5 Stats to Know: NBA DFS January 7


For just four games on the NBA DFS main slate SAturday, we have some fun matchups, and there is the possibility that we get shenanigans for the late-night hammer since the Lakers played Friday. Even with that hanging over our heads, let’s get after what we like.


1. Lauri Markkanen is scoring the sixth-most points per game as a spot-up shooter

Markkanen has been cooking for the Jazz this season, and they get to face a Bulls team that played Friday and is already 20th in defensive rating. He’s sporting a 25.8% usage rate and has been scoring in bunches lately, including another 49 real points in this past game. Chicago allows the fourth-most points per game from the spot-up shot and they are also 29th in field goal rate allowed from downtown. Markkanen has been gunning from that range lately with almost 10 attempts per night across the last six and he’s shooting 42.0% from deep. The salary is high, but it’s a great spot. 

2. The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the worst teams in defending isolation 

They just have not had much luck this year in dealing with that play type, as they allow the sixth-highest field goal rate, they face the eighth-most field goal attempts, and they allow the sixth-most points per game. That is not a positive mix for them when they have to see Luka Doncic, who leads the league in scoring from isolation and shot just 7-of-23 from the field in the past game. He’s in isolation 24.4% of the time and the largest question is how to build with him at $12,700. You’d risk his nuclear upside crushing you, but he’s not going to be a plug-and-play option. He’s the only player over $11,000 so it will be interesting to see how the day plays out. 

3. Wendell Carter has played 30 minutes in consecutive games 

Since those games were on a back-to-back set, I think we’ve got a good shot for Carter to get 32-34 minutes tonight against the Warriors and they are still 24th against rebounders and 16th in points per game allowed in the paint. Carter also took 12 shots, the most since coming back from an injury and he’s scoring 6.0 points per game in the paint and averages 8.6 rebounds per night. The salary is affordable and the Magic are still missing Bol Bol, who is in the health protocols. 


4. Russell Westbrook has just missed a triple-double in consecutive games 

I’m not sure what the plan is for the Lakers in the back-to-back, but they’re still out of the playoffs in the West, and it’s starting to get to the point of making a move. Even on a four-game slate, folks may balk at the price tag for Westbrook and not want to chase two big games in a row. However, he’s got to log big minutes even as he continues to come off the bench and he’s sporting a 29.6% usage rate and 1.34 points per minute. There is always a bigger risk for a blowout with the Lakers and if that happens, Westbrook likely loses out on more minutes than a starter but the pace should be frantic in this one and it’s perfect for Westbrook to stuff the stat sheet. 

5. Domantas Sabonis is scoring 1.35 points per minute 

Provided the game stays close and Sabonis gets his full minutes, this is among the best spots he could draw. We’ve got two teams in the top five in pace in the league and the Sabonis leads in assist rate (28.3%) and points per minute (1.35). The Lakers are 28th against centers overall and it just gets better the deeper you get into things:

Sabonis is eighth in points scored per game in the paint while the Lakers are 24th, and I believe he goes for a triple-double here.

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