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DraftKings and FanDuel NBA DFS Deep Dive: November 18Premium content

Adam Scherer

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Chris Spags is back with the Switch and Hedge: FREE NBA DFS Picks for 2/6 daily fantasy on DraftKings & FanDuel. Damian Lillard + more!

Guard

Luka Doncic has been nothing short of spectacular so far in his sophomore season. He leads Dallas’s regular rotation players in usage percentage (32.7), assist percentage (47.8) and rebounding percentage (14.3) and has averaged 1.73 DraftKings points per minute through his first 12 games. For context, James Harden has averaged 1.71 DraftKings points per minute this season. Doncic’s 54.1 effective field goal percentage this season is higher than his 49.8 effective field goal percentage last season, so we could expect some regression in his shooting, but it is also likely that he will shoot better this season than last season as he continues to improve as a player.

His assist percentage this season is about 16 points higher than last season, but he is averaging 19.6 potential assists per 36 minutes this season compared to 13.1 potential assists per 36 minutes in 2018-19. While the first inclination may be to avoid players against the Spurs because of years of past experience unsuccessfully rostering players against them, they rank in the middle of the pack in pace this season and have allowed the seventh-most points per 100 possessions.

Damian Lillard gets a pace-up spot against the Houston Rockets, who rank third in pace this season. The Blazers are 11th, so there should be plenty of possessions to go around in this game. Lillard’s 27.6 usage percentage and 28.4 assist percentage are both down slightly from last season (28.1 percent and 29.9 percent, respectively) but not enough that we should be concerned. Lillard is also averaging 38.6 minutes per game this season which makes it difficult for him to fail at a reasonable price tag in this fast-paced matchup.

If you are looking for a reason to like Lillard less, it is worth mentioning that the Rockets have been the third-most efficient team at defending pick-and-roll ball handlers this season. Lillard only trails Trae Young in pick-and-roll possessions per game. I generally believe that overall offensive involvement and pace outweigh specific stats like this but, at the very least, it isn’t a positive stat for Lillard.

Donovan Mitchell faces the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have played at the second-fastest pace in the league this season. They have struggled to defend ball-dominant perimeter players like Mitchell this season as well. Mitchell leads Utah with a 30.4 usage percentage and he is second to Mike Conley with a 22.6 assist percentage. He also leads the team with 34.8 minutes per game. On the opposite end of the spectrum from Lillard, Mitchell has an excellent play-type matchup. He is fifth in the NBA in pick-and-roll possessions per game and Minnesota has allowed more points per possession to pick-and-roll ball handlers than every team except for the Brooklyn Nets.

Fred VanVleet continues to play huge minutes with Kyle Lowry sidelined and his salary remains inexpensive. VanVleet has averaged 40.8 minutes per game with a 24.0 usage percentage and 34.8 assist percentage in four games since Lowry was injured. Over that time, he has averaged 1.12 DraftKings points per minute. He is only $7,400 on DraftKings and $7,800 on FanDuel in a matchup against the Charlotte Hornets, who have been the eighth least efficient defense in the NBA this season.

Honorable Mention: James Harden, Kyrie Irving (Q), Russell Westbrook, Eric Bledsoe, Spencer Dinwiddie (better if Irving is out), Jeff Teague, Dejounte Murray

Value: Aaron Holiday ($4,100 on FanDuel), Patrick Beverley (Q), Jordan Clarkson

Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo saw his price drop to $11,300 on DraftKings. He is $1,000 more expensive on FanDuel, but you have to roster two small forwards so his position gives him added value. He has averaged 1.96 DraftKings points per minute this season and is playing 36 minutes in competitive games. Milwaukee is involved in a lot of blowouts, but the absence of Khris Middleton should keep more of their games competitive going forward. Antetokounmpo has averaged 2.07 DraftKings points per minute over 178 minutes without Middleton on the floor this season. He has a 36.8 usage percentage over that stretch.

Pascal Siakam has averaged 42.1 minutes per game over four games since the injuries to Lowry and Serge Ibaka. He leads the team with a 29.2 usage percentage and is second with a 19.4 assist percentage over that span. He has averaged 1.05 DraftKings points per minute over those four games, but his 42.6 effective field goal percentage is 16.5 points lower than his 59.1 effective field goal percentage overall last season and 15.5 points lower than his 58.1 effective field goal percentage without Lowry (or Kawhi Leonard) on the floor in 2018-19. The Hornets’ frontcourt is a good spot to start getting those numbers back to normal.

Kristaps Porzingis has the second-highest usage rate on the Mavericks at 26.1 percent and his 12.5 rebounding percentage is second-best among regular rotation players. He has averaged 32.0 minutes per game this season and is typically seeing 34 minutes in competitive games. As mentioned before, the Spurs are playing at a reasonable pace this season and have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league. At $7,500 on DraftKings and $8,400 on FanDuel, Porzingis stands out as a strong value.

Domantas Sabonis is only $7,300 on DraftKings in a pace-up spot against the Brooklyn Nets. He is $8,800 on FanDuel which isn’t as appealing, but is still reasonable. He comes with less opportunity cost than frontcourt-mate Myles Turner since he is power forward-eligible. Sabonis has a 23.8 usage percentage, 18.1 rebounding percentage and 16.6 assist percentage this season while averaging 1.27 DraftKings points per minute. He is more productive when Turner is on the bench and he gets more minutes at the five, but he should still be productive in 36 minutes of action against the Nets. Sabonis is listed as questionable on the 1:30 injury report, and if he sits, we should see more production from Turner and T.J. Warren in particular.

Lauri Markkanen’s price tag is plummeting. He is down to $5,900 on DraftKings and only $6,800 on FanDuel. While there is certainly reason for his salary to be falling as he struggles to adjust to Chicago’s offense, there are also reasons to continue rostering him. First, despite his struggles this season, he has still averaged 0.98 DraftKings points per minute. That is fewer than the 1.08 points per minute that he averaged last season, and his usage percentage has gone from 25.4 last season to 21.3 this season, but he has still been a relatively productive player. Second, his minutes have increased from where they were earlier in the season.

Luke Kornet was kicked out of the rotation several games ago, and since then, Markkanen has been getting minutes as the backup center behind Wendell Carter, Jr., which has opened the door for 34-36 minutes of play in competitive games instead of 30-32. Kornet is now having surgery on his nose, so we don’t need to worry about him suddenly rejoining the rotation anytime soon.

Markkanen gets a pace-up spot against the Bucks tonight, who lead the league in pace. Milwaukee has also allowed the second-most three-point attempts per game this season. Despite his decreased usage, Markkanen has averaged 6.0 three-point attempts per game, which is third on the team behind Zach LaVine (7.0) and Coby White (6.4). Markkanen’s price tag is at a point where his average production gives us a reasonable score for his salary and there is really nowhere for him to go but up.

Honorable Mention: Paul George (better if Leonard out), Jayson Tatum, Julius Randle (potential for decreased minutes with Taj Gibson, Mitchell Robinson and Bobby Portis all currently in the frontcourt rotation), T.J. Warren

Value: O.G. Anunoby, Danuel House, Cedi Osman

Center

Karl-Anthony Towns is still only $10,200 on DraftKings tonight. He is $11,600 on FanDuel, which makes him nothing more than a secondary option at a reasonably deep center position where you can only roster one player. He has played 188 minutes without Andrew Wiggins on the floor this season and has averaged 1.93 DraftKings points per minute with a 31.3 usage percentage. Last year, Towns averaged 1.77 points per minute with a 39.2 usage percentage in 274 minutes without any of Wiggins, Jimmy Butler or Derrick Rose on the floor. His matchup tonight is less than appealing as he faces a Utah squad that ranks 24th in pace and second in defensive efficiency this season.

If the matchup were better, however, his ownership would be much higher than his current eight percent projection on DraftKings. The matchup isn’t as scary for Towns as it is for other bigs because he doesn’t rely on scoring at the rim. He can pull Rudy Gobert away from the basket in addition to getting in the paint and picking up rebounds and assists. If you need reassurance that Towns can have success against Gobert, he has averaged 1.42 DraftKings points per minute in seven meetings since the start of the 2017-18 season. For context, he has averaged 1.41 DraftKings points per minute over that span.

Clint Capela is probable for tonight’s game against Portland. He was sidelined for two games with a concussion, so I assume that he won’t be limited unless we hear otherwise. Capela dealt with a shoulder injury earlier in the season that affected his play and possibly caused him to play fewer minutes, but his recent absence was unrelated to that injury. Prior to his concussion, Capela had played at least 36 minutes in three straight games and he was on his way to a fourth when he sustained the injury. Capela is averaging 21.0 rebound chances per game this season, which is the fourth-most in the NBA.

All three players ahead of him, Andre Drummond, Rudy Gobert and Sabonis, are averaging at least 4.4 minutes per game more than Capela. Those three players have averaged 34.7 minutes per game. If Capela had averaged 34.7 minutes per game all season, he would rank second to Drummond with 24.1 rebound chances per game.

Hassan Whiteside remains affordable at $6,700 on DraftKings and $7,900 on FanDuel. He has averaged 1.29 DraftKings points per minute this season and his minutes have been trending up with at least 30 minutes in four of his last five games. Tonight’s game against the Rockets is a pace-up spot and he should have plenty of rebounding opportunities. He is a strong pivot to, what appears to be, a very popular Tristan Thompson.

Tristan Thompson averaged 1.01 DraftKings points per minute with a 21.5 rebound percentage without Kevin Love on the floor last season compared to 0.81 points per minute with a 17.5 rebound percentage when Love was playing alongside him. So far this season, Thompson has been more productive with Love on the floor but I wouldn’t expect that to remain the case over a larger sample. In addition to Love being out, the Cavs will also be without Larry Nance, Jr. That leaves Thompson and Ante Zizic as the center options for Cleveland against the Knicks’ rotation of Taj Gibson, Mitchell Robinson and Bobby Portis. The Knicks have allowed the fourth-most putback points per possession this season, though they have allowed the eighth-fewest possessions per game.

Thompson has averaged the fourth-most putback possessions per game this season and he has always been a strong offensive rebounder. Even if the Knicks win out and are able to do a decent job of limiting Thompson’s putback attempts, he should see increased playing time without Love or Nance and he is priced for his normal role.

Honorable Mention: Rudy Gobert, Myles Turner, Mitchell Robinson, Aron Baynes, Steven Adams

Value: Ante Zizic

Adam "ShipMyMoney" Scherer has been playing and analyzing DFS full-time since quitting law school in 2016. He has qualified for the 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Championship, the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship (3x) and the 2019 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship. You can find him on Twitter at @ShipMyMoneyDFS or by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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