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NBA Core plays 12/10/19


1) Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

FanDuel: $9,600, SG DraftKings: $9,100, SG/SF Yahoo: $44, SF FantasyDraft: $17,100, G

Here are the rates Jimmy has posted this season:

25.2% usage rate 30.6% assist rate 10.2% rebound rate

That has led to him getting 1.29 FD / 1.28 DK points per minute in 34.7 minutes per game.

Lately though, mainly due to Goran Dragic going down with an injury, Butler has, let’s say, cranked it up a notch? Below are his rates in the past four games, all of which Dragic has missed (and Justise Winslow has missed the last two).

28.2% usage rate 39.5% assist rate 12.8% rebound rate

That has led to him getting 1.35 FD / 1.44 DK points per minute in that span. And the minutes? They have certainly been there too.

12/3 at Toronto: 36 regulation minutes 12/4 at Boston: 37 regulation minutes (and sat the last minute due to the game being out of hand) 12/6 vs. Washington: 36.5 regulation minutes 12/8 vs. Chicago: 39 regulation minutes

Tonight at home against the Hawks, the Heat are set up similarly as their past few games. Dragic and Winslow are out, and Adebayo and Waiters (whom I wouldn’t expect to play regardless) are questionable.

As a result, it should be more of the same for Butler. And by that I mean playing all the minutes he can handle while shouldering the bulk of the offensive responsibility. Add in an elite matchup against a Hawks team that is terrible defensively and playing faster now (like we expected all along), and I am going to start cash game builds with Jimmy.

(Tournament pivot: Bradley Beal is an obvious tournament pivot and certainly viable in cash games too as a pairing with Butler or in place of him if you’d prefer. This is easily the best game environment on the slate, with a one-possession spread and a 231.5 total. Beal is very similar to Butler in that they run him out there for all the minutes he can handle while also putting the offense on his shoulders. We are really splitting hairs when calling one of them a must play in cash games, so there is no reason for it to warrant a massive gap between the two in projected ownership. If you notice that to be the case later today either way, I’d look to try to take advantage of that in tournament formats.)

Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat

FanDuel: $4,900, PG DraftKings: $5,400, PG/SG Yahoo: $18, SG FantasyDraft: $10,100, G

Nunn is finding himself in all of my FD builds at only $4,900.

I glossed over this a tad in the Butler write-up, but the Heat have basically been playing eight guys with Dragic and Winslow down: Butler, Bam, Robinson, Herro, Nunn, Olynyk, Jones, and Leonard. Chris Silva will spell Bam for a handful of minutes as well, so let’s call it eight and a half guys.

Nunn doesn’t see much change to his rates in this situation, but we should expect a few more minutes. He averages 30 minutes per game, but I think 31-33 is more reasonable to project with them down a few bodies. He played 37 regulation minutes in that last game against the Bulls, but they were only at 29.5 the game before against the Wizards with Spo choosing to close with Duncan Robinson over him.

Nunn has been at 0.85 FD points per game this season, so he is going to look just fine at only $4,900 even if we give him a conservative projection of 30 minutes. Throw in a matchup boost and a slight rates boost, and he should easily surpass his value threshold on FD, especially if he closes. All of this leads to him being an excellent source of salary relief for cash games.

(Tournament pivot: I think Ish Smith makes for an excellent cash-game pairing with Nunn on FD, but I worry ownership might be too inflated on both of these guys on that site. So in tournaments, I think it is a great move to spend up on someone like Trae Young. He isn’t going to pop in projection models with a high price tag in a difficult matchup, but we know the upside is there if he gets cooking from deep. Trae has four games this season with at least 60 FD points, and another three games that were between 56-57. You can certainly play him as a standalone option, but it is clear that he makes a ton of sense too as a pairing with Nunn if you are game stacking the Heat and Hawks.)

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