5 Stats to Know: NBA DFS March 19


We’ve talked often this season about blowouts being very difficult to predict, and we got plenty on Saturday night. 


Sunday brings us eight total games, but three of them opened at nine points or more for the spread. Some of the better game environments are arguably on the afternoon slate, so let’s talk about it all. 

1. The Suns are missing Deandre Ayton when they play the Oklahoma City Thunder (Early)

The salary is high, but it’s awfully hard to not want to play Devin Booker in this spot. Phoenix is missing Deandre Ayton and Kevin Durant but are also without the players that they traded away to acquire Durant, leaving Booker and Chris Paul to carry the load in this game. Booker’s sample is right about 220 minutes without all of these players on the court, and in those minutes he’s had a 35.3% usage rate, a 37.4% assist rate and 1.54 points per minute. The assist rate could help raise his floor in this game, and we know that he can post 30+ real points at any given moment. The total for this game is 234 points and the spread is only one point, so Booker should play big minutes and produce for us. 

2. The Spurs allow the second-most points per game to the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll (Early) 

As far as game environments go, the Hawks playing the Spurs is arguably the best of the entire day, and it’s certainly the best of the early slate. These teams are in the top eight in pace and in the bottom eight in defensive rating, so it’s not hard to get excited about this game. Currently, Trae Young is listed as questionable, but if he’s active Young is third in points per game as the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll. He’s scoring 1.36 points per minute and has a 41.4% assist rate, while the Spurs offer a dynamite matchup in the FTN Advanced DvP Tool – 

If Young is out for this game, we simply pivot to Dejounte Murray because without Young on the floor, he’s scoring 1.18 points per minute and has a 27.7% usage rate to lead the team. 

3. The Houston Rockets are 19th against rebounders 

Normally, when a player comes out of nowhere to post a big fantasy game, it’s not always the best idea to chase that performance. However, there’s a difference when that player is a proven fantasy asset over many seasons, and Jonas Valanciunas is just that. He’s scoring 1.21 points per minute and has a 24.6% usage rate this year for the Pelicans when Zion Williamson is off the floor. The risk has come from the deployment since New Orleans had played him a combined 50 minutes in the previous four games. On Friday night, they let him loose for 34 minutes and he posted 52.75 DK points. There aren’t many players that have that level of a ceiling outcome at the salary (on FD as well). There is a giant risk factor in playing him because he could drop to 16 minutes, but if he sees another 30 on Sunday he’s one of the more glaring misprices on the slate. 


4. Kawhi Leonard is scoring 4.2 points per game in isolation, tied for the 12th-most (Main)

The Clippers played on Saturday and Kawhi Leonard sat out for injury management, so he should be ready to go for this matchup against the Trail Blazers. They are allowing the seventh-highest points per possession while defending isolation. Now, this is more guesswork on my part, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Paul George sat out for this game and the Clippers just rotate the rest days. I do acknowledge there is some history between George and Damian Lillard, so perhaps George refuses to sit out. However, if George sitting out, Kawhi jumps to 1.31 points per minute with a 33.6% usage rate and would have more chances to exploit the isolation defense of Portland. On top of that, Portland is 27th in defensive rating overall in addition to being 19th against point forwards over the past 15 games. 

5. The Clippers are dead last against primary ball-handlers in the past 15 games (Main)

One of the most appealing mini-stacks of the main slate (if we have the requisite value) could turn into pairing Kawhi Leonard with Damian Lillard and hoping they go back and forth the entire time. On top of being last against the primary ball-handler, Los Angeles is 24th against scorers, 18th against crafty finishers and 29th against superstars. We know that the Blazers are going to be without Jerami Grant on Sunday, and in that scenario Lillard has a 39.2% usage rate and scores 1.68 points per minute. The reports are the Blazers need to start making a move toward the 10th seed in the next five games or Lillard could be shut down, so we should expect nothing but the best from Dame Time in the next week. 

Previous NASCAR Cup Series: Ambetter Health 400 DFS Plays Next NBA DFS Strategy and Picks for Sunday (3/19)