Preseason NBA Thoughts 10/10/16
There are five games on the slate tonight. Washington at New York is the only game with a total over 200 (205) so I’m not expecting any of these games to shootout tonight. The Cavaliers offer a great opportunity to find value because they are resting all of their starters. There is also value to be had on the Jazz as Hayward and Favors will both be missing tonight. The Spurs have not announced a lineup yet but my gut tells me at least one or two starters will sit tonight after they all, with the exception of Danny Green, played over 20 minutes in their last game.
Note: DraftKings positions and pricing are used for this article.
Ish Smith $4,500- DET vs SAS
Smith is the starting point guard for the Pistons while Reggie Jackson is sidelined. He was not particularly effective in his first game with Detroit, but he is still too cheap at $4,500 considering he was allowed to play 27 minutes in that game. In addition, Tobias Harris will most likely be matched up with Kawhi Leonard tonight while Marcus Morris matches up with LaMarcus Aldridge, so Smith will be counted on to score as much as he can. He is a viable option in cash games because his price is too low and GPPs because it is possible people move away from him after he disappointed them in his last game.
Kay Felder $4,900- CLE at ATL
Felder will be starting in the Cleveland backcourt tonight with all of the starters inactive. The Cavs do not have a true point guard on the roster outside of Kyrie Irving so they have been letting Felder show what he can do this preseason. He should see a heavy dose of playing time tonight as he continues to compete for a spot in Cleveland’s rotation once the season starts. He is a strong play in all formats.
Ricky Rubio- $5,600- MIN at CHA
Rubio has a very nice floor because of his ability to fill up the stat sheet and Tom Thibodeau’s willingness to run his starters into the ground. In Thibodeau’s last season in Chicago, he played most of his starters 25-30 minutes in the second preseason game, which was actually the second half of a back to back for Chicago (they played heavy minutes in the first game as well). As long as no statement is made before the game, there is no reason to think that Rubio will not see around 25 minutes again tonight which makes him a strong option at his price. He is worth considering in cash, but is a better GPP play because he is a little more expensive than Felder and Smith and will probably go somewhat overlooked as a result.
Chris Paul- $7,800- LAC vs UTA
Paul is a strong option tonight if you have enough money leftover to afford him. The Clippers have said they want to stagger Paul and Griffin, which boosts the fantasy value of both of them since their usage rates increase if the other one is not on the floor. Paul only played 13 minutes in the Clippers’ preseason opener but played well into the 2nd half in his second game. As long as we don’t find out that his minutes are restricted tonight, he makes a fine play in any format.
Jordan McRae- $5,200- CLE at ATL
McRae’s price continues to rise but it is still not to the point where we should consider fading him. He has been playing a ton of minutes and taking a ton of shots as Cleveland evaluates him for a bench role in their rotation this season. He spent a lot of time on the floor next to Kay Felder in the first preseason game and was very aggressive as the primary ball handler most of the time. It would not surprise me to see Felder handle the ball more tonight since the Cavs view him as more of a point guard than McRae, but McRae will still be productive as he is a natural shooting guard and plays well off of the ball. Look for McRae to see heavy minutes and continue to light up the scoreboard tonight.
Rodney Hood- $5,600- UTA at LAC
Hood is very dependent on his shot falling and therefore is capable of huge fantasy games as well as terrible ones. He will need to be aggressive tonight with Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward both sidelined. The volume of shots he will be allowed to take gives him a nice floor at his price and his ability to rack up points in a hurry when his shot is on gives him a nice ceiling. I prefer McRae in cash on sites that you only need one shooting guard but, where you need two, Hood is a fine option. He is a very solid GPP option regardless of how many shooting guards you are required to roster.
Carmelo Anthony- $6,900- NYK vs WSH
Anthony is in a great spot if he plays tonight against a Wizards team that struggles to defend the wings. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are not expected to play so Anthony should get a ton of usage when he is on the floor. He has been very aggressive so far this preseason and that should continue tonight. There is not a whole lot to like at small forward tonight so Anthony will be very popular but fading him is not recommended because there isn’t much to pivot to that offers the possibility of the same production that Anthony will give.
Gorgui Dieng- $5,000- MIN at CHA
Power forward is very deep tonight, starting with Dieng. He is only $5,000 and should see at least 20-25 minutes tonight. He is usually productive on a per minute basis and he should be able to easily pay off his price tag. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling at the position, but his ability to grab rebounds while also being a decent scoring option gives him a nice floor at his price.
Trey Lyles- $5,500- UTAH at LAC
Lyles should get a lot of run tonight with Favors and Hayward inactive. When he is on the floor he will need to provide offense for Utah since they are without two of their top scorers. He played 24 minutes in his last game, scoring 16 points to go along with 7 rebounds and an assist. He should be in line for a similar game tonight. He is not the best option in cash since his price has increased since that game but he is worth considering if you need a second power forward that is relatively inexpensive. He is a great GPP play because he has a very high ceiling for his price if his shot is falling and he is able to get hot from deep.
LaMarcus Aldridge- SAS at DET- $7,000
Aldridge should be able to have his way tonight against Marcus Morris and the Pistons. Assuming he starts, he should be the focal point of their offense in this matchup and, at only $7,000, has a very nice floor to go along with a high ceiling. He is a scary player to roster in cash games because Gregg Popovich is unpredictable, especially in the preseason, but as long as he sees 20-25 minutes he will provide a lot of raw points so he is probably worth the risk in cash as long as he starts. Definitely get him in your lineups for GPPs because his ceiling more than makes up for the risk that Popovich screws us over.
Blake Griffin- LAC vs UTA- $7,700
Griffin is the best cash option at power forward tonight. Utah is a completely different team defensively when Favors is not in the lineup so Griffin should be able to dominate this matchup. As I said when discussing Chris Paul, Griffin will benefit from the Clippers’ plan to stagger his minutes so he is on the court without Paul a lot of the time. He is a great play in any format tonight.
Kristaps Porzingis- NYK vs WSH- $7,600
Porzingis gets to play without Rose and Noah again tonight which should allow him to be very aggressive. He only played 19 minutes last game, but he played 27 the game before that so it isn’t likely that the Knicks are capping his minutes every game. He will be relied on to provide a lot of the scoring alongside Carmelo and makes for a very strong play tonight.
Karl-Anthony Towns- $8,600- MIN at CHA
Towns is the top center option tonight. He played 27 minutes last game and was extremely productive despite getting off to a slow start from the floor. Thibodeau is known for playing his starters heavy minutes and he does that even in the preseason so minutes should not be a concern for Towns tonight. He is one of the best, if not the best, centers in the league and can be used confidently in all formats tonight.