Analyzing Orlando vs Cleveland DraftKings 1/2/14

The Magic vs the Cavs tonight may not be a exciting matchup tonight for NBA fans, but it is an intriguing game for DFS players. Not only are the Cavs and Magic two of the worst fantasy defenses in the league, they also have key injuries that could have a significant effect on player value. Kyrie Irving and Nicola Vucevic are GTD but neither are optimistic to go, so I’ll be writing under the assumption that they are both out.

Players I Recommend:

Anderson Varejao $5800 –
Varejao has been spending most of the season getting healthy and/or playing behind Andrew Bynum. But with Bynum now suspended from the team, Varejao is now getting big minutes and producing well. In 4 games since the suspension, Varejao has been averaging 33 minutes a game and over 30 FPPG. Orlando is already a good fantasy matchup, but may be an even better one with Nikola Vucevic out. Against Golden State, where Vucevic got injured 9 minutes into the game, Andrew Bogut had 11 rebounds in 22 minutes and the Warriors out-rebounded the Magic 56-37. This makes sense, Vucevic is the Magic’s best rebounder and without him their front court is small with Glen Davis and Tobias Harris playing PF and SF respectively. Jason Maxiell, Andrew Nicholson, and Kyle O’Quinn will attempt to fill in the gap at center for Vucevic but they are all essentially PFs and I suspect the best rebounder of all of them, O’Quinn, will get the least minutes.

In the end I suspect the big-bodied Varejao, who only a year ago averaged 14 rebounds per game when healthy, will have a significant bump rebounding and will produce nicely tonight. A lot of players will go with Demarcus Cousins tonight (who’s salary is almost double Varejao’s) so if we can get great production from Varejao, we could gain a big edge of the field.

For most of the same reasons as Varejao, I think Tristan Thompson will be a solid play. I recommend using at least one of them.

Jarrett Jack $5,200 –
There’s a few PGs in the NBA that I think are must plays if the starting PG on their respective teams go down. Tony Wroten is one, Mo Williams is another, and Jarrett Jack is not too far behind. Jack is spark-plug off the bench who has produced well in limited time this season and has averaged 15/4/6/1 the last 3 years per 36 minutes. With a good matchup against Orlando, Jack should have a big game worthy of a upper-tier PG, that is as long as Irving is injured. Keep an eye Irving’s status tonight, and if he does play there are plenty of other PG options to go with.

Slight Upticks:

Tobias Harris $6,100 –
Vucevic’s rebounds will have to go somewhere and Harris is my best bet to fill in some of that production. Both Tristan Thompson and Earl Clark are below average defenders so I expect Harris to also have a good game offensively. That being said, he’s a little pricey and I doubt he goes off tonight so I don’t think he’s a must-play.

Dion Waiters $5,200 –
If Irving is out it’s going to take more than Jarrett Jack to make-up for the massive loss in scoring, and I think Waiters will pick up some of that slack. He’s surprisingly cheap and will surely exceed his salary. That being said, he’s already been getting a ton of minutes lately and he doesn’t really fill the stat sheet. I think he’ll get his points tonight but not much else.

Arron Afflalo $6,900 –
Cleveland struggles mightily against SGs and it’s mostly due to Dion Waiters’ terrible defense. Waiters will get a ton of minutes tonight and I think Afflalo will thrive. However, he hasn’t had a break out, 40+ fantasy point game in a while and at $6,900 I can’t love Afflalo as a play tonight.

Stay Away:

Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn, and Jason Maxiell –
It’s tempting to go with one of these guys given that Vucevic is probably out and someone is going to have to pick up the slack. But it’s impossible to know which one will get the most playing time even if we know the starter. None of these players are particularly talented or efficient producers so even if we miraculously pick the one who gets 30+ minutes he may not even be worth it. With a lot of great value plays tonight all over the place, you don’t need to gamble on any of these guys.

View all posts by Max J Steinberg
Max J Steinberg

About the Author

Max J Steinberg Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and a top Daily Fantasy player who uses his creativity and mathematical abilities he cultivated as a poker player to win money on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He already has several big tournament scores to his name including the Victiv Bowl and countless MLB Monster wins. Follow him on twitter @maxjsteinberg.

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