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

Happy Wednesday Karma Nation! We have a massive 11 game slate to tackle, let’s dive in.

Bucks AT Pacers +2.5, 216.5

Oladipo Questionable


PACE: 3rd/27th, DEF: 7th/2nd


In my opinion, this game only becomes interesting if Victor Oladipo sits. If Oladipo plays, we have two healthy teams that put a big emphasis on playing sound defense. If you want to fire up Giannis Antetokounmpo, don’t let me stop you. He has an elite floor and ceiling in almost any matchup.


Tyreke Evans, SG/SF, 4,900 -> GPP (If Dipo is OUT)


Celtics AT Wizards +4, 220

Kyrie IN, Horford, Baynes Questionable, Hayward Doubtful

John Wall Probable, Howard OUT, Otto Porter Questionable


PACE: 22nd/7th, DEF: 1st/26th


With Gordon Hayward off the court, Kyrie Irving would be the main guy on my radar with his 31% USG & 1.25 FP/M average rate. He also gets a pace and matchup bump and his price has come down. If Horford and Baynes miss again, Daniel Theis would become one of the top overall value plays on this slate going up against a team that has been absolutely torched by centers. Overall, much has yet to be determined in this matchup. My overall preference is to limit my exposure unless Horford, Baynes and Hayward end up getting ruled out.


*Update* – Hayward & Horford are OUT. Baynes is IN but most likely will have his minutes monitored.


Daniel Theis, PF/C, 4,600 -> Solid to Elite GPP. Theis is priced up and his minutes are a bit uncertain. However, I don’t expect the same foul troubles like he had against the Pelican bigs. The Wizards have been getting torched by opposing bigs.

Kyrie Irving, PG, 8,500 -> Solid to Elite GPP. Kyrie owns a solid 29% USG and 1.15 FP/M rate with Horford and Hayward off.

Marcus Morris, SF/PF, 5,900 -> Solid to Elite GPP. Morris could be the one to benefit against this weak frontcourt. He should play 30+ minutes tonight in the starting unit and he has averaged 1.08 FP/M when Horford and Hayward are out. *He also gets to play against his brother tonight*


John Wall, PG, 8,400 -> Solid to Elite GPP. The Wizards have been struggling but Vegas has the Celtics as only 4 point favorite. Wall burnt many against the Cavs and otherwise we haven’t seen him play since the game against Knicks. I also can’t remember the last time Wall was 8,400.

Markieff Morris, PF/C, 5,300-> Solid GPP-> Maybe a matchup against his brother is what he needs to get his game back on track.


Knicks AT Cavaliers +2, 214

Trier, Burke, Lance Thomas OUT

Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, John Henson OUT, David Nwaba Questionable


PACE: 14th/30th  DEF: 27th/21st


This game is viable due to injuries and lack of defense on both sides of the court. The main thing we need to do here is to try to get an understanding of what each teams rotation might look like. Allonzo Trier and Trey Burke both sat out last game and the guard rotation looked like this;


Emmanuel Mudiay (started, played 19minutes), Frank Ntilikina (bench, 19minutes), Damyean Dotson (bench, 31minutes). Kevin Knox also came off the bench and played 41 minutes. With the Knicks, it is going to come down to whoever has the hot hand. Charlotte had a 28 point lead EARLY in the 2nd half, so you can see why the starters got pulled. That is always going to be a risk when targeting this team. However, a matchup against the Cavs presents an elite tournament spot as most will probably fear targeting this team.


Enes Kanter, C, 6,500 -> Elite GPP play

Tim Hardaway Jr, SG/SF, 6,800 -> GPP

Kevin Knox, SF/PF, 4,500 -> Elite Value *if starting*

Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, 5,500 -> GPP

Damyean Dotson, SG/SF, 4,100 -> GPP


Tristan Thompson went down last game and we saw Larry Nance’s old elite FP/M rate return with him playing the 5. Nance played every minute that was left in the game and put up over 30 fantasy points during that 17 minute span. Jaron Blossomgame played along side Nance finishing out every minute of the game on the court. It might just be coach talk, but it is worth mentioning that Larry Drew stated, “we need to find a way to get him (Blossomgame) more minutes”. On paper, a matchup against two bad teams is never fun to target. However, the distressed pricing on each side makes an elite spot to target, especially in tournaments.


Larry Nance, PF/C, 5,700 -> Elite Play.

Alec Burks, PG/SG, 4,800 -> Elite Value.

Collin Sexton, PG, 5,100 -> Solid play.

Jaron Blossomgame, SF/PF, 3,400 -> GPP value.

Cedi Osman, SF/PF, 4,300 -> GPP Value.


Pistons AT Hornets +5.5, 219.5

Reggie Bullock Doubtful, Glenn Robinson, Ish Smith, Henry Ellenson OUT

None for Charlotte


PACE: 10th/11th  DEF: 19th/22nd


Given the Pistons injuries, the usage and fantasy point per minute averages shake out like this;

Blake Griffin -> 36.2% / 1.46

Andre Drummond -> 22.5% / 1.30

Reggie Jackson -> 27.2% / 1.05

Stanley Johnson -> 17% / 0.60

[much like Stanley, no one else is viable for fantasy purposes]


The Hornet’s are really lacking in size in the frontcourt which makes this a very interesting matchup against Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Back on Nov. 11th, we saw Drummond absolutely dominate this frontcourt posting a 23/22/3/5 stl/blk game. Griffin had a poor shooting night and appeared to be just fine letting Drummond take over. Both of the Pistons bigs are firmly in play and especially in tournaments as they will most likely fly under the radar on this big slate.


Blake Griffin, PF/C, 9,300 -> Solid GPP

Andre Drummond, C, 8,700 -> Solid to Elite.

Reggie Jackson, PG/SG, 5,400 -> GPP


The Hornets are one of the few teams that isn’t dealing with any injury bugs. Their only issue is lack of size in the frontcourt. Due to this, we should probably expect at least 30minutes of play from Cody Zeller, who is only 4,400 on Draftkings. He makes for a safe, ‘cash’ type of play. . . I think he lacks the tournament upside we want.


Kemba Walker, PG, 8,600 -> GPP

Cody Zeller, C, 4,400 -> Fine value.


Nets AT 76ers -6.5, 221

Jimmy Butler Doubtful


PACE: 19th/4th   DEF: 14th/10th


With Jimmy off the court, here’s how the USAGE and fantasy points per minute shake out;

Joel Embiid -> 39.8% & 1.56

Ben Simmons -> 21% & 1.30

JJ Redick -> 30% & 1.02

Landry Shamet -> 15% & 0.61

Wilson Chandler -> 6.8% & 0.67

TJ McConnell -> 16%, 0.81

Furkan Korkmaz -> 21.1% & 0.97


The best way to attack this Nets team is through the opposing team’s frontcourt. In my opinion, this spot sets up so perfectly for DFS purposes, and let me explain why;


  1. Joel Embiid hasn’t put up big numbers recently and since we know recency bias plays a great part in the fields decision making process, we will get Embiid at a lower ownership relative to where he should be in this matchup.
  2. Major player sitting out = massive usage shift -> Embiid sees a massive +6.1% in usage, meaning the ball will be going through him a very high percentage of the time on offense.
  3. The Nets rank last in the league against opposing centers.


Joel Embiid, C, 10,500 -> Elite Play. Embiid is one of the top overall plays on this slate.

Ben Simmons, PG/SF, 8,900 -> Elite Play. Simmons has triple double upside and will benefit with Jimmy off the court.

JJ Redick, SG/SF, 5,300 -> Fine to solid play. Redick feels like a safe “cash” type of play.

TJ McConnell, PG/SG, 3,500 -> GPP. TJM could see 20 to 25 minutes, he makes for a GPP punt play.

Furkan Korkmaz, SG/SF, 3,500 -> GPP. With the lack of wings on this team, Korkmaz is someone to keep an eye on if Jimmy is out.


With LeVert OUT, D’Angelo Russell has been carrying this team on his back. He owns an elite 34% true usage rate and 1.17 fantasy point per minute average. My main issue with the Nets is it can be tricky predicting their minutes and rotations. Example; despite Russells elite rates, he rarely sees just over 30 minutes a game. However, the last time he faced this 76er team, he played 34 minutes and put up 62 fantasy points. If you are into trends, check out his last eight games (starting with his most recent); 29, 43, 27, 54, 22, 46, 36, 62. If this trend continues, he should be in for a solid outing tonight. You should also note that Jarrett Allen played over 35 minutes in this game. He’s a guy who has been playing incredible all season and could have the opportunity to play well above his normal minutes to match up with Joel Embiid.


D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, 7,500 -> Solid to Elite GPP.

Allen Crabbe, SG/SF, 4,200 -> GPP value.

Jarrett Allen, C, 5,800 -> Solid to Elite GPP.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, PF/C, 5,800 -> GPP.

Spencer Dinwiddie, PG/SG, 6,000 -> Solid GPP.


Thunder AT Pelicans +1.5, 232

Nikola Mirotic OUT, ETwaun Moore Questionable


PACE: 9th/6th   DEF: 3rd/24th


We don’t have any major injury situations with OKC; however, their rotations, usage and fantasy point distribution is very transparent. Paul George almost always plays the entire 1st quarter and 3rd quarter and checks in half way through the 2nd and 4th qtrs, assuming the game is close in the 4th. When both PG13 and Westbrook are ON the court together; Russ owns a 32% usage & 1.59 FP/M rate and PG13 owns a 28% usage and 1.36 FP/M rate.


Russell Westbrook, PG, 10,900 -> Elite play. Massive pace up spot against a team that has been getting torched by opposing PGs.

Paul George, SF/PF, 9,000 -> Elite play. Paul Georges production really hasn’t dipped much while he is playing alongside Russ.

Dennis Schroder, PG/SG, 5,300 -> Elite GPP. Schroder is the guy who will go overlooked. He comes off the bench but they will need him down the stretch. His price is really in an interesting spot. I’m going to bet he will be very low owned tonight. However, if his price was say. . . 4,900 or slightly below that, he would certainly garner more attention.


With Mirotic off the court, here is how the usage and fantasy points per minute looks.. And w/ Miro & E’Twaun more out;

Anthony Davis -> 31.2% & 1.58    -> 31.5% & 1.59

Julius Randle -> 28.4% & 1.32     -> 29.6% & 1.42

Jrue Holiday -> 26.2% & 1.20     -> 28% & 1.17

E’Twaun Moore -> 20% & 0.79


Anthony Davis is matchup proof but he’ll play at the 5 against Adams, who is an elite defender. OKC ranks 1st overall against opposing centers. I also think with Randle on the court, this lowers Anthony Davis’s ceiling. However, with Randle at the 4, I think he is a in an elite spot in an excellent matchup against Jerami Grant. If E’Twaun Moore plays, I’m perfectly fine just locking in Randle. If Moore sits, you can make an excellent case for a game stack with multiple pieces; Jrue, Randle & Davis.


Julius Randle, PF/C, 7,400 -> Elite play.

Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, 7,900 -> Solid to Elite.

Anthony Davis, PF/C, 11,200 -> Solid.


Trail Blazers AT Grizzlies -3.5, 204

Mike Conley Questionable, Chandler Parson and Carter OUT


PACE: 20th/29th  DEF: 17th/4th


We go from many elite games to this game. A game we can easily fade.


Hawks AT Mavericks -9.5, 223

Miles Plumlee, Alex Poythress, Jeremy Lin, Omari Spellman OUT

Dennis Smith Jr OUT


PACE: 1st/17th  DEF: 30th/12th


Hawks usage and fantasy points per minute given the injury situation;

Trae Young-> 30% & 1.03

John Collins-> 24% & 1.19

Taurean Prince-> 22% & 0.99

Kent Bazemore-> 19% & 1.0

DeAndre Bembry-> 18% & 1.10

Dewayne Dedmon-> 15% & 0.90


I’ve said this almost every time the Hawks are on the slate, my main issue with them is their crazy rotations. The one guy who has been fairly steady is John Collins. If Bazemore stays out of foul trouble, he should see minutes into the 30s as well. I actually think the Mavs will take care of business tonight and we could possibly see many of these Hawks players bust. Yes, one of my main rules is to always lock in on big injury situations. However, an exception can always be made with the Hawks.


Trae Young, Kent Bazemore, John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon-> GPP fliers for sure. But I also don’t mind a fade in GPPs, especially if someone like Kent Bazemore is going to be chalky.


Dallas gets one of the best pace up spots on the board. Rotations and a potential blowout situation is a little bit of a concern for me. However, here is who I think is in play;


Jalen Brunson, PG, 3,800 -> Elite value. Brunson has played very well in place of DSJ. He is still under 4k and should see around 30 minutes tonight.

DeAndre Jordan, C, 7,300-> Solid GPP. Fast paced game should lead to many rebounding opportunities.

Wesley Matthews, SG/SF, 4,500 -> Fine GPP value play.

Luka Doncic, SG/SF, 7,300 -> GPP. He has triple double upside, he just needs to start shooting the ball better. Solid GPP play.


Heat AT Jazz -7, 210

Dion Waiters, Hassan Whiteside & Goran Dragic OUT, Tyler Johnson IN.


PACE: 12th/23rd   DEF: 11th/9th


With Waiters, Whiteside and Dragic off the court, here is how USG & FP/M looks;

Dwayne Wade-> 30% & 1.15

Josh Richardson-> 27.6% & 1.03

Justise Winslow-> 22% & 1.02

Kelly Olynyk-> 20.7% & 1.07

Tyler Johnson-> 20% & 0.88

Wayne Ellington-> 20% & 0.83

Bam Adebayo-> 16.4% & 1.06


The last time these teams faced each other, Whiteside put up a 20/20 game and Gobert also smashed. I’m not sure if Bam will put up a 20/20 type of game, but he will need to play big minutes to match up with Gobert. Wade is priced a little to high for a guy coming off the bench. He also could be coming off the high from the previous game against LeBron.


Justise Winslow, SF/PF, 4,900 -> solid value. He has been lights out, putting up 40 DK points in each of his last 3 games. -> I’m a little worried about Ellington cutting into his production.

Bam Adebayo, PF/C, 6,100 -> solid to elite. Bam should play big minutes to match up with Gobert.

Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, 5,000 -> Solid GPP. I like Kelly O’s upside relative to his price.




Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, 6,600 -> Elite GPP. He took 24 shots the last time these teams faced each other. Shooters are going to shoot and if Mitchell’s shot goes down, his price is far too low. Additionally, Miami ranks 20th vs opposing SG’s on the season.


Rudy Gobert, C, 7,400 -> Gobert is in an excellent spot and could go overlooked with all the elite Centers on this slate.


Timberwolves AT Kings +2, 228

Robert Covington Probable, Jerryd Bayless Out


PACE: 18/2  DEF: 16/23


I seem to always be on the wrong side of Karl Anthony Towns blow out games. With that in mind, he is averaging well over 60 DK points over his last four game vs the Kings. That is pretty good.


Karl Anthony Towns, C, 10,000 -> Solid to Elite GPP. For some reason, I just never feel good about playing this guy. However, he has elite upside in this matchup.

Derrick Rose -> Only if he starts. Less appealing if he is coming off the bench.


Willie Cauley Stein, C, 5,900 -> Solid to Elite. I love the matchup against Towns and his price is just under what it should be.

Marvin Bagley, PF/C, 4,800 -> Solid to Elite GPP -> Bagley appears to be back to his normal role. He gets an awesome matchup upgrade and we could see him return to form tonight.

De’Aaron Fox, PG, 7,300 -> Solid GPP. Fox has been playing great this season and he should be low owned on this slate.


Quick note-> Despite the high total, I don’t want to be over exposed to this game as neither team is really dealing with any major injuries. We have other elite spots on this slate that I like more.


Raptors AT Warriors -7, 227

Kawhi Leonard Questionable, Norman Powell Out

Andre Iguodala Questionable

PACE: 13th/16th   DEF: 6th/8th


When the Warriors are at full strength, I tend to avoid them. It is just too many mouths to feed; they all essentially take away from each others upside. Also, I can see this game playing out very similar to the Bucks game. We see great effort from each team on the defensive end of the court versus getting into a shootout. The Raptors have to know they can’t win a shootout type of game against Steph, Klay and Durant.


Kawhi Leonard, SF/PF, 9,400 -> GPP. Leonard put up 56 last time these teams played. However, that was at home and the Warriors were without KD and Draymond. If anything, Leonard makes for a potential fade if we think he is going to be popular. If this game does stay close, I could definitely see Leonard putting up a decent score. My lean is to fade him but I don’t want to talk anyone off the spot.


Steph / Klay / Durant / Green -> I’m probably going to fade all of these players.. But if I had to choose one it would probably be Steph.

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