Before I scare the bejesus (what is a bejesus by the way?) out of you with some thoughts on Dejounte Murray tonight, let’s take a quick look back to last night. Another solid night for me. Nearly 200% ROI on Draftkings and about 60% on Yahoo. Tankfest West, otherwise known as the Knicks/Warriors game, reduced my winnings quite a bit as I refuse to play anyone from those two bad teams. Who would have thought that the Knicks would be better than the Warriors this year? That being said, my DK lineup of Bledsoe, Jru, Middleton, Ghostface Ersan, Allen, Mitchell, Ingram and DeAndre Jordan put up 320 DK points and was generally satisfying. Sure, it would have been better if Ingram didn’t foul everyone in sight in the first quarter (yeah, yeah, it was the refs right), if Allen and Jordan kept up their scoring pace in the fourth quarter and if Jru had a ceiling game, but I was happy with the way this roster played out. Let’s repeat that success tonight on this potentially straightforward, potentially tricky 4 game NBA slate.
One more item before I get to Dejounte Murray. I just said that this slate might be straightforward and also might be tricky. What in the Wide Wide World of Sports am I talking about? Well, as it stands right now and in the absence of any further injury news, this slate strikes me as very straightforward. Grab some value from the Cavaliers, utilize the Spurs stars, supplement it with a couple solid plays from the Sixers/Celtics game and the Nuggets and you have it. Simple, right? I know it is not that easy, but it seems relatively easy to construct DK lineups tonight with 7 guys who can put up between 30 and 50 DK points and one value guy who you hope gives you 20-25. Now, here comes the tricky part. This is an 8pm slate. A lot of injury news could break between 7pm and 8pm. Or even later given the 9pm Dallas/Detroit and 10:30pm Portland/Denver game. DFSers tonight need to be on alert while eating Sloppy Joes or Frozen Pizza or whatever is on the docket for dinner tonight. Will Kevin Love be ruled out on a back-to-back? Will any Sixers bigs (looking at you Al Horford) sit on the front end of a back-to-back? Andre Drummond popped up on the injury report earlier today with an eye issue – will he play? Paul Milsap has been getting minutes recently that smacked of an unknown injury and now they are saying he has a sore foot – will he play in the 10:30pm game? What about Jamaal Murray? And how about a random rest/load management/injury for some other guy that comes up out of nowhere? See what I am saying. This could turn into a tricky slate.
Now let’s talk Dejounte Murray. He is in a smash spot versus the Cavaliers. Cavs can’t guard the point guard. Murray is a very good player who can get to the rim. He played 31.7 minutes the other night. Pop said his minutes cap has been lifted. He’ll definitely play 30+ minutes tonight and costs just $5.6k on DK. No way this is a trap. No seriously, I am kind of asking. Could this be a trap? Let’s look more closely at his minutes. Yes, he played 31.7 minutes the other night, eclipsing his “soft” cap. However, that was an OT game in which he played all 5 minutes of overtime. No OT and he would have played only 26.7 minutes. And did Pop actually say his minutes cap had been lifted? When asked about Murray’s minutes and whether his restriction had been lifted, Pop said something about not having been scolded for playing him in OT. So, technically he did not answer the question. Plus, we all know that Pop is an ass and that he cares nothing about player stats or DFS. So, in a game against Cleveland, would it surprise anyone if Pop played Murray just 24-25 minutes and pissed off the 20% +/- of DFSers who play him this evening? Just something to think about as the RG forum seems to be in complete agreement that Murray is the play tonight.
Let’s take a look at the non-Murray portions of this slate and see if we can identify some smash plays for the night.
1) Best game to target is the Cavaliers at the Spurs. Yep, I said it. Yep, I mean it. And yep, I just puked in my mouth. The Cavs and Spurs as the best game to target tonight? Those teams stink, right? Why not look at the great Sixers/Celtics matchup or the Dallas game or even the Western Conference playoff rematch of the Trailblazers and the Nuggets? A couple reasons. First, both the Cavs and the Spurs don’t play defense, so this could be a game that goes for 225+ total points versus the Vegas total in the 218-219 range. Second, everyone you would want to play on either team is affordable on DK. Aldridge at $7k. DeRozan at $7.3k. The aformentioned Murray at $5.6k. Kevin Love at $6.2k is the most expensive Cavs option. And the Cavs have guys like Cedi Osman, Kevin Porter, Larry Nance and Jordan Clarkson all who could represent strong sources of value on this slate. Despite the fact that I loathe everything about these two teams (the players, the coaches, the cities), I can’t get away from this game tonight. And if Kevin Love is later ruled out, I will have an unhealthy amount of Cavs players on my single lineup tonight.
2) The Sixers/Celtics game doesn’t interest me that much. This is going to be a fun game to watch. Very intense. Very competitive. Could be high scoring. But, it could also be a slowish, defensive (two of the better defenses in the league) affair that ends up 97-93. As such, I am going to tread carefully here. The Celtics continue to have too many players in the rotation for me to be interested. On the Sixers side, I like Simmons quite a bit as Kemba and/or Brown can’t guard him and the Celts have relatively poor rim protection. I like Embiid as well, but since I am in manlove with Jokic tonight, I am unlikely to play him.
3) I want to play Jerami Grant tonight. I want to play Grant so bad I can feel it down in my plums…. Ok, you get it. I like Grant tonight. At $3900 on DK and likely matched up with the human chucker Carmelo Anthony, Grant is in-line for lots of points, rebounds, steals and blocks. So, please rule Paul Milsap out. Oh wait….. Maybe I want Milsap in to depress Grant’s ownership as he’ll play 20-25 minutes anyways in this pace up spot for the Nuggets. Either way, Grant is an awesome value option this evening.
And that’s it for tonight. Pay attention to injury news pre lock. If you get too caught up with watching Hulu while eating your Hungry Man dinner tonight, it could cost you. Best of luck in all your contests.