Jeremy Lin vs Aaron Brooks
This is going to be a tough decision for every DFS player on Christmas. Patrick Beverley is out which means these two point guards will be battling it out for minutes. James Harden was out against Dallas but it looks like he’ll probably play against San Antonio. If he is out both players are nice choices, but for now we have to assume he’s going to be in. Lin and Brooks are two very different types of players so I want to break them down so we can choose who to play on Christmas.
Jeremy Lin is the more established player of the two and has shown he’s capable of big games when he gets the minutes. He’s had multiple 40+ fantasy point games this year and is clearly capable of going off. He’s in a terrible matchup vs the Spurs, who give up the 2nd least fantasy points in the league and also have the 2nd best Drtg, but that shouldn’t completely deter us from using him. He’s averaging 15/3/5/1 per 36 minutes this year which is on par with his career, and even if he only gets 30 minutes and the Spurs contain him he still will most likely out-perform his salary, which is only $4800 on DraftKings. He is also almost surely going to get more minutes than Brooks unless the game is a total blowout.
That being said, and this isn’t based as much on statistics as it is on observation, Lin thrives off the pick-and-roll. It’s his bread and butter and is responsible for most of his assists and points. San Antonio is a great defensive team that stops the pick-and-roll well, and I’m worried that he’ll get few opportunities to create for himself in this game. And if Harden plays, Lin will basically stop getting the ball altogether when he can’t create.
Brooks on the other hand is a lightning-in-a-bottle back-up PG who is more of a shooter and less of a slasher. Lin and Brooks actually almost have the same stats per 36 minutes except for steals, a stat in which Brooks performs slightly better. While Brooks didn’t perform very well against the Spurs last time the Rockets played, he did get 3 steals and 4 assists in 16 minutes and he’ll surely get better minutes tomorrow. He was also 1-8 from the field and 0-3 from behind the arc, which is something that is unlikely to happen again.
One thing I really like about Brooks in this game is that since he mostly makes his points from 3, his performance isn’t as affected by the defense he’s facing. If he makes a few shots early, he could keep Lin on the bench for an extended period. He also is the only other PG on their roster, so if this game becomes a blowout he will surely get minutes in garbage time. My main issue with Brooks however, is the variance of his minutes. When Houston faced Dallas on Monday, Brooks got in the game with Lin because the Mavericks start two small guards in the backcourt. However, San Antonio plays 6’5” Marco Belinelli and 6’6” Manu Ginobli at SG, two offensive power-houses whom Houston can not afford to guard with Lin or Brooks. We’re also quick to forget that Brooks is the backup, he needs to perform well in limited minutes in order to stay in the game. If he doesn’t, he could really be a fantasy dud. I think Brooks could easily get less than 20 minutes in this game which is a gamble we may not be able to afford.
Max’s Pick: Neither
I think many people will go with either Lin or Brooks tomorrow and I think it’s a mistake. One factor in DFS NBA that I prioritize highly is minutes. I want to only start players who will get the majority of minutes at their position, because one players bad performance can ruin your entire fantasy lineup. This sounds simple, but most people don’t follow this advice. They’ll gamble on a player like Andrew Bynum who splits minutes with Varejao, hoping that it’s one of the games where Bynum gets the majority of minutes. You look like a genius when Bynum does and he gets 40 fantasy points, but when he gets 15, it can really hurt your lineup. Lin and Brooks fall into the same boat. I can speculate all day on who I think will get more minutes, but in the end it’s just speculation and honestly I just don’t know. While both are a bargain at $4500-$5000, they aren’t min salary and its hard to justify not spending $1500 more to get Tony Parker who has a fantastic matchup against a team that turns it over a ton and plays at a fast pace. If you have to choose one, I would go with Brooks. But I recommend you stay away.
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