NBA Bargains 3/23/17

Tonight is headlined by a matchup between two of the fastest paced teams in the league that actually has no implications in the NBA playoff picture whatsoever. Still, the Suns and Nets are implied to score two of the three highest point totals of the evening plus the fact this slate is devoid of true superstars in upper-echelon spots. In other words, make it a priority to not overlook that game. 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)

Jeremy Lin, Nets – Only Brook Lopez has garnered a higher usage rate (USG%) this season amongst Nets players than Jeremy Lin and Lin has actually enjoyed a 29.6 USG% (season-high) in the month of March thus far. Tonight, he faces a defense that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency against opposing PGs and one that has allowed the most points per game (PPG) to the position (25.7). After missing one game with ankle injury, Lin is officially listed as probable tonight so he should be good to go. Assuming he reverts back into his normal minutes (flirting with about 30), he should be a lock to exceed 30 fantasy points in this elite matchup.

Cory Joseph, Raptors – Earlier in the year, Cory Joseph would have been a lock without Kyle Lowry but he has been a bit inconsistent since the middle of February. During that span, Joseph has dealt with multiple streaks of consecutive games failing to top 20 fantasy points…but the minutes have risen lately. Heading into tonight, Joseph has played 30-plus minutes in four consecutive games and he is priced below the cost of an average roster spot on DK. Despite the matchup rating as subpar (Heat excellent against pick-and-roll ball-handlers and cutting players), Joseph has averaged 4.94x value at his current cost this month. If he just produces an average outing, he rates as a decent cash game option.

Shooting Guards (SGs)

Justin Holiday, Knicks – I already liked Justin Holiday prior to the Derrick Rose injury last night but now he catapults to by far the best punt play on the entire slate. The team already announced a few days ago Carmelo Anthony’s minutes would be decreased down the final stretch of the season which has directly led to a minute uptick for Holiday already. Over the last four games, Holiday has played at least 19 minutes in each including 20-plus minutes thrice. Anthony played through a sore knee last night and ended up playing 36 minutes so it is very likely he sees a steep decrease on the second end of the back-to-back. The Knicks are listed as 12.0 point underdogs tonight so Vegas is definitely expecting some of their staples to sit. Therefore, Holiday should slide into extended minutes by default and should exceed value at minimum price.

Ron Baker, Knicks – Assuming Rose sits, Ron Baker will likely draw the start and split the PG minutes with only Chasson Randle who has played more than 20 minutes just once since joining the Knicks. Meanwhile, Baker will match up against Damian Lillard who ranks in the bottom two of both defensive rating (DRtg) and defensive box plus/minus (DBPM) amongst the Trail Blazers regulars. Even with Rose in the rotation, Baker has played 20-plus minutes in four straight and has exceeded 5.0x value at the minimum price in two games during that span. With more usage available to him with some of the regulars likely sitting, Baker is one of the safer plays on the board.

Small Forwards (SFs)

Wesley Matthews, Mavericks – First of all, Seth Curry tweaked his shoulder in the team’s last game so his injury is one to keep an eye on. Assuming he is fine, Wesley Matthews still rates as an interesting play as the Clippers rank 19th in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing SFs. Overall, the Clippers rank dead last in FG percentage allowed to opposing three-point shooters but they have allowed a 37.6-percent to SFs specifically from behind the arc. Consequently, the overall number is a bit deceiving and Matthews certainly has a chance to enjoy a solid shooting night. Hell, he has played 33-plus minutes in back-to-back games so he will have plenty of time on the court to do work.

K.J. McDaniels, Nets – Well, Coach Kenny Atkinson is certainly not a liar. On Mar. 16, he said he wanted to find minutes for K.J. McDaniels and since that time McDaniels has played 19, 15 and 21 minutes respectively in the following three games.  Last time out, McDaniels reached double-digit points (PTS) for the first time in his Nets career and tonight he will be featured in a clash between the two fastest paced teams in the league. Other than Alex Len/Alan Williams, the Suns like to go small and complement their Cs with athletic wings. Consequently, McDaniels actually may be the Nets’ best chance to match athleticism with athleticism and he could finally play over 20 minutes tonight. If so, it is difficult to believe McDaniels would not prove to be an excellent value at the bare minimum on both DK and FDr.

Power Forwards (PFs)

Marquese Chriss, Suns – Although Marquese Chriss’ price is rising, the man finally played some huge minutes last game (38) which led to his third 30-plus fantasy point performance in the last four games. Only the Hawks rate worse in defensive efficiency against opposing PFs than the Nets plus the Nets have also allowed the third most PPP to spot up shooters. Other than Jared Dudley, Chriss spots up at the highest percentage of any active player on the Suns roster so this is quietly a fantastic matchup for Chriss despite the mid-tier price tag.

Noah Vonleh, Trail Blazers – Don’t look now but Noah Vonleh is becoming an important member of the Trail Blazers’ rotation. After averaging 13.6 minutes per game (MPG) in December and 13.8 in January, Vonleh’s minutes rose to 17.2 in February and all the way to 21.8 so far this month. Since Mar. 11, Vonleh has played at least 23 minutes in every game and has scored at least 19 fantasy points as well. In the even less distant past, Vonleh has played 26-plus minutes in four straight and has managed at least 21.50 fantasy points in every game during that span including a double-double against the Hawks. With his current role, Vonleh should flirt with a double-double on a nightly basis and the Knicks rank 28th in defensive efficiency versus opposing frontcourts. If this game gets out of control, the team could look to get one of their up-and-coming young players some additional minutes as well. All systems are go for Vonleh tonight and he can be deployed in any and all formats.

Centers (Cs)

Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors – Jonas Valanciunas’ minutes can often be predictable as the team will look to play him more in games where he is needed to match up against other large-bodied Cs…and Hassan Whiteside certainly applied. The problem here is Valanciunas has struggled against Whiteside in the past as he has failed to reach 25.50 fantasy points in three of his last four meetings against him. Still, he only played 28 minutes or less in all three of the games he struggled compared to 32 in the outlier performance where he registered 20 and 10 against the beastly Whiteside. Since the beginning of the month, Valanciunas has topped 30 fantasy points against DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Nerlens Noel and Myles Turner so he certainly has a chance tonight against Whiteside. While he is a tournament only play, he quite clearly produces his best performances against other massive Cs.

Alex Len/Alan Williams, Nets – As I was writing this article, the Alan Williams news dropped and he is expected to play tonight. Sans Williams in the rotation, Alex Len played 35 minutes last game and unsurprisingly put up some impressive numbers (12-11 double-double). Now the question reverts back to which of these two Cs will be the one to excel and Williams seems like the safer play here. Starting Cs have had issues rebounding against the Nets because Brook Lopez’s offensive game stretches to behind the three-point line. Meanwhile, the Nets’ bench ranks 29th in defensive efficiency and surrenders the fourth most rebounds per game (RPG) to opponents. Williams is quite literally one of the best players in the league in terms of fantasy points per minute (FPPM) so it should not take him long to flirt with a double-double tonight. If the minutes and coaching decisions break right, Williams could potentially go nuts.

Good luck everyone and grind on….

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