Scouting the NBA 12/11/17

Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports


Plays of the Day


Value: Jeremy Lamb should start for Charlotte with Nic Batum (elbow) ruled out and he’s flashed a great floor-ceiling combo when given a full slate of minutes for the Hornets. Give him a look at just $5k on both main DFS sites.  

Fade: DeMarcus Cousins is now impossibly pricey after his recent tear and he might have to split more touches with Anthony Davis getting healthier. The Rockets are surprisingly solid down low and Clint Capela is a good defender.


Point Guards


Kris Dunn – (6,100 DK/7,700 FD)

Everything runs through Dunn for the Bulls, as the second-year guard is averaging 15.8 PPG and 7.5 APG over his last six appearances and sporting a 25.3 percent usage rate with a 31.4 assist rate on the season. Tonight’s matchup against the Celtics is a tough one, but Dunn will have the motivation of facing a team that neglected to draft him after scouting him consistently last year and that should provide enough motivation for him to keep his hot streak going. Also consider Dunn’s teammate David Nwaba ($3.8k, $4.5k) as a punt play given his recent spike in playing time.

Quinn Cook – (3,400 DK/3,500 FD)

Cook is splitting time with a Shaun Livingston ($3.8k, $3.8k) is splitting time with rookie PG Quinn Cook and both are worth a look as a source of salary relief with Steph Curry (ankle) out over the next couple of weeks. Cook has shown some nerves over his first few games of NBA action, but is bound to improve with more reps and he’s a quicker guard capable of matching up with either Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum when necessary. Should this game turn into a blowout, Cook would likely see more minutes than Livingston down the stretch.



Potential Value

Tyler Johnson – (4,100 DK/4,600 FD)

Johnson is steadily producing at a diminished price tag.



Damian Lillard – (9,200 DK/9,300 FD)

Lillard could blow up in a high-scoring affair with a Warriors team that's missing Steph Curry

Shooting Guards

James Harden – (11,600 DK/11,800 FD)

After dropping 48 points in a comeback effort to secure a ninth straight victory for the Rockets, Harden enters a potential shootout against the Pelicans at a reasonable price tag given his ridiculous floor-ceiling combination. New Orleans is giving up the fourth-most PPG (110.5) while playing at the sixth-fastest pace in the NBA this season and the Pels are giving up the seventh-most FPPG (43.08) to opposing SGs as well. Harden averages an absurd 33.7 PPG at home and torched NOLA to the tune of 30.3 APG and 13.8 APG over four meetings last year.

David Nwaba – (3,800 DK/4,500 FD)

He’s played 30-plus minutes in consecutive games and Nwaba’s athleticism should allow him to see more steady run against the young Celtics tonight. With 37 points and 14 rebounds over his last three appearances, Nwaba’s earned the praise of Bulls HC Fred Hoiberg and he’s obviously a huge bargain on both main DFS sites on a night with several stars worth paying up for.


Potential Value

Dion Waiters – (5,400 DK/5,100 FD)

Waiters remains a risky value but he’s worth a gamble against a struggling Grizzlies team.



Jeremy Lamb – (5,000 DK/5,000 FD)

The Thunder has been quite poor defensively and Lamb should start with Nic Batum (elbow) ruled out.


Small Forwards

Kevin Durant – (10,900 DK/11,700 FD)

Durant remains a chalk play with a massive floor-ceiling combo while Steph Curry (ankle) is out of commission. Tonight he faces a Blazers team that gives up the sixth-most RPG (8.78) and second-most SPG (2.09) to opposing SFs this year despite their overall lofty defensive rating. Durant felt very comfortable against Portland’s defense while shooting 60 percent from the floor to average 29.3 PPG over four meetings last year and he’s now in superstar mode with Curry unavailable.

Danilo Gallinari – (5,300 DK/6,200 FD)

Someone has to shoot for the injury-depleted Clippers and Doc Rivers can’t continue to rely on inconsistent gunner Lou Williams to carry the offense. Danilo Gallinari returns right in time for a struggling team and he jumped into the fray with 25 points to lead his squad to a 113-112 win over Washington on Saturday. He draws a decent matchup tonight against a Raptors team without a notable SF and he’s too quick for Toronto’s revolving door rotation of PFs.


Potential Value

Nikola Mirotic – (4,800 DK/4,500 FD)

Mirotic can fill it up and he’s earning more playing time as he returns to the Bulls rotation.



Paul George – (8,000 DK/6,500 FD)

George could slide under the radar as an upside play who should return from a calf injury tonight.

Power Forwards

Jayson Tatum – (6,000 DK/6,300 FD)

Tatum leads the NBA in three-point percentage (51.8%) and is fourth on the league-leading Celtics in MPG (30.7) this season. He’ll draw a plus matchup tonight at a Bulls team that gives up the second-most PPG (22.78) to opposing SFs and ranks 23rd in defensive rating overall this season. Tatum’s strangely been more productive with averages of 15.8 PPG and 6.2 RPG while shooting 90 percent from the FT line on the road. The kid is poised beyond his years and athletic to boot. 

Al-Farouq Aminu – (4,600 DK/5,300 FD)

He’s starting to grow more comfortable on the court after missing multiple weeks with a bad ankle sprain and Aminu will be needed tonight in a matchup against the small-ball Warriors. The explosive athlete played 36 and 32 minutes over his last two games despite dealing with some foul trouble and faces a pass-first PF tonight in Draymond Green. The Warriors defense has not been up to the standards of previous years and the Dubs actually give up the second-most FPPG (24.31) to opposing PFs while continuing to play at a very fast pace.



Potential Value


Ed Davis – (4,200 DK/4,200 FD)

Davis is a great value to consider with Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) ruled out for Portland tonight.




Draymond Green – (7,400 DK/8,500 FD)

Green is stepping up while handling the ball more with Steph Curry out.





Steven Adams – (5,900 DK/6,500 FD)

The sexier play in this matchup might be Dwight Howard, but Adams is just as capable of producing at this stage in their respective careers. The reliable big man is fresh off playing 43 minutes in a tough matchup at Memphis and is in a career stretch with averages of 17.5 PPG and 9.3 RPG over his last six appearances. At a mid-tier price tag, he can provide the salary flexibility necessary to pay up for Durant and Harden, or perhaps to be paired with Russell Westbrook as pick-and-roll buddies capable of torching the Hornets mediocre defense at home.

Kelly Olynyk – (5,500 DK/6,100 FD)

Olynyk actually matches up well against Marc Gasol and he’s been playing 28.5 MPG while averaging 11.6 PPG and 5.8 RPG over his last five appearances with Hassan Whiteside (knee) on the shelf. Memphis plays at the slowest pace in the NBA and Kelly-O is a more effective player in the halfcourt than in transition.


Potential Value


Meyers Leonard – (3,800 DK/3,700 FD)

Leonard should start with Jusuf Nurkic out, but he’s a dicey option who might get replaced by the quicker Ed Davis in a matchup against the Warriors.




Marc Gasol – (7,800 DK/8,400 FD)

Or perhaps Marc Gasol just dominates the smaller Olynyk and carries Memphis to victory. 



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.