NBA Game Theory Decisions 10/19
*Final* Good luck tonight!
Happy Friday Karma Nation! Tonight, we have a nine-game slate to tackle. I’d say my bread N’ butter is 6 to 10 game slates. However, we did extremely well on last night’s three game slate. I was on a complete CHI/PHI game stack with a leverage pivot of Blakeney over Payne. Blakeney ended up being 4% owned while Payne was around 60% in higher stake GPPs. He ended up outscoring Payne 24.25 to 10.25. This gave us a nice advantage over the field. Here was my full DK core last night->
Antonio Blakeney -> 24.25 pts
Zach LaVine -> 45.25 pts
Ben Simmons -> 54.75 pts
Bobby Portis -> 43.75 pts
Joel Embiid -> 60 pts
Jabari Parker -> 24.25 pts
Core Total= 252.25 pts or 6.3x their combine salaries
Before diving into some game theory spots on tonight’s slate let me hit a few key points on last night’s core. We had a three-game slate with two of those games having massive totals. In the first big total game (CHI/PHI) we had an injury situation that (on paper) should lead to a tighter rotation and predictable usage. With Dunn OUT and Payne starting alongside LaVine and Portis, I figured those two would soak up most of Dunn’s usage & that Payne was at risk of getting lost in the shuffle. As I stated above, Blakeney was the clear leverage spot running the second unit and eventually cutting into Paynes minutes.
Point One -> INJURIES MATTER. If a key player is injured, that usage doesn’t just disappear, it gets dispersed either by his backup or it just increases USG for key starters.
Point Two -> PRICE MATTERS. DK really hadn’t adjusted for this situation. Portis & LaVine were drastically underpriced.
This game was an OVER we hammered early at 215. This total climbed as high as 220.5, a full 5.5 positive line movement. For a total like this to hit, the Bulls were going to have to keep pace through three quarters (at least).
Point Three -> VEGAS MATTERS. To be blunt, we want high total, fast pace games where rotations are tight, and usage is predictable.
Lastly, with LeBron & Wall being the two other primary studs on this slate, I knew stacking both Embiid & Simmons would create some additional leverage. And while the 76ers aren’t dealing with any injuries, everything about this team funnels through those two players.
Friday 10/19 Slate
One other thing to keep in mind, last nights slate was only three games, but I still managed to hit over 300 with my two builds. Wish I could say I consistently do this each slate, I definitely do not. My point is that we don’t necessarily need a massive slate to hit that high point total. One of the first things I do is see what games I can initially eliminate (due to low total, slow pace teams, bad rotations, etc). Here’s how that looks tonight;
Injuries, Vegas sides & totals->
Target-> Knicks/Nets, Cavs/Wolves, Kings/Pelicans, Hornets/Magic, & Thunder/Clippers
Unsure about-> Pacers/Bucks
Initially Scratch-> Celtics/Raptors, Hawks/Grizzlies, & Jazz Warriors.
Targets-> Reasoning is simple, all of these games have massive totals & some injury spots that could lead to additional usage. This doesn’t mean I’m locking these games in, its just where I am starting my research.
Unsure-> This total is very nice (217.5). My only initial problem is neither team has any injury issues & both will be jockeying for that top spot (behind Boston/Philly) in the east. This leads me to believe we will see a highly competitive game & both teams do possess some defensive capabilities & tendencies.
Initially Scratched-> Does this mean these games are auto fades? Not at all. I just want to look elsewhere first. Celtics/Raptors are arguably the two best defensive teams in the league. This isn’t ideal for fantasy production. The Warriors/Jazz total is very nice (218.5) but the problem with the warriors is that team has a lot of mouths to feed. That doesn’t mean I’m blindly fading them, it will really come down to price & matchup.
Point Four -> RECENCY BIAS MATTERS. The rest of this post will cover a few game theory spots to consider, all of which will touch on this point.
Knicks @ Nets -3, 218.5
First and foremost, we have a matchup between two defensively blinded teams who are both dealing with injuries. For the nets, Crabbe is probably & RHJ is questionable (things to monitor) & for the Knicks, Mudiay is doubtful.
The Knicks, courtesy of Tim Hardaway Jr, absolutely blew away the Hawks. So naturally, THJ’s price is up & his ownership will probably go up as well. I feel very comfortable fading this spot. THJ has extreme home/road splits and has a history of destroying lineups in this spot.
Knicks Game Theory Pivot-> Chalk Trey Burke didn’t completely bust, but he didn’t hit value in his last game. I’m going right back to the well on Burke. Just ask yourself, if he liked him against the Hawks, why wouldn’t we like him in a game which should stay much more competitive?
Upside Value Play -> Kevin Knox. Knox took 16 shots in 23 minutes of play and his coach “loved that he was being aggressive and attacking”.
Burke + Knox is an interesting combination that gives you cheap exposure to a high total game. Absolutely love it for GPPs. Not really cash viable as minutes are the primary risk.
Nets Game Theory Pivot-> We were all over Caris LeVert & Jarrett Allen last game (both are fine plays again tonight). D’Angelo Russell was the chalk spot on this team but Dinwiddie had the hot hand and got all the run in the 4th. Russell has a dream matchup against this Knicks team, he is cheap, and we will probably get him fairly low owned due to recency bias.
GTD Play-> D’Angelo Russell.
Net’s I like-> D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert (if starting), Allen Crabbe (value), & Jarrett Allen (GPP).
Hornets @ Magic +2, 218 – GPP Spot
Initially, this spot had me just slightly puzzled. The Hornets, over the past few years, have been a slow(ish) defensive minded team (in my opinion, at least). We saw towards the end of the season last year & in their last game that they are just fine pushing the pace. The duo of Kemba/Monk give them some very nice raw points upside as well.
Undervalued Play – Malik Monk. I was absolutely baffled by Monk’s 0.5% ownership on Wednesday & he is still projected to come in around 5-6% tonight. Monk checked in at the 5minute mark in the first quarter & ended up playing alongside Kemba for much of this game. His coach was recently quoted saying, ‘Malik has great energy, gives us great offensive explosion’. Additionally, Monk ended up playing 33 minutes against the Bucks. If Monk plays 33 minutes against Orlando in a game that ends up exceeding the current total; he has 40+ point upside. That’s 8.5x. Let’s hop on and continue to ride the Monk until his price is where it should be (mid to upper 5k).
Other targets-> Kemba (GPP), Batum (GPP). Anyone else, for me, is probably deep GPP only. I just think this team is still trying to figure out their complete rotation. Example; Lamb’s viability is tied to his shot falling.
Magic GPP targets -> Aaron Gordon 8,200, Evan Fournier 5,200, Nikola Vucevic 7,500, Mo Bamba 4,700.
If we base this off their last game, this is a trickier spot to dissect. On the surface, Gordon feels expensive & this rotation isn’t exactly locked down. Mo Bamba appears to be a serious threat to eventually cut into Vucevics usage. I still think Vucevic can smash & especially in the right matchup. With the total in this game being so high, points are going to be scored, which is why I also don’t mind Evan Fournier. Fournier took 15 shots in 23 minutes of play vs the Heat.
Final thoughts on this game-> This is just going to depend on my build. I’ll probably get Monk into my main lineup & see how the pieces align.
Final Bold Call
Assuming Russell Westbrook is OUT, I’ll be locking in Paul George (again) on Draft Kings. I hope the 8,700 price tag keeps his ownership down. PG13 was not great at all against the Warriors but still finished with a 37.5% true usage rate on 37 minutes.
Bold Call-> Paul George scores 35+ real points tonight
Bold Call #2 -> Steven Adams starts the game off by dominating Marcin Gortat. Gortat gets benched and in comes Boban Marjanovic to shut down Adams. Boban double-doubles in under 20minutes of play.
*My Player Pool will be posted at the TOP of this article when completed, so check back before lock!*