Daily Preview and NBA DFS Picks for 2/1/2021
Playing NBA DFS can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also make your head spin. It’s our job to make sure you’re winning as much as possible! There are countless variables that can lead to a player’s individual performance, but I’ve found it’s best to focus on just a few that can lead to consistent predictability.
My favorite factors to track for NBA DFS targets: Matchups (Offensive/Defensive Ratings), Opportunity (expected player minutes, game pace), and Recent Form.
This is the AM VERSION of a living article that will be updated throughout the day, as news comes through the wire.
LET’S GET INTO THE SLATE!!!!
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NBA DFS Targets and Preview for Feb. 1
Lakers (-5.5) vs. Hawks
This is going to be an interesting game as the Lakers are 7th in the league in offensive rating, and 1st in the league in defensive rating. While the Hawks are 8th in the league in offensive rating, and 11th in the league in defensive rating. While both teams are ranked in the middle of the league in pace at around 100 possessions per 48 minutes. I think the likely game script for this matchup is that the Lakers have the edge, and we shouldn’t expect a high scoring affair relative to the other games on the slate.
DFS Targets: In a relatively low scoring affair, it’s not wise to target value plays, as I expect the stars to contribute greatly to the fantasy points produced toward an individual possession, barring a shakeup to the usual lineup. On the Lakers side, I think the only player that has the potential to be in the optimal lineup is Lebron with his 32% usage rate. I’m going to be underweight on Anthony Davis, as his usage rate is down to 27% and so are his minutes, yet he’s still priced as the superstar he is. I’m fading the Hawks as a whole, as they match up against the best team defensively in the league, and don’t have the pace data, to backup overcoming that on a statistical level.
Hornets vs. Heat (-6.5)
The Hornets are 20th in offensive rating and 16th in defensive rating, while the Heat are 26th and 20th, respectively. They are also 20th and 21st in pace. The Hornets are who they are at this point, and I think it’s fair to let the numbers do the talking. The Heat, however, are just getting Jimmy Butler back from COVID protocol, and in his last game back, he dropped 30 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. I think it’s fair to say the Heat’s stats don’t necessarily reflect who they are at the moment.
DFS Targets: The game script for this game looks to be a slow-paced game, with bad defense. I think that means we can likely expect the Heat to have the edge, given they are getting their best player back and he’s in good recent form. The most likely players in the optimal lineup from this matchup are Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, LaMelo Ball, Bam Adebayo, and PJ Washington. I don’t think in a low paced game like this, we want to hunt for value plays, and after Cody Zeller’s recent near triple-double, his price has come up enough on both sites to warrant a fade. Even if Terry Rozier sits tonight, avoid Malik Monk.
Timberwolves vs. Cavs (-5.0)
The T-wolves are the worst team in the league offensively, and the 4th worst defensively, and they’re 7th in the league in pace. The Cavs are 2nd worst offensively and 22nd in the league in defense. The Cavs, however are 29th in the league in pace. This is going to be an ATROCIOUS game to watch if you love basketball. I give Minnesota the edge, as I think their pace will serve them well, as I have no reason to believe the 22nd ranked defense is going to change their habits.
DFS Targets: I’m going to look to the big men on a slow-paced team like the Cavs, which makes Andre Drummond attractive, but being listed questionable with a bad back isn’t someone I’m putting my hard-earned money on. Jarret Allen has become a MUST PLAY in my eyes with Larry Nance being ruled out. I’m looking at the guards on Minnesota for a high pace team. DeAngelo Russell and Malik Beasley are who I’d target from this bunch. Both are sporting usage rates of 30% and 25%, respectively.
Knicks vs. Bulls (-4.5)
The Knicks can’t score as they have the 26th ranked offensive rating in the league, but Coach Thibs has them playing defense, with the 6th ranked defensive rating in the league. I know that’s a welcome sight for Knicks fans. They’re facing the Bulls, who are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Dame Lillard’s buzzer-beater, and they are middle of the pack offensively, and 26th in the league defensively. In an interesting dichotomy, the Bulls are 2nd in the league in pace, while the Knicks are last. I think the Knicks pull this one out, as trade rumors swirl around Zach Lavine (their best player), and Thibs’ defense is something you can count on.
DFS Targets: The Knicks offense flows through Julius Randle, and he’s the only person I’m interested in from this game. A bad defensive matchup rarely makes for a good target, especially on a bad team like the Bulls. I don’t care how quickly they play.
Blazers vs. Bucks (-9.0)
The Bucks have the best offense in the league, with the Blazers coming in close behind them at 6th ranked. Defensively, the Bucks are middle of the pack, and the Blazers are 29th. Both teams are in the upper half of the league in pace. This should be a fun game to watch, and I expect it to be the highest scoring total on the slate. Slight edge to the Bucks.
DFS Targets: THIS IS THE GAME WE TARGET, BABY! Good pace, average defenses, and great offenses is DFS HEAVEN. The players most likely to be in the optimal lineup for the guard position are Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday. Donte DiVincenzo and Gary Trent Jr. both make great value plays at < $6,000 on both sites. Rodney Hood and Anfernee Simmons provide great value upside. Melo is a safe, but more expensive at the forward position, along with Khris Middleton/Robert Covington. I don’t need to say Giannis, but I will. In a high scoring game like this, with good pace, I’m not checking for the center position. A majority of your lineups should stack this game.
Kings vs. Pelicans (-3.0)
The Kings are 9th in offense and last in defense, while NOLA is 17th and 25th, respectively. Both teams are in the middle of the pack in pace. I wouldn’t watch it, but to each their own. Kings should take this one.
DFS Targets: Eh. DeAaron Fox is interesting at $8200/$8300 on both sites, and a 30% usage rate. I didn’t mention Tyrese Halliburton in my 1st edition, and I should’ve. He’s getting 30 minutes a game and is an incredibly well-rounded stat stuffer at such a young age. He should be in your player pool. Lonzo Ball is coming off a career-best game (27pts, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds) and my conspiratorial mind believes that he’s being featured before he gets traded. I think Lonzo makes sense at <$6000 on both sites, as well. Zion and Brandon Ingram are a little too expensive for my taste when we have better matchups on the slate.
Rockets (-5.0) vs. Thunder
Somehow Houston has managed to be 22nd in the offense, and 3rd in defense. Your guess is as good as mine. The Thunder are 27th and 24th, respectively. Houston should take this one handily, in a fast-paced game, with both teams in the top tercile in pace rankings.
DFS Targets: In a fast-paced game like this, I think a <$7,000 John Wall could be the value of the night. He’s got a 28% usage rate and is shooting over 50% from three, in his last two games. We can always count on transition buckets and assists from Wall, so don’t be surprised if he puts up 40+ DFS points tonight. Shai is going to be in a similar situation as John Wall, as the offense runs through him, but he’s more than $1,000 more expensive tonight, so I’ll likely be underweight on him. Theo Maledon is interesting as a value play at $4300 since he’s getting ~30 minutes/game. Christian Wood scares me a bit at $8,900, since his price has gotten so high, and this is going to be a fast-paced game. I’ll be underweight Wood, as well. Luguentz Dort is a fade for me.
Suns vs. Mavericks (-2.5)
Suns are 13th in offense, while the Mavs are 19th. Phoenix is 7th in defense, while the Mavs are 21st. I don’t suspect the Mavs are going to be able to turn things around tonight with this matchup.
DFS Targets: We can count on Luka to be Luka, but nobody else from this game interests me. Prices are rather high on guys like Chris Paul and DeAndre Ayton for my liking, in what could be a runaway for Phoenix. Especially if Devin Booker comes back into the fold tonight. He’s still questionable, but if he plays, he’s taking usage.
Grizzlies vs. Spurs (-3.5)
The Grizz are 2nd in defense, while the Spurs are 15th. The Spurs are 14th in offense, with the Grizz in the rear at 24th. They are 10th and 12th in pace. This game could go either way, so I’ll trust the star power and age the Spurs have to take them over the line.
DFS Targets: I’m likely fading this game. Nobody has a great matchup, and there have been some really great performances lately from guys like Ja Morant, Keldon Johnson, Demar, LA, and others, that have pushed their prices up. Nobody screams value to me. Look elsewhere.
Pistons vs. Nuggets (-8.0)
Don’t watch this game. You deserve better. Nuggets in a blowout.
DFS Targets: Blowouts scare me for DFS purposes. You never know if it’s going to be a blowout because the players you targeted outperformed, or if everyone did. I fade this game, altogether.
Don’t forget to check back later in the day as Bradlee will be updating his NBA DFS preview with all the info you need to turn tonight’s slate into a resounding success!
If you also play season-long fantasy basketball you’ll want to check out Mike Omelan’s latest Waiver Wire column for a few ideas on how to add to your squad.
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