NBA Grind Down: Thursday, November 8th

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.

Note: As always, if you want to try a new DFS site, be sure to click through a RotoGrinders link and use our DraftKings promo code, FanDuel promo code, and FantasyDraft promo code to receive the best perks in the industry.

Legend & FAQ

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder – 8:00 PM ET

Houston Rockets Oklahoma City Thunder
Vegas Total 214.0 Vegas Total 214.0
Vegas Spread -4.0 Vegas Spread 4.0
Implied Team Total 109.0 Implied Team Total 105.0
Pace Projection +/- 3.5 Pace Projection +/- -1.7
Projected Starters Chris Paul James Harden James Ennis III PJ Tucker Clint Capela Projected Starters Dennis Schroder Terrance Ferguson Paul George Jerami Grant Steven Adams
Matchup PG SG SF PF C Matchup PG SG SF PF C
DEFF 10 18 5 27 6 DEFF 9 27 9 20 28
DRPM 29 27 9 20 17 DRPM 3 16 25 8 4

Houston Rockets

Notable Injuries

Michael Carter-Williams (Out)
Eric Gordon (Questionable)

Houston Rockets Offense

Points Per Game: 105.3 (25 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 109.0 (6 of 8)
Projected Point Differential: 3.7 (2 of 8)

Matchup vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Points Allowed Per Game: 108.8 (10 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.6 (4 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: + 0.5 (14 of 30)
Pace of Play: 107.2 (5 of 30)

We have a light four-game slate on tap tonight and before we started, I wanted to get everyone’s thoughts on adding a betting section to the end of the Grind Down each day. I am by no means a professional handicapper, but I’m obviously heavily researching these games and there are typically a few lines that stand out to me each night. If that sounds interesting, let me know and I’ll start adding it at the end of the Grind Down and we’ll keep a tally to see how the picks fare.

We start with the Rockets and Thunder. For full disclosure, I actually saved writing about this game for last because I was waiting on an update for Russell Westbrook. The Rockets have been a big disappointment to start the year, as many predicted them to win more games than the Warriors during the regular season. They are only 4-5 to start the season, but they have won three in a row. Tonight they face the Thunder, who are playing their second game in as many nights. The Rockets are listed as 4-point favorites with an implied total of 109 points, which is 3.7 points above their season average.

You’ll notice that there are a few new columns in the player tables below. The L4 +/- columns show the difference in FP/game and minutes over the last four games. For instance, Chris Paul 1.3 more fantasy points and 2.0 more minutes in his last four games compared to his season averages. You will also see a DvA column, which shows how well a particular defense fares against a certain type of player. In Paul’s case, the Thunder have allowed 9.4% less fantasy production to combo guards this season. It’s another metric to use to gauge how favorable a matchup is.

Paul is firmly on my radar at his current price point and he sees a significant matchup boost now that Westbrook has been ruled out. Dennis Schroder has long been a turnstile on defense, which is highlighted by his DRPM grade in the table below. James Harden has been quiet this season and we have no shortage of superstars available in this slate. While his $10,100 price tag is enticing on DraftKings, I prefer paying up for the likes of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Rockets’ role players are all risky targets tonight. Carmelo Anthony, PJ Tucker, James Ennis, and Gerald Green would all see small boosts if Eric Gordon is unable to suit up, but I’m not particularly interested in any of them. Clint Capela could be the forgotten man at center tonight. As we will get to shortly, my favorite play at center on FanDuel is Deandre Ayton and my favorite on DraftKings is Steven Adams. Capela is an intriguing pivot off of the two, as he has quietly averaged 37 fantasy points per game this season.

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L4 +/- Minutes L4 +/- FP/Min True Usage DEFF DvA DRPM
Chris Paul $8,300 $8,200 $14,800 42.5 1.3 34.8 2.0 1.22 28.7% 10 -9.4% 29
James Harden $11,500 $10,100 $17,800 49.6 -4.8 35.4 -1.2 1.40 31.4% 18 -9.4% 27
James Ennis III $3,800 $3,800 $7,000 15.3 1.7 22.2 -1.0 0.69 12.3% 5 -4.6% 9
PJ Tucker $4,800 $4,200 $8,200 24.2 -2.4 35.6 -0.6 0.68 9.0% 27 -4.6% 20
Clint Capela $7,900 $6,900 $13,400 36.4 2.3 33.7 0.8 1.08 16.8% 6 -2.6% 17
Eric Gordon $5,000 $5,500 $10,600 23.3 -1.6 33.3 -0.3 0.70 22.9% N/A 0.6% N/A
Carmelo Anthony $5,200 $5,300 $10,400 24.9 -0.3 30.4 -1.0 0.82 18.5% N/A -1.6% N/A
Gerald Green $3,500 $3,500 $7,300 12.8 -2.5 19.9 -0.3 0.64 17.4% N/A 2.4% N/A

Elite PlaysChris Paul, Clint Capela (GPP)

Secondary PlaysClint Capela (Cash), James Harden

Oklahoma City Thunder

Notable Injuries

Russell Westbrook (Out)

Oklahoma City Thunder Offense

Points Per Game: 111.4 (11 of 30)
Implied Implied Team Total: 105.0 (7 of 8)
Projected Point Differential: -6.4 (8 of 8)

Matchup vs. Houston Rockets

Points Allowed Per Game: 110.1 (17 of 30)
Defensive Efficiency: 107.8 (19 of 30)
Rebounding Differential: -2.8 (22 of 30)
Pace of Play: 102.0 (21 of 30)

Russell Westbrook has just been ruled out of tonight’s game, which helps take some of the guesswork out of this slate. The Thunder draw an exploitable matchup against the Rockets, who are ranked below the league average in points allowed per game, defensive efficiency, and rebounding differential. Oklahoma City has an implied total of only 105 points, but that’s still pretty high for a team that is missing a former MVP.

If we run CourtIQ with Russell Westbrook off the floor, Paul George has averaged 1.30 FP/min with a 38% usage rate since the start of last season. Since joining the Thunder, Dennis Schroder has averaged 1.11 FP/min with a 33% usage rate. It’s worth noting that George hasn’t been great in the three games that Westbrook has missed, while Schroder has really stepped up. Both are viable targets tonight against the Rockets, but Schroder is more of a core play than George.

Alex Abrines will see a boost in playing time off the bench, but is best suited as a play on FanDuel where we have the drop a score feature. Jerami Grant will likely be defended by PJ Tucker, who is still a very good defender, both in the paint and on the perimeter. There aren’t any obvious plays at power forward tonight, so you can still look Grant’s way on FanDuel, but I won’t be forcing him into any lineups. Steven Adams is basically a lock and load play on DraftKings ($5,800). I’m not sure what happened with the pricing, but I will certainly be taking advantage of it. The Rockets are ranked 28th in efficiency against centers this season.

Player FD Salary DK Salary FDRFT Salary FP/Game L4 =/- Minutes L4 =/- FP/Min True Usage DEFF DvA DRPM
Dennis Schroder $7,000 $7,000 $13,100 30.2 4.1 28.7 0.1 1.05 26.7% 9 -1.6% 3
Terrance Ferguson $3,500 $3,200 $6,200 7.1 0.8 20.1 -2.4 0.35 8.0% 27 -7.2% 16
Paul George $10,500 $8,900 $16,200 43.0 -0.9 35.3 0.8 1.22 25.7% 9 -3.8% 25
Jerami Grant $5,600 $4,900 $10,100 25.3 5.4 29.5 -0.1 0.86 14.6% 20 -3.8% 8
Steven Adams $7,800 $5,800 $11,400 35.2 -3.0 33.5 -1.4 1.05 14.7% 28 -1.6% 4
Nerlens Noel $3,600 $3,600 $7,100 20.1 -2.6 14.0 -1.5 1.44 13.8% N/A -1.6% N/A
Patrick Patterson $3,500 $3,400 $6,700 13.5 -1.9 17.7 -3.0 0.76 14.2% N/A 25.5% N/A
Alex Abrines $4,100 $3,900 $7,600 13.7 4.8 23.0 4.8 0.60 13.0% N/A -7.2% N/A

Elite PlaysDennis Schroder, Paul George (GPP), Steven Adams (DK)

Secondary PlaysPaul George (Cash), Steven Adams (FD), Alex Abrines (FD), Jerami Grant

About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

    Interview after $100,000 Win


  • wvuscott13

    Hell yeah on the betting section! I play DFS and bet on the games, using this info to help with decisions. Any info on betting would be welcomed by me

  • RedBaran24

    Yes on betting! great idea

  • miamicanes5

    Your calls have been on point lately with the Saints over the Rams by double digits and O/U in hoops. Hawks were competitive in Charlotte the other night too…. Go for it!

  • nik2014

    Adding a betting section would be great. I use your input on the under/over odds you sometimes give as part of your analysis. Extremely helpful. Latest example was the Phoenix/Brooklyn game from few days ago.


  • Gametime212121

    Would love a betting section at the end of the Grind Down!

  • FitFantasyGod

    Yes please add a betting section, your betting picks are elite!!

  • JerseyBearsGuy

    Yes, what they all said! It would be great if you included some of the top plays for the day in the betting world. All of your stuff is on point and it would for sure benefit us in other areas. Keep Grindin’ Noto!

  • nhowitt

    Noto please do add the Betting section too. Love reading your content!

  • Jalla89

    Yes to betting section :)

  • itzpest

    the betting section would be awesome great idea! please follow through on it!

  • Primal

    • Ranked #92

      RG Tiered Ranking

    “so you can still look Grant’s way on FanDuel,” fyi, think you meant dk here, he is a better bargain there than FD.

  • tj1123

    Yes please to the betting section!!!!!

  • sneaksox

    @nik2014 said...

    Adding a betting section would be great. I use your input on the under/over odds you sometimes give as part of your analysis. Extremely helpful. Latest example was the Phoenix/Brooklyn game from few days ago.


    +1 for a betting section. I threw some down on that BKN/PHX under you were on the other night too. Thanks :)

  • Notorious

    Lead RG Analyst

    • 65

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #52

      RG Tiered Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    • 2013 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    @Primal said...

    “so you can still look Grant’s way on FanDuel,” fyi, think you meant dk here, he is a better bargain there than FD.

    Agree on the better bargain on DK, but have to roster those two PFs on FD, which puts him on my radar. On DK, I’ll just slide Durant or Giannis over to PF.

  • slomskyj

    Roto…been on here for years. Slowed down playing because of work. Only research I do daily for NBA is this article. Commenting to say YES PLEASE! On gambling section, I already take note on your comments about O/Us for games currently. A section would be great. You’re the man

  • royal_cannuck


  • philmotza

    Can you explain the DVA column some more? -9.4% less fantasy production compared to what? The league average? Thanks!

  • X Unread Thread
  • X Thread with New Replies*
  • *Jumps to your first unread reply

New to DFS?

Be sure to click through our links and use our exclusive promo codes to receive the industry's best sign-up bonuses, including free access to our premium content. is the home of the daily fantasy sports community. Our content, rankings, member blogs, promotions and forum discussion all cater to the players that like to create a new fantasy team every day of the week. Our goal is to help all of our members make more money playing daily fantasy sports!

Disclosures: All RotoGrinders content contributors are active DFS players. Contributor screen names can be found on their respective RotoGrinders profile pages. Contributors reserve the right to use players or strategies not discussed in their content on RotoGrinders.