NBA Grind Down: Saturday, January 31st

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NBA Grind Down Article. Each day, we’ll break down all of the matchups with a focus on defense vs. position stats. The Grind Down shows you Vegas lines, defense stats and projected starting lineups for each and every game.

The analysis should point you in the right direction, but it is still up to you to decipher the information and make your own selections. Use this article to help you gain a better understanding of the matchups for the coming week and build from there. We have everything you could possibly need on our Daily Research console for you to be a successful daily fantasy player!

Note: Fantasy Point Average Listed Uses FanDuel Scoring. For more info on FanDuel’s NFL Scoring System, check out the scoring systems section of our FanDuel Review.

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Sacramento at Indiana – 7:00 PM EST

  • Vegas LineIndiana -5.5, 198 Over/Under
  • Sacramento Proj. StartersCollison-McLemore-Gay-Thompson-Cousins
  • Indiana Proj. StartersWatson-Stuckey-Hill-West-Hibbert
Sacramento Indiana
Vegas Total 198 Vegas Total 198
Vegas Sprd 5.5 Vegas Sprd -5.5
Team Proj. 96.3 Team Proj. 101.8
Team Pace 97.34 Team Pace 95.57
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C
Proj Starter Darren Collison Ben McLemore Rudy Gay Jason Thompson DeMarcus Cousins Proj Starter C.J. Watson Rodney Stuckey Solomon Hill David West Roy Hibbert
Opp. Season 13 28 5 1 10 Opp. Season 24 29 9 19 27
Opp. Last 7 8 22 7 13 11 Opp. Last 7 20 26 27 8 28


Sacramento

DeMarcus Cousins played through an ankle injury last night, so he should be on track to play again tonight. This isn’t a great matchup for the Kings as they will be playing down in pace quite a bit. Indiana has struggled against shooting guards all season though, and though the Pacers have good defenders in the paint with David West and Roy Hibbert, Cousins is as matchup-proof as they come and is in consideration every night.

Elite Plays

DeMarcus Cousins — The amazing thing about Cousins last night is that he didn’t have a good game by his standards — he shot 5-17 from the field and didn’t impact the 4th quarter at all — yet he still had an incredible fantasy game.

Secondary Plays

Ben McLemore — At $4,000 on DraftKings with the three-point bonus and a prime matchup, I’ll be throwing McLemore in some tournament lineups. He’s the stereotypical GPP play in that he’s either going to 3x or 6x his salary, but the price and matchup point toward him being on the positive end of that tonight.

Indiana

With the pace that Sacramento likes to play at since the firing of Mike Malone, opponents are scoring more fantasy points than the league average at every position. Their best DvP ranking in the past three weeks has been against power forwards (ranked 16th), but every other position is bottom ten in the league. Luis Scola is listed as doubtful and Lavoy Allen is listed as questionable, so there could be some value to be had in the frontcourt.

Elite Plays

None

Secondary Plays

Ian Mahinmi — I’m a big fan of what Mahinmi does when he gets a minutes boost. This is one of those sneakier plays too since it’s not a starter missing time, rather potentially two reserves. But at $3,200 on DraftKings, $3,600 on Fantasy Aces, and $3,900 on FanDuel he gives you a lot of cap flexibility with 20+ fantasy point production if he gets the minutes.

C.J. Watson — The Pacers are still taking it easy on George Hill and only use Donald Sloan if they absolutely have to. That means Watson is safe for around 30 minutes per night for the time being. For teams that play up in pace, guards are the first players that I look at. And with Watson, you get a guard that has reached value in four of his last games on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

Rodney Stuckey — This is a FanDuel-specific play for me where he is priced at $5,100 and has gone 6x with that salary in his previous two games. The minutes limit on Hill (and C.J. Miles) also is a positive thing for Stuckey as he’s averaged over 33 minutes his last four games. Sacramento is ranked 29th against shooting guards on the season and 28th over the last three weeks.


Dallas at Orlando – 7:00 PM EST

  • Vegas LineDallas -8.5, 210 Over/Under
  • Dallas Proj. StartersRondo-Ellis-Jefferson-Nowitzki-Chandler
  • Orlando Proj. StartersPayton-Oladipo-Gordon-Frye-Vucevic
Dallas Orlando
Vegas Total 210 Vegas Total 210
Vegas Sprd -8.5 Vegas Sprd 8.5
Team Proj. 109.3 Team Proj. 100.8
Team Pace 96.64 Team Pace 96.31
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C
Proj Starter Rajon Rondo Monta Ellis Richard Jefferson Dirk Nowitzki Tyson Chandler Proj Starter Elfrid Payton Victor Oladipo Aaron Gordon Channing Frye Nikola Vucevic
Opp. Season 29 8 28 24 29 Opp. Season 22 7 16 12 12
Opp. Last 7 26 27 19 19 25 Opp. Last 7 2 23 13 23 22


Dallas

Dallas has not been playing well recently as Rajon Rondo struggles to fit in, so it was very encouraging for them to blow out Miami last night. They are probably the most predictable team in sports — they beat the bad teams and lose to the good teams — so they should easily handle Orlando tonight. Chandler Parsons missed last night’s game due to illness and should be considered questionable for tonight’s game.

Elite Plays

Tyson Chandler — Maybe my favorite play of the day. Nikola Vucevic is a very good offensive center, but not good on the defensive end. His offensive abilities will require that Dallas uses Chandler whenever he is on the floor, and he plays a few minutes more per game than Chandler averages on the season. And during that time on the floor, if Chandler can provide some offense (the Magic give up the fifth-most actual points to centers), we could see him put up a monster fantasy game.

Secondary Plays

Al-Farouq Aminu — If Chandler Parsons misses another game, here’s another value play worth considering. He’s played 29 minutes in each of his previous two games with GPP-winning production at near the minimum price everywhere. Whether or not Richard Jefferson starts the game or not will have no impact on Aminu’s minutes or production.

Orlando

The big talk around Orlando is that head coach Jacque Vaughn will be fired within the next few days. It’s always interesting to see how players respond in these situations, but I’m not hearing anything to suggest a big game from anyone on this team fueled by a motivation to keep Vaughn around. However, the Mavericks play some of the highest-scoring games in the league (only behind Golden State and Phoenix…more on this later!), so there is still reason to roster some Magic players.

Elite Plays

None

Secondary Plays

Victor Oladipo — With Elfrid Payon and Nikola Vucevic in the toughest matchups, Oladipo gets a boost here. He is better suited for a tournament lineup especially since it’s tough to predict how the Magic players will respond to the coaching rumors, but has the upside to get it done.

Editor’s Note: Oladipo is out for tonight’s game. Evan Fournier will start at shooting guard.


Toronto at Washington – 7:00 PM EST

  • Vegas LineWashington -4, 204 Over/Under
  • Toronto Proj. StartersLowry-Vasquez-DeRozan-Johnson-Valanciunas
  • Washington Proj. StartersWall-Beal-Pierce-Humphries-Gortat
Toronto Washington
Vegas Total 204 Vegas Total 204
Vegas Sprd 4.0 Vegas Sprd -4.0
Team Proj. 100.0 Team Proj. 104.0
Team Pace 95.90 Team Pace 95.81
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C
Proj Starter Kyle Lowry Greivis Vasquez DeMar DeRozan Amir Johnson Jonas Valanciunas Proj Starter John Wall Bradley Beal Paul Pierce Kris Humphries Marcin Gortat
Opp. Season 6 4 7 4 3 Opp. Season 20 6 22 7 14
Opp. Last 7 23 15 24 7 4 Opp. Last 7 24 5 4 3 23


Toronto

The return of DeMar DeRozan has been a great boost for Toronto. They have won five straight now after an overtime win against the Nets last night. Tonight will be a tough test as they might be without Jonas Valanciunas against one of the best teams in the league. Washington is top seven at defending all five positions on the season which has me avoiding all Raptors. Patrick Patterson will be popular if Valanciunas misses this game, so I’m mentioning him here (because people will be mad if I don’t), but I can’t see having much exposure to him myself.

Elite Plays

None

Secondary Plays

None

Washington

This game will be a great game to watch for fans of the NBA, but I don’t project it to be great for fantasy. On an eleven-game slate, there are simply just better options than you’ll find in a defensive battle like this one. Toronto has been in the top eight against both forward positions and shooting guards, but has struggled against point guards and centers.

Elite Plays

John Wall — He’s been playing through migraines and some small nagging injuries, but we know to target John Wall at home where he averages five fantasy points per game more than he does on the road. On Fantasy Aces, at $6,350, you need around 41 fantasy points for him to reach value (I use a 6.5x multiple there or 7x for the Q that they run). The Raptors are 20th against point guards the last three weeks. He sat out shootaround so keep an eye on his status. Andre Miller is not someone that I’d use if Wall sits.

Secondary Plays

None


Philadelphia at Atlanta – 7:30 PM EST

  • Vegas LineAtlanta -17, 192 Over/Under
  • Philadelphia Proj. StartersCarter-Williams-Sampson-Covington-Richard Mbah a Moute-Noel
  • Atlanta Proj. StartersTeague-Korver-Carroll-Millsap-Horford
Philadelphia Atlanta
Vegas Total 192 Vegas Total 192
Vegas Sprd 17.0 Vegas Sprd -17.0
Team Proj. 87.5 Team Proj. 104.5
Team Pace 98.09 Team Pace 96.11
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C
Proj Starter Michael Carter-Williams Jakarr Sampson Robert Covington Luc Richard Mbah a Moute Nerlens Noel Proj Starter Jeff Teague Kyle Korver DeMarre Carroll Paul Millsap Al Horford
Opp. Season 17 10 12 16 5 Opp. Season 21 30 24 30 30
Opp. Last 7 21 2 8 30 5 Opp. Last 7 4 16 3 29 20


Philadelphia

The 76ers enter this game against the Hawks on the back end of a back to back. The Hawks are one of the best teams in the NBA and are elite defensively, so I can’t even recommend guys like Michael Carter-Williams or Nerlens Noel in GPPs. With such a low projected team total (points), you can comfortable avoid this team on a big Saturday slate with many other options.

Elite Plays

None

Secondary Plays

None

Atlanta

I will be almost completely avoiding this game both in cash games and GPPs because of the huge spread and low total, but there is one play in this game that could end up being in every one of my lineups. It all hinges on the statuses of DeMarre Carroll and Thabo Sefalosha. Carroll missed the game yesterday with an Achilles injury and his replacement, Sefalosha, injured his calf in the first quarter. I can’t imagine that either would be pressed back into action in a game like this where they likely wouldn’t be needed anyway, but it’s the news that I’ll be keeping my eye on the most throughout the day.

Elite Plays

Kent Bazemore — Because of the early injury to Sefalosha last night, Bazemore ended up logging 40 minutes. It led to 28.3 points on DraftKings, where’s he’s min-priced (and also min-priced on FanDuel), but his pricing on Fantasy Aces ($3,750) makes him less of a must-play. While he might not play 40+ minutes again, he’s locked in for 30+, whether it’s a blowout or not, if both small forwards ahead of him on the depth chart can’t go. We saw last year on the Lakers how great he is in garbage time, and a huge game is not out of the question.

Secondary Plays

None


Houston at Detroit – 7:30 PM EST

  • Vegas LineHouston -4.5, 204 Over/Under
  • Houston Proj. StartersBeverley-Harden-Ariza-Motiejunas-Dorsey
  • Detroit Proj. StartersAugustin-Caldwell-Pope-Singler-Monroe-Drummond
Houston Detroit
Vegas Total 204 Vegas Total 204
Vegas Sprd -4.5 Vegas Sprd 4.5
Team Proj. 104.3 Team Proj. 99.8
Team Pace 98.60 Team Pace 96.00
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C DvP Rks PG SG SF PF C
Proj Starter Patrick Beverley James Harden Trevor Ariza Donatas Motiejunas Joey Dorsey Proj Starter D.J. Augustin Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kyle Singler Greg Monroe Andre Drummond
Opp. Season 7 14 29 28 26 Opp. Season 2 23 15 22 13
Opp. Last 7 28 13 29 2 29 Opp. Last 7 1 29 18 18 10


Houston

Josh Smith is getting hot just in time to face his old team in Detroit. It looks like Dwight Howard will be out for quite a while, but Terrence Jones is starting to get some minutes in his return from injury. Donatas Motiejunas had a career-high in points (26) last night, so with Motie, Smith and Jones all best suited for minutes at the power forward position, it will be interesting to see how they are used when Jones has his minutes restriction lifted.

Elite Plays

Josh Smith — Josh Smith doubters will call this a trap, but Smith should be one of the highest-owned players of the night in tournaments. Ask anyone familiar with rostering Smith when the best time to roster him is, and they’ll tell you it’s when he’s hot and motivated. He’s a very streaky player, and as we’ve seen with him getting benched or challenged over the years, he rises to the occasion in those situations. He’ll be very motivated to show up the team that released him tonight. I’ll have a lot of Josh Smith.

James Harden — With Howard out, it’s supposed to be the Harden show. Owners were definitely disappointed last night, but he will still be one of the top elite options of the slate. Harden has reached the 50 point mark on FanDuel 20 times this season, which is more than any other player in the league, and most of those games were with Howard out.

Secondary Plays

Donatas Motiejunas — I can’t say that I necessarily recommend playing all three of these guys together in a bunch of lineups tonight, but it’s possible certainly in a GPP game stack lineup. Motiejunas’ consistency recently has been incredible and he has been a constant in my cash games for a while now.

Detroit

The Pistons would be the team to play up in tempo tonight since the Rockets are 4th in the league in pace, but often times good teams are the ones that control the pace of the game at home. The Rockets have one of the best on-ball point guard defenders in Patrick Beverley to pester D.J. Augustin, so look for the Pistons to run some of their offense through Greg Monroe in the high-post if Augustin struggles early.

Elite Plays

None

Secondary Plays

Greg Monroe — $5,800 on Fantasy Aces tonight, Monroe is a great guy to use in a balanced cash game lineup. His consistency has been great since the Josh Smith exodus, and he does still have the upside for GPPs. He will be more contrarian than usual with how many deep power forward is this evening, and on FA you can play five power forwards if you want.


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About the Author

  • JeffElJefe (JeffElJefe)

  • Working in the Fantasy Sports industry since 2012, Jeff has witnessed Daily Fantasy Sports from every angle: business, content, and as a player. He’s been featured in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, numerous books including Dan Barbarisi’s “Dueling with Kings”, and numerous documentaries including Jason Baumgardner’s “Perfect Lineup”.

    On the business side he worked with several startup operators in direct competition with FanDuel and DraftKings. Jeff brought a player’s perspective to the product side of things and was innovative with new features that you see the bigger sites now implementing today.

    Content has always been a passion for him, so the opportunity to write for RotoGrinders early in his career was something to jump at. Jeff hosted popular shows for MLB, NBA, and NFL content and often focused on teaching a contrarian approach long before it was cool to do so.

    Jeff’s run as a player has been capped off by what many refer to as the best year in DFS tournament history. A baseball live final win (DK), a football Million dollar score, and 2 2nd place finishes in FD live finals.

    You can follow Jeff on Twitter: @JeffKCollins

Comments

  • ondagrind

    Thx for filling in for noto. Wish the Cleveland Minnesota game was included so I could decide on k love .
    Nice work

  • creakyknees

    Cleveland vs Minnesota is right at the top of page two.

  • bmeintz

    Not even a mention of DeRozan at his reduced price?

  • jimmythesaint

    Ummmm…..who wrote this article? Elfrid Payton has a tough matchup against Rondo? Rondo admitted he hasn’t played defense in 2 years. All Elfrid has to contend with tonight is Rondo, Ellis & now Richard Jefferson. I think Elfrid will split the gaps just fine and get 30+ points tonight.

  • duder500

    RG Mod

    Jimmy, Dallas number 6 against PG’s in the last 3 weeks. That isn’t exactly ideal.

  • JeffElJefe

    • $1M Prize Winner

    • x2

      2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    @jimmythesaint said...

    Ummmm…..who wrote this article? Elfrid Payton has a tough matchup against Rondo? Rondo admitted he hasn’t played defense in 2 years. All Elfrid has to contend with tonight is Rondo, Ellis & now Richard Jefferson. I think Elfrid will split the gaps just fine and get 30+ points tonight.

    @jimmythesaint: You must not have read the context of that Rondo quote. He was saying how this is the first time he’s had to play defense in years. He has played incredible defense since coming to Dallas (they are 6th against PGs the last three weeks) after Dallas struggled against the position until he got there.

    And I’m the one that wrote the article.

  • JeffElJefe

    • $1M Prize Winner

    • x2

      2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    @bmeintz: DeRozan has the toughest matchup against the worst team to attack in fantasy right now. No thanks.

  • crowntheirasses

    Props on the Chandler call. That stuck out at me, so at least I didn’t fully miss and he made his way into 1 GPP lineup.

  • JeffElJefe

    • $1M Prize Winner

    • x2

      2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    Thanks! Nice work!

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