option if you are looking to save money and spend elsewhere.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Saturday’s DFS Plays With Leander Wallace: Houston we have liftoff

    What You Need To Know

    Highest Over/Under

    1. Suns @ Rockets – 231.5
    2. Nuggets @ Cavs – 230
    3. Warriors @ Thunder – 227

    Highest Combined Pace of Play

    1. Suns @ Rockets
    2. Warriors @ Thunder
    3. Nuggets @ Cavs

    Point Guard

    Stud – Kyrie Irving (FD – $8,300, DK – $8,400)

    Kyrie can explode on any given night. But then you get a chance to roster him in a game that has one of the highest projected totals of the night and a game that will be played at an incredible pace and then he really becomes tough to pass up. Steph has been incredible of late and will probably have a good night as well, but I am choosing to save some cash and go with Kyrie.

    Middle Tier – Patrick Beverley (FD – $5,400, DK – $5,600)

    Beverley is playing in the highest projected scoring game of the night as well as the game with the highest projected pace. He will have plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy points. He has also had three nice games in a row and now faces a Nuggets team that is 21st in the league at defending his position.

    Value Play – Jameer Nelson (FD – $4,400, DK – $4,400)

    Nelson has received over 30 minutes of playing time in three straight games now. If Mudiay is out, Nelson is a terrific option. He had a great night on Friday against the Knicks, and he is also getting to face a team that is 27th in the league at defending opposing point guards.

    Shooting Guard

    Stud – James Harden (FD – $12,500, DK – $12,900)

    Harden’s matchup along with his ability to go for an insane amount of fantasy points make this matchup too sweet to pass up. I certainly will have him in all of my cash lineups. Harden has the potential to put up 70+ fantasy points on any given night, and you don’t find that except in a handful of guys in the league.

    Middle Tier – Devin Booker (FD – $6,800, DK – $6,800)

    The Rockets aren’t the only team that will benefit from the up and down style of this matchup. The biggest worry in this one is that the Suns can’t keep it close, but I think they hang on just enough for Booker to get his minutes and his numbers as well.

    Value Play – C.J. Miles (FD – $4,200, DK – $4,100)

    Monitor Thaddeus Young’s situation and if he is out Miles becomes a very solid play at an extremely affordable price. Young is expected to be out and Miles has the ability to have a monster game, but even if he doesn’t explode he should have a great opportunity to reach value.

    Small Forward

    Stud – LeBron James (FD – $11,100, DK – $10,200)

    While everyone will be focused on Durant’s return to OKC, I will take LeBron against the Nuggets in a matchup that could lead to one of his signature monster games. KD could explode at home or he could struggle. The Thunder/Warriors game also has the potential to be a blow out which would keep KD from playing his full amount of minutes. LeBron should need a nice performance to help his team win on the road in the altitude of Denver.

    Middle Tier – Will Barton (FD – $5,800, DK – $6,300)

    Barton has been out of his mind over his last three games.  With his athleticism and the pace this game should be played at, I don’t see Barton’s hot streak coming to an end against the Cavs.

    Value Play – T. J. Warren (FD – $4,500, DK – $4,900)

    Warren can flat-out score the basketball and he has done that of late. He has had at least 26 fantasy points in four of his last five games, and now the Suns’ young player gets a matchup against the 29th ranked defense in the NBA against small forwards. With Warren only needing around 22.5 points to reach value, he should have every opportunity to reach his potential tomorrow.

    Power Forward

    Stud – Blake Griffin (FD – $9,700, DK – $9,500)

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it is my strategy here.  Griffin is playing extremely well right now and is still priced under $10k. His matchup isn’t ideal, but without CP3 there to take some of the scoring and play making load off, I believe Griffin will continue to put up gigantic numbers.

    Middle Tier – Ryan Anderson (FD – $4,700, DK – $5,100)

    Anderson hasn’t exactly been killing it of late, but as you can see at the top of this post the Rockets are in a very favorable matchup for offensive basketball.  Anderson should see plenty of opportunities to launch treys all over the court. The Suns rank 25th in the league at defending power forwards and with so much attention on Harden, Anderson could the man left open.

    Value Play – Marquese Chriss (FD – 3,900, DK – $3,700)

    I don’t feel particularly confident with any of the value choices at the power forward position — at least not in cash games. However, it’s possible that the Rockets run away with this game and an uptempo game with meaningless minutes for a guy like Chriss could lead to a big night.

    Center

    Stud – Nikola Jokic (FD – $9,900, DK – $9,000) 

    Jokic is one of those players that makes it so easy to have a basketball man crush on. Men his size shouldn’t be able to pass like he does or just generally play basketball like he does. However, the fact that he can really helps us in fantasy basketball because Denver’s young center can rack up fantasy points in a hurry. I will use him in at least a few lineups due to his tremendous upside, and he is more than a good choice in cash games on DraftKings as well as he is $900 cheaper than on FanDuel.

    Middle Tier – Clint Capela (FD – $5,300, DK – $5,900)

    Once again I return to a game that should be basketball chaos and is simultaneously beautiful. Well, at least when the Rockets have the ball. Capela has the ability to rack up fantasy points in a number of ways and has been solid of late. His price on both sites is reasonable and he is in a game that you should be targeting.

    Value Play – Frank Kaminsky (FD – $4,800, DK – $4,600)

    Frank may be in line for some extra minutes with Cody Zeller going down with a quad injury. If Zeller is indeed out, Kaminsky would most likely play enough for his value to easily exceed his price. Keep an eye on the injury news as the day moves along and if Kaminsky starts, he is a nice option if you are looking to save money and spend elsewhere.

     

     

     

     

     

  • LaMagna’s Locks: DFS Plays of the Day for Friday

    Tonight’s DraftKings slate features nine games with a couple important developments to keep an eye on. Jabari Parker’s ACL tear has major DFS implications; however, since we do not yet know how many minutes Middleton can handle, it’s difficult to project Bucks minutes tonight against the Lakers. Keep an ear out for news on who may pick up most of Jabari’s minutes tonight. From my analysis of this slate, a winning lineup will have high exposure to the Nuggets-Knicks game and will appropriately address the injury situations with the Bucks and Bulls. Let’s dig in.

     

     

    Point Guard

    Ricky Rubio ($6,400)

    Point guard is not stacked with value today, but I am extremely high on Ricky Rubio. Several factors lead me to Rubio, and a large part of the appeal is the deflation of his stats due to the slow pace of recent Timberwolves games. Minnesota has played six straight games with a pace of 96 possessions per game or lower. The average pace of their games over that span is 91.9, severely impacting players’ production.

    Tonight should be quicker against the Pelicans leading to more opportunities for Rubio to score and dish out assists. LaVine’s injury has a dramatic impact on Wolves, and Rubio is a major beneficiary. In fact, since LaVine’s season-ending injury four games ago, Rubio’s average usage is 20% with a 35% assist rate. A double-double in points and assists is quite possible and when you factor in a few rebounds and steals, Rubio’s upside cannot be ignored.

    Tyus Jones ate into his minutes on Wednesday, but I fully expect Rubio to return to a 35-minute workload tonight. He’s locked into my cash game lineup, and I’ll own many tournament shares as well.

     

    Shooting Guard

    Will Barton ($6,100)

    A thin Nuggets team plus a matchup with the Knicks equals value. We are going to need about 30 DraftKings points from Barton tonight, and he should deliver. People who rostered him in his last two games were rewarded with huge scores of 45.75 and 53.5 fantasy points.

    Against Atlanta on Wednesday, Barton’s usage rate (24%) was higher than should be expected tonight (about 21%), but his 45.75 point DraftKings performance is not inflated by the usage spike. He shot 6/19 in that game and he was 0/9 from behind the arc. Given tonight’s matchup, another massive game could be in store if Barton’s shots are dropping. The over/under in this game currently sits at 228.

    Denver is dealing with a few key injuries so Barton should see 30+ minutes of game time. He’s played 75 minutes over the past two games. It is hard to envision a Barton dud tonight and his ceiling is very high. He should be your shooting guard.

     

    Small Forward

    Jimmy Butler ($9,000)

    We need to monitor the status of both Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade in advance of tonight’s game in Phoenix. Jimmy went through a full practice Thursday so I expect him to play unrestricted minutes. As long as Butler is unrestricted, he’s a fabulous play. If Wade is out, Butler without a minutes restriction becomes an absolute must.

    For the sake of projecting conservatively, let’s assume Wade will suit up. Butler’s usage rate with Wade in the lineup should be at least 25%. His scoring tends to be complemented by his assists (4.8 per game) and rebounds (6.5 per game). Jimmy has also been racking up the steals of late, averaging 2.2 steals over his last ten games. The average pace of those ten Bulls games is 96.4 possessions per game which is lower than the Bulls average for the season.

    Tonight they play Phoenix, the NBA’s third fastest team in pace. There will be plenty of opportunities for Butler to rack up points, assists, rebounds, and steals. As long as he faces no minute restriction, we just need an average game. If Wade is out, Butler could have another game like he had against Charlotte where he dropped 52 real points in Wade’s absence.

    Update: Since publishing this article, Jimmy Butler has been downgraded to a game-time decision despite going through a full practice Thursday. He reportedly experienced soreness after practice. In addition, Dwyane Wade has been upgraded to probable for tonight. Based on that combination of information, I am downgrading Butler to a tournament play only if he indeed plays. While he carries a game-time decision designation, I would be very cautious with him even in tournaments. Hopefully we receive news about his availability before lock because he would be a great tournament play if he sees a full run of minutes tonight.

     

    Power Forward

    DeMarcus Cousins ($10,700)

    To be honest, I am frightened of what DeMarcus Cousins could do tonight to Atlanta. The Hawks are a strong defensive team, but to a large extent Boogie is matchup-proof. He is doing everything for the Kings right now and stuffing stat sheets. Cousins’ suspension on Wednesday gave him time to rest and he will be ready to roll tonight. In the 11 games since Rudy Gay got hurt, DeMarcus Cousins’ average usage rate is 39%!

    That usage rate is insane, but his assist rate (33.4%) and rebound rate (23.7%) are perhaps equally astounding. Accompanying those rates are averages of 27.8 points per game, 5.9 assists per game, and 13.2 rebounds per game despite those games averaging only 92.7 possessions per game. The Hawks are slightly above average in terms of pace and Vegas projects a close game with an over/under of 208.5.

    This is a bold prediction, but if the Kings shoot well tonight, Cousins could rack up a few more assists than usual so I am officially putting Boogie on triple-double watch.

     

    Center

    Nikola Jokic ($9,200)

    A monster performance is long overdue for Nikola Jokic. Tonight’s game against the Knicks is a perfect opportunity for him to explode. After tonight’s game, I predict Jokic’s display will be considered the most shocking big man performance in Madison Square Garden since Charles Oakley’s on Wednesday.

    The risk associated with Jokic is inconsistency in his minutes that tend to be caused by foul trouble. If he can stay out of foul trouble tonight, he should play 34-36 minutes. Over his last ten games, his average usage rate is 28.3% with assist and rebound rates of 30.6% and 20.1% respectively. As a point of comparison, all three rates are higher than Karl-Anthony Towns’ rates over the same time period yet Towns is $800 more expensive.

    Jokic is the focal point of the dynamic Denver Nuggets offense, and the New York Knicks are not equipped to deal with him. On Wednesday in Atlanta, Jokic scored 43.75 DraftKings points with zero blocks and zero steals on 8/17 shooting. His usage rate in that game was only 20% with a 14.6% assist rate and a 21.7% rebound rate.

    Additionally, the pace in that game (95.1) was lower than tonight’s should be considering the speed at which both the Nuggets and Knicks play. Jokic is incredibly efficient, and if he reached value on Wednesday at a significantly lower usage rate than he is projected tonight, his ceiling is very high against the failing New York Knicks.

  • Thursday’s DFS Plays with Andrew Buckner

    Thursday’s small slate is loaded with great matchups and features just the players capable of exploiting them! Let’s dig in!

    Point Guard

    Isaiah Thomas – Boston Celtics (FD-$10,500, DK-$10,000)

    Thomas is expensive and for good reason. Over the last two weeks, the Blazers are 27th in the league against opposing point guards and Thomas is far above average.

    His ability to score, get to the line and his propensity for fourth quarter magic make him an excellent play and one worth paying up for tonight. With such a high price tag you may have to couple him with a contrarian play, but you may not win without him in your lineup.

    T.J. McConnell – Philadelphia 76ers (FD-$5,200, DK-$4,700)

    Did someone say contrarian play? The Magic are in the bottom third of the league against opposing point guards, and McConnell’s heavy minutes make him just the low price/high value option the doctor ordered. Over the last 10 games, McConnell has played under 25 minutes just once and at $4,700 on DK he is almost sure to hit value. Roster him in all leagues.

    Shooting Guard

    Nicholas Batum – Charlotte Hornets (FD-$7,700, DK-$7,600)

    On a light slate, matchups can be everything. So is the case with Nicholas Batum. Over his past five games he has scored 19,18,13,11 and 17 respectively. During that same stretch he has less than five rebounds only once, making him a viable double-double threat.

    Tonight he faces the 28th ranked scoring defense for his position and with the odds ever in his favor his upside is tremendous. I will be rostering him in all lineups.

    Evan Fournier – Orlando Magic (FD-$5,400, DK-$5,900)

    Speaking of great matchups you would be hard pressed to find one better than Evan Fournier vs the 76ers. I have both been burned and rewarded by Fournier’s play and tonight may be another case of the latter.

    Philadelphia is 30th in the NBA against opposing shooting guards, are short-handed and Fournier offers great upside. Due simply to the matchup and his low price the floor for Evan is minimal. I will be rostering him either in the shooting guard spot or in the guard slot on DK.

    Small Forward

    Harrison Barnes – Dallas Mavericks (FD-$6,400, DK-$6,000)

    The matchups, the matchups, we know, we know, enough already. Well, positive matchups are often the key ingredient in a successful lineup, so why buck the trend? Harrison Barnes gets a fantastic matchup against the Jazz, who can’t seem to guard his position, and he plays a ton of minutes.

    He probably won’t score 40, but he might score 24, with eight rebounds, two steals and three assists…. For $6,000, can you see why this matchup matters? He presents an extremely safe floor with a very respectable ceiling. I predict Barnes makes it in almost all my lineups tonight.

    Update: I had previously advised that Channing Frye would be a viable option with the Cavs stars resting. However, the team indicated 25 minutes before lock that their big three would play. I will be avoiding Frye due to this news.

    Andre Roberson – Oklahoma City Thunder (FD-$4,100, DK-$3,800)

    Looking to save money on a small forward and maybe get two solid, high-end guards/centers? Andre Roberson may be your answer. Over the last three games he has played 20, 35 and 35 minutes respectively and had a double-double his last time out. He is cheap, he is on the floor for a majority of the game, the Thunder fly up and down the court and the game should stay close. I will be using Roberson as much as possible.

    Update: It looked like the Cavaliers would be resting Love, Lebron and Irving but all three are available. I will be rostering Roberson in all leagues as I believe his minutes will be very high making value likely.

    Moe Harkless has just been listed as the starter tonight for Portland, and with Evan Turner out his minutes should allow him to hit value.

    Power Forward

    Serge Ibaka – Orlando Magic (FD-$6,000, DK-$6,800)

    We all know that Serge Ibaka has every imaginable skill. He can shoot, rebound, pass, defend and he is an above average NBA athlete. The one area he is lacking in is consistency and for that reason he scares me at times. I am putting my fear aside and rostering him in all contests tonight. He has two double-doubles in his last five games and faces a Sixers team that has difficulties with the small forward position. He had a monster night last time out with 28 points and seven rebounds. I expect much of the same tonight.

    Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks (FD-$5,600, DK-$5,000)

    I have to be careful with Dirk. He is like the habit I can’t shake and I have to guard my heart. Nowitzki is one my all-time favorites and may have the sweetest shot I have ever seen. With that being said, Dirk can get you in trouble, but I don’t believe he will tonight.

    Even though Father Time is undefeated, Nowitzki has been a productive fantasy player when on the floor. He scored 25 his last time out and he gets a solid matchup against the Jazz. I am banking on a strong night at the forward positions for the Mavs.

    Center

    Rudy Gobert – Utah Jazz (FD-$8,000, DK-$6,700)

    Rudy, Rudy, Rudy! Ok, wrong Rudy, but Gobert is one of the best centers in the league and can produce even when he doesn’t score. He is a defensive nightmare and is scary long/athletic. The Mavs are not good against quality centers and I expect Gobert to dominate the boards. Rudy will be in every lineup for atbuckner21.

    Mason Plumlee – Portland Trail Blazers (FD-$6,800, DK-$6,400)

    Oh Mason, how you have scorned me so often! Over the past 2 weeks I have been burned more than once by Plumlee, but I must put past hurts aside, and give him a second (or third) chance. If you have watched the Blazers play you know how freakishly athletic Plumlee is.

    Even by NBA standards he is an Adonis and I expect him to look the part on Thursday night. As is common knowledge the Celtics can’t guard a big man and Plumlee should have his way on the glass. I’m looking for a double-double with the possibility of 15-plus rebounds. Plumlee is my boy and though he has hurt me, I think he will totally redeem himself tonight.

    These are my thoughts on the Thursday slate. I will be updating an hour before the night starts.  Thanks for reading!

     

  • LaMagna’s Locks: DFS Plays of the Day for Wednesday

    A winning DFS strategy tonight will properly analyze the effects of DeMarcus Cousins’ suspension and will find ways to capitalize on the high point totals, especially in Atlanta and in Brooklyn. I’ve identified five players below who should be in your lineups. Hopefully this advice helps you cash big!

     

    Point Guard

    Jeff Teague ($7,100)

    Many point guards are intriguing tonight but few options are as safe as Jeff Teague. The Pacers take on the Cavaliers in what should be a close game with a current over/under of 217. Indiana’s current implied point total is 107 and Teague may need to do much of the damage, especially since Thad Young has been ruled out.

    Over his last seven games, Teague is averaging 39.1 DraftKings points in 35.4 minutes per game. During that period, his usage rate, assist rate, and rebound rate are very close to his season averages. His true shooting percentage over that time frame (.616) is higher than his season average (.576) but the pace of those games has averaged 93.8 possessions per game while tonight’s pace should be four or five possessions higher.

    To summarize those advanced stats numbers, Teague has been exceeding expectations despite playing slow-paced games. He should exploit his matchup with Kyrie tonight and can anchor your cash lineups.

     

    Shooting Guard

    Bradley Beal ($7,100)

    Ride the hot hand. In what is being described as the best regular season game of the season on Monday, Beal exploded for 41 points against the Cavaliers. Monday was not a fluke; Beal has scored 15+ in eight of his last nine games. Tonight will be more of the same as the Wizards square off with the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn plays at the fastest pace in the league and would struggle to defend traffic cones.

    Since November 8th (46 games), the Nets have given up at least 100 points in every game but two. This game should be so fast and high scoring that even if the Wizards blow out the Nets, Beal should hit value. Exposure to this game is important, and Beal is the perfect option.

     

    Small Forward

    Kent Bazemore ($4,400)

    Kent Bazemore is a very strong cash game play tonight. Atlanta’s matchup with Denver tonight is one you must target. This game currently has the highest over/under (224.5) of the slate and should remain close throughout. With Sefolosha ruled out due to a nagging groin injury, Bazemore’s minutes are secure.

    His usage rate tonight should be 15%-20%. As a reference point, he had an 18% usage rate against the Jazz last game and scored eight points on 2/8 shooting in 29 minutes. Tonight will be much faster-paced than Hawks vs. Jazz, so expect Bazemore to score 10+ points even if he has an average shooting night. If he heats up, he could have 15-20 real points.

    Factoring in a few rebounds, assists, and steals, Bazemore should have no issue surpassing 5x his price given the juicy matchup.

     

    Power Forward

    Paul Millsap ($7,400)

    Power forward is not full of stellar options tonight, but Millsap is an elite tournament and cash game play. His last six games have been a roller coaster in terms of minutes; however, tonight he should return to his usual workload of about 35 minutes. As mentioned with Bazemore, tonight the Hawks play the Nuggets, one of the league’s fastest-paced teams and one of the league’s worst defenses. In his most recent performance against the Jazz, Millsap scored 30 DraftKings points on 4/14 shooting with zero blocks in a slow-paced game. His eight rebounds, three assists, and one steal were right on par with his season averages.

    As long as he sees a full run of minutes, it’s hard to imagine Millsap scoring fewer than 35 DraftKings points, and he carries significant upside. His game against the Jazz is about as poorly as he can produce at a full minutes workload. Barring a blowout, Millsap could have a monster against the porous Nuggets defense.

     

    Center

    Willie Cauley-Stein ($3,500)

    With DeMarcus Cousins suspended tonight, it’s imperative that we analyze the DFS implications. Projecting minutes for the Kings tonight is not the easiest task, but Cauley-Stein should see 20+ minutes in an enticing matchup with the Celtics. Beginning nine games ago, Cauley-Stein has become a larger part of Dave Joerger’s rotation averaging 17.4 mpg. In the only game Cousins has missed this season (Dec. 14th in Houston), Cauley-Stein registered an 11-5-2-2-1 line in 23 minutes. He would have exceeded value in that game at his current price despite having a lower usage rate in that game (15.9%) than his average (18.8%).

    Additionally, Boston is one of the league’s worst rebounding teams. At a conservative minute projection, Cauley-Stein should hit value without a problem. If he sees 25+ minutes, he could have 30 DraftKings points.

  • Wednesday DFS Plays With Leander Wallace: Midweek Money

    What You Need To Know

    Highest Over/Unders 

    1. Wizards @ Nets – 220.5
    2. Nuggets @ Hawks – 220
    3. Clippers @ Knicks – 219

    Highest Combined Pace of Play 

    1. Wizards @ Nets
    2. Nuggets @ Hawks
    3. Lakers @ Pistons

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball Premium Subscribers get access to even more info, articles, live chats, tools and more. Subscribers to our Hoop Ball Fantasy Pro Service get in-depth analysis on a one-on-one basis from our pros. Check it out!

    Point Guard

    Stud – John Wall (FD – $10,500, DK – $10,700)

    There really isn’t much of an argument that needs to be made for Wall other than the numbers at the top of this post. Wall will be the best player on the floor that is the game that has the highest over/under on the night as well as the highest projected pace of play of any game. However, if you need more persuasion, the Nets are giving up more fantasy points per game to opposing point guards than any other team in the league.

    Middle Tier – Dennis Schroder (FD – $6,200, DK – $6,000)

    This game will be played at a lightning fast pace and has a very high over/under. Both of these things are good signs for Schroder, but the best sign of all is that Denver has given up over 50 FPPG to opposing point guards over their last ten games which is good for worst in the league.

    Value Play – Raymond Felton (FD – $4,800, DK – $5,300)

    I would like to have a slightly cheaper guy listed for my value play, but I really believe that Felton is the best option. He has seen over 30 minutes in three of his last four games, and he has also put up at least 22 FPPG in nine of his last ten games. That consistecy along with the fact that Felton plays in a game that has an over/under that is set at 219 makes it very difficult to pass him up at his price. He also has eligibility at SF if you want to fit him in there to go another route at the point.

    Shooting Guard

    Stud – Bradley Beal (FD – $7,400, DK – $7,200)

    Beal absolutely exploded for 41 points and 8 assist against the Cavs in the Wizards’ last game. He gets to follow that game up against a terrible Nets team in a game that should see a ton of points scored. If the Nets are able to keep this one respectable, Beal should have a huge night. It’s not a bad idea to have a couple of Wizards in your lineup on Wednesday, but unless you are taking a strong contrarian stance in a GPP, at least one of the dynamic duo of Wall and Beal needs to be in your lineup.

    Middle Tier – Tim Hardaway Jr. (FD – $5,600, DK – $5,700)

    Notice a theme here? Games where teams will get extra possessions and lots of points will be scored are really good for fantasy. Those factors added to the fact that Hardaway has been playing well of late, and the Nuggets don’t much care for defense and you have a very nice option at a very respectable price.

    Value Play – Courtney Lee (FD – $4,500, DK – $4,100)
    Lee is at a nice price after two subpar games, but he gets a nice matchup against the Clippers in a game where he should get plenty of open looks. I like him better on DraftKings where he is $400 cheaper, but he has a great chance at reaching value on either site. He is a safer option than other value plays at the position such as Brandon Rush and Iman Shumpert

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball and RotoTracker have partnered up to give our podcast listeners and premium subscribers discounts on the best DFS tracking service in the industry. You want to win and this is what we use and what the pros use. Click Here to find out more.

    Small Forward

    Stud – Gordon Hayward (FD – $8,000, DK – $7,600)

    Over there last ten games the pelicans are the fifth worst team in the league at defending small forwards. They have given up over 41 FPPG over that span. Wednesday night they will see a red hot Gordon Hayward and while the Jazz play at a pace that is not exactly ideal for fantasy production, the Pelicans futility at defending the position along with Hayward having three straight 45 point fantasy outings is enough for me to feel comfortable getting him in a lot of lineups at a respectable price.

    Middle Tier – Marcus Morris (FD – $5,800, DK – $6,000)

    This spot could easily go to Otto Porter who has had a breakout year and is facing the Nets, and I don’t blame you at all for getting him into your lineups; however, if you are playing cash games and don’t want to stack the Wizards, Morris is your guy. He has had three strong outings in a row and his minutes will always give him plenty of opportunity. He is playing a Lakers team that is third worst in the league at defending small forwards and the game is projected to be high scoring.

    Value Play – Kent Bazemore (FD – $4,700, DK – $4,400)

    Bazemore will be in a good situation on Wednesday playing against Denver in an uptempo game, and he is talented enough to explode and carry your lineup. Even if he doesn’t have a blowup game, though, he is likely to reach value as he only needs to be around 23 fantasy points to do so.

    Power Forward

    Stud – Blake Griffin (FD -$9,400, DK – $9,300)

    Griffin has been a beast of late having over 50 fantasy points in three of his last four games on DraftKings. He now gets a matchup against the Knicks. You can file this is the shocking news category: The Knicks are not a good defensive team. If Griffin stays as aggressive as he has been of late, and we have n reason to believe he won’t, he should have a monster game.

    Middle Tier – Wilson Chandler ($6,000, $6,600)

    Chandler has had some huge games of late with two average games mixed in. However, those two average games were blowouts. The spread for this game is only four points so the Nuggets should be able to keep it close enough for Chandler to see a heavy workload.

    Value Play – Larry Nance (FD – $4,300, $4,200)

    The Lakers seem to be embracing the future and playing their young guys heavy even if it means sitting veterans that they signed last summer. This has helped Larry Nance Jr. have to solid games of late, and he should see enough minutes again Wednesday to have plenty of opportunity to hit value.

    Editor’s Note: We have a brand new APP for all of our FREE Hoop Ball podcasts. You can download it for your Apple devices here and for your Android devices here. ALSO, you can subscribe to our flagship show Fantasy NBA Today on iTunes right here and on Stitcher right here.

    Center 

    Stud – Andre Drummond (FD – $8,600, DK $8,300)

    Drummond faces a Lakers team that is the second worst team in the league against centers. Drummond should be able to dominate down low as long as he stays out of foul trouble. The game is projected to be high scoring so if Drummond can get some points to go along with his usual rebounds he could be in store for a massive day.

    Middle Tier – Dwight Howard (FD – $7,100, $6,800)

    Howard has a nice matchup and should be able to put together a nice all around game. Hospice is at a good point considering his upside as well as the matchup that he has. The thing I like most about Howard is that his price on both sites is at a spot where you can fit him into your lineup without paying a fortune.

    Value Play – Willie Cauley-Stein (FD – $4,600, $3,500)

    On DraftKings, Cauley-Stein has a strong chance to absolutely crush his value. FanDuel has raised his price some but not enough to keep me away. With Boogie out because of technicals, Cauley-Stein should see an increase in minutes, and his game is diverse enough that he can not have an unbelieveble scoring game and still reach his value.

     

     

     

  • Sunday DFS Plays with Leander Wallace: Big Game Huntin

    What you need to know

    Yes, it’s Superbowl Sunday but we all know that the world is salivating at the opportunity to watch the Raptors play the Nets… Okay, I couldn’t even type that without cringing at the thought of the Nets playing a Toronto team that will likely be without their two best players.

    However, in the fantasy world, we don’t have to be concerned about the beauty of the basketball but rather the fact that this is an opportunity to find some great value if DeRozan and Lowry do indeed sit. With Sunday only being a three game slate, a lineup of stars and scrubs is my advice. The other two games will both be full of offense as as Vegas has the over/under for both above 216.

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball Premium Subscribers get access to even more info, articles, live chats, tools and more. Subscribers to our Hoop Ball Fantasy Pro Service get in-depth analysis on a one-on-one basis from our pros. Check it out!

    Point Guard

    Must Play: Cory Joseph* (FD -$3,500, DK – $3,200)

    If Lowry is out, Joseph becomes a must play. At nearly the minimum price on both sites, Joseph gives you the flexibility you need to fit stars into your lineup while having the ability to have a very nice game of his own. Last time the Raptors played the Nets Joseph had 33 points and put up a 42 point fantasy outing. Even if he doesn’t reach those numbers again, Joseph is nearly a lock to reach value at such an affordable price.

    Nice Options: Isaiah Thomas (FD – $10,900, DK – $9,900) Raymond Felton (FD – $4,700, DK – $4,900)

    IT is nearly a must play on DraftKings where he is underpriced and has scored over 50 fantasy points in six of his last eight outings. Factor that in with the fact that he is a better player at home, and look subjectively at the fact that while the Clippers have been good against point guards on the year, CP3 ain’t walking through that door.  The Clips have given up a whopping 58.9 fantasy points per game to point guards over their last five games and IT suddenly looks like a guy who is very likely to reach value.

    I don’t particularly love Felton, but I do think he gets enough minutes to reach value, and he is a cheaper option than Rivers who I think will have a similar stat line. Also, there aren’t very many other options other than Westbrook, and I feel like your Uncle Leroy who doesn’t even really care about basketball but watches SportsCenter once a day knows that Westbrook is a good pick so what is really the point in me telling you the obvious.

    Don’t Touch : Kyle Lowry (FD – $9,000, DK – $9,200)

    Don’t get tricked into playing Lowry even if he suits up unless you are just looking for a contrarian GPP play. Lowry may make this decision easy for you and not play, but even if he does, he isn’t likely to see his usual dosage of minutes considering how well Joseph played against the Nets last time and how atrocious the Nets are.

    Shooting Guard

    Must Play: None

    Nice options: C. J. McCollum (FD – $8,000, DK – $7,200) Norman Powell (FD – $4,700, DK -$5,700)

    Like IT, McCollum is a much better value on DraftKings, but I feel confident in playing him on either site. The over/under for the game is extremely high and the pace should be extremely beneficial for fantasy production. Add in the fact that the Thunder have been the worst team in the league over their past five games at defending opposing shooting guards and you have a nice matchup.

    Powell has been receiving a ton of minutes of late, and he should see just as many or more if DeRozan and Lowry both sit. If Lowry sits someone will have to pick up those shots and I expect Cory Joseph and Powell to be the primary beneficiaries.

    Don’t Touch: DeMar DeRozan

    Just like Lowry, DeRozan is questionable. Don’t take the bait. It is extremely unlikely that he plays, but if he does he should only be used as a very risky contrarian play.

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball and RotoTracker have partnered up to give our podcast listeners and premium subscribers discounts on the best DFS tracking service in the industry. You want to win and this is what we use and what the pros use. Click Here to find out more.

    Small Forward

    Must Play: Jae Crowder

    SF is seriously a dumpster fire beyond Crowder. Sure, I’d like him to be a little cheaper, but he has been right around 35 fantasy points per game of late, and the Clippers have given up the second most points in the league to the small forward position over their last ten games.

    (Nice is relative here) Nice Options: Terrence Ross (FD $4,000. DK $3,700) 

    Either Ross or DeMarre Carroll probably has a decent game because it’s the Nets and everyone has a nice time against the Nets, but unless you have to play Ross or Carroll because you want to have Westbrook in your lineup I wouldn’t risk it. DraftKings gives you much more flexibility here as you can play Powell or Felton at this spot.

    Don’t Touch: Anyone but Crowder

    Seriously, just play Crowder, or better yet e-mail DraftKings and FanDuel to see if you can get a waiver to play without a small forward on Sunday.

    Power Forward

    Must Play: None

    Nice Options: Blake Griffin (FD – $9,200, DK – $8,600) Al-Farouq Aminu (FD – $5,300, DK – $ 4,800)

    I was close to placing Griffin under the must play category since there are so few reliable options at this position, but it is a little better than the small forward spot, and the Celtics are pretty good defensively against the power forward position. However, Griffin has been exceptional in his last two games, and his minutes should be up to par with what they were before his injury. Aminu is a nice option who has been consistent of late and should reach value.

    Don’t Touch: Domantas Sabonis

    It’s possible that Sabonis makes someone a lot of money in a GPP tomorrow, but that is the only format he should be played in. He has been awful over his last two games, and his minutes suffered against Memphis because of it. His price point is enticing, but unless you are looking for a extremely high risk (Dude literally finished with negative fantasy points last game.) medium reward guy, stay away.

    Editor’s Note: We have a brand new APP for all of our FREE Hoop Ball podcasts. You can download it for your Apple devices here and for your Android devices here. ALSO, you can subscribe to our flagship show Fantasy NBA Today on iTunes right here and on Stitcher right here.

    Center

    Must Play: Steven Adams (FD – $6,100, DK – $5,600)

    The Trail Blazers have given up 53.4 fantasy points per game to centers over their last ten games. Adams is playing have minutes right now, and he only needs to be around 30 fantasy points to reach value on FanDuel and even less on DraftKings.

    Nice Options: Brook Lopez (FD – $7,200, DK – 6,700) Lucas Nogueira (FD – $4,000, DK – $3,600)

    With the Raptors being shorthanded I expect the Nets to be able to keep this game close enough for Lopez to see a full allotment of minutes. He had a nice 44 point fantasy outing against the Raptors the last time the teams met. Nogueira is a nice option if looking for flexibility another spots.

    Don’t Touch: Mason Plumlee (FD – $7,000, DK – 5,900)

    I don’t love Plumlee on DraftKings but at $5,900 I wouldn’t mind going with him for a contrarian play, but there is just no way you should play him for $7,000 on FanDuel. At that price, he would need around 35 points to reach value.

    He hasn’t done that much over his past few games, and he will now be up against Steven Adams. The Thunder has given up the least rebounds to centers in the league over their last ten games, and they are in the top five teams in the league at defending the position for the season.