NBA Bargains –12/21/16

We reach mid-week with a nice eight-game NBA slate and some bargain plays that can open up some salary relief in order to fit in some of the high-end expensive players in good spots. Let’s jump right into it and go over some of tonight’s bargains.

POINT GUARD

Patrick Beverley – Beverley struggled last night, but that was against the Spurs who are a stingy defense. Tonight he faces off against the Suns who are giving up the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards and are bottom 10 in defense efficiency. In addition, they play at the second fastest pace in the league, creating more touch opportunities to opposing players. Beverley is not a huge scorer, but his peripheral stats help his bottom line.

Ricky Rubio – Rubio has played at least 32 minutes in four consecutive games and has topped 30 fantasy points in three straight. During that stretch, he is averaging 8.5 points, 8.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game. Tonight he faces off against Atlanta in a game that should be up in pace and versus a defense that is yielding the most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. They are giving up 25.8 points, 9.5 assists, and 7.1 rebounds per game to the position. He is heating up and is one of the few players at this price range with triple-double upside.

SHOOTING GUARDS

DeAndre Liggins – With J.R. Smith out for tonight’s contest, Liggins is set to get the start and should see an increased role. The last six times that he has played at least 20 minutes, he is averaging 5.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and over 15 fantasy points per game. He is bare minimum on most sites and should play upwards of 24 minutes, putting him in a decent situation for a good return on investment.

Eric Gordon – Gordon had an off shooting night in yesterday’s game against the Spurs, but that was to be expected as they play good defense. That being said, he is in a great spot for a bounce back game against the Suns who are giving up the second most points (24.1) and fifth most three-pointers (3.1) per game to opposing shooting guards. Prior to last night’s game, Gordon had topped 27 fantasy points in three straight games, including two 30+ fantasy point outings. This should be an up-tempo contest with plenty of scoring opportunities, putting Gordon in a favorable situation.

SMALL FORWARD

Trevor Ariza – It is pretty clear that the Suns have a poor defense as I am targeting several players against them. Opposing small forwards are averaging 38.5 fantasy points per game against Phoenix which is seventh most allowed by a team. Ariza averages 33.3 minutes per game and has topped 30 fantasy points in three of the last four games (DraftKings scoring). Going back to last season, in his last four games against the Suns, Ariza has topped 40 fantasy points three times and has not scored fewer than 36 fantasy points. This should be an up in pace game that should provide Ariza with some extra touches.

POWER FORWARD

Jon Leuer – Leuer returned from a one game absence on Monday and played 21 minutes, scoring 16 points and grabbing five rebounds, which was good for over 22 fantasy points. In the last three games, he has averaged 17.3 points and 5.7 rebounds, playing over 30 minutes and topping 30 fantasy points twice during that stretch. This is not an ideal matchup, but considering his price and his recent performances, he should be able to pay off his salary and some. He is under $5,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Taj Gibson – If you are looking at the game logs and are concerned about the minutes in recent games, do not be. He left one game early due to a hip contusion and the other two contests were blowouts, so he hit the bench earlier than he normally would. Tonight, he faces a Washington team that is giving up 42.9 rebounds per game with a -1.0 differential. The Wizards are yielding the ninth most fantasy points and third most real points per game to opposing power forwards. Gibson topped 23 fantasy points in their last minutes, playing 28 minutes. Vegas has this game at a four point spread, so it should stay close and Gibson should play his regular minutes, making him an enticing option under $5,000 on DraftKings and just $5,100 on FanDuel.

CENTER 

Robin Lopez – Lopez had a dominant performance last time against the Wizards, scoring 10 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and blocking two shots. That performance was good for over 30 fantasy points. The Wizards have been vulnerable top opposing centers, allowing the ninth most points and eighth most rebounds per game to the position. Lopez is not going to light up the stat sheet, but he has double-double upside and should block some shots, and at this price point, that should be good enough to pay off his salary.

Steven Adams – Adams has played over 28 minutes in three straight games and that has converted into fantasy points. Tonight he has a good matchup as against the Pelicans who are giving up the most rebounds per game (48.6) with a -3.9 differential. They are also yielding the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing centers and the most in the last 10 games, as well as, 16.8 rebounds per game to the position (most in the league). So long as the minutes stay consistent, Adams should outperform his salary.

Enes Kanter – Much like Adams, the matchup is elite for Kanter, but the difference is that he is not playing heavy minutes. However, he is averaging over a fantasy point per minutes and comes at nearly $1,000 less than Adams on some sites. In their last contest, he played 29.5 minutes and topped 30 fantasy points. It is unlikely he plays those types of minutes tonight, but if he gets 16-18 minutes he has the potential to exceed value at a very low price point and makes for an enticing tournament play.

Note: It is always wise to keep an eye out for injury news later in the day as this could open up immense value at some positions. Usually the last hour before lock is filled with news that can be very helpful.