We have a five game slate at hand tonight and it’s really interesting. We have the Nets on a back to back and possibly (probably) without Kevin Durant and Spencer Dinwiddie. Additionally, we have the Fighting Houston Hardens with Christian Wood in tow. Oh, that hasn’t even mentioned the Lakers yet. There’s a LOT of high-priced studs in great spots, so we’ll need to choose wisely tonight. Let’s break it all down and get onto the right plays in NBA Cash Game Breakdown 12/28 to get into the green once again!
Kyrie Irving ($9,000 DK/$9,400 FD) – If the Nets are without a resting Durant, Irving is going to be hard to not want to play. These two really haven’t played without the other on the floor yet, but KD has a usage rate right about 30%. Kyrie is going to absorb a good bit of that, likely close to 40%. Memphis is playing at a top-five pace and are 26th in defensive rating so far.
*Update* Kyrie is OUT tonight
Ja Morant ($8,300 DK/$8,500 FD) – I said at the time of the draft that the Pelicans had to take Zion, but the Grizzlies got one of the best consolation prizes in a while. Morant has been excellent out of the gate, boasting a 35% usage rate, 1.63 FPPM and averaging over 30 real points. He’s underpriced on both sites and I’m comfortable with him in cash though I may have to reserve him for GPP only based on who else we have to fit.
Mike Conley ($6,300 DK/$6,300 FD) – Nobody really wakes up in the morning and gets excited to play Conley. However, point guard isn’t exactly overflowing with a ton of options. Conley is going to see 32-34 minutes on a nightly basis with a 25.1% usage rate so far. here’s always something to be said for safe and uninspiring options in cash.
George Hill ($4,500 DK/$5,400 FD) – I’m slightly leery on this one but he’s cheap enough to not get too worked up. Hill played just 24 minutes and shot 8-9, including 4-4 from deep. He’s not scoring 21 real points super often but the 19.9% usage rate was second among starters. That’s enough at this price range.
*Update* – Delon Wright is high up in the model.
James Harden ($11,200 DK/$11,500 FD) – All Fat Harden did in the first game was produce a 34.3% usage rate, 1.82 FPPM and 44 real points. Yes, OT goosed the final production but this is still Harden with almost nobody else. Harden is still the most important play in cash with a bullet point. Denver has also allowed 55 points per game in the paint (most in the NBA) and a 42% from three (sixth-worst). That could be a lethal combo for Harden.
Dennis Schroeder ($6,100 DK/$6,000 FD) – Anthony Davis missed yesterday and I could envision one of AD or LeBron sitting tonight. Either way, Schroeder isn’t a terrible play. He could be a touch overpriced with Bron and AD both in, but he’s getting 25-28 minutes a night and can score in bunches. He’s third on the team in usage rate at 26.5% to boot.
Lugentz Dort ($4,300 DK/$4,700 FD) – Dort is cheap enough to consider on both sites as he played 34 minutes for the rebuilding Thunder squad. The usage rate was actually higher than I thought at 16.4% in the first contest, but the 0.83 FPPM can pay off this low salary. We need some value somewhere. Look at it this way – if you pair Dort and Harden, you can hopefully snag 90-100 fantasy points for about $15,000.
Dillon Brooks ($5,500 DK/$3,700 FD) – I might be more likely to side with Dort on DK but Brooks is a glaring value on FD. He’s barely above minimum and has played 30 and 33 minutes. At least early, the 26.5% usage and 0.98 FPPM is eye-opening too. He’s generally a player that needs to shoot at least average to hit value, but on FD I just don’t know how you pass him up in a game like this at barely minimum.
Caris LeVert ($6,600 DK/$6,300 FD) – If Durant and Dinwiddie are out, LeVert is the next candidate to join the starting lineup and be Kyrie’s tag team partner. LeVert proved in the bubble he’s capable of being a force in the NBA and all the usage and FPPM that KD soaks up is up for grabs. If Durant plays, consider him much more of a GPP play but it behooves the Nets to be smart with KD.
*Update* With Kyrie out, LeVert is going back to Bubble LeVert and is an absolute LOCK TONIGHT
Jerami Grant ($5,900 DK/$5,700 FD) – He’s not likely to hit 50 DK like last game (it would be sweet) but Grant is still a valuable piece tonight. Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose have been ruled out already for Detroit. Grant is already sitting at an 18.4% usage rate and a 0.97 FPPM while being under $6,000 on both sites. The game log watchers will be on him as well. He’s played 31 and 43 minutes, which would have been 33 without OT. Grant should be around 34 minutes tonight and he’s a double-double threat, especially in a high-paced game.
Kyle Anderson ($5,100 DK/$4,600 FD) – I think this would be an FD-only play since you need two. Slo-Mo has played 29 and 36 minutes and he can fill the stat sheet a little bit. He’s recorded 10 and 14 rebounds and plays hard, and when you catch him on a night where he scores he’s got a little bit of upside. Just like Conley, this is boring but minutes equal money.
Joe Harris ($4,300 DK/$4,300 FD) – Only if the Nets are down multiple pieces, and I do prefer LeVert and Grant on FD.
Jae’Sean Tate ($4,100 DK/$4,200 FD) – We’re a week into NBA and I’m writing up someone I didn’t know existed before Saturday. Tate (who is only PF on DK) was the darling of the model in the first game for the Rockets and he paid off in spades. Tate played 37 minutes and put up 13 real points. The Rockets like his hard-nosed style and I would think he earned himself some minutes while the Rockets are so short-handed. Tate played the fifth-most minutes behind Harden, Christian Wood, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.
*Update* Josh Jackson is a model darling tonight and is the best of cheap SF options. He will be in all my cash games.
Christian Wood ($7,200 DK/$8,100 FD) – Speaking of Wood, he has to be in the cash conversation tonight. He’s just a C on DK and a little cheaper, but he flashed the appeal and ceiling to his game Saturday. He hardly left the court and produced a 1.23 FPPM en route to a 31/13 50 burger on DK. As much as I love Nikola Jokic, nobody has accused him of being a staunch defender. Wood had 15 paint touches Saturday, which would lead the league on a per game basis if it held up. It will until the Rockets are full-strength. With the Nuggets getting abused in the paint early, Wood remains an elite target.
Darius Bazley ($5,700 DK/$5,800 FD) – The Thunder continue to be a team that brings some sort of value and Bazley fits the bill. He played 33 minutes and had some defensive stats in a steal and two blocks to go along with a 15-10 double-double. The scoring is questionable, but the rest of the package isn’t as much.
Lakers Value – Keep an eye on Kyle Kuzma and/or Markieff Morris if AD or LeBron happens to be out.
Bojan Bogdanovic – FD play only because you have to have two players. This is an ugly position as of Sunday night.
Nikola Jokic ($9,800 DK/$10,000 FD) – I’m not going to be able to play him in cash in all likelihood just due to who I need ahead of him. However, there’s no reason to not play him in cash. He’s one rebound short of consecutive triple-doubles to star the year. The Rockets are did bring in Wood, but he’s not going to stop Joker. He has a 1.54 FPPM on the season so far.
Rudy Gobert ($7,400 DK/$7,700 FD) – There’s really not a big man on the Thunder that’s going to pose much of a challenge. Yes, Al Horford used to be an elite defender but Gobert has a couple inches on him. He’s not what he used to be and Gobert plays about 30 minutes every night. He’s a Barbara Walters threat every night and has grabbed 17 boards in each game so far.
Mason Plumlee ($5,700 DK/$6,000 FD) – He had a little trouble with fouls last game but he’s kind of like a “Joker Jr.” early on. I’m certainly not comparing his skill level to Jokic, but Plumlee can pass the ball and make a play here and there. He’s assisted on at least five buckets in each of the first two games and is a solid rebounder. If Clint Capela plays, that does present a tougher challenge but the price is still solid for Plum and his 1.00 FPPM.
P.J. Tucker ($4,800 DK/$4,300 FD) – He’s one player that puts the phrase “minutes equal money” to the test, as Tucker can do nothing for loooooong stretches. Still, he’s really cheap and the Rockets will need him on the floor as much as he can handle tonight. Tucker played 42 minutes the first game and playing under 40 would be an upset in my eyes. He appears to be the lowest we can go for NBA Cash Game Breakdown 12/28.
James Harden, Christian Wood, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince
Ja Morant will be my other stud of choice in cash game settings tonight.
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