Scouting The NBA DFS - Wednesday, December 14

We break down tonight's 10-game slate of NBA action so you can cash in DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel

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Plays of the Day

Value: It's doubtful that Cleveland will keep tonight’s game close without any of their big 3 active, but 28-year-old DeAndre Liggins will probably see heavy minutes regardless of the score and he’s sporting a 20.8% Usage Rate with Kyrie, LeBron and K-Love off the court this season. Liggins managed to produce 3 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 21.15 DK points (20 FD points) to exceed value with Irving out last night, and he's bound to pile up peripheral stats if given 30-plus minutes again this evening.

Fade: Blake Griffin returned with a solid game on Monday but he’s still not particularly reliable and seems over priced on FanDuel. The Magic are solid against opposing PFs and it seems best to pay up for true studs such as Harden, Cousins or Westbrook while using Griffin’s teammates in Chris Paul or DeAndre Jordan.

Games to Target

  1. Houston Rockets (-9.5) hosting Sacramento Kings (Over/Under = 218.5)
  2. Brooklyn Nets (+1) hosting Los Angeles Lakers (Over/Under = 229)

Point Guards

Two Studs

Chris Paul (LAC) @ ORL DK:$8,700/FD:$9,600

Using Paul despite the announcement that Blake Griffin would play on Monday turned out to be very profitable, as the Clippers floor general lead his team to a 121-120 win with another huge line. He appears locked in and highly motivated to right the ship after his primarily young squad got embarrassed by the Warriors last week, and CP3 has produced 41 points, 34 assists and an insanely low 2 turnovers over 2 appearances since that loss. As we pointed out last night, the Magic are listed as a top team in DvP against opposing PGs on DraftKings, but give up the tenth-most FanDuel PPG (44.26) and got shredded by Dennis Schroder last night. You can expect Paul to follow suit and take advantage of Orlando’s mediocre defense on the second half of a B2B set.

Goran Dragic (MIA) vs. IND DK:$7,300/FD:$7,400

You can roll with Dragic in cash games once again after he blew up for 34 points and 5 assists to carry Miami to a win over Washington on Monday. It seems as though HC Eric Spoelstra talked to his PG about being more aggressive going to the basket, and that's translated to much-improved production on the court and in DFS terms. Dragic draws another great matchup tonight against Jeff Teague and a Pacers team that gives up the tenth-most PPG (23.13) and FPPG (44.17) to opposing PGs while coughing up the 7th most PPG (107.1) overall this season. He's a great mid-tier option with upside if this game turns into another shootout.

Potential Value

Toney Douglas ($3400/$4000) and Andrew Harrison ($4300/$4200) both met value last night for the shorthanded Grizzlies and they seem like solid value plays even with Marc Gasol returning tonight.


Elfrid Payton ($4800/$5100) destroyed the Hawks defense with a huge game last night, but he might have a tougher time producing against the Clippers top-ranked unit.

Shooting Guards

Two Studs

James Harden (HOU) vs. SAC DK:$12,000/FD:$11,700

Harden seems to be a more essential play than Westbrook tonight because the Thunder completely fell apart without a secondary scoring option available with Victor Oladipo (wrist) inactive last night. While Westy faces a Jazz team that ranks atop the league in PPG allowed (95.5) on 0 days rest, The Beard should roll against a Kings team that is average defensively this year, but struggles in one particular area. Sacramento is ranked 25th in 3PT defense (allowing opponents to shoot 37%) and we all know how Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets operate. Harden will either get to the rim against a poor interior defense or kick out to one of Houston’s many shooters for good looks at three tonight, which gives him an even better chance than usual to post a huge double double. It’s also worth noting that he’s come one rebound shy of a triple double in consecutive games and therefore has as much upside as Westbrook in what seems to be a better matchup.

DeAndre Liggins (CLE) @ MEM: DK:$3,000/FD:$3,500

Now we get to the veritable bevy of value plays available on this full slate. The Cavs are apparently going to rest LeBron, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving for this road game tonight, which opens up huge opportunity for young players such as Liggins, Jordan McRae and Iman Shumpert as well as veterans J.R. Smith and Channing Frye. It's doubtful that Cleveland will keep this game very close without any of their big 3, but the 28-year-old Liggins will probably see heavy minutes regardless of the score and he’s sporting a 20.8% Usage Rate with Kyrie, LeBron and K-Love off the court this season. Liggins managed to produce 3 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 21.15 DK points (20 FD points) to exceed value with Irving out last night, and he's bound to pile up peripheral stats if given 30-plus minutes again this evening.

Potential Value

Josh Richardson ($4600/$4500) and Tony Allen ($4900/$5100) are both high-floor options tonight.


J.R. Smith ($3500/$3500) is never a safe play, but he’s suddenly the biggest name active for the Cavs tonight. Iman Shumpert ($3700/$3800) might have a higher floor.

Small Forwards

Two Studs

Gordon Hayward (UTA) vs. OKC: DK:$8,400/FD:$8,100

Because Westbrook flopped along with the rest of the Thunder last night, using him and a Jazz star such as Hayward might be a contrarian stack in large tournaments rather than the “chalk” of James Harden and DeMarcus Cousins. Both stacks are certainly affordable if you use some of the other value plays on the board tonight, and Hayward is certainly the best candidate to blow up for Utah offensively. He’s averaging 27.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG and 42.8 DK PPG over his last 4 appearances and he’s been steady over the last month with similar averages despite dealing with a finger injury. The Thunder gives up the third-most PPG (21.39) and ninth-most FPPG (40.29) to opposing SFs this season and Hayward average 16.5 PPG on solid 43.5% FG shooting over 4 meetings with OKC last year, while he’s seeing much higher usage this season.

Omri Casspi (SAC) @ HOU: DK:$4,400/FD:$4,400 as PF

Rudy Gay is doubtful tonight with his hip injury and that makes both Casspi and Matt Barnes ($3700/$4200) worth a look as potential value plays. Casspi seems to have a more secure role on offense and he's been solid lately with averages of 10.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 20.7 DK PPG while playing 23 MPG off the bench for the Kings over his last 5 appearances. Now he could get a chance to start and see 30-plus minutes in a game with a 218.5-point Over/Under and he's yet another punt play to consider on either main DFS site.

Potential Value

Glenn Robinson III ($3900/$4400) is definitely worth a look with Monta Ellis out and Rodney Stuckey (knee) questionable tonight for the Pacers. Stanley Johnson ($3700/$3700) will be worth a look only if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope misses another game for Detroit.


Matt Barnes ($3700/$3700) has not been consistent even when he gets more opportunities, but he’s looking at a boost in usage with Rudy Gay (hip) doubtful tonight.

Power Forwards

Two Studs

Trevor Booker (BKN) vs. LAL: DK:$5,900/FD:$5,900

Booker paid off as the best mid-tier option at PF on Monday and he could have another game in which he exceeds value tonight. The Lakers and Nets are two of the worst defensive teams in the league and respectively ranks 28th and 29th in DvP against opposing PFs, but Lakers starting PF Julius Randle (hip) is a bit banged up and that gives Booker a slight advantage at a similar price tag. The athletic lefty is averaging 12 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.3 APG and 2.3 STL/BLK per game over his last 4 appearances and he’s produced a double double in 6 of his last 9 starts for Brooklyn. This is a game to target and Booker should lap up production on both ends of the floor.

Luol Deng (LAL) @ BKN: DK:$4,000/FD:$4,200 as SF

While Julius Randle (hip) and Larry Nance Jr. (knee) could both play for the Lakers tonight, Deng is still going to see plenty of run at SF and HC Luke Walton seems to be trusting the veteran over younger guys such as Brandon Ingram right now. Deng is averaging 14.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 29.4 DK PPG while playing 31.8 MPG over his last 3 appearances and he should be productive in a top game to target tonight. The Nets cough up the second-most FPPG (46.46) to opposing PFs and most FPPG (42.76) to opposing SFs while allowing the most overall PPG (115.2) in the NBA, so feel free to stack a few cheap Lakers on the road.

Potential Value

James Johnson ($4400/$4900 as PF on FD) returned with a very solid game on Monday and he’s going to be usable for as long as Justise Winslow (wrist) remains out for Miami.


Channing Frye ($3500/$3600) will be asked to step up for the Cavs tonight and he could get hot from the perimeter.


Two Studs

DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) @ HOU: DK:$11,600/FD:$11,500

Cousins is the most expensive he's been all season, but it comes at a good time with all of these punt plays emerging due to rest and injuries. The potential absence of Rudy Gay (hip) tonight ensures Cousins will maintain his monstrous Usage Rate in a fast-paced affair against the Rockets, who give up an above average 46.52 FPPG and 14.17 RPG to opposing centers this season due to their pace of play. Cousins is sporting a 44.4% Usage Rate with Rudy Gay off the floor and he dropped 32 points in his sole meeting with Houston this year. Big Cuz averaged 20 PPG and 10.5 RPG over 2 meetings against the Rockets last season with Dwight Howard in the mix, but he should have more success while facing a much skinnier post defender in young Clint Capela.

Marc Gasol (MEM) vs. CLE: DK:$7,900/FD:$8,900

Gasol should be lightly owned tonight because the Cavs (+6.5) could wind up on the wrong end of a blowout loss, but Big Spain should be well rested after sitting out on Tuesday and he should play a full slate of minutes as long as this game remains relatively close. While he's out there, Gasol is unquestionably the most valuable Grizzlies appear to use, as he's averaging 25.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 5.8 APG and 3.0 BLK/STL per game over his last 5 appearances. The Cavs are posting good DvP numbers against opposing centers, but that's with the glue of LeBron and Kevin Love anchoring their team defense, so things should open up considerably with those starters inactive tonight.

Potential Value

Tristan Thompson ($4900/$5000) should see more usage than usual with the Cavs shorthanded. Marcin Gortat ($6000/$6000) is a sneaky play on FanDuel against the Hornets pathetic interior defense. DeAndre Jordan is the preferred mid-tier option at $6600 on DraftKings.


Hassan Whiteside ($8300/$8700) could wind up as a superior GPP option to Gasol if the Grizzlies win easily.

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