COAST-2-COAST: WHEN IT'S OBVIOUS, THINK NOT
Coast-to-Coast has many literal translations, but there is only one that makes sense in my world. Going coast-to-coast is a basketball term in reference to when a player grabs a defensive rebound, and then proceeds to bust loose on a dribbling expedition from at least foul line to foul line culminating in a positive play for his team, usually via either a dazzling assist to a teammate or a spectacular finish at the rim for himself. Visions of Earvin “Magic” Johnson run through my head as the poster boy for this slogan, and in today’s game, no one is more symbolic of Coast-to-Coast moreso than the Alphabet, that Freak of Greek Nature, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The aim of this bi-weekly blog is to share some of my insights into DFS basketball, from the mind of a b-ball fanatic, and an O.G. hooper. When we played ball from noon to sunset on a daily, we “hooped”. Football is my fascination, Baseball and Soccer are my hobbies, but Hoops is my passion! Welcome to the Coast-2-Coast blog!
Hello again, back to start out on the good foot with the latest edition of the C2C blog. In at least a couple of my prior blog posts, DEBUT and CHERRY-PICKING, I mentioned the need to understand what type of DFS player you are as the first, and most important, aspect of DFS. Knowing what type of player you are with regards to volume, availability/time, risk-tolerance, bankroll, etc., will be the foundation of how you should attack these daily slates and it cannot be understated nor overlooked. Every piece of information that you take in from others with regards to analysis and opinions should be taken with at least a bit of grain of salt and scrutinized with the question: How does this (information that I’m being presented) align with my situation?
Often, we as DFS players will turn on our favorite podcasts or open up our favorite articles to gain some insight into what others are looking to do that day for their lineups, but we fail to make the connection of the person doing the recommending to their situation vs our situation. Example: If a guy giving recommendations is primarily playing in $300 entry and higher contests with less than 600 entries and you are playing in $1 and $3 single-entry contests with 25K+ to 40K+ entries, then your situations and thus strategies/approaches are not the same. Another guy giving his recommendations may be scripting 150 (max-entry) lineups into a particular contest where you have 5-10 entries. Once again, different situations and approaches. You may like to play 3-man, 20-man, and 100-man contests, and then you read all the articles for GPP recommendations. So once again, consider the situation that you are in and implement the proper approach.
A prime example of how this can play out to impact how a slate pans out for us, is to examine just this past Friday’s slate. Everyone and their mommas , grand-pappys, uncles, and cousins were all over the GSW-HOU game, and rightfully so as it was projected for a monstrous 240 total points. If I am a DFS player putting in 150 lineups in a single contest that day, there is no way that I can fade that game. However, if you have 1-10 or maybe even up to 25 total entries, you will have to consider how much exposure, if any, that you should have to that game and a total fade might be the best decision when all things are considered (size of GPP, your # of entries, your goals, etc.). After reading and hearing all day leading up to Friday’s slate of how “you just can’t fade this game”, “this game is such an obvious can’t miss”, “Harden is a must-play”, “lock of the day”, and other similar buzz words and phrases which should instantly set off an alarm in our heads to have us running the opposite direction as fast as we can. When I say “we”, I mean the guys who should not feel like they have to stay with the crowd to best suit their particular situation. You’ve heard the phrase “Stay in your lane” before, I assume, and for DFS you can translate this to mean: apply the right strategy for the right circumstances. If I have relatively few entries in a multi-entry contest, why am I going to follow the herd down an overly popular path when my goal is to beat 150K+ entrants? That would not make any sense for my situation. And many of us are guilty of falling into this trap at one time or another, so I’m advising myself first and foremost here to be mindful of and to stay in tune with the type of player that I am, as it is easy to get swept up in a lot of hype on any given day when taking in a lot of information and opinions. So the next time we hear or suspect that “it’s so obvious” in any DFS sport or slate, the first words we should utter shortly thereafter will be “Obviously Not”.
On to some of my top plays of the day. As always, breaking news and late scratches must be monitored and given consideration. We’re including the STINGER play(s), sort of a wildcard recommendation ill suited for the feint of heart as my risk tolerance is at least fairly high. These plays will sting one way or another, either the field gets stung by a low-owned virtuoso performance or your lineup gets stung by a massive flop.
TODAY’S PICKS (Monday 1/23 – 9 game slate)
Kyrie Irving ($7900 DK, $8100 FD) CLE@N.O.
The Cavs have not been looking good of late, and the nationally televised game on Saturday vs the Spurs exposed quite a few flaws of the defending champions. 1) They don’t have quality depth. 2) They believe that they can “flip the switch” when they feel like it as they were sleep-walking through most of that game Saturday. Item #2 is a dangerous thing. Fortunately for us, item #1 will force the Cavs to maintain their heavy reliance upon their marquee players. And with Love clearly dinged up, I’m expecting Kyrie to carry a lot of the offense here in this peach matchup on the road vs NOLA. With a marquee PG matchup on tap in Charlotte, Kyrie could very well fly under-the-radar today and he will likely be my most owned PG on this slate.
Kemba Walker ($8100 DK, $7900 FD) WAS@CHA
Speaking of the marquee matchup, Kemba should not be overlooked here as he gets a fabulous matchup and friendly pace against the visiting Wizards. The Hornets have an implied 109.25 total, which is 4 points above their season average. The Hornets are riding a 3-game winning streak, with all three games at home. Kemba’s Usage Rate (%) in these 3 games: 24.1, 32.0, and 31.3.
John Wall ($9300 DK, $9700 FD) WAS@CHA
On the flip side of the marquee PG duel, J-Weezy comes into this game as one of the hottest players in the entire NBA. Wall has been fantastic with averages of 21.5 pts, 4.6 rebs, and 10.9 assists through 11 games in January. His confidence is sky-high as Wall has developed into a true leader for this rising Wizards team, winners of 7 of their last 9 games.
Dejounte Murray (4100 DK, $3800 FD) S.A.@BKN
Leave it to the Spurs to uncover another diamond in the rough, drafting Murray with the 29th pick in this past June’s draft. Murray has sizzling talent, and is gaining confidence in Parker’s absence with the additional playing time that he has earned. With Parker expected to miss this game as well, Murray is in line for another start and looking at 24-28 minutes in this plus matchup. The #1 trend in NBA DFS this season: Attack Brooklyn! FYI, Murray is listed as PG on DK and SG on FD.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10600 DK, $10800 FD) HOU@MIL
How a guy can be listed as a PG on one site, a SG on another, and a Forward on others, is sort of amusing and ridiculous at the same time, but it really points to the versatility of Greek as he is simply one of the top 5 or 6 players in the game, in my opinion. I don’t really need to sell this one, I’m just inserting him into lineups all across the industry and in all formats.
Victor Oladipo ($5300 DK, $5700 FD) OKC@UTA
Several plays will get overlooked on this slate, and especially in this late game with the lowest total (204) on the board. But with Hood likely to miss another game, Oladipo draws a pretty good matchup vs Ingles and Burks on the perimeter, and with solid minutes in tow and an expected close game (+5.5), Oladipo is one of my strongest GPP plays tonight who I believe can crush value.
Tim Hardaway, Jr ($4700 DK/FD) LAC@ATL
THJ, gosh, everybody seems to have a nickname nowadays. What happened to the days when you had to be really good to earn a nickname? But for today, Hardaway is in a great spot vs the beaten-up Clippers in the ATL. The Clippers are like a rudderless boat without their heart and soul CP3, and teams have had little trouble scoring against them with both CP3 and Griffin in street clothes. Hardaway should easily pay off his salary today, but I’d be somewhat disappointed if he doesn’t bring back close to 7x or more.
C2C STINGER #1: Dion Waiters ($5700 DK, $5500 FD) GSW@MIA
I could never in good conscience recommend Waiters without some type of qualifier, and slotting him in as one of my STINGER plays will have to suffice. At his price tag, the reasons to like Waiters today are the pace, there may be several backcourt guys shelved, and the Heat are at home with the Dubs on a back-to-back. But if Waiters is deemed to be chalky heading into lineup lock, that would be a not-so-comforting position for me and I’d have to strongly reconsider my stance on rostering him today. But as-is, I believe that Waiters is a pretty strong play for this matchup.
Otto Porter ($6200 DK, $6300 FD) WAS@CHA
My boy “OttoPilot”, that’s what I like to call him as he has done very well for me as I’ve rostered him often, seems to deliver when most feel it is not a great spot. There comes a time when players tend to not need the greatest spots to deliver, and Porter has elevated his game to become one of those guys, in my estimation. Now looking at signing a max-deal this upcoming offseason, Porter is better than most people realize, and I love him today in this matchup even though he draws the tough defense of MKG. He will not likely crush value, but I believe that there is a relatively safe floor here due to his role, minutes, and the total in this game.
Paul George ($7500 DK, $7000 FD) NYK@IND
Some players just give you that queezy feeling in your stomach when you strongly consider them for your lineups, and today I have two: Waiters and George. No, I don’t feel totally comfortable as the guy has laid an egg in many of the best spots already this season, but numbers don’t always tell the true story. The DvP says that New York is the 6th toughest vs SF position, however, I don’t hesitate to attack the Knicks, more specifically Melo, with an offensive-minded SF since a lot of SFs aren’t usually highly involved in their team’s offense and when going up against Melo they will tend to be even more focused on the assignment of containing him rather than on their own offense. But in general, the Knicks are atrocious in defending the wings and as a team they give up the 6th most points per game in the NBA. George should be pumped up and ready to roll in this home matchup vs the defense-less Knickerbockers, so I’ll have little reservations rolling him out there in quite a few lineups…….at least on FD, that is.
C2C STINGER #2: Sam Dekker ($4200 DK, $4300 FD) HOU@MIL
Yeah, I realize that Dekker has received mad run of late due to the absence of Ryan Anderson who is set to return today. Sure, this is known and I’m still recommending Dekker. Here is why: Dekker is playing very well, coming off of a career game, but let’s not forget that he also went to the University of Wisconsin, and is also a local native who was revered in these parts during his collegiate days. I’m expecting for D’Antoni to relate to this and give the kid roughly the same amount of burn that he has been receiving of late as young players in these types of narratives tend to bring a lot of energy and emotion to the game, which are things that coaches tend to love (i.e., not having to motivate a guy). Repeat after me, HOMECOMING!
Kristaps Porzingis ($6800 DK, $7000 FD) NYK@IND
The fact that Porzingis has yet to ‘pop’ since returning from his Achilles strain is both a good and bad thing. The Good: Nobody should be on him in DFS since he hasn’t been lighting it up and thus we may be able to get a low-owned monster performance. The Bad: Is he healthy enough to deliver a great performance as it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen one? All I know is that the minutes are there, but something still just isn’t quite right with the Zinger. The price is nice based on the upside and the matchup with Thad is OK, so I see this play as worth the risk here as a bustout performance for Zinger could happen at any moment.
Tobias Harris ($6200 DK, $6100 FD) SAC@DET
I’m really hoping that Tobias gets moved back to the 2nd unit here with Leuer back in action, as his usage is higher coming off of the bench. However, I’d be OK either way but I would also likely hedge/split between Tobias and Marcus Morris ($5900 DK, $5400 FD) if both are in the starting lineup. Morris has been playing very well of late, and with Rudy Gay sidelined, his SF matchup looks really good today.
David Lee ($5500 DK, $5100 FD) S.A.@BKN
Lee has been super-steady since entering the lineup for Pau Gasol. However, his price has also received a nice bump (almost a 62% increase from 2 games ago) and Lee is more visible to the masses and will likely be very popular today. Squaring off against the lowly Nets, however, is always cause for celebration and attacking at every position, so Lee will be a cash game staple and still might be used by me in GPPs, especially on FD where rostering two PFs is required.
C2C STINGER #3: Frank Kaminsky ($4000 DK, $4100 FD) WAS@CHA
Back to my favorite game of the day, Frank “The Tank” is a strong pivot away from Lee if you’re in need of some differentiation. Kemba isn’t the only Hornet who loves home-cooking, Kaminsky has produced 19.4% more points, 14.7% more rebounds, 324% more blocks, and 18% more assists at home than on the road. Now, let’s keep this all in perspective, as his points increase from 9.3 to 11.1 away-to-home and the blocks increase from 0.15 to 0.636. The point to be made is that “The Tank”, not unlike many young players, feels much more comfortable playing in his home arena and in this pace-up game for the Hornets, which should play to Kaminsky’s strengths, he could deliver a very nice return on that price tag.
Brook Lopez ($6500 DK, $7600 FD) S.A.@BKN
When the Nets are at home, their large spreads (+11) aren’t as meaningful to me and I like to grab a piece or two on their side due to the high totals that Vegas gives in these spots (217). The Nets did recently score 143 points in a game, let’s not forget. Lopez gets a great matchup as I’ve never viewed David Lee or LaMarcus Aldridge as defensive forces, and Lopez will enjoy a pretty nice size advantage over the Spurs bigs sans Gasol. I believe that this game will play much closer than the Vegas projection as this could be a letdown, or trap, game for the Spurs coming off of their thrilling OT win vs the Cavs on Saturday and possibly looking ahead to tomorrow’s back-to-back tilt in Toronto. Come to think of it, be on the alert for some Popovich-ness, as some Spur(s) could be rested here on the front end of this back-to-back.
Clint Capela ($4000 DK, $4800 FD) HOU@MIL
Capela is a bit of a risky play, and could actually be considered as one of my STINGER plays, but I think that he could meet value in this matchup in roughly 20 mins, especially if he is matched up with Greg Monroe for most of the time. Overall, I see me using Capela as a low-cost punt play when I need the savings in certain lineup constructions as it is not likely for him to crush value and hit a homerun for me with all hands likely on deck in Houston today.
Rudy Gobert ($7300 DK, $8100 FD) OKC@UTA
Gobert is one of the best “real-life” Centers in the NBA, no doubt. If I were running a team, I’d certainly rather have a guy like him on my team over a guy like Cousins, Drummond, or Whiteside. And now, Gobert is starting to impact fantasy lineups as he does NBA games, and the sites are taking action by increasing his price as well. Another double-double is a virtual Lock. Ruhh-oh, not the dreaded “Lock” reference, yes, I’m going there, just look at the game log and matchup. Gobert will easily be my highest owned player today as my Late Night Hammer! Yes, it is real, LATE-NIGHT HAMMER. If he does anything close to what he did last Friday, you will not be collecting many dividends tonight without him.
Another tasty slate with not quite the abundance of high-paced games but overall a grinder’s dream, 9 games. Coming out ahead tonight will not be quite so “obvious”, which it never is as we all saw last Friday when Obvious went to Oblivion, but it will take some digging in and getting dirty to uncover some primetime winning plays tonight. Like always, think about what is best for your situation and devise a suitable approach each and every day as everyone’s process can’t, and shouldn’t, be the same.
Good Luck Everyone! See you at the top of the standings right next to me, either slightly ahead or behind, just get to the finish line.