Daily Fantasy NBA Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 10/23/17
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Welcome back from Sunday Football! Whether you got yourself involved in the 3-game slate or not, yesterday was about football. We jump back into things tonight with an 8-game slate, featuring plenty of polarizing match-ups. We start off with the Wizards and Nuggets. In a game with an incredibly high 223 over/under, Vegas expects plenty of scoring and non-stop action throughout. As we all know, John Wall thrives in the open court. He derives upside from the fastbreak and turning outlets into assists/baskets instead of halfcourt sets. He should be able to do whatever he wants against the Nuggets, who are starting Jamal Murray at PG for the time being. He's a great scorer, but Murray isn't in the game to play defense. He pushes the ball and has allowed over 1.4 FP/min. They then have Jokic in the paint, who doesn't do much protecting. If you're able to find some of his defensive film on Twitter, you'll be surprised how slow a guy can be from the elbow to rim. Wall is going to be very popular and rightfully so. He's the best run and gun PG in basketball and he faces off with one of the fastest playing teams in the league. There's no reason to fade, outside of liking 2 other guys more. In cash games, I'll be locking him into 100%.
It looks like Hassan Whiteside is going to miss a 2nd straight game with a bone bruise. Though reported doubtful, he is officially questionable, so keep an eye out as the day moves along for an update. Dragic is an even better play if Whiteside is out, but it doesn't make a huge difference. When facing the Hawks, you first look towards PG. Dennis Schroder is one of the worst defenders in the league and Dragic is the perfect guy to take advantage. He's crafty enough to drive and execute in the paint and good enough to stretch the floor and hit the 3 if Schroder cheats back. Dragic has seen 30 and 32 minutes in the first 2 contests, going for equal fantasy totals. He'll presumably see closer to 35 minutes nightly night basis and will continue providing 1+ FP/minute. He'll look to initiate and control the offense tonight and is a lock for another 30 fantasy points. He may not have the upside of a John Wall or Stephen Curry, but he hit 45+ on 11 occasions in 2016. This is certainly a spot I could see an explosion in.
Predictably, Goerge Hill saw just 22 minutes last game. He was on the 2nd leg of a B2B and has a very capable and young backup in De'Aaron Fox that can play big minutes. Hill will be back over 30 minutes in this one and sees a top 3 match-up for point guards. The Phoenix Suns have been playing extremely fast since 2016 and we'll be targeting guards against them all season long. Eric Bledsoe is definitely a quality man to man defender, but it truly doesn't matter with a 210+ total and mere -3 spread. Hill is way too cheap on both sites and whether you play him or not, he's undoubtedly one of the top point per $ plays on the entire slate. Vegas is expecting this game to be close and 32-36 minutes of George Hill at PG against this defense is worth closer to $7k than $5K. He'll be a mainstay in my cash game lineup and a guy I'm fine with in tournaments. His upside is around 40, so it's not a bad idea to go elsewhere in tournaments if you think the ownership % will be gaudy. Point guard as a whole is deep as usual and there are quite a few different ways to go. Don't ignore Goerge Hill, whatever you do.
Dion Waiters FD - $6400 DK - $5600
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 34.85 DK - 35.99
We'll get right back to the Miami Heat at SG, though this one is a bit more contingent on the status of Hassan Whiteside. Waiters will still get attention if Whiteside is in and he still makes for a prime GPP play, but he's great across the board with Whiteside out. He takes a ton of the offensive responsibility and also sees a large uptick in peripheral production (rebs, assts). Dion Waiters thinks he's a lot better than he is, which is actually good for us. Even though he doesn't have as good of a match-up as Dragic, he'll shoot as much as he possibly can. He isn't as crazy as he once was, but 20 shot attempts is nothing on a decent night for Waiters. This match-up with the Hawks is faster pace than the Heat typically play. Waiters posted 32 fantasy points in Whiteside's absence 2 nights ago and will look to encore tonight against a below average Hawks perimeter defense. Shooting guard is far from a lock, so even though Waiters is risky, there isn't a huge opportunity cost to be worried about.
Jeremy Lamb FD - $5500 DK - $5700
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 27.64 DK - 27.75
Lamb finally got to the 38 minutes we all expected in game 1, but the production didn't follow. Let's hope that keeps the public off a guy that should still be very popular. With Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist still out, Lamb is going to see 33+ minutes against a weak Bucks defense. Lamb was well over an FP per minute in 2016, so I don't really care about 2 games against good defenders where he's been slightly under that number. I look for him to pick up his groove and start throwing up some 30-40 FP totals with a stuffed stat sheet. Remember, Lamb was scooping up 5-6 boards a game last year and hit 18 once. Tony Snell is a decent defender, but he isn't anyone to run away from (well, at least not in fantasy). Lamb is as close to a guarantee as you'll get at shooting guard. Unless some value comes out after I write this, it's easily the weakest position. there are some guys with upside, but they aren't in an optimal spot. Lamb is affordable, safe, and gives you GPP-winning upside.
Harrison Barnes FD - $6100 DK - $5600
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 31.06 DK - 31.64
When talking about consistency, Harrison Barnes is at the top of that list. If you want to know his absolute floor, look at last game, Worst-case scenario, there it is. On most nights, Barness will see close to 38 minutes and 35 fantasy points. The focal point may be a bit of a stretch, but the ball runs through Barnes on a lot of Mavs possession. He's a responsible ball-handler who can score 1-on-1 and also kick it out for an assist. The offense is already dinged up as well, so they're leaning on him even heavier than normal. The match-up with the Warriors is both good and bad. The bad is the match-up. It'll either be Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson for most of the night. The good is that the Mavs play slow and the Warriors plat at a top 5 pace, so they will have a lot more possessions and opportunities to capitalize than on most nights. As long as the game isn't over midway through the 1st half, Barnes is extremely safe. He will be involved early and often and if the game does happen to stay close, Barnes will have to go odd. Get some exposure at a meh SF position.
T.J. Warren FD - $5600 DK - $5300
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 26.56 DK - 25.66
We're big fans of this game and it's not for any unknown reason. Sitting at a 223 over/under, Vegas expects these guys to go back and forth all night long and end up pretty close in the end. If things go to plan, this should be the game T.J. Warren finally breaks out. He had 42 against the Lakers, but if you remember correctly, that was just a slightly above average game for Warren for a nice stretch of time. He'll get back there soon and when he does, his price will go back to $7k. He'll get his easiest match-up of the young season, facing off with a combo of Justin Jackson and Buddy Hield. Jackson is the better defender, but he's a rookie and still very raw. Warren is a presence to be taken seriously on both sides of the floor and if you don't respect him, he will do damage. I expect some teams to focus a bit too much on Bledsoe+Booker (rightfully so) leaving Warren or Chriss for a huge night. The Kings and Suns both play fast, so the peripherals should be excessive. As long as the game stays close and Warren sees over 30 minutes, there is no doubt about value (32) being hit.
Kyle Anderson FD - $4800 DK - $4800
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 23.87 DK - 22.84
Kawhi Leonard is out for another game, so this one isn't tough to figure out. Anderson has been written up in each of the first 2 games and he's been 1/2. Struggling last game will hopefully keep the crowd off of him. He's still a talented young corner man who figures to get around 30 minutes against an average Raptors team. Anderson is never going to light it up, but if you need a super cheap value play in a cash game, you can do worse. Popovich relies on him at SF without Leonard and I don't see the possibility for under 28 minutes. That's perfectly fine at his price in cash games, so take with that what you will. The Raptors are a good defense, but they an undersized Norman Powell at SF, so Anderson should be able to take advantage. I definitely prefer both the safety upside of Warren and Barnes, but Anderson gives you a basement baller who could be the key to paying up elsewhere. To be clear, don't expect 35. Don't expect 15, either. Anderson is as boring as it gets, but that's fine.
Assuming Hassan Whiteside is out for the 2nd game in a row, both of these guys are elite plays in both cash games and tournaments. Last game, both Johnson, and Olynyk saw under 30 minutes. That's because they faced a Pacers team without Myles Turner, so they went small and were allowed to. Against the Hawks, they won't be able to go as small. Johnson and Olynyk should both see just under 30 minutes of court time against a below average interior defense. If James Johnson ends up starting at the 5, Dewayne Dedmon will have to seat. He just has a 0% chance of covering him. Johnson creates a huge match-up problem and has been one of the best value options for a few years now in NBA DFS. He stuffs the stat sheets in every way and will rarely disappoint in a good spot. Olynyk isn't as reliable. At least he wasn't in Boston. He was very up and down and you could always tell how the night would go after the first 3 or 4 shots. He might get a more consistent role in Miami, and there are fewer mouths to feed, so I could see him fitting in. Either way, as long as Whiteside is out, you're not going wrong with either of these guys. You can play both if you want.
Giannis Antetokounmpo FD - $12200 DK - $10900
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 54.66 DK - 53.32
Giannis is dominating the fantasy scene so far. With 3 games over 60 fantasy points, he is going to see another price rise. I know $12,000 is a lot, but Westbrook showed it could be done last season. We'll hop on him again here against the Hornets, who have nobody to cover him. If MKG was active, I might fade Giannis for one of the other studs. But with both Batum and MKG gone, I can't figure out who "gets" to cover Giannis. My guess would be Jeremy Lamb, but that's still just so ugly. Giannis is going to obliterate whoever the Hornets throw on him is the point. He's projected for 54 fantasy points, which is conservative for what we've seen so far. He will regress a bit, but he's as legitimate as it gets. Antetokounmpo is once again one of the to3 plays on the position, bar none. A lot may have to choose between Russ Westbrook and Giannis tonight, but I'll go Giannis every time. Wess is in a better position and Giannis is just a bit cheaper, so I'll take the opportunity-cost benefit and stay with Antetokounmpo. Power forward is a spot you can get some tremendous value with, but can also reach all the way up and look for a 70 bigger out of a superstar like Giannis.
Nikola Jokic FD - $8600 DK - $8900
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 47.73 DK - 49.9
If you watched the Nuggets last game, you understand why I'm so aggravated with Nikola Jokic. In over 30 minutes of basketball, he scored 0 points. He shot just 3 times. I don't get that. Unless it's a 1 game experiment that we have no idea about, it's asinine, stupid, and any other word that resembles those. When you're a superstar like Nikola Jokic, you don't shoot 3 times in a game. That does not happen and I will lose a lot of my love if it does again. I expect him to turn it around here, though, so I'll be holding on for dear life. Jokic was a guy I called 2 years ago and it was great to see him breakout last year. He now has a perfect match-up to turn things around with against the Wizards. Gortat is a good back-to-the-basket defender, but he has nowhere near the athleticism or smarts to stay with him. Jokic is one of the 5 best minds in the game right now and 10 minutes of watching him will make that evident. He's the top center on the board tonight against a Wizards team who wants to run and gun as much as possible. Around the same tag, you have Joel Embiid, who may be popular. If he is popular, I'll be fading. If he's ignored, I'll get a bulk of GPP ownership. Getting back to Jokic he's already seen a price decrease and you can count on him putting up a 50+ very soon. He's affordable on both sites, though there's an interesting guy a bit cheaper that we'll touch on next.
Willie Cauley-Stein FD - $5800 DK - $6000
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 35.04 DK - 33.63
If you're going to be watching this game, you'll wish you had WCS. He's one of the more electrifying big men in the league to watch. Especially against a fast-paced team like the Suns that feed into his speed and style of play. As a guy who's very match-up dependent, it's great to see the Kings with a 213 over/under. We've already touched on George Hill at PG and I really like the inexpensive stack of the two. They ran a bunch of PNR in the first couple games of the season and had a lot of fun with it. As the season moves and chemistry picks up, they will get much better together. WCS is going to face off with Alex Len and Tyson Chandler, who are both immobile compared to Cauley-Stein. They're the same combo that ranked 29th against centers in 2016 and is at 26th so far in '17. As long as WCS can avoid foul trouble, he will get his 28-32 minutes and 25+ FP. The upside for 40+ is always there for a guy who can put up 20 points and rebounds easily given the opportunity. He has nowhere near the certainty of Jokic, but for his price, he's nothing short of reliable. This is a game you want exposure to and WCS gives you that in the paint, contrary to the more popular guards. Good luck tonight and feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!