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Dallas Mavericks @ Charlotte Hornets
Vegas: Hornets -11, O/U: 194
The Hornets are 12th in pace with the Mavericks stuck back in 29th. The Hornets are 13th in scoring and the Mavericks are dead last in the league. Charlotte also allows the twelfth fewest points, two behind the Mavericks who do not allow a ton of points because of their slow pace. This is not the greatest spot to target for fantasy.
I am actually intrigued by the Mavericks today and I have not said that much all season. They have a few viable options, especially on DraftKings where the prices are criminally cheap. Deron Williams is back in the lineup. After watching Seth Curry go down with a knee injury in last night’s game, I think we will see more minutes for Williams today. He is only $4000 on DK, so he can easily pay that off.
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Sacramento Kings @ Philadelphia 76ers
Vegas: Kings -5, O/U: 206
Philly is the 12th paced team in the NBA with Sacramento back in 23rd. Sacramento is 18th for scoring with Philly back in 26th. They are one of the most inefficient teams on offense in the NBA. Both teams are suspect on defense with Sacramento giving up the tenth most points and Philly the fifth most.
For Philly, today is a Joel Embiid day. The big man is going to play today and we need to “Trust the Process.” When Embiid plays, he puts up numbers. He has been in play all season. His price is creeping up, but is still not expensive. He is still on a minutes limit, but he has been returning 30-40 fantasy points anyway, so the price is right. The other guy I am high on here is Sergio Rodriguez.
There aren’t really enough “good” plays for a cheat sheet today, so just sticking to the rundown. I could have diluted it with some “OK” plays, but it would have been impossible to differentiate, so it’s better to just talk it out here and on the live show with Thad.
Chris Paul -- I will say that this isn’t where I’d start my cash games. We’ll get to where to spend up in cash games later in this article, but Paul is an incredible GPP play. Brooklyn has been the opponent that has led to the most big fantasy games by players this season (I spent the time looking). Paul’s fantasy point per minute production has been at a career high level this year, so it’s always just a matter of the game staying close. That’s certainly in question tonight, but the Clippers don’t look as dominant as they were earlier in the season.
Vegas: Hornets -2.5, O/U: 200
Charlotte is middle of the pack for pace and Detroit is one of the slower teams in the league, ranked 26th overall for pace. Charlotte is 11th for scoring while Detroit is back in 25th. Detroit has the second lowest scoring average defense in the league and Charlotte is 11th, so both teams are solid on that end of the floor. Charlotte is on the tail end of a back-to-back as well, which has to factor into the analysis.
For the Hornets, I am not thrilled with paying up for Kemba today, but he does play much better at home. On the tail end of a back-to-back, I do not want to pay up for him against a slow paced and solid defense.
Goran Dragic -- If this guy is cleared to play today, I’m willing to make him one of my top GPP plays. I didn’t include him in the Cheat Sheet because he’s listed as questionable and didn’t want to recommend him without explanation. The injury status should scare people away, lowering his ownership. It’s an elbow injury that has been described as something that impacts his ability to “pass, shoot, and dribble”, which is certainly a concern (especially considering his game log of 22 minutes going 1-7 in his last game), but the upside is there in a paced-up matchup against the Celtics. Very high risk, high reward play here. The reason you consider it is because if he was healthy in this matchup at this price, he’d have 5x the ownership.
Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards
Vegas: Wizards -5, O/U: 212
Last year these were two of the faster paced teams in the NBA. This year they are 18th and 23rd for pace. They were also two of the higher scoring teams, but this year they are 16th and 22nd. Sacramento allows the 9th most points to opponents and Washington is 13th, so neither team is playing all that well on the defensive end either.
For Sacramento, they are on the tail end of a back-to-back. I like the way Rudy Gay has been playing this year. His numbers are up across the board and he seems to be one of the guys thriving in the new slower paced system. DeMarcus Cousins is always going to get his. T