TGIF! We have 10 games, so the aim is to collect as many flames from the pool of names. So, take a sip of that coffee, then shake the cobwebs out of your head so all that remains is your brain. You know, that thing that causes torment and pain but can also take you to a higher plane.
BKN, CLE, DAL, IND, MIN, UTA and WAS are playing the first leg of a back-to-back, while no teams played last night.
DraftKings Sportsbook has three games with a total of at least 230: WAS/IND (233), ATL/BKN (230) and MIN/UTA (235). There is one double-digit favorite: MEM -10.5 over DET. The Bucks and Mavericks game is a pick ‘em. There are three home dogs: ORL +8, CHA +3 and NO +2.
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers ($8,900) – Harden returned from a 14-game absence on Monday, and was not-surprisingly rusty, shooting 4-of-19 from the field. There’s plenty to like about that game, though. The usage rate was 37.5% and he attempted 19 shots while racking up four rebounds, seven assists and two steals. He also played 38 minutes.
Today, he gets a matchup against a Lakers team that is second in offensive pace and boosts the FPPM to point guards by 11.04% above league average. The ownership should be low, considering the plethora of options available today and his performance on Monday.
Prior to succumbing to injury, Harden went for at least 50 DKFP in four of nine games with three of those over 60 DKFP.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves at Utah Jazz ($9,000) – Since Karl-Anthony Towns went down with an injury three games ago, Edwards has picked up his game. The usage rate has been over 30% in two of those contests and he’s attempted 18, 22 and 18 shots, respectively. He’s also adhered to the “sharing-is-caring” mantra, dishing out 17 assists within that span. The eye-opening stat, though, has been the steals. Edwards has managed at least five in each game. I don’t think that’s sustainable, but it is a sign of aggression at both ends of the court. All of this has translated to 57.5, 46.25 and 56.75 DKFP.
The matchup and game environment should be a good one tonight, as Utah is 10th in pace while Minnesota is first, so it’s not shocking that this game has the slate’s highest total. Utah is also 25th in defensive rating and has boosted the FPPM to shooting guards by 5.04% above league average.
Other Options - Ja Morant ($10,600), Donovan Mitchell ($8,700), Jalen Brunson ($6,800), Fred VanVleet ($7,000)
Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves at Utah Jazz ($4,700) – Nowell is the microwave off the bench for the Timberwolves. However, during November, there were some issues with the power, causing fizzled performances. He scored fewer than 20 DKFP in 11 of 12 games during the month, with four of those below 10 DKFP. He attempted double-digit shots only twice.
Since Nov. 27, a span of five games, Nowell has attempted double-digit shots in every contest and put up at least 25 DKFP in all with two games above 30 DKFP. This game has the highest total on the board and there should be plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy goodies.
Other Options - Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,100), Corey Kispert ($4,500), Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($3,600)
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic ($10,000) – Siakam is the alpha of the Raptors squad, usually garnering a usage rate in the 28% to 30% range. The well-rounded nature of his game portends for a relatively high floor. He’s scored fewer than 40 DKFP only once this season. While the ceiling may not be as high as some of the other options on the slate, he has gone for at least 50 DKFP six times and does have a 61.5 DKFP and 72.5 DKFP performance on the ledger.
The matchup is a good one as the Magic are 27th in defensive rating and have boosted the FPPM to power forwards by 18.39% above league average.
Julius Randle, New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets ($7,900) – The range of outcomes is wide for Randle, primarily because many of his shots come from the perimeter. As a result, he’s scored fewer than 40 DKFP 13 times this season, with four of those under 30 DKFP. That said, he’s put up at least 50 DKFP four times with two of those over 60 DKFP. When he’s cooking, Randle is a sight to behold. When he’s not, he better watch his back.
These teams met back in October, and Randle only put up 33 DKFP, as he shot 7-of-19 from the field. The Hornets are 23rd in defensive rating and they have boosted the FPPM to power forwards by 10.26% above league average.
Other Options - Kevin Durant ($10,500), LeBron James ($10,400)
Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors ($5,700) – Wagner didn’t play much to begin the season, but due to injuries in the Orlando frontcourt, he has become an integral part of the rotation, starting the last four games. He’s played 36, 22, 32 and 36 minutes, putting up 27.75, 12.5, 42.5 and 47.75 DKFP, respecrively. Another 40-burger shouldn’t be expected, but he should play over 30 minutes and he does average 1.02 DKFP per minute.
Other Options - Deni Avdija ($4,800), AJ Griffin ($4,800), Quentin Grimes ($4,200), Dyson Daniels ($4,100)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers ($11,500) – Embiid has a whopping 37.8% usage rate on the season. He literally does it all, stuffing the stat sheet from left-to-right, or right-to-left. He averages 1.57 DKFP per minute and has put up at least 50 DKFP in 10 of 16 games this season. Want ceiling? How about 100.25 DKFP, which he accomplished seven games ago against Utah.
The Lakers play fast and have boosted the FPPM to centers by 5.25% above league average.
Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers ($9,400) – There are two issues with Porzingis: Health and shooting efficiency. He is questionable for today with an ankle issue, which occurred in the first quarter of last game. Sigh. He did return and play 35 minutes, though. He’s also missed just one game this season, so... You’re telling there’s a chance?
As for the shooting efficiency, Porzingis is converting 46% of his attempts from the field and 34% from downtown. Because he is so perimeter oriented, there is volatility here. He has converted at least 45% of his field goal attempts in 12 of 24 games. When he’s exceeded that number, though, he usually drains 50% to 60%. On the flip side, when he’s off, he’s usually ice cold. As a result, he’s produced 11 games with fewer than 30 DKFP and has exceeded 50 DKFP seven times with a high of 63 DKFP.
The Pacers are third in offensive pace and 19th in defensive rating. Against centers, they have boosted the FPPM by a league-leading 19.76% above league average. In that number, though, they have neutralized three-point prowess 15.49% below league average.
With the questionable tag and volatile production, the ownership should be low, which skews the risk/reward prospects into the favorable category.
Other Options - Anthony Davis ($11,100), Rudy Gobert ($7,000)
Thomas Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers ($5,000) – Bryant is averaging 1.15 DKFP per minute. He just hasn’t received that many minutes, as the playing time has been sporadic at best. Over the last two games, though, he’s played 28 and 32 minutes. Anthony Davis ($11,100) did only play eight combined minutes in those contests, so we are not yet sure if this is but a blip on the radar or the New World Order.
Friday’s contest against Embiid should allow for Bryant to play as many minutes as he can, so that Davis doesn’t have to bang down low on the defensive end, allowing him to roam a little more. There is risk of foul trouble for Bryant, so this has to be factored into the calculation, as does the $5K price tag, which isn’t that cheap. That said, he has gone for over 30 DKFP in each of the last two games.
Other Options - Kelly Olynyk ($5,900), Walker Kessler ($4,200)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.