Welcome to the NBA DFS Triple Threat here at Paydirt! This is going to be a daily article aimed at giving thoughts and notes on three important aspects of the NBA DFS slate. We will talk through the most popular player on the slate, a great value play, and a situation you need to monitor to find success. This article is best used with the projections models here at Paydirt (Found here), but it will still be valuable even as a one off piece of content. While the focus is on Draftkings, the content is applicable to Fanduel as well. Costs, Projections, and finishing percentiles format will be Draftkings/Fanduel.
- De’Anthony Melton is continuing to start for the Sixers in Harden’s absence, and is likely still underpriced for the increase in minutes he has been receiving. On a night where pricing is actually pretty efficient, the field will flock to Melton for value on tonight’s short slate.
- The Hornets remain without Lamelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, and one of the main beneficiaries has been Dennis Smith Jr. Even in Rozier’s return, Smith Jr. is acting as the Hornets point guard and has the ability to meet value on his salary through a variety of different ways. This makes him a good value play on tonight’s slate.
- Maxi Kleber saw 33 minutes last game for the Mavs with Christian Wood sidelined due to injury. On a short 4 game slate like we have tonight, 33 minutes at $3,400 is awfully tempting. However, remember the importance of rostering players that can actually score points when deciding whether or not to play Maxi Kleber tonight.
Depending on the size of the slate, there may be multiple situations, value plays, and popular options that you need to consider. Join the Paydirt discord with this link for more updates and game theory on all the slates details: https://discord.gg/mQ6u5dfawF
Aside from Dallas, every team on tonight's short slate is a mostly neutral FPPM matchup. Washington, Miami, Portland, and Philadelphia all give slight negative FPPM boosts to opponents. On the other hand, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Charlotte all give slight positive FPPM boosts to opponents. Dallas is a very good defensive team, and the Wizards ownership should reflect that even in Beal's continued absence.
Popular DFS Play: De'Anthony Melton
De' Anthony Melton has now had back to back starts in the absence of James Harden. In his first start, Embiid was also out, but Melton crushed his $4,400 salary with 39.8 Draftkings points. Embiid returned on Monday, and Melton drew another start, but only put up 23.8 Draftkings points in 34 minutes. There is essentially no meaningful sample size on what Melton’s role will be without Harden but with Embiid. However, Melton is starting, playing a lot of minutes, and due for some regression in the shooting department. Expect him to be very popular on tonight’s slate.
DFS Value Play: Dennis Smith Jr.
Dennis Smith Jr. is continuing to start for the Hornets in the absences of Lamelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, and he’s been effective. Even in Rozier’s return, Smith Jr. has essentially 5x’d his salary in back to back games. Despite a stat line of 13-2-4 last game, Smith Jr. recorded 4 steals to meet value. The game before that he only scored 3 points, but he recorded 10 assists and still met value. Given Smith Jr.’s ability to accumulate points in a multitude of ways, he projects as a solid value play on tonight’s slate.
Player to avoid in DFS: Maxi Kleber
Christian Wood's absence has opened the door back up for Maxi Kleber to receive big minutes in the Mavs rotation. Despite not starting last game in Wood’s absence, Kleber still ended up receiving 33 minutes of action. 33 minutes at $3,400 on a 4 game slate? Sounds like a dream! The problem here is that Maxi Kleber doesn’t exactly do… well anything. Despite a season high in minutes, Kleber still only finished with 14.8 Draftkings points. Despite the field’s overwhelming interest in Kleber tonight due to his price tag, I personally prefer rostering players that actually score points.
NBA DFS final thoughts
Draftkings has done a relatively good job in pricing players tonight. Despite this being a short slate, there are studs to pay for, like Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid. However, there are very few value options to choose from, and the field is likely to go with a more balanced build tonight.
If you can find the value to do so (I don’t suggest Maxi Kleber), it may be beneficial to opt for a more stars and scrubs build that rosters the highest upside players on the slate at somewhat deflated ownership.
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