NBA Bargains –1/5/17
Value is few and far between tonight so we are going to have to get creative. Basically, a balanced approach looks like the way to go tonight as of mid-day even though we clearly want to fit one of either Russell Westbrook and/or James Harden into our lineups. If so, we are going to have to take risks. So without further ado, let’s get to work…
Note: all fantasy point references are in regards to the scoring system on both DraftKings (DK) and FantasyDraft (FDr) which are the exact same other than triple-double bonus
Point Guards (PGs)
D’Angelo Russell, Lakers – Okay so D’Angelo Russell is a little more expensive than the typical bargain but he is simply priced too cheaply in an elite matchup against the Trail Blazers backcourt. Damian Lillard has legitimately graded as the team’s worst defender in terms of defensive box plus/minus (DBPM) and even his defensive win shares rank lowest amongst the starters this season. Playing time has been the only issue for Russell this year as he usually produces when given the minutes. Well, over his last three games he has played at least 30 minutes in each and unsurprisingly topped 30 fantasy points in each as well. If he plays big minutes in this game, the sky is the ceiling.
Emmanuel Mudiay, Nuggets – Nothing about this matchup screams “must-play” but the price tag on DK has dropped to a level where he is worth a shot. Today, Emmanuel Mudiay will only cost those looking to roster him $4,300. At this price tag, Mudiay has topped 5x value in two of his last four games and has plenty of games this month where he has flirted with 10x value. Assuming Danilo Gallinari is locked down by Kawhi Leonard, the offense is going to have to run through someone else. It should be noted Mudiay dropped 39 fantasy points in his last game versus the Spurs so he has the potential to crush value even against a slow-paced, solid defensive team.
Shooting Guards (SGs)
Seth Curry, Mavericks – Against the Suns, nearly every role player is viable as the team has a propensity to allow outlier fantasy performances but Seth Curry remains too cheap for his consistency. Although he comes off the bench, Curry has topped 20 DK fantasy points in five of his last six games and now he is priced at $4,300 against a Suns team that plays at the second fastest pace in the league. Deron Williams has been sick lately so there is a potential for more upside if the team decides to limit his minutes against a pretty miserable opponent. All-in-all, Curry is one of the safest bargain plays on the entire slate.
Buddy Hield, Pelicans – For the month of December, Buddy Hield was crowned the Western Conference player of the month as he appears to be developing quickly for a rookie. After playing just 17.7 minutes per game (MPG) in October and 16.5 MPG in November, Coach Alvin Gentry cranked his minutes all the way up to 22.3 in December. Lately, he has been playing even more and he now has topped double-digit points in four consecutive games and eight out of his last 10. Hield is coming off a game in which he played 35 minutes and scored 20 points so the return of Tyreke Evans has not even affected him much either. Jrue Holiday draws the better individual matchup of the two (likely) starting guards but Hield still possesses enough scoring potential to come through in GPPs.
Small Forwards (SFs)
Jerami Grant, Thunder – Jerami Grant is one of the cheapest ways to gain exposure to the highest scoring affair of the night. Minutes equal production in daily fantasy basketball and Grant has topped 27 minutes in each of his last two games. Although he is one of the least efficient players in the league, the pace of this game may be the perfect elixir for a 6x performance from Grant. He is better suited for cash games if punting the position but it should be noted Grant has topped 6x value at this price three times in his last 10 games and they were all against opponents who play at a reasonably quick pace.
Caris LeVert, Nets – Are you feeling lucky punk? Well, are you? If so, Caris LeVert is the equivalent of a lottery ticket tonight as he could see some extended run with both Jeremy Lin and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ruled out of tonight’s contest. Although he is priced at the bare minimum on DK, he has played at least 14 minutes in each of his last three games including 20-plus minutes in two of the three. Additionally, the Pacers play at the 10th fastest pace so the tempo of this game is the only one that could potentially rival Thunder/Rockets. While production is no sure thing whatsoever even while he is on the court, LeVert should play a fair amount tonight. If that is a risk you are willing to take, go ahead and pull the trigger.
Power Forwards (PFs)
Derrick Favors, Jazz – Ever since returning from a knee injury, Derrick Favors’ minutes have been trending upward. In fact, last game he played 29 minutes which was his highest minute allotment since Nov. 11 (pre-injury). Assuming this is the new norm for Favors, he is simply priced way too cheaply especially versus a Raptors team that ranks 28th in defensive efficiency. He is nearly a 1.0 fantasy point per minute (FPPM) producer so 30 minutes should equate to around 30 fantasy points in an average matchup…and this matchup is above average.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks – Speaking of players with minutes trending upwards, the 38 year old Dirk Nowitzki racked up the most minutes he has seen in a quite a while last game as well. Nowitzki returned from a strained Achilles on Dec. 23 and initially was seeing minutes in the mid-teens. Over the course of the last two games, he has played 23 and 24 minutes respectively and that number should only rise as we move forward. Considering his price tag still sits at $4,400 on DK, there is still plenty of room for profit potential here especially against a porous Suns defense that ranks 23rd in overall defensive efficiency.
Montrezl Harrell, Rockets – In a game with by far the highest over/under of the night, clearly there are a healthy number of players worth targeting…beginning with Montrezl Harrell. The matchup would actually significantly improve for him if he were to come off the bench as opposed to start as he would then see an individual matchup against Enes Kanter instead of Steven Adams. Having said that, Harrell has started each of the team’s last two ballgames so that scenario is unlikely. Either way though, there should be additional opportunities for points/rebounds/blocks in a game between two of the league’s faster-paced squads. Over the course of Harrell’s last five games, he has averaged 15.4 points per game (PPG), 4.2 rebounds per game (RPG), 2.0 assists per game (APG) and 1.2 blocks per game (BPG) en route to 26.1 DK FPPG.
Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors – Admittedly, Jonas Valanciunas has been a frustrating player to roster this season due to extremely volatile production. Not only has Valanciunas failed to reach 22 fantasy points in three of his last four games but he has only played 30-plus minutes twice in his last 15 games. Tonight, however, the price is down and the matchup dictates he should be forced into some additional minutes. With the team facing a Jazz squad that possesses a pair of twin towers, Valanciunas’ size will be necessary on the court for extended stretches. Sure the individual matchup against Rudy Gobert is quite unfavorable but the minutes and diminished price tag ($4,500) alleviate most of the matchup concerns. If feeling lucky in tournaments, Valanciunas makes for an interesting option.
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.