Category: Articles

Trail Blazers vs Thunder 

Vegas Favorite – Thunder (-6.0), O/U – 231.0

Money Line : POR (+210) OKC (-260)

Players to Watch 

Damian Lillard (POR) – ($10,200/43.12 FPPG)

Season Averages – 26.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.4 APG 

Russell Westbrook (OKC) – ($12,100/54.60 FPPG)

Season Averages – 21.2 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 11.2 APG 



Mavericks vs Rockets 

Vegas Favorite – Rockets (-10.0), O/U – 221.5 

Money Line : DAL (+450) HOU (-650)

Players to Watch 

Luka Doncic (DAL) – ($9,800/38.35 FPPG)

Season Averages – 20.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 5.5 APG

Chris Paul (HOU) – ($7,800/36.73 FPPG)

Season Averages – 15.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 7.9 APG



Heat vs Nuggets 

Vegas Favorite – Nuggets (-10.5), O/U – 214.0

Money Line : MIA (+450) DEN (-650)

Players to Watch 

Josh Richardson (MIA) – ($6,700/30.94 FPPG)

Season Averages – 17.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.8 APG

Nikola Jokic (DEN) – ($11,400/47.77 PPG)

Season Averages – 20.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 7.7 APG

Celtics vs Cavaliers 

Vegas Favorite – Celtics (-11.0), O/U – 211.0

Money Line : BOS (-900) CLE (+600)

Players to Watch 

Al Horford (BOS) – ($8,000/31.54 FPPG)

Season Averages – 12.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.8 APG

Jordan Clarkson (CLE) – ($5,400/25.30 FPPG)

Season Averages – 16.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.3 APG



Lakers vs Pacers 

Vegas Favorite – Lakers (-2.5), O/U – 217.0

Money Line : LAL (-140) IND (+120)

Players to Watch 

LeBron James (LAL) – ($10,800/50.67 FPPG)

Season Averages – 27.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 7.2 APG

Myles Turner (IND) – ($7,300/32.82 FPPG)

Season Averages – 13.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.7 APG 



Raptors vs 76ers

Vegas Favorite – 76ers (-3.0), O/U – 231.0

Money Line : TOR (+130) PHI (-150)

Players to Watch 

Kawhi Leonard (TOR) – ($9,800/46.49 FPPG)

Season Averages – 27.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.1 APG

Joel Embiid (PHI) – ($11,600/52.78 FPPG)

Season Averages – 27.2 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 3.6 APG

Hawks vs Kings 

Vegas Favorite – Kings (-5.0), O/U – 236.5

Money Line : ATL(+180) SAC (-220)

Players to Watch 

Trae Young (ATL) – ($7,300/30.50 FPPG)

Season Averages – 16.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 7.3 APG

De’Aaron Fox (SAC) – ($7,800/36.49 FPPG)

Season Averages – 17.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7.2 APG



Jazz vs Trail Blazers 

Vegas Favorite – Jazz (-1.0), O/U – 217.5

Money Line : UTA (-110) POR (-110)

Players to Watch

Donovan Mitchell (UTA) – ($9,000/36.12 FPPG)

Season Averages – 22.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.0 APG

CJ McCollum (POR) – ($7,300/31.48 FPPG)

Season Averages – 20.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.8 APG

Using Pace as a leading indicator, what players in prime match-ups can we look to for value and a higher than usual DFS points floor.

The name of the game, as I am learning in NBA DFS this year, is being able to pivot. Especially on FanDuel, where we do not have late swap (bad!) but we do have the punt position (good!), staying on top of news and being able to swiftly pivot to better or more optimal plays when news breaks is overwhelmingly important.

To that end, I have been struck by some Twitter commenters recently who have attempted to take a number of DFS analysts to task on plays they recommended that didn’t work out or unendorsed pivot plays that emerge later in the day after much of the content has been written, videos have been recorded, and projections have been calculated. Listen people, I can assure you these folks are doing the best they can respond to breaking news, but they have their own lineups to set, other personal obligations to attend to and any number of additional professional responsibilities to focus on to produce content for every piece of breaking news.

These guys and gals out there are teaching us to fish, not just dropping the fish in our mouths while we lazily wait around for it to happen. We should each be responsible for keeping up with news and evaluating for ourselves the impact to the game, the slate, and our respective lineups.

As one example, Andy Means at Rotogrinders has been getting it especially tough lately from the I-don’t-want-to-think crowd. He is one of many getting flayed daily for opinions based on facts. Let’s just try not be this guy.

We are capable of using our own brains from time to time and we should not expect to be handed the answers to the test. I’m here to help today, but this is a puzzle we have to each figure out for ourselves.

Here’s hoping we can all find the right plays on this fun eight-game slate.

Dallas Mavericks @ New York Knicks
’18-’19 Pace
Mavericks – 16th
Knicks – 13th

Luka Doncic ($9,800) – Yes, his price is rising and he is creeping into elite salary territory, but it’s not without justification. Doncic’s price on January 2th was a nice $7,800. Since that time, his FD points are 34, 32.8, 35.6, 44.6, 48.5, 61.6, 38.7, 47.6, 30, 49.2, 37.4, 58.6, and 61.4. Notice you don’t see any numbers in the 20’s in that set. And if I compared those point to salary, you would find only one time where he did not 4x his salary.

But for me, tonight is less about recent form, and much more about the stage. You know how there is this narrative when Lebron is at MSG, or Durant plays at MSG, or when Kobe played at MSG, or when Jordan went off at MSG, and most recently it was Madison Square Harden for a night? There is just something about those bright New York lights that bring out the stars and I just think tonight it’s Doncic’s turn. Other than the fact that the Knicks absolutely stink against small forwards, I have no statistical reason to back this up, but I just have this feeling Luka is going off tonight. It’s his one visit to New York this season, the media has been buzzing about how good he is, so I just believe tonight is his showcase to the rest of the country. I’ve been wrong before, but I am done doubting Doncic.

Trey Burke ($5,400) – We are going to need some savings to offset Broadway Doncic tonight, and Burke is the paragon of an outstanding tournament play. The reasons? He was chalk on Tuesday against Charlotte and absolutely burned everyone with only 17.9 FD points in less than 25 minutes so that will lead to low ownership tonight. All other NYK point guards are still on the shelf, so if Coach Fizdale has his right mind about him Burke will approach 30 minutes. Dallas is 20th in the NBA in defensive efficiency against point guards. Burke’s usage when he is on the floor is an elite 26.8% and he has seen at least 24 minutes in the last five game he has played.

Burke’s price is $900 higher than Tuesday, which is a thumbs down emoji, but it’s just the algorithms catching up to his increase in minutes played and opportunity against a marginal defensive team.

Atlanta Hawks @ Sacramento Kings
’18-’19 Pace:
Hawks – 1st
Kings – 2nd

Dewayne Dedmon ($6,300) – If you are a fan of Pace, then this game is basically your Super Bowl. The number one team versus the number two team, two of the three highest totals on the night, both teams get a pace bump by at least 3.3 points, and the spread is less than six. Points are a comin’ in this one, which should be good for us DFS degenerates.

We will start with the cheap player first here. There is a lot of analysis about how bad Willie Cauley-Stein is on the road compared to how good he is at home. And I am sure he will showcase that tonight in a home game against a team ranked 26th against centers, but there is not much said about the fact that WCS stinks defensively everywhere. The Kings are 23rd in defense against centers, and Dedmon has a nice little role of four games with at least 23 minutes and 30 FD points. I won’t be afraid to deploy Dedmon in tournaments as a pivot (WORD OF THE DAY) off of Jahlil Okafor in tournaments. Dedmon checks in at $1,100 cheaper.

De’Aaron Fox ($7,800) – To put that last price in perspective, Fox is only $400 more than Okafor. I mean Okafor is playing well lately, but he does not have the season-long track record nor the attractive match-up that Fox walks into tonight.

I could just post the box score from the last time these two teams played when Fox went off for 65.5 FD points, scoring 31 points with 10 rebounds, 15 assists, and a steal. All you really need to know is the Hawks are 21st in defense against opposing point guards and Trae Young is the second-worst point guard in terms of real plus-minus that has stepped foot on an NBA court this year (Collin Sexton fell lower then Young, congrats Collin!).

Looking at the PGs priced higher than Fox, I think I would only want Damian Lillard over Fox tonight. Kemba and Conley aren’t speaking to me the way Fox is. On sites that allow two point guards, my default build is going to be pairing Fox and Jerrod Bayless which should open up beaucoup de dollars as I move down the roster.

Pelicans vs Rockets 

Vegas Favorite – Rockets (-11.5), O/U – 233.5

Money Line : NOP (+550) HOU (-800)

Players to Watch 

Jrue Holiday (NOP) – ($9,500/43.11 FPPG)

Season Averages – 21.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 8.1 APG 

James Harden (HOU) – ($13,900/59.23 FPPG)

Season Averages – 36.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 8.2 APG 



Suns vs Spurs 

Vegas Favorite – Spurs (-13.0), O/U – 226.0 

Money Line : PHO (+900) SAN (-1600)

Players to Watch 

Devon Booker (PHO) – ($8,100/38.10 FPPG)

Season Averages – 24.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 6.7 APG 

Rudy Gay (SAN) – ($6,000/28.51 FPPG)

Season Averages – 14.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.5 APG



76ers vs Lakers 

Vegas Favorite – 76ers (-6.5), O/U – 229.0

Money Line : PHI (-330) LAL (+260)

Players to Watch

Ben Simmons (PHI) – ($9,400/42.92 FPPG)

Season Averages – 16.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 8.2 APG

Brandon Ingram (LAL) – ($6,900/28.13 FPPG)

Season Averages – 16.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.9 APG

Raptors vs Pacers 

Vegas Favorite – Pacers (-6.0), O/U – 217.5

Money Line : TOR (+230) IND (-280)

Players to Watch

Kyle Lowry (TOR) – ($7,500/36.71 FPPG)

Season Averages – 14.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 9.4 APG

Victor Oladipo (IND) – ($7,800/37.69 FPPG)

Season Averages – 19.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 5.3 APG


Spurs vs 76ers 

Vegas Favorite – 76ers (-3.5), O/U – 225.0

Money Line : SAN (+145) PHI (-170)

Players to Watch 

LaMarcus Aldridge (SAN) – ($8,200/38.19 FPPG)

Season Averages – 20.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.5 APG

Joel Embiid (PHI) – ($10,800/52.44 FPPG)

Season Averages – 27.1 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 3.6 APG


Nuggets vs Jazz

Vegas Favorite – Jazz (-4.0), O/U – 216.0

Money Line : DEN (+150) UTA (-180)

Players to Watch 

Nikola Jokic (DEN) – ($10,700/46.22 FPPG)

Season Averages – 19.6 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 7.7 APG

Rudy Gobert (UTA) – ($10,200/41.29 FPPG)

Season Averages – 14.9 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 2.2 APG 

Using Pace as a leading indicator, what players in prime match-ups can we look to for value and a higher than usual DFS points floor on FanDuel.

Andy Grove, the legendary founder and Chairman of Intel once said about has objectives as a leader, “The art of management lies in the capacity to select from the many activities of seemingly comparable significance the one or two or three that provide leverage well beyond the others and concentrate on them.”  He also was fond of saying, “Each time you make a commitment, you forfeit your chance to commit to something else.”

While I am sure he wasn’t thinking about DFS when he said those words – and rather about the much more important work of running a company. But the principles are one and the same. Every night (at least for NBA and MLB) we are looking for the right edge, the one piece of analysis or luck to fall our way that will help us out-leverage the competition and set us apart from what others are doing.

Take last night’s FD-Guru GPP lineup, for example.

Many people – me, you, FD-Guru, and thousands of others – had Devin Booker locked into lineups. He, of course, was ejected in the third quarter for fighting with Gorgui Dieng, disappointing scores of owners. Now, many people were affected equally by this and lost a quarter and a half of production. Owners who went straight chalk with other guards such as Derrick Rose, Kyle Lowry, and SGA were left scrambling with a player who didn’t come close to value because of getting tossed, but had no leverage to weather the storm because their fates were tied to popular player choices.

The right GPP move was to pivot off of some of those plays – as shown by the GPP lineup posted that rostered Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Both of these players crushed last night and – despite the loss of Booker – were able to carry the lineup well past the cash line in GPPs.

That’s our challenge this and every night in NBA. We know the players. We know their abilities and limitations. But the right time to deploy them, providing leverage from the field, is the key to smart roster construction. Differentiate your lineup in some unique way tonight.

Let’s find some players we can commit to who can help us make some money.

Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls
’18-’19 Pace:
Hawks – 1st
Bulls – 24th

Dewayne Dedmon ($6,200) – I will be honest here, I am not totally in love with Dedmon’s price tonight. I much preferred the $5,500 Dedmon to this upgraded $6,200 version. But Dedmon simply destroys teams with bad defenses against centers, and what do you know, the Bulls come in ranked 28th against the position. One matchup item I love after digging into the numbers: the Bulls are third worst in the NBA in rebound differential. Dedmon has at least six rebounds in five of his last six games, and I project that number to be at least nine tonight if his minutes are there.

Sandwiched around some games lost due to an ankle injury, Dedmon has recently scored 35 FD points against the Magic, 41 against Philly, 27 against Brooklyn, 21 against Toronto, and 27 against Miami. That’s one game in the bunch at less than 4x value and he gets to go up against Robin Lopez tonight. For me, Dedmon makes a logical midrange pivot off the chalky Aron Baynes if not paying up for an Embiid or Jokic tonight.

Lauri Markkanen ($6,900) – More evidence as to why the Dedmon price is not superb – Markkanen comes in only $700 more expensive with a much higher floor and ceiling. The second-year big man has one game in the last month under 20 FD points, that being the 50-point shellacking by the Warriors earlier this month.

Markkanen has finally pushed past 30 minutes per game and is now averaging a point per minute fantasy production. Against the Hawks – ranked 29th against power forwards – Markkanen should have little resistance whether in the post-up or floating out to the three-point line. In a game with the third-highest total of the night, several Bulls should produce some monster lines, and Markkanen has one of the best individual match-ups on the team.

Detroit Pistons @ New Orleans Pelicans
’18-’19 Pace:
Pistons – 22nd
Pelicans – 5th

Luke Kennard ($3,900) – Here is a perfect candidate for your FanDuel punt position tonight. FD does not actually list anyone at the SF position who will actually play SF for Detroit tonight so you have to know about the Pistons lineup plans to take advantage of a weak spot in the Pelicans’ defense. New Orleans ranks 29th in the league against opposing small forwards, which leaves the duo of Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard in tremendous spots to produce tonight.

It’s Kennard who is seeing increased run lately. Kennard now surpasses 20 minutes per game on a nightly basis (up by 5.9 in his last four games) and has seen an 8.2 FD points per game increase over his last four. He has also seen usage of at least 23% in his last three games and scored at least 24 FD points in three of his last four. For a player who is trending up, buy low and give yourself access to the rest of the studs.

Jrue Holiday ($9,500) – Yes, Jrue Holiday is now priced in the range of guys like Blake Griffin, Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond, and Kemba Walker. But Jrue’s play recently has justified the price hike. His last five games – all on the road:

@MEM – 45 FD points, 25% usage
@POR – 32 FD points, 20% usage
@GSW – 49 FD points, 24% usage
@LAC – 51 FD points, 30% usage
@MIN – 46 FD points, 28% usage

Finally back home and facing a team ranked 22nd against shooting guards, this is going to be a ceiling game for Holiday. If you need a little icing on the cake to convince you – look at Holiday’s game log the last time these teams played on Dec. 9. In a game on the road and with Anthony Davis in the lineup. Holiday smoked the Pistons for 50.5 FD points and a 33.61 USAGE RATE!

Hornets vs Pacers 

Vegas Favorite – Pacers (-7.0), O/U – 219.0

Money Line : CHR (+280), IND (-360)

Players to Watch 

Kemba Walker (CHR) – ($9,300/41.07 FPPG)

Season Averages – 25.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 5.6 APG

Domantas Sabonis (IND) – ($7,100/32.05 FPPG 

Season Averages – 15.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.9 APG


Clippers vs Spurs 

Vegas Favorites – Spurs (-8.0), O/U – 223.5

Money Line : LAC (+375), SAN (-500)

Players to Watch

Lou Williams (LAC) – ($6,900/29.14 FPPG)

Season Averages – 18.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.9 APG

LaMarcus Aldridge (SAN) – ($8,600/37 FPPG)

Season Averages – 20.6 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.5 APG 


Suns vs Timberwolves 

Vegas Favorite – MIN (-10.5), O/U – 227.5

Money Line : PHO (+750), MIN (-1200)

Players to Watch 

Devin Booker (PHO) – ($8,100/39.27 FPPG)

Season Averages –  24.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 7.0 APG 

Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) – ($10,300/46.71 FPPG)

Season Averages – 22.2 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 2.9 APG

Rockets vs Magic 

Vegas Favorite – HOU (-6.0), O/U – 214.5

Player to Watch 

James Harden (HOU) – ($12,800/56.72 FPPG)

Season Averages – 34.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 8.7 APG

James Harden has been playing better than anyone in the league lately. In January alone he has scored above 40 points in three of five games, averaging 39.8 points per game in that same period. Harden has also been putting up great rebound and assist numbers this month with an average 8.2 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game. These numbers have helped Harden achieve two triple-doubles and two double-doubles so far this month. In terms of fantasy points, Harden has been a great asset for fantasy players. In the five games thru January all his performances have been above 50 FP including two 80 FP contests. Tonight he will look to continue his dominance on the court and fantasy players will be watching closely. 


Warriors vs Mavericks 

Vegas Favorite – GSW (-6.5), O/U – 227.0

Player to Watch 

Kevin Durant (GSW) – ($10,000/48.34 FPPG)

Season Averages – 28.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 6.1 APG

Durant has been an essential part of Golden State’s offense, averaging 25.3 points per game across an average 34.5 minutes this January. Besides his scoring, he has also helped out the team with an average 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game this month. Durant has been consistent with putting up good fantasy points so far in 2019. In all four games he has put up above 39 FP with a high of 53.5 FP. If he continues playing as he has, fantasy players will be wise to add him to their rosters tonight. 


Trail Blazers vs Nuggets

Vegas Favorite – DEN (-5.0), O/U – 217.0

Player to Watch

Nikola Jokic (DEN) – ($11,000/46.04 FPPG)

Season Averages – 19.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 7.5 APG

Nikola Jokic has had a phenomenal January so far. In the seven games the Nuggets have played in 2019, Jokic has played an average 32.3 minutes per game and put up at least a double-double each game with three triple-doubles as well. Fantasy players who have chosen Jokic for their rosters have been well rewarded with five of seven games scoring above 50 FP and a high of 72.4 FP against the Charlotte Hornets. With Jokic looking to extend his double-double streak tonight against Portland, fantasy players who chose him have an elite pick with high potential. 

Boston vs Magic 

Vegas Favorite – BOS (-7.0), O/U – 213.5

Players to Watch 

Kyrie Irving (BOS) – ($8,300/41.63 FPPG)

Season Averages – 22.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.4 APG

Nikola Vucevic (ORL) – ($9,500/44.59 FPPG)

Season Averages – 20.2 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 3.7 APG


Spurs vs Thunder 

Vegas Favorite – OKC (-6.0), O/U – 227.0

Players to Watch 

LaMarcus Aldridge (SAN) – ($8,500/37.81 FPPG)

Season Averages – 20.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.4 APG

Paul George (OKC) – ($9,700/47.86 FPPG)

Season Averages – 26.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.9 APG


Nuggets vs Suns

Vegas Favorite – DEN (-9.0), O/U – 218.5

Players to Watch

Nikola Jokic (DEN) – ($11,000/46.15 FPPG)

Season Averages – 19.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 7.6 APG

TJ Warren (PHO) – ($6,800/30.19 FPPG)

Season Averages – 18.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.5 APG

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