Scouting the NBA 11/22/17

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


Plays of the Day


Value: Juancho Hernangomez is looking at an increased role for the Nuggets with Paul Millsap (wrist) out indefinitely. He draws a plus matchup tonight against the Rockets and is close to the minimum price on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Fade: LeBron James draws a juicy matchup tonight against the fast-paced Nets, but the Cavs are clearly trying to dial back his minutes when possible and with Cleveland (-11) favored by double digits and Nets leading scorer D’Angelo Russell (knee) out, this might not be a close game down the stretch.


Point Guards

Russell Westbrook – (10,400 DK/10,000 FD)

He’s always going to bring the energy and Westbrook should be even more motivated to face off with former running mate Kevin Durant and the Warriors, a team that plays at the fifth-fastest pace in the NBA and allows 107.5 PPG this season. Westy averaged 27.3 PPG, 10 RPG and 9.5 APG over four meetings with Golden State last year despite getting his playing time chopped in a couple of blowouts and the Thunder (+6) should be competitive tonight.

Mario Chalmers – (5,000 DK/5,600 FD)

While he struggled at first in relief of the injured Mike Conley (Achilles), Chalmers has found his groove in recent games with 6 assists in four consecutive outings and a season-high 21 points on 7-of-12 FG shooting against Portland on Monday. Tonight he faces a Mavs team that gives up the third-most PPG (23.88) to opposing PGs with two sub-6 foot guards at that position in J.J. Barea and Yogi Ferrell.



Potential Value

Rajon Rondo – (4,800 DK/5,200 FD)

Rondo’s minutes restriction appears to be gone, so he’s free to pile up assists while setting up the Pelicans superstar big men going forward.



Eric Bledsoe – (6,500 DK/6,400 FD)

Bledsoe returns to Phoenix to face his former team tonight and should play “at the margins” in the sense that he’ll either boom or bust in this spot.


Shooting Guards

James Harden – (11,300 DK/11,600 FD)

You can roll with Russell Westbrook in tournaments tonight, but probably want to pay up for The Beard in cash games. His floor is so much higher than the rest of the field at SG because he’s actually playing PG, and Houston is likely to get into a shootout at home tonight against a 10-7 Nuggets team that leads the Northwest Conference. Harden’s been even more dynamic with averages of 35.3 PPG, 9.6 APG and 61.4 DK PPG over 7 home games this season and averaged 32.5 PPG and 10 APG over four meetings with Denver last season.

Khris Middleton – (6,900 DK/6,900 FD)

Fans of Narrative Street will gravitate towards Eric Bledsoe in his return to Phoenix and Giannis Antetokounmpo should be a popular expensive play as per usual tonight, giving Middleton appeal in tournaments as an under-the-radar component to the Bucks offense. He sees a slight rise in usage rate to 26.9 percent with John Henson off the floor this season and Milwaukee’s big man is expected to miss tonight’s contest, forcing Middleton and The Greek Freak to shift up in the lineup. Facing a Suns team that gives up the most PPG (115.9) in the NBA and ranks 26th in opponents 3PT shooting (.381%) certainly helps his chances to drop a nice shooting line with peripheral stats.



Potential Value

Gary Harris – (5,200 DK/5,800 FD)

Harris remains one of the most reliable options on a solid Nuggets team.



Donovan Mitchell – (6,600 DK/7,000 FD)

Mitchell still deserves consideration at this price tag as he takes on a Bulls team that’s on the second half of a road B2B set.


Small Forwards

Harrison Barnes – (5,600 DK/6,700 FD)

If you pay up at guard, you’re going to need to find some mid-tier options at this position and Barnes has a very solid floor relative to his price tag. The Mavericks leader in PPG (19.4) and RPG (7.0) is coming off an impressive 31-point performance against the Celtics top-rated defense, his 10th consecutive game scoring double-digit points. Memphis is down defensively and gives up the second-most RPG (9.33) to opposing SFs with James Ennis and rookie Dillon Brooks sharing time at the position, two players that gave Barnes little trouble when he dropped 37 points with 17 boards over two meetings with Memphis earlier this season.

Denzel Valentine – (4,800 DK/5,100 FD)

The Jazz defense is not where it’s been in past years and certainly is less formidable with Rudy Gobert (knee) inactive right now. Valentine and the young Bulls (+8.5) should be able to cover tonight against a team that’s lost 8 of its last 10 games and Chicago’s guards draw a favorable matchup against a Jazz team that ranks 28th in opponents 3PT shooting (.387%) this year. Valentine’s 15-for-27 from long range with 24 rebounds and 15 assists over his last four appearances as his playing time continues to increase for good reason. 


Potential Value

Wesley Johnson – (3,800 DK/4,600 FD)

Johnson continues to play big minutes with Danilo Gallinari (hip) inactive and Gallo doesn’t seem ready to return any time soon.



T.J. Warren – (6,600 DK/7,500 FD)

Warren might be the best option to target on the Suns side of the ball against an athletic Bucks team that somehow ranks in the bottom 10 in terms of defensive rating.

Power Forwards

Ben Simmons – (9,500 DK/10,200 FD)

While Simmons’ assist numbers might dip with Joel Embiid a bit banged up, his scoring should continue to rise after he’s produced 50 points on 24-of-39 shooting over his last two appearances. His usage rate climbs to 30 percent (4.7% increase) with Embiid off the floor this season and The Process only managed 15 points over 27 minutes in a win over Utah on Monday. The Blazers have a very good defense that forces teams inside the arc however, giving up the eighth-most two-point attempts per game, which plays to Simmons’ strengths.

James Johnson – (5,600 DK/5,500 FD)

The Celtics are drawing everyone’s best shot right now and bring their 16-game winning streak to Miami in a game that should have American Airlines Arena rocking. Eric Spoelstra is a smart enough coach to understand that he’ll need a superb athlete in James Johnson to play heavy minutes against the athletic young Celtics. He gave JJ 33 minutes of run and was rewarded with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting when the Heat visited Boston earlier this month, while the C’s have been hurt on the wing by Harrison Barnes and Taurean Prince in recent games.



Potential Value


Lauri Markkanen – (6,600 DK/6,200 FD)

Markannen is the closest thing these young Bulls have to a go-to scorer and he should have another solid game against a Jazz team that can’t defend the three-point line.




Juancho Hernangomez – (3,600 DK/3,500 FD)

Hernangomez is looking at an increased role for the Nuggets with Paul Millsap (wrist) out indefinitely.





Marc Gasol – (8,300 DK/8,300 FD)

Gasol has been the biggest beneficiary of Mike Conley’s absence. He boasts a 30.4 percent usage rate and averages 1.22 FPs per minute with Conley off the floor as a true playmaking center. Gasol’s rocking career-best marks in terms of usage rate (28.1%), defensive rebounding rate (27.5%) and block rate (5%), while Dallas gives up the third-most APG (4.75) and eighth-most RPG (16.69) to opposing centers this year. 

Greg Monroe – (4,600 DK/4,600 FD)

The former Bucks center is a great source of salary relief in a matchup against his former team tonight. Milwaukee coughs up the ninth-most RPG (16.53) and PPG (22.6) to opposing centers this year and is without Monroe’s replacement in John Henson. Thon Maker stands to start in place of Henson and Monroe should take the 20-year-old to school with his wide array of post moves.



Potential Value


John Collins – (4,600 DK/5,200 FD)

Collins is a boom-bust value with tons of upside if he can produce a double double at home against the Clippers.




Hassan Whiteside – (8,600 DK/8,800 FD)

Whiteside should be motivated along with the rest of the Heat and he’s fully capable of dominating the under sized Celtics in the paint. 



Fuego Steve
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Fuego Steve has rapidly become one of the best DFS players in the industry for MLB, NBA, and the NFL. Just over the past year he has won numerous GPPs, including three qualifiers. Fuego was a live finalist at the 2017 & 2018 Fanduel Basketball Championships. Mainly a tournament player, he specializes in multi and single-entry gpps, roster construction, game theory, qualifiers, short slates and has a knack for projecting ownership percentages.