NBA Core plays 12/12/19

1) Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

FanDuel: $11,800, PG DraftKings: $11,400, PG/SF Yahoo: $56, PG FantasyDraft: $20,300, G

As it stands right now, this is going to be a “plug in Luka and figure out the rest later” kind of slate for me in cash games. There aren’t a ton of guys to spend up on for this four-game slate, but Luka is the top projected scorer by a pretty decent margin.

At this point, I don’t think I need to tell you why he is projected for so many fantasy points, but you know I am going to tell you anyways. Last season, a 30.5% usage rate, 31.6% assist rate, 13% rebound rate, and 54.5% true shooting percentage was good enough for 1.25 FD / 1.34 DK points per minute. This season, he cranked everything up to a 36.7% usage rate, 47.5% assist rate, 15.3% rebound rate, and 61.5% TS%, which has led to 1.65 FD / 1.79 DK points per minute. Those fantasy-point-per-minute rates are second to only Giannis this season. Apparently we all need to get on Luka’s offseason workout plan.

In competitive games, we usually see Luka get to that 34-35 minute mark. With this being an average matchup at best, does that make Luka priced appropriately on this slate? Sure, but so is everyone else as it stands right now. In what should be a close game at Detroit, give me the safest route to fantasy production on the slate. Like I said, I will figure out the rest later.

(Tournament pivot: My favorite tournament pivot across the industry is Nikola Jokic at only $8,800 on FD and $9,000 on DK. The inconsistency has been maddening, yes, but there is no debating that he can still destroy this kind of price tag any night he takes the court. After all, Portland ranks 27th in defensive efficiency against opposing centers. This absolutely sets up as the kind of matchup that Jokic can dominate if he decides to be aggressive enough offensively. Jokic is my favorite tournament play on the slate if both Murray and Millsap play, but he probably becomes uber chalky if both of them sit.)

2) DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs

FanDuel: $8,200, SG DraftKings: $7,300, SG/SF Yahoo: $34, SF FantasyDraft: $13,500, G

Trust me when I say that I am not a DDR guy when it comes to building my cash game lineups. Call it a leak if you wish, but I usually go out of my way to avoid rostering him. If I land in his price range as a last piece and don’t like anyone else, I will 2v2 or 3v3 my way to a different type of build.

But for some reason, I keep coming back to him on every lineup I make this morning.

Of course, a lot of it has to do with the matchup, as the Cavs are 28th in both defensive rating and overall team defensive efficiency. But when it comes down to it, you really can’t argue with the consistency he provides you in cash games.

In his last 10 games, for example, he has gotten 38-45 DK points in eight of them. One of the others was 53.5, and the tenth was 30.5 when he only logged 25 minutes in a massive blowout loss at Detroit three games ago. Wait, why don’t I like rostering this guy!?

And the dude is actually taking threes now! In his last four games, he has attempted 10 trey balls. In the 19 games before that? Four. Welcome to the new NBA DeMar. We are glad to have you.

Look, I will be the first to untag him later in the day if something better opens up in terms of priorities; I think that much is clear. But maybe I need to plug this leak regardless and realize that DDR is a rock solid cash game option no matter the slate.

So yeah, as it stands now I am landing on DDR in my cash game builds. I will see you guys later this afternoon when the coffee wears off and I think better of it.

(Tournament pivot: Going way down the pricing spectrum at this position on FD is my preferred route in tournaments, and my favorites there are guys like Jordan Clarkson and Josh Richardson. Multi-positional eligibility opens up things more on DK, and I am looking at a guy like Jamal Murray at only $6,500. Hopefully the questionable status stays all day and right up until before their game that starts 2.5 hours after lock. If people aren’t up on the ‘Gram like we are, then maybe they think he doesn’t play tonight. There is still plenty of room for profit potential for Murray at this mid tier price tag.)

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