Mark “Hilow” Garcia
Again, if you’re new to the NBA and haven’t yet checked out the free portion of my course in the Marketplace, I highly recommend you do so first. There I break down the game of NBA, how to think of its players from a DFS perspective, and how those players compare to the NFL. With that understanding, you should have a better time sticking with me here as we discuss Game Theory in the NBA (and I cover Game Theory in the NBA in-depth in a later lesson of my course)!
Three teams are on the second half of a back-to-back (Jazz, Hawks and Wizards) and four games carry heightened risks of a blowout (MIL@TOR, OKC@PHO, WAS@NO, and MIN@GS), in addition to the game already postponed. The Wizards/Pelicans game is at risk of postponement should one additional player from Washington not be able to play, which would bring the team below the minimum number of active players tonight. Expect ownership to be fairly spread out, but we’ll cover ways to handle where the ownership does congregate below (particularly Phoenix, who are currently expected to see the highest aggregate ownership on the slate).
After missing the team’s last six games for the birth of a child, Horford is tentatively expected to return tonight. This will shift Isaiah Roby back to the bench.
Guards Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, Gabe Vincent and Avery Bradley are all questionable for the Heat tonight. Jimmy Butler remains out. The team could be very thin in the backcourt against the Nuggets tonight. With a spread of only 5.5 points, follow news here closely as solid value could be on the horizon.
Nance was apparently spotted with a brace on his injured wrist, loosely indicating he is not ready to return from his one-game absence. In his stead, we are likely to see Cedi Osman get the start at PF. Without Nance on the court this year, Andre Drummond carries an insane 34.6% usage and will be playing against the team that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing centers.
The standard LBJ questionable tag continues. I tentatively expect him to play tonight. Should he miss, Anthony Davis (30.6%) and Dennis Schroder (28.3%) see significant usage bumps.
Russell missed Monday’s contest against these same Warriors which resulted in Ricky Rubio getting the start and playing 26 minutes in a lopsided affair. With Karl Anthony-Towns still out, Russell would be looking at a massive usage bump should he return (30.8% usage this season with KAT off the court).
Capela returned on Tuesday from a sore right hand and is listed questionable on the second half of a back-to-back. I tentatively expect him to play against the Nets in the game with the highest game total on the slate (239.0).
Sabonis left Monday’s contest with a knee contusion and further tests revealed no structural damage. Should he miss here, expect heavy usage for guard Malcolm Brogdon and increased court time for center Myles Turner in a game with a moderate total (220.0) and close spread (2.0).
With six players ruled out for Wednesday due to COVID and Russell Westbrook ruled out on the second half of a back-to-back, Neto should be relied on for heavy minutes. The blowout concerns are somewhat muted for a team that should be left with the bare minimum nine players due to injuries and COVID. At a price of only $4,300, I would much rather take a chance on Neto than Bradley Beal. The best part is he is SG-eligible on DK. Neto is currently listed as questionable, so pay close attention to his status, but I would expect him to be active with no restrictions.
Of the remaining Suns not named Devin Booker, Ayton is my preferred option. His rebounding numbers are up recently, and he now gets an opponent in the Thunder that rank third worst in the league in rebounding differential (48.0%) and all three primary frontcourt members (Horford, Bazley and Roby) are poor on the glass. Expect a floor of 15/15 for Ayton with ceiling for 20/20+ in this matchup, particularly considering his high-for-a-center 23.2% usage with Booker off the floor this season.
The usage leaders for the Pacers this year are Victor Oladipo (no longer with the team), Malcolm Brogdon, Damontas Sabonis (questionable), and TJ Warren (out). Should Sabonis miss, we’re left with the top three usage leaders over the course of the season off the court, leaving heavy expected usage for Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner (29.6% and 24.2% this season, respectively). Brogdon has averaged a staggering 1.54 fantasy points per minute without Sabonis this season and has averaged 37.5 minutes per game over the last four. Turner has averaged a healthy 1.40 fantasy points per minute without Sabonis and has averaged 37 minutes per game over the last four. Jeremy Lamb played 33 minutes in the game Sabonis left early with injury and I would expect him to enter the starting lineup. He boasts a healthy 22.7% usage in his time with the team and should play 33-36 minutes should Sabonis miss.
Considering his elite usage with Nance off the court (covered above) and the soft matchup down low against the Pistons, Drummond’s current 10% projected ownership is something to capitalize on.
The aggregate ownership of the highest game total on the late is entirely too low, with no player from this game currently projected for more than 10% ownership.