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NBA Top Plays 2/24/20

) Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

FanDuel: $10,000, C DraftKings: $9,500, C Yahoo: $44, C FantasyDraft: $17,800, F/C

Okay, so Ben Simmons is out, Tobias Harris is doubtful, and the 76ers are playing the Hawks (i.e. one of the best matchups in the league due to their pace and poor defense). On a scale of 1 to 10, exactly how surprised are you that I am starting this article out with Embiid?

In 235 minutes with Simmons and Harris off of the court this season, Embiid’s per-minute production skyrockets up to 1.62 FD / 1.64 DK thanks to substantial boosts in his usage rate, assist rate, and rebound rate. That would make him compelling enough at what should almost certainly be low 30’s minutes at the least, but man this matchup is going to shoot him up even higher.

I don’t see an over/under on this game yet at the time I am writing it, but I can almost guarantee you that the Sixers are going to have an implied total that is massively higher than their season average (which is 108.5). It is a big pace-up spot for Philly, as they play at the 18th fastest pace in the league and Atlanta is sixth. And in terms of defensive efficiency, the Hawks are now dead last as a team and rank just 23rd against opposing centers.

All in all, I can’t fathom fading this guy in cash games tonight. You are going to be looking at the elite of the elite in terms of per-minute production (think Giannis), and the price tags just don’t reflect that. Lock the big fella in tonight and don’t think twice about it.

(Tournament pivot: There are several conversations to be had when it comes to Embiid’s ‘tournament pivot’. The first would be just looking for a pivot at his position. The second would be looking for a pivot at his price range. And finally, how will the pricing on the varying sites across the industry affect the ownership on those pivots? For example, the softer pricing on FD is going to result in much higher ownership on Giannis Antetokounmpo compared to DK (at least, that is my early guess). So with him facing the Wizards, he is going to be my choice here for DK. We talk about the Hawks being an elite matchup, but the Wizards have held that corner all damn season. Can you imagine if Giannis even sniffs normal minutes against them tonight!? Yikes man. On FD, I will go with Rudy Gobert as the tournament pivot once again here. We’ll see if any of this changes as projections get smoothed out during the day, but we have him with basically the same ceiling as Embiid on FD. Yet he is $2,000 cheaper and is almost certainly going to have much lower projected ownership. That’s all I’d need to hear.)

2) Al Horford, Philadelphia 76ers

FanDuel: $4,900, PF DraftKings: $4,500, PF/C Yahoo: $19, PF FantasyDraft: $8,600, F/C

What do ya know, another Sixer. To that I will say, get used to it!

Look, I know Horford has been bad lately. I mean heck, the Sixers just gave this guy 4 years / $109 million, and it took them until just February of his first year in the contract to demote him to a reserve role. But you know I don’t operate on just looking at the fantasy output in the past few games. And besides, the price is reflective of how bad he has been. He is below $5,000 for crying out loud!

So first thing’s first- we are expecting him to step back into the starting lineup. That is obviously key for his minutes, as we have him pegged at 31. He has not topped 28 (and was even down at 18.5 in that overtime game against Brooklyn last week) in any of the last three.

There is only 87 minutes of sample in that CourtIQ link from above, and it has Horford at 0.99 FD / 1.04 DK points per minute without Simmons and Tobias. Considering his usage is +4.6% in that sample, I am of the belief his per-minute production should be expected to be even higher than that number tonight (and that is before factoring in that whole ‘facing the Hawks’ thing). And don’t forget either that he will be out there some without Embiid too. I’ll let you take from this 60-minute sample what you want.

Fade him if you want in tournaments based on how he has looked lately, but I think it is foolish to do so in cash games at what has to be his lowest price tags in years. Horford is the best source of salary relief on the slate, and I don’t think it is particularly close.

(Tournament pivot: On FD, I think Brandon Clarke ($5,200) will be a popular pairing with Horford at power forward since Jaren Jackson is out. That has me looking in that same general price range for my tournament pivot with Naz Reid at $5,000. Naz has stepped into the starting lineup the past two games. In that first game against Boston, he dropped 40 FD points in 32.5 minutes. He battled foul trouble all night last night against Jokic and was only able to muster 21.5 FD points in 22 minutes at what I assume was some heavy ownership. So I think he is a great pivot here if Horford and Clarke carry the majority of the ownership at this position. On DK, I will go with Davis Bertansas the tournament pivot at $5,300. The Bucks let you bomb away from three-point land. And while they are elite at defending it, Bertans is pretty darn elite at shooting them. I think 40+ DK points is well within the range of outcomes here if his volume and efficiency shooting them are above expectation, and he too should come with much lower ownership than Horford and Clarke.)

3) Josh Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers

FanDuel: $5,100, SG DraftKings: $4,800, SG Yahoo: $14, SG FantasyDraft: $9,900, G

Told ya…another Sixer.

Richardson is going to profile similarly as these other guys for the dollar; that original CourtIQ link from the Embiid blurb says as much. In almost 245 minutes with Simmons and Harris OFF, Richardson is at 1.05 fantasy points per minute. In fact, his per-minute differential is higher than either Embiid or Horford see.

The thing about Richardson (and all of these Sixers, for that matter), is that the Hawks really inflate steals and blocks. Only the Cavs (521) have allowed more steals this season than the Hawks (516). And blocks? The 370 allowed by the Hawks is the most in the league by a decent margin.

So when we bring in the minutes for Richardson (we have him at 32), it is easy to see why he is also too cheap across the industry. Do I think it is risky starting all of my cash builds with three guys from the same team? Hell no! These are the situations we crave for in NBA DFS. Two of their best fantasy points producers are out, and the matchup is one of the most favorable ones in the league. Don’t be at all afraid to load up on Sixers tonight in cash games.

(Tournament pivot: On FD, going all the way up to James Harden for $11,500 against the Knicks would be my tournament pivot of choice. When it comes to spending up for someone not named Embiid, my hunch is that Luka and Giannis will be more of a priority than Harden. If that comes to fruition in Projected Ownership, I’d love Harden and his 70+ FD points ceiling at very low ownership. On DK, I don’t hate taking some stabs on some other guys at shooting guard in Richardson’s price range that have realistic chances at surpassing his fantasy production. Guys like Kendrick Nunn ($5,600) and De’Anthony Melton ($3,900) come to mind, but be cognizant of possible inflated ownership with them. If you want a few guys where ownership shouldn’t be an issue, I’d be looking to guys like Dillon Brooks ($4,800) and Joe Ingles ($4,700).)

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