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.
Like the majority of other players out there in the DFS universe, I have been burned by John Wall and Nemanja Bjelica the past couple nights so I am ready to wash the taste of those two out of my mouth with this extremely nice 12-game slate we have tonight.
I actually think both of those guys are solid plays tonight, but – Wall especially – has been up and down so much this year, it’s hard to look at a $10,200 price tag ($1,300 more than Jrue Holiday, as an example) and say I am comfortable paying up on the second night of a back-to-back after overnight travel.
The good news is there is plenty of value to pair with the mega-studs on this slate. Here are some of my favorites from a pace perspective.
Oklahoma City @ Sacramento
236 Implied Total
Oklahoma City – 6th
Sacramento – 2nd
SINCE PUBLISHING THIS, SCHROEDER HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR ONE GAME. FOR VALUE PIECES TONIGHT, I WILL PIVOT OVER TO BUDDY HIELD AND (CRYING WHILE I WRITE IT) NEMANJA BJELICA
Dennis Schroeder ($5,700) – At this price tag, I am absolutely in love with Schroeder tonight. What is so appealing about Schroeder is that, as the sixth man, he is typically game-script neutral. When it is a close match-up, he plays his usual 28-30 minutes and also gets solid minutes in blowouts since he runs the second unit when Westbrook and George are off the floor.
Schroeder’s usage, despite coming off the bench, is a healthy 25.6%, in line with other guards such as Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson and De’Aaron Fox. With a team pace bump of 3.9 points and tied for the highest team total of the night, only an extreme blowout would prevent Schroeder from reaching his regular minutes tonight. Sacramento ranks 28th in defensive efficiency against shooting guards, where he regularly plays when sharing the floor with Westbrook, so look for Dennis to improve slightly on his 1.00 fantasy point per minute production against a giving Kings back-court.
New Orleans @ Milwaukee
233 Implied Total
New Orleans – 4th
Milwaukee – 5th
Brook Lopez ($5,700) – With Anthony Davis eligible at power forward, you can get even more exposure to this game by locking in Lopez to the center spot. I am intrigued by his upside tonight in a game where two of the league’s fastest teams are getting a pace bump because of the speed of their opponents. Both teams get at least a 2.5 point pace bump tonight, and while Lopez isn’t your typical bang down low center (hurting his rebounding numbers), this sheer number of possessions allows for more opportunities where he excels, scoring, three pointers, and blocks.
We don’t get many bigs in the NBA who have the combination of 2.5 three pointers and 1.9 blocks per game, but Lopez is defying all logic with those numbers this season. Lopez is averaging over 30 FD points per game in his last five and you have to go back to November 21 to find a game where he didn’t have at least one blocked shot. One a night where I want as much exposure to this game as I can get, Lopez is an affordable way to get there without blocking the path to Davis, Holiday, Giannis, or Bledsoe.
Washington @ Houston
225 Implied Total
Washington – 7th
Houston – 29th
Chris Paul ($8,200) – While Paul may be towards the high end on price, the value he could potentially return in this match-up shouldn’t be overlooked. The Rockets see a 2.1 point pace bump tonight and Paul will line up against a team handing out points to point guards like Christmas presents.
As mentioned before, the Wizards are coming off a back-to-back with overnight travel, so I am not particularly high on any of their starters. With tired travel legs, I am relying on some uninspired defense against the Rockets, who have been scoring points in droves the past week. Paul’s price essentially hasn’t changed this month and he is regularly hitting 4x value with double digit points and at least eight assists and a steal in his past five games.
There is a real blowout risk in this game, as Houston is favored by 11 at home, but Paul has played less than 31 minutes only once in his last eight games so a role through at least the first three quarters should be secure. The environment is certainly working in Paul’s favor this evening to be the latest PG to add to the growing number of memes that highlight John Wall’s embarrassing defense.