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2/2 NBA DFS: Rajon Rondo’s absence boosts Devin Harris

2/2 NBA DFS: Rajon Rondo’s absence boosts Devin Harris
Mike.Leone
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Daily Fantasy Rundown – NBA DFS – February 2nd, 2015

Welcome to Monday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem” and “dinkpiece”.  Each day throughout the NBA season our daily NBA scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. Our analysis will help you consistently build winning rosters over the long run.

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Point Guard – Our featured site for the point guard position is FanDuel

Top Play:

Russell Westbrook (OKC) – Westbrook is the clear-cut top point guard of the day as he averages 43.9 FanDuel points per game while no other point guard option exceeds 40. The gap between him and the next best option along with an elite matchup against an Orlando defense that is reeling and ranks 27th in defensive efficiency against point guards gives Westbrook a ceiling worth chasing in tournaments. However, I’m not sure he lends himself towards optimal roster construction tonight for a couple of reasons. First off, there’s definitely blowout risk with the Thunder being 13.5 point home favorites. It’s not a must avoid situation, but given position scarcity I’m a big fan of using Kevin Durant at small forward tonight. Chancing one of the Thunder expensive players may be necessary but chancing two five figure salary players in the same cash game lineup may be asking for trouble. Secondly, I think Westbrook may be a touch overpriced right now. While the matchup and his per game FanDuel average would suggest otherwise, keep in mind that he has played about half of his minutes this season with Kevin Durant off of the floor. Therefore, his season long usage (38.1 percent), assist (30.2) and rebounding (10.0) rates are all inflated. With Durant on the floor those numbers respectively drop to 27.9, 27.3 and 8.7. Consider Westbrook a secondary value and elite tournament option, but he won’t be someone I’m beginning cash game roster building with.

Value Plays:

Devin Harris/Raymond Felton (DAL) – With Rajon Rondo out, eyes will immediately shift towards Devin Harris and rightfully so. Harris, who averages 22.3 minutes on the season, has played 30 and 27 minutes the past two games and saw 26 minutes of action as the backup point guard when Rondo missed a game against Denver on January 14th. Even if Harris doesn’t draw the start, he should be on the plus side of 25 minutes tonight. If he repeats the 26 minutes he played last time Rondo was out, an average performance (.75 FanDuel points per minute) would put Harris at 19.5 FanDuel points, exceeding his value threshold of 19. His median projection is likely higher than that given more playing time upside and an elite matchup against a Minnesota team that is seventh in pace and is 29th in defensive efficiency against point guards. Harris is a core cash game option almost regardless of if he starts but with a starting role he’d be a must play.

The reason I’m not entirely convinced Harris will start is that Raymond Felton picked up the start last time Rondo was out. Based on recent playing time, you’d still expect it to be Harris but that was the expectation last time as well. Felton, like Harris, is minimum salaried on FanDuel ($3,500, 58 percent less than the average cost of a roster spot). He’s played just 64 minutes all season but 29 of them came in the spot start against Denver in which he recorded 25.1 FanDuel points (threshold tonight is 19). If Felton were to draw the start, he’d be a core cash game option and I’d have no issue using both him and Harris in the same cash game lineup. However, Felton, unlike Harris, is not cash game playable if he doesn’t start as we’d be really guessing on the playing time in that situation given how little he has been used. A nice contrarian tournament option and secondary value play is JJ Barea (DAL). Barea played 21 minutes last time Rondo was out (an increase of about five minutes over his season long average). The ceiling isn’t huge in that amount of playing time but given the elite matchup and minimum salary he could hit his value threshold as well. Consider that he recorded 25.4 FanDuel points in 22 minutes of action against Minnesota on January 21st and that he, Felton and Harris all exceeded their value thresholds by at least 4.4 points when Rondo was out last game.

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