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Core Plays 1/14/20


1) James Harden, Houston Rockets

FanDuel: $11,700, SG DraftKings: $13,000, PG/SG Yahoo: $58, SG FantasyDraft: $23,700, G

If you recall, we had this exact same situation last week. Russell Westbrook got ruled out well in advance, and the Rockets had a great matchup against the Hawks. I believe they closed that night with a team total around 122-123 points.

With these two teams tonight (Rockets visiting the Grizzlies) ranking second and third in pace, Vegas is expecting a lot of points (238 o/u). That has resulted in the team total for the Rockets sitting in the 121-122 neighborhood. I believe my quote from last week’s article was something corny like “I wonder who is going to be responsible for the majority of those points?”, and obviously that same corny, rhetorical question needs to be asked for tonight as well.

It is The Beard of course!

The numbers with Russ off of the court make it look as if CourtIQ has some sort of glitch: 47% usage rate, 47.1% assist rate, 1.73 FD / 1.84 DK points per minute. But perhaps my favorite thing I came across when digging into Harden this morning was this:

In that game last week against the Hawks, he had his fourth worst shooting performance of the season (46.5% true shooting percentage)…AND STILLFINISHED WITH 75 FD POINTS AND 81 DK POINTS!

What would have happened if he had, ya know, just shot close to expectation? I mean, the guy had 50+ DK points at freakin’ halftime.

He did that by finishing almost every possession the Rockets had in the 39.75 minutes he was on the court. He had a 51.2% usage rate and 42.9% assist rate. Do you ever watch the game of a guy you roster and get low-key mad when he doesn’t factor in at all during a possession? Yeah, you don’t have to worry about that at all with Harden.

So let’s go somewhat conservative with it here. We will say Harden is that 1.73 FD / 1.84 DK points per minute guy (without any additional bump due to the elite matchup) and then put him at a 38 minute projection. That makes him clearly underpriced on FD, where he should be a staple of cash game builds.

Since DK has been way better with their pricing lately, the discussion over there is way more of a “can we comfortably fit him in” as opposed to “is he a good play in a vacuum?” I am going to do all I can to fit him into cash games on that site too though, so he is getting a tag in LineupHQ for now.

(Tournament pivot: On FD, I’d have a hard time pivoting from Harden at all. But if you are looking for one, I’d go down to Devin Booker for the $3,000 savings against Atlanta. The usage has been down the past few games, but the matchup is ripe for him to crank it back up. He’d get a little boost if Ricky Rubiois ruled out too. On DK, you have two other studs priced way up by Harden in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic. My guess is Harden clearly outpaces those two in ownership since you aren’t exactly getting a discount on them either. The larger the GPP field gets, the more I’d be looking at Projected Ownership to make a decision. Ownership notwithstanding though, my lean at this point in the day is to side with Luka.)

2) Clint Capela, Houston Rockets

FanDuel: $7,900, C DraftKings: $7,800, C Yahoo: $36, C FantasyDraft: $14,100, F/C

Capela is the next guy I am looking to for my cash game builds, and he is a much more affordable way to get exposure to this Houston team.

That CourtIQ query I linked above shows that Capela gets quite a nice boost in his own right with Russ off of the floor. As we all know by now, Russ is one of the best rebounding guards in the league; he gets 7.9 rebounds per 36 minutes this season. So when he is off of the floor, we see Capela with a nice +3.1% in his rebound rate. That is the main reason why you see such a big FPPM boost with Russ off of the floor. (For those not looking at the query, Capela goes up to 1.28 FD / 1.24 DK points per minute.)

Another thing that is promising for Capela tonight is the amount of minutes he has been logging in close games lately. In two of the last four games in which he has played, the Rockets were on each side of 20-point blowouts. He played under 30 minutes in both of those games. However, in the other two games (both Houston wins by no more than 10 points), he played 37 and 36.15 minutes, respectively. He has averaged 33.5 on the season, so I think giving him a minutes projection of 34 or 35 minutes is the way to go.

So at that minutes projection and FPPM bump without Westbrook, I am trying to get Capela next. I have no qualms about starting my builds with the two best players on a team with an implied total over 121 points in what projects to be a competitive game.

(Tournament pivot: Rudy Gobert on FD and John Collins on DK would be my tournament pivots of choice. In a change of pace, FD is actually the site now that has all of the studs underpriced. That is going to make paying $9,000 for Gobert a very unpopular route, but it is one that I think you can take advantage of in tournaments. I like Collins at his $8,300 price tag on DK with Alex Lenquestionable and Bruno Fernando out. That could lead to way more center minutes for Collins tonight, which should mean more rebounding opportunities. I think he could approach 60 DK points tonight if things fall right.)

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