Scouting the NBA 11/17/17

Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Plays of the Day


Value: Greg Monroe played 26 minutes in his Suns debut and he’s slated to start once again with Tyson Chandler (illness) ruled out tonight. The Lakers slower centers will have trouble containing the versatile center, who produced a double double while shooting 10-of-14 from the floor against the Rockets last night.


Fade: Russell Westbrook continues to provide steady production, but he lacks upside as the Thunder try to figure out how to run an offense together and he faces a Spurs team that’s historically limited him, even when he was a one-man show last year.


Point Guards

Dennis Smith Jr. – (6,000 DK/6,900 FD)

Smith Jr. is back on track after dealing with a knee injury earlier this season, as he’s averaging 19.5 PPG and 3.9 APG over his last seven appearances, including a career-high 27-point performance against the solid Spurs defense on Wednesday night. Perhaps most encouraging is his increased usage, as Smith’s attempted at least 15 FGs in each of those contests, perhaps under the instruction of HC Rick Carlisle. Now he’ll face a Wolves team that gives up the sixth-most FPPG (48.97) and fourth-most APG (9.79) to opposing PGs this season and he should improve on the 18 points he dropped in Minnesota earlier this month as this game should remain closer down the stretch.


Jordan Clarkson – (5,100 DK/5,100 FD)

With Lonzo Ball struggling to shoot, Clarkson’s playing time continues to rise for the Lakers. The fourth-year man out of Missouri has scored 45 points with 9 rebounds and 8 assists while logging 58 minutes over his last two appearances. Tonight he faces a Suns team that’s giving up the most PPG (115.1) and playing at the second-fastest pace in the NBA this year, while Phoenix has been very generous in giving up the most FPPG (52.85) to opposing PGs as well.



Potential Value

Spencer Dinwiddie – (5,500 DK/6,500 FD)

Dinwiddie will remain a reliable option for the Nets with D’Angelo Russell (knee) out.



Rajon Rondo – (4,000 DK/4,200 FD)

Rondo exceeded value while playing just 14 minutes in his last appearance and now he should see 20-24 minutes in a matchup against fast-paced Denver.

Shooting Guards

DeMar DeRozan – (7,900 DK/8,000 FD)

Kyle Lowry is finally heating up for Toronto, but DeRozan remains a far superior cash play. He’s dropped at least 24 points in 12 of his last 13 appearances and is home against a Knicks team that ranks 21st in defensive rating this season. DDR is averaging 32 PPG on 53.8 percent shooting over his last four meetings with the Knicks, shot a scorching 47.2 percent from the floor at home last year and faces an inexperienced young defender in Tim Hardaway Jr.


Donovan Mitchell – (6,500 DK/6,400 FD)

Yes, Mitchell struggled with foul trouble while Rodney Hood went nuts in a close loss to the Knicks, so hopefully the public fades the rising rookie at this price tag. Yet if Ricky Rubio (Achilles) is inactive or hobbled tonight, Mitchell stands to shift over to more of a pure PG role with DFS dividends. He leads the team with a 36.5 percent usage rate and averages 1.15 FPs per minute with Rudy Gobert (knee) and Rubio off the floor this season and obviously draws a fantastic matchup against the Nets 29th-ranked scoring defense.


Potential Value

Rodney Hood – (5,400 DK/5,700 FD)

Hood should cool off a bit after dropping 30 points against the Knicks, but he’s still a solid cash play in the mid-tier price range.



Tim Hardaway Jr. – (6,700 DK/6,800 FD)

Hardaway’s simply been red hot and you can try to ride him until the wheels fall off.


Small Forwards

LeBron James – (11,200 DK/11,400 FD)

King James and DeMarcus Cousins are the two studs that are certainly worth paying up for tonight given their lofty floor-ceiling combinations. If you save at the guard position, it’s even possible to play both, or to stack LeBron against a Clippers big name in Blake Griffin. This is set to be a competitive game with the Clippers (+6.5) checking in as road dogs in a contest with a 222-point over/under. The Clips have been most vulnerable on the wing, as they’re giving up the fourth-most FPPG (44.27) to opposing SFs this season, and Danilo Gallinari (glute) could return at less than full strength to attempt to guard LeBron.


Nic Batum – (6,000 DK/6,500 FD)

Batum had few limitations in his return to the court for Charlotte and faces an inexperienced Bulls team this evening. He dropped 33 FPs while playing 32 minutes against a motivated LeBron James, so facing young Justin Holiday (personal) or Denzel Valentine represents a serious matchup upgrade. Chicago gives up the third-most PPG (22.5) to opposing SFs this season and ranks 27th in opponents 3PT shooting (.390%) so perhaps Batum finds the range in addition to producing his usual peripheral stats.


Potential Value

C.J. Miles – (3,800 DK/4,000 FD)

Miles has been providing much needed perimeter shooting for the Raptors and could keep rolling against the Knicks tonight.



Allen Crabbe – (4,400 DK/5,400 FD)

Crabbe had a good game against the Celtics top-ranked defense and draws a better matchup tonight against a Jazz team that can’t guard on the perimeter right now.

Power Forwards

Blake Griffin – (8,800 DK/8,600 FD)

Blake seems like best per dollar option in this game to target at Quicken Loans Arena. The Clippers go-to-guy is rocking a 29 percent usage rate with a stellar true shooting percentage (.554%) this season and he’ll be facing a Cavs team that still ranks dead last in defensive rating despite their recent turnaround. Cleveland gives up the eighth-most PPG (23.2) to opposing PFs and with Love playing the 5, Griffin should be able to grab plenty of boards in this matchup.


Derrick Favors – (5,900 DK/6,500 FD)

With Rudy Gobert (knee) on the shelf, Favors is getting a chance to play more minutes for the Jazz and prove that he can still produce when healthy. His usage rate rises to 21.1 percent with Gobert off the floor and Utah’s really needed him to rebound, which he’s obliged with 32 boards over his last three appearances. The Nets give up the most FPPG (53.63), RPG (15.43) and BPG (2.36) to opposing PFs while playing at the fastest pace in the NBA this season, which is why they give up the third-most RPG (49.5), so Favors is a decent bet for a double double in this price range.



Potential Value


Trevor Booker – (4,500 DK/4,800 FD)

Booker was able to play 28 minutes on Tuesday to exceed value and he’ll see a larger role against his former team tonight with Russell out for Brooklyn.




Kevin Love – (7,600 DK/7,400 FD)

Love remains a boom-bust option to consider if you’re fading Griffin because you believe he’ll get the better of the Clippers star.  




DeMarcus Cousins – (10,900 DK/11,600 FD)

Save at the guard and forward positions to pay up for Big Cousins tonight, because he represents a huge jump from the other options at his position. With a floor of approximately 50 FPs, he’s been a dominant force in all formats and remains in play despite a tough matchup against Denver’s surging defense tonight. Cousins averaged 30.5 PPG, 10 RPG and 7.5 APG over two meetings with Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets last season and he outweighs The Joker by a good 20 pounds, so he should continue to mix his brand of bully ball with an improved jumper to continue his torrid run of production.


Hassan Whiteside – (8,400 DK/8,800 FD)

Since getting benched for apparent lack of effort in a trip to Oracle Arena last Monday, Whiteside’s scored 65 points with 63 rebounds and 10 blocks over his last four appearances. He dominated Marcin Gortat and the Wizards on Wednesday, logging the most minutes (34) he’s played since banging his knee in Miami’s season opener, so he should be ready to go in a rematch with the Wizards at Capital One Arena. He’s a very safe play on DK given his tendency to produce double doubles quickly, as he’s averaging 19.8 points and 17.5 rebounds per 36 minutes this year.


Potential Value


Greg Monroe – (4,100 DK/3,700 FD)

Monroe was stellar in his season debut for the Suns, although his production came partially in garbage time, he’s a good value to consider against the Lakers tonight.




Jonas Valanciunas – (5,100 DK/5,100 FD)

JoVal finally returned to form with a big game against the Pelicans and he draws a plus matchup tonight against the Knicks.