I wanted to start this article off by looking at some of the cool metrics produced by our Player Scoring Calendar. For those of you who are unaware, the Player Scoring Calendar tracks the DraftKings outputs for every player, in every game. It puts them on a calendar-style spreadsheet to make it easy to identify hot streaks or players who are playing multiple games in the same week or on back to back nights.
The trends that it produces have been very valuable for roster construction and identifying value. I included two charts below. The chart of the left is sorted by “L10”, which means Last 10 days. These are the players who have scored the most DraftKings points over the course of the last ten days. The chart of the right is the “Heat” chart. “Heat” is how hot a player is, defined by how many points they are playing over their season average. For example, Ish Smith’s L10 is 40.1 and his heat is 11.71. That means that his average in the last ten days (40.1) is 11.71 more than his season average.
Probably the name that jumps out the most from the L10 list is Isaiah Thomas ($7,800). A very reasonable price for a players who has averaged 42.64 DraftKings PPG over the last ten days. Thomas is filling it up for the Celtics averaging 25.7 real PPG over his last six contests. Thomas is a very valuable fantasy point guard for two reasons. Number one, he LOVES to shoot the ball. Almost to a fault, Thomas is going to launch nearly twenty shots a night for the C’s. Number two, despite his propensity to shoot the rock, he’s been dishing out plenty of assists on a nightly basis. He’s racked up 7+ assists in six of his last ten games.
It was a slow start to the season for Donald Sloan ($5,000) but now that he’s plugged into a starting spot, his fantasy production has exploded. In the last six games that Sloan has started, he’s averaging 25.8 DraftKings points, but has been even better in the last four outings. That average climbs to 30.9 DKPPG which would be 6x value again tonight. This is not an ideal matchup with Utah, but it’s clear that Sloan is getting more comfortable in the Nets offense and is averaging 11-9-5 in those last four games. He’s a sneaky double-double threat tonight in a game that the Nets might be able to keep close long enough.
Khris Middleton ($7,000) is in the midst of a career breakout. He’s playing the best basketball of his life right now and it’s translating into big time fantasy production. Middleton has scored at least 39 DraftKings points in four of his last five while pouring in 20+ real points in seven of eight. Now he gets to play the Rockets in an up-tempo game and excellent matchup, so there’s no reason to believe that Middleton cannot keep it rolling tonight.
I love it when studs have “bad matchups”. That’s accurate for Kevin Durant ($9,700) tonight as DraftKings lists his matchup as the second worst in the league against Dallas. Let me make this very clear, Kevin Durant is matchup proof. It doesn’t matter who he plays, this guy is going to fill it up in a big way. If you don’t believe me, Durant scored 51.5 DraftKings points against the Mavericks in their only meeting this season. You know exactly what you’re going to get from KD who has posted 29 (!!!) straight games of 20+ real points. He’s averaging closer to 30 PPG this season and can fill it up in every single category. He’s scored the 6th most DraftKings points per game in the L10 (but fourth most on this slate) and will be under-owned since the casual fan will stay away from the “bad matchup”.
It was encouraging to see Derrick Williams ($4,500) earn 28 minutes for the Knicks even with Carmelo Anthony in the lineup. Especially if Lance Thomas sits out again, you have to look towards Williams as a valuable option. Williams is averaging over one DK PPM over his last five games while contributing 27+ on three occasions. His big game of 31-7 last week shows what kind of upside this guy has. He’s an absolute menace on the glass and plays a high energy game every second he’s on the court. If Thomas sits, Williams should see 25+ minutes in an uptempo contest with the Clippers, making him one of the better value plays on the slate.
He’s going to be heavily owned, but for good reason. I’m talking about Chris Bosh ($7,600). The reason that he is likely to be heavily owned is how thin the Heat are right now. Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Ben Udrih are all likely to miss this game while Dwyane Wade is currently listed as questionable. He’s a solid play either way, but if Wade can’t suit up, expect Bosh to post his highest usage rate of the season. He’s already averaging 33.2 DK PPG over his last six contests despite shooting the three ball relatively poorly. Keep an eye on the injury report, but Bosh would be asked to shoulder the entire offense for the Heat with his teammates sitting out.
It wouldn’t be unheard of for the Spurs to rest some of their players tonight on the second half of a back to back, especially against the Lakers. Even if they have a full arsenal, LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,200) has been outstanding as of late. He’s dropped 35+ in three of four, including two games of 41 and 43 DK points. Aldridge diced up the Lakers defense for 24-11 (42.8 DK) when these teams faced each other on Dec 11.
Dwight Howard has already been ruled out for tonight’s game so look towards Clint Capela ($5,600). Capela played 28 minutes after Howard left Wednesday’s game after one minute. That earned his owners a 10-13 line for 31.25 DraftKings points. Capela has been awesome when given playing time this season, so expect another productive game tonight.
Robin Lopez ($5,300) continues to be a force for the Knicks. I never thought I would type those words in my life. Back to back double-doubles and they weren’t cheapies. A 16-10 line against Philly followed by a 22-12 line against the Jazz. Yes, it’s true that both of those games were OT-aided but Lopez was still averaging 25.8 DK PPG in the nine outings previous to those two big games. He’s now scored 25+ DK points in eight of twelve including 30+ on four occasions and 40+ on two occasions in that stretch. Now he gets the friendly Clippers front-court in an uptempo matchup. Lopez could be solid again tonight.
That’s all folks! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more player analysis as news and injuries break closer to tip-off! Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.