Scouting the NBA Friday 11/10/17

aka The Alphabet


Plays of the Day


Value: Donovan Mitchell shot extremely poorly for the Jazz on Wednesday but still played 31 minutes and appears locked into a steady role as a rookie. Give him a look as a mid-tier value with a solid floor.

Fade: Hassan Whiteside managed to produce a double double against a horrendous Suns defense on Wednesday, but now he faces Rudy Gobert and a stout interior Jazz defense, so he’s not the strongest play given his lackluster effort in recent games.    


Point Guards

Elfrid Payton – (6,900 DK/8,100 FD)

Returning to the floor after an eight-game absence, Payton showed little symptoms of a hamstring injury while burning the Knicks for 11 points and 11 assists with a handful of peripheral stats to exceed value by a wide margin over 29 minutes of run. His playing time could increase after getting a taste of game action, yet he’s worth deploying at this price tag on DK regardless of whether he can top 30 minutes in this juicy matchup. Phoenix is giving up the most FPPG (55.51) to opposing PGs this season and the second-most PPG (115.8) overall and Payton is a triple double threat in any fast-paced matchup, while these two teams respectively rank second and sixth in the league in pace of play.


Goran Dragic – (6,800 DK/6,700 FD)

Perception remains strong surrounding the Jazz defense, but the fact remains that Ricky Rubio is a poor individual defender and that’s led to some weaknesses on the perimeter. Utah’s given up huge lines to Damian Lillard and James Harden this year and while Dragic isn’t on the same level as those superstars, he’s a similar type of playmaker within Miami’s offense. Hassan Whiteside’s been loafing a bit and Dragic has stepped up with a couple of big lines, including a 29-point performance in Phoenix on Wednesday. He scored 27 points with 6 assists in his sole meeting with Utah last year and the matchup has only gotten better.


Potential Value


Mike James – (5,100 DK/5,400 FD)

James remains steady as ever for the Suns and is a great cash game play against fast-paced Orlando.




Eric Bledsoe – (6,000 DK/6,300 FD)

Bledsoe could debut for the Bucks tonight at a modest price tag.

Shooting Guards

Austin Rivers – (5,300 DK/5,900 FD)

If Rivers can go tonight, he’ll have a high-volume role with Patrick Beverley (knee) ruled out and Danilo Gallinari (hip) questionable to suit up. He’s posting a  usage rate with those players off the floor this season, but is dealing with an ankle injury of his own, so his potential absence might open the floor for Lou Williams to launch a ton of shots and for Blake Griffin to really try and carry the shorthanded Clippers. Yet if Rivers is out there, he’s a good mid-tier option that you can trust a little more after he dropped 24 points in a tough matchup against the Spurs on Wednesday.


Donovan Mitchell – (5,200 DK/5,100 FD)

The fact that Mitchell shot a ridiculous 3-for-21 from the field and 2-for-11 from long range in a loss to Philadelphia indicates that the coaching staff is willing to stick with their rookie through the ups and downs. That creates a great level of safety for a mid-tier play, who had otherwise routinely exceeded value and still came close at just $4.6k on DraftKings with 17.75 FPs on the worst shooting night of his young career. Give Mitchell a look tonight as you look to build balanced cash game lineups.

Potential Value


Reggie Bullock – (3,600 DK)

Bullock played 33 minutes on Wednesday and would remain a viable low-upside punt play if Stanley Johnson (hip) is inactive tonight.



Lou Williams – (5,200 DK/5,500 FD)

Williams is posting a 28% usage rate with Danilo and Pat Bev off the floor for the Clippers, so he’ll be a great GPP play tonight, especially if Austin Rivers seems in danger of sitting out this contest.

Small Forwards


Giannis Antetokounmpo – (10,500 DK/11,800 FD)

DraftKings continues to give users price breaks on big names such as Giannis, who is cheap enough to fit into balanced DK lineups on this full slate. He’s still quite pricey on FD, but A matchup against the Spurs is obviously much less intimidating with Kawhi Leonard (quad) in street clothes, as he was the primary reason Antetokounmpo produce his fewest PPG (11) against any team over two meetings with San Antonio last year. This season the Spurs are outside the top 10 in defensive rating and actually give up the sixth-most RPG (9.22) to opposing SFs with Kawhi out of the lineup.

Marcus Morris – (4,600 DK/5,200 FD)

With Al Horford (concussion) already ruled out tonight and Jayson Tatum (ankle) unlikely to suit up two days after suffering his injury, the Celtics should be forced to give Morris extended run tonight. While the ball didn’t bounce his way as he only grabbed one rebound over 25 minutes in a win over the Lakers, he was a great source of offense for Boston in the halfcourt, as he dropped 18 points on 7-of-15 FG shooting. Tonight the C’s host a middle Hornets team that features several combo forwards and they’ll need Morris to get into shape quickly due to the circumstances created by those injuries.

Potential Value


Luke Babbitt – (3,700 DK)

Babbitt continues to start for the Hawks and provide solid returns as a punt play.




Wesley Johnson – (3,700 DK/4,600 FD)

Johnson draws a tough matchup against OKC but should see plenty of court time with Danilo Gallinari inactive.

Power Forwards

Blake Griffin – (9,600 DK/9,900 FD)

With Patrick Beverley (knee) and Danilo Gallinari (glute) ruled out tonight, the Clippers will need Blake to step up in a big way against the Thunder’s Big Three in Oklahoma City. He’s rocking a whopping 40.3% usage rate (10.8% increase from his usual usage) and averaging 1.76 FPs per minute with both of those players off the floor this season, while he’s been more productive in general this year with Chris Paul now in Houston. Griffin’s averaging 23 PPG and 9.7 RPG on the road this year as he’s rocking his highest defensive rebounding rate (22.9%) since his sophomore campaign and clearly feels he has something to prove.


LaMarcus Aldridge – (7,900 DK/8,500 FD)

There are definitely exploitable matchups for the Spurs tonight as well with Aldridge matching up against one of the worst defensive front lines in the NBA. Giannis might switch onto LMA at some point, but otherwise the Spurs primary offensive weapon should steamroll John Henson and/or young Thon Maker. He’s been seeing a dramatic increase in volume with his highest usage rate (28.3%) in four seasons and just burned the highly-rated Clippers defense for 25 points to reassert his status as a virtually unstoppable scorer.


Potential Value


Bobby Portis – (6,100 DK/5,000 FD)

Portis was a monster over 24 minutes in his season debut and could sustain that production against a weak Pacers front line.




T.J. Warren – (6,300 DK/6,800 FD)

Warren saved a disastrous start with a solid second half in a tough matchup against Miami and gets a much better draw tonight with Orlando coming to town.





Jusuf Nurkic – (6,800 DK/8,500 FD)

You could pay way down for Tyler Zeller ($3.0k, $3.4k) at the minimum price tag provided the Nets are still without important bigs Trevor Booker (back) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (hip) on Friday night. Yet the absence of those players would also open up the middle for Nurk, who is primed to bounce back after a down game against Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies and is another under priced stud on DK. Brooklyn coughs up the second-most FPPG (61.62) to opposing centers this year and is simply running out of big bodies capable of containing the Blazers versatile seven footer.


Aron Baynes – (4,300 DK/4,800 FD)

It might seem like point chasing, but Baynes is still a very good value on both main DFS sites and he should remain a reliable source of rebounds even if he can’t approach the career-high 21 points he produced on Wednesday. He’s posting a  % usage rate with Al Horford off the floor this season and will be needed to play even more minutes if Tatum can’t go. Charlotte’s a middling offensive team that gives up the seventh-most defensive RPG (35.5) and the bruising Aussie is rocking a solid 20% defensive rebounding rate on the year.  


Potential Value


Tyler Zeller – (3,000 DK/3,400 FD)

Zeller would likely see a ton of run once again if Trevor Booker (back) can’t go tonight



Alex Len – (4,900 DK/4,400 FD)

Len quickly got into foul trouble against Hassan Whiteside in a start two nights ago, but would get a quick chance at redemption if Tyson Chandler (back) is out again this evening.



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.