Good morning and welcome to another edition of the FantasyDraft “Core 4”, brought to you by DFSDatalytics.com! I’ll be the first to admit my picks besides Andre Drummond stunk it up last night, so I do apologize! Luckily NBA is a daily sport and we can rebound and hop right back in tonight. We have a night eight-game slate where I’m deciding to fade Russell Westbrook. Crazy! Good luck tonight!
John Wall ($17,200)
As you may know I’m one who likes to pay up for Russell Westbrook. However, I’m leaning towards going an alternative route and saving $6,200 and paying down to John Wall. This is not due to being burned by Westbrook last game where he only had 37.5 FantasyDraft points. This is due to the OKC Thunder being -11.0 favorites against the Philadelphia 76ers tonight. The 76ers are 9-25 on the road this season, but have only won five road games without Joel Embiid. Westbrook may crush as he normally does after a dud, but that has blowout written all over it. John Wall is only $17,200 on FantasyDraft tonight which seems absurd in a home matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. Wall has had back-to-back mediocre games where he has failed to record double-digit assists and has shot 34.6%.
This is such a great bounce back spot for John Wall tonight. I can’t stress that enough! He’s playing at home where he averages 1.8 more PPG and shoots 40.4% from three-point range. On the road, Wall only shoots 19.4% from three-point range! He’s not a prolific long range shooter, but his home/road splits could come in handy tonight as Atlanta is second in most 3PM allowed this season. This also benefits the three-point shooting of Bradley Beal and Otto Porter if you want to pair them with Wall. Pairing players with Wall is a fantastic option as he is second in the entire league in assists with 10.8 APG. The Hawks are also 23rd in DvP vs point guards this season as they have allowed 48.1 FantasyDraft PPG to that position. At home where the Wizards are 27-10 this season, I love the discounted John Wall.
Rudy Gobert ($14,300)
The Utah Jazz enter tonight’s game just a half-game up on the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Utah has not made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season and they have not hosted a playoff series since 2000-01. They have a great chance at accomplishing both this season if they finish strong! Leading the way for the Jazz as of late is Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward. There are not many centers who are playing as well as Gobert as of late. Over his last three games, Gobert has had a double-double in each game. He is averaging 16.3 PPG and 15.3 RPG while also pouring in an average of 50.5 FantasyDraft PPG during that stretch. Gobert’s price has increased lately due to his stellar play, but remains a respectable $14,300. I would be willing to pay up to $16,000 for him tonight!
Utah is currently favored by -10.5, which is the second highest line on the slate tonight. This is a different situation than with OKC as the New York Knicks have only lost by double-digits three times since the All-Star break. They lost by 15 points at Cleveland, 11 points at Milwaukee and 11 points vs Brooklyn. Fearing the blowout should not be a reason you stay clear of Gobert tonight. The Knicks are a fantastic matchup for Gobert as they are allowing 45.2 RPG to their opponents which is the fourth most in the entire league. New York also allows the fifth most points scored in the paint this season, which greatly benefits Gobert as he ranks 23rd in the league in points scored in the paint with 9.4 per game. With how well Gobert is playing lately and how easy this matchup is, he was my first choice tonight.
Andre Drummond ($14,600)
Back-to-back days recommending Andre Drummond? What is happening to me? This is indeed about to happen. If it’s not broke, why fix it right? Drummond comes into this game the same price as he was last night at $14,600 on FantasyDraft. After their two-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets last night, the Detroit Pistons are now one game back of the eighth seeded Miami Heat. With playing their third game in four nights and starting their four-game road trip, the Pistons will need to lean heavily on Drummond tonight. He comes in with great recent form as he’s had three straight games where he has scored 40.0 or more FantasyDraft points. Over that stretch of three games, Drummond also has averaged 13.0 PPG and 19.0 RPG. It’s not too often you find a player who is averaging more rebounds than points lately.
Drummond lucked into facing the Chicago Bulls tonight. Both teams are on a back-to-back as the Bulls lost by two points to the Toronto Raptors last night. Chicago is now one game back of Detroit in the standings so this is a crucial game for both clubs. Chicago is one of the better rebounding teams in the league as they rank third in the entire league in rebounding differential. However, they will be without Robin Lopez and potentially Cristiano Felicio tonight. Lopez was ejected last game for throwing punches at Serge Ibaka and Felicio left last night’s game due to injury and is questionable for tonight. Who on Chicago is going to “attempt” to guard Andre Drummond tonight if those two are ruled out?! Bobby Portis? Joffrey Lauvergne? Sign me up! He is playing great and might get lucked into a dream matchup.
Rajon Rondo ($11,200)
My last pick in the “Core 4” is going to be Rajon Rondo. Some may view this as points-chasing, but this is a pure matchup based decision. Rondo is coming off one of his best games of the season. He played 40 minutes last night in an OT loss to Toronto as he poured in 24 points on 56.3% shooting from the field and 57.1% shooting from behind the arc. He also contributed with eight assists, five rebounds and four steals. I don’t expect Rondo to shoot as well as he did last night, but if Rondo is going to play upwards of 40 minutes, he’s a great play. As I mentioned above, Chicago is only one game back of Detroit and two games back of eighth seeded Miami. They have lost eight of their last 10 games, but remain in striking distance. With Dwyane Wade lost for the season all hopes remain in Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo.
In Rondo’s last game against the Pistons he only played 28 minutes. However, in those 28 minutes he nearly recorded a triple-double as he finished with 10 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds. Wade was also on the floor during that game. Like Drummond, Rondo is the same price as he was last night at $11,200 on FantasyDraft. As I mentioned above this is a great matchup for Rondo tonight. Detroit is ninth in the league in defensive efficiency, but struggle mightily against opposing point guards. They currently rank 22nd in DvP vs point guards allowing 47.6 FantasyDraft PPG this season. Rondo may be more of a tournament play given the floor we have seen from him as well as his upside. Trusting him in cash games is difficult, but with this matchup tonight I wouldn’t’ be afraid of him as a cash game option.
With those four players locked into your rosters, you’ll be left with $10,675/per player remaining to fill out the rest of your lineup. There are many good plays on the slate tonight, but those four stood out to me the most. Good luck with all your contests today!