10 Things to Know About the NBA Restart for DFS
The 2020 NBA Season begins this Thursday as the COVID Restart will bring huge DFS contests. The schedule will likely see a mixture of full-day contests that demand paying attention to late swap and single-game Showdown contests. With the schedule change, we won’t be producing the same daily content that we offered during the regular season, but we will make sure you are set up to compete on DraftKings and Fanduel.
Regardless of what slates you are playing, DailyRoto will have you covered in our NBA Optimizer with minutes and rate adjustments, projection edits, and lineup alerts for all games regardless of the start time. Leverage the late swap functionality in our optimizer to maintain an edge over the more casual players who will set their lineups and not look back.
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Here are some important things to know about the restart:
Minutes are going to get a little crazy
Players have opted out of the restart and guaranteed playoff teams have no reason to push their players early-on so minutes should expected to be all over the place. Typically, on the DailyRoto optimizer, there are multiple players being projected for 37-plus minutes a night on teams with coaches who are willing to run their starters into the ground. Due to the long layoff, the top player in minute projections is currently 35, which may even prove to be optimistic.
Part of the same conversation is the fact that game stacks are going to be the optimal play in tournaments most nights because if any game gets out of hand then the coaches are going to be extra cautious with minutes. Any game that remains competitive will see the starter minutes stretched so there should be an additional five-plus minutes for starters in competitive games versus non-competitive games. Focusing on the competitive game environments where both teams will be willing to play their starters well into the fourth quarter will be the most conducive setup to fantasy production.
Bradley Beal is not with the Wizards
Unfortunately for the Wizards, their players chose to return, and the team virtually has no chance to be competitive without Bradley Beal (WAS) and Davis Bertans (WAS) in rotation. Sans Beal in rotation, the two team leaders in minutes had been Jordan McRae (DET) and Troy Brown Jr. (WAS) but McRae is no longer with the team and their minutes were so heavy because the team’s depth was crushed at that point. We at DailyRoto are projecting a 10-man rotation from the get-go of the restart with eight different players projected at over 20-minutes. The only player projected to play minutes into the 30s is Rui Hachimura (WAS) who was often the guy later in the season giving Bradley Beal (WAS) a run for his money as team minute leader from game-to-game. While no Beal feels like it should end up being a fantasy bonanza for one other player, it Is more likely the production gets spread out, and this situation is not as pretty as fantasy players would prefer it to be.
Lou Williams is quarantining after allegedly enjoying a meal at a Gentlemen’s Club
Who does not enjoy a fried chicken platter from their local strip club from time to time? Oh, most of you do not? Anyways, Lou Williams (LAC) was caught on social media partying with one of his rapper buddies (Jack Harlow) at Magic City in Atlanta while he was supposed to be quarantined (and said he was leaving the bubble simply to attend a funeral). Not being from Atlanta myself, I do not see the allure of strip club chicken wings costing me part of my paycheck, but, according to Johnny Manziel, they are that damn good. Without Williams leading the bench unit, Montrezl Harrell (LAC) low key becomes less appealing from a fantasy perspective in the short term because his offensive production is so heavily reliant on him and Williams running the pick-and-roll. It should be noted Harrell is expected to miss the opener due to a person al issue as well so the Clippers bench is a lot less potent than it was a few days ago. Reggie Jackson (LAC) should be expected to should a majority of the usage off the bench now and could prove to be a sneaky DFS target leading the scoring charge for the Clippers second unit.
Bojan Bogdanovic’s absence leaves a usage void for the Jazz
Only Donovan Mitchell (UTA) has posted a higher usage rate amongst Jazz rotation players than Bojan Bogdanovic (UTA) so the absence of the shooting machine is going to be felt by a scoring-challenged Jazz team. In May, Bogdanovic had surgery to repair a ruptured scapholurnate ligament on his shooting arm, so he is officially done for the year. Per NBAWowy.com, Jordan Clarkson’s (UTA) usage ticks up all the way to 25.4-percent, up from 22.9-percent when playing alongside Bogdanovic. He is by far the big winner in the usage department as Mitchell and Mike Conley (UTA) only enjoy only minute upticks in the category. With Bogdanovic healthy, the Jazz actually ranked eighth in offensive rating, and they will need Clarkson to step up big time in order to maintain a similar pace during the restart.
Apparently Deandre Ayton is shooting threes now
Footage from exhibition games leading up the NBA restart proves Deandre Ayton (PHX) is, in fact, attempting shots from beyond the arc now. Remember, back in college, Ayton shot 34.3-percent from three-point range so it should not be surprising that Ayton is all of a sudden deciding to fire away. After making the first, Ayton decided he was a three-point shooter now, and continued to shoot (and make) from long range. If Ayton adds that aspect to his game, he will be tough to fade considering he already averaged the sixth most DraftKings fantasy points per game (DFPPG) of any center. Adding three point-shooting to his game could begin the molding process of him starting to look a bit like Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) as he is already a double-double threat that blocks shots and flirts with a steal per game. Ayton is a scary good talent who improved upon his defense already this year and now, if the three-point shot comes along, he is going to develop into a superstar.
Do not expect gigantic minutes from Hassan Whiteside with Jusuf Nurkic back
In a practical sense, there are only 48-minutes available at a single position for a team which have to be split between guys if the play the same position. Jusuf Nurkic (POR) was a productive center for the Trail Blazers in before suffering a horrific injury to his left leg. With Nurkic’s timetable uncertain to begin the year, the team brought in Hassan Whiteside (POR) to start, and he performed admirably (especially from a fantasy perspective): 16.3 points per game (PPG), 14.2 rebounds per game (RPG), 3.1 blocks per game (BPG) and 43.2 DFPPG. In the modern version of the NBA, the Trail Blazers can maybe get away with, at most, a few minute stretch here and there playing Nurkic alongside Whiteside, but that lineup is a huge defensive liability considering neither player is overly quick nor great at guarding the perimeter. Having said that, how is Whiteside going to play big minutes with Nurkic playing a decent role? Even if Nurkic is limited to 20-minutes per game, that only leaves 28 per game for Whiteside who had averaged 31.3 minutes per game (MPG) prior to the stoppage. 20 is likely a conservative projection for Nurkic and it would not be surprising for the two big men to split the 48 center minutes virtually right down the middle (meaning around 24 minutes per game for each).
Expect DeMar DeRozan to shoot early and often without LaMarcus Aldridge
The Spurs offense was a two-headed monster for most of the year but that monster is down to one-headed with LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS) set to sit the remainder of the year. In 10 games without Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan (SAS) produced a whopping 27.1-percent usage rate, averaging 15.8 field goal attempts per game and 23.1 PPG. However, just going by the on/off data, DeRozan managed a 29.6-percent usage rate in 629 total minutes with Aldridge off the floor. With the Spurs only four games out of the playoffs, it would not be surprising for the Spurs to run one of the tighter rotations in the first few games back to see if they can make a run. Their fate rests almost solely in the hands of DeRozan whose usage rate with Aldridge off the floor is over six percentage points higher than any other mainstay in the rotation (Rudy Gay (SAS) is next at 22.8-percent). DeRozan is a tough fade in close games as his minutes become more reliable in those sorts of games but he is an especially tough fade when the offense revolves solely around him.
Speaking of high-volume shooters, Caris LeVert is the last one left on the Nets
A similar situation has emerged on the Nets as both Kyrie Irving (BKN) and Spencer Dinwiddie (BKN) are not with the team and that means this is Caris LeVert’s (BKN) time to shine. Over a 327-minute sample size with both Irving and Dinwiddie off the floor this year, LeVert posted an absurd 39.0-percent usage rate. No, that is not a typo, LeVert posted Russell Westbrook (HOU) level usage without James Harden (HOU) in the sample without either of the point guards. In those 327-minutes, LeVert averaged 1.44 DFPPG and 1.39 FanDuel fantasy points per game (FPPG), or almost identical to the number of fantasy points per minute Kyrie Irving averaged when healthy. LeVert is going to be a fantasy monster over the final eight games so plan accordingly.
Welcome back Jonathan Isaac
Although some players chose not to return for the final eight games, the long layoff gave Jonathan Isaac (ORL) enough time to heal from his posterolateral corner injury. For those who do not remember, Isaac was amidst an impressive all-around season in which he was averaging 12.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.6 steals per game (SPG) and 2.4 BPG in 29.7 MPG en route to 30.7 DFFPG. Isaac is not a gigantic contributor on offense but his defensive prowess allows this team to match up with the likes of all the elite forwards. With Aaron Gordon (ORL) on the roster as well, this team is uniquely-equipped to slow down teams with multiple elite forwards like the Clippers or Bucks. In 32 games with Isaac, the Magic produced a 106.7 defensive rating, but that number depreciated to 112.6 in the game without him. With the entire starting rotation back playing together, the Magic are not a team fantasy players are going to want to actively target against, as their defense is back to being tough.
NBA has done a great job with their COVID regulations so we all should have faith this is going to work
Unlike the MLB and NFL, the NBA has had a clear plan in place to function through the era of COVID-19, and their bubble looks like the best method to handle sports during this crazy time. Players who have left the bubble have been exposed and there are strict regulations in place for those remaining in the bubble. A few days ago, the NBA announced zero of the 346 players at the league’s bubble campus tested positive for coronavirus, so as long as everyone adheres the rules, the remainder of the year should play without issue. This is a lot more comforting than the MLB situation which has already seen an entire team shutdown for a week because of an outbreak. The NBA is back everyone and we should embrace a return to semi-normalcy as we all enjoy the wonderful sport of basketball returning to our TV screens!