AP NBA Game Theory Decisions 12/26 - DFS Karma
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AP NBA Game Theory Decisions 12/26

Happy Wednesday Karma Nation! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We have a wonderful 10 game slate to tackle, let’s dive in!


Suns AT Magic -5, 210

Jamal Crawford OUT

PACE: 18th/27th  DEF EFF: 26th/13th


Over the past two weeks, and with Devin Booker back, two players on this Suns team have been the focal point. During this span, Devin Booker owns a 34.6% true usage and 1.30 fantasy point per minute average. Deandre Ayton owns a 23.4% true usage and 1.48 fantasy point per minute rate. Some of Ayton’s incredible efficiency could be credited to a few of the recent matchups; 60 DK points vs the Nets & 53 dk points vs the Wizards (Triple OT game). However, he started this breakout run by putting up 48 against the Celtics. Ayton’s price has climbed up to 7,800 from 6,300 just eight games ago. I feel this is a classic ‘sell high’ spot on Ayton who is in a difficult matchup (ORL 13th vs Centers & Vucevic grades out as an elite individual defender). I do have some interest in Devin Booker, However, I’m worried about the overall pace in this game.


De’Anthony Melton, PG, 3,500 -> Fine to Solid Value.

Devin Booker, PG/SG, 8,500 -> Fine GPP. Two main risks; Suns are healthy & the game pace

Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, 4,200-> Fine value. Risks; Heavily relies on peripherals for fantasy points


The Magic have been on the losing side of many blowouts this year. As 5 point favorites against the Suns, I’m not too concerned with either team getting blown out tonight. Nikola Vucevic struggled against Miami and is in a prime bounce back spot against the Suns who rank 29th vs opposing Centers. Orlando also gets a slight pace bump as the Suns have been playing at a faster pace with Booker back on the court.


DJ Augustin, PG, 4,200 -> Solid Value. He should push for 30+ minutes in an elite matchup.

Evan Fournier, SG/SF, 5,800 -> Solid  GPP. Take away some blowout games and Fournier has been very consistent recently.

Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, 6,900 -> Fine GPP. He went 4/17 vs Chicago & 4/10 vs the Spurs and still put up 33+ fantasy points. He’s a good shooting night away from putting up a big number.

Nikola Vucevic, C, 8,900 -> Solid to Elite. Vucevic’s duds have typically come when the Magic are getting blown out. We shouldn’t be worried about that tonight.

Terrence Ross, SG/SF, 4,200 -> GPP Value. Ross typically plays 24-28 minutes a game and box score lurkers will see a lot of low fantasy point scores. He has been in a big shooting slump. Much like Gordon, he’s a good shooting night away from hitting GPP Value.


Wizards AT Pistons -5, 221.5

Otto Porter OUT

Henry Ellenson & Glenn Robinson OUT

PACE: 3rd/10th  DEF EFF: 28th/14th


This is a very nice pace up spot and we know where the usage and fantasy points are generally distributed on both sides. Walls home/road splits this season are concerning; however, Wall is under 9k on DraftKings and he has averaged 46.6 fantasy points over his last six matchups against the Pistons. Bradley Beal has been playing 38+ minutes a game and is firmly in play as the Pistons rank 26th vs opposing PGs and 22nd against opposing shooting guards. Washington is very thin in the frontcourt which is where you will find one of my favorite GPP value plays on this slate. Thomas Bryant? I mean, he’s fine. . . but no. The guy I’m looking at is Markieff Morris who is I believe is starting to hit is stride. If Drummond dominates Thomas Bryant we will probably see Jeff Green and Markieff Morris soak up a lot of minutes tonight. Morris has taken 30 shots over his past two games and has an excellent track record against this Pistons team (four straight 30+ DK point games).


John Wall, PG, 8,600 -> Solid to Elite.

Bradley Beal, SG, 8,000 -> Solid to Elite.

Markieff Morris, PF/C, 4,500 -> Elite GPP value.

Jeff Green, SF/PF, 4,200 -> Solid value.


Blake Griffin, PF/C, 9,000 -> Solid to Elite.

Andre Drummond, C, 9,200 -> Elite play. 20/20/5+ block game incoming from Drummond.

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


*Game note* ~ There is a lot to like about this game. The pace will be fast, we have elite DVP spots to attack and the studs will all play massive minutes.


Hornets AT Nets -1.5, 219

Treveon Graham & Allen Crabbe OUT

PACE: 13th/22nd  DEF EFF: 21st/17th


We have many elite spots on this slate and I do not feel this is one of them. I’m going to keep my comments short on this game as I’d much rather focus on fully wrapping my head around a few other spots.


Rodions Kurucs, SF/PF, 4,600 ~> “Sell high” is my thoughts on Kurucs. He’s posted back to back 30 DK point games. If he is going to be high owned I’d much rather take a shot at fading him.

Kemba Walker~> I have a long list of players I’d much rather play than Kemba on the road at 8,400 in a pace down spot. Same goes for D’Angelo Russell.


*Game note* ~ We have 10 games tonight. This just feels like a spot I can feel perfectly fine fading.


Pacers AT Hawks +7.5, 217.5

Tyreke Evans Questionable.

Taurean Prince & Miles Plumlee OUT. John Collins Probable.  Alex Len Doubtful. Omari Spellman Doubtful. Jeremy Lin & Dewayne Dedmon Probable.

PACE: 26th/1st   DEF EFF: 1st/30th


This is an interesting matchup; we have the fastest paced team who doesn’t play defense against one of the slowest paced teams with the best defense in the league. Despite the Hawks having many players out, I still do not trust their rotations and I’m not comfortable paying some of these elevated prices in a bad matchup. I’d much rather focus on the Pacers side of this matchup.


Victor Oladipo, PG/SG, 8,700 -> GPP. I don’t hate Dipo but I see a few main risks in this game; (1) the game getting out of hand and (2) a matchup against Bazemore isn’t ideal. He is pretty much their ownly defender.

Bojan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, 5,200 -> Solid. I’d rank Bojan just ahead of Evan Fournier in this price range due to his elite paceup matchup and discount in price.

Darren Collison, PG, 4,300 -> Fine to Solid value. Collison has the best individual matchup for the Pacers. Risks-> He is a low usage player who splits minutes with Cory Joseph.

Cory Joseph, PG, 3,700-> Solid GPP value. It’s possible that Joseph gets to see a lot of minutes against Trae Young. Young is often benched early and inserted back into the rotation with the Hawks 2nd unit.

Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, 6,200 -> Solid GPP. I feel like this is the perfect ‘sell high’ spot for Myles Turner who has been incredibly efficient for awhile now. We could easily see Sabonis pay off his salary in his normal allotment of minutes in this fast paced game.


Jeremy Lin, PG/SG, 3,800 -> GPP Punt. If this game is within reach at all it might be due to some elite play from Lin with the 2nd unit. He put up a nice number against the Pacers the last time they met. *Very risky play* ~> I’d feel much safer playing Cory Joseph for a similar price. But Lin has more upside.


Raptors AT Heat +4, 210.5

Serge Ibaka IN, Valanasty OUT, Kyle Lowry Doubtful.

Dion Waiters OUT, Rodney McGruder Probable

PACE: 16th/19th  DEF EFF: 9th/7th


Raptors changed Lowry’s status to doubtful and he sat out at shootaround today. If Lowry misses, here’s the adjusted USAGE & Fantasy point per minute averages;

Kawhi Leonard, 35%, 1.41

Fred VanVleet, 22.5%, 1.07

Pascal Siakam, 21.6%, 1.04

Serge Ibaka, 22.6%, 0.97

Delon Wright, 16%, 0.81

Unfortunately, Fred VanVleet’s price appropriately reflects this situation. If Lowry is IN, VanVleet would be an easy fade. If Lowry is IN, I still think he is a fine fade given his high price tag and tough matchup.


Kawhi Leonard, SF/PF, 9,500 -> Elite IF Lowry is OUT.

Serge Ibaka, PF/C, 5,700 -> Solid GPP if NO minutes restriction.

Pascal Siakam, PF/C, 6,500 -> He feels appropriately priced. Wouldn’t blame anyone for playing him today in all formats.


Josh Richardson, SG/SF, 6,700 -> Solid to Elite. Richardson has 35+ minutes upside and appears to be out of his shooting slump.

James Johnson, SF/PF, 3,700 -> Solid GPP value. JJ played 30 minutes against the Bucks and 25 minutes against the Magic. His minutes have been volatile but the upside is definitely there.


Wolves AT Bulls +4.5, 211

Jeff Teague OUT. Derrick Rose Probable.

Zach LaVine Questionable. Tyler Ulis OUT.

PACE: 15th/20th  DEF EFF: 20th/22nd


Not overly excited about this game. Here’s the plays that do stand out;


Derrick Rose, PG/SG, 6,800 -> Solid GPP (Teague is OUT)

Bulls-> probably a fade for me


Cavs AT Grizz -10.5, 196

Nwaba, Tristan, Hood OUT

Dillon Brooks, Mike Conley, JaMychal Green, Omri Casspi, Jevon Carter Probable.

PACE: 29th/30th


Slowest paced game on this slate. This spot just isn’t good for fantasy purposes. Easy full fade, in my opinion.


Pelicans AT Mavericks -2.5, 228

Mirotic & ELF OUT.

Dennis Smith Jr OUT, Wesley Matthews Questionable. Dirk & Barea Probable.

PACE: 6th/14th  DEF EFF: 25th/14th


We go from the worst game on the slate to one of the bests. Over the past four weeks with ELF and Nikola Mirotic OUT, Anthony Davis owns a 33% true usage and 1.68 fantasy points per minute average. He is easily the top overall play on this slate. Over the past four weeks and in a starting role, Julius Randle owns a 29.4% true usage rate and 1.27 fantasy point per minute average.


Anthony Davis, PF/C, 11,800 -> Elite. Top overall play on this slate. With many elite 2nd tier plays on the slate, you can justify a Brow fade in GPPs if you think multiple 2nd tier studs can get to 55-65 fantasy point range. Additionally, at times, Randle has shown that he can lower Brow’s ceiling.

Julius Randle, PF/C, 7,900 -> Elite. In GPPS, if you do plan on fading Brow, I think you absolutely have to lock in Randle. If Randle can stay within 8 to 10 points or so of Brow, I think you might have some leverage on the field. Additionally, I’d be combo’ing him with Drummond, who could possibly match what Brow puts up tonight.

Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, 8,800 -> I have Wall and Beal both ranked ahead of Jrue. I guess I’d like him a bit more if I was game stacking this spot. He most likely won’t make any of my builds today.


Jalen Brunson, PG, 3,600 -> Solid (if starting). Brunson came off the bench the last time these teams played each other. He faired well in this matchup. He should avoid Jrue defense if he gets the start tonight.

Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, 6,000 -> Fine GPP. If Matthews misses, Barnes will most likely soak up some of his scoring usage. Not in love with this play, but I think he’s fine for GPPs.

Luka Doncic, SG/SF, 8,300 ~> This feels like a sell high spot for Doncic. He won’t make any of my builds tonight.

DeAndre Jordan, C, 6,400 -> Solid GPP. This play is solely based on that DeAndre’s skill set will be needed tonight, which should lead to lots of minutes if he can stay out of foul trouble. Additionally, DeAndre is just priced way too low. He put up a massive dud last time against the Pelicans and I just can’t see that happening twice in a row.


Nuggets AT Spurs -3.5, 217

Will Barton, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap OUT.

PACE: 25th/24th  DEF EFF: 6th/16th


Spurs DvP: PG 18th, SG 21st, SF 4th, PF 28th, C 7th

Nuggets DvP: PG 11th, SG 1st, SF 8th, PF 15th, C 11th

Nuggets USG/FP/M given their current situation;

Nikola Jokic, 31% & 1.61

Monte Morris, 26% & 1.04

Mason Plumlee, 17% & 1.00

Jamal Murray, 24.4% & 0.99

Trey Lyles, 24.3% & 0.94

Juan Hernangomez, 15% & 0.70


Nuggets are coming off a blowout loss to the Clippers. The blowout came after Jokic was ejected early in the 3rd quarter. I wouldn’t put much weight into this, if anything, Jokic should be plenty motivated to get back out there tonight. Denver is 21-10 on the season but 7 of their 10 losses have come on the road. On the other side, the Spurs own an elite 13-5 record at home. With that being noted, the Nuggets are just playing too good right now. I think this game stays really close. I hope this goes unnoticed, but Jokic owns the Spurs. Since 1/19/2017, he has faced the Spurs six times and has put up 60+ DK points in half of those games.


Nikola Jokic, C, 9,600 -> Elite play. Jokic’s 1.61 fantasy point per minute average is just .07 lower than Anthony Davis. If Jokic stays out of foul trouble, he should see around 35 minutes tonight. If he matches his average, he should land somewhere around 54 to 57 DK points.

Jamal Murray, PG/SG, 6,300 -> Elite play. The Spurs weak spot is against opposing PGs. We are also getting a discount on Murray despite the injury situation.

Juan Hernangomez, SF/PF, 4,500 -> Solid value. The only explanation for this price is probably due to the matchup and his past two games, one which was a blowout.

Monte Morris, PG, 4,600 -> Elite GPP. I love this guard combo of Murray/Morris against this Spurs team. I think both guys could absolutely smash their current price tags. We could easily see 42 from Murray and 33 from Morris and 60 from Jokic. That might be my favorite stack on this slate.

Mason Plumlee, PF/C, 5,100 -> Solid. Plumlee feels pretty safe at this price, I’m just not seeing a ton of upside.

Trey Lyles, SF/PF, 3,900 -> Solid GPP value. This is pure speculation, but Lyles feels like he could match up well with Rudy Gay. I’m just worried about his minutes. Seems like Malone pulls him at the first chance he gets.


DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, 7,900 -> Solid GPP -> I prefer the Nuggets side but we are getting a discount on the Spurs ‘big 3’.

Rudy Gay, SF/PF, 5,900 -> Solid GPP.

LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, 7,200 -> Solid GPP.


Kings AT Clippers -5.5, 238.5

Marvin Bagley OUT

Luc Mbah a Moute OUT

PACE: 2nd/9th  DEF EFF: 27th/24th


These teams just played each other in Sacramento and the Clippers almost ran away with this one in the first quarter. Despite the -5.5 vegas spread, I think blowout risk is a real concern here that not many are going to talk about. De’Aaron Fox is projected to be fairly popular despite his 8,200 price tag. I just can’t roster a guy priced that high who just four games ago was benched after 6 minutes of play by his coach. If we put that game aside, Fox has put up 40+ in 5 straight games. However, at 8,200, I really need him to put up at least 49+ in GPPs. Outside of his last 5 games (not including the benching game), he’s been a low floor + high ceiling type of player all season. Normally this is what we would want to target in tournaments. However, if said player is projected to be chalky, I’d much rather fade him and hope we see a floor type of game and solid ownership. I’m going to make the exact same argument for Buddy Hield, who is 7,200 on DraftKings.


Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, 5,500 -> Elite play. I don’t want to fade a game with a 238 point total. My plan is to get exposure via some less risky plays. Bogdan is exactly that. He is definitely underpriced for the role he should play tonight.

Nemanja Bjelica, SF/PF, 4,800 -> Fine value. He busted multiple times as chalk, I could definitely see him going off randomly in a spot like this.

Willie Cauley-Stein, C, 6,500 -> Solid to Elite. WCS feels pretty safe at his current price tag. As long as Boban doesn’t get a random start, I love this spot for WCS.

Fox/Hield -> I’ll most likely be fading these two at their elevated price tags.


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, 4,500 -> Elite GPP value. I wouldn’t even look at his recent game logs, they look quite volatile. However, this matchup is as elite as it can get. He should bounce back tonight.

Avery Bradley, SG, 3,600 -> GPP Value. Bradley is never fun to roster but he has been shooting the ball more. He gets a favorable matchup against this Kings team. He put up over 30 the last time they played.

Tobias Harris, SF/PF, 7,800 -> Solid play. I imagine Tobias will be popular tonight in this matchup. He feels like a fine cash play and GPP fade if he is going to be popular.

Dan Gallinari, SF/PF, 7,300 -> Solid play. Gallo feels like another one of those “sell high” type of plays. He’s been playing well, but he could very easily put up a number in the low 30’s which wouldn’t be good for your GPP Builds.

*Quick note* -> I like these guys more in a complete game stack with pieces from the Kings.

Montrezl Harrell, PF/C, 5,700 -> Elite GPP. This feels like an excellent spot to fire up Harrell. I could see the Clippers getting a lead and then Harrell helping to extend that lead. At 5,700, I think his minutes risk is definitely worth the reward if he has one of his high FP/M games.


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