NBA Grind Down: Monday, April 22nd

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NBA Grind Down. In this all-encompassing preview of today’s NBA action, every game will be broken down statistically, with several key elements highlighted in our charts.

Vegas lines are broken down to show projected Implied Team Totals, to give you an idea of who is favored to win, and often more importantly, how many points they’re expected to score. We also provide pace numbers, so you can spot a game that might have a few extra possessions and more opportunities for fantasy points.

We also provide position-by-position matchup rankings for every team, to give you an idea of the players who will be in better situations to succeed. Using Defense versus Position data, every projected starter is listed along with his opponent’s rank in points allowed to players of his position. These color-coded charts will help you spot the best matchups of the night at a glance.

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Legend & FAQ


Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons – 8:00 PM ET

Milwaukee Bucks Detroit Pistons
Vegas Total 218.0 Vegas Total 218.0
Vegas Spread -12.0 Vegas Spread 12.0
Implied Team Total 115.0 Implied Team Total 103.0
Pace Projection +/- -4.5 Pace Projection +/- 1.2
Projected Starters Eric Bledsoe Sterling Brown Khris Middleton Giannis Antetokounmpo Brook Lopez Projected Starters Reggie Jackson Wayne Ellington Luke Kennard Blake Griffin Andre Drummond
Matchup PG SG SF PF C Matchup PG SG SF PF C
DEFF 24 29 29 3 12 DEFF 7 8 6 1 27
DvsA 11 15 3 2 3 DvsA 2 27 19 21 3

Milwaukee Bucks

Notable Injuries

None

Milwaukee Bucks Offense

Points Per Game (L10): 123.2 (1 of 30)
Implied Team Total: 115.0 (1 of 4)
Projected Point Differential: -3.1 (1 of 4)

Matchup vs. Detroit Pistons

Points Allowed Per Game (L10): 103.2 (2 of 30)
Defensive Rating (L10): 108.6 (12 of 30)
Rebounding % (L10): 50.9 (6 of 30)
Pace of Play (L10): 97.9 (28 of 30)

Up 3-0, the Bucks look to close out this series with a sweep and enter this game as 12 point favorites. The Bucks have dominated the series, winning Game 1 by 35 points, Game 2 by 21 points and Game 3 by 16 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo found himself in foul trouble and only played 28 minutes, limiting him to a modest 14/10/3 line. Despite the underwhelming performance, he had finished with at least 50 DraftKings points / 47 FanDuel points in the first two games of the series. On a short two-game slate, he has the highest floor and highest ceiling of anyone in this game, and I’d be more than fine continuing to use him as my captain in a Showdown slate.

With Giannis limited by foul trouble, it was Khris Middleton who stepped up and led the team with a 20/8/4/1 steal line. The 20 points were a team high and he’s now scored at least 20 points in back to back games. Eric Bledsoe has also stepped up in a huge way a dropped a 19/6/5/2 line in Game 2. Bledsoe led the team with 19 field goal attempts and has now posted a usage rate of 32%+ in back to back games. If you want to be contrarian on a Showdown slate and not use Giannis as your captain spot, Bledsoe would probably be my next choice. Bledsoe’s higher usage rate this postseason and ability to rack up steals in a hurry make me slightly like Bledsoe more than Middleton if having to decide between the two.

Brook Lopez also played a huge role in the team’s Game 3 victory, posting his best line of the series with a 19/7/2/5 block line. The 5 blocks were a bit of an outlier performance considering he averaged just 2.2 per game in the regular season, but he’s playing well in this mismatch against Andre Drummond and has seen his playing time spike up to 30 minutes per game this postseason (he was at 28 minutes per game in the regular season). Lopez is 6-for-13 beyond this arc this series and his willingness to play around the perimeter is causing fits for the Pistons because it gives the Bucks the spacing they need. His defense has also held Drummond to shoot 44.7% from the field this series so his defense has been an underrated aspect in these past three games. If you’re looking to pay down at center, he’s a fine option.

Pat Connaughton, Sterling Brown and Ersan Ilyasova are fine last-piece plays, and I like them in that order. Connaughton was quiet in Game 3 but is averaging 28.7 minutes per game this series and his solid play has reduced Nikola Mirotic into an afterthought in this second unit. Connaughton and George Hill would be my preferred plays in this second unit as their roles are secure. Hill has quietly been fantastic off the bench, averaging 10.3 points, 4 assists and 3.3 rebounds in just 24 minutes this postseason.

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game Playoffs +/- Minutes Playoffs +/- FP/Min True Usage DEFF DvsA DRPM
Eric Bledsoe $7,900 $6,800 $12,500 33.3 5.3 29.1 -1.4 1.14 22.5% 24 11 17
Sterling Brown $3,900 $4,100 $8,100 13.0 9.3 17.8 7.3 0.73 14.3% 29 15 11
Khris Middleton $8,000 $6,500 $12,200 33.0 1.9 31.1 -1.7 1.06 23.4% 29 3 21
Giannis Antetokounmpo $11,000 $10,200 $18,200 56.3 -12.9 32.8 -5.7 1.71 29.9% 3 2 17
Brook Lopez $6,700 $5,500 $11,300 27.6 4.2 28.7 2.1 0.96 14.9% 12 3 10
George Hill $4,900 $3,900 $7,900 16.2 6.8 21.7 2.5 0.74 14.7% N/A 11 N/A
Pat Connaughton $5,200 $4,200 $8,600 17.1 10.6 20.7 7.9 0.83 13.2% N/A 15 N/A
Ersan Ilyasova $4,400 $3,500 $7,100 15.1 3.0 18.4 2.6 0.82 14.0% N/A 2 N/A

Elite PlaysGiannis Antetokounmpo

Secondary PlaysEric Bledsoe, Pat Connaughton, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton

(In a Showdown slate I would expand my player pool to also include Sterling Brown and George Hill)


Detroit Pistons

Notable Injuries

None

Detroit Pistons Offense

Points Per Game (L10): 102.7 (28 of 30)
Implied Team Total: 103.0 (4 of 4)
Projected Point Differential: -4.0 (2 of 4)

Matchup vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Points Allowed Per Game (L10): 115.0 (19 of 30)
Defensive Rating (L10): 104.9 (1 of 30)
Rebounding % (L10): 51.6 (5 of 30)
Pace of Play (L10): 103.6 (5 of 30)

Blake Griffin made a surprise return in Game 3, playing through his sore left knee. He finished with 30 minutes and wasted no time chucking it, making just 10 of his team-high 24 shot attempts. Despite the poor shooting performance, he managed a 24/7/6/2 line. Griffin is listed as Probable for this game but he’s playing with a knee brace and clearly isn’t 100% healthy. I’m assuming he’ll fight through this in Game 4 but if this game blows out early, I have to think the Pistons pull him and play it safe long-term with his knee. I’m viewing him more as a secondary option on this slate because I’d rather prioritize Giannis or Harden, but if this game stays close, he does have elite upside given his willingness to shoot.

As mentioned above, Andre Drummond struggled in Game 3 due to the defense and mismatch against Brook Loepz. Drummond finished just 5-for-14 with a 12/12/2 line with 4 steals and 3 blocks, so he did fill up the box score, but he was also met with some boos by the Detroit crowd for his shooting woes. Like Griffin, I have to view him more as a secondary option. He hasn’t looked great in this series and while the return of Griffin helps the Pistons’ chances of keeping this game closer, it hurts Drummond from a DFS perspective. Per CourtIQ when Griffin is on the court, Drummond actually sees a -0.8% usage drop.

The Reggie Jackson headache continues, as I never know how many minutes he’ll see in a given game. After seeing 22 and 25 minutes in the first two games, he saw 30 minutes out of nowhere in Game 3, finishing with a 15/8/6 line. Like Drummond, Jackson sees a slight -0.5% usage drop when Griffin is on the court. Given the limited options on this slate he’s a fine secondary option, but he’s just as likely to see 22 minutes here as he is to see 30 minutes, so proceed with caution. His backup, Ish Smith, continues to see minutes in the 21-25 range and he’d be a fine salary saver for a Showdown slate. We know the minutes and shot attempts will be there, and with the Pistons on the brink of elimination, the Pistons will ride the hot hand. That could easily be Smith.

Wayne Ellington surprisingly saw a team-high 39 minutes but all he did was shoot three-pointers (3-for-8), rack up 5 rebounds and grab 2 steals. It seems like the team squeezed Bruce Brown from important minutes in Game 3 in favor of Ellington, as Brown saw just 11 minutes off the bench. Ellington is fine for a Showdown slate but I don’t really want to chase him on the main slate.

Luke Kennard drew the start after an impressive Game 2, but he had just a 9/7/2 line in Game 3. I was high on him entering the game but I did mentioned in my last article that if Griffin gets ruled in, downgrade Kennard to a secondary play. With Griffin probable here and likely soaking up all the shots he can handle, this makes me view Kennard as a secondary option again. Kennard is not a good defender and now he has fewer shots to work with. I think the window on Kennard may have closed.

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game Playoffs +/- Minutes Playoffs +/- FP/Min True Usage DEFF DvsA DRPM
Reggie Jackson $6,300 $5,100 $10,000 25.4 4.4 27.9 -2.5 0.91 24.4% 7 2 4
Wayne Ellington $4,600 $4,300 $8,400 17.3 0.4 24.5 9.7 0.71 16.6% 8 27 18
Luke Kennard $5,000 $4,900 $9,900 16.8 8.7 22.8 10.6 0.74 18.0% 6 19 9
Blake Griffin $9,100 $7,700 $14,100 41.5 6.9 35.0 -4.4 1.19 29.0% 1 21 2
Andre Drummond $9,700 $8,400 $15,700 46.1 -6.0 33.5 -2.1 1.38 20.1% 27 3 3
Ish Smith $4,200 $3,800 $7,200 18.4 0.9 22.3 0.6 0.83 21.5% N/A 16 N/A
Langston Galloway $3,800 $3,400 $6,500 14.1 1.7 21.8 4.0 0.65 16.1% N/A 19 N/A
Bruce Brown $3,600 $3,000 $6,000 11.5 -3.3 19.6 -6.1 0.59 11.4% N/A 2 N/A

Elite Plays – None

Secondary PlaysAndre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Blake Griffin, Ish Smith

(On a Showdown slate, I would expand my player pool to include Wayne Ellington)

About the Author

  • Allan Lem (fathalpert)

  • Allan Lem (aka fathalpert) began playing fantasy sports in high school and transitioned to DFS in 2015. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Economics and lives in California with his wife and two kids. He dreams of winning a big tournament so he can try cashing one of those giant cardboard checks at his local bank.

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