NBA Fire and Ice 3/7: Taking a Stand

In life we face tough choices every day. Like what show we are going to start watching on Netflix next? I have probably spent more time perusing through the listings of available shows and movies than I have actually spent watching them. Or how about what meal we are going to order from our favorite restaurant. Do I want to try something new, or do I want to stick with what has been good to me? What about when we load the DraftKings app to see who is in the player pool for that day. Do I want to play Russell Westbrook at $13,400, or do I want to go the more balanced approach? I mean these are basically life and death decisions we have to make here on a daily basis. Ones that can leave us in a really good mood, or just staring off into a dark abyss shaking our heads.

I knew I shouldn’t have gotten that new entrĂ©e being offered. I should have stuck with my go to meal. Not only am I still hungry because I didn’t eat it all, but now I am just pissed off at myself for overthinking the whole thing. Hint: This will probably be me after not playing Russ tonight. But you know what, at least I will have taken a stand.

I have heard multiple pros across the industry echo the thought process of getting the process right, and not worrying about the results on a single night. If you have the process nailed down, eventually you will come out on top more times than not. It is all about believing in your own thought process and trusting where that process will take you. I am here to discuss my “To Russ, or not to Russ” thought process for today’s slate. Also, I hope you accepted yesterday’s challenge of developing your own player pool first before diving into your favorite articles or podcasts. If you did, let me know how that worked for you. Were there any players that you were on and then when listening to your favorite pros advice, they were on them too?

The GOAT

Russ is the GOAT of daily fantasy basketball after the performance he has put up this season. He is averaging a triple double, which is basically unheard of. He approaches 70 points on a nightly basis, and has even reached the upper 80s on occasion. On those specific nights, if you don’t have him you are going to lose. Solely due to the fact that there will be enough lineup combinations with Russ scoring 85 that you won’t be able to take down a tourney without having him. Oh, and just as a disclaimer, I am a tournament minded player. Some of the players I play or recommend will have low floors but tournament winning upside. It’s definitely not the safe approach that should be used for cash games. Last night for example, when Melo was ruled out, I locked in 85% of Justin Holiday and he was less than 1% owned in all of my contests. He ended up scoring 24.5 DK points for me at a min salary of $3100. I trusted my process with this, and it paid off for me in a big way because I took a stand. Anyways, back to the Russ saga… If he scores 80, you need him to win a tourney. Ok, we got that. Now the next piece of that pie is, are there enough good value plays to pair him with. On a 3 game slate we can sometimes be shorthanded on value plays that have immense upside, and that is where I think we stand tonight.

Not only have the Blazers held Russ in check all season (he hasn’t even double-doubled against them yet this year in 3 matchups), but I can’t comfortably pair him with bottom of the barrel value that has legit upside. Unless you want to lock Taj Gibson into all of your lineups as well, but I like money so I won’t be taking that approach. To me, there are enough mid range priced guys to be able to take a balanced approach while still having that tournament winning upside. Let me discuss them…

Fire

Damian Lillard – Priced at $8800 we get a much, much cheaper version of John Wall. If we place their game logs side by side, we can see both guys are just littered with games between the 40-65 point range. Wall has a deservedly higher price because he tends to reach 50 more often than Lillard, but that shouldn’t warrant a $2200 price difference. They both have the same exact floor of 40 points and the same exact ceiling of 65 points. Not only that, but both players are in great spots tonight. So when you put each guy’s resume for tonight’s slate side by side without having the players name at the top, they are almost identical. With that being the case I would much rather roster Lillard for the money savings. Need I mention that Lillard is also $4600 cheaper than Westbrook. That’s the kind of difference that allows you to go up from Taj Gibson to say a Bradley Beal. Uhh yes, please. If Lillard happens to reach that 60 point mark (which he realistically could), and Westbrook only scores 70, while on the other hand Beal gets you 45 and Gibson gets you 20, you have a huge advantage on the Westbrook owners. It is tough to predict when guys are going to have their massive games, and obviously Russ will have more than others, but if we can fade Russ on an off night for him while still having upside at the point guard position on a 3 game slate without value, I will board that train 10 times out of 10.

Enes Kanter – So I decided I am not playing Russ, but the Thunder are still involved in a high Vegas total against a fast paced Portland team so they are going to score points. If it isn’t going to come from Russ, it will need to come from Kanter. He is the second most productive player on the team right now, and I can see him having his way down low against the Blazers. Not only that, but his price is very reasonable at $5700 and allows you to fit in the better players from the Wizards and Suns game which I will discuss next. Furthermore, Kanter is the definition of consistency. He regularly logs between 30-40 fantasy points on a nightly basis, and that shouldn’t change tonight.

The Wizards – I have written the Wiz kids up before as a top stack because they are that each time they take the floor. They have received a slight bench boost by trading for Bogdonavich, but the starting 5 still run the show here. In a game where the Wizards are implied to score 115 points, we can safely project the starters to account for around 90 of those. Devin Booker isn’t good on defense and Bradley Beal took advantage the last time these teams met by dropping 42 actual points. He will be my favorite Wizard to target tonight. Otto Porter is finally priced properly so we don’t have a pricing advantage to rostering him anymore, but he still can make 7 3s in any game and has tourney winning upside. Gortat is the lowest price we have seen all season, and he still goes Hard in the Paint (any Waka Flocka Flame fans out there?) He can double double in a fast paced matchup as this one, where there should be tons of rebounds for him to grab and is only $5200. I mentioned Wall is an extremely safe play, especially in this matchup, but I am going to roster Lillard instead for the price savings in a similar matchup. Which leaves us with the final starter Markieff Morris in a revenge game. Markieff was furious when they traded his brother away last season and demand they trade him too. He has taken a slight hit recently due to Bogdonavich being added, but he still has a ceiling, especially in a matchup he will be pumped up to play in. Again, the Wizards bench has been second worst in scoring this season, so the fact that the Wizards are projected for 115 points means we can safely project double digit scoring from all 5 starters.

Ice

On a 3 game slate, it is tough to fade people because it seems like the most ridiculous play is always the one to go bonkers. But as mentioned above, the 3 I am fading are Westbrook, Wall, and Taj Gibson. I am eliminating the extremely expensive Westbrook, and the overpriced Wall, as well as the trap play Gibson. Oladipo is questionable tonight and if he returns, that just further muddies the whole Thunder bench scoring situation outside of Kanter. Oladipo would take shots away from both McDermott and Gibson, resulting in goose eggs from them. I am going the balanced approach tonight while still leaving myself with a ton of upside.

Best of luck to everyone tonight, and I forgot to mention yesterday, but a big thank you to everyone who reads and reacts to my article. You helped me achieve the best new blogger award for the month of February and I look to continue to deliver you insightful information.

About the Author

Comments

  • joeycis

    • Blogger of the Month

    Fading both Wall and Westbrook on this small slate just seems really really risky even for tournaments. I understand that obviously we are dealing with a ton of variance in just three games. Blowouts can happen to limit upside and the like. But if raw points are a thing at all, eliminating both players with the highest raw point potential seems a little more silly than contrarian. What about taking a stand on one or the other?

  • Mattmann91

    • 526

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Blogger of the Month

    This is all based on my assessment of Lillard. I think he can reach 50 and can keep up with both Wall and Westbrook and at a much cheaper price. If he doesn’t then I’m not going to have a good night.

  • joeycis

    • Blogger of the Month

    I suppose this is for Draftkings then right? I don’t really play over there at all, but for a guard or Utility who can you use that would even come close to the upside provided by both of those players?

  • Mattmann91

    • 526

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Blogger of the Month

    Yes this is for DK which is where I play most of my volume for NBA. But obviously Russ has insane upside, which is unmatched by anyone. But Lillard goes hand and hand with Wall for upside and is cheaper. I just don’t see any solid value today on DK to pay 13.4 for Russ. I’d rather pay for Lillard and Beal than Russ and Gibson for example. Obviously you can go the other route and it’s just as feasible, but this is the route I’m choosing for today. Let’s go Lillard!

  • dskinyg

    keiff could easily go for 50 as well. they just need to feed him.

  • Mattmann91

    • 526

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Blogger of the Month

    @dskinyg said...

    keiff could easily go for 50 as well. they just need to feed him.

    Agreed

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