Panda's Picks 11/24 NBA - Bamboo Brew and Slate Overview

Today I wanted to dive more into some strategy for this evenings four-game slate instead of breaking each game down. I figure we’ll look at each position, identify the chalk, and find the pivots to build a unique line up with all the upside, and maybe more, of what everyone else will gravitate towards. I’ll do this by not only straight pivots in price point and position, but also the entire build by spending down where others are spending up and vice versa.

I’ll break down by general positions, guard, forward, and center, as I hope to incorporate strategy for DK, FD, and Yahoo, and not all sites have the same position designations.

The plays I’m listing as chalk today are all perfectly fine plays. They’re chalk for a reason. There’s zero reason for me to sell you on them, so I’ll focus my energy elsewhere. They’re in plus spots at a price point that leaves plenty of upside. In future iterations of this blog I may point out who I think is bad chalk and why, which is usually more so created by injuries, which we don’t have too much of on this slate, as I write this. One example of this today, spoiler alert, is Tyler Johnson. He’s most likely to be bad chalk.

If you have any feedback on how I can make this better please do so in the comments! If you like what you see, go ahead and give me the thumbs up and I wouldn’t be mad if you gave me a follow on Twitter.


The Chalk:

Bradley Beal – (10.2 DK & FD, $43 Yahoo)

Spencer Dinwiddie – (7.7 DK, 7.9 FD, $32 Yahoo)

Buddy Hield – (7.2 DK, 7.9 FD, $32 Yahoo)

Tyler Johnson – (4.2 DK, 4.2 FD, $10 Yahoo)

Site Specific Chalk:

Frank Ntilikina: FD & Yahoo (4.5 DK, 4.4 FD, $10 Yahoo)

The Pivots

Lou Williams – (7.0 DK, 6.9 FD, $29 Yahoo)

I don’t expect Lou Williams to gain much traction today. With Paul George fully integrated into the line up and Kawhi Leonard around, the narrative will be there isn’t enough opportunity for him to pay off his price tag. We’ll use that to our advantage today by proving that to be wrong. First, let’s point out that the Clippers are projected to score 10 points more than their season average, in a plus-plus pace up match up against the Pelicans.

Something that might come as a surprise is Lou’s usage is not slipping. Over the last 2 games with PG and Kawhi together in the fold Lou has had usage rates of 35% and 27%. Compared to 28% and 29% for PG and 28% and 31% for Kawhi. By coming off the bench and with Doc Rivers staggering the minutes of this trio he spends a good chunk of his 30 minutes with only one or neither on the floor.

If that’s not enough New Orleans bleeds fantasy points to guards, handing out as many 3 pointers, assists, and steals as any team in the league.

Jrue Holiday – (7.9 DK, 8.6 FD, $37 Yahoo)

If you do decide to play Lou, or go with a chalkier Clippers option, it might make a lot of sense to run it back with a Pelican. A blowout here isn’t out of the question, especially with the Pelicans having played last night, so someone needs to go off for them to keep it close enough and it can’t be all Brandon Ingram who is too pricey tonight for my liking. Jrue makes a lot of sense on DK. I thought about writing up JJ Redick here who has been fire of late and he may be the more sensible choice on FD (5.2K) or Yahoo ($13), where the price doesn’t create as much risk.

Despite Beverly’s reputation as a great defender, PG continues to be the weak spot from a DVP standpoint for the Clippers. I’m going to assume Ball still comes off the bench here and doesn’t have his 25 minute limit increased off the back-to-back, and Jrue plays the majority of minutes at PG without Ball on the floor. The injury to Lonzo and move to starting PG has also led to better production from Jrue after a relatively slow start to the season for him.

Ish Smith – (4.6 DK, 4.4 FD, $11 Yahoo)

Ish is back on the rise in DC. As Isaiah Thomas had his minutes increased, Ish’s went down, but after peaking at 32 minutes against the Celtics a week and a half ago, the tide seems to be turning. If we can project the minutes trend continuing for Ish we can get the bulk of PG minutes for the team with the 2nd highest projected total on the slate at minimal ownership. Sounds good to me.

Despite being in a pace down spot against the Kings the Wiz are still projected for 118.5 points. This is not just a great pivot price wise from Tyler Johnson, it’s a great pivot team wise from Bradley Beal. There’s not

Devin Booker – (8.3 DK, 8.2 FD, $34 Yahoo)

Devin Booker just missed a triple double yesterday by a single assist. Booker finally got aggressive hoisting 26 shots and notching his highest usage rate of the season at 38%. With the end result being the end of a 3 game losing streak, I would expect him to look to do the same here. There’s nothing easy about the match up here. There’s also nothing easy about going into the thin air of Denver on a back-to-back. This doesn’t change a player’s ability to have a ceiling game though and if he continues to have the volume he had in Minnesota a big game can happen again. At roughly 2K less than Beal and most likely significantly less ownership, yet similar ceiling there’s definitely a lot of GPP appeal here.


The Chalk:

Paul George – (8.5 DK, 9.1 FD, $45 Yahoo)

Kawhi Leonard – (10.0 DK, 9.8 FD, $47 Yahoo)

Nemanja Bjelica – (6.0 DK, 5.7 FD, $20 Yahoo)

Julius Randle – (7.1 DK, 8.0 FD, $30 Yahoo)

Site Specific Chalk

Frank Kaminsky: FD (4.6 DK, 4.0 FD, $13 Yahoo)

Richaun Holmes: FD (6.2 DK, 6.3 FD, $21 Yahoo)

The Pivots:

I don’t expect Frank Kaminsky to be nearly as popular on DK as FD where he’s $600 cheaper and near minimum on Yahoo. He makes a nice pivot there away from the likely chalkier more expensive options. Denver has not done well against C’s this season, ranking 6th in DVP. They’ve also struggled guarding the perimeter. It’s worth noting Kaminsky put up 34.8 DK points against the Nuggets earlier this season.

Will Barton – (5.8 DK, 6.1 FD, $25 Yahoo)

When Barton gets going he can put up some big scores and against Phoenix is a great spot to get going. The Suns are getting demolished by SF’s this season. They’re 30th in blocks allowed (Barton had 3 earlier this season against Phoenix in 20 minutes), 24th in steals, 29th in assists, 26th in rebounds, 23rd in 3PM, and 29th in FGM to SF’s. If you think Phoenix can keep this close, and you want to get your Nugget exposure somewhere other than Jokic, Barton is probably the first place to look. If you want to mini-stack here with Booker-Barton/Jokic you can too, as even though Barton and Jokic aren’t highly correlated, they’re not negatively correlated either.

Bobby Portis – (4.2 DK, 4.5 FD, $13 Yahoo)

Bobby Portis is C eligible on FD, where he makes a great pivot too from Jokic, which we’ll get to. OK, so I’m a sucker (punch) for Portis. He’s volatile as they come, but he also has the ability to smash in limited minutes. The whole center’s against Brooklyn thing is still alive and well. They’re especially exploitable to C’s around the perimeter, giving up the 25th most made 3’s at the 29th worst %. Robinson, sorry for all the spoilers, will be much more popular, but Robinson is pretty volatile himself thanks to his fouling issues.

Jeremi Grant – (3.7 DK, 3.8 FD, $10 Yahoo)

I was originally going to write Kelly Oubre here. Then I was going to write Paul Millsap here. First of all, I think Kelly Oubre is also worthwhile as a pivot. I doubt he’ll be highly owned, but I do think it’d be a bad idea to pair him with Booker. Then I thought I should add another cheap option. I’m also always leery about Millsap’s minutes against more athletic forwards. If you’re not leery at all, then go ahead and play Millsap.

Now, with all that thought of the way I’ll write this: Last time these two teams played the game went to OT and Grant played 31 minutes. Millsap played only 21 minutes. I can’t find anything anywhere to suggest that Millsap was injured. It more seems like the Nuggets were struggling as the Suns went small and Grant came into the game and never came back out.

If you want to believe this can happen again, and Grant will see the bulk of the minutes he makes for a worthwhile punt, especially on DK or FD, where there’s not a lot south of 4K if you want to jam in studs.


The Chalk:

Nikola Jokic – (9.2 DK, 10.0 FD, $38 Yahoo)

Mitchell Robinson – (4.7 DK, 6.4 FD, $19 Yahoo)

Richaun Holmes – (6.2 DK, 6.3 FD, $21 Yahoo)

Site Specific Chalk:

I don’t expect any site specific chalk here other than Holmes who I listed under both positions, since he’s a C on Yahoo, a PF/C on DK, and a PF on FD. This is really it. It’s these guys or pretty spread out I believe.

The Pivots

Bobby Portis is a pivot on FD, as mentioned above.

Montrezl Harrell – (6.3 DK, 7.0 FD, $28 Yahoo)

Let me lead off by saying I’m most likely just eating up that chalk at Center tonight. I do believe in Jokic tonight. If not Jokic, I’ll probably have Robinson, especially on DK. I also think Jaxson Hayes is fine, and will probably not be overly owned, but also has had his price come up where there’s not a ton of upside.

Speaking of Hayes, since his minutes have gone up, the oppositions center production has gone up. Enter Harrell. I can basically cut and paste my first paragraph about Lou above right here. This is a big pace up spot and scoring spot for the Clippers. This to an extent increases Harrell’s ability to smash despite the team being fully healthy now, outside of Shamet.

Harrell’s usage has been pretty up and down all season, so it’s hard to really pinpoint the impact of finally having PG and Kawhi on the floor together. Like Lou though he gets the benefit of coming off the bench. As a center, he automatically also gets the ability to some extent in creating his own offense with offensive boards that can lead to put backs.


As I lead off with, I have little to no issue with the chalk tonight. Nikola Jokic is the piece of it I’ll probably be the heaviest on. Guard is definitely the easiest place to pivot from it. In fact, I believe I genuinely like the guys I wrote about more than the guys I expect to be chalk. Forward is relatively rough all around. I’ll most likely be fading Kawhi entirely, as I really think he’s the robin to PG’s batman right now, plus PG is cheaper. That’s simple stuff there.

Usually on short 4-5 game slates, I build a lot with 3-3-2, 3-2-2, 3-2 type builds, which comes pretty naturally on a shorter slate anyway. By that I mean, 3 guys from one team, 2 from their opponent, 2 from another team, then one-offs. Tonight I might be a bit more spread out in my builds or at least more one-sided of a match up, but obviously SAC/WAS and NOP/LAC are the top games to stack up.

Good Luck.

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  • gaelicgirl

    Just read it on the forum, your comrades at RG need to get with it LOL

    Thank you, Panda!

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