Scouting the NBA 12/29/17


Plays of the Day


Value: Josh Hart remains a solid option even while he’s expected to come off the bench for the Lakers. He played 30 minutes with Brandon Ingram active on Wednesday and draws a great matchup against the shorthanded Clippers tonight.

Fade: Russell Westbrook is on fire right now and won’t necessarily struggle, but he could come up short of value against a Bucks team that’s quick enough to stay in front of him, led by athletic PG Eric Bledsoe.


Point Guards


Kyle Lowry – (7,700 DK/8,300 FD)

Lowry struggled on Wednesday but still met value with a double double at the Thunder. He draws a much better matchup at home tonight against a Hawks team that ranks dead last in defensive rating and coughs up the third-most APG (25.8) in the NBA this season. The Raptors are playing at a blistering pace this month and Lowry’s seen an uptick in APG (7.4) as a result, so he has a chance to see a significant spike in production if he can snap out of his shooting slump in this plum spot.

Josh Hart – (4,600 DK/4,400 FD)

Once again, Hart is a no-brainer value with Lonzo Ball (shoulder) out. The Villanova product has a solid floor and remains quite cheap on FD as he faces a Clippers team that gives up the most FPPG (46.72) to opposing SGs this season. Hart’s played 30-plus minutes in three consecutive games and retained value even when moving to a sixth-man role with Brandon Ingram (quad) back in the lineup on Wednesday.


Potential Value

Darren Collison – (5,800 DK/6,300 FD)

Collison becomes much more reliable with Victor Oladipo (knee) ruled out tonight.



Kemba Walker – (7,100 DK/7,500 FD)

Walker will look to carry the Hornets on the road against the defending champion Warriors.


Shooting Guards

Devin Booker – (8,500 DK/7,800 FD)

Booker returned from his groin injury and torched the Grizzlies solid defense for 32 points over just 32 minutes before fouling out on Wednesday. Clearly he’s not on a minutes limit as he prepares to face a Kings team that ranks 29th in defensive rating and 29th in opponents 3PT shooting (.381%) this year. Booker’s been lights out on the road while averaging 27.9 PPG and shooting 43.5 percent from deep, so he’s clearly worth paying up for as a premier SG on a team desperate for consistent scoring.

Lance Stephenson – (5,600 DK/5,800 FD)

With Victor Oladipo (knee) expected to miss a second consecutive game, Stephenson immediately becomes a recommended mid-tier option for any format. He provided a mix bag down the stretch in a start on Wednesday, but surely came through for DFS owners with 16 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists against the Mavericks. Chicago allows the third-most defensive RPG (37.5) in the NBA this season and Lance can snare boards while seeing an increased usage rate on the offensive end.


Potential Value

Malcolm Brogdon – (4,900 DK/5,500 FD)

Brogdon still has a very solid floor while coming off the bench for Milwaukee.



Jordan Clarkson – (6,400 DK/7,000 FD)

Clarkson has increased upside with Lonzo Ball out and like Hart, draws a juicy matchup against the Clippers.


Small Forwards

Paul George – (7,800 DK/8,400 FD)  – HE IS OUT

George is finding his role as a secondary scorer alongside Russell Westbrook. He dropped 33 points on a cool 11-of-17 FG shooting in a big win over Toronto and continues to see heavy run, playing 38.8 MPG over his last four appearances. Milwaukee is dead last in opponents 3PT percentage (.398%) this season and George is a red-hot 20-of-41 (.488%) from deep over his last six appearances.

 Otto Porter Jr. – (6,200 DK/6,700 FD)

Porter Jr. was limited by a hip injury at first, but he’s logged 36 and 31 minutes over his last two appearances and saw 30-plus minutes despite dealing with foul trouble in a decisive loss on Wednesday. Washington will look to bounce back once gain and should have an advantage in terms of energy against a shorthanded Rockets team that’s on the second half of a B2B set. Houston’s incredible pace of play benefits rangy opponents like Porter, who can rebound on one end and hit transition threes on the other.

Potential Value

Wayne Ellington – (4,700 DK/4,600 FD)

Ellington’s been raining threes for the Heat and has a secure path to minutes with Dion Waiters (ankle) out for a few weeks.



Brandon Ingram – (6,600 DK/7,300 FD)

Ingram is relatively cheap as he returns from a one-game absence, but appears to be just fine as he logged 44 minutes in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday.

Power Forwards

Draymond Green – (7,900 DK/9,300 FD)

With Stephen Curry (ankle) expected to sit tonight, Draymond offers some upside at a much lower price tag that superstar Kevin Durant. He’s averaging 12.3 PPG, 9 RPG and 8 APG over his last four appearances and should be able to bully the Hornets smaller forwards on the board this evening. As long as this game doesn’t turn into a blowout, which is more likely with Curry out, Green has a great chance to exceed value.

Kelly Olynyk – (6,300 DK/6,700 FD)

Hassan Whiteside (knee) is back for Miami back on a strict minutes limit, as he only played 18 minutes in his return on Wednesday. With James Johnson (ankle) also out, Olynyk has a clear path to around 30 minutes and you can’t beat his matchup tonight against the weak Nets defense. Brooklyn is giving up the third-most FPPG (49.06) to opposing PFs over the last month and Kelly-O is averaging 16.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per 36 minutes this year.


Potential Value


Domantas Sabonis – (5,200 DK/5,200 FD)

Sabonis is another Pacers player who should see more usage with Oladipo out.




Nikola Mirotic – (6,200 DK/6,500 FD)

Mirotic was cold against the Knicks on Wednesday, but could certainly bounce back against a weak Pacers frontcourt.



DeMarcus Cousins – (11,100 DK/11,000 FD)

As per usual, Cousins has much more upside than the rest of the centers on the board. The Mavericks don’t necessarily have a true center and are giving up the sixth-most RPG (15.83) to opposing centers over the last month. Dallas also allows the fourth-most APG (4.28) to opposing centers and that’s become a huge part of Boogie’s game with the Pelicans, as he’s averaging 5.4 APG to go along with 26.6 PPG and 12.6 RPG at home this season.

Alex Len – (5,200 DK/6,000 FD)

Len has enough upside tonight gainst a Kings team that gives up the most RPG (17.6) and second-most FPPG (57.51) to opposing centers this season to warrant consideration in tournaments. He’s been up-and-down all year but has become much more reliable now that Greg Monroe’s fallen out of the rotation. He’s averaging 14.8 points and 14.8 rebounds per 36 minutes this season, so he has plenty of upside if he can log a full slate of run in this plus matchup.


Potential Value


Jonas Valanciunas – (4,700 DK/5,100 FD)

JoVal has been very inconsistent, but his price tag is low enough to take a gamble on the big man.




Willie Cauley-Stein – (6,000 DK/7,000 FD)

Cauley-Stein is finally playing well for the Kings and draws a plus matchup against Phoenix tonight.



About Nate Weitzer 85 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.