Flipping the Script (NBA) - Wednesday 3/13
I am just your average DFS player who has found a way to become profitable in a cash game setting. For most of us, DFS is a losing battle and I am here to give an easy break down of the top plays in both the NBA and NHL on larger slates.
Wednesday, March 13
What are the odds that back to back nights of basketball would be absolutely atrocious? With a seven game slate and a few games that looked good from a DFS standpoint I did not imagine that those odds would be good. However, for a second straight night plenty went wrong. Giannis Antetokounmpo had four fouls in the first half and ended up being limited to just 26 minutes for the night. Lauri Markkanen shot 4-17 from the field and ended the night with just 11 points and 5 rebounds. Elfrid Payton dropped a triple-double despite losing by almost 20 and who would’ve thought stacking the Knicks/Pacers game would have been a profitable cash-game strategy? All in all it was a weird night, as I posted my lowest cash-game score of the season at 204. Thankfully we have more basketball tonight and we can wipe the slate clean. My final cash-game lineup was as follows:
PG – Collin Sexton (29.9)
PG – Frank Jackson (16.7)
SG – Lou Williams (22.7)
SG – Jordan Clarkson (22)
SF – Giannis Antetokounmpo (36.3)
SF – Evan Turner (5.9)
PF – Lauri Markkanen (15)
PF – LaMarcus Aldridge (42.9)
C – Ante Zizic (19)
Recap: Looking back I really cannot fault myself for the low total last night as I stuck to my research and it simply did not pan out as plenty of high-owned players put up duds. At point guard I was all over Collin Sexton when news broke that Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, and Marquese Chriss were all going to be sitting out. This meant Jordan Clarkson was going to see plenty of minutes off the bench and that Sexton did not have anyone to challenge him for minutes. For my second PG slot I loved Jeff Teague but he was listed as a game-time-decision going into lock and with their game at 10:30 I pivoted down to Frank Jackson who was going to see 30+ minutes regardless of the score. For my other two guard spots I was stuck between pairing C.J. McCollum or Lou Williams with Jordan Clarkson. I ended up going with Williams as the extra $300 helped me later on at power forward. In hindsight, that was obviously a mistake as McCollum led the Trail Blazers offense last night.
At the small forward position I plugged in Giannis as he was one of my favorite plays of the night and left the second slot open as I was back and forth between James Ennis and Keita-Bates Diop and decided I would wait to see how I managed the other positions. At power forward I immediately slotted in Lauri Markkanen as I expected he would carry the Bulls in this game with Zach Lavine out, as Vegas expected it to stay close. Neither of those things panned out however, as the Bulls got crushed and Markkanen put up a measly 15 FDP. With Marquese Chriss suspended for a game, I had to readjust my strategy for my second PF slot and decided that sticking with the red-hot LaMarcus Aldridge was a solid play as his floor was extremely high and he had the potential for a 50+ FDP game.
With not much salary left to spend I decided to go with the masses and play Ante Zizic at center, as his opportunity for minutes outweighed the fact that he had a difficult matchup with Joel Embiid. Despite seeing over 30 minutes Zizic did absolutely nothing relevant on the floor, which truly wrapped up what a miserable night of fantasy basketball we had. With only $3,500 left, I tossed Evan Turner into my lineup as my final SF, fully expecting his score to be the one which was dropped. Sadly, I wish I could have dropped multiple scores, but it is what it is!
Tonight we have ourselves a six game slate with one juicy game from a DFS perspective and a few that we will definitely be able to find some value in. Let’s get to tonight’s top NBA plays:
Russell Westbrook ($11,700) vs. Brooklyn Nets – Although Westbrook is expensive, he grades out as one of the top plays of the night due to his extremely high floor and the upside is always there with the amount of different statistical categories he fills on a nightly basis. Early Vegas lines have Oklahoma City as 7.5 point favorites, but I honestly expect this game to stay close throughout as the Nets have been playing competitive basketball since Spencer Dinwiddie returned from injury. Brooklyn is currently 6th in the Eastern Conference and have won four straight games. If this game does stay competitive, Westbrook will see his full complement of minutes and is a solid staple for your cash-game lineups.
Stephen Curry ($9,200) vs. Houston Rockets – By far my favorite game of the night, the Warriors head into Houston for what should be a fast-paced and high-scoring affair. The early Vegas total is set at 232.5 with the Rockets currently 3.5 point favorites. Curry happens to be my favorite play of the night as Kevin Durant has already been ruled out with an ankle injury. This leaves plenty of usage to be spread around and I fully expect Curry to reap the benefits of the extra offensive responsibility. Depending on value that opens up over the course of the day, I may find myself with a lot of Westbrook/Curry lineups tonight. Lock and load Curry in all formats.
D.J. Augustin ($4,300) vs. Washington Wizards – The only other point guard I will be having exposure to in my cash-game lineups tonight is D.J. Augustin. The Magic have been playing decent basketball and are currently one game back from the Heat for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Tonight they head into Washington to take on the up-tempo Wizards who have been one of the best teams to pick on in DFS. Augustine is not flashy by any stretch of the imagination, but he sees 28-31 minutes a night and is in a great spot as his price decreased from $5,100 down to his current price of $4,300. As a value option, Augustin grades out as the best point guard to slot in next to either Westbrook or Curry tonight.
James Harden ($12,200) vs. Golden State Warriors – Harden is certainly one of the better plays on the night, but I personally don’t think I will be rostering him due to all of the value at the shooting guard position. However, I cannot talk you out of playing him as the Rockets offense runs through Harden and despite the hefty price-tag the upside is similar that to Russell Westbrook. If you don’t play Westbrook, you can easily make a lineup starting with Curry and Harden and fill it out from there.
Klay Thompson ($8,000) vs. Houston Rockets – As I just mentioned, there are plenty of strong plays at the shooting guard position after Harden. The first for me is Klay Thompson. Thompson has put up 56.6 and 46.5 FDP in his last two games after returning to the lineup from injury. He sees a great matchup against wither Harden or Eric Gordon and will see extra opportunity due to the injury to Kevin Durant. He may not put up 50+ FDP tonight but Thompson should be a focal part of the offense and is one of my favorite pivots off of Harden to get exposure to this game.
Terrence Ross & Evan Fournier ($5,600/$5,400) vs. Washington Wizards – I am grouping both of these Magic shooting guards together as both of them are viable in cash-games tonight. I slightly prefer Ross to Fournier due to his role in the offense off the bench, but Fournier also is at the cheapest price he has been since January 13th. Both players have an above average matchup against the Wizards and should easily be able to make value at their price-points. It really comes down to whether or not you need the extra $200 savings when it comes to picking which guard you want to roster.
Andre Iguodala ($4,300) vs. Houston Rockets – Following the theme of stacking this game, Iguodala is my favorite punt play of the night. At just $4,300, Iguodala should see minutes in the upper-20’s with Durant out and he tends to perform well in fast-paced, competitive games. The potential is there for a 30+ night which would be more than I could ask for but I currently have Iguodala projected for 26 FDP which is over 6x his value.
Paul George ($10,000) vs. Brooklyn Nets – One month ago George’s price was as high as $12,500. Since then his salary has hovered in the mid $11,000 range, but it is now as low as it has been since January 15th. He has continued to see heavy usage behind Westbrook in the offense and is in a great spot to get back on track as the Nets struggle against athletic big-men. At a position where there are not many strong plays, I may make an effort to fit George into my cash-game lineups tonight and punt the other small forward player.
Jae Crowder ($5,200) vs. Phoenix Suns – Crowder is one of those guys who is not flashy or present huge upside, but he is a consistent producer off the bench for the Jazz. He typically sees anywhere from 28-32 minutes and has made value in 12 of his last 15 games. Add this to the fact that his price decreased $400 and Crowder makes for a solid pairing with Paul George.
Joe Harris ($4,300) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – With Demarre Carroll ruled out tonight, Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe should benefit most from his absence. Harris has certainly cooled off due to the fact that the Nets have been getting healthy and adding new bodies to the rotation, but at only $4,300 in what should be a competitive game I see Harris as a viable punt at the position to help you pay up elsewhere. Just be expected to drop his score if he does not perform well.
Aaron Gordon ($7,100) vs. Washington Wizards – At by far the weakest position of the night, Aaron Gordon grades out as a viable cash-game target at just $7,100. I don’t usually target Gordon, but his minutes have been pretty consistent and the production is second on the team behind Nikola Vucevic. He has a great matchup against the Wizards who struggle to defend the frontcourt, giving him a high floor with the potential for a 40+ FDP night. Load up on Gordon in all formats.
Kenneth Faried ($5,500) vs. Golden State Warriors – Faried returned from injury and was able to put up 31 FDP in just 19 minutes off the bend in his first game back. I expect Faried will start to see his minutes increased eventually, but even if he only sees 20-22 minutes tonight he still grades out as a viable option in what will be a fast paced game for the Rockets. I am not sure how much exposure I will have to Faried but he is not the worst option at power forward tonight.
P.J. Tucker ($4,800) vs. Golden State Warriors – Much like Faried, I do not necessarily like the play of Tucker, but there are honestly not many options. Tucker will see his usual 35 minutes unless Faried starts to eat into them a little bit, however after that it is a complete toss up trying to predict his stats. Every now and then Tucker will hit five or six three-pointers and crush value, and then other times he will score zero points and have 10+ rebounds and a few steals. If you think he can manage to be a pest and knock down a few shots then Tucker is firmly in play in cash-game lineups.
Nikola Vucevic ($10,000) vs. Washington Wizards – It is going to be really interesting to see my lineup come together as Vucevic is another Magic player that is high on my radar tonight. Playing about 34 minutes per game, Vucevic is averaging 50.3 FDP since the all-star break. He gets a fantastic matchup against the Wizards frontcourt in what should be a high scoring, pace-up game for the Magic. Consistency is key in cash-games and Vucevic is as consistent as they come. If you can afford him, load him up tonight in all formats.
DeMarcus Cousins ($8,500) vs. Houston Rockets – Cousins does not have the greatest matchup with Capela now back at center for the Rockets, but with Durant out tonight I expect the Warriors to ride the three-headed monster of Curry, Thompson, and Cousins to victory. It will be a tough battle but the extra opportunity Cousins will see on the offensive end should be plenty to get him to reach value. The upside is there for a 50+ FDP game and I currently have Cousins projected for 41 FDP which I personally see as a safe estimate.
Jonas Valanciunas & Joakim Noah ($7,700/$4,800) vs. Atlanta Hawks – The Grizzlies see a pace-up game against the Hawks tonight and Valanciunas should reap the benefits as he goes up against the terrible defense of the Atlanta frontcourt. I don’t normally look to target Memphis players, but Valanciunas has taken over as the first scoring option for the Grizzlies as Mike Conley has seen his minutes limited to end the season. I think you could also pay down at center for a guy like Joakim Noah ($4,800) who should play minutes in the low 20’s and has been producing at a solid rate since entering the rotation. The real question will be whether or not you have to punt the position or have the money to pay up.
Alex Len ($4,700) vs. Memphis Grizzlies – I hate the matchup for Len, but the Grizzlies are no longer the dominant defense they once were with Marc Gasol. They still play at a slow pace which limits Len’s potential, but at $4,700 on a night lacking of solid value Len is firmly in play. My one issue is that Dewayne Dedmon is back from injury and was limited to 20 minutes off the bench in his first game back. Len got the start and saw 29 minutes which was right around where he was when Dedmon was out. I expect Dedmon to have his minutes increased tonight and possibly even return to the starting five. Len has certainly been making his case to stick around regardless of if he starts so just make sure to keep an eye on news heading into lock in regard to minute distribution to the big-men.
I hope all of this information helps those who have been struggling a bit and I look forward to continuing to cover both the NBA and NHL (and soon MLB!). Best of luck tonight flipping the script! As always, leave any comments or suggestions below.