Data Driven DFS: 10/24

Quick three game slate tonight and hey check it out we have our first two teams playing their second game of the year! We have some new data to look at!

Game 1: Hawks @ Pistons

The lowest totaled game of the night at a 222 total with the Pistons being a small 1.5 point favorite. We know the Hawks were the easiest team to score fantasy points on last year. They added Jabari Parker, Evan Turner, and two rookies in De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, so no major changes. I don’t really see a reason to think they won’t be a bad defensive team again, but let’s try to limit our assumptions as much as we can for now.

Projecting the minutes isn’t an easy task right now for the Hawks, and the sites that I’m seeing are pretty much all over the place. We know that Trae Young and John Collins are going to play 30+ minutes if all goes to plan. We saw Reddish, Bembry and Parker play minutes in the high 20’s, with Alex Len playing minutes in the lower 20’s. Kevin Huerter is out tonight so Reddish should start. He’s only $3600 so maybe worth a stab, but he didn’t look like much of a fantasy contributor in the preseason so I’d only go there if I really need a cheap guy.

I don’t want to spend too much more time here, because I am pretty sure I am just ignoring the Hawks tonight. Young is the best fantasy player on this squad and could have a monster year, but there are tons of studs that I feel way better about so I can’t justify $8600 on Young with all the uncertainty that comes up with the first game of the season. Collins is better at $7300 (he’s $8300 on Fanduel so that’s a big difference), but the matchup with the Pistons isn’t really an exciting proposition.

We saw the Pistons in action last night. They played a nine man rotation with Drummond, Snell, Brown, Kennard, and Rose all playing 26+ minutes and then Morris, Jackson, and Galloway playing 20–22. It was the Drummond show for the Pistons as he scored 78 fantasy points averaging 1.92 FPPM over 41 minutes. He’s priced at $8300 tonight which makes him a pretty easy target again tonight. Kennard also showed out averaging 1.4 FPPM in 28 minutes. His price has come up to $4700, which is still probably too low. If he plays 28 minutes again and even would come down to a 1.0 FPPM rate tonight that’d still be more than fine at the salary. He did get most of his points by going 6/9 from three last night, so there is a path to a bad games from him, but I like the play at $4700.

Reggie Jackson was bad last night in 20 minutes, taking just three shots and ceding a majority of point guard minutes to Rose, but there is a chance he pushes towards 30 minutes as Rose sits a bit more on the back-to-back, regardless he is not an exciting play even at $5K.

Game 2: Bucks @ Rockets

The highest total game of the night and the two top projected scoring teams with some soft, soft prices — this should be a really popular spot.

On the Bucks side, Giannis is pretty inexplicably priced at $10,300. This should be a competitive game and Giannis should push past 30 minutes easily, and in games where he played more than 30 minutes last year he averaged 60 fantasy points while rarely disappointing:

High floor, high ceiling, you’re probably going to want Giannis tonight. Middleton and Bledsoe are the next most expensive, they are priced at $6900 and $6300 — which are fair prices. I don’t think I’m going to be spending much money in the mid range tonight so I’ll pass. Wesley Matthews is just $3500 on DK and projected for 30 minutes per NumberFire, so if that really happens it would be kinda tough for him to not get towards 20 DK points, but that’s really only an emergency punt play for me.

It will be interesting to see how the Rockets offense works with both Harden and Westbrook in there, but in the preseason it was still clearly Harden’s team. He’s at $9700 which is just a dumb price for the guy and the only reason not to play it is if you think Westbrook is really going to hurt him this year. I’m going to try to jam in Harden and Giannis here and ignore Westbrook for now. Danuel House and Austin Rivers are near minimum price with a shot at 20+ minutes and decent production, but again it’s uninspired punts only.

Game 3: Clippers @ Warriors

On Opening Night we saw Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell play 37 and 38 minutes respectively. They were underwhelming in terms of FPPM with Williams going for 1.07 FPPM and Harrell at 0.89. Maybe they’ll be lower FPPM players when Kawhi is on the floor, but they were both well above those numbers last year so I think you could really expect some big games from them if they continue to play 30+. Not sure if that’ll happen though, and they’re priced in that mid range that is going to be tough to look to tonight, so I don’t think I’ll be on them.

There are some value guys here I like. As we explored in the first post here, Harrell and Zubac usually covered all 48 minutes at the center position last year, with Harrell playing the majority. We saw a 38 to 10 minutes differential in favor of Harrell, and I’d be pretty surprised if that doesn’t come down closer to 30–18, which would make Zubac a very nice play at $3500 with his 1.2+ FPPM upside. Mo Harkless also had big minutes on Wednesday, playing 29 minutes, taking seven shots (two being three-pointers), and getting four steals. The 29 fantasy point performance may be near the top of his range, but for $4000 you could do a lot worse.

The Warriors are interesting of course in their first game without Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. I wrote a Python script to get the stats I wanted for certain players when other players played less than 10 minutes in games last year (or didn’t play at all). Turns out Klay and Durant never missed a game together, but in games where Durant was out, Curry scored 1.37 FPPM (in 106 minutes) and when Klay was out he scored 1.33 (in 105 minutes). If he plays 35 minutes at that FPPM rate he’s in for a 47 point night, which would be pretty strong at a $9400 price tag. He of course has huge upside. The problems are that we don’t know how this offense is really going to look yet, they play a very strong defensive team in the Clippers, and Giannis/Harden feel like much stronger plays than Curry. He will probably be left off my main roster.

The rest of the Warriors I do not know what to do with so I’ll probably just try to leave it alone. Cauley-Stein is out and Kevon Looney is questionable but looking like he’ll play. If he does, he should play some minutes at $5100. He was a .9 FPPM guy last year and that could increase with the loss of Durant opening up some more rebounds, but he didn’t play more than 30 minutes a single time last year so it’s hard to predict him for that. If Looney is out Marqueese Chriss becomes a super value play at $3200.

That’s it for today, I’m really looking forward to next week when we start having some actual data to dive into. Peace out!

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