Preseason NBA Thoughts 10/20/16

It isn’t a great slate tonight with only four games and a few teams on back-to-backs (Knicks are on 2nd leg and the Heat and Hornets are on the first leg), but it is still preseason basketball and people still suck at it so it is worth playing.  There hasn’t been much news released regarding playing time of starters yet, except the Magic have said they plan to treat it like a regular season game.  I am operating under the assumption that most teams will do the same, especially if it is their last preseason game.  The team that I would be most worried about being an issue is Miami since they are on the road today and at home tomorrow, but they have already announced that Winslow, James Johnson, Babbitt, Richardson and McRoberts are inactive, so hopefully that is the extent of what we need to deal with there.  I am also concerned that their starters will see reduced minutes, but will wait for more information before making any final lineup decisions.

Note:  DraftKings pricing and positions are used for this article.  I will include plays from DraftKings and FanDuel in my regular season articles, but FanDuel preseason pricing has been so loose that there have not been many tough decisions to make, so I have mostly focused on DraftKings.

Point Guard

Dennis Schroder- $6,300- ATL at CHI

Schroder played 24 minutes in his last game as the Hawks have allowed their starters a little bit more run as they wrap up the preseason.  Schroder has been aggressive offensively, attempting 13 shots in those 24 minutes.  Assuming the Hawks play their starters similar minutes again tonight, Schroder is a viable option.  I would expect there to be better plays on a bigger slate because I think his price is fair but, on a 4- game slate, you have to take what you can get and he definitely has a nice floor with decent upside.

Jeremy Lin- $6,300- BKN vs NYK

Lin only saw 19 minutes of action in his last game, but hopefully he will see a little bit more since tonight is Brooklyn’s final game.  Lin is a featured piece in the offense, is reasonably priced, and this game has the highest Vegas total on the slate, so he is a strong option tonight.  If the Nets do not announce that the starters will be playing heavy minutes, there will be better cash game options that have more certainty surrounding their minutes so he should only be used in GPPs.  If the Nets specify that the starters will be playing extended minutes, then he is a strong play in all formats.

Elfrid Payton- $4,900- ORL vs NOP

I really wish that there were more games on this slate so ownership would be even lower on Payton in this spot.  He struggles to be a consistent player because he is such an inconsistent shooter, but his price is just too low.  He has a ton of upside for a player who is less than $5,000 and is a 5-point favorite in a game with the second highest Vegas total on the slate.  He is one of my favorite GPP options tonight and, if value doesn’t open up throughout the day, he is in play in cash despite his inconsistencies.  The Magic have said that they will play their starters heavy minutes, and Payton can provide a nice score for $4,900 even if his shot is not falling.  If it is falling, he will be one of the top point-per-dollar plays on the slate.

Shooting Guard

Wayne Ellington- $4,100- MIA at CHA

Value is difficult to come by on short slates, and Ellington has seen an uptick in minutes with Winslow sidelined.  He is not afraid to shoot the ball, and this Miami offense does not have a ton of guys that demand the ball.  Whiteside returning to the court should take a few shots away from Ellington if he is in the starting lineup, but he should still get enough looks to pay off his price.

Dwyane Wade- $6,000- CHI vs ATL

Wade has been playing similar, if not more, minutes to Rondo and Butler (and taking similar amounts of shots) but is the cheapest of the three.  He is a very strong option tonight at only $6,000 in the Bulls’ last game of the preseason.  Fire him up in cash games and GPPs, assuming the Bulls do not announce any weird plans with their rotation.

Small Forward

Carmelo Anthony- $6,900- NYK at BKN

Anthony sat out the first half of New York’s back-to-back and said he plans on playing heavy minutes today.  His price accurately reflects that he hasn’t played a lot of minutes this preseason, so he has a nice floor and upside.  If he only plays his normal minutes, he will be fine.  If he sees a larger share of minutes since it is their last game, he has even more upside.  He is the best small forward option on the slate today.

Doug McDermott- $4,900- CHI vs ATL

McDermott should see extended minutes tonight with Nikola Mirotic out of the rotation.  In Chicago’s last game, when Mirotic was injured, McDermott ended up seeing 37 minutes.  He will also benefit because he will remain on the second unit, and the second unit will not have Mirotic, so McDermott should be able to shoot at will.  If you can’t afford Anthony, McDermott is fine in cash.  He also makes for a nice GPP option.

Power Forward

Frank Kaminsky- $5,400- CHA vs MIA

Kaminsky offers another opportunity to save a little bit of money with Marvin Williams not playing.  He is priced higher than I was hoping, but, if he sees about 30 minutes like he did in the last game, he should be worth that price.  Rostering Kaminsky scares me a little bit because if his shot is not falling he tends to disappear sometimes, but he is a very strong play in GPPs because he can score in a hurry.  It is also worth noting that he took 14 shots in the last game, so he has not been shy about shooting when he is on the floor.

Terrence Jones- $6,500- NOP at ORL

Jones is a great GPP play.  He has always shown the ability to score more than a fantasy point per minute and he should see 20-25 minutes tonight with Anthony Davis out.  He is very aggressive when he is on the floor, as evidenced by the 15 shots he took in 21 minutes in his last game, so he has a very high ceiling with the amount of playing time that he is going to get.  There is some risk with Jones, but he will be in most of my GPP lineups.

Centers

Dwight Howard- $7,500- ATL at CHI

Howard should see around 24 minutes again tonight as the Hawks try and familiarize him with Paul Millsap.  His price has creeped up a little bit due to a couple of big games lately, but it is still not high enough to keep me off of him on a 4-game slate that has limited options at center.  Howard is very playable in cash games and GPPs.

Hassan Whiteside- $9,000- MIA at CHA

I am leaning toward having Whiteside in GPPs, but avoiding him in cash.  There is not a ton of value on this slate so the $1,500 savings from Howard should make a difference in your lineups.  In addition, it is the first game of a back-to-back so there is uncertainty about his minutes.  That being said, he is a strong GPP option because he sat out the last two games so he may not be rested today.  Even if he is limited today, he is capable of being the highest scoring center on the slate if he just plays 18 minutes.