Let’s talk about pace for a minute and how that’s going to impact teams this evening. Obviously, the faster teams play, the more possessions they will see, which can lead to more point production. So targeting teams that play at a fast pace against other teams that also play fast is highly advisable. Some teams will get boosts or downgrades depending on these matchups. Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.
For example, Steph Curry ($10,500) takes a pretty significant hit in my opinion tonight by facing off with the Detroit Pistons. The Warriors are used to playing fast at 102.1 possessions per 48 minutes (the 4th highest in the league). They will be pulled down by the very slow Pistons who check in at 95.7 possessions per 48 minutes (22nd in the league). For a player with a usage rate as high as Curry’s any reduction in possessions is going to hurt his value.
On the other hand, a big boost goes to the Pistons tonight who should see significantly more possessions than their average game. Reggie Jackson ($7,400) is going nuts right now, averaging 43.5 DraftKings points per game in his last four. He is coming off a 58.25 point game yesterday and his price drops by $100. An excellent, fast paced matchup with the Warriors so I am buying a ton of Jackson stock tonight.
Note that Rajon Rondo ($6,500) is going to have to shoulder the load for the Kings for the time being. His backup, Darren Collison, will miss a few games which minutes Rondo will see all the minutes he can handle. That turned into a massive triple-double against the Warriors in his last game. Rondo should be heavily involved and will get an even bigger boost if Demarcus Cousins misses this game as well (currently questionable).
I am riding the Pistons tonight and that continues with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,000). KCP is simply a solid player with a really nice floor. He’s averaging 25.6 DraftKings points per game and has only failed to reach 5x his salary once this season. He’s a minutes monster, playing no less than 36 minutes in any game this season. He’s taking a ton of shots for the Pistons, at least 10 in every game this season. He should provide a solid floor, and has a nice bit of upside with the added possessions the Pistons should see this evening.
Tony Snell ($3,300) is making for an interested value play at SG tonight. He’s earning a lot of minutes for the Bulls as they still try to work out their rotation. He’s a little scary to roster because of how volotile the Bulls rotation is right now, but Snell is the hot hand. He scored 14 points and added six assists against Minnesota on Saturday for 24.5 DraftKings points. He now gets a really nice matchup with the Sixers and wouldn’t need a ton of points to pay for himself at this price tag.
I am very interesting the the POR/DEN game which has the second highest total on the slate and a one point spread. That should lead to plenty of offense for both teams. Danilo Gallinari ($6,100) is always an interesting play. He’s not afraid to shoot the ball. He leads the Nuggets in points per game, minutes per game and is launching over 13 shots per contest. He’s a little volatile and has had a few really poor games, but he’s flashed tremendous upside, scoring 47 DraftKings points in the season opener and 39.5 against the Lakers last week.
If Chris Paul is out tonight and you’re not playing Blake Griffin ($9,600), you’re doing it wrong. He is having a ridiculous season, averaging 49.8 DraftKings points per game and will have to shoulder an even larger percentage of the offense if Paul does sit this out one. Griffin gave us a small sample of what he can do sans Paul, with a 35-11-5 line on Saturday for 57.25 DraftKings points. It’s a weird matchup with Memphis who is normally one of the best, if not the best, defensive team in the league. However, their efficiency numbers are brutal this season and they are giving up a ton of points.
I am keeping a close eye on Lamarcus Aldridge ($6,900). He’s the lowest price he has been all season despite averaging 31.2 DratKings points per game. The Spurs are still trying to figure out their offensive options, but Aldridge is a lock for double digit shot attempts and a nose for rebounds. You are looking for double-double production from Aldridge on a nightly basis, with significant upside. I like him even more if Cousins sits for the Kings.
A player who should be on your radar is Nemanja Bjelica ($4,300). I have no idea who to pronounce his name, but I do love his game! He’s earning increasing minutes for the Timberwolves playing at least 23 in every game this season and a massive 40 (!!) on Saturday. He turned those 40 minutes into 43.75 DraftKings points. The Hawks have struggled with rebounds this season, so I am optimistic that Bjelica can threaten double-digits rebounds. He has played a ton of professional basketball in Europe but this is his first season in the NBA. I expect some volatile games from growing pains, but he can provide a ton of value at the PF position tonight.
The center position is very deep again tonight. Andre Drummond ($9,100) has been a ridiculous monster this season, now averaging 20.3 PPG and 20.3 rebounds per game. His last four games have returned 53, 68.75, 39.25 and 73.75 DraftKings points. You know I love the Pistons tonight, so Drummond is not any different. Festus Ezeli is going to have his hands full trying to defend Andre Drummond.
Jahlil Okafor ($6,300) is in line fore a big night against Chicago. The rookie clearly has a polished offensive game, pouring in 19.7 points per game and doing it in impressive fashion. I wish he would rip a few more rebounds per game, but he’s only scored less than 27.25 DraftKings points in one game this season. The Bulls are dead last in the league against centers so Jah has added upside this evening.
He received a significant increase in price, but Dewayne Dedmon ($4,600) is one of the best values on the slate. He’s earned 30 MPG since Nikola Vucevic has been out with injury. That number (and usage) could rise tonight with PF Jason Smith also slated to sit out. Dedmon is really going to be the sole big man for the Magic tonight in a positive matchup. Dedmon is a foul-trouble risk, but put up 31.25 DraftKings points in his last game, with an impressive 12-9-3 line.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more information as news and injuries break closer to tip-off.