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NBA DFS: DraftKings Tip Sheet 11/3

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, left, looks to make a pass against Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo

Thursday is a night where we’re allowed to catch our breath a bit after the massive Wednesday slates. With five games on tap we can narrow our focus — and prepare for the first Westbrook-Durant clash of the season.

Let’s get started with what happened yesterday.

About Last Night…

  • Is DeMar DeRozan actually Kobe Bryant reincarnated? He’s had a very Kobe-like start to the season, dropping 40 points on the Wizards to bring his season average to a whopping 36.3 per game.
  • Brook Lopez still hasn’t played 30 minutes, but he dropped 34 and 11 on Andre Drummond.
  • Jeremy Lin left with a hamstring injury last night, and it’s unclear how long he will be out.
  • Fun fact: Derrick Rose started Wednesday’s game against the Rockets 4-for-4; he ended 8-for-18. Kristaps Porzingis took four shots against a frontcourt that played Ryan Anderson and Montrezl Harrell a combined 56 minutes.
  • After sticking with a tight rotation against the Bucks, Alvin Gentry decided to spice up losing a bit. Every player on his bench saw 28 minutes or more, including Terrence Jones, who didn’t play a minute the night before.
  • Amir Johnson morphed into an All-Star for one night. He garnered 30 minutes with Al Horford out, and he responded by knocking down four three-pointers en route to 23 points and 47 DraftKings points. I doubt we ever see this again, but he’s in play once more on such a short slate.
  • Jae Crowder (ankle) left after logging 14 minutes of time and is going to be out at least a week for the Celtics.

Slate Overview

After the insanity of a 10-game slate, it’s always nice to slow it down and focus on a handful of games. We’ve got five waiting for us tonight, and it’s tricky because the games you might be itching to watch are looking risky for fantasy.

The national double-header tonight is Celtics-Cavaliers followed by Thunder-Warriors. The Cavs are favored by 10, and the Warriors are favored by 10.5. Both opponents are on a road back-to-back, and investing too much into these tilts treads in dangerous waters. The Celtics-Cavs game is particularly something I’m being cautious with as Boston will be without Jae Crowder and Al Horford.

The best contest looks like Indiana at Milwaukee. The game total is the highest of the night outside of the Golden State tilt, and the spread has the Pacers favored by 2.5 as of this writing.

Top implied team totals:

  1. Warriors (vs OKC), 117 implied points
  2. Cavaliers (vs BOS), 109.75
  3. Pacers (@ MIL), 108
  4. Thunder (@ GS), 106.5
  5. Timberwolves (vs DEN) & Bucks (vs IND), 105.5

Point Guard

The most crucial decision of the night is whether or not to play Russell Westbrook. In his first matchup with a good team, he was able to put up “only” 51 DraftKings points. While that’s great in raw points, it’s problematic at his $12.9K salary. Throw in the back-to-back on the road with the Warriors favored by 10.5 points — the biggest spread of the night — and there are certainly enough reasons to pump the brakes.

On the other hand, it’s Westbrook v. Durant I. If there’s a game where Russ wants to state his MVP case, it’s tonight. There’s also some hope that the Thunder can keep this game competitive throughout. The Warriors are a bottom-five defensive rebounding team by way of defensive rebound percentage, whereas the Thunder are third-best in the same metric. Oklahoma City also boasts the best defense in the league at 88.8 points per 100 possessions, and the Warriors had been brutal defensively until their last game against the Blazers. If this game remains closely contested, it will likely be played at a brisk pace; the Thunder and Warriors rank first and second in the league in pace. A fast-paced game against a defense still figuring it out means great things for Russ…if it stays close.

The rest of the point guard pool doesn’t come without risk: Giannis Antetokounmpo will likely get attention from Paul George, Stephen Curry is still priced too high for his new situation and a potential blowout dampens my interest in Kyrie Irving/Isaiah Thomas.

With the news of Jae Crowder’s injury, Marcus Smart needs to be considered despite my general distaste for this game. He returned from an ankle injury to play 34 minutes last night and generally got run with the starters.

  • Russell Westbrook, OKC ($12,900)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($9,000)
  • Emmanuel Mudiay, DEN ($6,000)
  • Elfrid Payton, ORL ($6,000)
  • Jeff Teague, IND ($5,800)
  • Kris Dunn, MIN ($4,900)
  • Marcus Smart, BOS ($4,400)

Shooting Guard

I’m saying no thanks to Victor Oladipo’s 32.8 percent shooting on the season and Klay Thompson’s bizarre 3-for-28 start from three-point range. Instead, my top shooting guard target is Zach LaVine, who has started the season hot with three straight games of 30+ DraftKings points.

With the news that Will Barton (ankle) and Gary Harris (groin) have both been ruled out, one might be inclined to see what value the Nuggets have to offer. Jamal Murray would appear to be the direct beneficiary, though Malik Beasley could factor in, and Jameer Nelson can play next to Emmanuel Mudiay if need be. In fact, Nelson is the play I’d be most interested in, though I’ll likely be avoiding the situation outside of tournaments.

  • Zach LaVine, MIN ($6,200)
  • Evan Fournier, ORL ($6,100)
  • Marcus Smart, BOS ($4,400)
  • C.J. Miles, IND ($3,600)

Small Forward

With big spreads threatening to limit Kevin Durant and LeBron James, I’m turning my attention to Paul George, who has been phenomenal in games where he’s received his full workload. He’s averaging 40.6 DraftKings points on the season, and has scored 45, 40.75 and 48.25 when receiving over 30 minutes. The Bucks currently are tied with Kings for the eighth-worst defense in the NBA.

Speaking of the Kings, Rudy Gay might just be in one of those zones where you keep playing him until he stops lighting up the league. He’s still just $6.5K despite scoring no fewer than 32.75 DraftKings points this season, and now he will take on a Magic team that ranks bottom-five in defense so far.

  • Paul George, IND ($8,400)
  • Rudy Gay, SAC ($6,500)
  • Andrew Wiggins, MIN ($6,100)
  • Danilo Gallinari, DEN ($5,800)
  • Matt Barnes, SAC ($4,000)
  • C.J. Miles, IND ($3,600)

Power Forward

So far this season, DeMarcus Cousins has met or exceeded value just once (at home versus San Antonio). I like the matchup with Nikola Vucevic, but the Magic have two other bodies they can throw at him in Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka. However, the biggest opponent that can stop “Boogie” is himself; he has 17 fouls over the last three games. He’s a tournament-only consideration for me unless some massive value opens up.

It feels like every appealing option at power forward is also risky, but I can’t help but feel like this might be a Nikola Jokic spot. The Timberwolves are a team that plays big with Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns, so perhaps both Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic can get some run to match up. In the one matchup that Jokic was afforded 30+ minutes, he went off for 58.8 DraftKings points; he’s averaged 15.9 DraftKings points in 21.5 minutes per game otherwise.

  • Draymond Green, GS ($7,800)
  • Myles Turner, IND ($7,300)
  • Kevin Love, CLE ($7,100)
  • Nikola Jokic, DEN ($6,800)
  • Thaddeus Young, IND ($5,900)
  • Amir Johnson, BOS ($3,900)

Center

I can’t trust him to reach value with his sub-par start to the season, but Karl-Anthony Towns at only $7,900 is a value. Despite being something of a disappointment so far this season, he’s been remarkably consistent with 33.5 DraftKings points or more in each game thus far.

A few guys listed in the last section I want to touch on rapid-fire style:

  • Draymond Green is doing a lot when he’s on the court to make up for his lack of scoring. Rebounds might be hard to come by against the Thunder, but he literally does everything, so production should follow his minutes.
  • Myles Turner is in an awesome matchup with the Bucks; my only worry is foul trouble, which we can’t easily predict.
  • Kevin Love being only $7,100 is a crime. He’s been smashing value this season, with only one game under 35 DraftKings points. My belief that the Cavaliers blow out the Celtics is the only thing telling me not to roster him.

Given the Warriors’ lack of rebounding and the fact that Enes Kanter will be targeted defensively as soon as he steps on the court tonight, Steven Adams is an intriguing play at $5,900. He has been up and down this season so far, but the minutes are there for him to do something big.

  • Draymond Green, GS ($7,800)
  • Myles Turner, IND ($7,300)
  • Kevin Love, CLE ($7,100)
  • Nikola Jokic, DEN ($6,800)
  • Steven Adams, OKC ($5,900)
  • Amir Johnson, BOS ($3,900)

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