NBA Grind Down: Tuesday, February 13th

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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 Implied 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


Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors – 7:00 PM ET

Miami Heat Toronto Raptors
Vegas Total 206.0 Vegas Total 206.0
Vegas Spread 7.5 Vegas Spread -7.5
Implied Team Total 99.3 Implied Team Total 106.8
Pace Projection +/- 1.1 Pace Projection +/- -2.5
Projected Starters Goran Dragic Tyler Johnson Josh Richardson Justise Winslow Hassan Whiteside Projected Starters Kyle Lowry DeMar DeRozan OG Anunoby Serge Ibaka Jonas Valanciunas
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
DvP 6 6 7 9 15 DvP 3 12 3 4 10
DRPM Rat. 3 22 3 14 12 DRPM Rat. 24 23 4 2 1

Miami Heat

The Heat have lost seven of their last ten games and are in danger of falling outside of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. They have some tough sledding tonight, as they square off against the Raptors, who are ranked seventh in points allowed per game and third in defensive efficiency. This is a poor matchup in a tough environment, so it’s no surprise to see the Heat with the lowest implied total (99.3 points) of any team in the slate.

Goran Dragic will have his hands full with Kyle Lowry, who is still one of the best on-ball defenders in basketball. As a whole, the Raptors are ranked fourth in efficiency against the position. If you are targeting a guard from Miami, I would give the nod to Tyler Johnson, who is priced under $5,000 on both FanDuel and DraftKings. I was slightly worried about his minutes with Dwyane Wade back in the mix, but Johnson played 36 minutes against the Bucks. He should draw another start at shooting guard, which is the one position that the Raptors have struggled to defend this season.

Josh Richardson is slightly overpriced on FanDuel, but is sitting at a playable $5,800 on DraftKings. I’m not sure I love the matchup or the game environment in general, but Richardson is viable thanks to the cheap salary. Justise Winslow doesn’t quite offer enough upside to warrant consideration tonight. While he has been struggling, I would rather take a shot on James Johnson off the bench. In his last four games against his former team, he has scored 33, 34, 49, and 10 fantasy points. Hassan Whiteside is an easy fade given the fact that he doesn’t play more than 25 minutes on a consistent basis.

Notable Injuries

Kelly Olynyk (Out)

Miami Heat Offense

Points Per Game: 100.3 (28 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 99.3 (12 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: -1.1 (8 of 12)

Matchup vs. Toronto Raptors

Points Allowed Per Game: 103.3 (7 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 102.6 (3 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 1.0 (11 of 30)
Pace of Play: 100.5 (9 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Goran Dragic $7,000 $6,400 30.2 1.6 31.8 0.0 0.95 25.5% 4 6 3
Tyler Johnson $4,200 $4,800 22.3 -3.0 29.4 2.4 0.76 17.5% 20 6 22
Josh Richardson $6,700 $5,800 26.3 5.7 34.2 0.2 0.77 16.9% 1 7 3
Justise Winslow $3,700 $3,900 17.9 -0.3 23.3 0.7 0.77 14.2% 10 9 14
Hassan Whiteside $7,600 $7,600 34.9 -1.4 25.7 -0.8 1.36 20.5% 13 15 12
James Johnson $4,300 $4,700 24.1 -4.9 26.7 -1.3 0.90 18.3% N/A N/A N/A
Dwyane Wade $4,700 $4,700 23.7 -8.6 23.2 -1.7 1.02 23.0% N/A N/A N/A
Bam Adebayo $5,400 $5,000 19.2 10.3 20.6 4.7 0.93 14.4% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Tyler Johnson (FD), James Johnson (GPP)

Secondary Plays – Tyler Johnson (DK), James Johnson (Cash), Josh Richardson (DK)


Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have won eight of their last ten games and currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. They know from experience that beating LeBron James in a best of seven series is near impossible, so securing home-court advantage will be their primary goal over the next two months. Toronto draws a difficult matchup tonight against the Heat, who are ranked third in points allowed per game and eighth in defensive efficiency. The Raptors’ implied total of 106.8 points is nearly five points below their season average.

If you look at the table below, you will see a lot of red boxes when it comes to the starters’ recent playing time and fantasy production. This is largely due to the fact that the Raptors have been blowing teams out left and right over the last couple of weeks. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan should play a full complement of minutes if tonight’s game stays competitive. They are both on my short list of potential tournament targets, even though the Heat have been tough on both point guards and shooting guards.

OG Anunoby is listed as questionable for tonight’s game, but his absence wouldn’t make a huge difference when it comes to fantasy production. His playing time would likely be split by a number of players. Serge Ibaka has been in a slump for nearly a month now and his price point is still at or above $5,000 on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Jonas Valanciunas has been terrific on a per-minute basis this season, but he has failed to score more than 27 fantasy points in any of his last five meetings with Hassan Whiteside.

Notable Injuries

OG Anunoby (Questionable)

Toronto Raptors Offense

Points Per Game: 111.6 (3 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 106.8 (6 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: -4.8 (12 of 12)

Matchup vs. Miami Heat

Points Allowed Per Game: 101.1 (3 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 104.2 (8 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 0.9 (12 of 30)
Pace of Play: 96.9 (28 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Kyle Lowry $7,600 $7,200 34.7 -7.0 32.2 -6.3 1.08 22.1% 1 3 24
DeMar DeRozan $8,200 $8,100 38.8 -4.6 34.1 -5.1 1.14 28.6% 7 12 23
OG Anunoby $3,500 $3,300 12.3 -2.7 21.0 -2.5 0.59 10.7% 14 3 4
Serge Ibaka $5,400 $5,000 25.1 -6.7 27.8 -4.1 0.90 16.7% 11 4 2
Jonas Valanciunas $7,100 $6,100 25.6 6.5 21.8 1.7 1.17 18.5% 8 10 1
Delon Wright $4,400 $4,000 19.7 4.9 21.4 1.5 0.92 17.1% N/A N/A N/A
Fred VanVleet $5,000 $4,600 17.8 9.6 18.7 5.5 0.95 19.6% N/A N/A N/A
Jakob Poeltl $4,200 $3,600 16.8 1.1 18.1 2.9 0.93 12.5% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Kyle Lowry (GPP), DeMar DeRozan (GPP)

Secondary Plays – Kyle Lowry (Cash), DeMar DeRozan (Cash)


Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks – 8:00 PM ET

Atlanta Hawks Milwaukee Bucks
Vegas Total 209.5 Vegas Total 209.5
Vegas Spread 7.5 Vegas Spread -7.5
Implied Team Total 101.0 Implied Team Total 108.5
Pace Projection +/- -1.8 Pace Projection +/- 0.3
Projected Starters Dennis Schroder Kent Bazemore Taurean Prince Ersan Ilyasova Dewayne Dedmon Projected Starters Eric Bledsoe Tony Snell Khris Middleton Giannis Antetokounmpo Thon Maker
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
DvP 10 3 1 7 26 DvP 20 16 30 27 29
DRPM Rat. 5 26 25 3 29 DRPM Rat. 30 2 26 21 14

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have won four of their last ten games, but still own the worst record in the Eastern Conference. They have a tall task ahead of them tonight, as they take on a Bucks’ team that has become one of the best defensive teams in the league since firing Jason Kidd. Despite being in the bottom ten in most defensive categories earlier in the year, Milwaukee is now ranked tenth in points allowed per game and 14th in defensive efficiency. The Hawks’ implied total of 101 points is three points below their season average.

Dennis Schroder has an elite true usage rate, but his minutes have been trending in the wrong direction and he doesn’t offer much in terms of peripheral statistics. To make matters worse, he is facing Eric Bledsoe and the Bucks, who are ranked eighth in efficiency against point guards. Dollar for dollar, I’d rather take a shot on Tyler Dorsey, who is averaging 26 minutes over his last four games. Kent Bazemore is only averaging 25 minutes and 23 fantasy points over his last five games, which makes him an easy fade. Taurean Prince has some appeal in tournaments, especially on FanDuel ($4,000). He will likely be tasked with defending Giannis Antetokounmpo. In their only meeting this season, Prince played 37 minutes and scored 32 fantasy points.

Ersan Ilyasova is one of the many Hawks’ players that sees inconsistent playing time on a nightly basis. At this point, John Collins is the more intriguing play when it comes to fantasy basketball. Collins is significantly more productive on a per-minute basis and will likely see a similar allotment of minutes as Ilyasova moving forward. Dewayne Dedmon has been named the starter for tonight’s game after racking up 47 fantasy points against the Pistons his last time out. Dedmon is an excellent tournament play against a Bucks’ defense that is ranked 29th in efficiency and 26th in DvP against centers this season.

Notable Injuries

None

Atlanta Hawks Offense

Points Per Game: 104.0 (20 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 101.0 (9 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: -3.0 (11 of 12)

Matchup vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Points Allowed Per Game: 104.3 (10 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 105.8 (14 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: -3.0 (27 of 30)
Pace of Play: 97.6 (24 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Dennis Schroder $7,600 $7,000 $13,100 33.9 1.0 31.3 -1.8 1.08 29.5% 8 10 5
Kent Bazemore $5,600 $5,400 $11,200 27.6 -4.4 27.8 -2.4 0.99 20.2% 12 3 26
Taurean Prince $4,000 $4,700 $8,800 23.4 -7.6 29.9 -2.6 0.78 16.9% 8 1 25
Ersan Ilyasova $4,600 $4,500 $8,800 21.8 -1.4 25.5 -3.2 0.86 15.9% 1 7 3
Dewayne Dedmon $5,800 $5,300 $11,100 23.7 3.0 23.4 2.1 1.01 15.0% 29 26 29
Tyler Dorsey $3,700 $3,900 $7,700 8.8 9.6 12.1 11.5 0.73 17.4% N/A N/A N/A
John Collins $5,100 $4,700 $9,000 24.0 -2.8 22.1 0.3 1.09 16.0% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Taurean Prince (GPP), Dewayne Dedmon (GPP)

Secondary Plays – Taurean Prince (Cash), Dewayne Dedmon (Cash), John Collins (GPP), Tyler Dorsey


Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks have won eight of their last ten games and look like a force to be reckoned with in a very open Eastern Conference. Since firing Jason Kidd, they have become one of the best defensive teams in basketball, which is something that I’ve always said was possible given the amount of length and athleticism they have on their roster. They draw an elite matchup tonight against the Hawks, who are ranked 23rd or worse in points allowed per game, defensive efficiency, and rebounding differential. The Bucks have an implied total of 108.5 points, which is the fifth highest overall and four points above their season average.

Eric Bledsoe has not been on my radar in quite some time. He’s been in and out of the lineup and his minutes have been a little too volatile for my liking. I’m ready to buy in on Bledsoe tonight, as he faces a Hawks’ defense that is ranked 23rd in efficiency against point guards. Dennis Schroder is one of the worst defenders in basketball and Bledsoe should push for 33+ minutes with Malcolm Brogdon out. This is also a game where I could see Bledsoe racking up a number of blocks and steals.

Tony Snell should play a lot of minutes again tonight, be he hasn’t scored 20 fantasy points in any of his last ten games. I will note that the last time I knocked on Snell, he had his best game of the season. Khris Middleton will likely draw the defense of Kent Bazemore and is priced up across the industry. He’s not a bad play by any means, but there are better options when you factor in salaries. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been quiet during this winning streak, but has a breakout type of matchup against the Hawks. He’s one of the top superstars to pay up for in the slate. Thon Maker minutes are far from guaranteed, but he did log 26 minutes against the Magic the other night. In a slate starved for value, Maker is viable in both cash games and tournaments. Jabari Parker should see around 20 minutes off the bench. With a lack of options at power forward, he’s a fairly safe play at his price point on FanDuel ($4,400).

Notable Injuries

John Henson (Out)

Milwaukee Bucks Offense

Points Per Game: 104.4 (18 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 108.5 (5 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: 4.1 (3 of 12)

Matchup vs. Atlanta Hawks

Points Allowed Per Game: 108.1 (23 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 108.1 (26 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: -2.5 (25 of 30)
Pace of Play: 99.7 (14 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Eric Bledsoe $7,900 $7,200 $14,900 33.0 2.4 30.6 -0.4 1.08 24.0% 23 20 30
Tony Snell $3,500 $3,600 $7,000 14.1 -2.6 29.0 -0.5 0.49 9.6% 13 16 2
Khris Middleton $7,800 $7,400 $14,400 34.9 -6.0 36.8 -3.1 0.95 22.3% 30 30 26
Giannis Antetokounmpo $11,800 $10,700 $20,500 52.9 -5.3 37.0 -1.5 1.43 28.6% 21 27 21
Thon Maker $3,700 $3,700 $7,500 13.6 3.5 18.0 1.3 0.76 11.7% 22 29 14
Sean Kilpatrick $3,700 $3,400 $7,100 7.8 4.3 10.0 2.2 0.78 21.8% N/A N/A N/A
Jabari Parker $4,400 $4,500 $8,600 16.4 0.0 17.8 0.0 0.92 20.7% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Eric Bledsoe, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker

Secondary Plays – Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker (FD)


Cleveland Cavaliers at Oklahoma City Thunder – 8:00 PM ET

Cleveland Cavaliers Oklahoma City Thunder
Vegas Total 222.0 Vegas Total 222.0
Vegas Spread 2.0 Vegas Spread -2.0
Implied Team Total 110.0 Implied Team Total 112.0
Pace Projection +/- -0.7 Pace Projection +/- 0.5
Projected Starters George Hill J.R. Smith Cedi Osman LeBron James Tristan Thompson Projected Starters Russell Westbrook Alex Abrines Paul George Carmelo Anthony Steven Adams
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
DvP 4 14 4 10 3 DvP 29 25 27 18 23
DRPM Rat. 5 21 7 26 20 DRPM Rat. 28 27 17 22 30

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers have not lost a game since the trade deadline. They beat the Hawks in Atlanta and followed it up with a big win against the Celtics in Boston. The sky is certainly a bit brighter in Cleveland than it was a week ago. Tonight they head to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder, who are ranked sixth or better in points allowed per game, defensive efficiency, and rebounding differential. The big question in this game is whether or not Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are going to suit up. Both are listed as game-time decisions.

Before we get into the rest of the lineup, let’s quickly take a look at how the four new acquisitions fared in their first game with the Cavaliers:

Jordan Clarkson: 23 minutes and 28 fantasy points
George Hill: 21 minutes and 14 fantasy points
Larry Nance: 20 minutes and 17 fantasy points
Rodney Hood: 18 minutes and 24 fantasy points

At this point, we don’t know what the Cavaliers’ rotation is going to look like in the next few games. I’ve always been a believer in that the more information we have, the better decisions we can make when it comes to fantasy basketball. For that reason, I’m going to take a wait and see approach with these four players. Cedi Osman has already been named the starter at small forward, but with so much talent coming off the bench behind him, I’m more than willing to fade him in all formats. LeBron James is viable in basically any matchup, especially when the game features a low spread like this one. If I’m comparing him to Giannis Antetokounmpo, I prefer LeBron in cash games and Giannis in tournaments. The only other Cavaliers’ player of note is Tristan Thompson, who will likely play 28-30 minutes at a price of only $4,500 on FanDuel.

Notable Injuries

None

Cleveland Cavaliers Offense

Points Per Game: 110.0 (5 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 110.0 (3 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: 0.0 (6 of 12)

Matchup vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Points Allowed Per Game: 102.7 (6 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 103.5 (5 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 3.4 (3 of 30)
Pace of Play: 98.7 (17 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
George Hill $4,800 $4,900 $9,600 19.8 -5.2 26.5 -5.6 0.75 16.1% 9 4 5
J.R. Smith $4,600 $4,600 $9,000 17.0 5.6 29.7 -0.2 0.57 12.0% 9 14 21
Cedi Osman $4,100 $4,600 $9,800 6.2 10.3 9.1 10.6 0.68 11.0% 13 4 7
LeBron James $11,500 $11,500 $21,000 52.8 1.4 37.0 -0.7 1.43 29.1% 15 10 26
Tristan Thompson $4,500 $4,500 $8,800 16.0 6.3 21.0 6.7 0.76 10.6% 3 3 20
Jordan Clarkson $5,900 $5,100 $12,200 23.9 -0.1 23.7 1.1 1.01 26.3% N/A N/A N/A
Rodney Hood $5,000 $4,800 $9,200 24.1 4.2 27.6 -4.6 0.87 23.3% N/A N/A N/A
Larry Nance $4,600 $4,500 $8,600 23.3 -6.5 21.9 -5.5 1.07 14.1% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – LeBron James

Secondary Plays – Tristan Thompson (FD)


Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder have won five of their last ten games and currently sit in fifth place in the Western Conference. The big question of the slate is the availability of Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. Based on the line (Thunder favored by two points) and the fact that they both went through shoot-around, I’d give them a better chance of playing than sitting tonight. From a matchup standpoint, there are few better than facing the Cavaliers. On the season, Cleveland is ranked 25th or worse in points allowed per game, defensive efficiency, and rebounding differential. The Thunder have an implied total of 112 points, which is the second highest on the board and six points above their season average.

I’m going to break the Thunder down using the two possible scenarios. If Russell Westbrook is active, he immediately becomes my favorite tournament play of the slate. He’s not going to have low ownership, but it will be lower than it should be. A lot of DFS players are hesitant to target players coming back from injury, especially if they are listed as questionable all day. Westbrook has scored 65 fantasy points in each of his last two games against LeBron James and as a whole, the Cavaliers are ranked 27th in efficiency against point guards. If Westbrook plays, Paul George becomes an easy fade at his price point. Steven Adams is significantly better playing next to Westbrook, so give him a boost if the reigning MVP is able to suit up tonight.

If Westbrook is ruled out, Paul George becomes the focal point for the Thunder. In his last two games without Westbrook, he has scored 47 and 56 fantasy points. It feels gross paying nearly $10,000 for George, but I’d be willing to do it if Westbrook is ruled out. Carmelo Anthony doesn’t make a huge difference for me whether he is active or sitting. If he plays and Westbrook is ruled out, I’d have some interest in tournaments. If Anthony is ruled out, Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson would both see a significant boost in playing time. Despite his big game on Sunday, I still prefer Grant over Patterson.

Notable Injuries

Russell Westbrook (Questionable)
Carmelo Anthony (Questionable)

Oklahoma City Thunder Offense

Points Per Game: 106.2 (13 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 112.0 (2 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: 5.8 (1 of 12)

Matchup vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Points Allowed Per Game: 109.9 (27 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 109.7 (28 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: -2.5 (25 of 30)
Pace of Play: 99.9 (13 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Russell Westbrook $12,100 $11,400 $20,900 54.1 -4.4 36.1 1.1 1.50 34.8% 27 29 28
Alex Abrines $4,500 $3,800 $7,400 8.7 8.3 15.8 11.2 0.55 11.7% 24 25 27
Paul George $10,000 $9,900 $17,400 38.7 8.6 36.3 0.4 1.07 23.4% 27 27 17
Carmelo Anthony $6,300 $6,000 $11,700 28.6 -7.9 32.2 -8.0 0.89 21.8% 25 18 22
Steven Adams $7,100 $6,800 $12,500 31.0 1.2 32.1 0.7 0.96 14.6% 19 23 30
Jerami Grant $4,900 $4,900 $9,700 16.8 8.6 20.6 4.2 0.82 14.4% N/A N/A N/A
Raymond Felton $5,000 $4,900 $9,600 14.7 3.6 17.0 4.7 0.87 20.2% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Russell Westbrook (if active), Paul George (if Westbrook is out), Steven Adams (if Westbrook is active)

Secondary Plays – Steven Adams (if Westbrook is out), Carmelo Anthony (if Westbrook is out), Jerami Grant (if Anthony is out)


Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves – 8:00 PM ET

Houston Rockets Minnesota Timberwolves
Vegas Total 222.5 Vegas Total 222.5
Vegas Spread -2.5 Vegas Spread 2.5
Implied Team Total 112.5 Implied Team Total 110.0
Pace Projection +/- -1.5 Pace Projection +/- 1.1
Projected Starters Chris Paul James Harden Luc Mbah a Moute P.J. Tucker Clint Capela Projected Starters Jeff Teague Jimmy Butler Andrew Wiggins Taj Gibson Karl-Anthony Towns
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
DvP 19 19 2 5 6 DvP 8 23 19 6 25
DRPM Rat. 21 1 27 12 23 DRPM Rat. 2 19 1 8 3

Houston Rockets

The Rockets have won eight games in a row and currently sit in second in the Western Conference. Tonight’s matchup against the Wolves should be a fun one, as the game features a 2.5-point spread and a total of 222.5 points. The Wolves haven’t been great defensively this season, ranking 17th in points allowed per game and 24th in defensive efficiency. The Rockets’ implied total of 112.5 points is slightly below their season average, but it is still the highest of any team on the schedule tonight.

Chris Paul continues to play at a high level, despite averaging under 32 minutes per game on the season. He has an elite true usage rate and an exploitable matchup against Jeff Teague and the Wolves, who are ranked 21st in efficiency against point guards. Paul is an intriguing tournament play that should fly under the radar at his current price point. James Harden is close to matchup-proof, but he will have to deal with Jimmy Butler, who is arguably the best on-ball defender in basketball. Butler has held Harden under 50 fantasy points in each of their last two meetings. That’s not to say that we should fade Harden completely, but it’s worth noting that he has the worst matchup of any superstar in this slate.

With Trevor Ariza out again, Luc Mbah a Moute will draw another start at small forward. It’s been difficult trying to predict which of these Rockets’ value plays will go off on a nightly basis. For now, I consider Mbah a Moute, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, and Ryan Anderson as large-field tournament targets. Clint Capela has steadily seen an increase in playing time, averaging 29.2 minutes over his last five games. While Karl-Anthony Towns has improved as a defender throughout the season, the Wolves are still ranked 25th in efficiency against centers. Once again, Capela is on my radar in tournaments given his massive ceiling.

Notable Injuries

Trevor Ariza (Out)
Joe Johnson (Doubtful)

Houston Rockets Offense

Points Per Game: 114.1 (2 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 112.5 (1 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: -1.6 (10 of 12)

Matchup vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Points Allowed Per Game: 106.4 (17 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 107.9 (24 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 0.3 (13 of 30)
Pace of Play: 97.9 (23 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Chris Paul $9,600 $9,100 $16,800 42.7 1.8 31.9 -0.9 1.34 26.1% 21 19 21
James Harden $11,300 $11,000 $20,300 53.9 -4.6 35.8 -3.1 1.50 34.0% 25 19 1
Luc Mbah a Moute $4,300 $4,100 $7,900 16.5 2.3 27.1 4.5 0.61 10.2% 5 2 27
P.J. Tucker $3,700 $3,800 $7,300 16.3 -2.1 27.7 5.2 0.59 8.4% 5 5 12
Clint Capela $8,300 $7,500 $14,000 35.9 5.2 27.1 2.1 1.33 17.4% 25 6 23
Eric Gordon $4,700 $5,000 $9,700 26.4 -9.8 31.9 -5.5 0.83 22.2% N/A N/A N/A
Gerald Green $4,200 $4,800 $9,500 20.6 0.4 24.7 -1.0 0.84 19.6% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Chris Paul (GPP), Clint Capela (GPP)

Secondary Plays – Chris Paul (Cash), Clint Capela (Cash), James Harden


Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves have lost six of their last ten games, but currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. Depending on how the next couple months shake out, we could be looking at a preview of the first or second round of the playoffs. The Rockets have been tough defensively this season, but they play at the league’s ninth fastest pace and the Wolves obviously see a boost since they are playing at home. Minnesota has an implied total of 110 points, which is the third highest of the slate.

Jeff Teague grades out as a decent play in my model, but I tend to avoid targeting point guards against Chris Paul. He’s still one of the best on-ball defenders in basketball and as a whole, the Rockets are ranked sixth in efficiency against shooting guards. The Rockets will likely try to put Luc Mbah a Moute on Jimmy Butler, but I expect him to see plenty of James Harden in this game. Butler will defend Harden on as many matchups as possible and it will be tough for the Rockets to switch that matchup every time down the floor. Butler is averaging 49 fantasy points over his last five games and will likely play 40 minutes in an uptempo game at home.

Andrew Wiggins has struggled over his last five games, averaging only 24 fantasy points during that stretch. His price hasn’t come down enough to warrant consideration, at least not in my eyes. Power forward is typically the hardest position to fill out when building lineups and tonight is no different. Taj Gibson offers a high floor and a relatively high ceiling at his price point. He’s an excellent cash game target on FanDuel ($5,400) where we have to play two power forwards. I originally planned to fully fade Karl-Anthony Towns until some of my brilliant readers pointed out his game logs against Houston. In his last four starts against Clint Capela, Towns has scored 65, 70, 61, and 67 fantasy points. I’m not too prideful to admit when I am wrong and have done a 180 on my KAT stance.

Notable Injuries

None

Minnesota Timberwolves Offense

Points Per Game: 109.6 (6 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 110.0 (3 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: 0.4 (5 of 12)

Matchup vs. Houston Rockets

Points Allowed Per Game: 105.6 (14 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 104.7 (9 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 2.3 (6 of 30)
Pace of Play: 100.5 (9 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Jeff Teague $6,100 $6,000 $11,700 29.7 -1.8 33.0 -3.3 0.90 19.7% 6 8 2
Jimmy Butler $9,700 $9,300 $17,400 41.8 7.5 37.2 3.3 1.12 24.1% 20 23 19
Andrew Wiggins $6,200 $6,200 $12,100 29.0 -5.2 36.1 -0.2 0.80 21.0% 24 19 1
Taj Gibson $5,400 $5,300 $10,700 26.2 -2.8 33.5 -1.4 0.78 13.2% 4 6 8
Karl-Anthony Towns $9,400 $9,200 $15,900 42.8 1.5 35.2 -0.8 1.22 19.4% 13 25 3
Jamal Crawford $3,700 $3,600 $6,800 15.4 -0.3 18.9 0.8 0.81 22.6% N/A N/A N/A
Gorgui Dieng $3,600 $3,400 $6,600 16.2 -3.6 17.6 -3.3 0.92 15.0% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns (FD), Taj Gibson (FD)

Secondary Plays – Karl-Anthony Towns (DK), Taj Gibson (DK)


Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks – 8:30 PM ET

Sacramento Kings Dallas Mavericks
Vegas Total 206.0 Vegas Total 206.0
Vegas Spread 6.5 Vegas Spread -6.5
Implied Team Total 99.8 Implied Team Total 106.3
Pace Projection +/- -2.3 Pace Projection +/- -2.1
Projected Starters De’Aaron Fox Bogdan Bogdanovic Justin Jackson Zach Randolph Willie Cauley-Stein Projected Starters Dennis Smith J.J. Barea Wesley Matthews Harrison Barnes Dirk Nowitzki
Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C Opponent Rank PG SG SF PF C
DvP 21 7 13 19 17 DvP 17 18 22 23 27
DRPM Rat. 29 25 25 28 18 DRPM Rat. 28 20 25 27 18

Sacramento Kings

The Kings are quickly becoming my least favorite team to see on the schedule. First of all, they aren’t very good at basketball, which leads to a low of blowouts. This leads to unpredictability for both the Kings and their opponents. They also have a deep and inconsistent rotation, which makes everything worse. Tonight’s matchup against the Mavericks is a mediocre one. The Kings come into the game with an implied total of 99.8 points, which is slightly higher than their season average.

There are certain teams that I always love targeting point guards against and the Mavericks are one of them. Dennis Smith is one of the worst defenders in basketball this season and as a whole, the Mavericks are ranked 26th in efficiency against point guards. De’Aaron Fox is averaging 27 fantasy points over his last five games and should see minutes in the low to mid-30s tonight. Dollar for dollar, he’s one of the top point guard targets on FanDuel ($6,000) tonight.

Outside of Fox, there are only two other Kings’ players on my radar tonight. The first is Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has played at least 30 minutes in three straight games. During that stretch, he has averaged 28 fantasy points per contest. His price has come down to playable levels on both FanDuel ($5,600) and DraftKings ($5,200). Willie Cauley-Stein minutes don’t look great if you look at the average over the last five games, but that doesn’t tell you the whole story. He only played 16 minutes against the Bulls and topped 30 minutes in three of those five games. Against the NBA’s worst rebounding team, I absolutely love WCS tonight on DraftKings ($5,900).

Notable Injuries

Frank Mason (Out)
Skal Labissiere (Out)
Iman Shumpert (Out)

Sacramento Kings Offense

Points Per Game: 98.6 (30 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 99.8 (11 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: 1.2 (4 of 12)

Matchup vs. Dallas Mavericks

Points Allowed Per Game: 104.3 (10 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 107.2 (21 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: -4.4 (30 of 30)
Pace of Play: 97.1 (27 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
De’Aaron Fox $6,000 $6,300 $12,800 22.4 4.1 27.1 3.2 0.83 21.8% 26 21 29
Bogdan Bogdanovic $5,600 $5,200 $10,000 21.4 5.8 27.2 2.7 0.79 17.5% 6 7 25
Justin Jackson $3,700 $3,600 $6,800 10.7 7.0 18.8 7.3 0.57 13.8% 22 13 25
Zach Randolph $6,700 $6,100 $11,500 27.0 0.2 25.6 1.0 1.05 23.9% 3 19 28
Willie Cauley-Stein $7,400 $5,900 $11,900 28.2 -1.3 27.3 0.7 1.03 19.5% 26 17 18
Buddy Hield $5,200 $4,900 $9,900 21.0 2.9 23.8 -2.9 0.88 21.4% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – De’Aaron Fox (FD), Bogdan Bogdanovic (GPP), Willie Cauley-Stein (DK)

Secondary Plays – De’Aaron Fox (DK), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Cash)


Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have lost eight of their last ten games, but are listed as 6.5-point favorites tonight against the Kings. Sacramento may play at a slow pace, but they are still one of the best matchups for fantasy production. On the season, they are ranked 20th or worse in points allowed per game, defensive efficiency, and rebounding differential. The Mavericks have an implied total of 106.3 points, which gives them the second highest projected point differential (+4.3) of the slate.

Dennis Smith gets to square off against fellow rookie, De’Aaron Fox. These are two of the worst point guard defenders in the NBA, so we could see them both have big outings. It’s not the worst idea in the world to pair these two in a tournament lineup. J.J. Barea offers nice value on DraftKings ($4,700), especially if he draws another start at shooting guard. Wesley Matthews is typically a safe cash game target, but I don’t like overpaying for players and Matthews is priced up to $5,700 on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

Harrison Barnes has not been in good form over his last five games, averaging only 24 fantasy points per contest. While the matchup is in his favor, there are better small forward targets in this slate. Dirk Nowitzki has the same problem as Matthews. While I don’t mind the matchup, he’s a bit overpriced on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Last but not least, we have Dwight Powell. After years of DFS players begging Rick Carlisle to play him more minutes, we are finally getting what we have asked for. In his last five games, Powell has averaged 29 minutes and 32 fantasy points. He’s on my radar for tournaments tonight, especially on DraftKings ($5,500).

Notable Injuries

Salah Mejri (Questionable)
Dirk Nowitzki (Probable)
Wesley Matthews (Probable)
J.J. Barea (Probable)

Dallas Mavericks Offense

Points Per Game: 101.9 (26 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 106.3 (7 of 12)
Projected Point Differential: 4.3 (2 of 12)

Matchup vs. Sacramento Kings

Points Allowed Per Game: 106.8 (20 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 110.1 (29 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: -3.4 (28 of 30)
Pace of Play: 97.3 (26 of 30)

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L5 +/- Minutes L5 +/- FP/Min True Usage EFF DVP DRPM
Dennis Smith $7,400 $7,300 $13,500 27.7 1.5 29.3 3.9 0.94 26.7% 14 17 28
J.J. Barea $5,600 $4,700 $8,800 23.7 -0.4 23.0 1.8 1.03 25.0% 27 18 20
Wesley Matthews $5,700 $5,700 $11,100 23.8 3.5 34.2 -3.9 0.70 16.3% 18 22 25
Harrison Barnes $7,000 $6,500 $12,900 30.3 -6.3 34.5 -4.0 0.88 21.6% 18 23 27
Dirk Nowitzki $6,000 $5,400 $10,100 24.2 7.8 25.0 0.7 0.97 18.7% 28 27 18
Yogi Ferrell $4,500 $4,500 $8,800 19.1 0.4 29.2 1.4 0.65 15.5% N/A N/A N/A
Dwight Powell $6,700 $5,500 $10,900 18.4 13.6 19.6 9.1 0.94 13.5% N/A N/A N/A

Elite Plays – Dennis Smith (GPP), J.J. Barea (DK), Dwight Powell (DK GPP)

Secondary Plays – Dennis Smith (Cash), Dwight Powell (DK Cash)


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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Incentives members on a daily basis during the NBA season with daily videos for the Court Report and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards..

    Notorious

    Interview after $100,000 Win

    January 5th, 2012 Daily Fantasy Fix

    February 14th, 2013 Daily Fantasy Fix

    footballguys.com Interview

Comments

  • theklein25

    No love for KAT?

  • Epp529

    Noto check out KATs game logs vs Houston…..any insight?

  • Notorious

    Lead RG Expert & Contributor

    • 40

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #36

      RG Tiered Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    • 2013 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    @Epp529 said...

    Noto check out KATs game logs vs Houston…..any insight?

    Better adjust the Grind Down. Those game logs are insane.

  • basam80

    Any love for Bam?

  • Notorious

    Lead RG Expert & Contributor

    • 40

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #36

      RG Tiered Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    • 2013 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    @basam80 said...

    Any love for Bam?

    Not in love with the matchup, but certainly viable in large-field tournaments.

  • noheartanthony

    @Notorious said...

    Better adjust the Grind Down. Those game logs are insane.

    How much stock do you put into something like that typically? I looked at the logs. They’re definitely very nice. It just feels a lot like BvP which I have a hard time trusting.

  • Notorious

    Lead RG Expert & Contributor

    • 40

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #36

      RG Tiered Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    • 2013 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    @noheartanthony said...

    How much stock do you put into something like that typically? I looked at the logs. They’re definitely very nice. It just feels a lot like BvP which I have a hard time trusting.

    I usually use past games against a certain team to confirm what I expect to be a good or bad matchup. In this situation, the results are so glaring that I’m weighing it a little more than I usually would.

  • fdapo

    • 524

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    I knew about Towns game logs vs. Houston last game, faded him hoping I’d get lucky. That didn’t work out well.

  • Pdiddy81

    I agree here. Before you looked at the game logs, what was your initial assessment? That’s the one I’m likely going to side with. Was one of his high usage teammates out in any of those games? Something else that could explain those numbers?

  • v1n5anity15

    I think KAT’s performance against Houston is a bit misleading. He killed them in all 4 games last season for sure, but he was the main guy last year. This season he only faced them once and while he did rack up 66.7 FDP, he had 2 steals and 5 blocks (21 FDP total) in that game alone. In the 4 games last year against Houston he only had 3 steals and 5 blocks COMBINED.

    I’m not saying he’s not capable of a big performance here, obviously. Just that people may be chasing last year’s stats a bit while not seeing the steals/blocks outlier from last game.

  • rroopinsurance

    Do we have any insight in SA? I’m sure Kyle A is locked into heavy minutes, but Dejonte? Pau? Is Tony Parker sitting on a back to back? Pau gonna get big minutes again? Or King Joff vs his former squad?
    Thoughts please

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