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5 Stats to Know: NBA DFS February 27

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The NBA features four games tonight, and it seems a bit weird to see seven of the eight teams in the Eastern Conference. 

 

Every game is under seven points for the spread, but only one has a total that exceeds 227 total points. Let’s talk about that game and the other three to find players who will help us to the top of the leaderboards. 

1. The Hornets are 28th against skilled centers 

That comes directly from the FTN Advanced DvP Tool, and the matchup of the Pistons and Hornets carries the highest total of the night at 235 points. If that wasn’t enough, the Pistons are missing Jalen Duren and could also be without Isaiah Stewart, leaving Marvin Bagley and newly acquired James Wiseman as their primary big men. With the salaries involved, you can easily play both since Wiseman is at 0.94 points per minute and Bagley is at 1.12. This is an incredible matchup for both, and provided Wiseman doesn’t battle foul trouble as he did on Saturday, he should turn in one of his best games of the season.   

2. LaMelo Ball drives to the hoop 15 times per game 

Not only does LaMelo Ball do that, but he has one of the best matchups on the board this evening – 

He’s also up to 1.43 points per minute on the season and continues to be a fantasy stalwart. Even though he scored just 47.8 DK points on Saturday, he shot 6-for-22 from the field. That’s not always going to happen, and the Pistons have not been able to handle primary ball-handlers all season long. Detroit is also down to 29th in points allowed in the paint, which is something Ball can take advantage of. This game is far and away the best in the Stack Rating from the FTN NBA Game Environment Tool, and my lineups will reflect that. 

3. The Heat allow the second-highest 3-point frequency 

Miami is one of the better defensive teams in the league, at least according to the defensive rating (fifth). However, they can have issues with shooters, especially ones that can hit the 3-ball, and Tyrese Maxey fits the bill. He’s taking nearly six attempts per game and shooting 38% from beyond the arc, while the Heat are also 19th against bench players. This is all about risk tolerance since Maxey is a very volatile player, but he has a ceiling outcome at his salary. With Miami’s struggles against shooters (they rank 29th), Maxey could come off the bench and rack up some points. 

4. The Knicks are 25th against primary ball-handlers 

With the Detroit team giving us values on top of values, I would bet the most popular approach is multiple Pistons paired with LaMelo Ball and Jayson Tatum. I can’t argue that Tatum has seen his usage rate rise by 2.5% to 35.5% without Jaylen Brown this season, and his points per minute have stayed the same at 1.41. The FTN Splits Tool shows us that Tatum has seen his results jump in the 10 games played without Brown, even though he’s already averaging over 52 DK points when Brown plays – 

With the Knicks also ranking 30th against point forwards and 26th against superstars, Tatum is a top priority for me this evening alongside Ball. 

5. Jonas Valanciunas could play 30+ minutes tonight 

The situation for the Pelicans includes Larry Nance joining Zion Williamson on the injured list, which is a bump for Jonas Valanciunas. He’s scoring 1.21 points per minute with a 24.6% usage rate and the Magic are dead last against skilled centers on the season. Orlando is also 10th in rebounds allowed, but Valanciunas is averaging 16.2 rebound chances per game despite averaging just 24.9 minutes. Valanciunas ranks 17th in chances per game, and every single player ahead of him plays more minutes on average. When Nance left the game early on Saturday after just four minutes, Valanciunas played just over 32, and if that happens tonight he’s likely to be too cheap. 

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