The NBA season grinds on and for the first time in a few days, we don’t have multiple teams on a back-to-back situation. That doesn’t mean chaos can’t happen but we should be able to get through this slate without anything too crazy. We should be able to carve out some pretty clear paths with just five games in the NBA DFS: Gems with Ghost and Adam 10/26 and it’s Taco Tuesday – Let’s ride!
One thing I want to clarify based on the questions I have received over the past few years is that I will never list a player under the $5,000 price tag simply because I use the projection model to identify all targets in this range and below. While there are often plenty of options that I like at $5,000 and less, since I often find myself with not only one – but multiple – in my NBA DFS lineups, you all have access to the very model I use to make my own selections, so when asking yourself: “Should I use player X or player Y?”, make sure to check the model because that is how I make all of my own decisions and I truly ride or die by it on a daily basis.
Before running to the DraftKings, FanDuel, or Yahoo lobby to construct your NBA DFS lineup after reading this article, please make sure to utilize the abundance of tools we have at Win Daily:
Steph Curry ($11,000 DK/$10,400 FD)
On smaller slates especially, one of the more important factors is just raw fantasy points. We all want that flame emoji next to the player’s name and Curry can still accomplish that. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Curry has a 33.7% usage rate and 1.63 fantasy points per minute in the opening few games. The Thunder haven’t allowed an overwhelming amount of total three-point attempts, but the frequency is in the bottom 10 and teams have shot 41.7% from behind the arc. Sure, some of that was skewed by Seth Curry from the Sixers going nuts but this is a team that has a poor defense (27th in defensive rating) and the Warriors play at the second-fastest pace in the league. There is a strong chance either Curry or Luka Doncic anchor my lineups tonight.
Dejounte Murray ($7,300 DK/$7,800 FD)
Murray has a 1.12 fantasy points per minute so far this season, which wouldn’t appear to be anything all that special. However, Murray is eighth in the league in touches and his mediocre output so far can be traced to his poor shooting. The true shooting rate is just 38.5% and his usage rate is still 23.6%. It may not stick around but the Lakers are 21st in defensive rating and third in pace. If the value picks aren’t there with just five games, Murray could be very helpful for building lineups that don’t take chances with players you shouldn’t. Murray also will defend Russell Westbrook a lot through the game and Westy is tied for the second-most turnovers while Murray is tied for fifth in steals per game. On top of that, when the shot starts falling he’s going to have a big game.
Jordan Poole ($5,900 DK/$5,700 FD)
Tyrese Maxey ($6,000/$5,500)
Donovan Mitchell ($8,700 DK/$8,600 FD)
I don’t always play Mitchell or any Jazz player when they are all healthy but his usage rate is 10% higher than any other member of the starting five at 32.5%. The fantasy points per minute are 1.16 so far on a true shooting rate under 49%. Mitchell is too accomplished for that to continue and Never is in the top 12 in pace so far. I will say both teams are in the top eight in defensive rating so we may not want an overwhelming amount of players from this game. The Nuggets are traveling into Utah on a back-to-back so Mitchell gets to pick on some tired legs. If you decide to spend up on this position, Mitchell has to be among the priorities although I’m not convinced spending here is the move.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($8,100 DK/$7,100 FD)
It’s been an adventure playing SGA so far this year but this game is a great environment for him. First, he’s going to have to score at a high clip for the Thunder to keep up with Golden State. The Warriors also push the pace and with the lack of a true center that can stay on the floor, they have been vulnerable in the paint so far. No team has given up more points in the paint per game than Golden State at 55 per game and SGA is fifth in drive per game and tied for ninth in field goal attempts off drives at seven per game. The salary doesn’t match the upside in this one.
Will Barton ($5,700 DK/$5,800 FD)
Derrick Rose ($5,700 DK/$5,600 FD)
Josh Giddey ($5,800 DK)
The rookie is only SF-eligible on DraftKings but you could always use their new MPE and play him at shooting guard and slide pieces around. This looks like the position where we could save some money. Sure, LeBron James is there and you can always play him but I don’t think he’ll be a high priority. Instead, playing Giddey in a very high-paced game looks interesting. He only has a 17.7% usage rate but he’s turned that into 1.09 fantasy points per minute. He stands to be somewhat popular since he flashed his ceiling in that last game, scoring 47 DK points on 8-13 shooting and adding 15 total assists and rebounds. In this game environment, he has every chance to approach 35+ DK while playing over 30 minutes like he did this past game.
Jae’Sean Tate ($5,300 DK/$6,200 FD)
I’ll leave Michael Porter Jr. and Evan Fournier in the honorable mention category, but I’m not super interested. Tate catches my eye as much as a small forward can on this slate because his minutes have increased in every game, topping out on 35 this past contest. He’s not going to score a lot but he chips in with assists and he rebounds the ball. Dallas is tied for fifth in rebounds so far and Houston needs help there and trying to contain Luka. Tate will be a big part of that as he’s likely the best individual matchup for the Rockets against Doncic. If we can get him at these minutes against a high-usage player, he should have a steal or two on top of everything else.
Michael Porter Jr. ($6,200 DK/$6,900 FD)
Evan Fournier ($6,200 DK/$6,100 FD)
Julius Randle ($9,500 DK/$9,700 FD)
We haven’t yet featured Randle in much of the content but that stops tonight. Past three Pacers, no player is on the floor more than Randle and this is a continuation of last season. We always say that Tom Thibodeau runs his players into the ground, or “Thibs is going to Thibs” and it’s not without reason. Randle is playing more than 38 minutes per night right now with a 32.6% usage rate and 1.56 fantasy points per minute. The matchup isn’t the most ideal ever with Joel Embiid guarding the paint but Randle isn’t a typical paint player and is still top 10 in touches per game. Only three field goal attempts per game have come from post-ups for Randle, so he can get it done even with Embiid lurking.
Anthony Davis ($9,300 DK/$10,500 FD)
Which site you’re playing on likely dictates if you prioritize Randle or Davis. I’ve been a little hesitant about playing the Lakers big three but Davis has maintained a 27.1% usage rate with 1.28 fantasy points per minute. It is early, but AD leads the league in shot attempts in the paint, and the Spurs are 22nd in points allowed in the paint. Davis is also fifth in paint touches overall and the Spurs don’t have much to match him down low. He may be third in touches per game in the Lakers big three but Davis is arguably making the most out of them.
Tobias Harris ($8,000 DK/$7,400 FD)
Carmelo Anthony ($5,200 DK/$4,900 FD)
Instead of listing players, let’s discuss the position as a whole because it is super thin tonight. Center is headlined by Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic and then we see a drop to Christian Wood or Rudy Gobert. If you’re not utilizing one of these guys, things get much trickier. Embiid is still slightly concerning as he’s just a hair under 30 minutes per game. He’s of course still very efficient and with no Ben Simmons, the usage is 30.2% and Biid is at 1.60 fantasy points per minute. New York is 11th in points per game in the paint, which is notable. I wouldn’t let that make the decision, but there are factors for why Embiid doesn’t have the same ceiling that Jokic might. This past game was the first time he did exceed 30 minutes and 50 DK points.
For the Jokic matchup against Gobert, the defensive abilities of Gobert don’t worry me in the least. Jokic has shown time and again he can handle Gobert and the 32.8% usage rate with 1.75 fantasy points per minute look very appealing. It almost surely doesn’t last but Utah is 29th in rebounds allowed in the paint as well. These two should slug it out all night but Jokic has the advantage since his game is much more complete.
I think Wood could wind up being popular. He is eighth in paint touches per game with the sixth-most paint attempts while Dallas is 12th in the league with 40 points in the paint allowed. Wood also leads the Rockets in fantasy points per minute at 1.30 and the usage rate is 23.8%. Once we add in his 17.3 rebounding chances per game, it’s easy to understand the appeal with Houston playing at a top-five pace and Dallas mediocre in defensive rating at 14th.
Jakob Poeltl ($5,600 DK/$6,800 FD)
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