Welcome to “5 Stats to Know.” This NBA DFS article will appear every day, Monday through Friday, provided by yours truly, to help you gain a quantitative edge on the rest of the field when identifying core plays.
The format of this article is simple. I will provide five stats that stuck out to me when diving into the day’s NBA slate. These could be derived from FTN’s suite of tools (Advanced DvP, NBA On/Off Splits) or from the NBA’s extensive library of statistics.
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Now, onto the noteworthy numbers for the slate at hand.
Jaren Jackson, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies (@ IND)
In 13 games without Ja Morant this season, Jaren Jackson has posted a 28.59% usage rate
Zig when others zag. With so much attention being drawn to the underpriced backcourt (Tyus Jones and Dillon Brooks) with Ja Morant out, Jackson is going rather overlooked on Thursday’s slate. While it’s not to discount how remarkable of plays both Jones and Brooks are, Jackson is right there with them at a fraction of the rostership. He’s posted a usage rate over 28% while averaging nearly 20 points (19.92) per game with Morant out this season, all while averaging under 30 minutes per game. This equates to elite per-minute production (1.26 DK points per minute), making his $6,500 price tag enticing in a great matchup. He’s better left for tournaments given his foul struggles, but he’s a very easy way to differentiate off his popular teammates while still getting a piece of the upside left in the likely void of Morant.
Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Detroit Pistons (@ MIA)
In 108.8 minutes with Cade Cunningham, Marvin Bagley, Hamidou Diallo, Isaiah Stewart and Trey Lyles (now with SAC) off the floor, Kelly Olynyk has averaged 1.35 DraftKings points per minute
This is an incredibly small sample size, but with how thin Detroit could be and with the shuffling after the trade deadline, it’s what we have to work with. Olynyk has always been a strong per-minute producer and his stint with Detroit has been no different. In this scenario, he leads the entire team in usage rate (26.0%) while adding a 21.1% assist rate and 14.1% rebounding rate. If Cunningham ends up sitting out on Tuesday, we could see Olynyk enter the starting lineup for the sake of offensive production alongside Saddiq Bey and Jerami Grant. Despite the tough matchup, he’ll have my intrigue at $3,900 if Cunningham is ruled out as there’s not much other viable value on the four-game slate.
Kevin Durant, SF/PF, Brooklyn Nets (@ ORL)
Since his return from injury, Kevin Durant has posted a 26.7% usage rate while sharing the court with Kyrie Irving
Having both players on the court hasn’t seemed to hamper either guy’s production, as Durant’s usage rate (26.7%) leads the team while he’s also averaged 1.27 DraftKings points per minute with a team-high 23.5% assist rate. With Irving off the court over this stretch, Durant has seen his production rise to 1.55 DraftKings points per minute with a 40% usage rate and 30.2% assist rate. Considering that a 26.7% usage rate and 1.27 DKP/min can be considered his baseline here, he makes for a phenomenal spend-up with a ceiling that you can argue no other player on the slate can match.
CJ McCollum, PG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans (vs. PHX)
Over the last week, CJ McCollum has posted the second-highest usage rate (35.8%) in the entire NBA