NBA Grind Down: Monday, March 20th

By Derek Farnsworth (Notorious), Last Updated 5 days ago

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Welcome to the RotoGrinders NBA Grind Down. In this all-encompassing preview of today’s NBA action, every game will be broken down statistically, with several key elements highlighted in our charts.

Vegas lines are broken down to show projected team totals, to give you an idea of who is favored to win, and often more importantly, how many points they’re expected to score. We also provide pace numbers, so you can spot a game that might have a few extra possessions and more opportunities for fantasy points.

We also provide position-by-position matchup rankings for every team, to give you an idea of the players who will be in better situations to succeed. Using Defense versus Position data, every projected starter is listed along with his opponent’s rank in points allowed to players of his position. These color-coded charts will help you spot the best matchups of the night at a glance.

If you want to try a new DFS site, be sure to click through a RotoGrinders link and use promo code “GRINDERS” to receive the best perks in the industry.

Legend & FAQ


Utah Jazz at Indiana Pacers – 7:00 PM ET

Utah Jazz Indiana Pacers
Vegas Total 193.0 Vegas Total 193.0
Vegas Spread -2.0 Vegas Spread 2.0
Team Total 97.5 Team Total 95.5
Pace +/- -0.3 Pace +/- -5.1
Proj. Starter George Hill Joe Ingles Joe Johnson Gordon Hayward Rudy Gobert Proj. Starter Jeff Teague C.J. Miles Paul George Thaddeus Young Myles Turner
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
Adj. DvP 8 13 18 7 21 Adj. DvP 2 2 2 1 2
DRPM 0.00 -0.30 0.00 2.25 2.14 DRPM 0.76 0.30 -1.34 -0.14 5.71

Utah Jazz

  • Notable Injuries:
    Shelvin Mack (Out)
    Derrick Favors (Out)
    Rodney Hood (Questionable)
  • Utah Jazz Offense
    Points Per Game: 100.3 (28 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 97.5 (13 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: -2.8 (11 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 93.7 (30 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: -0.3 (11 of 14)
  • Indiana Pacers Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 105.1 (15 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 105.8 (17 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: -2.9 (26 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 204.5 (16 of 30)

The first game of the evening may be the least appealing in terms of potential fantasy production. The Pacers and Jazz are both ranked in the bottom half of the NBA in pace of play and we know what the Jazz to fantasy production. The over/under is currently set at 193 points, which is at least ten points lower than all of the other totals in the slate. The Jazz are the preferred target of the two teams, but they aren’t in an ideal spot. They have an implied total of only 97.5 points, which is 2.8 points below their season average.

George Hill scored 45 fantasy points in his first game against his former team earlier in the season. This will be his first game back in Indiana since the trade. Even with the revenge narrative, I expect him to be low owned in a slate that features so many viable point guards. We’ve seen Hill score 40+ fantasy points on a regular basis this season and he’s priced close to $6,000 on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Rodney Hood is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest. If he is unable to suit up, we can go right back to Joe Ingles and Joe Johnson as value plays. Gordon Hayward stands out as a nice value on DraftKings at a price of only $6,900. Rudy Gobert is also slightly underpriced on DraftKings at $7,200. Gobert is averaging 37 fantasy points in his last five games and opposing centers have had success against the Pacers all season.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
George Hill $6,100 $6,000 0.89 31.8 -1.1 28.3 -2.2 24.5% -1.2% 8 0.00
Joe Ingles $4,200 $5,000 0.67 23.1 6.6 15.6 4.0 14.9% 0.0% 13 -0.30
Joe Johnson $3,900 $4,200 0.66 23.1 4.4 15.3 3.3 18.5% 1.1% 18 0.00
Gordon Hayward $7,600 $6,900 1.00 34.5 -1.0 34.4 -4.0 27.6% -0.3% 7 2.25
Rudy Gobert $7,900 $7,200 1.03 33.7 1.1 34.9 2.1 15.7% 0.3% 21 2.14

Elite Plays – George Hill (GPP), Gordon Hayward (DK), Rudy Gobert (DK)

Secondary Plays – George Hill (Cash), Gordon Hayward (FD), Rudy Gobert (FD), Joe Ingles & Joe Johnson (if Rodney Hood is out)


Indiana Pacers

  • Notable Injuries:
    NONE
  • Indiana Pacers Offense
    Points Per Game: 104.1 (19 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 95.5 (14 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: -8.6 (14 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 98.5 (17 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: -5.1 (14 of 14)
  • Utah Jazz Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 96.3 (1 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 102.0 (3 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: + 2.9 (4 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 181.8 (1 of 30)

The Pacers have lost five of their last ten games and are getting dangerously close to falling out of the playoff picture altogether. They are currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings, but their lead over the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth place teams is dwindling. To make matters worse, they have to face the Jazz. On the season, Utah is ranked dead last in pace of play and first in points allowed per game. The Pacers are listed as 2-point underdogs with an implied total of only 95.5 points. Not only do the Pacers have the lowest team total, but they also have the lowest projected point differential as well. Indiana is an easy fade for me as a whole. Jeff Teague ($5,900) and Myles Turner ($5,300) are both priced down on DraftKings, but they are deep tournament fliers at best tonight.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
Jeff Teague $6,600 $5,900 1.01 32.3 -1.6 32.6 -4.3 26.3% 0.3% 2 0.76
C.J. Miles $3,700 $3,600 0.71 23.5 2.2 16.8 -0.7 17.2% -1.1% 2 0.30
Paul George $8,100 $8,000 1.01 35.3 -0.3 35.6 3.0 28.0% 1.4% 2 -1.34
Thaddeus Young $4,600 $4,200 0.76 30.3 -3.3 23.0 -6.2 15.9% -0.8% 1 -0.14
Myles Turner $6,400 $5,300 0.96 30.9 -0.4 29.8 -4.7 19.1% -4.3% 2 5.71
Monta Ellis $4,400 $3,400 0.65 26.8 -1.8 17.4 0.4 18.6% 3.9% 2 N/A

Elite Plays – NONE

Secondary Plays – NONE


Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic – 7:00 PM ET

Philadelphia 76ers Orlando Magic
Vegas Total 213.5 Vegas Total 213.5
Vegas Spread 5.0 Vegas Spread -5.0
Team Total 104.3 Team Total 109.3
Pace +/- -0.2 Pace +/- 2.2
Proj. Starter T.J. McConnell Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot Robert Covington Dario Saric Richaun Holmes Proj. Starter Elfrid Payton Evan Fournier Terrence Ross Aaron Gordon Nikola Vucevic
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
Adj. DvP 23 20 20 25 22 Adj. DvP 17 24 21 19 30
DRPM -0.61 -0.76 -0.99 -0.84 2.09 DRPM 0.12 -0.14 3.66 -1.16 -0.32

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Philadelphia 76ers Offense
    Points Per Game: 102.3 (24 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 104.3 (9 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: 2.0 (7 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 101.0 (5 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: -0.2 (10 of 14)
  • Orlando Magic Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 106.5 (21 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 107.8 (22 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: -2.2 (25 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 208.4 (25 of 30)

The Sixers and Magic are two teams that have nothing to play for at this point of the season. This is a tricky situation because on paper, this looks like a tremendous game to stack in DFS. Both teams like to push the pace and both teams are ranked in the bottom ten in points allowed per game. The Sixers are currently listed as 5-point underdogs with an implied total of 104.3 points, which is two points higher than their season average.

T.J. McConnell has been a serviceable starter for the Sixers this season, but he is a bit too expensive for what he brings to the table. At his price point, I would much rather target George Hill against his former team or Jameer Nelson against the Rockets. Robert Covington’s production has been down thanks to a few blowouts, but this is a decent bounce-back opportunity. His price has dropped below $7,000 on DraftKings and his ownership should be fairly low in this slate. Dario Saric continues to play at a high level, averaging 33 minutes and 35 fantasy points in his last five games. The only issue with Saric is that he is now priced correctly across the industry. I’d rather save a few thousand dollars and go down to Richaun Holmes, who has at least 30 fantasy points in three of his last five games. If Jahlil Okafor (questionable) is unable to suit up, Holmes would become an elite value play across the board.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
T.J. McConnell $5,400 $5,200 0.82 25.5 2.7 21.0 3.0 19.1% -1.2% 23 -0.61
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot $3,800 $3,800 0.58 14.1 10.8 8.2 8.0 16.7% 0.0% 20 -0.76
Robert Covington $7,200 $6,800 0.84 31.5 0.2 26.5 2.9 18.5% 1.3% 20 -0.99
Dario Saric $7,800 $7,800 0.90 26.1 6.3 23.4 11.4 23.6% 3.0% 25 -0.84
Richaun Holmes $4,800 $5,100 0.99 18.2 5.5 18.0 7.1 17.8% 0.5% 22 2.09
Nik Stauskas $3,600 $3,400 0.60 27.0 0.7 16.3 -0.5 16.5% 0.6% 20 N/A

Elite Plays – Richaun Holmes (if Okafor is out)

Secondary Plays – Robert Covington, Dario Saric


Orlando Magic

  • Orlando Magic Offense
    Points Per Game: 100.0 (29 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 109.3 (7 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: 9.3 (1 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 98.6 (15 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: 2.2 (3 of 14)
  • Philadelphia 76ers Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 107.5 (23 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 105.7 (15 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: -1.7 (22 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 208.4 (24 of 30)

The Magic are going to be a popular team tonight to target, regardless of Nikola Vucevic’s availability. We’ll get to the different scenarios in a bit. This is a tremendous matchup for fantasy production, as the Sixers are ranked fifth in pace of play and 23rd in points allowed per game this season. The Magic are at home and have an implied total of 109.3 points, which is the seventh highest in the slate. Orlando also has a projected point differential of +9.3, which is the highest on the board tonight.

Nikola Vucevic is listed as questionable with a sore Achilles. If he is able to suit up, he steps in as the top overall play at center. In his last nine games against the Sixers, Vucevic has averaged 42 fantasy points per contest. He has played well in his last five games and the Sixers don’t have anyone that can defend him in the post. If Vucevic is out, we can basically stack the rest of the Magic. Elfrid Payton would become the primary playmaker in the offense and Evan Fournier would see a nice usage boost. Vucevic’s absence would also open up close to 30 minutes in the frontcourt, which would likely be soaked up by Bismack Biyombo and Aaron Gordon. Even Terrence Ross, who has been the DFS WOAT over the last two weeks, would become a viable option on FanDuel without Vucevic in the lineup. Luckily, this is one of the first games to tip-off, so we should know his status well before lineups lock.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
Elfrid Payton $7,300 $7,500 0.95 29.1 0.5 27.8 7.8 25.3% -1.9% 17 0.12
Evan Fournier $5,400 $5,600 0.77 33.0 -1.1 25.3 -0.4 23.9% 0.6% 24 -0.14
Terrence Ross $3,800 $4,500 0.72 24.1 7.4 17.3 -0.1 18.2% -2.6% 21 3.66
Aaron Gordon $5,400 $5,700 0.78 27.8 1.5 21.7 3.3 20.0% 2.5% 19 -1.16
Nikola Vucevic $8,000 $7,700 1.16 28.7 0.6 33.2 4.5 25.4% 3.9% 30 -0.32

Elite Plays (with Vucevic active) – Nikola Vucevic

Secondary Plays (with Vucevic active) – Elfrid Payton (GPP), Evan Fournier (FD), Aaron Gordon (FD)

Elite Plays (if Vucevic is out) – Elfrid Payton (GPP), Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Bismack Biyombo

Secondary Plays (if Vucevic is out) – Elfrid Payton (Cash), Terrence Ross (FD)


Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets – 7:00 PM ET

Atlanta Hawks Charlotte Hornets
Vegas Total 203.0 Vegas Total 203.0
Vegas Spread 5.5 Vegas Spread -5.5
Team Total 98.8 Team Total 104.3
Pace +/- -0.5 Pace +/- 1.0
Proj. Starter Dennis Schroder Tim Hardaway Thabo Sefolosha Ersan Ilyasova Dwight Howard Proj. Starter Kemba Walker Nicolas Batum Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Marvin Williams Cody Zeller
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
Adj. DvP 15 21 13 21 11 Adj. DvP 25 23 28 6 9
DRPM -0.70 -0.36 2.22 0.44 2.89 DRPM -2.75 -1.04 2.35 0.34 2.95

Atlanta Hawks

  • Notable Injuries:
    Mike Dunleavy (Out)
    Paul Millsap (Out)
    Kent Bazemore (Out)
  • Atlanta Hawks Offense
    Points Per Game: 103.6 (20 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 98.8 (12 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: -4.8 (13 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 99.8 (10 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: -0.5 (12 of 14)
  • Charlotte Hornets Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 104.3 (9 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 105.0 (8 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: -0.2 (16 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 206.9 (19 of 30)

The Hawks are expected to be without Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore for at least the next couple of games, which isn’t great news for their chances of catching the fourth-seeded Raptors. Tonight the Hawks head to Charlotte to take on a Hornets’ team that needs a big run to make a push for the playoffs. While this game has the second lowest over/under in the slate, I do expect it to stay close throughout. The Hawks are only listed as 5.5-point underdogs and they have an implied total of 98.8 points, even though they are missing two of their starters.

If we run the CourtIQ with Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore off the floor, we can see that Dennis Schroder has a 30% usage rate and sees a 0.23 FP/min boost. The sample is only 149 minutes, but that’s large enough to see that Schroder becomes much more involved offensively. It’s early, but there has been very little buzz around Schroder so far, which could lead to low ownership. Dollar for dollar, I have him as one of my top three or four point guard options in the slate. Tim Hardaway is expected to draw the start at shooting guard. He should play 33-35 minutes and provide good value at shooting guard. Thabo Sefolosha is a viable punt under $4,000 on both FanDuel and DraftKings, but I slightly prefer Taurean Prince, who has played at least 29 minutes in back-to-back games. I expect both Sefolosha and Prince to play 28-32 minutes a piece, so you can use them interchangeably throughout your lineups. Ersan Ilyasova and Dwight Howard are also elite plays at their respective positions with Paul Millsap out. Ilyasova should play 30+ minutes and we could see Howard get up to 34-35, which would be a monstrous boost to his fantasy production. It’s crazy to say, but there are six viable plays from a team that is projected to score less than 100 points tonight.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
Dennis Schroder $7,200 $7,100 0.96 31.0 0.7 29.8 2.9 30.2% 1.7% 15 -0.70
Tim Hardaway $5,600 $5,800 0.80 25.9 4.0 20.7 6.9 22.9% 1.1% 21 -0.36
Thabo Sefolosha $3,600 $3,900 0.71 25.7 1.1 18.3 -0.3 13.9% -1.0% 13 2.22
Ersan Ilyasova $4,500 $5,000 0.91 26.0 -3.0 23.6 -3.0 21.9% -5.3% 21 0.44
Dwight Howard $6,800 $7,000 1.11 29.6 1.8 32.8 -0.4 18.1% -0.7% 11 2.89
Taurean Prince $3,700 $3,500 0.75 12.9 3.9 9.6 2.7 16.6% -1.9% 13 N/A

Elite Plays – Dennis Schroder (GPP), Dwight Howard (GPP), Tim Hardaway, Taurean Prince, Ersan Ilyasova

Secondary Plays – Dennis Schroder (Cash), Dwight Howard (Cash), Thabo Sefolosha


Charlotte Hornets

  • Charlotte Hornets Offense
    Points Per Game: 104.8 (16 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 104.3 (9 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: -0.5 (8 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 98.3 (18 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: 1.0 (6 of 14)
  • Atlanta Hawks Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 104.5 (10 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 103.6 (4 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: -0.1 (15 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 205.9 (17 of 30)

The Hornets are 30-39 overall and find themselves three and a half games out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. With only 13 games on the schedule, they may need to go 11-2 or 10-3 to even have a shot at sneaking into the postseason. They got a little lucky tonight, as the Hawks are going to be without two o their starters. The Hornets are listed as 5.5-point favorites and come into the game with an implied total of 104.3 points, which is nearly identical to their season average.

The three criteria that I typically look for with Kemba Walker are as follows: Is he priced at or below $8,000? Is he playing at home? And finally, does he have a good matchup? Walker has all three in his favor tonight against the Hawks, who are ranked 25th in adjusted DvP against point guards. Walker has cooled off a bit in his last three games, but should be able to bounce back nicely tonight at home. Nicolas Batum only played 27 minutes in his first game back from injury. While I expect that number to go up tonight, he is my second favorite shooting guard in this game (behind Tim Hardaway). Marvin Williams has scored at least 34 fantasy points in five of his last six games, but he’s priced at a premium right now. He does see a matchup boost with Paul Millsap out, but I will be looking elsewhere at power forward. Cody Zeller grades out as a nice play at center, but the position is loaded tonight. If I had to rank the centers based on expected fantasy points per dollar, he may not even crack the top six or seven.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
Kemba Walker $8,000 $7,900 1.05 34.6 0.0 36.5 0.7 30.2% 1.0% 25 -2.75
Nicolas Batum $7,100 $6,700 0.93 34.7 -1.3 32.4 -2.3 24.1% 2.2% 23 -1.04
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist $5,100 $5,100 0.79 29.4 -1.7 23.3 -0.6 14.2% 0.2% 28 2.35
Marvin Williams $6,700 $6,500 0.77 30.0 5.5 23.2 9.8 16.4% -2.2% 6 0.34
Cody Zeller $5,200 $5,100 0.85 27.6 3.4 23.4 0.6 16.0% -2.1% 9 2.95
Frank Kaminsky $5,600 $5,500 0.84 25.9 4.5 21.7 2.1 21.6% 1.1% 6 N/A

Elite Plays – Kemba Walker

Secondary Plays – Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller


Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics – 7:30 PM ET

Washington Wizards Boston Celtics
Vegas Total 216.5 Vegas Total 216.5
Vegas Spread 4.0 Vegas Spread -4.0
Team Total 106.3 Team Total 110.3
Pace +/- 0.1 Pace +/- 0.8
Proj. Starter John Wall Bradley Beal Otto Porter Markieff Morris Marcin Gortat Proj. Starter Isaiah Thomas Avery Bradley Jae Crowder Amir Johnson Al Horford
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
Adj. DvP 20 7 24 20 18 Adj. DvP 7 16 16 28 10
DRPM -4.31 -0.89 0.96 3.64 1.30 DRPM -0.50 -0.74 0.63 1.56 1.76

Washington Wizards

  • Washington Wizards Offense
    Points Per Game: 108.9 (5 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 106.3 (8 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: -2.7 (10 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 99.6 (11 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: 0.1 (9 of 14)
  • Boston Celtics Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 105.0 (14 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 105.4 (12 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: -3.0 (27 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 204.3 (15 of 30)

The Wizards and Celtics are fighting for that two seed in the Eastern Conference. These teams will likely meet up in the second round of the playoffs, so having home-court advantage in that series could prove to be the difference. Washington currently holds a one-game lead (in the loss column) over Boston and could really distance themselves with a win tonight. They come into the game as 4-point underdogs with an implied total of 106.3 points. While that team total seems high, it is actually 2.7 points below their season average.

John Wall has been nursing a foot injury, but he hasn’t missed any time because of it. With the playoffs less than a month away, the Wizards aren’t going to risk a season-ending injury unless Wall is close to 100%. Wall doesn’t have the best track record against the Celtics, but is averaging close to 40 fantasy points in their three meetings this season. We know we like picking on Isaiah Thomas and it will be hard for the Celtics to hide him defensively. If they want to put Avery Bradley on Wall, they would have to put Jae Crowder on Bradley Beal and Thomas on Otto Porter. I prefer Wall over Beal tonight, as Beal should see exclusive defense from Bradley and Crowder. Porter is an interesting tournament play here, especially if the Wizards try to put Thomas on him. Porter is affordable on both FanDuel and DraftKings and has 40-fantasy point upside in this matchup. With Markieff Morris expected to play tonight, the run for Jason Smith as a value play comes to a screeching halt. We like targeting bigs against the Celtics, but we can’t trust anyone in the Wizards’ frontcourt right now.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
John Wall $10,200 $9,600 1.23 36.8 0.4 45.3 1.5 34.6% 0.5% 20 -4.31
Bradley Beal $8,100 $7,600 0.94 34.8 0.9 32.6 4.4 26.4% 0.9% 7 -0.89
Otto Porter $6,200 $6,400 0.83 33.9 0.5 28.2 0.7 14.8% 0.3% 24 0.96
Markieff Morris $6,100 $6,100 0.84 31.9 -0.2 26.8 -4.5 20.0% -5.6% 20 3.64
Marcin Gortat $5,300 $5,000 0.85 32.8 -7.1 27.7 -7.6 14.6% 1.1% 18 1.30
Bojan Bogdanovic $3,900 $4,500 0.75 26.5 -2.0 20.0 -0.9 22.3% 0.8% 24 N/A

Elite Plays – John Wall (DK), Otto Porter (GPP)

Secondary Plays – John Wall (FD), Otto Porter (Cash), Bradley Beal


Boston Celtics

  • Boston Celtics Offense
    Points Per Game: 107.4 (8 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 110.3 (6 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: 2.8 (5 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 98.9 (14 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: 0.8 (7 of 14)
  • Washington Wizards Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 106.8 (22 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 106.0 (18 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: -0.2 (16 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 201.8 (13 of 30)

This may be the biggest game of the season so far for the Celtics. A win over the Wizards tonight would pull them even with Washington in the loss column. It would also tie the season series up at two games a piece. There is still a lot of basketball to be played, but the winner of this game will be my favorite to end up as the two seed in the East. Boston comes into tonight’s game as 4-point favorites with an implied total of 110.3 points. Their team total is the sixth highest in the slate and 2.8 points above their season average.

After missing two games with a knee injury, Isaiah Thomas is expected to start tonight against the Wizards. He’s been better with Avery Bradley off of the floor this season, but Thomas still has 50 fantasy point upside every time he takes the floor. He is only $8,700 on FanDuel and $8,200 on DraftKings and he has scored at least 39 fantasy points in each of his last five games against the Wizards. He seems to get up for this game and I’m more than willing to take some shots on him in tournaments tonight. Avery Bradley hasn’t been efficient since coming back from injury and he was priced up by the sites in case Thomas was unable to suit up. For now, we can avoid Bradley, Marcus Smart, and Jae Crowder. Al Horford finally seems to be out of his slump. Even though his usage went up with Thomas being out the last two games, we need to take note of his recent production. In his last three games, Horford is averaging 44 fantasy points per contest. The best part is that he should have an ownership close to 10% tonight with all of the great options at center.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
Isaiah Thomas $8,700 $8,200 1.19 34.1 -2.6 40.6 -3.8 35.0% -1.0% 7 -0.50
Avery Bradley $6,300 $6,500 0.87 33.2 -4.7 28.7 -6.0 22.2% 2.0% 16 -0.74
Jae Crowder $5,900 $6,100 0.78 32.3 -0.8 25.2 0.8 16.6% 0.7% 16 0.63
Amir Johnson $3,800 $3,900 0.81 20.0 1.9 16.3 1.7 14.3% -0.8% 28 1.56
Al Horford $6,600 $6,900 0.99 32.6 -1.0 32.3 2.6 21.9% -0.8% 10 1.76
Kelly Olynyk $3,900 $4,000 0.88 20.8 -2.2 18.3 -1.9 19.2% 1.5% 10 N/A

Elite Plays – Isaiah Thomas (GPP), Al Horford (GPP)

Secondary Plays – Isaiah Thomas (Cash), Al Horford (Cash)


Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets – 8:00 PM ET

Denver Nuggets Houston Rockets
Vegas Total 236.5 Vegas Total 236.5
Vegas Spread 9.0 Vegas Spread -9.0
Team Total 113.8 Team Total 122.8
Pace +/- 3.3 Pace +/- 1.6
Proj. Starter Jameer Nelson Gary Harris Juancho Hernangomez Mason Plumlee Nikola Jokic Proj. Starter Patrick Beverley James Harden Trevor Ariza Ryan Anderson Clint Capela
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
Adj. DvP 21 17 23 27 27 Adj. DvP 27 27 6 9 12
DRPM 2.03 -1.54 1.59 -0.48 0.36 DRPM -0.73 -1.95 -0.44 0.34 1.87

Denver Nuggets

  • Notable Injuries:
    Wilson Chandler (Out)
    Danilo Gallinari (Out)
    Darrell Arthur (Out)
  • Denver Nuggets Offense
    Points Per Game: 111.1 (3 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 113.8 (3 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: 2.7 (6 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 100.4 (8 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: 3.3 (2 of 14)
  • Houston Rockets Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 108.4 (24 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 105.6 (13 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: + 0.6 (11 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 208.0 (23 of 30)

The Nuggets were unable to beat the Rockets at home on Saturday night and now have to face them on the road tonight. Before the spread came out, I was a worried about a potential blowout. While that is still a small concern, the Rockets are only listed as 9-point favorites. Given the fact that we have a massive over/under of 236.5 points, the potential reward seems to outweigh the risk of a blowout. The Nuggets have an implied total of 113.8 points, which is the third highest in the slate and 2.7 points above their season average.

Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, and Darrell Arthur have all been ruled out for the third consecutive game. Let’s quickly take a look at the average playing time and fantasy production of the Nuggets’ players in the last two games:

Jameer Nelson: 36 minutes, 33 fantasy points
Jamal Murray: 24 minutes, 20 fantasy points
Gary Harris: 40 minutes, 29 fantasy points
Will Barton: 34 minutes, 32 fantasy points
Juancho Hernangomez: 27 minutes, 21 fantasy points
Mason Plumlee: 31 minutes, 34 fantasy points
Kenneth Faried: 21 minutes, 24 fantasy points
Nikola Jokic: 26 minutes, 39 fantasy points

The first thing that stands out is Jameer Nelson. In his last two games, he is averaging 36 minutes per contest. He nearly posted a triple-double against the Rockets on Saturday and will likely be a popular play tonight. Even though I’m a fan of Jamal Murray, I prefer Nelson given his minute upside. Gary Harris and Will Barton both have 35-40 minute type of upside if tonight’s game stays close. Barton really struggled against Houston the other night, but on paper, this is a tremendous matchup. Both are viable targets at shooting guard, especially on FanDuel. Juancho Hernangomez and Kenneth Faried are better GPP options than they are cash game targets, but I plan to have some exposure to both in tournaments. Mason Plumlee should see 30+ minutes tonight against a Rockets’ defense that is ranked 27th in adjusted DvP against power forwards. Nikola Jokic got into foul trouble on Saturday and I don’t expect anyone to be on him tonight. He is one of my favorite tournament plays in the slate, as he has 35 minute upside against a team that can’t defend the paint.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
Jameer Nelson $5,500 $5,500 0.73 27.0 4.0 19.6 1.2 19.3% -2.3% 21 2.03
Gary Harris $6,000 $6,100 0.78 30.3 4.7 23.6 2.0 19.2% -2.7% 17 -1.54
Juancho Hernangomez $3,700 $4,500 0.77 13.2 3.1 10.2 2.4 14.2% 0.1% 23 1.59
Mason Plumlee $6,100 $6,600 1.03 27.5 -1.8 28.3 -1.1 19.6% -0.8% 27 -0.48
Nikola Jokic $10,500 $10,200 1.31 27.0 1.5 35.3 8.1 25.3% 1.5% 27 0.36
Will Barton $5,800 $7,300 0.86 28.7 -1.9 24.8 -1.9 22.5% 1.5% 17 N/A

Elite Plays – Jameer Nelson, Gary Harris (FD), Will Barton (FD), Mason Plumlee (FD), Nikola Jokic (GPP)

Secondary Plays – Gary Harris (DK), Will Barton (DK), Mason Plumlee (DK), Nikola Jokic (Cash), Jamal Murray, Juancho Hernangomez


Houston Rockets

  • Notable Injuries:
    NONE
  • Houston Rockets Offense
    Points Per Game: 115.3 (2 of 30)
    Implied Team Total: 122.8 (1 of 14)
    Projected Point Differential: 7.5 (2 of 14)
    Pace of Play: 102.1 (4 of 30)
    Projected Pace Differential: 1.6 (5 of 14)
  • Denver Nuggets Defense
    Points Allowed Per Game: 110.8 (27 of 30)
    Defensive Efficiency: 110.3 (29 of 30)
    Rebounding Differential: + 6.1 (1 of 30)
    Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game: 210.4 (27 of 30)

The Rockets are five and a half games behind the Spurs and five games ahead of the Jazz. The name of the game at this point is to stay healthy, since they can’t really move up or down in the standings with only 12 games left on the schedule. While we may have to be concerned about them resting players moving forward, that may not be for another couple of weeks. Tonight they draw a favorable matchup against the Nuggets, who are ranked 27th in points allowed per game this season. Houston has a massive implied total of 122.8 points, which is the highest in the slate and 7.5 points above their season average.

Even though the Rockets are 9-point favorites, I am taking the potential blowout out of consideration. The upside that Houston has far outweighs the risks. Even if they get up by 20 points at the end of the third quarter, their starters would have played well anyway. James Harden is right up there with Russell Westbrook as the top overall play in the slate. I slightly prefer Westbrook over Harden, but we are splitting hairs between the two. They are both elite plays in all formats. Outside of Harden, the rest of the Rockets are best suited as tournament plays. Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, and Clint Capela are my three favorite targets, but they have all shown enough inconsistency that I don’t love using them in a cash game setting. Ryan Anderson, Lou Williams, and Eric Gordon are also on my radar in tournaments. Williams is the most intriguing of the three, as he would actually benefit from the game turning into a blowout.

Notable Fantasy Players

Player FD Salary DK Salary FP/Min Minutes L5 +/- FP/Game L5 +/- True Usage L5 +/- DvP DRPM
Patrick Beverley $4,900 $5,100 0.83 30.6 0.5 25.3 -2.6 16.1% -0.9% 27 -0.73
James Harden $12,200 $12,700 1.47 36.5 0.0 53.7 1.0 38.7% 0.6% 27 -1.95
Trevor Ariza $5,000 $5,300 0.73 34.3 -1.2 24.9 -3.0 14.3% -1.4% 6 -0.44
Ryan Anderson $4,300 $4,400 0.71 29.9 -4.3 21.2 -4.7 17.2% 0.4% 9 0.34
Clint Capela $5,300 $5,400 1.08 23.5 1.4 25.3 1.7 19.4% 1.8% 12 1.87
Eric Gordon $4,800 $4,900 0.80 30.6 0.5 24.4 -3.9 22.7% -4.9% 27 N/A
Lou Williams $5,500 $5,500 1.08 24.2 -0.2 26.2 -4.1 29.8% -4.0% 27 N/A

Elite Plays – James Harden

Secondary Plays – Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela, Ryan Anderson, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon


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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Top-Ranked Derek Notorious Farnsworth graduated with a Masters degree from the University of Utah, but has since joined Team RotoGrinders. He is currently spotted in the Top 50 Overall rankings on RotoGrinders, and has been ranked as high as 5th. The talented Mr. Noto was a 2012 DSBC Finalist, 2013 DSBBC Finalist, 2013 DSBC Finalist (x2), 2013 DD BLB Finalist, 2013 DFBBC Finalist, and 2015 DK King of Boston Finalist. He also won the 2015-16 FCK NBA Players Championship. Notorious was nominated for the 2013 Fantasy Golf Writer of the Year and the 2015 Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA).

    Notorious

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