Scouting the NBA 12/12/17

Oct 30, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingas (7) takes a shot while being defended by Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports


Plays of the Day


Value: Jahlil Okafor is worth deploying as he makes his debut for the Nets tonight. He’s certainly well rested considering he’s played a total of 25 minutes this year, last seeing action Nov. 7 for the Sixers and Washington’s giving up the fifth-most RPG (16.64) to opposing centers this season.

Fade: Ben Simmons could be a very popular play with Joel Embiid (back) questionable, but this is a surprisingly tough matchup for the young star against Jimmy Butler and a Wolves team with enough length to keep him out of the paint.


Point Guards

Spencer Dinwiddie – (6,100 DK/7,000 FD)

Dinwiddie is simply at a great price point on DK with a floor of around 30 FPs and decent upside if the Wizards are still without their starting PG in John Wall. He’s averaging 1.06 FPs per minute with D’Angelo Russell (knee) off the floor this season and has put up solid averages of 13.7 PPG and 7.9 APG while playing 30.3 MPG over his last 10 appearances. The Wizards will be far more vulnerable in the backcourt if Wall is out, leaving backups Tim Frazier and Tomas Satoransky to try and defend the Nets guards while Bradley Beal gets tired out carrying the load offensively.

Mike James – (4,300 DK/4,500 FD)

James is suddenly thrust into a much bigger role with Devin Booker (abductor) expected to miss the next couple of weeks. James is rocking a team-high 34.2 percent usage rate and averaging 1.14 FPs per minute with Booker off the floor and went for 25 points over just 29 minutes in a tough matchup against the Spurs on Saturday. The athletic Kings backcourt represents a mismatch for Tyler Ulis, who is in a timeshare with James, so we can expect steady run for James as he looks to provide an encore.


Potential Value

J.J. Barea – (5,100 DK/5,400 FD)

Barea has a solid floor with Dennis Smith Jr. (hip) out and he’s never been intimidated by the Spurs.



Jeff Teague – (6,500 DK/6,500 FD)

Teague has plenty of upside in a good matchup against the high-scoring Sixers.


Shooting Guards

Bradley Beal – (8,600 DK/8,600 FD)

Beal might be a contrarian option if John Wall (knee) returns tonight given his hot shooting streak and ability to play off Wall when both are healthy. The sharpshooting guard is 34-for-80 (42.5%) from the field to average 36.6 PPG over his last three appearances and faces a horrible Nets defense that’s giving up the second-most PPG (111.1) while playing at the third-fastest pace in the NBA this season.

Buddy Hield – (5,600 DK/5,500 FD)

He’s finally finding his rhythm at the NBA level with a string of productive games in a row and tonight Hield draws a fantastic matchup against a Suns team that gives up the most PPG (115.0) this season. Phoenix gives up the fourth-most FPPG (47.83) to opposing SGs and Hield netted 14 points on 6-of-15 FG shooting in a previous meeting with the Suns. He’s averaging 25.6 DK PPG over his last five appearances despite playing just 24.6 MPG during that span and should continue to be a productive per-minute player against a team that plays at the second-fastest pace in the NBA.


Potential Value

Dwyane Wade – (5,300 DK/5,100 FD)

Wade may be forced to step up tonight if Kevin Love (hip) can’t go.



Will Barton – (7,400 DK/7,800 FD)

Barton remains a boom-bust wildcard option with Nikola Jokic (ankle) inactive.


Small Forwards

Jimmy Butler – (8,000 DK/9,000 FD)

New Timberwolves HC Tom Thibeadou has been more than willing to give Jimmy Butler a ton of run since their days together in Chicago and he’s doing it again. Butler is averaging 26 PPG and 5.5 APG over his last four appearances and he’s topped 40 minutes in each of his last five outings. His presence on both ends of the floor hurts the prospects of Ben Simmons and Butler might be a better per-dollar option tonight against a Sixers team that gives up the fourth-most FPPG (43.86) to opposing SFs this season.

 Kyle Kuzma – (5,300 DK/5,500 FD)

The safer play in the Lakers frontcourt might be Brandon Ingram ($6.7k, $7.1k), but Kuzma could easily match is production at a cheaper price tag and is therefore a superior GPP option. The rookie mixed in a dud against Philadelphia with three great games against the Nuggets, Rockets and Hornets over the past week and now he faces a shorthanded Knicks team that’s playing without key wing Tim Hardaway Jr. (leg).


Potential Value

Rudy Gay – (5,800 DK/5,300 FD)

Gay is playing with more confidence and might be overlooked tonight if Kawhi Leonard (quad) makes his season debut, while likely playing on a strict minutes limit.



LeBron James – (11,800 DK/12,600 FD)

Yes, you should pay ALL THE WAY UP for the King if Kevin Love doesn’t play tonight.

Power Forwards

Kristaps Porzingis – (9,500 DK/9,700 FD)

After missing a few games with an ankle injury, Porzingis returned to drop a combined 53 points on the Bulls and Hawks. Up next is another inexperienced team in the Lakers, who give up the sixth-most RPG (12.96) and third-most BPG (1.96) to opposing PFs this season. He’s sporting a 38.3 percent usage rate and averaging 1.23 FPs per minute this season with Tim Hardaway Jr. (ankle) off the floor and has been lights out while averaging 26.4 PPG on 48.2 percent FG shooting at home.

Ersan Ilyasova – (5,200 DK/5,900 FD)

Ilyasova found his stroke with a ridiculous 9-for-9 FG shooting performance on Saturday and followed that up by dropping 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting on Sunday. He’s 10-for-11 from downtown in those contests and faces a Cavs team tonight that gives up the most 3PTM (11.8) per game this year. John Collins (shoulder) might return tonight but Dewayne Dedmon (leg) remains out indefinitely and Kevin Love (hip) is questionable for the Cavs, which could weaken their defense.


Potential Value


Trey Lyles – (4,300 DK/4,800 FD)

Lyles had a very efficient game in Indiana on Sunday and could thrive again with Nikola Jokic (ankle) ruled out tonight.




LaMarcus Aldridge – (8,300 DK/8,300 FD)

Aldridge has been a nightmare for the Mavericks this season and like Rudy Gay, might get overlooked due to the potential return of Kawhi Leonard.





Andre Drummond – (9,400 DK/9,200 FD)

Drummond might be the most appealing play tonight against a Nuggets team that isn’t playing a true center while Nikola Jokic is on the shelf. Denver’s coughed up an absurd 82.38 FPPG and 24.67 RPG to opposing centers last week, both league high marks by far. Drummond is quite clearly the best rebounder in the NBA and he’s made tremendous strides this season as a passer and free thrower.

 Jahlil Okafor – (4,200 DK/5,200 FD)

Okafor is worth deploying at this price tag as he makes his debut for the Nets tonight. He’s certainly well rested considering he’s played a total of 25 minutes this year, last seeing action Nov. 7 for the Sixers. Washington’s giving up the fifth-most RPG (16.64) to opposing centers and Marcin Gortat has been very inconsistent this year, but the main draw for Okafor is his probable high usage as the only capable center on Brooklyn’s guard-heavy roster.


Potential Value


Mason Plumlee – (4,500 DK/5,200 FD)

Plumlee is still in the mix for minutes with Jokic out and he’ll be needed tonight against Drummond and the Pistons.




Tyson Chandler – (4,500 DK/5,500 FD)

Chandler is mixing in quiet games with big double doubles and could dominate down low against a Kings team that can’t stop opposing centers.



About Nate Weitzer View All 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.