Panda's 11/30 NBA Picks- Bamboo Chew and Slate Overview

We’re going to do things a little different today. While still doing a breakdown, I will go through each game quicker, pointing out specifically who I like and why. Then in the end I will write about GPP approaches for the slate and how to implement the player pool I’ve created in line up construction. Also presenting game theory ideas and how we might gain an edge on the competition with only 3 games inflating ownership on everyone.

This is also where I want to take the time to explain my plays section. You are all certainly smart people, so I’m sure you have figured it out already if you’ve read my breakdowns in the past. If you haven’t, this is what I’m suggesting in each category if building several lineups:

Core Plays: 75% owned or more.
Outer Core Plays: 35%-75%. This is obviously a wide gap and open to interpretation on how much you like a play.
Mantle Plays: 15%-35%.
Crust Plays: 1%-15%

Indiana ( 101.25 ) @ Philadelphia ( 105.25 )

PACE: IND- 23rd PHI- 21st
OFF EFF: IND- 14th PHI- 18th
DEF EFF: IND- 4th PHI- 18th
REB RATE: IND- 6th PHI- 1st

Exploitable Stats

Indiana: N/A


23rd in steals allowed per possession

Every slate has to have an ugly game. Both of these teams played last night and had to travel to tonight’s destination. The Pacers needed OT to knock off the Hawks at home, while the Sixers picked up a win against the Knicks in MSG.

On small slates, with all ownership magnified, who you don’t play is just as important as who you do play. Avoiding the 30%+ owned busts can give you a nice advantage on the field. I mention that here, because on a larger slate, this game would be mostly if not all-together avoided. The Pacers are fully healthy and the Sixers, depending on Jason Richardson, are expected to be as well. We also have the lowest total on the slate, with each teams individual implied total the two lowest on the slate. Both these teams are also sound defensively, while playing at a slower pace. From a DVP perspective, there is one exploitable spot in this entire game, and it’s Centers against the Pacers. The problem with that is Joel Embiid is expensive on a slate with other worthwhile spend ups, who we will get to as we go, on a back-to-back, and we should expect the Sixers to be relatively cautious with his minutes.

Since there is a lack of exploitable spots, the next thing to look at would be exploitable price tags. Those are hard to find too, but on DK I would argue TJ warren, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner are all underpriced. TJ Warren is to some extent, as are Jeremy Lamb and Myles Turner on Yahoo, and on FD, I would suggest everyone is overpriced or priced appropriately.

Although this is a tough spot for all these guys, their price tags leave enough meat on the bone that with our limited options overall, with only 3 games to work through these guys at least provide lineup filler if nothing else.

One last spot I want to mention is TJ McConnell, who is bound to gain some traction as a cheap option, and also playing his former team. Under normal circumstances I would point out his declining minutes and say there isn’t enough upside. However, due to the OT back-to-back it’s possible we could see Brogdon, who played 38 minutes and Lamb, who played 40 minutes, get a reduced workload pushing TJ’s minutes closer to 20 and maybe beyond, which may just give him enough run to be viable here.

So, although I’m not ultimately anti-Embiid here, I think I’ll want to spend my big money elsewhere, while focusing more on the mid-tier plays from Indiana here. Even with Richardson most likely out, the rest of the Sixers are in too tough of a spot and too spread out with their prices for me to want to invest in any of them.

Core Plays: N/A
Outer Core Plays: N/A
Mantle Plays: TJ Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Joel Embiid
Crust Plays: TJ McConnell

Charlotte ( 107.25 ) @ Milwaukee ( 120.25 )

PACE: CHA- 25th MIL- 1st
OFF EFF: CHA- 19th MIL- 2nd
DEF EFF: CHA- 27th MIL- 6th
REB RATE: CHA- 30th MIL-2nd

Exploitable Stats


28th in points allowed in the paint
26th in 3P% allowed
29th in offensive rebounding %
29th in steals allowed per possession
30th in assists allowed per possession


28th in 3P% allowed
30th in 3PA allowed

Charlotte is pretty much projected to get blown out here, which leaves some opportunity to approach this game different ways. We can play this game as close enough that everyone gets full run, and go heavier on Hornets who get a nice pace boost or go a little heavier than the field on guys who may see some extra run if the game does get out of hand.

This game is pretty opposite of our first game as Charlotte has exploitable spots across the board, and the Bucks have a couple themselves.

As seen in the exploitable stats section above, Milwaukee pushes action around the perimeter. They also tend to struggle with guards. That’s going to leave me focusing in on Rozier and Graham who both hoist a ton of 3’s and if they’re falling will not only help keep the game close, but rack up fantasy points quickly. If you want to play more of a blowout angle, you can shift your interest to Malik Monk, who is a cheap upside play across all sites.

Speaking of cheap upside, and I will get to this more in the strategy overview section, but there’s some guys to spend our coin on today and with only 3 games, we’ll be to some extent looking for raw point anchors. Embiid (if he plays), Giannis, Harden, Westbrook, and Trae are all big ceiling guys. To fit these guys in and also possibly get some of these quality mid-range plays like Graham, we’re going to need to take chances on some cheap guys.

One of my favorite cheap plays today is Marvin Williams. Marvin’s minutes have been holding steady in the low-to-mid twenties. So the workload should be there. Marvin is also no stranger to chucking 3’s. Shooting 7 just last night, and hitting them at a 40% rate on the season. Also, it’s worth considering that the man mostly blocking him from big minutes is rookie PJ Washington. I always worry about rookies getting into foul trouble, especially when dealing with an elite player like Giannis. If Marvin can sneak up to mid-to-high 20’s in minutes he can definitely smash his dirt cheap price tag across all sites.

I’m really not a fan of Zeller or Biyombo, if Zeller sits again, but due to the lack of C’s available, especially if Embiid stis, they have to be considered. On DK specifically, Biyombo’s price is up high enough now and the match-up weak enough, with ownership likely inflated I think he’s an easy strategic fade there if Zeller sits.

Other than PG’s, Charlotte has been beatable everywhere. I don’t need to tell you, you can play Giannis here. The only issue is how much they will or need to push his minutes here against the Hornets.

Speaking of minutes, Middleton, assuming he plays, and is still on a minutes restriction, especially with the back-to-back, is cheap enough that if you’re feeling lucky you could take a shot or two on, but he’s most likely not going to get there. Basically I’d look at Middleton two ways: He’s going to be low owned and for reason. So either fade him completely and thank the 5-10% of line ups that go there for their donation or go well over the field to 25% or so exposure, hoping he gets to 25 minutes and smashes in those minutes.

Here was once a paragraph about Brook Lopez, but he’s sitting out tonight. I don’t need to tell you to play Robin Lopez. The Hornets are the worst rebounding team in the league and one of the worst teams against C’s in the league, from a DVP standpoint. The concern would be how many minutes does he play and how many minutes go to Ersan and DJ Wilson.

The rest of the Bucks are always hard, at least for me, to figure out. The depth they have and allotment of minutes makes it tough for anyone to pay off their tag. Two things I’m fairly certain of is George Hill won’t have his minutes pushed. Guys like Pat Connaughton and Donte DiVincenzo are in play for me, especially with Sterling Brown out, but best left for cheap fill ins while multi-entering and trying to jam in the raw points tonight. Kyle Korver to me would be especially risky.

It’s also worth pointing out right now that Giannias and Bledsoe made the injury report as probable, and I’m not convinced one of the two won’t ultimately sit tonight. More likely Bledsoe, as the Bucks are thinner upfront with Brook sitting and the Bucks usually cautious with Ersan on back-to-backs. Either way, this is worth keeping in the back of your mind, while building, but not something I’ll ultimately build for.

Core Plays: Giannis Antetokounmp
Outer Core Plays: Robin Lopez, Devonte’ Graham
Mantle Plays: Marvin Williams, Malik Monk, Terry Rozier, Ersan Illyasova, Cody Zeller, Donte DiVincenzo
Crust Plays: Pat Connaughton, George Hill, Nicolas Batum, DJ Wilson

Atlanta ( 111.5 ) @ Houston ( 125 )

PACE: ATL- 8th HOU- 2nd
OFF EFF: ATL- 30th HOU- 4th
DEF EFF: ATL- 16th HOU- 24th
REB RATE: ATL- 22nd HOU- 16th

Exploitable Stats


23rd in 3PA allowed
28th in offensive rebounding %
30th in blocks allowed per possession
27th in steals allowed per possession


26th in points allowed in the paint
27th in 3PA allowed
22nd in steals allowed per possession

This will undoubtedly be the game that garners the most ownership overall. With two teams lacking defense, while pushing the pace, and the highest total on the slate it’s easy to see why.

With Harden, Westbrook, and Young, combined with House and Capella doubtful opening up some cheap options on the Rockets this game personifies the potential stars and scrubs approach of this slate.

First off, pretty much everyone projected to see the floor tonight for the Rockets is in play. Westbrook is still cheap enough, and still getting enough usage that I believe he can smash. Assuming Capela sits, his rebounds can start to creep back up and we can enter triple double watch mode.

The argument against Westbrook is of course, James Harden. Other than the 159-158 game against the Wizards, the two have yet to really succeed on the same night. Harden still has the higher floor and ceiling, but you have to pay for it. He also has the better match up, and maybe the most elite match up on the slate. Ready? The Hawks against SG’s are 30th in blocks and steals allowed, 29th in assists and rebounds allowed, 25th in FT attempts, 24th in 3PM, and 29th in FGM. Buckle up.

We can project Rivers, Tucker, Clark, and McLemore for heavier workloads. They’re all volatile, with Clark probably the most volatile, as his minutes are the hardest to figure out. Rivers’ upside is always a concern, and hardly ever is worth a roster spot.

PJ Tucker is in a great spot to succeed here, but his price is tough to swallow. Looking at the exploitable stats for Atlanta above, we can see they’re giving up blocks, steals, and 3PA’s, which greatly plays into Tuckers ability to smash here.

If we can project McLemore for 30 minutes or more, we can project him to do at least OK here. In the 4 games this season he’s played 30 minutes or more he’s had 19.5, 26.3, 31, and 24 DK points. For at or near minimum salary on DK, FD, and Yahoo that’s not too bad.

The Rockets aren’t much better defensively then the Hawks. The hard part here is the position that the Rockets have been toughest on is PG’s and that obviously makes things interesting when determining what to do with Trae Young. Of course there are times to throw DVP out the window and look at the player, the slate, his talent, and value relative to his team and decide from there. This is one of those times.

Now personally, when trying to find an edge on a slate and as I wrote near the top about how, it’s just as important who you don’t play, as you do play with only 3 games, Trae is a guy heavy in consideration for me in fading or at least being underweight on. I don’t think the spot is as good as the public will perceive it to be and ultimately he will probably be overowned. The battle being that PG is not a position of strength on this slate, and if you’re already playing Harden, you probably aren’t paying up for Westbrook in the same line up. Anyway, we’ll get into this more when we bring it all together at the end.

The rest of the Hawks all have some match-up induced upside. If Reddish sits Bembry will stand above the rest. If Reddish does play, it’s more of a guessing game than anything. Hunter’s cheaper price tag would be the most interesting though. I really prefer not to play the guessing game with the Hawks C’s and due to Brook Lopez being out, I don’t feel like we need to.

Core Plays: James Harden,
Outer Core Plays: Ben McLemore, DeAndre Bembry (If Reddish is out)
Mantle Plays: Russell Westbrook, Trae Young, DeAndre Bembry (If Reddish is in), De’Andre Hunter, Jabari Parker, Gary Clark
Crust Plays: Damien Jones, Alex Len, Austin Rivers, Tyson Chandler, Cam Reddish (if he plays).


We have a pretty wild Saturday 3-game slate here. I normally don’t like to lock in expensive guys, but I’m hitching my wagon to Harden and Giannis tonight. As the day progresses and we see what we have here, it’s clear that the value is here to do it. I’m listing no one else as core plays as of now, because I think the rest is too volatile to latch on to. However I’m confident in the belief that Harden will get 60+ as will Giannis. The two of them will be in all GPP winning lineups across DK and FD. On Yahoo, it’s a little trickier and you may be better off with just one of the two with a Westbrook or Embiid, and getting more mid-tier plays, but it’s still possible.

If you don’t want to be 100% confident in ABC and Harden, that’s fine, of course. I’ll get to those options later.

So, if you’re in the wagon with me and building with Giannis and Harden then outward, what do we do next? Well, on FD that leaves us with $5,157 left to spend on each spot and on DK it’s $4,366. Thankfully we have compiled a solid list of cheap plays to fill in.

My “scrub” pool consists of:

Robin Lopez, Ersan Illyasova, DJ Wilson, George Hill, Pat Connaughton, Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers, Gary Clark, Tyson Chandler, Malik Monk, Marvin Williams, DeAndre Bembry, Alex Len, Damion Jones.

Right outside the top of the scrub pool is:

Cody Zeller, Donte DiVincenzo, TJ McConnell.

Basically, what these guys are, are all guys you can plug in after Harden and ABC that will cause you’re average salary left to rise. Obviously some of these guys are better plays than others, and I’ve labeled them as such in their classifications in the game-by-game part. They’re all volatile to some degree though, so that’s why I believe it’s best to spread these guys out overall. Especially once you get beyond Lopez, McLemore, and Bembry if Reddish is out. The main pieces I’ll be heaviest on and looking at here are of course Robin Lopez and Ben McLemore. After you plug them in you’ll be left with $4,925 on DK and $5,780 on FD with 4 and 5 spots left respectively. From there you can either go up a tier in pricing or continuing to pluck players from this group to get up to another higher ceiling player. My estimation is it will be best to pluck at least 1 if not 2 more players from that group. I’d rotate those players with every build. It’s hard to think and hard to write, but I genuinely don’t mind going 4 deep on sub 4K players on DK tonight. I definitely don’t mind it on FD either.

Yes, that’ll be a fairly chalky approach. Possibly the chalkiest, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s also easy to differentiate once you get up to the mid-tier, plus not all these cheap guys will be highly owned. As I’ve mentioned already, it’s who you don’t play that’s almost as important as who you do play. Those 30%+ busts that will sink line-ups tonight. By sticking with these types of builds we also will avoid a lot of those plays hopefully. Those underperforming expensive guys that I’ve mostly pegged as Embiid, Simmons, Young, and Westbrook.

I would suggest building 75% of your line ups or more as I’ve written above. If you want to from there we can build some hedge line ups. Were we focus on that next tier of studs that I mentioned just above. Going lighter on the cheaper volatile guys, while getting more of the mid-tier. For example on DK, you can plug in Westbrook, Young, and Embiid and still have $4,460 left for 5 spots, before diving down to McLemore, Lopez, and so on. On FD that same trio will leave you with $5,133 for your final 6 spots, which is very doable. I don’t mind these approaches at all, and they probably raise your floor a bit by being more spread out, but don’t have the same ceiling in my opinion.

The thing to remember with all these cheap guys, as likely to flop as they can be, they’re all in fantastic game environments tonight. The faster paced and higher scoring these games are the more likely they’ll be able to accumulate stats. Finding the right ones will be the toughest part. That’s why I’m locking up the two highest floor, highest ceiling plays, then spreading out from there. The goal will be to ultimately create the right combination.

I hope you enjoyed the blog and find it useful! Please feel free to leave comments, good or bad, or give me a follow on twitter.

Good luck tonight!

About the Author


  • Pandamonious

    • Moderator

    • 2020 Blogger of the Month

    Instead of editing the blog, I also wanted to mention this, which I forgot to…When and if you’re rotating in your scrubs, keep in mind the correlation between them. For example, I wouldn’t play Monk and Marvin together. For one, if the game did blowout Marvin will probably lose minutes and have a harder time getting there. More importantly they both come off the bench, so if one is cruising and crushing the other one probably isn’t doing as well. Due to the Rockets lack of depth though, I don’t mind playing multiples of them together. You can probably do the same with Robin and Ersan, but it’s a little dicier if Robin does take on a big workload, although I don’t see him going past 25 minutes.

  • dw12290

    Great write up Panda!

  • gaelicgirl

    Another excellent and thoughtful blog. You’re the best, thank you!

  • Bradsh86

    Grade A stuff right there, Greatly appreciate the insight.

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