NBA Bargain Plays 10/27/16

Unfortunately, today’s slate is not quite as large as last night’s but four games are more than enough to make for a fun slate…especially with some of today’s games. Clearly, the fastest-paced and likely highest scoring contest will be Clippers/Trail Blazers but all of the games have fantasy relevant prospects. In order to spend up for the likes of Chris Paul and the other superstars, values are going to be necessary. Let’s look at some potential options.

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Point Guards

Ty Lawson, Kings – After flirting with a triple-double last night, Ty Lawson is not exactly going to fly under the radar tonight…but he shouldn’t. Since Darren Collison is suspended for the team’s first eight games in concurrence with the league’s domestic abuse policy, the Kings have no choice but to rely on Lawson for big minutes at the point guard position. Legitimately, their only other option at the point is Garrett Temple who is much more of a two-guard than a ball handler. With minutes aplenty, there is a lot to like about Lawson even in a difficult matchup against the Spurs (although they lost their best rim protector this season).

Terry Rozier, Celtics – As of Oct. 25, Marcus Smart was slated to miss at least a week so he is doubtful at best to play on Thursday night after missing Wednesday’s contest. This leaves Terry Rozier as the only guard with ball-handling abilities behind Isaiah Thomas. Last night, Rozier played a whopping 28 minutes in a backup role and scored five points, dished out three assists, hauled in two rebounds and picked up two steals. Due to a nearly minimum price tag on all sites, 28 minutes is more than enough to justify rostering him for this price tag on a Celtics team that played surprisingly up tempo in the opener (beat the Nets 122-117 in regulation).

Honorable Mention: Patty Mills, Spurs – While this is not a safe play, Patty Mills could see additional playing time if this game were to get out of hand. He produced 29.25 DraftKings (DK) fantasy points in the opener but the performance was propelled by four steals (which is not exactly sustainable). Last year, Sacramento was one of the worst defenses in the league, and one of the most fast-paced, so Mills likely would not need too much playing time to light them up (he averaged 0.82 fantasy points per minute in 2015 and 1.0 specifically against the Kings).

Shooting Guards

Kyle Anderson, Spurs – In terms of fantasy, Kyle Anderson flopped in the opener against the Warriors but he still played 22 minutes. Sure he only averaged 0.47 fantasy points per minutes during the first game but last year’s sample size suggests this is nothing more than a fluke. In 2015, Anderson averaged exactly 0.80 fantasy points per minute which would equate to 17.60 fantasy points in an average matchup if he were to play 22 minutes again. I think Coach Gregg Popovich benched him for more favorable individual matchups in opener but he should be able to ride Anderson for longer against a porous Nuggets defense. Assuming he plays closer to his efficiency from last season, he should be a viable play on a short slate devoid of eye-popping values (especially at the shooting guard position).

Avery Bradley, Celtics – Normally Avery Bradley is frustrating to roster but he is going to be given all the minutes he can handle in the short term with Marcus Smart sidelined. In game number one, Coach Brad Stevens allotted him 34 minutes and he scored 17 points with nine rebounds and five assists. Admittedly, the individual matchup against Jimmy Butler is not favorable as it could lead to both foul trouble and Butler frustrating him on offense but he should have plenty of opportunity to contribute. Also, it is yet to be determined whether Bradley will draw the matchup against Butler or Dwyane Wade. Either way, all of the Bulls guards turn it over a healthy amount so Bradley should have a bit of a safe floor due to steals and the rest of the stats should come with time.

Small Forwards

Jae Crowder, Celtics – Eventually, Al Horford should emerge as the second option on the offense but Jae Crowder decided the play the part on Wednesday evening. When all said and done, Crowder made 9-15 shots for 21 points and filled up the stat sheet beyond just the points. He is that sort of sneaky contributor against the board and, like Bradley, he too plays a healthy amount of minutes in Coach Brad Stevens’ rotation. In 2015, Crowder produced 0.83 fantasy points per minute which improved upon his career total up until that point. Assuming he continues to see big minutes in this contest (and there is no reason why he would not), he would be on pace for just about 5x value on DraftKings. It is not fantastic but on a short slate it should prove to be enough in cash games.

Evan Turner, Trail Blazers – Quietly, Evan Turner was a huge addition for the Trail Blazers this offseason simply because C.J. McCollum was their only ball-handler other than Damian Lillard on the roster beforehand. Turner gives the offense a different look and eases the defensive attention off of McCollum so he can do what he does best: get open and drain jumpers. The 20.75 fantasy points Turner produced on Tuesday Night may not seem like much but he accomplished it while shooting a brutal 1-7 from the field. In other words, virtually all of his value came from the counting stats. Assuming he shoots better than 14.2-percent against the Clippers, he should be able to build on his first performance.

Power Forwards

Taj Gibson, Bulls – For some strange reason, Coach Fred Hoiberg decided to go with Taj Gibson as the team’s starting power forward in the opener. It is not that Gibson is bad or anything but he is simply a poor fit in the same lineup with the likes of Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez. Literally the only player on the floor with any sort of shooting ability is Jimmy Butler which is unlikely to go well against an elite game-planner such as Brad Stevens. Regardless, Gibson should see a healthy amount of minutes even if he is subbed out early in the first quarter in order for Nikola Mirotic to play more with the starters. Both Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are gone so the frontcourt is less crowded than ever before. For what it is worth, Gibson has produced 0.86 fantasy points per minute over the course of his career and should be slated for 25-30 minutes (assuming he stays out of foul trouble).

Ed Davis, Trail Blazers – Ed Davis is the epitome of lightning in a bottle off the bench as he has nearly averaged 1.0 fantasy points per minute over the course of his entire career. Hell, Davis played 24 minutes on Tuesday, took three whole shots and finished with 18.25 fantasy points. In four meetings against the Clippers last season, he played at least 23 minutes in each including a game with 31 minutes. Amazingly, three of those four meetings resulted in double-doubles and the outlier was a 12-8 performance on Mar. 24. With their current personnel, Davis gives them the size necessary to matchup against the twin towers in the middle for the Clippers. Considering the team still is relying upon the same coach, the strategy is not likely to change much. He is a sneakily attractive option.

Centers

Robin Lopez, Bulls – One of the low-key most impressive performers in the preseason was Robin Lopez; he averaged 8.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.3 steals and 2.3 blocks while shooting 54.2 percent from the field. On Thursday evening, Lopez will draw a matchup against an undersized Amir Johnson so he should be able to have his way with him on the boards. Also, Johnson was the Celtics’ third most blocked player on a per-shot attempt basis last season so Lopez could possess a standard deviation above the normal upside in terms of blocks. At a sub-$10,000 price tag on FantasyDraft, his floor feels much safer than some of the options with similar price tags (Nikola Mirotic for instance).

Mason Plumlee, Trail Blazers – In all four meetings against DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers last season, Plumlee played at least 24 minutes and scored at least 25.00 fantasy points. Beyond Plumlee, this roster is just plain devoid of other pure centers other than Festus Ezeli who is currently injured. Therefore, the team has no choice but to play Plumlee for a solid allotment of minutes against a big-bodied center such as Jordan. Minutes equal production in daily fantasy basketball and the Clippers rated surprisingly poorly in terms of defensive efficiency against centers last season (21st). Plumlee scored double-digit points in every matchup, double-doubled twice and mixed in some defensive stats which was basically the norm for opposing centers against the Clippers. At even cheaper than Lopez, Plumlee is also a high-floor option with a significant amount of upside.

Honorable Mention: Marcin Gortat, Wizards – While he is on the borderline of being a bargain or not, Marcin Gortat actually projects as a nice option in a perceived difficult individual matchup against Dwight Howard. In two meetings against Howard last year, Gortat averaged 31.5 minutes per game and averaged 37.75 fantasy points per game. Although Howard is a solid defender, Gortat is needed to play additional minutes in order to matchup against him. Sure the addition of Ian Mahinmi alleviates the need a bit but Coach Scott Skiles will still likely stick with his best big body against Howard as long as he can.

Good luck everyone and grind on….

If you have any questions you can reach me on Twitter @RSandersDFS or in the FanVice.com premium Slack channel.