NBA Picks 1/23/20

THE CORE

Tonight’s three-game slate requires a little bit of guesswork on the injury front, as guys like C.J. McCollum and DeAndre Jordan are listed as questionable. For purposes of this article, I will assume both guys are out.

I feel better about McCollum missing another game, as he didn’t practice yesterday. Unfortunately, that game is 3.5 hours after lock. We should have the Jordan news though, as that game starts an hour after lock.

1) Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets

FanDuel: $5,700, PF DraftKings: $5,900, C Yahoo: $20, C FantasyDraft: $11,300, F/C

The importance of that DeAndre Jordan news comes into play right from the jump here, as the Nets are left with no choice but to increase Allen’s minutes when Jordan is unavailable. Consider too that, Nicolas Claxton, Allen’s backup the past two games, is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game.

In the past three games (the first of which Jordan left early due to the dislocated finger), Allen has played 31.5, 29, and 31 minutes, respectively. And in that second game, keep in mind that benches were emptied about halfway through the fourth quarter due to the Bucks being up 20+.

With Allen only averaging 26.8 minutes per game, those extra four to five minutes are quite meaningful considering he has gotten 1.12 FD / 1.11 DK points per minute on the season. The matchup is far from ideal, but I found it interesting that the Nets actually have a team total tonight that is a bit higher than their season average.

Allen getting another 31 minutes at $5,700 on FD and $5,900 on FD would make him underpriced and a great starting point in cash games. However, since this is contingent on news going our way, we may have to circle back around to this one later in the day.

(Tournament pivot: On FD, there aren’t exactly a ton of options to pivot to on a three-game slate. With Kevin Love and maybe Davis Bertans likely commanding a decent amount of the power forward ownership, I will go down to Larry Nance as the tournament pivot at $4,200. His big fantasy nights usually come when he is racking up a bunch of blocks and steals, and that plays well on the FD scoring system. On DK, where Allen is center eligible, give me Dwight Howard at $4,700 as the tournament pivot. He and JaVale McGeeusually go overlooked whenever AD is playing, and that probably holds true tonight even on a three-game slate.)

ALLOW ME TO CITE A FEW DIFFERENCES ABOUTTHE SITES

With pricing being different once again, and not all sites having late swap, it makes sense once again to break things off from here. So let’s see what we’re working with.

FANDUEL

The first thing to talk about on FD is what to do with the Blazers situation, as I can easily see it setting up tonight that we are left without McCollum news until after lock. If we got news ahead of time that McCollum is out, Damian Lillardwould get an easy Core Play tag for me at only $9,300.

As it stands now, I’d say my official stance on Lillard is that I feel good enough about McCollum not playing that I’d have no issues rolling Dame out in cash games. Best case scenario: you get one of the best plays of the night if McCollum is ruled out after lock. Worst case scenario: McCollum is ruled in after lock, and Lillard is still a fine play.

Hassan Whiteside would get a little bump up if McCollum is out too, but I don’t see the need to go that high in cash games on FD when we have Tristan Thompson sitting at $5,900. If you needed any evidence that DFS engages the casual fan in the NBA, may I present to you Wizards at Cavs? I don’t even think Wizards and Cavs fans will be watching this game, but we will!

These are the two worst defenses in the NBA, and Washington specifically plays at the fourth fastest pace and has the worst rebounding rate in the league. It is a great micro matchup for Thompson as well, with the Wizards ranking 26th in defensive efficiency against opposing frontcourts.

Thompson has been right at 1.0 FD points per minute this season, and we have him projected for 33 minutes. Consider the huge matchup boost and the fact that he has played between 35-36 minutes in the past two games, and you can see why we like him for cash games at just $5,900.

The last guy I will tag for now on FD is Kevin Love at $7,000. The Cavs have had no issue rolling him out there for 33-34 minutes in competitive games, and this one tonight is certainly projecting to be tight (CLE is -1).

Love has been at 1.08 FD points per minute this season and essentially gets the same matchup as Thompson. I…(no, don’t do it Means)…absolutely…(restrain yourself!)…LOVE pairing him with Allen at power forward.

(Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

DRAFTKINGS MIXED WITH SOME FANTASYDRAFT

My first look on DK/FDRFT (after Allen) is going to be Hassan Whiteside. The availability of McCollum matters much less for Whiteside than it does other Blazers, as they are just really thin in the frontcourt even with the new additions (Ariza, Swanigan, Gabriel). As such, I have no issue plugging him into cash games on FDRFT too even though they have no late swap.

As I have said in this space many times already this season, it usually just comes down to the minutes with Whiteside. The per-minute production is certainly there, as he is at 1.38 DK points per minute in his first go-around with Portland. Here are the minutes in his last four games:

37 36.5 31.5 (lost six minutes due to a blowout) 43.5 (38.5 regulation)

You certainly have to agree with a minutes projection of 35, which makes him an easy play in cash games.

I will note though that I think he makes for a great tournament fade if the ownership is amongst the highest on the slate. With Dwight Powell now out for the season, that is one less big for the Mavs to trot out there. If Whiteside is tasked with guarding a lot of Porzingis, I could see scenarios where Zinger’s ability to stretch the floor with his outside shooting results in Whiteside’s minutes getting taken out from under him due to what we will call his reluctance to leave the paint. Stotts could just yank him if he isn’t running Porzingis off the three-point line.

My next stop on DK/FDRFT is in TBD mode, as I want to see if we get some pertinent news. Not just on McCollum and Jordan, but will there be any restrictions on some of these guys that are on the second night of a back-to-back? I am looking at you Bradley Beal ($7,700). You just played 38 minutes last night after having your minutes monitored for several games. You playing tonight or nah? Minutes restriction maybe? Text me and let me know please.

YAHOO

On Yahoo, I am rolling with two Cavs to add next to Allen. The first is a guy we already talked about, Kevin Love ($31).

The second is a guy we haven’t talked about, Collin Sexton. Shooting guard is extremely thin on Yahoo tonight, and Sexton is only $23. We have already talked about the overall matchup that Cleveland gets tonight, but the micro matchup benefits Sexton greatly here. The Wizards rank dead last in defensive efficiency against opposing backcourts. Shocking, I know.

Sexton has been at 0.87 fantasy points per minute this season, and Cleveland likes to run him out there for as many minutes he can handle most nights. We have him projected for 35 minutes, making him the best play at a weak shooting guard position.

GENERAL SLATE THOUGHTS

That will be a wrap for now. Obviously we are monitoring injury situations we know about (i.e. McCollum, Jordan), but how are the teams on the second night of a back-to-back going to handle some of their stars? I could absolutely see scenarios where guys like Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal are held out tonight. If one or both of those things happen, then this slate gets shaken up quite a bit.

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