NBA Bargains 3/16/17
Tonight is one of those nights where one games stands out above all the others as the most stackable of the night…especially when it comes to value. Yes, the Clippers/Nuggets tilt in Denver is equipped with a substantial total and close spread plus it features a decent amount of important inactives. With all these values available, and with studs underpriced, tonight should no doubt prove to be a higher-scoring six game slate (at least compared to the average). So with that perfect segue way, 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)
Jameer Nelson, Nuggets – A recent increase in playing time for Jamal Murray has led to a steep price decrease for Jameer Nelson who has now bottomed out at $4,000. Look, the matchup against Chris Paul is not overly favorable by any means but Nelson is still averaging 19.5 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in six games this month and he is averaging the most minutes per game (MPG) of any month this season. With a healthy amount of playing time still available, Nelson rates as a fine cash game play on DK where he could exceed value by accident. The problem is, even in the most favorable game environment of the night, Nelson does not possess much upside.
Austin Rivers, Clippers – The absence of both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan means the team will be looking for some offense and Austin Rivers is a guy more than willing to shoot whenever possible. First of all, the Nuggets rank dead last in defensive efficiency versus opposing backcourts and they even allow the fourth most points per game (PPG) to them (47.9). Furthermore, backcourts have shot 38.9-percent from beyond the arc against the Nuggets and that ranks 26th amongst all teams. Not only does this game possess the highest over/under of the night (222 points) but also one of the closest spreads (Nuggets 4.0 favorites) so it will not be a game you want to overlook. Without both Griffin and Jordan on the floor, Rivers has ranked third on the team in usage rate (USG%) with a 22.8 tally. At a $3,700 price tag on DK and $7,300 cost on FDr, he is worth using in any and all formats.
Shooting Guards (SGs)
Will Barton, Nuggets – Even with the Clippers news, the best team on the slate to stack may still be the Nuggets who are expected to win the battle between these two teams tonight. The player to begin the stack with is none other than Will Barton who is coming off a monstrous 22 point (PTS), six rebound (REB) and 37.50 fantasy point performance against the Lakers. With both of the Clippers’ starting frontcourt members ruled out, their rim protection has significantly weakened and Barton is one of the best finishers in the league around the basket. Most importantly, both Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler have been ruled out so expectations should be Barton eclipsing 30 minutes for the second consecutive game. Assuming he plays those sort of minutes, he certainly should score, so take advantage of rostering him while he is still underpriced ($5,300 on DK).
Jamal Crawford, Clippers – As noted in the Rivers tidbit, the Clippers will be searching for offense tonight and Jamal Crawford certainly is going to eat up all the usage on the second unit. With the Clippers’ big three all off the floor, Crawford leads the team in USG% (24.1) and ranks third on the team in fantasy points per minute (FPPM) behind only Marreese Speights and Brandon Bass (both in play tonight). There is no doubt the Clippers are going to look to play small without both of their twin towers in the rotation so there should be extra minutes available to pretty much all of their guards as compared to usual. Crawford, who averages just 25.6 MPG this season, actually averages 26.5 without Griffin in the rotation. Obviously the absence of Jordan should extend that even further so he has the potential to crush value at a bargain price tag in a superb matchup against the Nuggets.
Small Forwards (SFs)
Joe Ingles, Jazz – To be honest, the SF position is one to spend up at on Thursday, especially in cash games, but there are some cheaper ways to differentiate if looking to go the contrarian route. With Rodney Hood looking questionable at best, his absence would open up additional minutes for Joe Ingles. According to nbawowy, Ingles has played alongside Gordon Hayward in each of the 12 most common lineup combinations he has been present in this season which means he actually ends up playing a fair amount of SG on offense. Consequently, this is an excellent individual matchup for him as the Cavaliers rank dead last in defensive efficiency versus opposing SGs and they allow the third most three-pointers per game (3PPG) to the position as well. Only Otto Porter Jr. has shot a superior percentage (45.4) from beyond the arc from Ingles (45.0) so he would have an excellent chance to exceed value if Hood were to sit. As icing on the cake, Ingles heads into this game having topped 25 fantasy points in back-to-back games.
Caris LeVert, Nets – Do not look now but Caris LeVert is becoming is becoming an important part of the Nets’ offense/rotation as he has now managed at least 29 fantasy points in back-to-back games heading into tonight’s tilt against the Knicks…including a 29 fantasy point outing against the Knicks on Mar. 12. Unfortunately, Coach Kenny Atkinson likes to cap most of his best players at around 28 minutes but $4,000 is incredibly affordable for a guy who has kicked up his aggressiveness as of late to the tune of 10 free throw attempts in his last two games. To be fair, LeVert is shooting 57.1-percent from the field this month, which will not continue, but it just shows he is taking better shots as of late. At his price point, he has 8.0x value potential.
Power Forwards (PFs)
Marreese Speights, Clippers – The best play of the entire night has now become Marreese Speights who is averaging 1.16 FPPM so far this season and is now locked into 25-plus minutes minimum against a defense that ranks 28th in defensive efficiency. Thus far, the Nuggets have allowed 110.7 points per game (PPG) this season as well. Despite the fact they have improved lately against opposing frontcourts, Speights’ combination of price tag and skill set are too substantial to overlook. Lock him into any and all lineups or pay the consequences.
Juancho Hernangomez, Nuggets – Both Hernangomez brothers are in play tonight but Juancho finds himself in a favorable spot tonight with Gallinari, Chandler and even Darrell Arthur ruled out tonight. The one caveat here is Kenneth Faried could potentially play but supposedly his minutes will be limited. In essence, he will be filling in for Arthur’s role and Hernangomez still managed 19 minutes last game with Chandler and Faried out. Now that Gallinari is out as well, some backup SF minutes should open up and the Clippers are likely to play small. In tune, the Nuggets could roll with more Hernangomez at PF lineups to counter so 23-25 minutes is probably the more likely scenario tonight. Regardless of who is guarding Hernangomez, they will certainly be beatable, and Speights specifically is one of the worst defenders in the league. All-in-all, Hernangomez is worth the risk despite likely not being destined to play 30-plus minutes.
Guillermo Hernangomez, Knicks – Here is a conundrum because Guillermo Hernangomez was just benched in this very matchup for not being able to cover Brook Lopez but now the team will be without Kristaps Porzingis this go-around. Therefore, Hernangomez should be locked into more minutes by default although the team could always pivot to Kyle O’Quinn if Hernangomez were unable to step out on Lopez once again. Hernangomez bounced back last game by dropping a hefty 46.50 fantasy points on the Pacers on the heels of 13 PTS and 16 REB. While defensive rebounds are difficult to come by against Lopez because defenders are required to step out on him, the Nets do rank 28th in defensive efficiency against the position and allow the sixth most PPG to the position. Guillermo may be the riskier of the two Hernangomez brothers, but assuming he is featured on offense in the absence of Porzingis, his ceiling is substantial enough to gamble on.
Mason Plumlee, Nuggets – Last but not least, let’s talk about Mason Plumlee who likely will draw the start for the third consecutive game. In the team’s previous game, Plumlee started next to Nikola Jokic, played 36 minutes and even registered a 15-10 double-double. Since he is more athletic than Jokic, he was the one crashing the boards most often and grabbing the hustle rebounds so it would not be surprising to see him edge out Jokic in the category again tonight. Plumlee is athletic enough where he can compete with smaller Clippers lineups so that could also add to a few extra minutes for him. Basically, he is just a rock solid option despite the fact it is unsure what position he will be playing at all times. No worries, just go ahead and roster him anyways.
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.