July 30, 2020, 2:57 pm
Utah Jazz @ New Orleans Pelicans
Pelicans: QUESTIONABLE: Zion Williamson (re-conditioning)
LA Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers
Clippers: OUT: Lou Williams (quarantine), Montrezl Harrell (personal); QUESTIONABLE: Patrick Beverley (self-isolating)
Lakers: OUT: Rajon Rondo (right thumb fracture); QUESTIONABLE: Anthony Davis (eye); PROBABLE: LeBron James (sore right groin), Kyle Kuzma (right ankle sprain), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right rib contusion)
Hello! My name is Aaron Asmus and I’m very excited to be working with Hoop Ball DFS for the NBA restart. I’ll be writing this article for every Thursday and Friday slate as well being on the podcast for the Thursday slate. The restart is one of the most unique situations we’ve ever had in NBA DFS and should lead to one of the best opportunities to be profitable for those who are most prepared.
Most of my DFS experience comes from cash games and working through optimal lineups, but I will be heavily focused on 3-max tournaments too. For the general lay-out of the article, I want to focus on good roster construction and on the how and why I think certain builds work. Player write-ups will reflect the core I want to play and the plays I feel you should be focused on in both cash games 3-max tournaments. It is important to note that because this article comes out early in the morning well before lock, that breaking news can completely change the context of the slate. Thankfully, Hoop-Ball’s blurb feed will keep you up to date on everything you need to know, and you can follow @HoopBallFantasy on Twitter. This resource will be just as valuable as the content we provide, so make sure to go follow them!
As per usual when a sport restarts after a long hiatus, the first few slates of a season are soft in pricing so newer players can get star players into their lineups. The opening 2-game slate is no different with everyone outside of the Lakers’ stars being underpriced. The standard cash game construction is going to start with LeBron James and with plenty of value available, it’s not going to be difficult to play him. Before we knew Anthony Davis might be limited coming back from his eye injury, I think there was some merit to fading James in cash games, since there are so many good $7k+ plays that are underpriced. It’s not worth it in this slate context though with how highly owned he is going to be and the potential boost he sees with Davis off the floor. James without Davis on the floor has a 39.7% USG rate and averages 1.7 FPPM. This is a 7.4% USG and 0.14 FPPM boost.
Paul George – $7,200
George leads off the player core with a truly egregious price tag that’s going to lead him to being one of the highest owned players on the slate. This price would be too cheap if everyone was healthy but taking Lou Williams (28.3% USG, 29.9 AST%, 5.5% TRB) and Montrezl Harrell (25.5% USG, 10.3% AST, 13.1% TRB) out of the lineup puts far more offensive responsibility in the hands of George and Leonard. This is especially reflected in the four games Lou Williams missed this season with a 12-point DKPPG increase and a 6.7% USG rate increase for George. Even if he’s not fully extended minutes wise, the team context is too good to ignore for him at this tag. I would not leave him off any roster and would find other ways to be different to be unique in tournaments.
Jordan Clarkson – $4,200
Utah could not have started the bubble off in a better situation, getting a massive pace boost (Jazz 25th, Pelicans 3rd) and having to replace the scoring production of Bojan Bogdanovic (20.2 PPG, 14.8 FGA, 60% TS, 25.2% USG). Clarkson is the most likely candidate as before the season ended as he was already integrating himself as one of the elite scoring 6th men in the league. Frankly, Utah needs his offense and him seeing minutes in the high 20s to low 30s is very likely. He was super productive with Bojan off the floor (0.98 FPPM, 27% USG), too.
Utah has also been one of the teams using a tight nine-man rotation during the scrimmages, so we can be reasonably confident that it holds going into the seeding games. For $4.2k, there just isn’t much downside unless Quin Snyder drastically changes how he’s been running his rotation. Clarkson will be on my cash and 3-max rosters. He’s a better fade in MME where he’s going to be extremely popular.
Ivica Zubac – $4,500
Zubac is a bit more of a speculation play than the two guys I’ve already written up, but I love the floor-ceiling combo he has in this spot. I’m not expecting more than 23-25 minutes, but with Zu being an excellent PPM guy (1.14 FPPM with Williams and Harrell off the floor) he’d be able to pay off his tag nicely. We do have one game Harrell missed (against Utah) where Zubac played 28 minutes and put up 15 points, 12 rebounds, two assist and one block on 57% shooting. The Lakers are similar in the sense they have a true center on the floor for most of the game where Zubac’s size will be needed. Joakim Noah has looked good in the scrimmages and the Clippers are comfortable going to JaMychal Green as a small-ball center, but we’re not looking for huge minutes upside here for Zubac where that’s too much of a concern. Zubac is just flat out a better player than the guys behind him too, which I like betting on when a minutes situation is slightly murkier.
3-Max Tourney Play:
Lonzo Ball – $7,400
Lonzo Ball was absolutely rolling before the season shut down, averaging 35.3 MPG 13.1 PPG, 8.4 APG, 7.0 RPG on 60.1% TS in his past 20 games. He finally gained Alvin Gentry’s trust and was a player that had access to a big ceiling with his minutes being secure for one of the first times in his career. In the context of the slate though, I think we see lower ownership with Donovan Mitchell ($7,000), Rudy Gobert ($7,100), Paul George ($7,200) and Zion Williamson ($7,500) all being within the same price range and projecting as better plays. The massive pace differential we talked about with Clarkson earlier also applies here to keep Lonzo’s ownership down.
Anthony Davis, Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday, Mike Conley, Joe Ingles
That’s it! I’ll be back tomorrow breaking down the 6-game slate. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have on my twitter @AsmusSports. Please check out our DFS Today podcast and all of the other great content we have here at Hoop-Ball to help you set your lineups.
Lakers -5: I like the Lakers to cover the spread at -5. The spread was as low as -3.5 earlier in the week before the Lou Williams Magic City saga. The Clippers are also without Patrick Beverly and Montrezl Harrell, two of their best defenders. Also of note, Kawhi Leonard has struggled throughout the scrimmages, shooting a measly 28% from the field. Good teams win, great teams cover, and I see the Lakers covering tonight.
NOP/UTA Under 228: With both teams coming off extraordinarily long layoffs and Utah’s defensive ability, I like this game to stay under the listed total. We’re also, to some degree, fading the Pelicans’ darling status.
LAC/LAL Over 218: All three previous matchups this year went over the listed total with the lowest combined mark sitting at 225. The Clippers are shorthanded, so the pace should be less grind early.
SEA/LAA Over 9: These clubs have bad bullpens and bad starting pitching. The Angels might post 10 runs themselves.