After coming down from the roller coaster ride of last nights NBA action- Anthony Edwards going nuclear, Nikola Jokic dominating again, Jrue Holiday hooping in the absence of Giannis Antetekounmpo and Khris Middleton, Gordon Hayward dropping 41 points real life points, Brandon Ingram coming to life with a 34 point performance, Alperen Sengun going crazy in starting minutes, Duncan Robinson providing 8 times the value with 38.1 fantasy points- I’m on an adrenaline rush writing this article. Take some time to soak what I mentioned in & also process: 25 players went for over 40 Fanduel fantasy points last night. Shoutout to you if you added funds to your bank accounts & chin up if you took any losses because they’re really wins. Now, we do a collective exhale & exit the terminals into a four game slate of NBA action-DET @ IND, PHI @ BKN, NY @ HOU, WAS @ PHO. These matchups feature stars out of the lineups, low score projections based on over/under(no game has a total over 220) & rookies that have a chance to showcase their games for the national audience. This article will focus on providing you fantasy insight for rookies on tonight’s slate who can help win your tournaments. Good luck, Trust your eyes & Happy Holidays.
If you took all of the point guards in tonight’s games & separated them by Fantasy Points Per Game over the last 5 contests, Cade Cunningham(37.74) is 3rd behind James Harden(44.56) & Chris Paul(39.96). I know the player pool is small & the sample size is recent, however, the point is: Cade Cunningham has been delivering for the Pistons. He’s already tallied seven 40-plus fantasy point games on Fanduel this season. His most recent effort coming December 12 against Brooklyn- 35 minutes, 26 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block, 3 steals, 7 turnovers. I saved the turnovers for last because that’s where the best is yet to come with Cade. Where he’s shining recently is the increased activity on the defensive end. Cunningham has 9 multi-steal games on the season & he’s been feisty adding 3 steals in back to back games. The rookie is locked in and loaded, shrugging off the early season shooting concerns.
$7,900 for Cade- facing Indiana, who ranks 23rd against point guards this season- is money you can take from me. Out of players in tonight’s games, Cade Cunningham ranks 14th in fantasy points per minute(1.11) over the last 5 games. This matchup won’t be decided by who’s the better team on paper; It’ll be decided by who’s style of play translates onto the court more for 48 minutes. Indiana ranks 23rd in the NBA in pace, while Detroit ranks 15th. Detroit wants turnovers or rebounds to up the tempo in transition & Indiana wants to slow things down in the half court feeding their bigs. We see which strategy has worked better by the team records & conference seeding- sorry Pistons fans. Cade Cunningham is the bright spot for the 4-22 Pistons & for one night, he could reward us at this price because of his workload. The turnovers will be a slight concern, however, Indiana ranks 24th in steals. If you want more comfort for your mind to play Cade, Indiana ranks 22nd in forcing turnovers. Fun Fact: Cade Cunningham hasn’t had a game with over 7 turnovers this season. Keep those elements in mind when setting your lineups.
David Duke went from being off the radar completely to exploding onto the scene after a 42.1 Fanduel fantasy point performance vs Toronto. His services were need by the team, as the Brooklyn Nets have a plethora of players in health and safety protocols with COVID-19. KD stole the show with James Harden sidelined, carrying the team to the overtime win. Sometimes, the best ability is your availability & Duke made the most of his opportunities. He racked up 10 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, two steals & two blocks. Not only do you double double in your third career NBA game, but you make it known from the beginning that you are an all around stat sheet stuffer. This window won’t be open forever, so you have to know Duke’s price won’t stay the same forever(6,100). David Duke, Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe are players to monitor moving forward & tonight will increase the sample size for our eye test.
Anytime Chris Duarte’s price starts to fall closer to $4,800, I get naturally excited. Why ? I think Duarte has a higher chance to reward us with value than when he’s overpriced on the blue site. This isn’t the exact sweet spot I hoped for, however, this price point ($5,000) on a reduced slate is screaming value.
Coming into this season, Chris Duarte was one of the more NBA ready prospects coming out of Oregon. He’s been up to speed since day 1, playing at a controlled pace with his skillset. He definitely has room to grow in areas of his game & every rookie does. The season high assists mark for Duarte is 6, with his average being 2.0 on the season. That’s right where his college averages finished. That part isn’t really surprising; He’s playing with better NBA players, so the slight increase is expected. The ball handling responsibilities for Chris Duarte taking a dip because of Brogdon & Levert makes me concerned. It makes Duarte’s need for efficient nights greater than in previous situations. In the month of December, Duarte is as cold as the weather from three- connecting on just 24 percent of his three point attempts. Deeper than offensive impact, I want to see Chris Duarte be more aggressive defensively contributing to the stat sheet. He’s had back to back games with no steals. He has a good bounce back opportunity vs the Pistons- DET ranks middle of the NBA in defensive efficiency over the last three games. I don’t expect Duarte to be rushed into bad shots (even with the pace increase) vs the DET defense- they rank 22nd in points allowed, 25th in rebounds allowed, 30th in opponents field goal percentage (efficiency matters vs DET) & 29th in opponent three point percentage. The writing maybe on the wall for a Pacers blowup, but tonight’s writing may spell VALUE for Chris Duarte.
There’s no question the Rockets have a lot of young talent to work with moving toward the future. Christian Wood being the premier piece on this squad, makes Sengun on the back burner for now. That’s our collective thought process most of this season as we’ve waited for the chance for Alperen Sengun , the rookie from Turkey, to proves he’s legit. Last night, we got to see what the possibilities could happen with the temporary absence of Christian Wood. Did you know that Sengun is leading all rookies in player efficiency rating(20.38)? That’s good for 35th in the NBA, so far. What’s beautiful is: Last night marked a season high for minutes for Sengun (27) & he rewarded us with 46.7 Fanduel fantasy points. On tonight’s condensed slate of NBA games, there’s only two centers that rank above Sengun(1.44) in fantasy points per minute over the last 5 games – Javale McGee(1.49) & Joel Embiid(1.47). How is he able to make such impact in such short time? Pace-Houston Ranks 1st in the NBA in pace. Talent-He’s the 16th overall pick from 2021. Opportunity-Christian Wood being out of the lineup and other injuries have slowly led to increased minutes. Tonight’s matchup vs NY is intriguing. You have the fastest pace Rockets (HOU) vs bottom-five ranked Knicks (NY). It’s well within the range of outcomes where Knicks players have elevated fantasy performances because of more possessions in the game. Double double territory is reachable tonight vs NY- who ranks 16th in rebounds, 26th in offensive rebounds allowed. It could be the Sengun show re-run, if Christian Wood is limited.