Scouting the NBA 1/3/18

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports


Plays of the Day


Value: Michael Beasley excelled in a tough matchup against the Spurs once again last night and he remains relatively cheap on both main DFS sites ahead of a superior matchup against the Wizards.

Fade: Steph Curry shot the lights out in his return from an ankle injury over the weekend but isn’t likely to match that production on a nightly basis since the Warriors have so many elite options to use in what could be a blowout win over the Mavericks tonight.


Point Guards


Russell Westbrook – (11,700 DK/12,300 FD)

Westbrook is averaging 32.7 PPG, 10 RPG and 11.5 APG over his last six appearances and he draws a juicy matchup tonight against his hometown Lakers. He averaged 28 PPG, 12.3 RPG and a whopping 15.3 APG against the Lakers last year, his highest assist total against any team and now he has excellent shooters on the wing to spread the floor along with an improved finisher on the inside in Steven Adams. He’s basically producing on the same level as he was last year, yet he remains significantly more affordable on DK.

Chris Paul – (9,600 DK/9,900 FD)

With James Harden (hamstring) injured, Chris Paul becomes an obvious play as the maestro of the Rockets elite offense. After The Beard departed a win over the Lakers on Sunday, CP3 went for 28 points and 10 assists over a whopping 42 minutes of run and he’s averaging 1.78 FPs per minute with a 32.8 percent usage rate with Harden off the floor this season. Orlando gives up the most FPPG (50.58) to opposing PGs this season and has been horrible defensively all year.


Potential Value

Ish Smith – (5,900 DK/6,200 FD)

Smith should remain reliable with Reggie Jackson (ankle) out indefinitely.



Tyus Jones – (5,400 DK/6,400 FD)

Jones provided underwhelming production in his last outing, but is locked into heavy minutes as the Wolves starting PG.


Shooting Guards

DeMar DeRozan – (8,300 DK/9,000 FD)

Sure, DeRozan will be a popular play after he set a new career high and a franchise record with 52 points on Monday night, but that doesn’t make him a poor play. At this price tag, he could easily meet value against a Bulls team that gives up the ninth-most 2PTM (29.2) per game and ninth-most FPPG (42.48) to opposing SGs this season. DeRozan also showed a deft ability to pass out of double teams in his dismantling of the Bucks two nights ago and that gives him increased upside as a player with a high usage rate and assist rate.

Jamal Murray – (6,700 DK/7,300 FD)

Murray is on fire right now and his Nuggets will play host to a Suns team that gives up the most PPG (112.4) this season. Phoenix ranks 29th in defensive rating and allows the most PPG (25.08) to opposing SGs, so Murray has a good chance to maintain his averages of 19 PPG and 4.4 APG over his last five outings. He’s shooting a scorching 42 percent from downtown and home this season and could run circles around a Suns team that’s on the second half of a B2B set.


Potential Value

Gerald Green – (4,100 DK/4,000 FD)

Green is worth a punt in tournament formats with James Harden out and the Rockets facing a horrible Magic defense.



Will Barton – (6,500 DK/6,600 FD)

Barton also has a chance to blow up against a poor Suns defense tonight.


Small Forwards

LeBron James – (11,300 DK/11,500 FD)

There’s some risk that LeBron won’t play a full slate of minutes on the second half of a B2B set, but he should be motivated to give a full effort in a revenge game against former running mate Kyrie Irving. In a statement game to open the season, LeBron went for 29 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists against Boston and he’ll likely give a similar effort to assert Cleveland’s continued dominance of the Eastern Conference.

 Lance Stephenson – (6,500 DK/6,200 FD)

The Pacers offense hit a wall with Victor Oladipo (knee) inactive for a third straight game on Sunday, managing just 90 points against Minnesota and Lance Stephenson disappointed as well. Yet he produced 34 points with 24 rebounds over his two previous appearances as a starter and he’s rocking a 23.2 percent usage rate with Dipo off the floor this season, so he’s worth a look as a mid-tier option with some upside against the overrated Bucks defense.


Potential Value

Kawhi Leonard – (6,700 DK/7,500 FD)

Leonard is coming off his best game of the season last night, so he’ll be worth a look as long as he’s active on the second half of a B2B set.



Michael Beasley – (4,800 DK/5,300 FD)

Beasley managed to exceed value against the Spurs in a second consecutive matchup with the league’s best defensive team, so he’s definitely worth a look at Washington.

Power Forwards

Aaron Gordon – (7,800 DK/8,000 FD)

Gordon is the main man in Orlando’s offense with Nikola Vucevic (hand) out and he appears to be over the calf injury that limited him last month. He scored 39 points on 22 shots on Saturday and produced 20 points with 12 rebounds while playing 41 minutes on Monday. The athletic young big man is averaging 21.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG at home this season and should be able to meet or exceed value against a fast-paced Rockets team tonight.

Domantas Sabonis – (5,100 DK/5,600 FD)

Sabonis is probably a safer play than Lance Stephenson as a way to get exposure to the Pacers offense while Oladipo remains out. It’s always worth deploying big men against the Bucks, who simply can’t defend the paint or rebound, but Pacers center Myles Turner has been wildly consistent. Sabonis, meanwhile, is averaging a solid 9.5 PPG and 8.25 RPG over his last four appearances to serve as a good cash game option and he’ll be worth a look in that format tonight.


Potential Value


Trey Lyles – (5,100 DK/6,300 FD)

Lyles is similar to Sabonis in providing a solid floor at this price tag and he arguably has more upside against the weak Suns defense.




Kevin Love – (8,000 DK/7,900 FD)

Love should get his share of rebounds and open looks as the Celtics likely sell out to stop LeBron.




Nikola Jokic – (9,000 DK/9,900 FD)

Suns centers Alex Len, Greg Monroe and Tyson Chandler are all relatively slow, with Chandler now in the twilight of his career. Chandler could rest with Phoenix on the second half of a B2B set tonight and Len stands little chance of containing The Joker. Jokic is heating up again with averages of 19.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 5 APG over his last five appearances and faces a Suns team that gives up the most 2PTM (31.5) per game and third-most RPG (45.3) this year.

Julius Randle – (5,700 DK/6,900 FD)

The absence of Lonzo Ball (shoulder) has opened things up for the Lakers backcourt in terms of value options, while also helping Julius Randle get more involved on dump-offs from Jordan Clarkson and other ball-handlers. Of course, the absence of Brook Lopez (ankle) ensures more playing time for the young lefty and even if Lonzo is able to suit up tonight, Randle has a good chance to keep rolling after managing 62 points and 34 rebounds over his past three appearances.


Potential Value


Bismack Biyombo – (5,600 DK/6,700 FD)

Biyombo is filling in for Nikola Vucevic and rebounding consistently for a fast-paced Orlando team.




Hassan Whiteside – (6,600 DK/8,300 FD)

Whiteside is ramping up in terms of playing time and should be needed to contain Andre Drummond 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.