Preseason NBA Thoughts 10/19/16

There are seven games on the slate tonight as teams get their last bit of work in before the regular season starts.  This means we can expect to see a lot of minutes from starters on most teams, especially because the Knicks are the only team with a back-to-back.  The Warriors have already announced that their starters will play around 30 minutes, including some time in the fourth quarter, and more teams will probably make similar announcements as the day goes on.  This means it will be more difficult to find strong value options, which could give balanced lineups an advantage in GPPs as people will try and force cheap guys with low ceilings into their lineups so that they can roster the star players that they have been able to easily afford most of the preseason.  As always, keep an eye on Twitter and check out Fast Eddie Fear live on FanVice leading up to lock for the latest news and how it affects your lineups.

Note:  DraftKings pricing and positions are used for this article. 

Point Guard

Giannis Antetoukounmpo- $8,700- MIL vs IND

Point Giannis played 33 minutes in his last game and will probably see similar playing time tonight in the Bucks’ last game of the preseason.  They traded Michael Carter-Williams, who was the backup point guard, and Matthew Dellavedova should continue to see minutes alongside Giannis as the Bucks attempt to find a solution to the Khris Middleton injury that will allow them to space the floor effectively.  Carter-Williams absence, and the need to play Dellavedova alongside Antetokounmpo, should lead to significant minutes for Giannis (and Dellavedova).  The Pacers are working on playing an up-tempo game this season and that is good news for Giannis, who was significantly better against fast-paced teams last season because it allows him to maximize his athleticism.  He is a very strong play in any format tonight.

Ricky Rubio- $5,000- MIN vs MEM

This is a price-specific play.  Rubio does not have close to the highest ceiling in terms of raw points, but he is definitely capable of putting up 30-40 DraftKings points at only $5,000.  He has had some success in the past against Mike Conley, so the matchup with the Grizzlies doesn’t concern me too much, especially because the Vegas total is 205.5, which is pretty high for a Grizzlies game.  Tom Thibodeau’s rotations have tended to be tighter at home than on the road, so expect to see Rubio on the floor for at least 25 minutes tonight.  With those minutes, he has a nice floor to go along with some upside.  He is a very good option to save some money if you take a balanced approach.

Stephen Curry- $8,600- GSW at LAL

This is an amazing spot for Curry.  If it were the regular season, we would be worried that he sees limited minutes because of the potential for a blowout.  Since it is the preseason, however, the score doesn’t really matter.  The Warriors are expected to play their starters at least 30 minutes tonight in their second-to-last tune up for the regular season.  30 minutes of Stephen Curry against the Lakers defense, at a reduced price due to the usual lack of playing time that stars receive in the preseason, is about as close to must-play as you can get on a 7 game slate.

D’Angelo Russell- $7,700- LAL vs GSW

As you know by now, I am firmly on the D’Angelo Russell bandwagon heading into the season.  Despite facing a Golden State team that is strong defensively, Russell is in a very good spot because of the added possessions he will receive due to Golden State’s very fast pace.  What he loses in efficiency, he should make up for in volume.  He is not the best cash game play at a deep point guard position, but he is a very strong GPP play tonight as he should see a ton of minutes and plenty of usage.

Shooting Guard

James Harden- $10,900- HOU at DAL

Harden will be running the point tonight in the game with the highest Vegas total on the slate (220).  He should see plenty of minutes at the point because the Rockets want to get more familiar with Eric Gordon playing alongside him.  The price is very expensive for a preseason player, but Harden is worth it.  He only took 6 shots in his last game, but posted a 14-9-10 line in 28 minutes, which goes to show how high his floor and his ceiling are.  Harden is also point guard eligible on DraftKings, so there are even more ways to fit him into your lineup.

Klay Thompson- $6,800- GSW at LAL

Thompson may go somewhat overlooked tonight as Rodney Hood is in a good matchup at a lower price ($5,600) and Harden is in an elite matchup at the top of the spectrum- plus he isn’t named Curry or Durant.  He gives a ton of GPP upside, however, because if he gets hot from deep the Warriors will continue to feed him the ball and the Lakers are not a particularly strong defensive team on the perimeter.  He is not the best option in cash because of his awkward price, but he is a very strong GPP play.

Rodney Hood- $5,600- UTA vs POR

Unless the Jazz say otherwise, I expect Hood to see extended minutes tonight as the Jazz try and get him in a rhythm for the start of the regular season after he missed the last few games.  He should see a ton of shots because the Jazz are without Hayward and Favors.  It is a pace-up game for Utah, which also benefits Hood.  If you can’t afford Harden in cash, Hood is the recommended option- assuming the Jazz do not announce a minutes limit.

Small Forward

Kevin Durant- $9,100- GSW at LAL

Durant is, of course, in the same boat as Curry and Thompson, in that he will see extended minutes against a poor Lakers team.  He is easily capable of 40 DraftKings points if he sees 30 minutes in this matchup.  Small forward is a relatively weak position today, and Durant is in a much better spot than George or Anthony, so do what you can to get Durant into your lineups.

Marcus Morris- $4,400- DET vs TOR

Morris is returning from injury today and early reports are that he will see extended minutes.  This makes sense, as Harris has played heavy minutes in his absence and is dealing with a broken nose.  It is not hard to envision Harris playing limited minutes and Morris seeing some extra playing time since this is Detroit’s last preseason game.  There is risk here because of the chance that he aggravates his injury or the Pistons are just cautious with him, but his $4,400 price tag does more than enough to mitigate that risk.  As of right now, he appears to be one of the best value options on the slate because of the minutes he should see at a weak position.

Power Forward

Troy Williams- $4,400- MEM at MIN

Power forward is surprisingly thin today, but Williams offers some salary relief if the Grizzlies’ frontcourt is still thin.  He has been coming off of the bench, but he has seen more minutes than JaMychal Green in each of the last three games, and has been productive with the playing time (including 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting in 42 minutes during a double-overtime game last Saturday).  This play is completely dependent on the status of other members of the Memphis frontcourt, but Williams is a strong GPP play if they are shorthanded again.

Jabari Parker- $7,000- MIL vs IND

Parker is the top power forward option on the slate tonight.  He is another beneficiary of the Bucks need to find someone that can spread the floor, and they have been encouraging him to shoot more- including from deep.  This has translated into him being very aggressive offensively, taking 15 shots in his last game.  The up-tempo pace that Indiana plays should also be to his advantage.  $7,000 is a little more expensive than feels normal for Parker since he was so inconsistent last year, but Parker has a different role this season and should disappear much less frequently.

Centers

Andre Drummond- $8,900- DET vs TOR

Drummond has been absolutely incredible this preseason, and should see heavy minutes tonight.  Backup center Aron Baynes is out with a broken nose, and Drummond only played 18 minutes on Monday because of foul trouble (but still posted a double-double).  Drummond has recorded double-doubles in his last four games against Jonas Valanciunas and should be in line for a huge night tonight.  A fade in GPPs is defensible based on ownership since this game should be slow-paced and has one of the lowest Vegas totals (and slow-pace equals less shots, which equals less rebounding opportunities).  That being said, he still has a very high floor and a very high ceiling tonight.

Greg Monroe- $5,500- MIL vs IND

Monroe is one of my favorite GPP plays tonight.  He is boom or bust, for sure, as he is coming off the bench and not seeing a ton of minutes, so it is completely possible he disappears.  In 23 minutes in his last game, however, he attempted 19 shots.  No longer playing alongside Michael Carter-Williams, who is very ball-dominant, leads to Monroe being the focal point of the second unit.  He should go overlooked tonight as there are other strong center options, but he offers a ton of upside (and risk) at a very low price.