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Scouting The NBA DFS - Wednesday, December 21

We break down tonight's 8-game slate of NBA action to help you cash in DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel

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Plays of the Day

Value: While Nene Hilario drew the start for the Rockets last night, Harrell played 22 minutes off the bench and equaled Hilario’s production. Nene logged just 17 minutes and will probably be used sparingly on the second half of a B2B set given his injury history, so that opens the door for Harrell to potentially post a double double in a fast-paced matchup against a Phoenix squad that gives up the sixth-most FPPG (44.32) and seventh-most RPG (12.64) to opposing PFs this season.

Fade: DeMarcus Cousins went supernova for 55 points and 82.25 DK points (75.1 FD points) last night, but now he’ll face a Utah team that held him in check earlier this season and has the personnel to stop him with Rudy Gobert anchoring the middle. Cousins has posted poor splits on 0 days rest throughout his career and the Kings are at risk of getting blown out in this tough road environment.

Games to Target

  1. Phoenix Suns (+6.5) hosting Houston Rockets (Over/Under = 227)
  2. New Orleans Pelicans (+2.5) hosting Oklahoma City Thunder (Over/Under = 208.5)

Point Guards

Two Studs

Giannis Antetkounmpo (MIL) @ CLE DK:$9,700/FD:$10,200 as SG

If it ain’t broke there’s little reason to try and fix it by fading Giannis at his reasonable price tag. The Greek Freak put up 50-plus FPs for a fourth consecutive game last night and he’s now averaging 27 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 5.6 APG and 3.2 STL/BLK per game over his last 5 appearances. Facing the Cavs on the road is a tough proposition, but Kevin Love (back) is questionable and Milwaukee has been rolling lately with consecutive blowout wins over the Bulls and an OT loss to Cleveland last night. The 21-year-old Anteotkounmpo and his teammates have a natural advantage on 0 days rest, so he’s a good bet to continue functioning as a problem for the Cavs in this immediate rematch.

Ricky Rubio (MIN) @ ATL DK:$5,800/FD:$5,600

Whether you need a safe mid-tier play or an upside value at the PG position, Rubio could be your guy tonight. This is definitely a game to target with the Wolves rolling offensively and Atlanta playing with increasing pace, as the Hawks cough up the second-most FPPG (50.92) to opposing PGs this season. Dennis Schroder is a generally awful individual defender at this point in his young career and Rubio is finally playing well as the general of a capable Minnesota offense. He’s averaging 8.5 PPG, 8.8 APG, 5.3 PG and 2 SPG to average 31.4 DK PPG over his last 4 appearances and perhaps most importantly, he’s playing 36.1 MPG and seems to have earned the trust of HC Tom Thibodeau down the stretch.

Potential Value

Shelvin Mack ($4800/$4200) will almost certainly bounce back against the Kings horrible defense, provided George Hill (toe) is still out tonight.

Longshot

Kyrie Irving ($7500/$7300) would become a fantastic upside play if Kevin Love misses another game for Cleveland. I could see Tim Frazier ($5600/$5800) putting up good numers against the Thunder’s weak second unit tonight.

Shooting Guards

Two Studs

James Harden (HOU) @ PHO DK:$12,000/FD:$12,000

Like it or not, Harden is the safest play in DFS and he’s slightly more appealing than Russell Westbrook ($12,600/$12,500) as the top two studs on this slate. Westy still has more upside as literally the only playmaker available for OKC right now, but Harden’s team is not at risk of suffering blowout losses and opposing defenses are not able to triple team a willing passer in The Beard. He only met value in a tough matchup against the Spurs last night, but sees a huge pay bump for good reason as he prepares to face a Suns team that plays at the second-fastest pace in the league and coughs up the third-most PPG (113.1) this season. He only averaged 24.7 PPG and 6.7 APG over 3 meetings with Phoenix last year, but Harden looks like a different player while averaging a league-best 11.7 APG this year and he’s even more appealing in a road game in which the Rockets might need his services down the stretch.

Wesley Matthews (DAL) @ POR DK:$5,500/FD:$5,300

Those who love a good revenge narrative will be all over Matthews in one of his first return trips to Portland as an enemy. The Blazers didn't exactly stand by their former Iron Man after he tore his Achilles and you can bet that Matthews has this game circled on his calendar. The Mavericks sniper is shooting 42.5% from three-point range over his last two months of play and he's averaging 15.3 PPG while playing 34.5 MPG over his last 6 appearances. The Blazers are ranked dead last in defensive rating and give up the second-most PPG (113.4) in the NBA, plus Portland is coming off an exhausting shootout loss to Boogie Cousins and the Kings and might struggle to close out on shooters such as Matthews tonight.

Potential Value

Brandon Knight ($4000/$4700) is not exactly trustworthy at this point, but he’s been consistent enough to warrant consideration at $4K on DK. Iman Shumpert ($3500/$3500) is a punt play to seriously consider if J.R. Smith misses tonight’s game.

Longshot

Zach LaVine ($6800/$6500) should be a candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year and he’s one of the most reliable options in a Wolves uniform right now from a DFS perspective.

Small Forwards

Two Studs

Gordon Hayward (UTA) vs. SAC: DK:$7,600/FD:$7,900

It’s hard to imagine LeBron James blowing up again tonight after logging 47 minutes in an OT win over the Bucks last night, while Jimmy Butler and the Bulls continue to struggle. That leaves Hayward as the de facto top option at his position and he’s a great choice for tournament formats at home against a porous Kings defense. New HC Dave Joerger made an impact for Sacramento over the first couple of months, but the Kings have reverted to their defensive indifference while coughing up 106.1 PPG over their last 7 contests. As mentioned above, SacTown just won a thriller over Portland last night and they’ll have to play at one of the toughest arenas in the NBA tonight. Hayward dropped 27 points in his last meeting with the Kings and he’s playing much better ball this season, while Sacramento has few answers at the SF position with Rudy Gay (hip) likely to sit out another game.

Kent Bazemore (ATL) vs. MIN: DK:$5,100/FD:$4,400

Prices tend to rise more slowly on FanDuel, where Bazemore is still a great value and an easy choice for tournament lineups in a good matchup. Minnesota allows an above average 37.92 FPPG to opposing SFs this season and likes to play an up-and-down style that plays right into the strengths of Bazemore. After logging 30 minutes two games ago and a whopping 40 minutes in a narrow win at Oklahoma City on Monday night, it appears that Bazemore has fully recovered from his knee injury and the potential absence of Dwight Howard (back) for a second straight game could have a positive impact on his production tonight.

Potential Value

Maurice Harkless ($4900/$4800) is a very solid option to consider and he would become much safer if Evan Turner (ankle) and/or Al-Farouq Aminu (back) remain out for Portland.

Longshot

Multiple Rockets should put up great shooting numbers tonight, which makes Trevor Ariza ($5600/$5700) worth consideration in any format. Consider Dorian Finney-Smith ($3800/$3900) as a punt play in a potential track meet at Portland.

Power Forwards

Two Studs

Anthony Davis (NO) vs. OKC: DK:$10,900/FD:$11,200

Anthony Davis is under $11K on DraftKings and it’s time to celebrate! Well, at the very least it’s time to use him in GPP formats and pray that he doesn’t suffer another minor injury and depart a game early. At this price tag, it becomes possible to fit both The Brow and Westbrook into stacks of this game, which has a 208.5-point Over/Under and a very close line. The Thunder really don’t have any answers for Davis between their slow-footed centers (Steven Adams and Enes Kanter) and laughably overmatched starting PF Domantas Sabonis. Davis proved as much with 37 points, 15 rebounds and 70.75 DK points in his only meeting with OKC this year and now he faces the Thunder at home, where he’s been lights out with averages of 34.1 PPG and 12.5 RPG this season.

Monterzl Harrell (HOU) @ PHO: DK:$4,000/FD:$3,500

While Nene Hilario ($3500/$3500) drew the start for the Rockets last night, Harrell played 22 minutes off the bench and equaled Hilario’s production. Nene logged just 17 minutes and will probably be used sparingly on the second half of a B2B set given his injury history, so that opens the door for Harrell to potentially post a double double in a fast-paced matchup in the desert. Phoenix gives up the sixth-most FPPG (44.32) and seventh-most RPG (12.64) to opposing PFs this season and Harrell has plenty of upside if asked to fill in for Clint Capela (leg) as James Harden’s partner in PnR sets.

Potential Value

Dwight Powell ($4000/$4300) is coming off his best game in awhile and he faces a Blazers team tonight that gives up the most FPPG (47.25) to opposing PFs this season. You can use Channing Frye ($3900/$3500) if Kevin Love misses another game.

Longshot

Jabari Parker ($6600/$6400) is tough for the Cavs to handle and he could have another big game on the road tonight. Also consider Ryan Anderson ($5500/$5100) after he played an elevated 37 minutes with Capela inactive on Tuesday.

Centers

Two Studs

Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) @ ATL: DK:$8,700/FD:$9,000

Again, feel free to fade DeMarcus Cousins after his transcendent effort (and antics) late last night in a win over Portland. Towns makes for an easy pivot on DK and a much cheaper option with nearly as much upside on FanDuel. His matchup is far more favorable against a Hawks team that is struggling defensively while 104.3 PPG over 8 games this month and might be without starting center Dwight Howard (back) for a second straight game. Towns is an extremely difficult player for a true center to guard even if they’re fully healthy, so Howard’s return to the lineup doesn’t necessarily diminish KAT’s outlook if D12 is at less than one hundred percent.

Mason Plumlee (POR) vs. DAL: DK:$5,500/FD:$6,100

While Cousins took Plumlee out behind the woodshed for 55 points last night, the Duke product had a very impressive game on the other end of the floor with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists to produce a season-high 57.75 DK points (55.1 FD points) in a losing effort. He’s only 26 years old and shouldn’t have much trouble performing on the second half of a B2B set, while his individual matchup is even more favorable tonight against ridiculously slow center Salah Mejri. Plumlee can handle the ball very well and he’s one of the most improved passers in the NBA this year, which has allowed him to rack up dimes while feeding C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard all season.

Potential Value

Nene Hilario ($3500/$3500) is definitely worth a look as a punt play as long as he continues to start for Houston.

Longshot

Marc Gasol ($7200/$8100) is a somewhat risky play on 0 days rest after the Grizzlies lost in OT last night, but he could still take Andre Drummond to school tonight. John Henson ($4100/$4600) has been fantastic over his last 2 meetings with the Cavs.


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