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Scouting The NBA DFS - Saturday, January 7

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: With Kyle Korver out of the picture, Tim Hardaway Jr. should see plenty of run and he’s already begun to take advantage by scoring 55 points in 68 minutes of playing time over Atlanta’s last three games. Tonight he faces a Mavericks team that ranks 28th in opponents FG shooting (.472%) and dead last in opponents 3PT shooting (.401%) this season and he should be strongly considered in tournament formats as a cheap option with upside.

Fade: Karl-Anthony Towns barely met value by hitting the double double bonus on DK last night and he draws a tough matchup tonight against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz. Even at home, it’s tough to pay up for the talented young center in what should be a low-scoring affair against Utah.

Games to Target

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (-7.5) hosting Denver Nuggets (Over/Under = 221)
  2. Portland Blazers (-3) hosting Detroit Pistons (Over/Under = 214.5)

Point Guards

Two Studs

Russell Westbrook (OKC) vs. DEN DK:$12,900/FD:$12,200

As per usual on DK, there will be Westbrook lineups and those without him, so it basically comes down to how confident you are in the potential value plays listed in our breakdown below. You should have complete confidence in Westy in a prime matchup against a Nuggets team that continues to decline defensively and is now ranked 29th in defensive rating while coughing up the fourth-most PPG (110.9) on the season. Denver also allows the second-most FPPG (47.66) to opposing PGs and allowed Westbrook to go off for 36 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds in a meeting earlier this season. He’s been posting insane Usage Rates (even for him) of 55.5%, 23.8%, 52.5%, 48.1% and 50.1% over his last 5 appearances and will continue to gun as the Thunder try to snap a three-game winning streak.

Reggie Jackson (DET) @ POR DK:$7,000/FD:$7,100

He’s now priced more appropriately, but Jackson is still a strong option in a great matchup tonight against the Blazers 30th-ranked defense. Portland can’t guard anyone right now and the Blazers give up the fifth-most PPG (24.86) to opposing PGs over the last month. Jackson is a walking double double now that he’s playing a full slate of minutes and he’s also scored 20-plus points in four consecutive appearances. He happened to drop 70 points and 14 assists over two meetings with Portland last season and he’s certainly a great cash game play in this prime spot.

Potential Value

Tony Parker ($5000/$4900) is looking spry once again for the Spurs and he draws a good matchup against the Hornets backsliding defense tonight. You can also use Shelvin Mack ($4600/$4100) for salary relief.


Kemba Walker ($7800/$7600) has been on fire lately and he’ll be asked to do even more with Nic Batum (knee) out for a couple of weeks. Devin Harris ($3200/$3700) is a high-risk punt play who could continue to exceed value while playing limited minutes.

Shooting Guards

Two Studs

Buddy Hield (NO) @ BOS DK:$4,300/FD:$4,200

On a night without James Harden in which C.J. McCollum and DeMar DeRozan both draw tough matchups, it makes sense to scroll down for values at the SG position. Hield stands out as a great salary relief option with upside now that he’s suddenly playing the lion’s share of minutes at the 2 for New Orleans. The rookie has figured out the NBA game and as a result he’s averaging 16 PPG while shooting 42.9% from the floor and 52% from deep (13-of-25) over his last 4 appearances. He played a combined 66 minutes in close games against the Cavs and Hawks and the Pelicans (+7.5) are expected to hang tough tonight against a Celtics team that’s on the second half of a B2B set.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (ATL) @ DAL DK:$4,000/FD:$4,100

The Hawks seemed ready to let Kyle Korver go via trade because Hardaway Jr. is emerging as a better fit for their system and a younger player, who can create shots rather than simply coming off screens and taking contested threes. With Korver out of the picture, Timmy should see plenty of run and he’s already begun to take advantage by scoring 55 points in 68 minutes of playing time over Atlanta’s last three games. Tonight he faces a Mavericks team that ranks 28th in opponents FG shooting (.472%) and dead last in opponents 3PT shooting (.401%) this season and he should be strongly considered in tournament formats as a cheap option with upside.

Potential Value

Both Jeremy Lamb ($4000/$3800) and Marco Belinelli ($3800/$3900) should see increased roles with Batum out over the next couple of weeks. It bears mentioning that Lamb sports the second-highest Usage Rate (26%) on the Hornets and averages 1 FP per minute when Batum is off the court this season.


Gary Harris ($4700/$4600) is getting enough playing time to make a strong impact for the Nuggets in a fast-paced matchup with the Thunder tonight.

Small Forwards

Two Studs

Jimmy Butler (CHI) vs. TOR: DK:$8,900/FD:$9,300

Playing Butler against the Cavs on Thursday was nearly an unmitigated disaster, but one of the top 10 two-way players in the league did what he does best and carried the Bulls to a victory with a huge fourth quarter while meeting value with 43 DK points (41.2 FD points). That should be his floor with Rajon Rondo out of the picture and Dwayne Wade (knee) showing his age a couple of months into the season. The Bulls (+2) are underdogs in their own building tonight against a Raptors backcourt that is worth targeting as well, and if you can use Butler in correlation with Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan you might hit it big in GPP formats. He averaged 20 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 5.3 APG over 3 meetings with Toronto last year and faces a weaker defensive team that is giving up the tenth-most FPPG (39.58) to opposing SFs over the last month.

Kawhi Leonard (SA) vs. CHA: DK:$8,100/FD:$8,500

Arguably an even stronger cash game play than Butler at a cheaper price tag, Leonard remains a very safe option despite playing a sophisticated Spurs offense that spreads the ball around. He’s posting his usual stellar averages of 24 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.9 SPG on the season and even managed to exceed value in B2B blowout wins for the Spurs this week. San Antonio (-11) could run away with this game as well, but Leonard should be a big part of building any lead in a fantastic matchup against a Hornets defense that’s collapsing at this point in the season and should be far worse on the wing with Batum out for a couple of weeks. Kawhi dropped 30 points on 14-of-21 FG shooting in a meeting with Charlotte earlier this season and will have an even easier time scoring with Lamb and/or Belinelli at the SF position.

Potential Value

Maurice Harkless ($4600/$4700) remains very reliable as a solid all-around player for the Blazers.


Marcus Morris ($4800/$4600) is coming off a huge game and he’s worth a look even if he comes off the Pistons bench against the weak Blazers defense.

Power Forwards

Two Studs

Anthony Davis (NO) @ BOS: DK:$10,600/FD:$10,800

One of the perks of fading Russell Westbrook tonight would be affording The Brow as the unquestioned top option at PF in a plus matchup. The Celtics simply have no answers for him, as Boston ranks 29th in total rebounding and gives up the sixth-most RPG (12.97) to opposing PFs this season. He already torched the C’s for 25 points, 16 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks in a meeting earlier this season and is on a streak of eight straight productive games without leaving a game due to injury. Fingers crossed that he plays a full game tonight and makes for a great tournament pairing with Celtics closer Isaiah Thomas ($8500/$9200) in what should be a close game.

Al-Farouq Aminu (POR) vs. DET: DK:$4,900/FD:$4,800

It may seem as though the Blazers have a log jam on the wing with Aminu, Harkless, Evan Turner and a slew of PFs rotating in at stretches, but Aminu is the preferred option for HC Terry Stotts because of his versatility and ability to guard new-age stretch fours in today’s NBA. The Pistons use several stretch fours in Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris and Jon Leuer, so Aminu should be able to play 30-plus minutes once again. He’s produced a combined 19 points, 18 rebounds, 9 assists and 64.5 DK points (60.1 FD points) while playing 68 minutes over his last two appearances and even though he draws a tougher matchup on paper against the Pistons stingy defense, grinders like Aminu are better targets in those types of matchups than pure scorers such as Dame Lillard or McCollum.

Potential Value

Dirk Nowitzki ($5000/$5300) seems to be back to speed for the Mavericks and he’s worth a look as a mid-tier option when he’s playing 25-30 minutes.


Amir Johnson ($3900/$4000) came through as a fantastic value play last night and should be able to meet value at the very least tonight. Also consider Terrence Jones ($4500/$4700) as an option with more risk and potential reward.


Two Studs

Nikola Jokic (DEN) @ OKC: DK:$7,300/FD:$7,800 as PF

Jokic is apparently dealing with an illness that could limit him or keep him out of tonight’s contest, but don’t plan on fading him until we hear something more concrete about his status. If he suits up, the talented young center has to be worth consideration in a plus matchup against the Thunder’s hulking ‘stache brothers in Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. Jokic has the skills of a guard and the passing ability of Magic Johnson (slight hyperbole), so he can produce FPs in a variety of ways and it shouldn’t be overly concerning that he’ll face an elite rebounding team tonight. This contest has the highest Over/Under (220 points) on Saturday’s slate and the Nuggets wing players tend to cancel each other out, but Jokic could serve as a correlation play to Westbrook in a potential shootout.

Mason Plumlee (POR) vs. DET: DK:$5,900/FD:$6,500

The Blazers center is reliable as always and seems like the preferred option for cash games on DK with his ability to post double doubles and add tons of peripheral stats. His team is hosting a Pistons squad tonight that is stout on the defensive perimeter, but coughs up the tenth-most FPPG (49.86) and second-most PPG (25.45) to opposing centers over the last month. Andre Drummond is a weak individual defender and he struggles to contain big men like Plumlee, who can put the ball on the floor and make plays off the bounce. Plums is averaging 13.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 4 APG over his last 5 appearances and he should be able to meet value at the very least if he can stay out of foul trouble while guarding Drummond on the other end.

Potential Value

Jusuf Nurkic ($3600/$4000) would become a fantastic value option if it sounds like Jokic will be limited or inactive tonight for Denver.


Andre Drummond ($7600/$7900) failed to cash in on a plus matchup against Charlotte two nights ago, but he could be looking at a 20-20 game against the fast-paced Blazers. Enes Kanter ($5200/$5500 as PF on FD) is worth a look as a tournament option as well.

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