Daily Fantasy Rundown – January 18 NBA DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Monday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “dinkpiece”, “leonem” and “TheNumbersGuy”. 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 goal is to bring analysis that will help you build rosters that put you in position to win consistently over the long term.
*Any time a player’s salary is reference as a discount or premium, it is relative to the average cost of a roster spot.
**Usage/Assist/Rebounding Rates courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
Slate Note: With the holiday, there are games throughout the day, and the main two sites are handling their slates differently.
FanDuel: The two main slates on FanDuel are an early only slate (starts with 1:00 game, ends with 3:30 game; five games total) and a late slate (starts at 7:30, ends at 10:30; four games total). They also have an all day slate, but it’s not a featured slate, and a weird mid-day slate (3:30 and 5:00 games only, so two total).
DraftKings: The slate on DraftKings is much clearer. Their main slate is an all day slate that includes every game, except for the 1:00 NYK-PHI game. That game is included in some user-created contests, but not in the main slate with the featured games.
Point Guard – Our featured site for the point guard position is DraftKings
Top Play: Stephen Curry (GS) (competitive game should lead to a full complement of minutes, but it’s somewhat offset by a tough matchup; with several strong next in line options, generally at cheaper prices, we prefer Curry in tournaments rather than cash games)
Next in line:
The several next in line options, all in good spots and cheaper than Curry, are John Wall (WAS), Chris Paul (LAC), and Damian Lillard (POR). We like them in that order. While Wall and Paul are now priced aggressively, there are still good reasons to expect them to hit their value thresholds today. Wall gets an immediate boost playing at home, where he has scored seven percent more DraftKings points than on the road over his career. The game environment also sets up nicely as this game has a DFS friendly combination of a high total (213) and relatively tight spread (WAS -4.5). Aside from the macro factors in Wall’s favor, this is a plus micro matchup with Portland ranking 23rd in defensive efficiency against point guards and ranking dead last in points per possession allowed on pick-n-roll ball handler play types, which Wall runs with a greater than 40 percent frequency.
Paul is more essential on the FanDuel late slate, where it makes sense to build around him. He’s gotten expensive, but the price increase there is a bit less than on other sites comparatively. In 10 games without Blake Griffin this season, Paul has a whopping 29.8 usage rate and 56.9 assist rate, which gives him an extremely high ceiling, especially against an up tempo Houston team that certainly has its defensive lapses, especially when Patrick Beverley (questionable for tonight) is out.
Lillard will benefit from the positive game environment in Washington and playing up in pace (Washington is fifth in the NBA in pace). He’s just a tournament option on DraftKings where if you’re paying up we suggest Wall or Paul, but FanDuel’s looser pricing and broken up slates keeps him cash viable on that site. In general, these next in line options are better choices on the looser pricing FanDuel, but we’re still keeping them in mind on DraftKings, especially if some unexpected injuries presents us with unforeseen cheap values.
Elfrid Payton (ORL) – As it stands right now, it’s a bit difficult to pay up on DraftKings, and that makes Payton the best value play option, priced at just $5,300 (15 percent discount). His price is down due to outings of just 20, 16, 5, and 22 minutes his last four played games (with four absences prior to returning to last game). However, with Victor Oladipo out, Payton will start and should play a normal allotment of minutes, with safe usage/assist rates. Keep in mind that with CJ Watson out for some time (main backup point guard), Oladipo was playing very heavy minutes when Payton was out (35, 41, 36, 39). With most of those minutes expected to go to Payton, it’s difficult to envision him not hitting value. Payton is averaging 0.9 DraftKings points per minute, which puts him on top of his DraftKings value threshold in 32 minutes on average. There’s potential to exceed either that amount of expected playing or the per minute efficiency or both due to Oladipo’s absence. Unfortunately on FanDuel, Payton is only available for their weird mid-day slate (just two games), but he’s a great value there as well.