NBA CORE PLAYS 12/19/19

THE CORE

1) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel: $11,200, SF DraftKings: $11,300, SF/PF Yahoo: $56, PF FantasyDraft: $20,000, F/C

You do not need to look far to see the damage Giannis can do from a fantasy perspective in games that are competitive.

For example, two of the last four games he has played in have been competitive (yes, it is kind of a stretch calling that last one against the Mavs competitive). He logged approximately 34.5 minutes in those games and racked up 66 FD / 68.25 DK (against the Magic) and 73.8 FD / 76 DK (against the Mavs).

In the other two games,, he logged 26.75 minutes against the Grizzlies and 24 minutes against the Cavs. He ‘only’ registered 52.2 FD / 56.75 DK against the Grizzlies and ‘only’ 44.8 FD / 44.5 DK against the Cavs.

By now you should all know that the dude is a point-per-minute monster. His 1.88 FD / 1.96 DK points-per-minute rate leads the league by a wide margin. For comparison, Luka Doncic is next at 1.67 FD / 1.82 DK. And the funny thing (and not that he needs it) is that those numbers go up to 1.93 FD / 1.98 DK in 327 minutes with Eric Bledsoe (who is out) off the court. It really is all pretty silly when you think about it.

I don’t have to tell you that 33-34 minutes multiplied by those FPPM rates = mucho fantasy points. Is it a bad matchup? Yes; the Bucks are projected to score six points less than their season average tonight. Do I care one bit? No, especially not at these price tags.

After dropping those 73 fantasy points against the Mavs at $12,100 on FD, the price tag came down to $11,200. Huh???? And he isn’t priced correctly on DK either ($11,300). This is once again shaping up to be one of those small slates where I lock these fantasy points in cash games and figure the rest out later.

(Tournament pivot: The studs on the other side of this game (LeBron James, Anthony Davis) is where we should be looking for a high-end tournament pivot, and ownership should be spread out amongst them if AD suits up like I think he will. I don’t think I need to tell you that either of these guys can go for 60+ fantasy points any time they take the court, and the Lakers are getting a pace-up game here against the Bucks. I’m guessing that these two guys come in with far lower ownership than Giannis, so I would be looking to whatever Projected Ownership spits out to help with your decision on which guy to go with. I will lean towards AD, as I think the ceiling is just flat out higher than LeBron’s, but the price tags are almost identical. If AD happens to sit, then I will simply look to play the lower owned of Giannis or LeBron in tournaments.)

FANDUEL/YAHOO-SPECIFIC PLAYS

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

FanDuel: $7,800, C DraftKings: $7,800, C Yahoo: $34, C FantasyDraft: $14,300, F/C

After missing five games, Mike Conley was only able to make it 19 minutes on Tuesday before aggravating his hamstring injury. And on FD specifically, the price on Gobert plummeted down to $7,800 after it was $8,600 on Tuesday.

On the season, Gobert has posted a 16.3% usage rate, 21.9% rebound rate, and 7.4% assist rate, leading to 1.14 FD points per minute. While they aren’t drastic by any stretch, he does see a little bump in his rates without Conley on the floor. In that five-game stretch without Conley, he posted a 17.8% usage rate, 24% rebound rate, and 11.9% assist rate.

So not only will his per-minute production go up slightly since Conley is out again, he (and the rest of the Jazz) will also see a nice efficiency boost against this Hawks team. After starting out the season at the bottom of the league in pace, they have slowly crawled their way up to ninth (like we all expected they would).

On top of that, they are absolutely abysmal defensively, ranking 28th in defensive rating and 29th in overall team defensive efficiency. As you might imagine, this has all led to the Jazz having a team total (115) that is drastically higher than their season average (107.1).

In competitive games, we usually see Gobert get to 36-37 minutes. And this game (somehow) currently only sits at Utah -6. Even if you are conservative on the minutes projection and go 34-35, he is still going to stick out as a great play tonight for cash games. So as it stands now, he is a starting point for me, especially on FD.

(Tournament pivot: I like going cheap for my tournament pivot, down to a guy like Alex Len on the other side of this game. From a fantasy perspective, he has thrived coming off of the bench. He started the first nine games of the season and posted only a 14.6% usage rate. In the 18 games since as a reserve, it is up at 18.4%. Who would’ve guessed, not playing with Trae Young as much has resulted in more shots. Crazy! While he has had some big fantasy games of late, I am curious to see where ownership lands on a small slate going up against the Jazz. And he will certainly get overlooked if Anthony Davis sits out again tonight. The long and short of it is that I like Len in tournaments regardless, but we’ll obviously have to take projected ownership into consideration when that is released.)

Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz

FanDuel: $5,600, SF DraftKings: $6,000, SG/SF Yahoo: $20, SF FantasyDraft: $11,900, G

Jinglin’ Joe (add him to your Holiday and Elf stacks next week I guess) has been a clear winner when Mike Conley has been out. Check out these splits in those games.

22 games with Mike Conley: 19.88 FD points per game, 28 minutes per game

5 games without Mike Conley: 28.84 FD points per game, 31.8 minutes per game

It is pretty easy to see why too. Not only do the minutes go up (remember, he draws the start in place of Conley), but so do his rates.

Season: 14.6% usage rate, 20.8% assist rate

Five games without Conley: 18.7% usage rate, 31% assist rate

And honestly, those full game splits I noted above would look even better if the Jazz didn’t get boat-raced in that first game without Conley against the Lakers. They lost by 25 points, and Ingles lost about four minutes of court time due to the blowout. He put up a stinker in that game anyways, recording only 8.9 FD points. What were the other four you ask? 37.2, 30.8, 37.5, and 29.8. He also put up another 36.4 in that game Conley left early on Tuesday.

So when we throw in the great matchup against the Hawks that we discussed above, Ingles stands out as a must play for me on FD/Y and a viable cash game option as well on DK/FDRFT.

(Tournament pivot: I am guessing Ingles paired with one of Giannis or LeBron will be popular on FD tonight, so why not go down a bit in tournaments to Paul George at $9,100? Sure, the Clippers should have all of their big guns tonight against the Rockets. But that only means that a PG ceiling game is a little less likely, not that it can’t happen. These Clippers have the highest team total on the slate in this matchup pitting two top six pace teams against each other, and all it takes is PG to get hot early for the Clips to run more stuff through him. My guess is that you get a really low ownership number on him on FD due to how roster construction is shaping up, and that is something that can be taken advantage of tournament formats.)

DRAFTKINGS/FANTASYDRAFT-SPECIFIC PLAY

Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs

FanDuel: $6,600, PG DraftKings: $5,700, PG Yahoo: $21, PG FantasyDraft: $11,200, G

I mean, is it finally time that Pop shows a little consistency in how he treats Dejounte? (Narrator: It in fact was not time.)

Murray has been moved back into the starting lineup the past two games, logging 30.5 minutes against the Suns on Saturday and 29 minutes against the Rockets on Monday. The production followed, as he posted 39.75 and 31.25 DK points in those games, respectively.

The rates in those two games (23.4% usage rate, 22.2% assist rate, 9.7% rebound rate) are right in line with what he has done this season (22.2% usage rate, 25.8% assist rate, 13.8% rebound rate). And those season rates have led to him getting 1.18 DK points per minute.

So if we assume he is that guy going forward, and that he is looking at another 29-30 minutes tonight, isn’t $5,700 on DK just way too cheap? And we haven’t even brought in the matchup yet.

For starters, these two teams both play pretty fast (Brooklyn is 10th in pace, the Spurs are 12th). And while Brooklyn is an average defensive team (14th in defensive efficiency), they do struggle with opposing point guards (22nd in defensive efficiency against that position). So you could make the argument that Murray’s per-minute production could see a slight uptick as well.

I hate having to trust Pop in cash games. But every dollar is going to count tonight on DK, and it’s not like there is anything more appealing at a cheaper price tag. So this mid tier price tag on Dejounte is going to be hard to pass up if we assume he gets similar minutes as he has the past two games.

(Tournament pivot: I like pivoting to Lou Williams in tournaments for only $200 more on DK ($5,900). That price tag took a nosedive down from his last game when he was $6,800. The reason to like Lou tonight is pretty much the same as what I said about PG up above. Sure, these guys are less appealing when they are all healthy and playing at the same time. But it is without a doubt in the range of outcomes that one guy has a big game while the others don’t do much (relative to price tag). Lou is definitely one of my favorite Clips to target in tournaments on DK considering this is the cheapest the price tag has been all season.)

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