NBA Bargains 11/03/16

In accordance with most Thursday nights in the NBA, there are not exactly a plethora of games on the slate. Still, none are projected below 200 points total and every team other than the Magic are at least flirting with a 100 point implied total. Clearly the last game of the night stands out because of the high total but the Nuggets/Timberwolves game is awfully enticing as well. In order to fit the main pieces from those contests, values are going to be necessary. Let’s get to work:

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Point Guards

Kris Dunn, Timberwolves – Last game, Kris Dunn took over the starting point guard duties for the injured Ricky Rubio and the results were pretty solid; he produced a 16.4-percent usage rate, scored 10 points (PTS), grabbed four rebounds (REB), dished out six assists (AST), stole five passes (STL) and even hit two three-pointers (3PM). Now, the matchup even improves against a Nuggets team allowing 107.3 points per game (PPG) and they are ranked 25th in defensive efficiency versus opposing point guards (PGs) last season. The price went up a bit but is still affordable at a sub-$5,000 tag on DraftKings.

Jameer Nelson, Nuggets – As the team’s backup PG, Jameer Nelson is averaging 19.0 minutes per game (MPG) this season and 15.5 DraftKings points per game. Since he is listed at the absolute minimum price, he only needs to reach 18.0 fantasy points for 6.0x value, or enough to put a DFS team on pace for 300 points. In a limited sample size, the aforementioned Dunn is shaping up to be a solid defender but Nelson is likely to see more minutes against the Timberwolves’ backup: Tyus Jones. In one-plus season in the NBA, Jones has produced a 110 defensive rating and -2.0 defensive box plus-minus tally, meaning he is not a great defender. If Nelson enjoys a little bit of variance, he can easily sneak over the necessary value mark.

Shooting Guards

Zach LaVine, Timberwolves – Probably the best play on the entire slate tonight is Zach LaVine whose usage rate kicked up to a ridiculous 34.3-percent last game sans Rubio. When all said and done, LaVine scored 31 PTS in 20.2 minutes on 18 field goal attempts. Through three games, Denver ranks 27th in defensive efficiency against opposing shooting guards (SGs) after ranking 26th in the category last season. Considering the team’s similar personnel, there is no reason to believe the Nuggets are going to turn around their backcourt defense any time soon. Therefore, LaVine should expected to go nuts once again.

J.R. Smith, Cavaliers – Some may look at this matchup and think “I should not play J.R. Smith because he is a shooting guard and will be guarded by Avery Bradley,” but that is not necessarily true. Most of the time, Bradley is asked to guard an opposing team’s point guard and that should be the case tonight. Smith averaged 5.4x value on DraftKings and 2.85x value on FantasyDraft against the Celtics in 2015 at this price tag. Also, Smith did his best work season on exactly one days rest: 31.6 minutes per game, 44.7-percent shooting, 14.5 points per game, and 1.2 steals per game (all superseded his totals for any other amount of rest) for what that is worth. With minutes solidified and him able to dodge the matchup against Bradley, Smith should be able to find a way to justify his price tag.

Small Forwards

Wilson Chandler, Nuggets – After spraining his ankle on Monday, Will Barton has already been ruled out of Thursdays’ game against the Timberwolves. This leaves at least a few extra minutes available for Wilson Chandler who played a season-high 31 minutes last game after Barton was forced to leave. Now Chandler has not exactly been efficient in his minutes to this point, at least on a fantasy point producing basis, but this is a more talented player than his numbers show so far. For his career, Chandler is a 0.71 fantasy point per minute producer or about 21.4 fantasy points per 30 minutes (which is how many minutes he is averaging so far). To this point, Minnesota has ranked second to last in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing small forwards, so Chandler has the opportunity to extend his production an additional standard deviation or two in this matchup.

Tony Snell, Bucks – Yet again, Tony Snell has found himself a coach who loves him and decides he is worthy of extended minutes. This is great for his fantasy prospects at just $3,400 on DraftKings but annoying for players like Mirza Teletovic who should be playing more than him. Anyways, Snell actually doubled-doubled in his last game against the Pelicans in 33 minutes. Unlike his tenure with the Bulls, Snell is absolutely needed on this team because the starting unit is extremely lacking in terms of long range shooters. At near minimum, it is hard to make a strong case against taking Snell assuming he pushes the 30 minutes mark once again.

Power Forwards

Amir Johnson, Celtics – Al Horford is slated to miss tonight’s contest so Amir Johnson should step into an extended role for the second consecutive game. If the starting lineup is identical to yesterday, Johnson should start at power forward and draw an individual matchup against Kevin Love. This may limit his defensive rebounding opportunities due to having to guard Love further away from the basket than, say, Tristan Thompson. Also, it may limit his block potential facing a jump shooter as opposed to sticking in the lane and acting as a help defender more often. Still, this is not all bad, because Love is not the most physical of defenders and Johnson did play a whopping 30 minutes last night. In 2015, he averaged 27.2 minutes on the second half of a back-to-back without Tyler Zeller which is somewhat similar to being without their starting center in this instance. Over the course of his career, he has produced 0.82 fantasy points per minute so he should be able to come through at his $3,900 DraftKings price tag if Coach Brad Stevens allots him the minutes.

Jonas Jerebko, Celtics – A player set to enjoy some additional run in the short term is Jonas Jerebko because Jae Crowder will miss at least a week with an ankle sprain. Jerebko is literally listed at the bare minimum on both DraftKings and FantasyDraft so it is not like you need much out of him. In 22 minutes last night, Jerebko exceed 6.0x value at this price tag and finished with 18.50 fantasy points while only scoring six actual points. With no one else there to fill the void, Jerebko makes a ton of sense as a pure punt to fit all the stars.

Centers

Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers – Sans Al Horford, this Celtics frontcourt is pretty much garbage and should be unable to compete with Tristan Thompson on the boards. Sure Thompson is a volatile commodity but he can win tournaments when he is on. In two of his three meetings against Boston last season, Thompson grabbed nine boards or more and he did so the fire time in only 22 minutes. This is a tournament play only but Thompson has started the season on a tear, having grabbed at least 10 boards in three consecutive games. Last year, only four teams allowed more rebounds to opposing frontcourts than the Celtics (34.6 per game) so there is certainly upside here.

Kosta Koufos, Kings – Yesterday, it was unclear how Kosta Koufos who fare in a matchup against a Heat team that often goes small alongside Hassan Whiteside and yet he still played 25 minutes and exceeded 6.0x value on DraftKings. The same applies for Thursday night against the Magic except the concern is whether he can compete with Serge Ibaka’s athleticism. Worst comes to worst, Koufos just backs up Cousins and still sees a healthy allotment of minutes. After a productive night last night, his price tag only rose $300 on DraftKings so he could be worth a shot.

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.