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AP’s NBA Game Theory Decisions

NBA Game Theory Decisions blog – Post 2

**I have a few games left to discuss and all other updates will be posted before 5pm central**


Nets @ Pistons -5, 212


Last season, the nets rotation & figuring out minutes was always a headache to tackle. I usually don’t put a lot of weight into preseason stuff, but against the Pistons we saw some Nets starters see big minutes;

*DeMarre Carroll played in this game*

Caris Levert, SG/SF, $5,800 -> 35 minutes

Jarrett Allen, C, $5,700 -> 33 minutes

D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, $6,600 -> 32 minutes

Treveon Graham, SG/SF, $3,000 -> 34 minutes

In addition to this, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (hip) was downgraded from ‘expected to play to questionable’. Either way, we should see a tight rotation from the Nets tonight. This is a perfect ‘usage bump’ spot and to me it looks like DraftKings is pricing in last years rotations & minutes.


Primary Targets-> Caris LeVert, SG/SF, 5,800, D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, 6,600, & Jarrett Allen, C, 5,700.

Caris LeVert – Lock City play.

Game Theory Decision -> The nice thing about Andre Drummond is that he typically sees big minutes. However, all of these minutes are baked into his 9,500 price tag. Drummonds opposing center, Jarret Allen, is 3,800 cheaper than Drum. If Allen can stay out of foul trouble, he will most likely see big minutes, because obviously the nets will need him on the court guarding Drum. I’m highlighting this spot as a potential opportunity cost pivot spot.

Jarrett Allen – GTD Play.



The only injury situation to monitor is Stanley Johnson who is ‘bothered by a toe ailment and missed practice last Saturday’. The nice thing about the Pistons is we tend to see predictable minutes from starters (assuming no foul troubles, of course).

Let’s start with Reggie Jackson. In preseason play, the Pistons were conservative with Reggie’s minutes. He did play 25 minutes against the Cavs, which is promising to see. Ish Smith, Reggie’s back up, was excellent in preseason play. With Reggie’s injury riddled past, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this as a time share spot. At 5,800, & given everything else, I think we can take a wait and see approach on him.

Both Drummond and Griffin are fine safe plays in this matchup against the nets. For Drum to hit gpp value, we really need a 20/20+ game from him. And with Drummond, foul trouble is always a concern. My preferred route on the Pistons side is Reggie Bullock (3,900), especially if Stanley Johnson sits. If Stanley sits, Bullock might be my value lock of the slate. One of them, at least.

Reggie Bullock – Value Lock play.


Bucks @ Hornets +2.5, 217

This total is one we hammered right away when it opened at 217 (One unit bet on the OVERS). The current line sits at 219.5. That is the type of line movement we want to see and especially for DFS from a points & pace perspective. With the line trending in our favor, I will for sure have exposure to this game.

Bucks -> GREEN light to target

BUCKS INJ-> Thon Maker (Questionable)

Milwaukee was a team I loved targeting last year for DFS. They ran a tight rotation and we often saw multiple players hit cash & gpp value consistently (primarily Middleton & Giannis).

Giannis (ABC), SF/PF, 10,900 -> Lock City Play. Last season ABC averaged almost 37mpg & maintained an incredible 1.41/min & high usage rate. He arguably has the safest floor and one of the highest ceilings on this slate at his current price tag.

Khris Middleton, SG/SF, 7,200 -> One of the things I like most about targeting these two players (Khris & ABC) is their predictable minutes upside. The Bucks do have a new coach in Mike Budenholzer, but he would be doing this team a disservice by limiting these two.

Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, 7,100 -> Bledsoe is the other core piece to this team. I love his matchup against Kemba Walker but his price feels just a tad too high.

Game Theory Decisions -> My preference out of this group is; (1) Giannis, (2) Middleton, (3) Bledsoe, with Giannis being far ahead of the other two. I haven’t messed around with builds yet, but if we put Giannis into our lineup, the question to ask yourself is do we run into an opportunity cost situation by rostering another mid-priced player (Giannis/Middleton) from the same team on this massive slate.

GTD Play -> Brook Lopez, C, 4,800 -> In preseason play, the Bucks shot a lot of threes and we know Lopez loves to shoot threes. Here’s what I keep imagining; you have Giannis driving to the bucket, collapsing the defense inside, & there’s Lopez sitting in the corner wide open waiting to make it rain.


Hornets-> GPP Target!

The biggest question mark here is who benefits the most with Howard out. On this point, let’s dive right into our game theory spot.

GTD -> With Howard gone, you would think whoever starts in his spot should be the greatest beneficiary. Last year, when we took Howard OFF the court, we saw Kembas usage spike in a big way. The other problem we have is the Hornets are healthy and could easily implement a timeshare between Miles Bridges, Cody Zeller, & Willy Hernangomez.

Kemba Walker -> GPP Candidate. Given Kemba’s price & matchup, I can’t see too many playing him. Kemba’s splits have always been better at home and with Howard gone, we should see his usage go UP. At 7.6k, I need at least 6x (45.6pts) from him in GPPs. With the massive total on this game, and the fact that we are on the OVER, makes me like Kemba in this spot.

Malik Monk -> Value Candidate. I wouldn’t blame anyone for targeting Jeremy Lamb or Nicolas Batum. But for me, it will most likely be Kemba Walker (in GPPs), possibly Cody Zeller (Value starting C, if we get more information on his minutes), but I’d put Monk slightly ahead of Zeller. Towards the end of the season Monk was seeing around 25 minutes. At 4,200, that is really all we need from Monk, who will be soaking up all the usage in with the 2nd unit.



Grizzlies @ Pacers -6.5, 207 -> A game you can feel comfortable fading on this slate.


Heat @ Magic +2.5, 210.5


HEAT INJ-> OUT->Waiters, James Johnson D-> Justise Winslow, Wayne Ellington


Ha, so when I think about the Heat, we all know who comes to mind. Whiteside, the GOAT (Ha-Ha). Reports indicate that he is now on good terms with his head coach, interpret it however you want. When Whiteside gets minutes, stays out of foul trouble, and has a favorable matchup, he has slate breaking upside. Whether you like it or not, this is a fact.

Game Theory Decision -> Hassan Whiteside. Given what happened last year, I really can’t see him being high owned. However, with James Johnson out, and with an elite big on the opposing team (Nikola Vucevic), Whiteside should see big minutes in this matchup (IF HE CAN STAY OUT OF FOUL TROUBLE). Long story short, if you can stomach it, Whiteside is an elite GPP candidate.

Rodney McGruder (3,800) -> GPP Punt Value. If Winslow & Ellington are confirmed OUT, McGruder should pick up extra minutes in this spot. He looked excellent in preseason play and I love his price tag in this spot.

Magic (no injuries)

The Magic side of this matchup is much easier to break down. Whiteside is excellent at getting blocks but he tends to be lazy on defense. Like Whiteside, Nikola Vucevic also has slate breaking upside. I have very little interest with the other pieces from the Magic in this matchup.

Prediction-> One, or both of the two, will hit OVER 6x fantasy points tonight.



Hawks @ Knicks -3.5, 213.5 -> INJURY SPOT & GPP ONE-OFF SPOT

HAWKS INJ-> John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon, Justin Anderson, Daniel Hamilton OUT

KNICKS INJ-> Porzingis (58g), Mudiay, Isaiah Hicks , D-> Courntey Lee Q-> Lance Thomas



Jeremy Lin -> Value Lock. Lin ISN’T starting, however, he is 4,000 on DraftKings and I believe his minutes will be in the mid 20’s. He makes a fine value play tonight.

Taurean Prince -> One off Cash/GPP Play. By “one off”, I mean he is the only guy you would be taking on this team. Prince has huge upside when his shot is on. His ability to get peripheral stats make him somewhat safe at 6,100.

Alex Len -> Proceed Cautiously. A matchup against Kanter, who is aggressive on the offensive end, could land Len in foul trouble. A guy like him could also break the slate. I won’t be on Len tonight.



Trey Burke, 5,600 -> LOCK CITY. I’m going to be massively overweight Trey Burke tonight. He will for sure make my main team. 5,600 for his talent, matched up against a rookie (Trae Young), we should almost be clicking the “all in” button. With Mudiay OUT and Lee possibly OUT, Burke should get plenty of minutes.

Enes Kanter, 7,200 -> Slate Breaker. Potential overlooked slate breaking spot. I love this matchup against Alex Len. Len is getting talked up (for obvious reasons) but he is also very prone to foul trouble. Kanter feels expensive but when you look at the Knicks and their injury situation, Kanter is going to have to be a force on the offensive end to keep them in the game. Additionally, he isn’t priced too much higher than Tim Hardaway Jr who is incredibly shot dependent.

Kevin Knox, 4,700 -> Knox has a lot of potential and I love his price tag. However, my preference is (1) Trey Burke, (2) Kanter, & (3) Knox.



Cavaliers @ Raptors -12, 214 – Major blowout risk (IMO) -> Okay to fade

Cedi Osman – Fine value play. He should see decent minutes, still not too excited about it.



Pelicans @ Rockets +7.5, 228.5 -> Massive Total Spot -> Blowout risk

PELI INJ-> D-> Wesley Johnson

ROCKETS INJ-> Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, Nene Hilario, Zhou Qi ALL OUT

Pelicans -> GPP One-Off spot

Anthony Davis. This man won me a lot of money last year, so I always have to make sure I check myself in this spot. Brow, obviously, has slate breaking upside on any night. The masses surely will be giving him a look after checking out this total. Honestly, I don’t love THIS spot for him. I definitely respect Clint Capela’s defensive skill set. Yes, Davis will put up a decent number, I’m just not convinced he will pay off his salary.

Elfrid Payton. I’m taking a ‘wait and see approach’ on ELF. ELF is listed at the point guard but it wouldn’t surprise me if Jrue Holiday dominated ball handling duties.

Randle & Mirotic. Yes, this total is massive, but the Pelicans have a lot of mouths to feed. At 6.3k & 6.8k, these guys will need to cut into some of Davis’s usage to hit value.

Jrue Holiday. Jrue would be one guy I might consider targeting, but I don’t feel great about it.

One of these guys could hit value & maybe Brow breaks the slate, who knows. I really like the savings Giannis gives us. ABC > Brow tonight.

Rockets -> GPP One-Off’s

Clint Capela – GPP I want to play Capela. It’s not that I want to attack Anthony Davis down low, I just low the pick and roll game between him and CP3. I’m giving Capela GPP consideration.

Chris Paul – GPP Consideration. DraftKings really priced this game appropriately relative to the total. The total says to play a few of these guys. The problem is if this game doesn’t stay competitive it will be hard to pay off some of these salaries.

James Harden – GPP Pivot. If my memory serves me correct, Harden had a very slow start to his season last year (from a DFS perspective). They were winning games,  fairly easily, and he was putting up decent numbers, but he wasn’t justifying his price.

Game Theory Decision -> In Sum-> This is a huge opportunity cost decision to make. Do we risk much of our salary cap on a few pieces from this game, who are all appropriately priced, or can we find a cheaper player with similar upside.



Nuggets @ Clippers +1, 226

NUGS INJ-> Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter, Jarred Vanderbilt OUT



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