NBA Bargains 2/9/17

NBA Bargains 2/9/17

Coach Tyronn Lue says he “probably” is going to rest his big three for a game on National TV tonight but Coach Gregg Popovich has been fined “bigly” for doing the exact same thing previously. In other words, he could easily change his mind prior to tip in order to avoid a potential fine. However, now the article has no choice but to focus on the potential plays in the absence of all the Cavaliers superstars so there could potentially be a crazy amount of value tonight. 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)

Yogi Ferrell, Mavericks – Yet again, Deron Williams is listed as doubtful tonight with the team slated to square off against the Jazz at home. Since Ferrell joined the Jazz, he has yet to play fewer than 35 minutes in any game and the sample size has now risen to six games. The team simply does not trust Devin Harris to run the point for very long as the Mavericks kept adding guys off the street to start instead of just handing the reigns toe the player already on their roster. There is nothing incredibly enticing about the matchup against the Jazz but Ferrell has topped 30 fantasy points four times in those six games so extended minutes could lead to him exceeding value basically by accident. On this slate, Ferrell can probably be rostered at a sub-five percent ownership as well.

Kay Felder, Cavaliers – …and so begins the ongoing saga of potential plays on the Cavaliers assuming the big three are sitting. In this article, we will save the best for first because Kay Felder stands out as the best play on the team. Without LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving on the court, Felder has both played the most minutes of anyone on the team but also averages the most fantasy points per minute (FPPM) with them off the court: 1.12. When the big three sat out earlier this season, Felder came off the bench, played 23 minutes and finished with 14 points (PTS), three rebounds (REB), four assists (AST) and two steals (STL) en route to 28.25 fantasy points. Now, with the rotation even thinner due to the absences of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert (who played in the previous game), Felder’s minutes can just projected to be extended further than last time. At minimum price across the industry, Felder is probably the best play on the entire slate.

Shooting Guards (SGs)

Jordan McRae, Cavaliers – If Felder is option 1A on the slate then Jordan McRae rates as option 1B because his numbers are not far behind in a limited sample size. Sans James, Love and Irving, McRae has played 144 minutes (second most on the team) and has produced 0.88 FPPM. Only Felder’s 30.4-percent usage rate (USG%) exceeds McRae’s 24.6 with the team’s three best players all on the bench. Sure Kyle Korver is now a member of the rotation as is likely to eat into his court time a bit but, like Felder, McRae is priced at the absolute minimum. Essentially, there is no reason to spend up for Korver, who relies on others to create open shots for him, over the minimum-priced McRae who is going to look to create his own offense.

DeAndre Liggins, Cavaliers – Like McRae and Felder, DeAndre Liggins is priced at the bare minimum and Coach Tyronn Lue has consistently displayed his affinity for Liggins’ defense this season. Initially after J.R. Smith’s injury, Lue called upon Liggins to start at SG so he could get those additional minutes of solid defense against the opposing team’s top offensive player in the backcourt. Last time everyone sat, Liggins started and played 25 minutes and the same is well within sight tonight. In a fast-paced game against a team possessing two solid guards, Liggins could even see minutes into the low 30s assuming he is able to stay out of foul trouble during his stints guarding Russell Westbrook. Although foul trouble is certainly a concern, Westbrook is also a ball dominant PG averaging 5.4 turnovers per game and Liggins has registered 2.1 STL per-36 minutes so the potential for an outlier performance in the category is in play. At minimum, it is just incredibly difficult to pass on all these players who should see 25-plus minutes against the seventh fastest paced team in the league.

Allen Crabbe, Trail Blazers – Evan Turner will miss the next 5-6 weeks due to a fracture in his hand which will open up some additional minutes for some of the other wings on the roster. Honestly, there is nothing overly exciting about Allen Crabbe’s skill set as he has garnered just a 14.1 USG% without Turner on the floor and has produced just 0.58 FPPM. The biggest selling point is the fact he has played the fifth most minutes without Turner on the floor but he is the second most enticing option to emerge from this situation….

Small Forwards (SFs)

Maurice Harkless, Trail Blazers – Maurice Harkless is the primary beneficiary of the Turner injury, even over Crabbe, because he has played the second most minutes in the absence of the former Ohio State Buckeye. While it is not like his 16.5 USG% is vastly superior, his 0.74 FPPM is and he has played 365 more minutes than Crabbe with Turner off the court. In fact, Turner had been starting lately so it is very likely Harkless steps into the starting lineup tonight and plays 30-plus minutes. His $4,000 price tag on DK is more expensive than the likes of the Cavaliers bunch but he is an awesome pivot, or even complement, to all of them.

Richard Jefferson/James Jones, Cavaliers – Differentiating between these two is difficult because neither started in the one game sample without all the team’s superstars and James Jones played 25 minutes to Richard Jefferson’s 10. Since the team is resting a majority of their veterans, it would seem to be more beneficial for them to give run to the young kids…and neither of these guys are particularly young. Since Jones has played 52 more minutes without the big three on the floor and has produced slightly more efficiently (in terms of FPPM), he gets the nod here but both are risky cash game options.

Power Forwards (PFs)

Channing Frye, Cavaliers – This is not an ideal spot for Channing Frye because he fares better when one or both of LeBron James/Kyrie Irving are in the rotation. Similarly to Korver, Frye relies on other players to create open shots for him and it is simply his job to knock them down. When he is forced to attempt to create his own offense, he takes some wild shots. The efficiency tells the whole story: Frye averages 0.97 FPPM with just Love off the floor compared to 0.69 with the entire trio off. Amazingly, Frye missed all four of his FG attempts the last time they sat and he played 23 minutes. To put it in layman’s terms, Frye is more of the fourth or fifth priority tonight on this team tonight.

Amir Johnson, Celtics – No team rates worse in terms of defensive efficiency versus opposing PFs than the Trail Blazers so Amir Johnson is worth a shot at $200 over the minimum. In back-to-back games, Johnson has played 27-plus minutes and has scored at least 22.50 fantasy points. Having to guard Al-Farouq Aminu or Noah Vonleh could mean he is kept away from the basket and his rebounding opportunities get limited but it is worth the shot at this price tag (especially in GPPs).

Centers (Cs)

Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers – Most likely, Tristan Thompson will be forced into big minutes tonight. Having said that, the Cavaliers did choose to start him in a game earlier this year, play him five minutes and then sat him for the entire remainder of the game (to keep his consecutive games streak alive). On Dec. 14 (the one game sample without the big three), Thompson started, played 28 minutes and grabbed 11 REB to go along with his seven PTS. The individual matchup with Steven Adams is not great on paper but the 18.4-percent REB rate sans James, Irving and Love should mean 10-plus boards is a near lock if the team commits to him.

Jahlil Okafor, 76ers – The team was already slated to be without Joel Embiid tonight and now Richaun Holmes has been ruled out with an illness. Therefore, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel are the only remaining two who can possibly play the C position for this team. It is at least encouraging that Okafor is coming off his most productive fantasy performance since Jan. 14 and he now has played 25-plus minutes in four consecutive games. At just $4,400, that should be plenty of time for Okafor to at least flirt with value against a Magic team that rates as the worst team in the league against post up plays in terms of points allowed per possession (PPP).

Good luck everyone and grind on….

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