We have a mini 2-game NBA slate over on DraftKings tonight, as we inch closer to the midway point of the NBA regular season. Last night’s 12-game slate included a lot of injury news and tough line-up decisions prior to lock, so it will be nice to (hopefully) have the complete opposite of that tonight.
Despite a lack of games, the slate is still interesting, as we have 4 offenses that rank inside the top 14 in the league in offensive rating along with a load of superstars. Identifying great value is going to be imperative in building a winning line-up tonight so I am going to identify my two favorite plays, regardless of price, at each position and then a few value plays that can help round out our line-ups.
Russell Westbrook (OKC): $11,300 at LAC
Despite being on the second half of a back-to-back and facing a difficult match-up, Westbrook still grades out as the top overall play on tonight’s slate. Westbrook has averaged 63.5 DraftKings points per game over the past 11 contests and has a 34% usage rate on the season, which is second in the league behind James Harden. Now there are a few things working against him, as the Clippers have given up the 2nd fewest DraftKings points to point guards and Milos Teodosic is ranked 5th out of 94 point guardsin defensive real plus-minus (DRPM). On a larger slate a fade could be viable but with only two games on tap the risk is far too great.
Klay Thompson (GSW): $6,100 at HOU
After underperforming for the large majority of Stephen Curry‘s absence, Thompson has been emerging over the past three games while averaging 35 DraftKings points and 19.3 shots per game. The Rockets have struggled to defend the shooting guard position all season (22nd in DraftKings points per game) and Eric Gordon is a notoriously bad defender, ranking 88th out of 104 shooting guards in DRPM. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry should both be popular targets tonight but for a few thousand less, Klay Thompson should be a nice source of production at a reasonable price tag.
Gerald Green (HOU): $4,000 vs. GSW
With James Harden injured, Gerald Green is emerging as a surprising source of production for the Rockets and a solid value play over the past week. Over the past three games, Green has averaged 28.6 DraftKings points and 25 minutes per game, including a 41 DK point outing last night. The Warriors are tough defensively and rank 7th in DraftKings points allowed to shooting guards but this game features the 7th and 8th fastest-paced teams in the NBA. As long as Harden is out, Green’s minutes will be safe and he should be viewed as the top value play on tonight’s two-game slate.
Blake Griffin (LAC): $8,200 vs. OKC
In three games with Blake Griffin back in the line-up, the Clippers are 3-0 and averaging 113.3 points per game. Analysis: this guy is pretty good. In all seriousness, Griffin and his 30.1% usage rate have given a much-needed boost to the Clippers offense. Minutes and form were a concern after Griffin’s knee injury but he has averaged 33.7 minutes and put up 42.6 DraftKings points per game. He should be able to easily exploit Carmelo Anthony‘s defense which ranks 78th out of 96 power forwards in DRPM. In a home game, featuring a 213 total and a pick-em spread, Griffin should continue to dominate.
Paul George (OKC): $7,000 at LAC
In a strange pricing algorithm move, Paul George has seen his price decrease by $600 despite averaging 42.6 DraftKings points per game over the past 6 contests. The Clippers are not strong at defending the wing positions and have given up the 9th most DraftKings points to small forwards. Additionally, Clippers’ forwards are ranked 20th in turnover percentage on the offensive end and Paul George is ranked 1st in the league in steals at 2.4 per game. In a game that has a 213 total and should remain competitive throughout, George has a ton of upside at a more than fair price-tag.
Trevor Ariza (HOU): $5,300 vs. GSW
Ariza under-performed against the Magic last night but he is a nice rebound candidate against the Warriors tonight. Despite having the 1st overall defensive efficiency rating in the NBA, the Warriors have given up the 6th most DraftKings points to opposing small forwards. In the past two back-to-back sets, Ariza has averaged 36.9 minutes per game so limited minutes should not be a concern in tonight’s game. He should continue to see all the minutes he can handle in tonight’s match-up against the Rockets.
Draymond Green (GSW): $6,600 at HOU
At a price tag under $7,000, Draymond Green is one of top points/$ plays tonight. Green was priced at $7,900 less than a week ago but Curry’s return and an ejection after 10 minutes two games ago have led to a $1,300 decrease in price. In a game that features two offenses ranked within the top 8 in the NBA in pace, Zaza Pachulia should be limited and Green should have a ton of rebound and assist upside in a point-center role. The Rockets are ranked 25th and 28th in DraftKings points allowed to power forwards and centers respectively, so Green will have a plus match-up regardless of where he lines up.
DeAndre Jordan (LAC): $6,700 vs. OKC
For a two-game slate, there are actually a decent amount of PF/C options which could mean a lower ownership percentage on DeAndre Jordan. Since Blake Griffin‘s return, Jordan’s salary has steadily dropped from the high-$7,000 range even though he is averaging 31.1 DraftKings points per game and had to face Marc Gasol and Dwight Howard in that stretch. He’s a not a core play for me but Jordan does carry some appeal in a two-game slate against Steven Adams, an overrated defender who is ranked 56thout of 74 centers in DRPM.
David West (GSW): $3,600 at HOU
There are not many options at the bottom of the PF/C position tonight, but David West could be sneaky as a dirt-cheap value play. West has been in solid form, averaging 20.2 DraftKings points in 15.5 minutes per game over the past 3 contests. As mentioned previously, the Rockets defense is ranked 25th and 28th in DraftKings points allowed to power forwards and centers. Obviously, in 13-15 minutes of action, we need David West to be extremely efficient to exceed value and he is only in consideration since this is a two-game slate.