Last night, as I was watching my Kawhi / Paul George trifecta lift my DK ROI to 200% on the night, I decided to watch the Irishman. I am a big fan of Scorcese and loved movies like GoodFellas, Casino and Taxi Driver. I am certainly not in the minority there as these are widely loved movies. But, I remember loving King of Comedy at a young age and I even think The Departed is a fantastic film. Actors like Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Harvey Kietel, Al Pacino, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham and Jesse Plemons are all fantastic. As such, I was excited to finally have 3+ hours free to watch this movie. And guess what? I HATED it. The Irishman is a terrible movie. After 30 minutes, I thought “hey, this movie could be interesting.” After an hour, I thought “Hmmm….. maybe something will happen soon.” After two hours, I thought “This movie kinda stinks, but perhaps the Jimmy Hoffa stuff will save it.” After three hours I thought “Isn’t this movie over yet? Thankfully Paul George is the man tonight.” Once the movie ended, I said to myself “That was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years”. I’m sorry, but the Irishman stinks. It stinks like Jerome Robinson. It stinks like the Carolina Panthers. It stinks like Derek Carty’s call on Alvin Kamara last week. The story was boring. There was not a single interesting and/or compelling character in the whole film. The weird slow motion shots did nothing for me. And the technology that made actors like DeNiro and Pesci look younger was unnecessary at best and off-putting at worst. Now, reviews for this film have been glowing. Great scores on Rotten Tomatoes. Everyone I know loved it. All I know is that I hated the Irishman and wish I could scrub Netflix from my Apple TV so no one else in my household accidentally stumbles upon this movie.
Why do I mention the Irishman in the context of the NBA slate tonight? The universal love for the Irishman will be mirrored by the universal love for James Harden tonight versus the Pistons. Harden has been on a heater and crushing value even with a DK price in the high $12k range. Westbrook will most likely sit tonight, which just increases Harden’s usage (48% with no Westbrook) and shot attempts (Harden takes 30-40 shots with Westbrook out). Detroit generally plays slow, but they can get caught up in pace up games dictated by their opponents. Harden crushed them in 2 games last year and I believe CP3 played in both games. So, the question becomes do you play the likely top raw points player at $12.9k tonight who could also be chalk? Do I hold to my strong feeling that the Irishman stinks while everyone around me praises it as a masterpiece? This decision is going to define my lineup tonight. More discussion on this below where I get into the broad NBA slate.
1) Play Paul George again. The Clippers will either be a little shorthanded tonight or a lot shorthanded. Kawhi is going to sit, which would make them a little shorthanded. With Kawhi out, Paul George usage goes to 35% and he averages about 1.64 DK point per minute. Let’s give PG just 30 minutes and at this average he would net about 48-49 DK points. And George’s DK price went DOWN $500 to $8.3k. So, you would play him if only Kawhi is out. Now, it is still unclear if Lou Williams, Patrick Beverly and JayMichael Green will play tonight. If these guys sit out again, PG will go nuclear once again against an overmatched Bulls team. Play Paul George tonight.
2) If any of the Bucks Big three sit out, play the other two. The Bucks could represent an interesting condensed source of fantasy production tonight. There is the possibility that one, two or even three of these guys sit. Hear me out. First, it is a back-to-back and third in four nights game for the Bucks. Middleton is still ramping up minutes from his return from injury. Giannis had a quad injury that held him out Wednesday night. And Bledsoe only played about half the night yesterday before exiting with a shin contusion. And with a home game against the woeful Cavaliers, I just have a feeling one or two of these guys might sit tonight.
3) Play Regular Season James Harden. So, despite my hatred for the Irishman and my general tendency to fade Harden at a high price, I am going to play Harden everywhere tonight. He is the only real option on the Rockets, but you already know that. I also outlined above why Harden is in a great position tonight. But, the real reason I am playing Harden is I remember that his nickname is Regular Season James. Harden lives for the regular season. He is all about playing loads of minutes, putting up gaudy stats and shooting for that MVP award. Regular Season James doesn’t care about winning championships. Heck, he doesn’t care about winning individual games if he doesn’t put up numbers. And tonight, Regular Season James has a chance to show that 1) he is the Rockets’ alpha to Westbrook’s beta and 2) that he can put up crazy numbers in a single game. I am playing Harden.
4) There is plenty of value on this slate. I have seen comments this morning that it will be tough to play Harden and another stud together because of the lack of value. I completely disagree with this statement. Right now, guys like George Hill, Maurice Harkless, Derrick Jones Jr., Tyler Herro, Kelly Olynyk and Ian Mahimni are all below $4.5k on DK. And I bet we get more value opening up as we approach lock tonight. Play Harden and Paul George or some other stud. It is actually easy to get them in.
Good luck in all your contests tonight.