AP NBA Game Theory Decisions 11/12 - DFS Karma
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AP NBA Game Theory Decisions 11/12

Happy Monday Karma Nation! I hope you all had a profitable weekend. Personally, I feel like I am starting to get into a good roster construction groove. I don’t have any takedowns (yet) but I’ve been close. Game by game breakdowns on larger slates are tough, so I’m going to change the format up just a bit.

  1. Injury Situations
  2. Vegas Totals and Pace
  3. Games to Analyze Further
  4. Additional Priority Plays


11/12 Injury Situation

*Update* -> Wesley Matthews OUT, Jeff Teague upgraded to QUESTIONABLE, Draymond Green is IN

Monitoring injuries is NBA DFS 101. If a high usage or FP/minute player goes down, that just means all of the usage he would have taken up will go to someone else or will increase other starters numbers. Here are the best spots to monitor today;

Pelicans at Raptors-> If Elfrid Payton and Nikola Mirotic miss again, we know this will benefit Julius Randle, Anthony Davis, and Jrue Holiday. If ELF and Mirotic play, it makes this spot a little more difficult as most* of these key Pelican players are priced up. If ELF plays and no minutes restriction is announced, he would make for an elite play as he is only 5,200 on Draftkings.

76ers at Heat-> If you haven’t heard, Philly traded away Robert Covington and Dario Saric for Jimmy Butler. Butler is expected to debut on Wednesday (I believe). The main beneficiaries for the 76ers will be; Ben Simmons (23% USG, 1.23 FP/min), Joel Embiid (32.5% USG, 1.48 FP/min), JJ Redick (23% USG, 0.85 FP/min), Landry Shamet (played 37 minutes not including OT), and TJ McConnell (played 29 minutes not including OT last game). Miami is still without James Johnson, Dion Waiters, and Dwyane Wade. From a minutes perspective, we should see Miami continue to stick to a fairly tight rotation.

Suns at Thunder -> With Westbrook OFF the court, if we look at the past two seasons, Paul George has seen huge usage and fantasy point per minute increases. Steven Adams also sees a usage and FP/minute bump and Dennis Schroder sees an overall bump in his role (from off the bench to starting). Schroder and George have both seen pretty significant price increases while Adam’s price hasn’t moved up too much. The Suns have made some major adjustments in their starting lineup and overall rotations. Most noticeably, TJ Warren has embraced his role as a starter by putting up some massive numbers. Over the last two games, we have also seen a tight rotation; prioritizing minutes to Devin Booker, TJ Warren, Deandre Ayton, Isaiah Canaan, and Trevor Ariza.

Nets at Wolves-> With Jimmy off to Philly and Jeff Teague still OUT, we have seen two players dominate all the usage and fantasy points per minute. With these players out, Karl Anthony Towns owns a 33% usage rate and 1.57 fantasy point per minute average. Derrick Rose owns a 38% usage rate and 1.50 fantasy point per minute average. However, Rose is finally fairly priced at 7,500 on DraftKings. Karl Anthony Towns price on DraftKings is absolutely ridiculous (in my opinion). He is 8,900 and I could easily see him matching numbers that Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Paul George, or Anthony Davis put up tonight.

Warriors at Clippers-> Stephen Curry is OUT and it looks like Draymond will be making his return tonight. Unless a restriction is mentioned, I’ll assume Draymond sees his normal workload. Over the last two seasons, Kevin Durant sees a 5% increase in usage and 0.10 increase in fantasy points per minute.  Year to date, Klay Thompson will pop in everyones usage bump models but his longer term trend shows that he doesn’t receive that significant of a bump with Curry OUT. Kevin Durant price tag is 11k on DraftKings, which should actually help to lower his ownership a bit. The must play, in my opinion, will most likely be Quinn Cook who is very much underpriced at 5,000 on DraftKings.


Vegas Totals and Pace


After reviewing the current days injury situation, I’m always looking at the vegas sides/totals and team pace rankings. Team Pace, or the number of possessions per game, will allow us to figure out which game will most likely have more overall fantasy points scored. The faster the pace, the more opportunities for raw scoring and peripheral stats. Looking at the chart above, we can immediately cross off the Jazz/Grizzlies game. This has a net almost -7 projected possessions. This is a huge pace down spot. Now if an injury situation popped up where a value play was going to see huge minutes, I’d put a more significant weighting on that over pace. The best pace up spots; Pelicans/Raptors, 76ers/heat, Spurs/Kings, and Warriors/Clippers.


Games To Analyze Further

From an injury, vegas lines, and pace standpoint, here are the games we need to get right tonight->


76ers AT Heat, -2, 221

*Pace and Injury bumps

Wilson Chandler has been confirmed in tonight and should have around a 20 minute restriction. At 20 minutes, he’s just too risky of an option for me. In my opinion, this is a spot to lock in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, or JJ Redick. The Philly cheap value plays are just too risky and we shouldn’t have a problem finding them elsewhere on this slate.

Ben Simmons, PG/SF, 9,000 -> Elite in all formats

Joel Embiid, C, 10,100 -> Elite in all formats

JJ Redick, SG/SF, 5,300 -> Solid in all formats

Goran Dragic returned in the Heats last game against the Wizards. Dragic was ice cold shooting 0/7 from the field. He also racked up 4 fouls in just 21 minutes. Dragic is cheap but faces a tough matchup tonight. Josh Richardson is generally a safe target but his price is still too high for me. Wayne Ellington is a solid GPP value play. I’m guessing people will still fade him as he busted as chalk on Friday night. Hassan Whiteside would be the next player on this team to consider. He has fared well against Embiid in the past and he is playing incredible basketball right now. Whiteside is a GPP only type of play, but he should get the minutes tonight if he stays out of foul trouble.

Wayne Ellington, SG/SF, 3,800 -> Elite GPP value

Goran Dragic, PG, 5,800 -> Solid play (if no minutes restriction)

Hassan Whiteside, C, 8,200 -> Solid GPP play


Warriors AT Clippers -2.5, 230

*Pace and Injury bumps

If you have followed DFS NBA for awhile, I’m guessing you will also find this stat pretty crazy/interesting-> Klay Thompson has been on the court without Curry for 142 minutes this season. During that time he has a 41% usage rate and averages 1.27 fantasy points per minute. If we extend the range to the ‘last two seasons’, this number drops to 29% usage rate and 0.94 fantasy points per minute average. However, 6,900 just feels too expensive to pay for a guy who doesn’t rack up peripheral stats. Quinn Cook owns a 27% usage and 1.07 fantasy point per minute rate with Curry off the court. Cook, who is just 5,000 on DraftKings, will be a priority value play for me tonight. Kevin Durant, who is now priced up in the Anthony Davis range, is the player who has traditionally seen the most significant bump with Curry off the court. Given the aggressive price increase, I don’t think he is a lock and load type of play on this slate. Lastly, DraftKings increased Draymond Greens price up to 8,000. Just a few games ago he was 6,900. Again, Draymond isn’t a lock and load type of play at his current price.

Quinn Cook, PG, 5,000 -> Elite value play. The lock and load type.

Kevin Durant, SF/PF, 11,000 -> Solid play. He is borderline elite, but given his price and that Draymond is out, I’m categorizing him as solid.

Klay Thompson, SG, 6,900 -> Fine GPP.

Draymond Green, PF/C, 8,000 -> Fine GPP.


The Clippers situation will depend upon the viability of Avery Bradley. If Bradley misses tonight, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be considered an elite value play. I’d also consider Pat Beverley an elite to solid GPP value play. The Clippers spot really comes down to their price, as many of their starters have seen their prices drop on DraftKings. ->

Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, 5,600 -> Solid play in all formats-> 31 MPG, 14 FGA/game, 7 rebs/ast

Tobias Harris, SF/PF, 7,000 -> Solid play in all formats-> 34 MPG, 15 FGA/game, 10 reb/ast

Lou Williams, PG/SG, 6,100-> Fine GPP play-> 28 MPG, 18 FGA/game, 6 reb/ast

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, 4,200-> Elite play *if Avery Bradley is OUT*

Patrick Beverley, PG/SG, 4,100-> Solid GPP value play.


Pelicans AT Raptors -9.5, 232

*Pace and injury bump potential


*To be determined – waiting on news* -> Check back for an update around 5pm central.


Suns AT Thunder -8.5, 212

*Injury bump & rotation change

On Paper, this is a pace down spot for the Thunder and slight pace increase for the Suns. However, if we look at the past three games you will notice that the Suns have been playing at a faster pace (12th in pace over their last three games). With Westbrook OUT, the Thunder have been playing slower and rank 29th in pace over their last three games. This could be due to the opponents they faced; Cavaliers, Rockets and Mavericks. Honestly, I could see this game going either way.

Paul George is an elite defender and my guess would be that he will follow Devin Booker around all night. It would make sense for the Suns to match this strategy, putting Trevor Ariza on Paul George. This scenario would open things up for Dennis Schroder for the Thunder and TJ Warren for the Suns. On the other hand, Devin Booker and Paul George are generally matchup proof and could both go off in a fast pace environment.


Paul George, SF/PF, 9,700-> It’s going to come down to roster construction for me. He’s a solid play but his price is really getting up there. Ariza and a slow pace game environment are my main fears and would crush his upside.

Dennis Schroder, PG/SG, 7,300-> Solid GPP play. if Ariza guards Paul George, it could really open things up. Schroder took 21 shots against Dallas. He has an elite matchup and should go overlooked due to his price.

Steven Adams, C, 6,700-> Elite play in all formats. Adams is the one guy who hasn’t seen a huge price bump. It’s crazy because he has been putting up solid numbers. Adams should have no issue in this matchup against Deandre Ayton.

Jerami Grant, SF/PF, 4,800 -> Fine value play. Grant has 9 games in a row of 20+ fantasy points. -> Price vs Price, I prefer Spencer Dinwiddie.


Isaiah Canaan, PG, 4,200-> Solid Value. Their last game got out of hand and Canaan only saw 26 minutes. Tonight he gets a nice matchup against Dennis Schroder.

TJ Warren, SF/PF, 5,500-> Elite GPP play. We are seeing the TJ Warren from last year. He has been taking full advantage of his starts the past few games. Assuming Paul George is tracking Booker around, we could again see Warren take over.

Devin Booker, PG/SG, 7,900 -> Solid GPP play. Booker is raw scoring dependent and a matchup against Paul George is concerning.


Other Priority Plays

Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, 5,000-> Elite play in all formats. Wesley Matthews is OUT. Barnes is coming off a complete dud where he got into foul troubles. I hope this keeps his ownership down because 5k is just too cheap for a player with recent 45 point upside.

Dorian Finney-Smith, SF, 3,800-> Low usage punt GPP value play. He should get the start with Wesley Matthews OUT.

JJ Barea, PG/SG, 4,000 -> The value play YOU WANT with Matthews OUT. Barea is a high usage, high fantasy per minute player who will see an uptick in minutes tonight.

Ryan Arcidiacono, PG, 3,700 -> Elite value play in all formats. Arcidiacono is getting the start tonight. He should be able to do enough to pay off his cheap price tag.

Jabari Parker, SF/PF, 5,800 -> Solid GPP play -> he is getting massive minutes as a starter and has mid 40 point upside.

Zach LaVine, PG/SG, 8,300 -> Elite Play in all formats. LaVine owns a massive usage rate and is doing just about everything offensively for this Bulls team.

Karl Anthony Towns, C, 8,900 -> Elite play in all formats. Even if Jeff Teague plays, Towns is far too cheap. I love his matchup against the Nets. It very well could be a “no towns no cash” type of night.

Spencer Dinwiddie, PG/SG, 4,800 -> Solid Value. Dinwiddie has hit at least 5x six of his last seven games.

Jarrett Allen, C, 5,100 -> Elite GPP play. Allen is having a huge season. He’s coming off a bust against the Warriors, but prior to that he hit over 30 dk points 3x in a row.


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