NBA Bargains – 4/5/17

Tonight is headlined by a game between two of the worst six scoring defenses (Rockets/Nuggets) that absolutely jumps off the page. Exposure to that game will be necessary and be complemented with other teams such as the Warriors, Celtics and Spurs who all possess implied totals of over 108 points themselves. With the season winding down, and teams like the Spurs likely to sit some additional players, being next to a computer will be of the utmost importance in this slate. 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)

Jamal Murray, Nuggets – Although the Nuggets are fighting for the eighth seed in the West, the team is also looking to simultaneously develop some of their young assets. Jameer Nelson has missed the previous two games with a calf injury and Jamal Murray started in his place last game and went off. When all said and done, Murray finished 7-15 from the field en route to 16 points (PTS), five assists (AST), one steal (STL) and 31.25 fantasy points at just a $4,300 price tag. Since that time, his cost has risen $200 but that is no reason to back off considering the team will be playing in a game with a massive 239.0 point over/under tonight. It is no surprise a battle between two fast-paced teams is expected to be high-scoring but 239 is just ridiculous. This game has stack-ability written all over it, and while the individual matchup against Patrick Beverley is not overly favorable, the price tag is still too cheap for a scoring-minded player destined for 30-plus minutes in this atmosphere.

Patty Mills, Spurs – Typically, Patty Mills gains viability when Tony Parker is sitting and honestly there is still a chance of that happening. However, at this point, Ginobili is the only known Spurs player resting and that should open up some additional backcourt minutes for the backups. Unsurprisingly, the Spurs are listed as 10.0 point home favorites against the Lakers and this game easily could blowout (and probably will). Therefore, Coach Gregg Popovich will have the opportunity to give his bench some additional minutes against the team that ranks dead last in overall defensive efficiency. Mills is a tournament only play, unless Parker gets ruled out, in which case he would emerge as a borderline must-play everywhere.

Shooting Guards (SGs)

Gary Harris, Nuggets – Pretty much regardless of opponent, Gary Harris is allotted 35-40 minutes on a nightly basis due to his shooting ability combined with his defensive prowess (at least compared to the team’s other guards). To reiterate, this game features an over/under of 239 so Vegas is implying over 115 points from the losing team. Essentially, there will be plenty of possessions for Harris to rack up the stats on each end of the floor and the Rockets have allowed the seventh most points per game (PPG) to opposing SGs over their last 10 games. For the entirety of the season, only four teams have allowed more fantasy points per game (FPPG) to the position than the Rockets, so 40 minutes should lead to a healthy amount of production for the ex-Michigan State Spartan.

Troy Williams, Rockets – After making six three-pointers his last time out, Coach Mike D’Antoni has replaced Eric Gordon in the starting lineup with Troy Williams. As an Indiana University alumni, there are so many feelings here that I do not know what to do as one former Hoosier gets benched for another. Anyways, the Rockets are implied to score a ridiculous 123.8 PTS tonight and only three teams have allowed more PPG to SGs than the Nuggets. In fact, only the Cavaliers rate worse in defensive efficiency against the position this year than the Nuggets as the position has shot an impressive 45.1-percent against them. Coming off arguably the best shooting performance of his young career, Williams certainly has a chance to repeat here in the game of the night.

Small Forwards (SFs)

Matt Barnes, Warriors – Both Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala have been ruled out so Matt Barnes is no doubt going to lead the team in minutes at the SF position in tonight’s contest. In the two prior games without Iguodala during his latest stint with the Warriors, Barnes has averaged 25.5 FPPG compared to just 15.6 with Iguodala active, per statmuse. Oh by the way, this game is awfully intriguing for fantasy purposes as well as the second fastest paced team in the league (Suns) will square off against the fourth fastest. Sure the Warriors are listed as 9.5 point road favorites but the absence of three of their staples (including Kevin Durant) certainly increases the chances of this game staying close. Due to lack of depth remaining at the position, Barnes should see around 30 minutes regardless of game flow so he is one of the safest investments on the entire slate.

Richard Jefferson, Cavaliers – On previous occurrences where a big man has sat, the team has opted to roll with Richard Jefferson in the starting lineup and just play small. Unfortunately, there is no sample size with Thompson sitting because he has played every game this season so Love has been the one to sit every other time. By trade, Al Horford is more of a PF as well so there is no reason to believe the Cavaliers will stray away from this strategy in a matchup against the Celtics tonight. Jefferson is not overly exciting by any means but he has at least averaged over 28 minutes per game (MPG) as a starter this year. Specifically as a starting forward, Jefferson has averaged 8.2 PPG, 1.5 three-pointers per game (3PPG), 2.8 rebounds per game (RPG), 1.4 assists per game (APG), 0.4 blocks per game (BPG) and 0.5 steals per game (SPG). At just $3,600, there is no much risk to using him, especially against a team filled with a ton of similar types of players (Jonas Jerebko (closest resemblance), Kelly Olynyk, etc.)

Power Forwards (PFs)

Trevor Ariza, Rockets – Sort of like Gary Harris, rostering Trevor Ariza is simply a way to gain exposure to a player slated to play huge minutes this Nuggets/Rockets tilt. In this favorable of an environment, points are quite obviously going to be scored and fantasy points are going to be racked up. Having faced the Nuggets thrice before this season, Ariza has managed 41.25, 16.75 and 29 fantasy points respectively in those three previous meetings. For a guy almost always on the court, Ariza can be a bit volatile, but it should be noted the Nuggets have allowed the fourth highest three-point percentage to opposing frontcourts. If Ariza’s shot is on, he should be able to crush value, but his cost has risen to a point where he is unusable in cash games.

David West, Warriors – Upfront it is necessary to know that David West is virtually never going to play more than 20 minutes regardless of who is out. That, of course, limits his potential ceiling and always makes him a risky call. Having said that, with both Green and Iguodala inactive, he is going to see additional playing time and is going to be counted upon more in the offense. According to statmuse, West have averaged 15.8 FPPG this year with Green active compared to 26.6 without him. At just minimum price, he once again is worth the risk despite only being destined to play 18 or so minutes.

Centers (Cs)

Pau Gasol, Spurs – When the route is on for the Spurs, they will look to their second unit to play extended minutes and the matchup could not be juicier for Pau Gasol. Only the 76ers rate worse in terms of defensive efficiency versus Cs than the Lakers and both Ivica Zubac (out for the year) and Tarik Black are injured. Basically, the Lakers are going C-by-committee and just trying to get creative in order to fill minutes in the frontcourt until the season ends. This means Gasol will be matched up against scrubs during his stints and he will head into this game having topped 32 fantasy points in each of his last four games and six of his last nine games. In three meetings against the Lakers, Gasol has not fallen below 28 fantasy points and he topped out at 43.25 fantasy points (22-9-6) on Jan. 12 against them. All-in-all, this is an elite matchup for a still ultra-efficient player despite his age.

Nene Hilario, Rockets – Last but not least is Nene Hilario who may be called upon for some extra minutes tonight as the Nuggets will likely deploy both Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee for heavy minutes sans Kenneth Faried. Lately, Nene’s minutes have been on the rise as he actually has topped the 20 minute plateau in five of his last seven games. Each time he has gone over 21 minutes, he has posted at least 25.25 fantasy points during that span as he is still averaging over 1.00 fantasy point per minute (FPPM) even at age 34 (similarly to Gasol). In this elite atmosphere, he should catapult to 20 fantasy points in no time and his ceiling stretches far beyond that if his minutes start to creep into the mid-20s. All aboard the Nene train in tournaments as he is a player who habitually goes under-owned.

Good luck everyone and grind on….

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