NBA Bargains 3/29/17
Most of the value tonight lies within the mid-tier of pricing and it will take further inactives to truly open up some bargains. Until that time comes, we are going to have to do some deep digging in order to uncover cheap players to round out a roster. With Russell Westbrook playing, and a matchup between the Warriors and Spurs headlining the slate, value will most certainly be necessary. 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)
T.J. McConnell, 76ers – Not only did Sergio Rodriguez get ruled out for yesterday’s game but the team announced he would miss at least an additional week. In other words, T.J. McConnell will be given all the minutes he can handle in the foreseeable future and last night his 35 minutes translated into 32 fantasy points against the lowly Nets. Tonight, he will draw another plus matchup against Dennis Schroder and the Hawks who have struggled to contain opposing PGs all season long. Amongst all starting PGs, Schroder allows the most points per possession (PPP) to spot up shooters by a decent margin and, consequently, Atlanta ranks 26th in defensive efficiency versus the position. Only six teams have allowed more fantasy points per game (FPPG) to opposing PGs than the Hawks so McConnell should be able to rack them up once again with minutes in the mid-30s. The only issue here is his ceiling is a bit limited unless he reaches double-digits in assists (AST).
Cory Joseph, Raptors – Speaking of limited ceilings, Cory Joseph had topped 33 DK fantasy points just once in his last 15 games prior to his outburst against the Magic (43.50 fantasy points) last time out. The shot attempts were in line with his season numbers and he did not produce an outlier in any category other than AST. While Joseph’s role has steadily increased throughout the course of the season, and then sharply increased due to a Kyle Lowry injury, it has remained a consistent trend that the home scorer has been friendlier to his AST totals compared to those on the road. Need proof? Here is a graph of his month AST averages at home and on the road compared side-by-side:
Combine this fact with the Hornets, his opponent on Wednesday, ranking as a middle of the road defense against the position and Joseph should rate as at least a safe investment in the mid-tier.
Shooting Guards (SGs)
Buddy Hield, Kings – Most people rightfully do not like rostering players against the Jazz but tonight there are some exceptions to the rule beginning with Buddy Hield. Over his last six games, Hield is averaging 13.3 FG attempts per game and 16.8 points per game (PPG) and yet his price has dropped all the way to $10,600 on FDr. During the aforementioned six game stretch, Hield is averaging 29.5 FPPG and that includes two games in which he took a back seat to some of the veterans. Now, Coach Dave Joerger says his veterans will probably sit most of the way and he called the team’s win against the Grizzlies the veterans’ “last stand.” Hield is essentially going to be acting as the Kings’ number one scoring option moving forward so this price tag is outrageously cheap regardless of the matchup. Shooters are preferred to slashers against the Jazz anyways because they get to avoid routine meetings with elite rim protector Rudy Gobert so Hield should be able to produce at least an average outing (comparatively to his recent production) at a below average cost.
Manu Ginobili, Spurs – Unfortunately the theme of most of the guards to this point has been limited ceiling and Manu Ginobili fits the theme as 22 minutes could be his ceiling here. That being said, this is clearly a game Coach Gregg Popovich is going to try and win as he squares off against the team’s main conference rival: Golden State. In each of his last two meetings against the Warriors, Ginobili has managed at least 21.75 fantasy points and yet he has played exactly 21 minutes in each of those contests. There is no reason to believe (other than a blowout) that he should not play a similar amount of time and produce a similar performance yet again especially with the team listed as just 4.0 point favorites. At $3,600 on DK, 21.75 fantasy points equates to over 6.0x value and that is what is needed for tournament value…so act accordingly.
Small Forwards (SFs)
Taurean Prince, Hawks – Since Kent Bazemore is expected to suit up, Taurean Prince should only warrant consideration on FanDuel (FD) where his price tag is still listed barely above the minimum. At $3,800, Prince does not need his full allotment of minutes in order to exceed value and Bazemore is expected to be worked back slowly after missing five consecutive games with a knee injury. Over the course of their last 10 games, the 76ers have ranked 12th in defensive efficiency and fourth specifically against SFs so the matchup on paper is not great. However, Prince has averaged 0.69 FD fantasy points per minute (FPPM) over his last five games so he only needs about 26 minutes in order to flirt with 5.0x value in theory.
Mario Hezonja, Magic – Luckily for Mario Hezonja, Jeff Green has already been ruled out of Wednesday’s matchup against the Thunder so Hezonja will once again assume the role of backup PF on the Magic. The absence of Green has led to a few additional minutes per night as Hezonja has now played 23-plus minutes in three straight after playing 23-plus minutes just twice in his previous 12 games before that. For the season, the Thunder bench ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency and they allow the seventh most PPG including the seventh highest three-point percentage (3P%). Hezonja shot just 1-10 from the field last time out but he should be looking at a bounceback in this spot due to the fast pace (217 over/under) and questionable defense from the Thunder’s second unit.
Power Forwards (PFs)
Zach Randolph, Grizzlies – With Marc Gasol listed as “out” for tonight’s contest, Zach Randolph will yet again be counted upon to start at C for the Grizzlies and just in time for an ideal matchup against the Pacers. Sure Myles Turner rates as a solid defender but he also is a poor rebounder for a man at this position and is the main reason why opposing Cs consistently dominate the Pacers on the boards. To this point, the Pacers have surrendered the second most rebounds per game (RPG) to opposing Cs including the second most offensive RPG and Zach Randolph ranks 17th in offensive RPG despite only average 24.3 minutes per game (MPG). Starting for Gasol the last two games, Randolph has produced 29.25 and 41.75 DK fantasy points respectively and 41 fantasy points in well within sight once again against a team that will have trouble containing him on the glass.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kings – While the matchup for Hield was not favorable, the matchup for Willie Cauley-Stein is downright gross and yet he is still worthy of consideration due to his price. With all of the veterans either likely sitting or barely playing any minutes, the offense will have to run through the likes of Hield and Cauley-Stein. Sans Kosta Koufos, Tyreke Evans, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins on the floor, Cauley-Stein has averaged 0.94 FPPM and he played 39 minutes in his last meeting against the Jazz. In those 39 minutes, Cauley-Stein scored 15 points on 6-12 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds (REB), dished out three AST, stole two passes and blocked a shot on the way to 36.75 fantasy points. Basically, he showed that minutes equal fantasy production even in the worst of matchups and his price tag is way too cheap for his new, extensive role. It will take some cojones but Cauley-Stein is actually a pretty excellent play tonight.
Cody Zeller, Hornets – Cody Zeller is always in play whenever the team is facing a defense who struggles against roll men in the pick-and-roll and the Raptors certainly fit the bill. Thus far, only four teams have allowed more PPP to roll men in the play type and the team even allows the 10th highest FG percentage and effective FG percentage as well. Therefore Zeller, who runs the pick-and-roll at the highest frequency of any starter in the NBA, should be in a great situation to succeed. It is no surprise that Zeller has shot at least 62.5-percent from the field in each of his last four meetings against the Raptors and topped 30 fantasy points the only time he played more than 27 minutes during that span. Start him.
Brandan Wright, Grizzlies – Last but not least is Brandan Wright who will act as the Grizzlies’ backup C against a team that struggles versus the position. Wright will head into this game having played 18-plus minutes in two straight and his price has risen exactly $100 on DK during that time. Against the Kings, Wright (a traditionally awesome shooter from the field mostly because his shots come from around two feet of the basket) shot 5-7 from the field, scored 11 points and ended up reaching 5.67x value on DK. If one of the starters gets into foul trouble, Wright’s minutes could potentially stretch into the mid-20s and the Pacers have been a fantastic matchup for physical Cs. Additionally, a blowout in one way or the other could lead to additional minutes as well however unlikely that scenario may be in a game with a 4.5 point spread. There are multiple paths to value here, and while he is a better bet in tournaments, he is firmly in play as a punt.
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.