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NBA Core plays 12/27/19

On DK/FDRFT, I have tagged Brook Lopez alongside the other two Bucks, while also adding in D’Angelo Russell.

1) Khris Middleton 2) Ersan Ilyasova 3) Brook Lopez 4) D’Angelo Russell

2) Aron Baynes, Phoenix Suns

FanDuel: $4,100, C DraftKings: $4,800, C Yahoo: $13, C FantasyDraft: $9,200, F/C

Well, if we are going to jam in Giannis, we need some salary relief, right? Baynes is that guy for me with Deandre Ayton once again listed out with an ankle sprain.

Baynes has been on pace for at least 30 minutes in each of these last three games when Ayton was out. The one where he was well short was last Friday against the Thunder, when Monty Williams pulled the plug on all of his main guys at around the 5:00 minute mark when they were down by 20. As three-point favorites on the road against the Warriors, we should feel pretty good about that 30-minute projection that you see in LineupHQ.

On the season, Baynes has gotten 1.05 FD / 1.08 DK points per minute on a 21.3% usage rate, 15.5% assist rate, 12.5% rebound rate, and 61.6% true shooting percentage. And it’s that last one that I want to talk about right now because I know a lot of you are looking at his fantasy production the past three games and thinking about closing this browser tab.

There are few that will argue against the notion that Baynes is probably shooting a little above his head this season. That 61.6% TS% is well above his career mark of 55.8%, not to mention well above what he did his previous four seasons in Boston and Detroit.

All that being said, he isn’t nearly as bad as he has been the past three games (38.9%, 43.3%, 48.1%). All of his other rates look pretty much the same; he just hasn’t shot the ball well. That is a large part as to why the fantasy production has been down, not to mention that he has recorded exactly zero total blocks and steals in those three games (he’s been good for 1.5 total per 36 minutes this season).

Of course, the good thing about that for those of us who want to roster him tonight is that it has kept the price tag down on a slate we need some salary relief. You can be conservative with either the minutes, the FPPM rate, or both, and he is still going to check in as one of the best salary savers on the slate. As such, he is my next selection in cash games tonight.

(Tournament pivot: Brook Lopez is the clear tournament pivot for me in this price range at center, coming in at $4,900 on FD and $5,200 on DK. BroLo’s big nights come when he is hitting trey balls and blocking a ton of shots. Well, as it turns out, the Hawks struggle mightily at both of those. Not only do they allow the sixth highest FG% on three-point attempts, they also allow the third most blocks (on average) to opposing centers. As with Giannis, you are (obviously) really hoping for a competitive game here because BroLo’s minutes tick up north of 30 in close games. There is just a ton of profit potential on these cheap price tags across the industry.)

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