Preseason NBA Thoughts 10/12/16
We have four games on the slate tonight. Vegas is expecting two of the games to be high scoring (Milwaukee at Indiana and Denver at Minnesota) and two games to be low scoring (San Antonio at Orlando and Phoenix at Utah). Tonight should be pretty fun because a couple of coaches have suggested their starters will see heavy minutes. Minnesota is expected to shorten their rotation for the home game after giving just about every on the roster playing time in the last game. Orlando said that Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon and Serge Ibaka will all see “a lot” of minutes tonight in their returns from injury. I did not write about any of these three specifically because there are too many question marks around them and/or better options at their price points for me to roster them in cash, but they are all strong GPP options because, if they really do see a lot of minutes, they have high upside for their prices. There is not a lot of value that has opened up yet, particularly on DraftKings where pricing is sharper, so it is looking like a good night for a balanced lineup so far.
Note: DraftKings positions and pricing are used for this article. The plays mentioned are usually also strong plays on FanDuel, I just think the pricing differences between the sites make it more useful to focus on DraftKings in this article since you can roster almost anyone you want on FanDuel.
Dante Exum- $4,300- UTA at PHO
This one is going to be pretty quick. I do not like Dante Exum. He has very low usage and is primarily a defender that doesn’t contribute much offensively. That said, he will probably be popular because he is starting and almost minimum price (and was incredibly popular last time he played). Therefore, if, in your cash games, you really, really need a cheap point guard you can roster Exum. I can almost guarantee that I will have no exposure to Exum tonight, but I wanted to at least mention him as someone who is cheap in case you choose to construct your roster differently than I do. Do not @ me on twitter later when he barely breaks 10 fantasy points and do not roster him on FanDuel under ANY circumstances.
Kris Dunn- $5,000- MIN vs DEN
Okay, now for guys who are actually good plays. Kris Dunn has seen 26 minutes and 24 minutes in the Timberwolves first two games, splitting the court pretty evenly with Ricky Rubio. He has also been aggressive offensively, taking 12 shots and 8 shots. The Timberwolves’ rotation tonight is expected to be similar to the first game when he played 24 minutes and finished with 6 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Tonight’s game should be uptempo and there should be plenty to opportunity for Dunn to produce a very nice stat line. He is in play in cash games and GPPs. Note: Dunn is still minimum price on FanDuel.
George Hill- $5,300- UTA at PHO
Hill is no longer in Indiana and we should stop treating him like he is. He is allowed to be much more aggressive in this offense and, so far, it has suited him very well. He has played 27 minutes and 24 minutes and taken 13 shots and 10 shots (in part because of injuries to Favors and Hayward). Tonight, the Jazz will be without Favors, Hayward and Hood, so Hill should be relied on heavily to provide scoring for the Utah first-team offense. His price is about $1,000 too cheap for his role in the offense tonight so he is a very strong option in any format in a pace-up game for Utah.
Jeff Teague- $6,800- IND vs MIL
Teague is off to a great start in his new home in Indiana and he should continue that run tonight. Paul George is expected to miss tonight’s game, which means even more usage for Teague. Last game, without George, Teague played 25 minutes and attempted 13 shots. Expect a similar role tonight and fire him up in any format.
Zach LaVine- $5,700- MIN vs DEN
LaVine absolutely exploded in Minnesota’s last game and he is in another very good spot tonight. This should be a very uptempo game, which suits LaVine’s athleticism. Gary Harris will miss the game for Denver, which leaves LaVine in a much better matchup on the wing. Denver also does not have intimidating rim protectors inside so LaVine should be able to drive to the basket with some success as well. He is the best shooting guard on the slate from a point-per-dollar perspective.
Devin Booker- $7,400- PHO at UTA
Booker is the focal point of the Phoenix offense and would be a cash game lock if his price wasn’t almost $2,000 higher than LaVine’s. Booker is still in play in GPPs, however. He has a tough matchup tonight with Dante Exum, but the volume of shots that Booker is able to put up when he is on the floor gives him a high ceiling. I won’t have as much exposure to Booker tonight as I normally do because of his matchup and price, but he can still be considered for GPPs because he is the best offensive player on the floor.
Shabazz Muhammad- $4,400- MIN vs DEN
Small forward is where I’m looking to save some money tonight, despite Kawhi Leonard and Point Giannis being on the slate. Muhammad has seen a heavy role in Thibodeau’s offense so far, attempting 14 shots and 13 shots in 22 and 20 minutes. That should continue tonight in this fast-paced matchup against Denver. It is scary to roster a player off the bench in cash (especially when Glenn Robinson III is most likely starting at almost the same price), but Muhammad is a great GPP pivot off of Robinson, as well as a great GPP play alongside Robinson.
Glenn Robinson III- $4,800- IND vs MIL
Robinson has looked very good this preseason and is expected to get another start tonight with Paul George unlikely to play. In his last game, he played 37 minutes and attempted 14 shots. He will have a tough matchup tonight as he will most likely have to deal with the freakishly sized Giannis Antetokounmpo (I actually just spelled that without having to look it up), but he is firmly in play in cash games because of the minutes he should see. He is also an option in GPPs, although I really love pivoting to Muhammad if you are only going to roster one of them.
T.J. Warren- $5,700- PHO at UTA
Warren is a strong GPP play tonight against Utah. He will not have to deal with the defense of Gordon Hayward and has played a prominent role in the Phoenix offense so far this preseason. His price is a little high relative to Robinson and Muhammad for me to trust him in cash (combined with his propensity to disappear at times throughout his career), but he has a very nice ceiling today in a matchup that is not as bad as it will be perceived.
Jabari Parker- $6,600- MIL at IND
Parker is the best power forward play on the slate tonight. He has been given the green light to shoot as much as he wants, with the coaching staff even saying they are pleased that he is willing to consider shooting three-pointers now. He has attempted double-digit shots in each preseason game and has been seeing minutes in the mid-twenties. He is still priced very fairly for his role in the offense and is probably going to be a part of my core tonight. He is a strong play in all formats.
Thaddeus Young- $6,700- IND at MIL
Young is also in a very nice spot tonight. He has played 28 and 27 minutes in his last two games. In his last game, with George out, he only attempted 3 shots but that seems like an anomaly given that he attempted 12 in his previous game. He is a strong option in cash games and GPPs tonight because of his minutes and ability to produce on offense in, what should be, a high scoring game.
Rudy Gobert- $6,600- UTA vs PHO
Gobert gets a rematch tonight with the Suns after scoring 21 points with 10 rebounds in his last matchup with them two games ago. He is never super involved in the offense, but he should get an uptick in usage tonight with three of Utah’s main scorers inactive. He should also be able to grab a lot of rebounds against a Phoenix frontcourt that is not a very intimidating matchup for him. Towns is a better play in all formats but, if you are trying to get creative in GPPs (or want to pair him with Towns) he is worth considering.
Karl-Anthony Towns- $8,200- MIN vs DEN
Towns let everyone down in his last game but he should be back- to- normal in this one. In the opening game (on a neutral court) he saw 27 minutes in three quarters of action. He should see a similar role tonight in a home game. Denver has been terrible against interior players for years and that shouldn’t be any different this season. Jokic is a very athletic player, who is one of my favorite players in the league (along with Towns), but Towns is still a matchup nightmare for anybody. Roster Towns in all formats tonight and just pretend that the last game did not happen.