NBA Plays of the Day – 12/28

  1. Plays are based on stats, opposition, and pricing.
  2. FanDuel and DraftKings prices listed respectively.
  3. Averaged 17-18 Season stats after player’s names.

• Point Guard

Damian Lillard – 25/6/5 [ $8,800 / $8,400 ] After missing the last 2 contests with a hamstring injury, Damian Lillard is expected to be back for tonight’s game against Philadelphia, and doesn’t appear to be on any restrictions. While the Sixers place as the 7th ranked defense in the league, owning a 103.7 team defensive rating, they’ve been susceptible to opposing guards, to which Lillard proved in the first meeting, dropping 30 points in 36 minutes of action. He may be a risky play, but he does have upside.

Eric Bledsoe – 18/4/3 [ $7,600 / $7,100 ] Eric Bledsoe continues to be a steady factor in the Bucks system, as he has scored 22+ points in 3 of his last 4 matches, while shooting consistently and playing solid minutes. Against the Timberwolves, Bledsoe should have little to no resistance, as their team defense as fallen to the bottom tier, ranking 25th in the league with 108.0 team defense. Minnesota could also be without Jeff Teague, who was injured versus the Nuggets, which would play beneficial to him.

Ish Smith – 8/3/2 [ $5,500 / $4,900 ] With Reggie Jackson sidelined for the next 6 – 8 weeks, Ish Smith figures to slide into the starting lineup, and will likely no longer have to split heavy minutes with another point guard. His individual matchup, Elfrid Payton, is a woeful defender, possessing a dreadful 113.8 defensive rating, which should be an easily exploitable spot. Smith has flashed his fantasy output earlier in the season, and at his low price, he is certainly worth rostering to free salary up elsewhere.

• Shooting Guard

James Harden – 32/9/5 [ $12,500 / $11,400 ] James Harden has played like a madman over his last 3 games, posting absurd 68.1, 68.8, and 67.6 FanDuel point efforts, respectively, which also included back to back 51 real point outings. Although the Boston Celtics have been a defensive juggernaut this season, and rank 2nd in team defense, holding a 100.9 team defensive rating, I just don’t think anyone can stop Harden. With Clint Capela and possibly Chris Paul out, things get difficult, but will boost his usage.

Khris Middleton – 20/4/5 [ $7,500 / $7,500 ] Last game, against the Chicago Bulls was the first time in the past 11 games that Khris Middleton has failed to reach at least 32.5+ FanDuel points. Tonight’s meeting with the Timberwolves is a bounce back situation, as Middleton could see Wiggins, who stands with a subpar 106.8 defensive rating, and remains at a reasonable price, allowing him to manageably hit value at his current trend. Milwaukee is implied to score a total of 108 points – a slate high.

CJ McCollum – 20/2/4 [ $7,100 / $7,000 ] CJ McCollum probably won’t be one of the more popular choices, but if he does garner attention it’ll be because of his matchup, as the 76ers continue to struggle against the backcourt. With Lillard back, things should go a bit smoother for McCollum, although he did perform well versus the Lakers, putting up 17/3/5 with a block and 2 steals in his 35 minutes. While he hasn’t been a very safe option most the season, he has positives in play time and opponent.

• Small Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo – 29/4/10 [ $11,900 / $10,900 ] Giannis has been the driving point for the Bucks all season and tonight’s contest against the Timberwolves looks tough, as he will likely see Jimmy Butler defense, but, for the better part of the season, Minnesota has struggled against opposing small forwards. ABC is under 12k and 11k, on both sites, and has plenty of upside in a close game. I don’t think, by any means, that he is a must play, however, his discounted price is definitely intriguing.

Robert Covington – 14/1/6 [ $6,400 / $5,900 ] Although Robert Covington hasn’t scored in double figures now in consecutive outings, his all around game provides a safety. Covington has secure minutes of around 30+ per game, and is more than capable of racking up production on the defensive end, while contributing in the offense. Portland has been a tough team all year, but he did play decently well versus them earlier in the season, nearly recording a double double with 9/10/3 in 33 minutes played.

Jonathan Simmons – 15/2/3 [ $5,800 / $6,400 ] Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon are both once again game time decisions for tonight, and if they’re ultimately held out, or limited, Jonathan Simmons could see extended run and a bump in usage. After a bit of a rocky 4 game stretch, putting up duds in 3 of those, Simmons’ price on FanDuel gets checked down, providing plenty of extra wiggle room, while still getting his solid play. Either way, he is still in play, as Detroit has struggled against small forwards.

• Power Forward

Ben Simmons – 16/7/8 [ $9,000 / $8,700 ] Simply put, Ben Simmons has been a disappointment over his 3 last matches, however, he’s the type of player that can do it all, especially with his LeBron-esque play style. His price is just way too low, even with his recent performances, and in the previous meeting with the Trailblazers, Simmons put up 16/9/8 with 2 blocks and 3 steals. For someone who ranks as the 2nd leading small forward in rebounds and assists, it’s very hard to fade him for some poor outings.

Taj Gibson – 11/8 [ $5,500 / $5,700 ] In his last 2 games, Taj Gibson has played 34+ minutes, and scored 20+ points, while accumulating a total of 13 rebounds. Tonight’s matchup with the Bucks is a great spot to continue his hot play, as Milwaukee ranks 28th in rebounding percentage, and only grabs an average of 31.1 of them per game. Gibson has recorded 30.8+ FanDuel points in that span, and figures to do the same here against a team who hasn’t contained, or rebounded effectively all season.

John Henson – 7/6/1 [ $5,200 / $4,800 ] Like Taj Gibson, John Henson receives the benefit of playing a team who has struggled to collect rebounds in an effective manner, as Minnesota ranks 25th in defensive rebounding percentage. Henson also gets the luxury of going up against Karl-Anthony Towns defense, as he owns an awful 108.0 defensive rating on the year. The Timberwolves have also given up an average of 45.5 points in the paint per game to opponents, which ranks 23rd in the league.

• Center

Karl-Anthony Towns – 20/11/1 [ $10,000 / $8,900 ] Karl-Anthony Towns has been solid over his last 4 games, putting up 47.6+ FanDuel points in 3 of them, along with double doubles in all 4 outings. Towns’ defensive production has also been up in those matches, as he has achieved 10 blocks and 5 steals in them. As mentioned above, both of these teams have weaknesses on the inside, and particularly on the boards, but if I were to bet on anyone being able to exploit this area, it would have to be KAT.

Andre Drummond – 14/14/1 [ $9,500 / $9,400 ] After struggling in the last meeting with the Orlando Magic, Andre Drummond will get the chance to redeem himself, but will have to do so versus Bismack Biyombo, as Nikola Vucevic is out indefinitely. While this shouldn’t change much, as Drummond is a double double machine, and Biyombo has a defensive rating of 107.0, Vucevic would’ve been a nicer target. This game should stay at least somewhat competitive, and if so, he’d be in line to crush.

Al Horford – 13/7/1 [ $7,100 / $7,100 ] Al Horford is probably the least sexy play of the 3 centers mentioned, but with opposing center Clint Capela out, things do get much easier for him, on both ends of the floor. Horford has the ability to stuff the stat sheet and this game should be a close one, as both the Celtics and Rockets have been anchors on the defensive front, just about all season long. Unlike the other 2, he’s a much cheaper option, and has fantastic upside if this game remains competitive at all.

Extras: Irving, Redick, Butler, Aldridge, Embiid.

* Bismack Biyombo remains a solid play, tonight.

* Jeff Teague out indefinitely, opens up Tyus Jones.

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