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Plays of the Day
Value: Dwight Powell and the Mavericks should bounce back tonight against a Pacers team that gives up the sixth-most PPG (107.3) and ranks 27th in opponents 2PT FG shooting (.517%) on the season. Indiana plays at the eighth-fastest pace and coughs up the second-most RPG (13.95) to opposing PFs, so Powell has a good chance to log a double double with both Dirk Nowitzki (achilles) and Andrew Bogut (knee) out for Dallas.
Fade: James Harden certainly isn’t a bad play, but he’s had trouble scoring against his former team in the Thunder. OKC held him below value in the last meeting between these teams and it’s possible that he falls short of 50 FPs again if the Thunder continue to sell out to stop The Beard.
Games to Target
- Oklahoma City Thunder (+1) hosting Houston Rockets (Over/Under = 225)
- Los Angeles Lakers (-2) hosting Phoenix Suns (Over/Under = 217.5)
Russell Westbrook (OKC) vs. HOU DK:$12,800/FD:$12,700
Usually, we leave Westbrook out of the breakdown as an obviously elite play that is worth paying up for if you can manage it, but tonight he bears discussion in a fantastic matchup. He’s setting the league on fire with seven consecutive triple doubles while managing to score 31 PPG this season and Westy will be coming off a long layoff since he hasn’t played since Monday. When operating on 3+ days of rest last season, Westbrook averaged 23.5 PPG and 14 APG while his FG shooting increased to an impressive 53% over those appearances. Tonight he’ll face a Rockets team that is scoring the second-most PPG (112.4) in The Association and he’ll be forced to use every bit of energy that he might have stored up this week to lead the Thunder to a home win over this capable opponent.
Dennis Schroder (ATL) @ MIL DK:$6,000/FD:$6,800
While Schroder has become a bit more expensive on FanDuel, his price tag remains fixed in the mid-tier range on DK and he’s been extremely consistent over the last two weeks. The Hawks PG is averaging 20.2 PPG and 7.8 APG over his last 6 appearances and he’s done damage in some tough matchups (DET, @TOR, OKC, MIA) over his last 4 starts while hardly seeing any decrease in production as Paul Millsap (hip) returned to the lineup. The Bucks have done a good job in terms of limiting opposing PGs this year, but Schroder met value with 12 points, 8 assists and 29.25 DK points in a meeting with Milwaukee earlier this year and I expect this game to produce more fantasy-friendly results with a solid 205-point Over/Under and the Bucks (-3) checking in as slight home favorites.
Terry Rozier ($3800/$4200) should see extended run with Isaiah Thomas (groin) out tonight and he’s significantly cheaper than probable starter Marcus Smart ($5500 as SG/SF on DK/$5100).
Elfrid Payton ($4300/$5400) is temptingly cheap on DK after exceeding value in each of his last two appearances. Brandon Jennings ($5300/$4800) will definitely be worth a look against the Kings if Derrick Rose (back) misses another game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) vs. ATL DK:$10,000 as PG/FD:$10,200
Giannis kept rolling with a triple double the other night and he's a good bet for another huge line in a fantastic matchup this evening. The Hawks give up the second-most FPPG (49.57), SPG (2.73) and fourth-most APG (9.18) to opposing PGs this season, which are just some of the categories that Antetokounmpo consistently fills. He has a huge physical advantage at 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, as he'll be going against a more typical PG in Dennis Schroder (6-foot-2) and the Hawks will be without their most athletic wing defender in Kent Bazemore (knee) tonight. The Greek Freak is averaging 22 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 6.4 APG, 3 SPG and 2.8 BPG to add up to an impressive 57.4 DK PPG over his last 5 appearances, and he's well worth a look if you can't quite afford Westbrook or James Harden in their H2H matchup.
Norman Powell (TOR) @ BOS: DK:$4,000/FD:$3,500
Raptors starting SF DeMarre Carroll is expected to sit out tonight's game after playing in a win over the Wolves last night, and that immediately vaults Powell onto the fantasy radar. The Raptors young wing is averaging 15.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.7 APG over his last 3 appearances on the second half of B2B sets while Carroll rested, and he's honestly a more effective offensive player than the veteran. Tonight he draws a plus matchup against a Celtics team that is struggling to defend the perimeter and has been poor defensively compared to last year's numbers. Perhaps more importantly, he's the minimum price on FanDuel and makes for a great punt play on either site given the circumstances.
Rodney McGruder ($3900/$4000) is supposedly going to play through a mild ankle sprain and he’ll be worth a look as one of Miami’s nine healthy players. Wayne Ellington ($4500/$4800) is a bit safer at a slight pay bump.
Victor Oladipo ($6500/$6500) had his breakout game this season against the Rockets and he’s a sneaky target in a game with the highest Over/Under on tonight’s slate. Avery Bradley ($6500/$6900) will continue to see more usage with Thomas out for Boston.
Trevor Ariza (HOU) @ OKC: DK:$5,500/FD:$5,500
It will be hard to justify paying up for LeBron on a night where Westbrook, Giannis, and DeMarcus Cousins all stand out as elite options and the Cavs (-11) are expected to win rather easily once again. So, you might want to use a solid mid-tier option at SF, who could surprise with a big shooting night or simply meet value, as Ariza tends to do. The Thunder are a solid defensive team with good metrics against opposing three-point shooters, but their tendency to shade coverage towards James Harden in the last meeting between these teams opened things up for Ariza to attempt nine shots from beyond the arc. While he went 2-for-9 from deep in that last game, he still met value with 32.75 DK points, and he’s a 38% 3PT shooter this season, who can certainly capitalize if OKC dares him to shoot again.
Brandon Ingram (LAL) vs. PHO: DK:$4,400/FD:$4,200
Here’s a true value that can help you pay up for studs at other positions on this full slate. Ingram should get a couple more opportunities to start for the Lakers with Nick Young (knee) and D’Angelo Russell (knee) not yet cleared for game action, and he’s been solid in that role with averages of 9.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.2 BPG over his last 6 appearances. The 6-foot-9 rookie possesses a 7-foot-3 wingspan that allows him to pile up those peripheral stats with ease, and he’s coming off a solid performance in terms of FPs despite getting into foul trouble and turning the ball over 5 times in a blowout loss to Houston on Wednesday. The Lakers (-2) should play a close contest with a Suns team that leads the NBA in pace tonight, which bodes well for the athletic rookie.
Jae Crowder ($5700/$5600) is just as appealing as Ariza and he should post a higher Usage Rate with Thomas out for Boston.
Thabo Sefolosha ($4400/$4200) should see more minutes with Bazemore out for Atlanta.
Paul Millsap (ATL) @ MIL: DK:$7,500/FD:$8,000
The Hawks were responsible with Millsap and his hip injury, which seems to have helped the all-star come back strong this week. He’s combined to produce 45 points, 14 rebounds and 7 steals while playing 71 minutes over his last two appearances and is probable tonight after being listed as a game-time decision in each of those games. The Bucks defense is much less efficient down low, as Milwaukee coughs up an above average 42.46 FPPG and 12.1 RPG to opposing PFs this season. Millsap went for 21 points, 8 rebounds and 41 DK points in his sole meeting with the Bucks this season and his ability to fill the entire stat sheet makes him a quality option at this relatively modest price tag.
Dwight Powell (DAL) @ IND: DK:$4,700/FD:$4,000
While Powell was impressive with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals over just 24 minutes of run on Wednesday, the rest of his teammates did not follow suit in an embarrassing blowout loss at home. The Mavericks should bounce back as a unit against a Pacers team that gives up the sixth-most PPG (107.3) and ranks 27th in opponents 2PT FG shooting (.517%) on the season. Indiana plays at the eighth-fastest pace and coughs up the second-most RPG (13.95) to opposing PFs, so Powell has a good chance to log a double double with both Dirk Nowitzki (achilles) and Andrew Bogut (knee) out for Dallas.
Josh McRoberts ($3900/$3500) clearly comes with some risk after flopping on Wednesday, but he’s still looking at around 30 minutes of run for the shorthanded Heat.
Julius Randle ($6000/$6400) has plenty of upside in a potential track meet against the Suns at Staples Center.
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) vs. NYK: DK:$10,900/FD:$11,200
If you choose to fade Westbrook or Harden out in OKC tonight, Cousins is a great consolation prize as a player with elite upside. He's been absolute on fire lately with averages of 32.3 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 3.8 APG and 2.7 BPG over his last 7 appearances and he nearly posted a triple double over 33 minutes as the Kings destroyed the Mavericks in Dallas on Wednesday. Gifted with a little extra rest due to the ease of that victory, he should be ready to steamroll a Knicks front line that gave up a 47-18 game to Karl-Anthony Towns last week and allows the fifth-most FPPG (48.86) to opposing centers this season. Joakim Noah and Kyle O'Quinn are simply not athletic enough to match up with Big Cuz and both of those slow-footed centers could wind up in foul trouble while the Kings superstar goes to work on the Knicks backup bigs tonight.
Al Horford (BOS) vs. TOR: DK:$6,900/FD:$7,900
Horford only logged 29 minutes in an easy win over Orlando, but he still produced 10 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 blocks to meet value in that contest. His rebounding numbers haven’t been great, but Horford trails only Anthony Davis with 2.6 blocks per game on the season and he seems to be getting stronger after missing most of November with a concussion. With Isaiah Thomas inactive, the Celtics entire offense changes dramatically and it involves a lot more high-low passing with Horford touching the ball much more often. He’s been solid for the most part with spiked production in either direction, but you can trust Horford to produce on a similar level or to exceed value with the Celtics best offensive player on the shelf.
Salah Mejri ($3600/$3500) dealt with early foul trouble and barely played in his last start, but he’ll still be worth a look as a true punt play.
Lucas Nogueira ($3900/$3800) has exceeded value by a wide margin in 3 of his last 4 outings and he faces a Celtics team tonight that struggles to rebound.