Locks, Take Stock, and Two Smoking Players - NBA Feb. 1

My wife and I just finished Whole30 today. You’ve heard of it, right – nothing but clean food and drink for 30 days in an attempt to reset your body, teaching yourself to eat right, break bad food habits, and learn what your body has trouble handling as you slowly reintroduce food groups back into your diet.

It’s our fourth time to do it in the last 14 months, so this time wasn’t nearly as difficult as the first couple. We knew what to expect going in, we had experienced prolonged breaks from sugar, gluten, and dairy before so it wasn’t as much as a shock to our systems. And we also weren’t as hard on ourselves this time around. I went to a Rockets/Bucks game during the month, had a beer because that’s what you’re supposed to do, and I’M STILL ALIVE. Take that, crazy diet plan people.

We have done a lot of reading about Whole30 and its benefits as we have planned our menus and have prepared our meals. Well, my wife prepares them because I am useless. There is a lot of consistency among all the digital ink spilled in terms of the benefits of the program, and I was rereading one of the lists of benefits, it struck me how opposite they are from playing DFS daily.

So, here is my compare/contrast list of Whole30 benefits and the corresponding DFS side effects. Enjoy.

Whole30: You’ll sleep longer and more soundly.

DFS: Nope. You will lose massive amounts of sleep while you sweat out an overtime game between the 8th and 9th place Western Conference.

Whole30: You’ll enjoy consistent energy.

DFS: Screw you. Didn’t I just tell you I was up late watching Lou Williams versus Rajon Rondo.

Whole30: You’ll be happier.

DFS: Not when the chalk Mavericks only score 89 points!!!

Whole30: You’ll drink more water.

DFS: You’ll drink more hard liquor.

Whole30: You’ll eat more vegetables.

DFS: You’ll eat more chalk and you will hate every minute of it.

Whole30: You’ll have fun experimenting in the kitchen.

DFS: You will hate yourself for how much time you spend experimenting with different lineups.

Whole30: You’ll learn more about yourself.

DFS: Yeah, like how quickly your kids make you angry after Giannis gets five fouls and doesn’t reach value.

Whole30: You’ll likely lose weight.

DFS: You will definitely lose money.

Whole30: You’ll make new friends in the Whole30 community.

DFS: Alright, this one is true. You’ll make new friends in the DFS community and then you will want to destroy them every night.

On to tonight’s five-game slate.

LOCKS

Nikola Jokic ($10,800) – This is a pretty easy selection tonight since the Rockets don’t, you know, actually play a center anymore since Capela got injured. I guess you can count the nine minutes Nene is able to drag his old legs up and down the court every night, but Houston is routinely getting destroyed at the five position. Recently:

Okafor: 27 points/12 rebounds/2 blocks
Vucevic: 19 points/17 rebounds/5 assists/1 block
Ibaka: 12 points/14 rebounds
Vonleh: 10 points/10 rebounds/2 blocks
Embiid: 32 points/14 rebounds/3 blocks
McGee: 12 points/14 rebounds/1 block
Allen: 20 points/24 rebounds/3 blocks

Jokic is running the show in Denver with Jamal Murry on the shelf these days. His season-long 27.4% usage looks sad compared to the fact that he has had over 30% usage in six of his last eight games. I can’t see any way the Rockets are able to slow down Jokic’s offense from the high post and pick-n-roll. I will be quite shocked if The Joker doesn’t reach his season averages of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists at home tonight in a game with a 227 implied total. Across the court, Harden is obviously a lock as well, especially if Chris Paul is out, but you knew that already.

TAKE STOCK

Night of the Knicks Bench Brigade – Every active player on the Knicks is priced between $3,100 and $6,000, and all but one are projected to score between 19 and 27 points against the Celtics in LineupHQ. Any news about the Knicks starting lineup will be key to the slate tonight, but as the Mavericks did last night, they will probably have to run such a tight rotation that any of the pieces could presumably fit your build on DraftKings.

Luke Kornet ($4,300), Mario Hezonja ($4,200), and Kevin Knox ($5,700) stand out to me as the best plays, at least in terms of defensive match-ups and projected usage. How the rotation plays out might be more useful than just a one-game sample, however. Who knows if the Knicks plan to use Jordan, Matthews, and Smith anytime soon or if Jordan and Matthews will be bought out. I think it is safe to say that DJ and Matthews are not in their long-term plans so even if they are kept, these young guys could get the run as the season goes along.

TWO SMOKING PLAYERS

Russell Westbrook ($11,000) vs. Paul George ($9,900) – Rostering one of these two superstars will be slightly contrarian tonight as most will swing towards Harden or Jokic in an extremely appealing game. The Thunder actually have a higher implied total than the Rockets (barely), and are less impacted by a Pace decrease than is Houston (again, barely). All that to say that the Thunder game environment is not as bad as one might think as they make their way into Miami.

In their respective careers against Miami, Westbrook has averaged 19.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.8 assists while George checks in at 19.6, 6.1, and 3.0. A measurable difference, but nothing that slaps you in the face. Looking at their individual matchups, both will likely see defense against Josh Richardson and Justice Winslow. They are both plus defenders in terms of real plus-minus, so nothing differentiating here. According to FantasyPros, the Heat are a top-10 team in DK points allowed to point guards while they are in middle of the pack in points to small forwards.

With nothing truly standing out, I will continue to take the discount on Paul George and look to ride his hot streak as long as it lasts. There is not much at SF tonight after George unless you are living in the Tatum/Knox/Gordon range, so locking in 50 points at that position could set you apart from the masses. And yes, I checked. A George/Harden/Jokic lineup won’t really work on DK, even if you plug in the cheap Knicks. Bummer.

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