Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 11/12/17

A short Sunday slate today, and I'll be real - it's one of the most difficult in recent memory in terms of finding value. Now, sometimes this can actually mean we can get a significant edge. There are precious few obvious plays, and only 2 of the 8 teams playing today rank in the top half the league in terms of PACE. 3 of the 4 games feature a team with a top 7 defensive efficiency. It's going to be a grind. Will that stop us? Heck no. Let's try to find some diamonds in this rough.

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Point guard

Goran DragicGoran Dragic FD - $6600 DK - $6600
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 30.98 DK - 32.13
Tyler JohnsonTyler Johnson FD - $4000 DK - $4500
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 21.37 DK - 21.29
Our system is drawing out both of the Miami point guards as potential values today. Johnson has sneakily been playing 30-33 minutes per game off the bench, and while he is somewhat erratic, he is capable of an easy 5x-8x points per dollar on these prices when his shot is falling. Goran Dragic has been similarly enigmatic. It's funny - his overall season line is nearly identical to last year's (20/4/6 vs. 20/4/5), but an early season clustering effect on what he's produced his stats has him looking somewhat inconsistent. I don't believe this to be the case. He's the primary ball-handler for the Heat, and I think we can take the 32.4 FanDuel points per game that he's averaged this season at face value. Reggie Jackson is a less than stellar defender, and while Detroit is a bad match-up in general they are basically an average match-up as far as this slate is concerned. When pickings are slim, beggars can't be choosers.

Dennis Smith Jr.Dennis Smith Jr. FD - $5900 DK - $5500
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 28.85 DK - 30.22
Okay, so I admit it's not looking great at the PG2 slot right now. I actually like Smith more than many. The plan seems to be to play him 30-31 minutes in normal game scripts, but the problem is that Dallas' terrible team yields basically no normal games. This one doesn't look like much of an exception. Vegas has the Mavs with the lowest implied total on the day - so why play Smith? It's basically because every other point guard play is so bad. Westbrook is too expensive given how his usage has declined and Dallas plays so slowly. Kyrie's replacements don't qualify at PG. Lowry is against Boston, who plays the best D in the league and one of the league's slowest paces. Reggie Jackson is in a similar situation against Miami. Collison plain sucks. And... we're out of guys. This might be the least enthusiastic write-up I've ever written. Maybe you're just supposed to play both Heat guys.

Shooting Guard

James HardenJames Harden FD - $11800 DK - $11900
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 55.9 DK - 58.34
The fairly obvious big money payoff today - Harden has finally delivered on what we figured he'd do with Chris Paul on the shelf, topping 77 fantasy points in each of his last two games as of this writing. and he has one of the few actual good match-ups on the day in Indiana. The Pacers have played a top 10 PACE this season with a bottom 10 defensive efficiency, and while we're not quite to the point where the defense vs. position sample size is relevant, Oladipo has looked a lot worse on defense this year given the offense load he's carrying in Indiana. If the assists are legit, and I have no reason to believe they aren't, we could see Harden's price climb into the mid-12s in short order.

Marcus SmartMarcus Smart FD - $5800 DK - $6100
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 29.8 DK - 29.87
Terry RozierTerry Rozier FD - $5100 DK - $5000
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 25.27 DK - 25.45
Ahhhh, some actual value! With Kyrie shelved with a bad face, we get two very solid options out of the Boston backcourt. His injury also reminds me of a joke my middle school soccer coach made. A kid fell down and said his ankle hurt. He asked the kid, "Does your face hurt too?" The kid said no, and my coach said, "Well it's killing me. Get up and keep playing." Ahh, the good old days. Where was I? Ah yes, basketball. Smart should be a lock for a lot of ball handling duties and 35-36 minutes a game, which should overcome a non-plus match-up with the Raptors. Rozier has already been playing 27-28 minutes a game, and has averaged 6x points per dollar over his last two games. It's looking like a simple price/opportunity mismatch with these guys, and I'd happily stack both today given the lack of options.

Also considered: Eric Gordon.

Small forward

Josh RichardsonJosh Richardson FD - $4300 DK - $4700
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 20.59 DK - 20.32
This might be the worst position I have had to write up in my 4 years writing basketball articles, and I wish I was exaggerating. Richardson climbs to the top of the list for the same reason that the one eyed man is king in the land of the blind - the rest of the plays are just that bad. In Richardson we at least get a guy with a very solid points per minute floor. He seems to be in line to start and play 34-35 minutes in close games, and since Vegas likes this as the closest game on the slate, I think he'll maintain that floor here. He's averaged 5x points per dollar on this price this season, and that's with minutes that have come and gone when games have gotten out of hand. If you figure him to get his full run, he's a nice option to help you pay up elsewhere and escape a terrible position somewhat cheaply.

Harrison BarnesHarrison Barnes FD - $6400 DK - $6000
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 29.77 DK - 30
Trevor ArizaTrevor Ariza FD - $5700 DK - $5100
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 24.36 DK - 24.32
I'm not looking forward to picking between these particular poisons, so let's hope for some late breaking news. I'll give you the case for each, briefly. Both stand to play lots of minutes with relatively little competition, since both are the only credible small forwards that their teams are rolling out right now. Barnes has more upside and an arguably higher floor thanks to the fact that he's actually one of the options on his team's offense... but he's got one of the worst match-ups in the league in OKC. The Thunder have the second best defensive efficiency in the league this year, and George has looked great given the fact that he has other offensive options around him. As for Ariza, he actually has a good match-up, but the man has a lot of complete disappearing acts on his resume this season. I like that he's cheaper (so I don't have to spend up a bit for a guy like Barnes who I don't like very much), but he's game-script dependent in a way that most players aren't. Not only is he at the usual risks for playing time, but he's really only utilized when Harden and Gordon have bad match-ups themselves. That isn't the case here, and I'm feeling pretty concerned. With a gun to my head I'm going Barnes here.


Power forward

Ryan AndersonRyan Anderson FD - $4400 DK - $4400
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 23.58 DK - 25
Another awful position! Huzzah. Anderson is cheap, but he has been pretty darned bad recently as Harden has come to life. I like him a little more than Ariza though because of the role he fits in this particular game. Oladipo is a decent defender to be on Harden, and Anderson happens to draw one of the best defensive match-ups of the game in Thad Young. Young combines a lack of interest with a lack of talent, which is deadly when defending a guy who can kill you for sleeping for a second like Anderson. I'm actually fairly bullish on him here, and like him for the same reason I like Richardson - when in doubt, I want to pay less at a position with little to no value.

Jayson TatumJayson Tatum FD - $5300 DK - $6300
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 24.94 DK - 25.68
Because you have to play 2 power forwards, and have you seen some of the other dudes on this slate? I guess I should do this again, by price this time:

Tobias Harris: Bad match-up, averaging 4.1x per dollar this year.
Melo: One of the slowest match-ups in the league, seems to be the 3rd fiddle on his team.
James Johnson: Played 22 minutes last game.
Thad Young and Sabonis: No way to tell how these minutes are going to shake out, but Thad could be an OK play.
Serge Ibaka: You can't play people against Boston right now.

And, we're out of starters. See what I'm saying? Tatum is at least cheap, and when healthy, should play 32 minutes or so per game. He's averaged paying off this price this season, and Toronto is both playing faster than they did last year (a top 11 PACE) and playing worse on defense (bottom 1/2 of the league in defensive efficiency). So, I'm thinking about closing my eyes and jamming Tatum in there.


Dakari JohnsonDakari Johnson FD - $3700 DK - $3400
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 25.71 DK - 24.8
Gulp. With Steven Adams ruled out, the Thunder rolled with Dakari Johnson the last time around, and he paid about 5x points per dollar on this price in 23 minutes. That's nothing to write home about for sure, but Johnson has been very active in the admittedly limited playing time he's had this season, and he actually is capable of crashing the boards and putting together defensive stats. This comes with the obvious "only if he's starting" caveat, but there is a chance he doesn't suck completely. I think. Dallas is incredibly bad on defense and at rebounding... so, maybe?

Clint CapelaClint Capela FD - $6900 DK - $6600
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 37.16 DK - 37.73
The top 4 guys on this slate are Drummond and Whiteside (playing each other, too expensive anyways), Al Horford (returning from a concussion, too expensive), and Myles Turner (too expensive, having his minutes monitored). So spending up looks like... Clint Capela? I don't think I've ever written a picks article so heavily focused on making arguments against other guys, but that's the reality we're in right now. Even playing Capela looks somewhat risky given Mbah a Moute's likely return here. After him you get Jonas Valanciunas against those slow Celtics who are awesome at defense. Fun slate, huh? I think I'll just plug Johnson in and play for the best. Play this one at your own risk, my friends.


2 Visitor Comments

  1. “Shelved with a bad face” Now that’s funny!

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