NBA Bargains 11/17/16
On tonight’s five game slate, one game stands alone above the pack in terms of projected total (Trail Blazers/Rockets) and one game stands out under the pack in terms of projected total (Bulls/Jazz). Injury situations are going to make or break the slate and determine whether or not the preferred play is to go with the stars and scrubs approach. Let’s jump right into it and go over the bargains who can provide the production necessary to carry a winning roster tonight.
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Note: all fantasy point references are in regards to the scoring system on both DraftKings (DK) and FantasyDraft (FDr)
Goran Dragic, Heat – Okay so he is not a true bargain considering he is priced at $6,000 on DK but there are not many basement-priced options at the position worth using. Sure you could take the shot on T.J. McConnell who has played at least 22 minutes on the second end of each back-to-back set but he does not do a whole lot with his minutes. On the other hand, Goran Dragic went through shootaround this morning so he is looking like he is going to play. While his minutes may be monitored slightly, the dip is factored into his price. When healthy, Dragic is a $7,000-7,500 player on a nightly basis. The team’s opponent, the Bucks, has allowed the ninth highest FG percentage (60.6-percent) at the rim so far this year and nearly 26-percent of Dragic’s shots are coming within five feet of the rim this year…and he is hitting them at a 70-percent clip (or nearly six percentage points better than last year). If he is deemed active, he is worth rostering as a pure price play.
Jerian Grant, Bulls – Both Jerian Grant and Shelvin Mack are coming off of excellent performances in the absence of their team’s starting point guard. No update has been provided on Rajon Rondo but it sounds like George Hill is nearing a return. Therefore, it is more likely Grant has a chance to repeat his standout performance even against a formidable defense. Grant is still only priced at $3,500 and played 30-plus minutes last game so he would likely be in for a similar role if Rondo were to sit. If Rondo is deemed active, spending up for a mid-range or expensive option at the position is the preferred play.
UPDATE: George Hill has been ruled out so Shelvin Mack can be fired up in all formats.
Eric Gordon, Rockets – If there is one game stack to target on Thursday, it is clearly the Trail Blazers/Rockets game which is listed at an over/under of 221 or 10 points more than any other game. The Rockets have taken at least 40 three point attempts (3PA) in three straight games and they are sure to be launching in another uptempo affair. Eric Gordon can be frustrating because he lives and dies with his shooting efficiency on a given night but he should be in for some additional minutes against a Trail Blazers team loaded with guards. Also, he has attempted exactly 12 three pointers in two of his last three games and has not attempted less than seven since Nov. 7 against the Wizards. In other words, there will be plenty of opportunities for him to hit shots.
Rodney McGruder, Heat – Regardless of who draws the start tonight, Rodney McGruder should be in for some extended minutes once again with Justise Winslow already ruled out. Amazingly, McGruder played nearly 37 minutes last game with both Winslow and Dragic deemed inactive but it is not like he came out of nowhere. Prior to the minutes outburst, he had played at least 18 minutes in consecutive games for the Heat. No, he is not the Saturday Night Live character played by Will Forte but he is still only priced at $3,300 and should see enough minutes to at least approach value. Although he is only a 0.60 fantasy point per minute producer for his career, the matchup against a Milwaukee team that ranks 21st in defensive efficiency versus opposing shooting guards could spark his effectiveness a little. (Note: he is only worth using in dire cash game situations)
Trevor Ariza, Rockets – On the second end of back-to-backs last season, Trevor Ariza average 35.8 minutes per game. The greatest selling point for Ariza is always his ridiculous amount of playing time which in tune should lead to production. Much like Gordon, Ariza has done plenty of launching lately as he has attempted at least nine three pointers in three consecutive games and has topped 30 fantasy points in each of those affairs. Only seven teams rate worse in terms of defensive efficiency against small forwards so the matchup so only help his cause. Although James Harden is above and beyond the top option on this team to own, remember his 12-plus assists per game are ending up as production for other players as well.
Evan Turner, Trail Blazers – This is a tournament play only but Evan Turner is only two games removed from a 14-5-5 line against a fast-paced Nuggets team (sixth in pace). While the Rockets rank closer to the middle, this game is still projected as above and beyond the highest scoring game of the night. For his career, Turner averages around 0.84 fantasy points per minute although his total has shrunk a little this year as he is still finding his way on this Trail Blazers team. This is a game where both teams could easily ditch their centers for extended periods and play with three guard lineups (sort of like the Nuggets did). In that case, Turner’s ceiling should stretch far beyond his 17.29 fantasy point per game average so far this year.
Taj Gibson, Bulls – Power forward is a wasteland tonight so it is not crazy to just roster Taj Gibson for the safety he provides even in a less than ideal, slow-paced matchup. Only four teams have allowed fewer opposing rebounds than the Jazz although the absence of Derrick Favors should only help Gibson’s cause. Trey Lyles rates as above average in terms of defensive box plus/minus this year so, again, the matchup is not ideal. The saving grace is Robin Lopez could be virtually cancelled out by Rudy Gobert so Gibson will be needed more on offense than per usual (and on the boards). If starting him, save it for cash games only.
Trey Lyles, Jazz – The safest and most obvious value play of the evening is Trey Lyles of the Jazz. Not only is his situation solidified because Derrick Favors will definitely miss tonight’s game but he is only priced at $4,100 on DK. The matchup against Taj Gibson is not exactly favorable on paper but Lyles is not a true post player. Last game alone, he attempted six three pointers, dished out a few assists and racked up a few steals. Sort of like the aforementioned Evan Turner, he possesses more of an all-around game than one built on solely scoring. The pace is not great and the Bulls do not allow many rebounds, but assuming he plays around 32-plus minutes like he did last game, he should find a way to hit his value threshold.
UPDATE: With Nene ruled out, Montrezl Harrell gains some value and could see close to 20 minutes off the bench at minimum price. On this slate, you could do worse.
Clint Capela, Rockets – Nene Hilario will miss tonight’s contest which means the recently en fuego Clint Capela could be in for a slight minutes increase. He does not play that many to begin with (averaging 23.7 this season) and yet he has double-doubled in two of his last three games and produced at least 30.50 fantasy points in each of those contests. Only the Bulls rate worse in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing centers and Plumlee does not possess the athleticism to give Capela fits. In a game where the Rockets will be playing up in pace against a team allowing the most rebounds to their opponents, Capela makes all the sense in the world as a value play.
John Henson, Bucks – Since Coach Jason Kidd seems to be working John Henson into the rotation as of late, there seems like a good possibility he could play an extra few minutes tonight against Hassan Whiteside. The strength of Whiteside is his ability to dominate the offensive glass and Greg Monroe can get lazy at times. Basically, Henson gives the team the best chance of competing on the boards and he has been flirting with 20 minutes over the last three games anyways. Unlike some of the inefficient players mentioned earlier, Henson averages more than 1.0 fantasy points per minute over his career so it should not take him long to rack up the fantasy points. While he feels risky, his floor might be hitting 4x value with a ceiling far exceeding that number.
Good luck everyone and grind on….
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