NBA DFS Lineup Advice: The Golden Nuggets (January 31)

Welp, after a string of NBA DFS lineup advice smashes, yesterday was one big swing-and-a-miss due to Joel Embiid’s massive dud. He didn’t look right from the get-go, but getting him at sub-15% I still feel was the move on that slate, as even his typical floor this season should have been good for a 60-spot and the highest raw fantasy score of the night.

If I had known he was that dinged up, of course I don’t pull the trigger on that play, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. After all, the goal of this article — and my personal NBA DFS play in general — is to have the best process possible each and every day, and I still feel like yesterday was more of a bad break than a mistake. I think.

NBA DFS Lineup Advice and More 

Anyways, we turn our attention to today’s nine-game main slate which chops off the Bucks/Blazers late-night hammer (that would have been useful last night!). The very obvious mega-chalk spot comes by way of the Dallas Mavericks playing without Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Dereck Lively II, Derrick Jones Jr., and Dante Exum.

That’ll push Jaden Hardy, Tim Hardaway Jr., and many other Mavericks to the top of the board, negative leverage be damned. But that’s so obvious and dependent on who the Mavericks actually roll out as starters that it’s not a great use of our time to dig too much into that right now. Just know you’re probably playing a lot of Mavericks tonight even against a stringent Timberwolves defense and move along.

One bombshell that dropped this afternoon that is worth discussing, however, would be the Denver Nuggets. Nikola Jokic was ruled out ahead of their road matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it cannot be emphasized enough how good of a spot this is from a fantasy perspective for the remaining Nuggets. The Thunder are 8th in pace this season and despite ranking 5th in adjusted defensive rating, will be playing without their best wing defender in Jalen Williams.

Now, Jokic has only missed a single game this entire season — 11/27 vs. the Clippers — and Jamal Murray plus Aaron Gordon also sat out in that unexpected road win. Here’s the box score from that outing via PopcornMachine.net:

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Michael Porter Jr. played as bad as humanly possible, and yet the Nuggets still pulled off the upset due to massive Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Jordan outings against their former teams. Still, the point of the illustration above is to demonstrate that 35-year-old DeAndre Jordan is actually capable of 30-plus minutes tonight if necessary, making him a fantastic center option with his 1.05 DraftKings points per minute at just $4,000 on DraftKings. And obviously if he doesn’t start for whatever reason, pretty easy to pull the plug on that play in a heartbeat.

But let’s dive into three players in Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr. who are bound pull the most ownership when the dust settles in this spot. Starting with Murray: only 216 minutes for him without Jokic on the floor this season, but the usage is predictably high at 29.7% and the assist rate skyrockets to 37.7% from 29.6% he averages under all situations. With that as his baseline, he’s predictably the highest-priority option for me from this team, and perhaps my highest-priority play of the entire night.

But Gordon vs. Porter Jr. is a far more intriguing discussion. Let’s pull up the usage for each without Jokic on the floor this year by way of NBA Wowy at AddMoreFunds.com:

Predictably, Porter Jr. has been the more willing shooter absent Jokic, and the slightly better rebounder as well for what it’s worth. But just take a look at the assist rates with Jokic off the floor in the far right column:

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31.1% for Gordon, 8.2% for Porter Jr.! That is a massive discrepancy in a super-small sample size, but it plays into my priors regarding the two that Porter Jr. will be the more scoring dependent of the two. I see a case where I simply load up on both, but if playing one lineup and ownership is going to come in close to identical for the two, give me Gordon for $300 cheaper at $5,400 despite the PF only eligibility.

Last piece I think really requires a discussion is Peyton Watson. Sure, Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are each viable as well, but Watson at $3,500 on DraftKings could really be a game-changer on this slate. There’s scenarios where I could see him playing north of 24 minutes in close games and blowouts, and I think his defensive skill-set and versatility might fit this game environment better than that of DeAndre Jordan in a small-ball lineup. If the ownership stays as low as I’m anticipating (anything sub-10% would do), I anticipate I’ll be well overweight to him and hope the Nuggets don’t dust of Zeke Nnaji for enough minutes as the back-up five to matter.

NUKE OF THE NIGHT

So many spots to turn on this nine-game slate with really solid value, and yet I continue to go back to the Pelicans as potential pieces to be overweight to. They finally played in a competitive game environment against the Celtics last time out, and yet the prices have stayed the same or declined on every single player. And now Zion Williamson was downgraded to questionable, which leads me to thinking both Brandon Ingram at $7,500 and CJ McCollum at $6,900 on DraftKings have serious co-nuke potential this evening.

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Hopefully our NBA DFS lineup advice proves fruitful, as the game theory matters as much as the decisions made.

Eric Lindquist
Eric Lindquist hails from Sioux Falls, South Dakota (yes, that’s the one with Mount Rushmore). A steady diet of three SportsCenters a day at an early age led to his obsession with sports, one that 30 years later is paying dividends for him as a successful DFS player and sports bettor. Despite over half a million dollars in net career earnings, he’s most passionate about helping others achieve their financial goals, an energy you can witness on the daily in his current role as a host and analyst at Stokastic. He’s a former Division I golfer at Iowa State, wishes he was a former Minnesota sports fan, and is a proud father to a 100-pound Bernese Mountain dog named Duke that wishes he could just eat people food instead of the crap he and his wife feed him on the daily.

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