NBA Core

THE CORE


1) Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets

FanDuel: $4,500, SG DraftKings: $4,200, SG Yahoo: $13, PG FantasyDraft: $8,600, G

You know what is not my favorite day of the year? The day I start out an article by recommending a guy in cash games who hasn’t topped 20 fantasy points in his last four games. Hooray two-game slates!

We have to get salary relief somewhere though if we want to play the Lukas and the Jokers, and Harris (unfortunately) is that guy for me.

The good news for Harris (and all of the Nuggets for that matter) is that there are few matchups that are better than against the Wizards. They rank 29th in defensive rating, 29th in overall team defensive efficiency, and dead last in defensive efficiency against opposing shooting guards. On top of that, it is a huge pace-up spot for the Nuggets. They play at the slowest pace in the league, but the Wizards play at the fifth fastest pace. That is why you see the Nuggets with a slate-leading 118.5 team total, which is a massive 11.8 points higher than their season average.

As for Harris, he is at his lowest FPPM rate (0.63 FD / 0.62 DK) since his rookie year, mainly thanks to a big decrease in usage. While I am not expecting him to be a 20% usage rate guy anymore (which is what he has been his last two seasons), I am not exactly expecting him to be a 15% usage guy either. And even if he is, this matchup is going to open up plenty of good looks. If he can see a few go in early, I think we ultimately see a more aggressive version of Harris tonight- one hunting his shot a little more.

It is probably going to be a slow grind to 20+ fantasy points, but I think I have no choice but to roll with Harris in cash games due to the nature of the slate. Make me proud tonight please Mr. Harris, or I am going to have to send you down the hall to hang out with Brad Wanamaker.

(Tournament pivot: Troy Brown is a tournament pivot on the other side of this game and might even be a cash game option too if you are looking for more salary relief (especially on FD where you are forced to roster two small forwards). Unfortunately, I don’t have much to offer to you in the way of a sell job other than 1) he is cheap, and 2) it is a two-game slate so shouldershrugemoji. Brown is a better per-minute producer than Harris, but the minutes are nowhere near as high and the matchup is much more difficult. You are just hoping for some run-good here on the minutes, usage, efficiency, etc. considering he is only $3,700 on FD and $3,500 on DK.)

2) Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks

FanDuel: $8,500, PF DraftKings: $6,900, PF/C Yahoo: $33, PF FantasyDraft: $12,900, F/C

Surprisingly, Zinger is the first Mav popping up in my cash game builds.

The price tag on FD is what you’d call appropriate. But guess what? You gotta play two there folks! And Zinger is the least overpriced of the crop on that site. (I just used the phrase least overpriced to describe a cash game lock; please bring on Wednesday already).

$6,900 on DK is, shall we say, a much nicer price tag? He has been at 1.23 DK points per minute this season with the Mavs, and he is usually around 32-34 minutes in competitive games. So that math should make us feel pretty good. And in 12 of his 15 games this season, he has registered at least 34.5 DK points. So he has shown a surprisingly sturdy floor this season when factoring in tonight’s price tag.

Unfortunately, nothing stands out about the matchup here; the Mavs have a team total that is actually well below their season average. But the nature of the slate has Porzingis as a priority for me. On FD, it is because of the positional requirements. On DK, it is because of the depressed price tag.

(Tournament pivot: Paul George will be the tournament pivot here for me on the other side of this game. When it comes to high-end spends tonight, I think Luka and Jokic will be the highest owned, with Kawhi Leonard garnering the least amount of attention (at least on FD) due to his recent form and an aggressive price tag (again, more so on FD). That leaves George, who was on pace for about 35 minutes the other night against the Pelicans if not for the blowout. Kawhi, conversely, was on pace for about 30 minutes that game and played just 28 the game before against the Rockets (a game that was down to the wire). So I will take the minutes upside here with George despite him not being as attractive an option as he was when Kawhi was out. On a two-game slate though, I think he warrants heavy consideration in tournament formats, especially if he comes at depressed ownership compared to Luka and Jokic.)

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