Scouting the NBA 12/15/17

Dec 13, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) looks for an opening during the second half of their 124-118 win over the Denver Nuggets at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


Plays of the Day


Value: Nikola Mirotic has been the key cog in the Bulls recent four-game winning streak and it’s hard to imagine him coming off the floor for extended stretches even if rookie Lauri Markkanen (back) is able to return tonight.

Fade: Nikola Vucevic has been rolling lately, but could face a tough defender tonight if Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) returns and might regress in terms of usage if Aaron Gordon returns from a concussion for Orlando.


Point Guards


Kyrie Irving – (8,000 DK/8,400 FD)

After a bad loss in Chicago, Kyrie returned to resurrect the Celtics offense with a huge 33-point game on Wednesday. He draws an even better matchup for the second game of this homestand against a Jazz team that’s struggled to defend on the perimeter since acquiring Ricky Rubio, giving up the fifth-most FPPG (49.89) and most RPG (8.92) to opposing PGs over the last month. While he’s been less efficient, Kyrie is rocking a 32.4 percent usage rate at home this season and Is surprisingly cheap on both main DFS sites given his floor-ceiling combination.

Andrew Harrison – (4,600 DK/4,500 FD)

Mario Chalmers has been a flop with Mike Conley (Achilles) injured and with Tyreke Evans (hip) out on Wednesday as well, Harrison dropped a career-high 20 points over 30 minutes of run. He’s posting a 24.2 percent usage rate and averaging 1.03 FPs per minute with Conley and Evans off the floor and if Memphis is ready to plan for the future in the midst of an apparently doomed season, they’d be wise to give their second-year guard more run going forward.


Potential Value

Spencer Dinwiddie – (6,400 DK/7,300 FD)

Dinwiddie posted a monster line on Thursday and he’s even cheaper tonight ahead of a road tilt in Toronto.



Rajon Rondo – (6,100 DK/6,000 FD)

Rondo is producing on an incredible per-minute basis, but his playing time has been up and down and apparently fluctuates on his own accord at times.


Shooting Guards

DeMar DeRozan – (8,400 DK/9,100 FD)

He was red hot in a plus matchup against the Suns on Wednesday and DeRozan should keep rolling in an equally prime spot tonight at home against Brooklyn. The Nets give up the third-most PPG (110.8) while playing at the second-fastest pace in the NBA and DDR averaged 26.3 PPG on 43 percent FG shooting over three meetings with Brooklyn last year. The Nets have been surprisingly competitive and should keep this game close enough for DeRozan and potentially Kyle Lowry to fill the stat sheet.

Jamal Murray – (5,600 DK/5,700 FD)

Murray’s been quite consistent as a scorer for the Nuggets with Nikola Jokic (ankle) working his way back to speed and Will Barton (hip) also hurt. The second-year man out of Kentucky is averaging 19.4 PPG with a 26 percent usage rate over his last seven appearances. Tonight he’ll face a Pelicans team that’s given up the second-most PPG (25.0) and third-most FPPG (52.38) to opposing PGs over the last month and ranks 28th in overall defensive rating while allowing the second-most 3PTM (11.2) per game this year.


Potential Value

Alec Burks – (4,700 DK/4,200 FD)

Burks continues to score consistently off the bench and wasn’t dramatically affected by the return of Rodney Hood (ankle) on Wednesday.



Donovan Mitchell – (6,600 DK/7,400 FD)

The highest scoring rookie in the league should find ways to produce despite facing the Celtics league-leading defense.


Small Forwards

Paul George – (7,700 DK/7,600 FD)

George could be in for a bounce back effort tonight against the Sixers after he seemed to show some nerves in his return to Indiana on Wednesday. Philly is giving up the fourth-most FPPG (43.9) and most SPG (2.23) to opposing SFs and PG leads the league at 2.4 SPG this season. His offense has been boom or bust, but he’s getting plenty of open shots while playing alongside Russell Westbrook and the Sixers are giving up the sixth-most PPG (108.9) while playing at the fourth-fastest pace in the league this year.

 Jonathon Simmons – (6,600 DK/6,700 FD)

He’s long been one of the most talented NBA players that isn’t getting consistent run, but now Simmons has been given a chance to start as a key cog in Orlando’s fast-paced system. He’s scored 15-plus points in seven consecutive appearances and 70 over his last three with 17 rebounds and 13 assists during that span. While Portland is a solid defensive team, Simmons has the athleticism to bang with the Blazers revolving door rotation of wings and meet value once again.


Potential Value

Wilson Chandler – (4,500 DK/4,600 FD)

Chandler has been productive over his last three appearances and could see a bump in usage if Will Barton (back) remains out.



Caris LeVert – (5,200 DK/5,900 FD)

LeVert is suddenly cheap on DK despite sustained production in the absence of D’Angelo Russell (knee).

Power Forwards

Nikola Mirotic – (5,500 DK/5,900 FD)

Mirotic has essentially been the key to the Bulls recent four-game winning streak, so it would be very difficult for Bulls HC Fred Hoiberg to take him off the floor even once Lauri Markkanen (back) is ready to return to action. Mirotic can play the 3 and may be asked to tonight in a matchup against the versatile Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee is allowing opponents to shoot a league-high 40.2 percent from 3-point range this season and Mirotic is a scorching 11-of-20 from downtown while scoring 72 points over his last three appearances.

Al-Farouq Aminu – (4,900 DK/5,500 FD)

Aminu is still a bit under priced after missing a couple of weeks with an ankle injury and has a solid floor in a matchup against the fast-paced and oft defenseless Magic. He posted his first double double since coming back with 15 points and 13 boards in a tough matchup against the Heat and will now face a team that gives up the second-most FPPG (50.7) to opposing PFs this season. Orlando gives up the second-most defensive RPG (46.5) while playing at the seventh-fastest pace in the league and Aminu’s posting a solid 22.2 percent defensive rebounding rate this year.


Potential Value

Dario Saric – (5,600 DK/6,400 FD)

Saric continues to flash a solid floor as one of the primary scorers and rebounders for fast-paced Philadelphia.



Serge Ibaka – (6,100 DK/6,500 FD)

Ibaka has been surging (forgive the pun) for the Raptors lately and could dominate the Nets under sized front line.




Joel Embiid – (9,800 DK/11,000 FD)

It probably makes more sense to pay all the way up for DeMarcus Cousins at a similar price tag on FD, but Embiid is a far better bargain on DK tonight. Embiid was able to play a career-high 39 minutes in an OT win over Minnesota and with per 36 minute numbers of 27.8 points, 13.1 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.2 blocks, he’s bound to fill it up when given a full slate of run.

DeAndre Jordan – (7,400 DK/8,500 FD)

The Clippers are surging a bit right now and Jordan is rallying as the sole star left active on the team. He’s averaging a lofty 17.1 RPG over his last seven appearances and draws a plus matchup against Washington’s Marcin Gortat, who has struggled on both ends of the floor and as a result, the Wizards are giving up the fifth-most RPG (16.54) to opposing centers over the last month.


Potential Value


Jonas Valanciunas – (4,900 DK/5,700 FD)

Valanciunas finally appears back to full speed for the Raptors and he draws a dream matchup tonight against the Nets weak interior defense.



Rudy Gobert – (6,400 DK/7,000 FD)

Utah has been treading lightly as Gobert returns from a knee injury but perhaps he plays more minutes tonight in a big tilt at the league-leading Celtics.



Fuego Steve
About Fuego Steve 296 Articles
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.