Welcome to January 8th NBA DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Basketball Premium podcast for January 8th NBA DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our customizable projections tool, you’re actively participating in the live chat, and you’re reviewing the cliff notes to supplement your research and roster construction process. Very best of luck in tonight’s action!
JANUARY 8th NBA DFS
00:36 Breaking Down the Slates
02:12 Point Guard
06:55 Shooting Guard
09:32 Small Forward
13:18 Power Forward
- In cash games, we recommend focusing on value plays to build your rosters (far right hand column of Projections page linked above). Value plays are those we feel have the highest probability of out-earning their current price tag. By packing value plays into your roster, you’re creating a team with a higher floor.
- In tournaments, we recommend building a core of the best value plays and then complementing them with players who have a high ceiling. This combination is essentially turning up the variance on a strong foundation and we believe often is the best recipe for tournament success.
January 8th NBA DFS Cliff Notes
- Front of B2B: None
- Back of B2B: Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz (in midst of 5 in 7, this is 4th in 6)
Pricing on point guards is very tight on FD, but on DK you’re getting a hefty discount on Eric Bledsoe (PHO). Cleveland has fared better defensively since DeAndre Liggins has been defending point guards, but the acquisition of Kyle Korver and more minutes to Jordan McRae will ultimately result in a loss of minutes. Even if you believe that Bledsoe sees around half of his minutes against Liggins, the price is simply too low on DK. At $6,900, Bledsoe has met his value threshold 62 percent of the time, while generating 4x 84 percent of the time and 6x 38 percent. Bledsoe is an elite cash game play on DK.
Kyrie Irving (CLE) is the top projected scorer at the position on DK. There’s some blowout risk for Kyrie (CLE are nine point favorites on the road), but the matchup is perfect (Phoenix is ranked 22nd in defensive efficiency vs. PGs, ranked third in pace) and the Cavaliers have an implied team total of 114 points (second highest in this slate). If you want exposure to that hefty total without having to pay an appropriate price for LeBron James, Irving is one of the ways to do in cash games on both sites. Damian Lillard (POR) (at home facing Detroit – ranked 24th in defensive efficiency vs. PGs) is a viable alternative in all formats on FD where the DET-POR game has been included.
Ty Lawson (SAC) and D.J. Augustin (ORL) are viable salary relief targets in cash games on both sites. Lawson started alongside Darren Collison and played 37 minutes against the Clippers on Thursday. We’re projecting low 30s minutes for Lawson, and his rates barely took a hit in the starting lineup as he acted as the point guard on the floor. Augustin is no longer starting for Orlando, but low 20s minutes is enough to make him a positive value on both site in a phenomenal matchup (the Lakers ranked dead last in defensive efficiency vs. PGs, fifth in pace).
In tournaments, you can consider Stephen Curry (GSW) (great shooting performances over his last two games, but it has also resulted in a bigger price tag), D’Angelo Russell (LAL) (he’s been seeing low to mid 30s minutes more consistently – only saw 26 minutes on Friday due to a blowout win) and Elfrid Payton (ORL) (not much of a scorer, but his all-around contributions should fare nicely against the Lakers – they’re subpar defensively and play at a high pace).
Klay Thompson (GSW) is the top projected scorer at the shooting guard position in a perfect matchup for his strongest skill – shooting (Sacramento is ranked 28th in defensive efficiency and they’re allowing the third most efficiency beyond the arc to SGs). Thompson is an easy fit in cash games on FD, and we’re willing to make it work on DK at a position that’s very ugly.
Rodney Hood (UTA) is the second best value at the position on both sites. Hood has met his DK value threshold 53 percent of the time at his current price ($4,500). The macro matchup is tough (Memphis is ranked second in overall defensive efficiency, ranked 28th in pace), but the low price on Hood makes him a worthwhile alternative/complement to Thompson.
Evan Fournier (ORL) and Devin Booker (PHO) are viable cash game alternatives on FD where they’re neutral values. Both Fournier (Lakers are ranked 24th in defensive efficiency vs. SGs) and Booker (Cleveland is ranked dead last in defensive efficiency vs. SGs) have excellent matchups, so we’re not shying away from the completely on DK. They’re priced efficiently on that site, but they deserve tournament consideration at a position that’s weak after Thompson/Hood. Iman Shumpert (CLE) is a viable sprinkle in tournaments, but the upside is pretty limited here even if you project a few more minutes.
Kevin Durant (GSW) and LeBron James (CLE) represent the top projected scorers at the small forward position. Durant is the better value on both sites as he’s in road island game against Sacramento (ranked 28th in defensive efficiency vs. SFs), and his minutes are generally the safest since he begins the fourth quarter while the other Golden State studs rest. James will be playing up in pace (Phoenix is ranked third in pace), but his matchup is tougher (Phoenix is ranked 10th in defensive efficiency vs. SFs). James is an exceptional tournament target, but we’d rather side with having exposure to Golden State’s monstrous team total (116.5) via Durant in cash games.
After Durant and James, the position is devoid of values which is why fitting one of them in cash games on FD is a priority. On DK, tight pricing might make it more difficult, but even on that site using Durant in cash games is more than a viable route. Luol Deng (LAL) would be the lone value to consider in cash games if you’re not rostering Durant on DK, and he’s one of the better complements at a cheap tag on FD. Deng sat out one game and returned with one if not his best game of the season for the Lakers (19 points, 14 rebounds). In a plus matchup (Orlando is ranked 27th in defensive efficiency vs. small forwards), Deng is squarely in play in cash games as the only other positive value on DK. On FD, Aaron Gordon (ORL) is a stronger value than Deng at the same price. We’re projecting 29 minutes for Gordon, which feels correct as a median expectation. However, keep in mind that there’s more upside to these minutes as Gordon has seen low to mid 30s minutes in three of his last six games. The price is correct on Gordon on DK and he’s a better tournament target than cash game play on that site (you’d have to take his minutes to 32 in our customizer in order for him to pop as a neutral value there), but on FD he’s very much in the cash game conversation.
Marcus Morris (DET) (available on FD), Evan Fournier (ORL) (SG/SF eligibility on DK) and Rudy Gay (SAC) (his rates are taking a hit with this two guard starting lineup, but he’s viable on DK where he’s a slightly negative value) are viable in tournaments but we’re not interested to invest in cash games.
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) is the top projected scorer in the frontcourt and he has PF eligiblity on DK. As a break even value (if you assume that his EFF POS is PF – if you switch it to C, he becomes more valuable), we’d rather pursue Cousins in tournaments but that’s not knock on him- there are simply better ways to build more balanced lineups without committing so much salary to a single player in this slate.
Cousins is also battling steep opportunity cost in the frontcourt. Kevin Love (CLE) and Draymond Green (GSW) are the best values regardless of position on DK, and we’re pursuing them strongly across all formats around the industry. Green has been very reliable at his current DK price, meeting value 63 percent of the time while generating 4x 89 percent of the time. His all-around contributions lead to one of the safest floors of any Golden State player, and you’ll want multiple pieces in cash from this team given their immense team total in an island game. Love represents another high floor option for a Cleveland team that has the second highest implied team total in this slate, and the matchup is favorable from an efficiency standpoint (ranked 20th in defensive efficiency vs. PFs). It’s possible to roster both of these PFs on DK (though it’ll likely cost you Kevin Durant), but at the very least you should at least have one in cash games on both sites.
On FD, Jon Leuer (DET) is our preferred cheap value at the position, and here’s what we had to say on him yesterday: “Leuer’s rates have dipped a little over his last five games (usage/rebound rates down a little, assist rate up a little), the natural result of joining the starting lineup. The minutes increase is a net positive though. We have him projected for 30 after averaging 27.3 on the season. That leaves Leuer just enough underpriced that a big matchup boost (Portland is dead last in defensive efficiency against PFs) makes him our preferred value at a position that doesn’t carry a lot of opportunity cost.” The PF position has more opportunity cost in this slate, but Leuer remains the best cheap value to complement Green/Love in cash.
We love Julius Randle (LAL) in tournaments, and he’s even viable in cash games on both sites as we’ve increased his minutes to 34 (a better median projection right now than Low 30s). Randle only played 25 minutes in a blowout win against Miami on Friday, but he saw 37, 37 and 36 minutes in the previous three games. There’s some modest upside to our median expectation in minutes, and he’s also been more active as a passer lately (we’ve raised his assist rate to 23 percent, but note that the assist rate has been at 26 percent over his last 10 games). Derrick Favors (UTA) played a whooping 34 minutes last night, and this is a backend of a b2b for Utah. We’re projecting 26 minutes for Favors and he pops as a positive value on FD, but keep in mind that there’s more fragility in his minutes since this is the most minutes he’s played after coming back from an injury. We’d rather have exposure to Favors in tournaments, but the cheap price tag on FD makes him a viable cash game target. Serge Ibaka (ORL) is also worth a shot in tournaments as he takes on the Lakers (ranked 24th in defensive efficiency vs. PFs).
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) is the top projected scorer at the center position on both sites, but an appropriate price at a position that carries steep opportunity cost makes him a better target in tournaments. Draymond Green (GSW) and Kevin Love (CLE) carry center eligibility on DK, and there are routes to play them both in cash games. We’d rather have exposure to one of them at PF in cash games, but they’re also viable at C.
Nikola Vucevic (ORL) is the top value at the position on DK and the second best on FD. A playing time projection of 30 minutes (he’s hit this mark in three of his last four games) against the Lakers (ranked 26th in defensive efficiency vs. Cs) is what’s driving his value, and the price is still below $7,000 on both sites. On FD, Andre Drummond (DET) is available and we’re leaning towards locking him in cash games on that site in this matchup. Here’s what we had to say on Drummond last night: “Drummond hurt us last time out as foul trouble led to a reduction in minutes despite a good per minute performance (29 DK points in 25 minutes). Drummond will always come with some volatility due to foul trouble, but the ceiling is immense against Portland (29th in defensive efficiency against Cs). There’s also once again upside to Drummond’s minutes if backup C Aron Baynes is unable to play (questionable with an ankle injury).”
Julius Randle (LAL) and Derrick Favors (UTA) carry C eligibility on DK and they’re both in play in tournaments. Of the two, we prefer Randle (as we mentioned at PF, there’s more upside to his minutes than our current median projection shows). Serge Ibaka (ORL) is also C eligible on DK and he’s a fine spend in tournaments. On FD, Mason Plumlee (POR) is worth a shot in tournaments though peak pricing in a tough matchup from an efficiency standpoint makes him more of a break even value.