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
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
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.