Scouting the NBA – 11/7/17

aka The Alphabet


Plays of the Day


Value: Donovan Mitchell has stepped into an increased role because the Jazz have a flawed roster with Ricky Rubio and Rodney Hood hardly complementing each other in the backcourt and he draws a juicy matchup tonight against a Sixers team that allows the most FPPG (47.7) and PPG (29.67) to opposing SGs this season.

Fade: DeMarcus Cousins is always capable of posting monstrous lines, but his price tag remains a bit too high considering the wealth of options at other positions tonight and the Pacers got Myles Turner back recently, so they could slow down Big Cuz.


Point Guards


Damian Lillard – (8,700 DK/9,800 FD)

Lillard’s price tag is so low on DK that his matchup is almost irrelevant. He’s been absolutely en fuego lately, averaging 34.25 PPG while shooting 55% from the floor over his last four games. Memphis is actually giving up the sixth-most PPG (23.9) to opposing PGs this season as Mike Conley’s been bothered by an Achilles issue recently. Some of Lillard’s big games have come against top 10 defensive teams, such as the Jazz, Raptors and Clippers, so this home tilt against the Grizzlies fifth-rated defense is no reason to ignore Dame Dollar.

Kemba Walker – (7,300 DK/7,400 FD)

Kemba and the Hornets travel to his home-away-from-home tonight in Madison Square Garden, where he first broke into the national spotlight with arguably the best run ever in the Big East Tournament a decade ago. Now the focal point of a Hornets offense that’s short on playmakers with Nic Batum (elbow) out indefinitely, he’ll look to torch a Knicks defense that’s giving up the sixth-most FPPG (49.14) and most APG (11.67) to opposing PGs this season. Walker went for 31 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in his last trip to MSG and draws an even better matchup this time against inexperienced backup Frank Ntilinka or slowing veteran Jarrett Jack.


Potential Value


Frank Ntilinka – (3,800 DK/4,300 FD)

The Knicks rookie is playing his way into a timeshare with Jarrett Jack and that makes him a solid value with upside.





Ricky Rubio – (6,900 DK/7,100 FD)

Rubio could have a big night in a Jazz-Sixers game that could be full of DFS goodness.


Shooting Guards

Donovan Mitchell – (4,600 DK/5,200 FD)

The Sixers are playing close and exciting games with partial defensive indifference and that’s led to great results in DFS contests. Philadelphia allows the most FPPG (47.7) and PPG (29.67) to opposing SGs this season and Mitchell has stepped into an increased role because the Jazz have a flawed roster with Ricky Rubio and Rodney Hood hardly complementing each other in the backcourt. The rookie out of Louisville spent a post-graduate year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, the nation’s premier prep school for basketball players, which partially explains why he seems so NBA ready.

Dwyane Wade – (4,800 DK/4,600 FD)

Wade took over as the leader of the Cavs second unit and he’ll need to continue producing if Cleveland is going to pull out of its tailspin. LeBron’s workload is unsustainable, Kevin Love (illness) is questionable and Tristan Thompson (calf) is out multiple weeks. Of course Isaiah Thomas (groin) isn’t ready to help share the load and Derrick Rose is on a minutes limit until he inevitably suffers his next injury. D-Wade stepped up and dropped 25 points with 11 rebounds and 6 assists in a comeback effort against the Hawks and Cleveland needs him to build on that momentum against the Bucks 24th-rated defense.


Potential Value


J.J. Redick – (4,500 DK/5,000 FD)

Redick could find space to fire tonight against a Jazz defense that’s taken a step backwards in terms of defending perimeter players.




Will Barton – (5,900 DK/5,700 FD)

Barton thrives in fast-paced games and the Nuggets host a Nets team that leads the league in pace and happens to be on the second half of a B2B set.


Small Forwards


Giannis Antetokounmpo – (10,800 DK/11,700 FD)

The Greek Freak’s price tag is down on DK after a couple of relatively quiet games, but he draws a mouth-watering matchup tonight against the Cavs 30th-rated defense. He burned the Cavs for 34 points on 15-of-22 FG shooting earlier this season and Antetokounmpo stepped up with averages of 24 PPG, 9.3 RPG and 4 STL/BLK per game over 4 meetings with the Cavs last year, so clearly the future MVP gets up for show downs with the incumbent in King James.

Ben Simmons – (8,800 DK/9,300 FD)

Simmons continues to lead the exciting young Sixers and he should see a marked increase in usage with Joel Embiid (rest) ruled out tonight. Simmons boats a 33% assist rate and 29.1% usage rate while averaging 1.35 FPs per minute with Embiid off the floor this season and the Jazz gave up huge lines to James Harden and Damian Lillard recently as the focal point of their respective offenses. His price tag is still too low on DK given his ability to flirt with triple doubles and his scoring will increase as he figures out the NBA game.


Potential Value

Wesley Johnson – (3,400 DK/4,400 FD)

Danilo Gallinari (hip) is doubtful tonight and Johnson is a candidate to soak up his minutes against the vulnerable, Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs.




Khris Middleton – (7,000 DK/7,500 FD)

If you can’t afford Giannis, use the Bucks second-most effective offensive player against the league’s worst defensive team right now.


Power Forwards


Kristaps Porzingis – (9,400 DK/9,800 FD)

Porzingis continues to exceed value just about every time the Knicks get into close games and there’s a “Pick ‘Em” line on tonight’s tilt at Madison Square Garden. Charlotte’s defense is down from last year and like most teams, they don’t have an answer for The Unicorn because Dwight Howard isn’t quick enough at this stage in his career, while Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller don’t have the size to challenge him on the low block. Take away his lackluster lines in two blowout losses, and The Zinger is averaging 34.4 PPG and 8.6 RPG this season.


Amir Johnson – (3,800 DK/3,600 FD)

He’s not an easy player to trust, but with Embiid out, Richaun Holmes (wrist) working his way back into playing shape and Jahlil Okafor in trade limbo, Johnson should see 25-30 minutes of run out of necessity tonight. Facing the sizable Jazz front line is no easy task, but the former Celtics forward has been an effective rebounder in limited playing time with averages of 12.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per 36 minutes this year. He’s nothing more than a punt play, but a great source of salary relief if you’re trying to craft a “Studs and Duds” lineup on this full slate.


Potential Value


Robert Covington – (5,300 DK/6,300 FD)

Another Sixers shooter, Covington comes into this matchup hot and will be forced into heavy minutes with Embiid out.




Paul Millsap – (6,800 DK/7,400 FD)

Millsap was heating up over three appearances before dropping a dud against Golden State, so he’ll have a low ownership rate in a great bounce back spot at home against the Nets defense.



Nikola Jokic – (8,500 DK/9,500 FD)

Like his teammate, Paul Millsap, Jokic was unable to get anything going against the powerful Warriors in his last outing. Yet he’s also in a great bounce back spot against a Brooklyn team that’s giving up the fifth-most FPPG (57.62) and second-most PPG (26.5) to opposing centers along with most PPG overall (119.3) due in part to their league-leading pace of play. The Joker is rocking a 20.8% usage rate, 23% assist rate and 32.3% defensive rebounding rate to lead the Nuggets and that makes him a high-floor, high-ceiling option in the most favorable matchup possible. 

John Henson – (4,700 DK/5,000 FD)

While Henson only scored eight points in each of his last two starts for the Bucks, he’s exceeded value with 23 rebounds and 9 assists during that span and will be forced into a bigger role for the foreseeable future with Greg Monroe traded to Phoenix. Tonight Henson faces a reeling Cavs team that’s without Tristan Thompson (calf) and just got Kevin Love back after a brief hospitalization. Henson isn’t going to lead the offense, but he’s a better option than young Thon Maker and should clear the glass in a fast-paced contest. 


Potential Value

Marcin Gortat – (5,500 DK/5,600 FD)

Gortat remains a solid cash game play and the Mavericks have been awful against opposing centers.




Rudy Gobert – (7,900 DK/8,100 FD)

Gobert could go off against the 76ers with Embid in street clothes. 



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.