Scouting the NBA 1/9/18


Plays of the Day


Value: Evan Turner should see a spike in usage and playing time with Damian Lillard (calf) expected to sit out tonight’s game at the Thunder. OKC is playing with more pace and getting into plenty of high-scoring affairs over the last month, so that’s a game to target tonight.

Fade: Paul George has been hot lately and is thriving in the right matchups, but Portland has a number of lengthy wing defenders that can run him off the line and bother his shot. The Blazers rank third in defensive rating and allow the second-fewest 3PTM (9.2) per game this year.


Point Guard


Dennis Smith Jr.– (6,200 DK/6,100 FD) Clearly, you should try to pay up for Russell Westbrook ($11.8, $11.5k) where possible, but Smith Jr. is a great mid-tier option against Orlando’s horrific defense. The Magic have allowed 115 PPG over three January losses and cough up the most FPPG (50.88) to opposing PGs this season while the rookie is averaging 16 PPG and 7.2 APG over his last five appearances.

With Damian Lillard (calf) out, Shabazz Napier ($5.4k, $4.8k) becomes a viable value play, although he’s a somewhat risky option as a poor defensive matchup against Westbrook.

 Goran Dragic ($5.9k, $5.5k) is carrying Miami’s offense recently and he could see a matchup upgrade if Kyle Lowry (back) is unable to play tonight. If that’s the case, strong consider Delon Wright ($4.4k, $4.8k) and Fred VanVleet ($3.5k, $3.6k) as value options who should soak up Lowry’s minutes.

Lonzo Ball ($7.3k, $7.8k) is worth a look in tournaments after flirting with a triple double on Sunday and De’Aaron Fox ($5.5k, $5.6k) should log heavy minutes on the other side of the ball with George Hill (personal) questionable and Frank Mason III (heel) ruled out.


Shooting Guard

DeMar DeRozan – (8,300 DK/9,300 FD) After another huge performance last night, DeRozan gets even cheaper on DK as his price tag was set before Kyle Lowry was forced to leave that win over Brooklyn with back spasms. Already a great option considering he averaged 32.3 PPG over four meetings with Miami last year, DeRozan becomes a virtual must play with Lowry questionable, as he boasts a whopping 42.8 percent usage rate and averages 1.55 FPs per minute when Lowry’s off the floor this season.

C.J. McCollum ($7.5k, $7.5k) is essentially the only other SG with upside tonight since he’ll also see a heavy workload with Damian Lillard (calf) out. Yet even with Andre Roberson (knee) inactive, the Thunder have a solid group of perimeter defenders that could make it tough on CJM, who is a secondary or contrarian option behind DeRozan.



Small Forward


Evan Turner – (4,300 DK/4,000 FD) Turner should see a significant increase in playing time and usage with Lillard inactive tonight. The point forward has been a catalyst for Portland’s offense and a great value play with a dirt cheap price tag that can allow you to afford big names at guard tonight.

James Johnson ($5.7k, $5.7k) is working his way back from an ankle injury and producing with with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists while playing 60 minutes over his last two appearances. He’ll have the added motivation of facing his former team in the Raptors tonight.

Consider Wesley Matthews ($5.4k, $5.2k) as a sniper who is facing a porous Magic defense that ranks 28th in opponents 3PT shooting (.388%) this year. And in the same game, Mario Hezonja ($5.1k, $4.8k) could serve as a solid value if Jonathon Simmons (back) is ruled out tonight.


Power Forward

Aaron Gordon – (8,600 DK/8,300 FD) Gordon has been carrying Orlando’s offense with Nikola Vucevic (hand) on the shelf and he’s coming off a 30-point game in a shootout with the Cavs on Saturday. Now he’ll face a soft Mavericks front line and an ancient starting PF in Dirk Nowitzki, who stands little chance of matching up with AG on the low block.

Kyle Kuzma ($6.2k, $5.7k) could serve as a great tournament play since his price tag has plummeted recently. Clearly affected by a quad injury last week, he bounced back to produce 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting in an easy win over the Hawks Sunday and he could thrive in a matchup against the inexperienced Kings tonight.

Serge Ibaka ($5.6k, $5.9k) is a solid value to consider in cash games as the Raptors preferred big man. His versatility allows him to play more minutes than Jonas Valanciunas and that could affect the playing time of Miami center Hassan Whiteside as well.




Julius Randle – (6,100 DK/7,100 FD) Brook Lopez (ankle) is active for the Lakers but seemingly limited to about 20 MPG right now. Randle is playing alongside BroLo and logging plenty of minutes at the 5 as well while averaging 16.8 PPG and 9.7 RPG over his last six appearances. He’s worth a look as a tournament play against a Kings team that gives up the most RPG (16.68) to opposing centers this year.

Willie Cauley-Stein ($6.6k, $7.5k) is a relative value on DK as a good bet for a double double against a Lakers team that leads the league in pace. Jusuf Nurkic ($6.9k, $7.5k) is a similar option with more upside as he could pile up peripheral stats and help the Blazers keep pace in OKC tonight with Lillard out.

You can also look at Bismack Biyombo ($5.8k, $5.6k) for value as he fills in for Orlando at center.



About Nate Weitzer 132 Articles
Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He’s been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA advice while continuing to build his bankroll on several sites. He is also a season-long king and has won several leagues over the years.Weitzer is a sports journalist with a Masters from Boston University’s College of Communication. When he’s not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.