AP NBA Game Theory Decisions 11/6
Happy Tuesday Karma Nation! Tonight we have a small four game slate. Slates under six games really aren’t cash viable (in my opinion). Tonight’s the perfect night to take a shot in a tournament. Let’s put our ‘game theory’ hats on and let’s build a perfect tournament lineup.
In tournaments, sometimes we tend to put too much emphasis on finding the most leverage, or low owned plays. Blindly doing this just isn’t a good strategy. Let’s set a few guidelines to follow;
- Let’s find the BEST plays that might go overlooked
- Let’s do our best to predict how these four games might play out
- Let’s take a contrarian approach to our roster construction
Hawks vs Hornets -11.5, 232
Noteable-> Taurean Prince is OUT
“Common sense approach” -> Hawks will be without one of their better players (Taurean Prince) and my guess is most will be concerned that this game might turn into a blowout. Blowout concerns typically means people will reduce exposure to that game. This should reduce Kemba Walker, Trae Young, and a few other players overall ownership. DeAndre Bembry, who is only 4,300 on DraftKings, will most likely be the way many will get exposure to this game.
“Game Theory approach”-> Taurean Prince is one of the Hawks best defenders. With Prince out, this game could turn into an absolute track meet. If the Hawks can keep this game within striking distance through three quarters, starters from both sides will see normal minutes. Given the expected pace, the Hornets will most likely need to be up close to 20 points early in the 4th for the coach to rest starters. Given the side of Hornets -11.5, Vegas believes this game should stay within striking distance.
With Taurean Prince OUT, Trea Young sees a 7% increase in usage and 0.29 increase in fantasy points per minute. He’ll be up against Kemba Walker, who is a below average on ball defender. Kent Bazemore sees the next largest increase in usage (+4.5%) and fantasy points per minute average (+0.18).
Kemba Walker is 9,300 on DraftKings and hasn’t put up over 40 fantasy points through his last three games. Kemba gets the best matchup (by far) on the slate as Trae Young is arguably one of the worst defenders in the NBA. In fast paced matchups, like this one, shooters typically tend to find their shot. In a scenario where this game stays close, Kemba has 40+ raw point upside in this matchup.
Trae Young, PG, 7,300 -> Elite Tournament Play
Kent Bazemore, SG/SF, 5,900 -> Elite Tournament Play
DeAndre Bembry, SF, 4,300 -> Elite play in all formats (cash preferable)
Kemba Walker, PG, 9,300 -> Elite Tournament Play
Nicolas Batum-> Feels like a trap play & he could get lost while Kemba & Trae go shot for shot
Jeremy Lamb, SG/SF, 5,200 -> In the game flow scenario above, I can see Baze racking up steals & Lamb fully splitting time with Malik Monk. However, he does make for an interesting GPP play as he has been playing very good lately. GPP Only
Malik Monk, SG, 4,600-> Risky Tournament Play-> Monk has averaged double digit FGA’s all season, should avoid Bazemore in the first half, and if he finds his shot he could get the nod and see more minutes in the 4th.
Wizards AT Mavericks +1.5, 226.5
Notable-> Doncic & Porter are IN (Both teams are fairly healthy)
“Common sense approach” -> Despite everyone being healthy, the Wizards still run everything through John Wall. Wall is much cheaper than Kemba and vegas thinks this game will stay competitive. Wall has a safe floor, plenty of upside, and should be a priority play ahead of Kemba. Dwight Howard is still recovering from his injury and we haven’t seen him play a full complement of minutes.
“Game Theory approach”-> The Mavericks have a true traditional big in DeAndre Jordan. The Wizards are surely going to want to match Jordan’s size in the paint. With no minutes restriction on Dwight Howard, let’s assume he matches DeAndre Jordan’s minutes in this game. This means Howard could potentially see around 33 to 35 minutes. In that scenario, Howard is arguably the best value on the slate at 6,100. He’s also projected to be low owned due to the reasons I stated in the ‘common sense approach’ section.
Dwight Howard, C, $6,100 -> Elite Tournament Play.
Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, $5,500 -> The Mav’s are another very deep team. Barnes was on his way to value in his last game but went 0/7 (I believe) in the 2nd half. Barnes feels like a cash type of play but his ownership was well under 10% against the Knicks. For me, Howard & Barnes make for great price driven targets that have plenty of upside.
Nets AT Suns +2, 221
“Common sense approach”-> The Nets and Suns are two teams that traditionally lack any defensive skill sets. Well over 60% of the money is coming in on the over which has pushed the total to 221 points. Given these two points, this should be a fantastic spot to find fantasy production.
“Game Theory approach”-> While the public is driving this total up, lets take a breath and remember that these two teams rank 22nd and 26th in pace of play. The Suns are settling for jumpers, which means they will need a high FG% to keep pace with this total. The Nets have made big improvements on defense, much of this could be due to the play of Caris LeVert really limiting opposing shooting guards. So, do we fade this game? No, I’m saying that, but let’s limit our exposure as this really should be one of the slower paced games on the slate.
Devin Booker-> All projections I see show him as one of the highest owned plays on the slate. I mean, I get it. Devin Booker is one of my favorite offensive players to watch. However, he didn’t look 100% in the game against Memphis. Booker could also be the key to this game going OVER the total, but I’m going to side with the pace figures for these teams year to date. That means I’ll be going against the public on Devin Booker and on the Over. *We have a bet on the under in this game*
Caris LeVert, SF, 7,200 -> The easy & obvious play for the Nets (IMO) is Jarrett Allen. Allen has been a beast all season and they will need him tonight to matchup with Deandre Ayton. I like Allen and feel he’s a fine play tonight in all formats. However, LeVert, from a pricing standpoint, could really go overlooked. I’m not sure if I’ll put the trigger but he has an ideal matchup against Devin Booker. I’ll categorize him as a solid play in all formats who may go overlooked.
D’Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson can all be given a look in tournaments.
Bucks At Blazers +1, 229.5
No notable injury news
“Common sense approach”-> The Buck’s minutes have been volatile all season. Giannis is a beast but is priced much to high. This might be a ‘Giannis or no one type of spot’. . . Damian Lillard is only 300 more than Kemba Walker and this game should stay competitive. Lillard usually peaks in situations like this.
“Game Theory approach”-> The Bucks minutes have been volatile all season. . . due to blow outs. The Bucks players, outside of Giannis, are priced according to their projected minutes. If this game stays close, we SHOULD see Bledsoe, Brogdon, and Middleton log closer to 32-34 minutes.
Continued-> So far this season, the Blazers have done a fine job at limiting the opposing team’s star player. . . KAT (under 40dk pts), LeBron (under 50dk pts), Pelicans (Brow didn’t play), Rockets (Paul 40dk pts w/ no Harden), Heat (4 players hit value), etc. . .
Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, $6,300 -> Elite Tournament Play-> If Bledsoe plays at least 32.4 minutes, our Karma protection has his true fantasy point number at 35.60. Given the matchup, I think Bledsoe has 45 point upside tonight.
Khris Middleton, SG/SF, $7,000 -> Solid Tournament Play-> I like the discount Bledsoe gives us, but Middle typically offers a safer floor. He should go overlooked tonight.
Malcolm Brogdon, PG/SG, $5,000 -> Low usage & raw scoring dependent. However, he is in an elite matchup against CJ McCollum. Fine play in all formats.
Giannis -> “ABC” is $12,600 on DraftKings and is projected to be massively owned. Giannis could break the slate, like he did against the 76ers, or he could land in the 50 point range and you will be praying your value plays get there. With this being a four game slate and with the Blazers ability to limit opposing team stars, I’m willing to go the contrarian route and fade Giannis at this massive price tag.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, $6,700 -> We can only play two centers on DraftKings and I’ll tell you right now. . . Nurkic and Howard will lock those spots up for me. Nurkic, or NurkShow as I like to call him, is as volatile as they come. He’s also has an extremely high FP/minute rate. If he stays clear of foul trouble, which he should vs Brook Lopez, he could absolutely feast in this matchup.
In sum, I’ll be doing a few things tonight which should lead to a very contrarian build. If you made it this far, you get the benefit of knowing what those things are;
- I’m fading Devin Booker and Giannis (both projected to be high owned)
- I’m pairing Trae Young and Kemba Walker (opposing point guards)
- I’m playing two mid range priced centers who both could go overlooked (Howard & NurkShow).
*Things could change as I haven’t messed around with builds yet, but my goal is to stick to this initial core*