NBA DFS Core Plays LIVE: Thursday, December 8th

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

2:27 PM ET: Initial run of the tables is up. Still waiting on some Houston news (and the rest of the Miami news), but I will start filling in the other notes now.

1:14 PM ET: The Clippers just dropped their injury report, ruling out the following players for tonight’s game: Kawhi Leonard, Norman Powell, and Terance Mann.

12:37 PM ET: The Heat have kicked off the news cycle, listing Kyle Lowry out (rest) on their latest injury report. The only other updates from what I noted this morning are that Nikola Jovic and Haywood Highsmith are now listed as available. The big one, Jimmy Butler, remains questionable.

8:30 AM ET: Thursday night brings us another small slate, as we only have three games tonight. Relatively speaking, we have a healthy amount of names (no pun intended, believe it or not) in The Situation Room. We already have injury reports on 5 of the 6 teams. So let’s start by looking at the one team that is on the second night of a back-to-back, the Clippers.

They somehow lost in overtime last night in Orlando, a game in which they were without all of Luke Kennard (injury management), Marcus Morris (non-COVID illness), Norman Powell (groin strain), and John Wall (injury management). Tonight’s game in Miami starts when the slate locks, so I don’t want to get too wordy here regarding what to expect. We’ll likely get all of this information with plenty of time to act. To make this simple, I will just list a few of the names and note what we “know” as of now.

Luke Kennard, Marcus Morris, John Wall: They are expected to play tonight, as their absences last night appeared to just be related to the back-to-back.

Paul George: He said after last night’s game that he plans to play tonight. We shall see. Last night was just his second game back after missing seven in a row, and he played 32.5 minutes. Sometimes the organization steps in here and overrules the player, even if the player’s preference is to play.

Kawhi Leonard: He played 30 minutes last night, easily the most of his seven games this season. I haven’t seen anything on the interwebs that even insinuates he might play tonight, and I’d be pretty shocked if he does. We are calling him doubtful and keeping him out of projections.

Norman Powell: It was noted a few days ago that Powell isn’t on the current road trip. So we are calling him out and not including him in projections. I suppose it is possible he rejoins the team on his own, but we’ll know for sure a little later today.

The last thing I will note here is that we shouldn’t be surprised if other names pop up on the injury report later today either. For example, Nicolas Batum played 38 minutes last night. His second highest minutes total so far this season? 28 minutes.

Okay, enough Clippers talk. We’ll get a better idea of what is going on here later this afternoon.

The Heat are doing Heat things, listing half of their team on the injury report. Most of the names are probable (Herro, Highsmith, Jovic, Oladipo, Robinson, Strus), but there are some more relevant ones like Jimmy Butler (questionable), Gabe Vincent (out), and Dewayne Dedmon (questionable). Again, first game of the night, so we should know for sure who is in and who is out.

The Rockets have listed a trio of players as questionable, with the main one being Kevin Porter (Josh Christopher & Bruno Fernando being the other two). KPJ has only missed one game this season, so it remains to be seen if tonight makes #2. Obviously, the first guy our brains will shift to if KPJ sits tonight is going to be Jalen Green.

But holy hell wait until you see what CourtIQ says in the sample with KPJ off of the court. In a 190-minute sample (not exactly small), Eric Gordon sees a usage rate bump of…wait for it…a big Barney Stinson kind of wait for it…HERE IT COMES…10 percentage points! You read that right. His usage rate when he is on the court with KPJ is 17.5%. His usage rate when KPJ is off the court is 27.5%. That results in his DK FPPM rate going up 0.37 points. Sheesh man!

Another team I want to mention is San Antonio. They have already ruled out Jakob Poeltl, Jeremy Sochan, and Keita Bates-Diop, while Devin Vassell is listed as doubtful. And on tap for tonight is a matchup against the third worst defense in the league, those aforementioned Houston Rockets. Hello Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones, and friends!

So, I think we can tie a bow on things for now and see what news comes out for the Heat, Clippers, and Rockets. I will circle back to the tables a little later this afternoon.

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

8:30 AM ET: Thursday night brings us another small slate, as we only have three games tonight. Relatively speaking, we have a healthy amount of names (no pun intended, believe it or not) in The Situation Room. We already have injury reports on 5 of the 6 teams. So let’s start by looking at the one team that is on the second night of a back-to-back, the Clippers.

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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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