We’ve only got one game tonight, one with a pretty substantial blowout risk according to Vegas, but have no fear: You’re in good hands with the Showdown Game kid who finished in first just two days ago. Maybe we’ll find a route to avoid splitting 1st place with a thousand other folks this time! Dare to dream!
For a night like tonight with only one NBA game featuring a gaudy prize up top, Awesemo’s rankings and in particular ownership projections can make or break your lineups tonight. Both of those will be up on the Awesemo.com homepage later today and I would encourage you to check the ownership projections and use that to calculate the “ownership product” to estimate how many other players have the same lineup as you. Here’s how you do it:
If each player in your DraftKings lineup is projected at 50% ownership the “ownership product” of your lineup would be 0.5^6 = 1.6%. This means that in a tournament with 41,176 people like DraftKings’ “Big Jam” tonight, you can expect 1.6% of entries, or approximately 658 entries, to have the exact same lineup. If the results indicate that a significant amount of people would have your lineup, let’s say more than 1 out of 3000 in the DraftKings tournament today for example, it may be logical to try to find a lower owned pivot somewhere in your entry to help you avoid “winning” a tournament while being tied with 100+ other people. Sometimes you can’t avoid that since there are only so many options when picking from just two teams utilizing shortened benches for the playoffs…but with a chance of a blowout, there may be hope for some variety and lower owned pivots. Let’s dig into the slate and figure it out.
Utah Jazz (97 implied points, -12.8 on their last 10 games) at Houston Rockets (108 implied points, +4.7 on their last 10 games)
The Jazz are quite frankly not anywhere near as good of a team without my NBA doppleganger Ricky Rubio and that sucks because I believe this series would have been much more competitive with him active, healthy, and playing up to the level he’s shown for significant portions this year. Rubio is slated to be out at least one more game but keep an eye on news closer to lock; he would pack a degree of risk given how many times this hamstring issue has sidelined him after being ruled in but his upside if he were to be ruled in would be hard to ignore. With Rubio out, one would think Donovan Mitchell would be a shoo-in for value but he submitted his worst playoff game yet versus Houston. There’s no risk of him shooting much less than the 9-for-22 he put up in Game 1 and if a few shots fall he can definitely hit value. But Mitchell has generally played better per 36 minutes with Rubio on the court than off so I’m not as crazy about him as others may be. I am crazy for Jae Crowder though since he was really the only one bringing the fight to the Rockets last game, much like he did for a lot of the Thunder series. Crowder’s a dawg and if they’re going to get any momentum going I truly believe he’ll be a part of it. Joe Ingles was solid in Game 1 and he picks up some playmaking slack without Rubio. I’m fine with him tonight. I’m less fine with Derrick Favors given how poorly he matched up with Houston’s floor spacing in Game 1 and yielded minutes to both Crowder and Alec Burks. There could be a bit of a dead cat bounce for Favors tonight similar to his Game 2 in OKC where he knows he’s playing for minutes and does everything he can to play better but he NEEDS to start hot or he’ll ride the pine. Royce O’Neale typically starts with Rubio out and he looks fine to me at a perfectly acceptable price. I was sort of baffled Alec Burks only got 17 minutes of run and actually ceded some minutes to Dante Exum given how much better Burks looked. Burks will give you some good minutes tonight while saving some salary. Exum posted a 30% usage rate in his 15 minutes, in line with what he usually does when he sees the court, and he did very little with it. He’s at a very playable value price and while I wouldn’t go nuts on ownership of him, he can be a good cheap pivot to help you afford the James Hardens and Chris Pauls of the world. Rudy Gobert has not played well versus Houston but they desperately need him to chip in some offense and more defense tonight. In my view, either Gobert or Favors will respond capably tonight and I’m slightly more inclined to look Gobert’s way in a winnable matchup versus Clint Capela. I’d consider Jonas Jerebko in a blowout build but other than that, I think we’ve covered all of the useful Jazz here.
Obviously you’re going to have to consider James Harden and Chris Paul since they’re the guys with the best floors and ceilings on this one-game slate. I have no issue with either and I imagine owning both will be a popular approach tonight, though I think Chris Paul has more upside relative to his price. Clint Capela was great in Game 1 and I imagine he’ll draw a whole lot of ownership again tonight. I see the potential but I do feel like the Jazz will find an adjustment to limit him a bit in a way they won’t really be able to limit Paul and Harden. Eric Gordon gets shots but has been mostly bad these playoffs. You should have some of him but he’s not a player to bank on. Trevor Ariza was just a body on the floor last game but I think there’s some logic to looking his way as a means to pivot off of PJ Tucker, a player I think will draw a lot of ownership as a cheap play due to his recent success. Ariza is a Swiss army knife player who can get some different stats and if there is defensive attention dedicate to keeping Capela off the boards, Ariza would be a beneficiary. Luc Mbah A Moute seems like a fine play to me, better than Ryan Anderson since the Rockets need Luc’s defense more than Anderson’s inconsistent scoring. Gerald Green is only a blowout build guy to me and even then it’s got to be like a 30 point difference to get him on the floor given how the Rockets kept Harden on the court until the last minute of the game with an 18 point lead. Nene Hilario is the last guy to consider on this side as a pivot if the Jazz can get Capela into foul trouble.
Boom another one-game slate in the books. Check back later today for Awesemo’s rankings and ownership projections, tune into Josh Engleman and me live before lock today at 6PM Eastern, follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags, and I’ll see you guys tomorrow for another two-game slate (hooray!).