Pleasantries first… thanks for the great response to last week’s introductory NBA column! I promise to keep the content comin’ for ya.
Today’s slate is headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic and red-hot James Harden. No time to waste; let’s get after it…
NBA DFS Tip of the Week
Each week I’ll remind you of the previous week’s tip; that way by the end of the season you will have a full handbook for current and future success in NBA DFS.
Week 1 Tip: Review ALL injuries first. Every, single one. Don’t make a single lineup until every injury has been digested. This will give you a better comprehension of the proper value plays at different salary levels.
Week 2 Tip: Know your pivots.
If you are taking winning seriously in NBA DFS, you gotta know your pivots, and “KYP”: Know Your Personnel. A pivot is who you turn to when a player is injured; there are pivots at all three levels: superstar, mid-level and sleeper. So how do you get to know your pivots?
Study. Study. Study.
Pull up those game logs. Study the minutes and playing time distributions. Create spreadsheets; I know plenty of guys and gals who create custom-made algorithms and projection models. You gotta know, when D’Angelo Russell is out, Jordan McLaughlin is gettin’ extra minutes off that Wolves’ bench. Markelle Fultz, Evan Fournier and Cole Anthony are out for the Magic? You better be lookin’ at “MCW” Michael Carter-Williams and Dwayne Bacon.
You get the idea. Know the proper chess moves when a player goes down.
Key Injuries: February 21, 2021
Kevin Durant, PF/C, Nets (Hamstring, Out): I think you gotta play James Harden every time KD misses a game. “The Beard” is one of those daily triple-double threats, and his usage is through the roof while KD is sitting. Kyrie gets plenty of shots, but I like Harden much better for DFS and general fantasy, due to the all-around threat. Guys like Joe Harris, Bruce Brown and Jeff Green pick up touches, as well.
Jrue Holiday, PG, Bucks (COVID protocols, Out): “The Greek Freak” is always a monster, but he’s even better while Holiday is out. As opposed to sharing with both Holiday and Middleton, Giannis only has to share with the latter in these situations. It’s a very simple formula: more touches for Giannis = a monster DFS performance.
Andre Drummond, C, Cavs (Benched, Out): Drummond is a fantasy monster when he’s on full blast, but he’s going to be out of Cleveland relatively soon. He may even end up with my Nets. In the meantime, the Cavs are sitting him, protecting the investment for his future team and getting longer looks at Jarrett Allen and Cedi Osman in their young frontcourt.
Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors (Ankle, Doubtful): This one is always a headache – where do we go from here? So many options when Lowry is out for Toronto: Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. I’ll be honest with ya, I don’t have a crystal ball: 1 or 2 of those guys will definitely hit. I personally tend to favor Siakam and Powell.
Aaron Gordon, PG/SF, Magic (Ankle, Out): Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier obviously become the leaders of this team. Aforementioned “MCW” and Bacon are in the mix as well. Al-Farouq Aminu is starting to pick up some sneaky minutes for Orlando…
Delon Wright, PG, Pistons (Groin, Doubtful): This is a juicy one. Detroit recently dealt Derrick Rose to the Knicks, so Delon has been handling the vast majority of ballhandling duties. They don’t have much in the way of playmaking in their backcourt. Wayne Ellington gets some minutes at SG, and you gotta look out for sleepers like Svi Mykhailiuk, Dennis Smith and Saben Lee. There’s gonna be some sneaky value somewhere in here.
Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, Kings (Foot, Questionable-Doubtful): Center Richaun Holmes is in the same boat here for the Kings. Minutes are opened up for Nemanja Bjelica and Cory Joseph. The obvious guys are De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. There’s gonna be a “hit” in here.
Frascella’s DFS Plays of the Day
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF/C, Bucks: Again, no Holiday.
James Harden, PG, Nets: Again, no Durant.
Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic: Gordon is out and that Detroit D certainly doesn’t scare me.
Norman Powell, SG/SF, Raptors: Gotta pick one of those Toronto guys with Lowry out.
Mason Plumlee, C, Pistons: Can be a sneaky playmaking big. Detroit needs help in this department without Delon.
Jarrett Allen, C, Cavs: “The Fro” can do some serious damage while Drummond is sitting on the sidelines.
Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Pistons: Somebody has to pick up Wright’s usage.
Cory Joseph, PG/SG, Kings: Played 36 minutes last game and accomplished nothing. He’ll bounce back with better production.
Facundo Campazzo, PG/SG, Nuggets: Has been playing very well since Denver opened up more minutes for him. Plays smart, with aggression.
I hope you hit it big today!
John Frascella is a published sports author and fantasy sports analyst with over two decades of experience, and will be contributing frequent DFS columns to Aaron Torres Online. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy sports.