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3/24 NBA DFS: Thunder and Blaze your way to victory

3/24 NBA DFS: Thunder and Blaze your way to victory
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Daily Fantasy Rundown – NBA DFS – March 24th, 2015

Welcome to Tuesday’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.

Point Guard

Top Play:

Russell Westbrook (OKC) – As someone who prefers balanced lineups (in general), I’ve found dealing with Russell Westbrook (since the price jumped to $13k-plus) rather difficult. While he’s still going to hit and even exceed value thresholds at that price, the risk becomes higher both in a vacuum and in terms of opportunity cost (forces you to take riskier, cheap players elsewhere). Well, tonight the decision is not difficult. Westbrook is a must play in cash games for a variety of reason. For starters, in this matchup he’s not only the highest projected scorer (duh) but also projects to return the most value based on our value threshold calculations. The Lakers are a middle of the pack team in terms of pace and dead last in the NBA in defensive efficiency against point guards. Jeremy Lin (109 defensive rating) and Jordan Clarkson (112) are poor defenders. Getting even more specific, it looks better and better for Westbrook. 72 percent of his offensive play types come on transition, isolation and pick-n-roll ball handler play types. Well, the Lakers as a team are in the 14th percentile in points allowed per possession on transition play types. Lin gets attacked a ton in pick-n-roll ball handler situations (49 percent frequency) and has very little success at defending these plays (26th percentile). Clarkson, albeit in a small sample size, has been absolutely roasted on isolation play types. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Westbrook’s awe dropping 40.5 usage rate (Dwyane Wade is second in the NBA with a 34.6 mark), 11.9 rebounding rate (tops in the NBA among point guards and one of only two point guards with a double digit rebounding rate) and 51.1 assist rate (Chris Paul is second at 46.6) in games that Kevin Durant hasn’t played. On top of all the reasons Westbrook should dominate tonight and pay off even his high price tag, it might be equally important that it’s a small slate (six games) that features two teams with injuries to major players (Westbrook’s Thunder and the Trail Blazers). As a result, some of the best values outside of Westbrook are cheap options, which makes him a natural fit in all formats.

Value Plays:

Damian Lillard (POR) – On looser pricing sites and those that require two point guards, it’s a smart idea to try and squeeze in both Lillard and Westbrook. Lillard carries a bit more risk (possible reduction in efficiency due to matchup and increased offensive responsibility; blowout risk) but has immense upside on a thin Portland team (no Wes Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge/Nicolas Batum/Chris Kaman are all doubtful). Lillard should see a huge increase in volume that makes him well worth the aforementioned risks on the majority of sites. He’ll see plenty of minutes in an effort to keep this game competitive (being at home helps) and will of course see a lot of increased offensive responsibility with three core starters missing. Even if we assume Arron Afflalo steps into the same role as Wes Matthews (it hasn’t been quite at that level even with Matthews out), Lillard has a 33.3 usage rate, 24.7 assist rate and 9.1 rebounding rate with Aldridge, Batum and Kaman off of the floor. His respective season long marks in those categories are 27.1, 23.2 and 7.0. On top of that, Lillard was going to see a natural increase in volume anyways as his opponent (Golden State) is first in the NBA in pace. We’ll likely see reduced efficiency from Lillard but as long as this game stays reasonably close the increase in volume should have a net positive impact on his DFS totals, making him a top five value on the night.

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