Written by: Christopher Dagostino – Staff Writing Intern (@Mighty_Dag)
Tonight brings an unusually small three game slate for the NBA. Instead of recommending top plays in this column, I will be highlighting the value plays necessary to fit in some of the star power available in this slate. As always I will outline my research here, but feel free to contact me on twitter @mighty_dag.
| Best Bargains
Serge Ibaka -Power Forward/Center – Orlando Magic
Ibaka can be wildly inconsistent and one peak into his game log can have you scared off. Three straight games of 40+ fantasy points with a steep plummet to 10 fantasy points. Serge’s last matchup was with an Atlanta team that is one of the top teams in defensive efficiency metrics and rebounding differential something tonight he will not contend with.
Instead, Serge and the Magic will be taking on a Houston team that will push the pace creating the 2nd highest pace differential of the slate while giving up the 5th most fantasy points to power forwards. Serge is in this column because he has the most upside of any power forward on this slate. If you are spending up at this position, it would be wise to lock in Ibaka.
Clint Capela – Center – Houston Rockets
The center position does not leave a lot of opportunity cost tonight making the mid tier very appealing. Brook Lopez is always in play but rarely plays a tick over 30 minutes. Sure, he has a good matchup and I could not blame if anyone landed on him. Clint Capela could match Lopez or come very close with a very lower salary allowing us to pay up elsewhere.
Capela is in a great spot tonight when the Magic will try to defend the pick n roll with Elfrid Payton and Nikola Vucevic. Yeah, advantage to Harden and Capela. The Magic are 25th in rebounding differential which numbers include Bismack Biyombo starting over half of the season who is a superior defender. Biyombo’s minutes have down trended with a direct correlation to an uptick with Nikola Vucevic’s.
If they are going to contend with the Rockets tonight, they will need Vucevic’s offensive game, leaving Capela with a great matchup. Capela averaged 32 minutes his past two games in a back to back set, showing us the Rockets are fully confident in Capela’s health. His price is only going to continue to rise. He is viable in any format and makes for a nice correlation play with James Harden.
| Core Value Plays
Sean Killpatrick – Point Guard/Shooting Guard – Brooklyn Nets
Sean Kilpatrick played over 32 minutes with Caris Levert out solidifying him as a solid value on a short slate. Now, we do have to be conservative when selecting Nets players because they run such deep rotations. I don’t think he is a necessity on Fanduel with a less prohibitive salary cap but on Draftkings he is a solid value as the Hornets rank 28th in dvp to shooting guards. Kilpatrick rarely starts but has solid upside as he hits over 6x on this salary almost 38% of the time.
Frank Kaminisky – Power Forward/Center – Charlotte Hornets
I think some may be turned off by Kaminisky’s elevated price tag sitting at 4,700 on Draftkings and 4,500 on Fanduel. The Net are ranked first in pace of play and last in points allowed per game. The recent trades of Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes should open up minutes for Kaminisky.
The Nets are ranked 28th in rebounding differential, combined with the elevated pace and poor deficiency displayed by the Nets will allow for increase opportunities for Kaminisky. If Cody Zeller is out, he is someone to lock in tonight in order to afford some of the stars on the slate.
Evan Fournier – Shooting Guard – Orlando Magic
Fournier recent return from a heel injury should allow for lower ownership especially on a slate where we may see the middle tier under owned. Rostering Fournier could be a differentiator tonight when most will look to lock in Harden leaving one shooting guard slot open with a plethora of high end and low end values.
Fournier struggled on a back to back last game but has since had three days off. The Magic are 11 point underdogs but still hold the 3rd highest team total at 106. He could draw James Harden defense and could create a funnel spot with Patrick Beverley locked on Elfrid Payton.
Aaron Gordon – Small Forward/Power Forward – Orlando Magic
Another inconsistent option that no one likes to roster is Aaron Gordon. Tonight he will be tasked with the assignment on James Harden. In their most previous matchup, Gordon went for 36 fantasy points over 36 minutes. Jeff Green is already out tonight meaning solidified minutes for Gordon and Serge Ibaka.
| Low Owned Pivots
Damian Lillard – Point Guard – Portland Trailblazers
CJ McCollum – Point Guard/Shooting Guard – Portland Trailblazers
Whenever a player is a game time decision going into a slate their respective ownership will be drastically reduced. When looking at the point guard position tonight, the masses will gravitate to Kemba Walker at home versus the Nets and perhaps a value in Yogi Ferrell or Patrick Beverley.
A game time decision player even a star like Lillard facing the Mavericks will go virtually ignored. But before you write this off, note that Kemba Walker has NOT scored more then 43 fantasy points in 8 matchups with the Nets. Now, I am not saying he is not a good play tonight, but you could really differentiate your lineup if going with one of the Blazer’s stars.
Lillard will be going up against Yogi Ferell whom is severely undersized and already owns a -2.42 defensive rating plus minus. If we get word that Lillard will be limited or if simply not wanting to take the risk on him, pivoting to McCollum is a smart move.