NBA Bargains – 12/08/2016

The bargains article is a bit difficult to write early for tonight because Warriors Coach Steve Kerr has inferred he will sit guys tonight but has not specified which. Without knowing, it is difficult to pinpoint the actual targets so the focus of this article will be on other bargains and the Warriors fill-ins can be added to lineups later if necessary. Without further ado, let’s get to work…

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Note: all fantasy point references are in regards to the scoring system on both DraftKings (DK) and FantasyDraft (FDr)

Point Guards (PGs)

Shelvin Mack, Jazz – Only the Suns and Nets have played at a faster pace than the Warriors to this point so clearly all of the Jazz players are going to enjoy an uptick in pace. Technically any opponent is an uptick in pace for them since the Jazz rank dead last but this even takes it to an extreme. Sans George Hill, Mack has quietly posted 22 fantasy points or more in three of his last four games and has played at least 26 minutes in every game during that stretch. Especially over the last two games, the team seems to be fully committing to playing Mack extended minutes because he has played 30 minutes each game (despite usage rates of 18.2-percent and 17.3-percent respectively). Part of the reason for his extended minutes is the fact the teams have been playing other fast-paced opponents so the data pretty much shows how Coach Quin Snyder likes to use his rotation to compete with the pace. Unless the Jazz get absolutely blown out, and the Warriors resting players would help alleviate some of those concerns, Mack should easily produce at least 5x value at a $4,100 cost on DK/$8,000 cost on FDr. UPDATE: Gordon Hayward is out so the Jazz may have a more difficult time keeping this game close than originally thought

Langston Galloway, Pelicans – Jrue Holiday apparently is feeling better over the last 48 hours since the team’s last game but his status is still unclear. If he were to sit, the masses may fluctuate to an overpriced Tim Frazier but Langston Galloway is the vastly superior value. Although the game went to double overtime (OT) on Monday, Galloway played just 8:34 minutes in OT, meaning his other 27:56 minutes played came in regulation. Meanwhile, Frazier played 38:80 total between regulation and OT and Galloway still outscored him in terms of fantasy points. Now, tonight’s matchup is a little more conducive to Frazier’s style (against the 76ers) but Galloway has topped 6x value at his current DK price ($3,800) each of the last four games in which Holiday has sat.

If Stephen Curry sits, Shaun Livingston emerges as a nice bargain.

Shooting Guards (SGs)

Tony Allen, Grizzlies – The phrase “offensive juggernaut” does not apply to Tony Allen in any way, shape or form but yet he has been a steady fantasy contributor over the past few weeks. Yes, the team still needs big minutes out of him because he is such a lock down defender and minutes equal fantasy production in daily fantasy basketball. Allen has only played less than 24 minutes in a game once since Nov. 25 and he still managed 19 fantasy points in that contest. Tonight, the Grizzlies will square off against a Trail Blazers team that possesses two fantastic guards so Allen will inevitably be called upon again for big minutes in order to shut them down. Allen is nothing if not consistent as he has averaged between 27.15 and 32.52 DK fantasy points per-36 minutes in every season since 2008 and he currently sits at 28.88 so far this year. In other words, if he were to continue to average 28.4 minutes per game (MPG) like he has over his last eight games, an average performance would result in 22.8 fantasy points. At just $4,300 on DK, this equates to 5.3x value.

Terrence Ross, Raptors – Teammate DeMarre Carroll has still not been cleared for back-to-backs just yet so he will either sit out tonight’s game versus the Wolves or Friday against the Celtics. If it so happens he sits out tonight, Terrence Ross’ role has been on the rise over the course of the past two games. Saying Ross is volatile probably underrates just how sporadic his production has been so far this season. Looking at a graph of his usage rates on a game-by-game without Carroll helps display his level of instability:

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The last two look good in terms of usage but he could always end up playing fourth fiddle to Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas. The good news is the Timberwolves rank in the bottom 11 of defensive efficiency to both SGs and SFs and the Raptors are implied to score the second most points (111.3) of any team on the slate. If the team reaches 111, it is very likely Ross contributes, although it should be noted he has scored 29 points on just 17 shots over the course of his last two games and has averaged just 20 MPG during that span. He has some nice upside, especially at his price tag ($3,700 on DK), but he is best reserved for tournaments.

If Klay Thompson sits, Ian Clark emerges as a nice bargain.

Small Forwards (SFs)

Maurice Harkless, Trail Blazers – If you have been Harkless-less in your lineups recently, you need to Harkless more (see what I did there?). Yes, Maurice Harkless has topped 27 DK fantasy points in eight consecutive games and has played at least 29 minutes in every game during that stretch. The team is committing to an extended role for him and he has been delivering so there is no reason to think the train stops tonight. The aforementioned Allen likely slides over and guards one of the guards so at least there is that silver lining in a matchup against a Grizzlies team only allowing 98.0 points per game (PPG). This will be Harkless’ toughest task of the recent stretch but he posted solid games against the Bulls and Heat (who allowed fewer PPG than the Grizzlies) so there should be nothing to worry about. Harkless is a safe option at a difficult position to fill tonight (especially if Durant sits).

Joe Johnson, Jazz – Joe Johnson is a strange case because he has played at least 26 minutes in three of his last five games and the other two games he only managed 19 minutes or fewer. Naturally, the games he played less resulted in fantasy flops and now his price has risen to the second highest level it has been since Nov. 9. Clearly, the pricing algorithm is factoring in an uptempo game against the Warriors but there are a wild array of potential outcomes. If Johnson can find himself 10 field goal attempts, the same number of attempts he took last game, then he will have a solid chance to hit cash game value. If not, well, he could easily flop at the inflated price. If looking for a punt at the position, he is the definition of a GPP play in this setup. UPDATE: Gordon Hayward has been ruled out so now Joe Johnson becomes a more stable asset. He should be locked into big minutes and a larger role in the offense. In fact, Joe Ingles emerges as a solid option as well although the Jazz are going to have a hard time keeping this game close.

If Kevin Durant sits, Andre Iguodala emerges as a nice bargain.

Power Forwards (PFs)

Zach Randolph, Grizzlies – We have all heard of “narrative street” but the remainder of Zach Randolph’s 2016 season is a bit of a narrative now because he says he is dedicating all his double-doubles to his recently departed mother. In his first game back, Randolph posted a 12, 14 double-double against the 76ers. He clearly is playing motivated right now and, more importantly, he is coming off the bench and leading a second unit that was in dire need of a scorer other than Troy Daniels. With him dominating the usage (and boards) during his time on the court, Randolph has the potential to be a fantasy beast in any given matchup. Now factor in opponents average 45.7 rebounds per game against the Trail Blazers (seventh most in the NBA) and Randolph should be a near lock for another double-double tonight at just $5,300.

Ed Davis, Trail Blazers – Okay so Ed Davis only qualifies as a C on DK but he is listed as a PF on FanDuel (FD). Regardless, Davis had produced at least 16.5 fantasy points in three consecutive games until his flop last game against the Bucks. He has been routinely starting since the month of December began which helps solidify his floor some. Against Marc Gasol, his floor should be solidified as well mostly because Mason Plumlee has been dominated by the big fella in nearly every single one of their meetings. Last year, Plumlee scored 29.5 fantasy points against him in the first meeting and then produced just 20.25, 10.25 and 13.5 fantasy points in the remaining three games respectively. Meanwhile, Davis eclipsed 21 fantasy points in three of the four meetings and is just a more physical big man. Coach Terry Stotts clearly likes something about the individual matchup so Davis is in a great spot to vastly exceed value ($3,300 on DK) tonight.

If Draymond Green sits, Andre Iguodala probably still emerges as the bargain to roster on the Warriors.

Centers (Cs)

Pau Gasol, Spurs – When Pau Gasol plays, he is still reasonably effective even though he is producing his lowest FPPM total (1.08) since 2012. Against his former team, one would think Coach Gregg Popovich would at least allow him the opportunity for his revenge. Gasol has played 30-plus minutes just once in his last nine games but he also he played less than 27 minutes just thrice over that span as well. With Robin Lopez manning the middle, the Bulls still rank in the bottom nine in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing Cs. Although the Bulls rank second in rebounding differential, Gasol is averaging a four year low in terms of rebounding per minute as well. If Gasol plays a reasonable allotment of minutes and score, he will make his fantasy owners happy. Assuming Popovich gets stingy his minutes and/or he is not shooting well, he is a risky proposition. Gasol is a low floor, high ceiling option against his own team and is not a recommended play in cash games.

Robin Lopez, Bulls – On the other side of the matchup, Robin Lopez is a recommended play for cash games because he sees extended run in close matchups. With the Spurs roster full of big bodies, Lopez can be deployed against both the first and second units if necessary. There will be very little small ball played in this one so the fear of Lopez playing 23 minutes like he did against the 76ers on Nov. 25 is non-existent. The Spurs are quite obviously a tough matchup but not as tough as past years against opposing Cs (Gasol is clearly a downgrade defensively from Tim Duncan). Lopez averages 0.91 fantasy points per minute which would equate to around 27 fantasy points in 30 minutes and he has played 32-plus minutes in back-to-back games. Even accounting for a likely drop in efficiency against a stout defense, he should still easily exceed 5x value (22.5 fantasy points) in virtually all outcomes.

If Zaza Pachulia sits, JaVale McGee emerges as a nice bargain.

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.