Chris Giordani | November 22nd, 2019
According to ancient lore, “Saturdays Are For The Boys”. However, I’d like to suggest the addendum of “Fridays Are For NBA DFS”. If this could be worked into the meld of such weekend-relishing anchor statements, that would be much appreciated. Because when you take a gander at just about any Friday during the NBA regular season, it’s hard not to get excited if you happen to be a Daily Fantasy Sports Degen such as myself.
Speaking of which, I’d like to thank the crew over at The Scorecrow for welcoming me to their team with such wide-open arms, regardless of how strenuous and limited my schedule may be. This is something I’m quite grateful for, and I suppose since we’re a week out from the appropriate holiday, I can kick-start the “Things I’m Thankful For” listing a day or so earlier than everyone else.
All thank-yous and unclever catchphrases aside, we’ve got a large player pool in front of us and I feel it’s best to identify some anchors per position, regardless of Cash Games or Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs) they may be oriented toward. Some players, at least in my opinion and style of play, are unavoidable and are either standouts as:
- [Oft borderline-extreme] Value plays who are priced a tier too low for their potential,
- Stud players who are great for DFS on a regular basis and have a fantastic matchup, or
- Both of these things.
So, let’s get to the headliners of this party…
Luka Doncic, DAL ($11,400 DK/$12,100 FD)
Stating the obvious? Perhaps. However, some people may be boarding the whole “negative regression” train a bit too soon and this needs to serve as a steady reminder that Luka Doncic is not only the real deal, but we may not have seen his ceiling. In just under 26 minutes played in the 142-94 throttling of the now-defunct Golden State Warriors, Doncic put up the fastest triple-double in the history of the National Basketball Association, with 35 points, 11 assists, and ten rebounds.
Going up against a Cleveland Cavaliers team who sits 18th in the league in Opponent Points Per Game in the last ten games with 110.4 pts allowed on average in that span. Luka is putting up an average of 31.9 points per game in that same recent sample size and making the best out of a 34.3 percent Usage Rate as possible. The Cavaliers also feature an 11th-worst Team Defensive Rating (110.8) while the Dallas Mavericks have the eighth-highest Efficiency percentage and the second-highest Team Offensive Rating.
And despite the fact that the Cavaliers run currently 22nd in the league in Team Pace for the season, the Mavericks are right there with them at 20th overall in the same category and in fact are running at a slower pace than the Cavs in the last ten game sample size, that in which Doncic has been thriving.
I will be getting to plenty of Luka Doncic, and whether you’re a Cash Game or GPP player, this would be highly advised to lock him into as many lineups as possible, or whatever is closest to the edge of your threshold for investment comfortability.
Lou Williams, LAC ($6,600 DK/$6,900 FD)
While I’m sure a number of you are hesitant to roster Lou Williams following the return of Paul George to the court for the Los Angeles Clippers, I am actually more so inclined to get to him on every slate now. The win-win here is he’s either going to draw low ownership on a night Kawhi Leonard actually plays, or be even higher value on a night Kawhi sits (which is often).
And since site-specific pricing has to typically adjust after the fact, host gaming sites (DraftKings, FanDuel, etc.) will often have to compensate for the lack of certainty leading up to a Questionable Kawhi outing. And tonight would happen to be one of those nights!
The Houston Rockets come to Staples Center featuring the third-highest Pace in the league this season, which will be a paced-up spot for the Clippers, and are among the weakest teams against the Shooting Guard position. With both Paul George and Kawhi in the game to full effect, Lou Williams still manages the highest usage rate on the team at 32.6% and still achieving close to 37 minutes between the first and second units (although the game did go to overtime, where he played nearly all of the five additional minutes).
Lou Williams is clearly a focal point to this Clippers offense, with nobody getting in the way of his role, minutes, and usage on this team, regardless of star power. I think even greater to his roster benefit on a slate like today is the vast number of options that, in combination with the looming Kawhi playing status, will wash over the appeal to many DFS players.
Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($6,200 DK/$6,300 FD)
The Golden State Warriors are remarkably bad, and just about at every position. And for a long-distance shooter with a 40-50+ fantasy point capability, 23.2% Usage rate, and nearly 32 minutes per game on average, you can sign me up for that any day of the week. That’s exactly who you’re getting with Bojan Bogdanovic, and I believe he could go overlooked on such a large slate.
My only fear with Bogdanovic is if the game gets into blowout run, but he recently played in fourth-quarter stretches of two lopsided victories against both the Warriors and Clippers, respectively. I especially like that he gets plenty of run with both the first and second units, giving him plenty of stints he can dominate a majority of usage.
Following his second-best fantasy performance of the season in his last game (a 103-95 win in Minnesota), I’d say the remedy to keep the pace of production going would be an extremely lopsided matchup with a G-League-reminiscent Warriors team, allowing the third-most raw points per game to opposing teams (118.9 per game). Bojan Bogdanovic could be a mid-priced diamond in a mess at Small Forward today.
Kevin Love, CLE ($7,800 DK/$8,300 FD)
While there aren’t many bright spots on this Cleveland Cavaliers team, one of them happens to be one of the longest current-tenured members of the entire team. In what one could call an early renaissance year for the LeBron castaway of seasons past, Kevin Love is posting some of his best fantasy numbers in terms of consistency since being left in Cleveland by LeBron (so to speak).
Love has a proven 60+ fantasy point ceiling, he’s averaging close to 30 minutes per game (and close to 40 minutes in his last game against the Miami Heat with Tristan Thompson absent), and he gets a matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, who have the second-worst defense in the league at the Power Forward position (oddly, just ahead of the Cavs). With Thompson absent from their loss in Miami, Love rode a 25.4% Usage Rate to scoring 25 points (along with five three-pointers), 13 rebounds, and two assists.
This is likely a better play on DraftKings, where you save $500 and Blocks don’t count for as much as they do on FanDuel, which is a prowess he tends to lack in. But Kevin Love is in a great position regardless of Thompson’s return, which has been the beauty of his rejuvenated consistency on the fantasy side of things considering his usage and minutes haven’t been negatively impacted by his presence this season.
Rudy Gobert, UTA ($8,200 DK/$8,600 FD)
At the same time, I hate to beat a dead horse (and boy, are the Warriors ever one this season), but it’s nearly impossible for me to ignore a gift-wrapped matchup with the worst team defensively against nearly every position, with Center being no exception. And with the recent uptick in fantasy productivity that we’re reminded of 2017-18 Rudy Gobert by, it’s an even harder task to find a way that he doesn’t make it into at least a couple of your lineups.
Averaging 47.45 DraftKings Fantasy Points over his last five games played, Gobert is far from a usage monster the way one would assume him to be based on his shear fantasy point output. But it’s his well-rounded backside of statistical categories, particularly on the defensive end, that make Gobert such a menace on the court, as well as in the DFS landscape (more often than not). Given the volume of blocks, he’s even more of an asset on FanDuel where you’re awarded three points instead of two (such as on DraftKings).
While I wouldn’t doubt if Rudy Gobert wound up being a chalkier play on a big slate, he’s very much worthy of matching or exceeding the field’s suggested ownership, as there’s no telling how bad this beatdown in Utah may presumably spiral into on Friday night.
Best of luck on this NBA Friday, as well as throughout the weekend with your Daily Fantasy and Sports wager endeavors. By all means, feel free to contact me on Twitter (@TopherSquints) with any additional questions, comments, or feedback.
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