NBA Bargains 2/23/17

With the trade deadline looming prior to the start of tonight’s slate, values could emerge at any moment if one of the teams scheduled to play tonight pulls the trigger on a deal. With that being said, tonight feels like an ideal stars/scrubs slate due to all the Kings values and sporadic other players in excellent spots sprinkled in. Moreover, there are plenty of superstars in fantastic spots including LeBron James (without Kevin Love), James Harden, Blake Griffin and Nikola Jokic (to just name a few). Since all of those guys are worthy of rostering, and there is no shortage of upper-echelon values, this should prove to be a high scoring slate…aka just what the doctor ordered out of the All-Star Break! 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)

Ty Lawson, Kings – Facing a team that ranks dead last in defensive efficiency versus opposing backcourts, the Kings’ collection of guards are certainly in play. Now, with about 100 of them on the roster, the question becomes “which ones?” A little bit of guess work is going to be necessary in the Kings first game with all sorts of new pieces but Ty Lawson should still be in line for a fair amount of playing time. So far this month, Lawson has averaged 24.2 minutes per game (MPG) after averaging 24.1 in the month of January. With Tyreke Evans in the mix, this leaves the team with three players truly capable of handling the ball and Darren Collison was drastically overworked prior to the All-Star Break (36-plus minutes in five of his last six games). Therefore, Lawson should be in line for around 24 minutes, even with a more concentrated backcourt, against one of the league’s worst defenses versus the position. He is not the top priority on the team but he certainly rates as a viable punt (especially in tournaments).

E’Twaun Moore, Pelicans – If looking for a safer option than Lawson at the PG position (on DK), E’Twaun Moore is your man as he is literally the only SG on the Pelicans’ roster. The position he qualifies for on DFS sites does not matter because the minutes should be aplenty with both Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway shipped out of town. Minutes equal fantasy production in daily fantasy basketball and Moore has personified that exact fact: he has produced at least 20.50 fantasy points in all games he has played 30-plus minutes and has averaged 26.97 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in those eight contests. Squaring off against James Harden leads to a foul trouble risk but the Rockets are allowing 108.0 points per game (PPG) this season and rate about neutral (14th in defensive efficiency) against opposing SGs. Although Moore’s upside is a bit limited playing alongside usage hogs such as Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday, he still should prove to be a safe cash game option.

Shooting Guards (SGs)

Buddy Hield, Kings – Apparently the Kings’ owner believes Buddy Hield has Stephen Curry upside so it is no wonder he traded DeMarcus Cousins in order to acquire the rookie SG. Since the organization absolutely loves this kid, and now the team is doomed to suck for a long time to come, what reason would they have to not play their young stud for an extended number of minutes? Without a Holiday or Davis on the roster, his usage rate (USG%) should increase rather significantly beyond his 20.6-percent total during his tenure with the Pelicans. In fact, it appears the team believes he will become the focus of the offense…and he is facing just about the best matchup possible. Gary Harris’ defense is overrated and the Nuggets have allowed 115.1 PPG over their last 10 games (most in NBA) so there should be plenty of opportunity to score. Getting ahead of the pack can be a winning strategy and this may literally be the only opportunity because Hield could emerge as one of the top options on their offense over the second half of the season.

Tyreke Evans, Kings – Something tells me a Kings stack could win all the bucks tonight because most of the team is underpriced and yet the team is implied to score 106.8 points in a game with a 220.5 over/under. The team announced Tyreke Evans will remain on his 27 minute limit but that is actually as many minutes as he has played in any game since Jan. 14. With a crowded backcourt on the Kings, odds were Evans was not going to play more than 27 minutes anyways. This season, Evans is averaging a career-best 1.13 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) so 27 minutes would equate to 30.51 fantasy points. To this point, the Nuggets rank 26th in defensive efficiency versus the SF position including the fourth most PPG to the position. Evans is a ball-dominant wing who takes over an offense by accident due to his natural tendencies so he could very easily lead the team in USG% the rest of the way. Since he is still vastly underpriced, there is plenty of profit potential to be had in any and all formats at his reasonable price tag.

Small Forwards (SFs)

Aaron Gordon, Magic – The trade of Serge Ibaka opened up an extended role for a few players on the Magic. In 2015-16, Aaron Gordon averaged over 12 PPG, 10 rebounds per game (RPG) and 0.8 blocks per game (BPG) when he played 30-plus minutes. Overall, the Trail Blazers rank 27th in defensive efficiency versus PFs although that number has been on the rise with Al-Farouq Aminu healthy. Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, Aminu has already been ruled out tonight so some combination of Noah Vonleh and Ed Davis will be tasked with slowing down Gordon’s athleticism. Only Bismack Biyombo, Nikola Vucevic and Serge Ibaka had run more cuts than Gordon on the Magic and the Trail Blazers allow cuts on offense at the fifth highest frequency. In other words, if the PGs are able to find Gordon, there should be plenty of dunks coming from him in this contest.

Jeff Green, Magic – Assuming Jeff Green is not traded prior to Thursday night’s game, he should draw the start at SF and look to build on the season-high 35 minutes he played against the Spurs. Instead of facing off against Kawhi Leonard, Green will instead face a Trail Blazers team that ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency to the position. As a starter this season, Green has averaged an 18.2 USG% but that number has increased to 23.2 with Ibaka off the court. The fact Green only managed 20.75 fantasy points in the last game should help depreciate his ownership but he actually is a safe bet to take a mid-teens amount of shot attempts. If he shoots at just about an average rate, he should have no problem exceeding value at just $3,700 on DK and $7,300 on FDr.

Power Forwards (PFs)

Channing Frye, Cavaliers – Channing Frye’s price tag continues to rise at rapid levels so he can only be deployed in tournaments at this point. Just a few games ago, Frye personified the type of exceptional upside he possesses in the absence of Kevin Love: he made 7-15 shots including 4-11 shots from beyond the arc and complemented the solid shooting with 10 rebounds (REB). On paper, this matchup is not incredibly favorable as Kristaps Porzingis possesses the ability to step out on shooters. Still, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving create Frye’s shots so almost all of his shot attempts prove to be open looks with this roster construction. If he gets hot, he has the ability to go off in any given game. If he is not hitting from deep, he also can single-handedly ruin a lineup. Deploy him at your own risk.

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kings – As noted in the Hield tidbit, the Kings should turn to their youngsters in the coming months and the transition could start as early as Thursday’s tilt against the Nuggets. In two games without DeMarcus Cousins this season, Willie Cauley-Stein has averaged more FPPG than Kosta Koufos (27.2-24.8) despite playing nearly three fewer MPG (23.3 to Koufos’ 26.1). To be fair, Koufos left the team’s last contest without Cousins due to a finger injury so he played zero minutes in the fourth quarter. In order to combat Nikola Jokic’s combination of size and athleticism, Cauley-Stein is the better fit as a defender anyways as Koufos is not exactly quick on his feet. Additionally, Koufos has been mentioned in trade rumors as of late so there is a chance he is moved before the deadline. If so, Cauley-Stein becomes an absolute must-start, which he probably is regardless of Koufos’ status.

Centers (Cs)

Guillermo Hernangomez, Knicks – Thankfully for Guillermo Hernangomez fans, Joakim Noah has already been ruled out so Hernangomez will start the fourth game of his career. Over the course of his three starts, Hernangomez has averaged 11.7 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 2.0 assists per game (APG), 1.7 steals per game (SPG) and 1.0 blocks per game (BPG) en route to 33.6 FPPG. To his credit, he has not sunk below 29.75 fantasy points in any of those starts and he has topped out at 39.50. Hernangomez is pretty easily the best C on the Knicks roster at this point and his per-36 numbers resemble the likes of Jonas Valanciunas and Rudy Gobert (minus Gobert’s outrageous block totals). Some will shy away because of the individual matchup against Tristan Thompson but Hernangomez is simply too cheap still for around 30 minutes of him filling up the box score.

Kosta Koufos, Kings – Prior to the break, Kosta Koufos would have been a no-brainer with Cousins inactive but the matchup and current direction of the team muddy those waters a bit. First of all, the Nuggets like to play small and the Kings’ roster now consists of at least seven guards who should see the court at some point. Even so, the Nuggets’ acquisition of Mason Plumlee should assure a true C should be on the court at all times for Koufos’ opponent so he will be needed to match up at times. He is the lower priority of the Kings big men but he still has averaged nearly 25 FPPG without Cousins and he is priced below $7,000 on FDr. At that price tag, he only needs 20.7 fantasy points for 3.0x value which is well within reach.

Good luck everyone and grind on….

If you have any questions you can reach me on Twitter @RSandersDFS or in the premium Slack channel.