NBA DFS Core Plays LIVE: Friday, December 9th

Andy Means (meansy53) will be bringing Premium subscribers his top NBA DFS plays to build around for the upcoming slate. A former Duke basketball walk-on, Meansy will also give you his thoughts on the slate as a whole from a macro perspective. On weekends, the GPP maestro you all know and love, STLCards, takes the reins.

GENERAL SLATE THOUGHTS

4:35 PM ET: Will Barton has been ruled out, while Kristaps Porzingis will play. Should be done with the rest of the notes shortly and then that will probably be a wrap for me before Crunch Time. See y’all there!

3:30 PM ET: As I predicted this morning, it has been an extremely quiet day so far on the news front. The only (meaningful) tidbits we have gotten so far is that Donovan Mitchell was not at shootaround, Mike Conley is going to play, and LeBron James (who was listed as probable) is going to play. So we are still waiting on all of the big news items that were discussed earlier.

The initial run of the tables is up, and I will start working on the notes now (may not be able to fill all of them in but we will see). For what it’s worth, I am going light on my Core Play tags for now until some of this news starts breaking.

8:00 AM ET: Alright, alright! First off, happy Friday everyone. I am in a great mood this morning. Why, you ask? None of the 20 teams playing tonight are on the second night of a back-to-back. Woohoo!!!

That means we already have injury reports for every team and have a pretty good idea of the key situations to be monitoring today. It also probably means that, barring something unforeseen, we are probably looking at a backloaded day of news. So if things are pretty quiet on the news front early in the day, that likely means it will be raining news-bombs in that 90ish-minute window leading up to slate lock.

And just because we have injury reports for every team this early in the day doesn’t mean things won’t still be bonkers. For example, here are a few things we are dealing with…

Washington Wizards: Already without Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, and Delon Wright, the Wizards have also listed Kristaps Porzingis and Will Barton as questionable. In terms of highest usage rates on the team this season, Zinger is #1 (27.6%), Kyle Kuzma is #2 (26.7%), Beal is #3 (26.5%), Rui is #4 (22.3%), and Barton is #6 (17.7%). Think Kuzma might get some jacks up tonight if Zinger and Barton are also out?

Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love has joined Ricky Rubio, Dean Wade, and Dylan Windler as being listed out on the injury report. And an even bigger one, Donovan Mitchell, has been listed questionable. Mitchell has missed two games this season, with Darius Garland playing in one of them (on November 13th). In that game, Garland played 40 minutes, posted a 40% usage rate (!!!), 34.6% assist rate, and ended up with 66.4 FD / 70.5 DK points. Ladies and gentlemen, I think I am going to want to roster Garland tonight if Mitchell doesn’t play.

Sacramento Kings: On the other side of the Cleveland game, we have the Kings listing De’Aaron Fox and Terence Davis as questionable. Fox has missed one game this season. Things went according to plan for the most part, with Domantas Sabonis playing 37 minutes while putting up a 24.3% usage rate, 30.8% assist rate, and 19.7% rebound rate (resulting in 49.4 FD / 52 DK). What surprised me the most from that game though was who benefitted in the backcourt. Yes, Davion Mitchell drew the start for Fox (and played 29 minutes), but his underlying rates (16% usage, 23.5% assist) were relatively unimpressive. Malik Monk (35.6% usage, 29.5 FD / 31 DK) and Kevin Huerter (38 minutes, 29.4 FD / 31 DK) were the other big winners. Remember, Monk and Huerter were not on this team last year, when it was straight-up Davion SZN any time Fox didn’t play.

Utah Jazz: Collin Sexton is out for at least a week, and the Jazz have also listed all of Mike Conley, Lauri Markkanen, and Simone Fontecchio as questionable. It does sound like Conley is set to make his return tonight after missing the last nine games, but Lauri did miss his first game of the season on Wednesday. So if Lauri and Fontecchio are out, the Jazz would only have 10 available players (assuming none of their G-League players get call-ups).

So as you can see, we still have a long way to go until things get set on this 10-game slate. And there are plenty of other marquee names that have already been ruled out for tonight, some who have already missed multiple games in a row (e.g. Brandon Ingram, KAT, LaMelo Ball, Cade Cunningham, John Collins) and others who are dealing with new injuries (e.g. Dejounte Murray).

In my opinion, this slate could use a few shake-ups. When looking at our initial run of projections in LineupHQ, I see a jarring lack of that bright green color in the RGValue column. I am talking that bright, highlighter-marker-color green. Not that lighter lima-bean-color green. Great, now I just dry heaved thinking about lima beans. Who actually likes lima beans? Blah. I imagine that is what eating clay tastes like. No way we could ever be friends if you like lima beans.

Ok, being that a vegetable just made an appearance for the first time ever in this article, I think it is time to wrap things up. I’ll mainly have my eyes on the Cleveland, Washington, and Sacramento situations today, and I’m sure something else will sneak up on us too. Catch y’all back here throughout the day as news breaks, later on in the afternoon when I fill out the tables, and then on Crunch Time tonight. I might actually wear something that isn’t a Drifit t-shirt since I am heading out to dinner right after. Cheers!

NOTE: The closer we get to the slate locking, the less likely it is that I will have the necessary time to update the tables below. For the most up-to-date information, make sure you are watching Crunch Time and monitoring LineupHQ for my Core Play tags and our Premium NBA Projections.

Andy Means (meansy53) will be bringing Premium subscribers his top NBA DFS plays to build around for the upcoming slate. A former Duke basketball walk-on, Meansy will also give you his thoughts on the slate as a whole from a macro perspective. On weekends, the GPP maestro you all know and love, STLCards, takes the reins.

GENERAL SLATE THOUGHTS

8:00 AM ET: Alright, alright! First off, happy Friday everyone. I am in a great mood this morning. Why, you ask? None of the 20 teams playing tonight are on the second night of a back-to-back. Woohoo!!!

That means we already have injury reports for every team and have a pretty good idea of the key situations to be monitoring today. It also probably means that, barring something unforeseen, we are probably looking at a backloaded day of news. So if things are pretty quiet on the news front early in the day, that likely means it will be raining news-bombs in that 90ish-minute window leading up to slate lock.

And just because we have injury reports for every team this early in the day doesn’t mean things won’t still be bonkers. For example, here are a few things we are dealing with…

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About the Author

  • Andy Means (meansy53)

  • Andy Means, aka meansy53, was a walk-on with the esteemed Duke University basketball team for three years before graduating in 2004. He has a Masters in Accounting from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and has been playing DFS since 2014 – professionally since 2016. He is a featured contributor for RotoGrinders who has qualified for multiple live finals and displays his extensive basketball knowledge as the lead host of our top premium show – NBA Crunch Time.

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