NBA Summer League DFS Strategy: Thursday, July 11th
Hello Grinders. We have a six-game slate that starts an hour earlier than normal, so we have a lot of ground to cover. With MLB back in full swing on Friday, this will be my last Summer League article. It’s been fun covering it the past few days and I hope you enjoyed the break from baseball. The RG community in the Discord chat has been amazing, as everyone has been so helpful in terms of sharing news, information and advice.
As a reminder, please use this article more as a primer and not as gospel. The Discord chat is where the latest news and starting lineups will be shared, and with starting lineups often not coming out until a few minutes before tipoff (but mostly after the game has started), we’re really doing a lot of guessing here in terms of minutes, starters and rotations.
Let’s dive in!
TOR @ IND
Update – Thanks to RG user Irre for the heads up, but Terence Davis may be available for today’s game. Follow Blake Murphy or the Discord chat to see if anything becomes official. He’s not in the player pool but his availability may eat into the usage of Loyd and Boucher.
The Raptors played a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back, so they should be fresh here. I’m going to assume normal starters here, meaning I’m focused on Chris Boucher and Jordan Loyd. Loyd continues to be priced cheap at just $5,900, so I have a lot of interest in him. Boucher is up to $8,100 now, his highest priced this Summer League, but he does carry a high floor as he’s reached 40+ DraftKings points in three straight games. I’m not going to call him a lock at this price, but he does carry a lot of safety so I consider him one of the best spend-up options if you have the salary. I’m personally going to try and get up to him if I can build a lineup I’m comfortable with. I’m curious to see how the industry treats him because he was highly owned in his last game at $7,700, so I expect people will continue paying up for him.
In terms of the secondary players on this team, Malcolm Miller dropped 19 points in their last game, while Dewan Hernandez had a 16/11 double-double. I don’t have much interest in Miller, but Hernandez is interesting at $6,400 to help fill a weak center position. I’m at least keeping him in my player pool in the event he’s announced as a starter before lock and I just want someone who I know is going to be playing so I can get those guaranteed points.
The Pacers also last played a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back. In the Tuesday game, Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner and Brian Bowen were all out. Goga Bitadze also wasn’t with the team. Holiday was listed with a sore left hip, while Sumner had a sore left foot and Bowen had a sore back (tweet is here). I’ve had concerns with Sumner this summer because he’s been dealing with an injury even before the tournament started. We’ll need to monitor the statuses of Holiday and Bowen. I got the sense they were more just getting rest on the B2B, but if there’s any sign of an actual injury, I would think the Pacers would hold them out. For now I’m keeping them in my player pool, although the price tag on Holiday is higher than I feel comfortable with (he’s $100 more expensive than Chris Boucher now).
Outside of these two, I do like Alize Johnson, who continues to start and post respectable numbers. He’s priced up to $6,100 now so the value is gone, but he’s carried a solid floor this summer.
For the most part, I’m viewing the Pacers are options if we get news on the starters and you just want players with a floor. I don’t see anyone here underpriced and of good value unless the Pacers mix up the starting lineup to give some new players a chance.
ATL @ WAS
The Hawks played an island game on Tuesday, so they should be fresh here. Here’s the box score from that game:
The 21-point outing by Jordan Sibert in just 17 minutes is impressive, considering he was 7-for-9 from downtown. He added little else in his stat line, however, and is very shooting-dependent. In the prior game, he had just a 7/3/1 line on 1-for-12 shooting. Ouch. He did average 16/4.6/2 in the G-League this past season so he can score, but I would only consider him if building a ton of teams because I don’t like shot-dependent players.
With Omari Spellman traded, that allowed Charles Brown to draw the start. Brown had a solid 18/3/1 line in a team-high 31 minutes, so at $5,100 I’m willing to give him a look as a last-piece.
Jaylen Adams has been starting at point guard but put up a dud last game, finishing with just 3 points and 7 turnovers over 28 minutes. It seems like the minutes will be there for him so he’s not an awful play at $5,900, but so far he hasn’t looked good. I’ll keep him in my player pool but I’ll likely be underweight on him.
Probably the most interesting piece on the Hawks is Tahjere McCall. He’s finished with 32+ fantasy points in back-to-back games now and is only $5,400. He started on Tuesday and had a massive 15/7/4/2 steal line. He comes with some accolades too as he was the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year. I don’t think he’s a bad tournament play given the upside he’s flashed.
Update – there’s an article here calling Troy Brown “doubtful.” It’s not an official ruling so I’m keeping Brown in my playing pool, but I’m going to treat him as doubtful for now and give Rui a boost
Washington played a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back and held out Rui Hachimura in that Tuesday game for rest. I’d expect him to be back for this game.
“Coach Robert Pack said holding Troy Brown out after his injury was just a precaution. No indication yet he will miss more games. It is a left knee contusion, which they will evaluate further tomorrow.”
This is a big spot to monitor as Brown has been the focal point of the offense this summer. I would have to think the Wizards wouldn’t even risk Brown if the injury is serious. He’s $7,900 on DraftKings, so there’s a big opportunity cost too should he not suit up. The good news is this game is only 30 minutes after lock so hopefully we can get confirmation on his status. He’s not someone I’m thrilled about on this slate.
If Brown doesn’t play, that would be good news for Hachimura if he’s back. The second unit has also been anchored by Troy Caupain and new addition Moritz Wagner, and both of them would benefit from Brown being out. I don’t know if this six-game slate is the right slate to use them, however, as I can’t imagine either will see big minutes. Admiral Schofield also reported to duty on Tuesday and dropped a 16/5/1 line, but I don’t love his $6,700 price tag so I don’t envision myself chasing that performance.
For the most part the Wizards I’m most focused on are Hachimura and Brown.
POR @ OKC
Update – Discord chat just brought to my attention that Simons hurt his ankle in Tuesday’s game per this article. I’m considering him questionable and if he’s out, that would be a big boost for Trent and a boost for Devin Robinson
Portland played an island game on Tuesday, so I would expect normal starters here. Anfernee Simons morphed into Anfernee Hardaway on Tuesday, dropping a 35/6/2 line. His price jumped up to $7,300 so he’s no longer a value play, but it’s still a fair price for someone we know can score in bunches.
After his 31 real-life point performance, Gary Trent Jr. had a 12/8/5/2 steal performance over 31 minutes. He’s also been priced up to $7,600 so it’s a bit uncomfortable rostering him now. Honestly, I’d rather play Simons for $300 cheaper if I’m paying this much for a Blazers guard.
Simmons and Trent are my main two targets here, but their new prices reflect their latest performance. I don’t consider either a must play. None of the other Blazers stand out to me.
The Thunder played a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back, but Tuesday’s game was against Croatia. Hamidou Diallo is the most interesting option in terms of scoring upside, but after scoring 20 real-life points in his first game he’s now scored just 14 and 11 points in his last two. At $7,400, I’m fine with exposure in GPPs if you’re building a lot of tournament teams, but I’m not going to focus on him in a single entry or three-max contest.
I’m really intrigued by Kevin Hervey, who continues to start as their center. He’s posted double-doubles in two of his three games, and he’s looked like the team’s best player this summer. The $7,700 price tag is tough to fit in, but I have more interest in him than Diallo at a similar price point.
UTA @ HOU
Utah played an island game on Tuesday so I’m expecting normal starters. Here’s the box score from that game:
I honestly don’t have much interest here in anyone outside of Tony Bradley to help fill that weak center position. I hate to keep this brief and maybe others in Discord will have a stronger take than me here, but the Jazz are one of the teams I just don’t love on this slate. I suppose maybe Isaiah Cousins is a little interesting if he draws the start at point guard after he went for 9/8/5/3 steals on Tuesday. He’s only $5,600 and did average 15/6/4 in the G-League last year, but I don’t think he’s someone you need to go out of your way for on a six-game slate.
The big news is Summer League and Preseason darling Isaiah Hartenstein got hurt and will miss the rest of the tournament. Here’s the box score from Tuesday’s game when he got hurt:
Chris Clemons has been a target of mine all summer and with no Hartenstein, he should see even more offensive responsibilities, making him a fine target. Gary Clark somehow went off for a 24-point performance. This guy was such a low-usage player during the regular season that it blows my mind he dropped 24, but at the same time he doesn’t have Chris Paul and James Harden to compete with here. I suppose you can sprinkle in some shares of Clark if multi-entering, but I don’t think I feel great chasing that last outing.
I’m not entirely sure how the Rockets handle the loss of Hartenstein. The most logical choice would be to give Johnathan Williams more minutes or potentially even start him. At $5,800, I would have interest in him if he cracked the starting lineup. He had 27.3 DraftKings points in just 21 minutes last game, so there’s some upside here.
SAC @ LAC
The Kings played a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back and should be fresh here. Frank Mason was out with a sore right hip, and considering the Kings already waived him, he’s hard to trust for minutes anyway.
Kyle Guy has been a standout this summer and is the main target for the Kings. At $6,000, that’s a very fair price. Semaj Chtiston and Wenyen Gabriel profile as last-piece options if you land on them, but I’m not trying to prioritize either of them on this slate.
Caleb Swanigan and Milton Doyle are interesting, but I don’t think either sees enough minutes tonight to be of great use. For the most part I’m really looking at Guy on the Kings given his upside and low price tag.
The Clippers played an island game on Tuesday, so I’m expecting normal starters here. Here’s the box score from that game:
I don’t consider anyone on the Clippers a priority play, but they have plenty of options to help provide some salary relief or round out a roster. Jerome Robinson is only $5,400 and did have 26.8 DraftKings points on Tuesday. Amir Coffey is only $5,600 and has scored 25+ points in two of his three Summer League games. Mfiondu Kabengele has been a solid center option this summer. He’s only $6,200 and has scored at least 28 DraftKings points in every game this tournament. Terance Mann was an assist shy of a triple-double on Tuesday and is only $7,000. Mann is being talked up as a potential backup for Patrick Beverley, so I would think the Clippers continue to get a good look at him.
If I had to rank my players of interest factoring in salary and positional scarcity, I would rank them Kabengele, Mann, Robinson and Coffey.
BOS @ MEM
The Celtics played a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back and have been one of the teams this summer I’ve tried to avoid. They typically haven’t given their players heavy run and have used a deep rotation to spread out the minutes.
In a surprising move, the Celtics waived Guerschon Yabusele on Wednesday night, so he gone. Robert Williams missed Tuesday’s game with a right hip bruise. Considering the ambiguity around this injury and this game being the late night hammer, I’m going to be underweight on Williams and am looking elsewhere given the risks here of him being rested.
Carsen Edwards has been the talk of the town but at $8,000, I just don’t see myself going here with so many other stud players in that range. I just see him as a better option if playing a late slate.
Tacko Fall has been an internet sensation but I think this is too large of a slate to chase someone who has been seeing minutes in the mid-teens. This is a pass for me.
The Grizzlies have a chance to go 4-0 with a win here and the winner goes to the Championship round, so they are playing for something.
The Grizzlies are going to be a hard team to peg. They rested Yuta Watanabe last game without any notice. Ivan Rabb and Bruno Caboclo are the main targets here, but we just don’t know 100% if they will play. I’m assuming they will, but there is risk here taking shots on them. I’m expecting new additions Grayson Allen and Brandon Clarke to continue starting and seeing solid minutes to get them used to the team, and while they don’t have huge floors or ceilings, they are likely the safest bet for minutes.
I’ll just mention that Tyler Harvey led the team with 19 points on Tuesday and he’s only $4,900. He averaged 17/3/3 in the G-League last season so there seems to be at least a decent floor if you need to find a punt below $5K.
Thanks again for reading, and good luck tonight. May variance be on your side.