2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing – The Butler Did It

Jimmy Butler

If ever there was a call for evidence to see how a player plays in a contract year, it was Trevor Ariza last year. Jimmy Butler is doing the exact same thing this year, except he’s on his way to a deal likely doubling what Ariza scored from the Rockets last year. Butler’s taken ‘the leap’, the much talked about step up from being an ‘ok’ to a very good player.

He first showed glimpses of being a fantasy demon during the 2012-13 playoffs, by averaging enough positives to outweigh the negatives which led to him being named the starter right out of the gate the following season for the Bulls.

He failed to reach 20 points in any of his last 23 games (including playoffs) last season, topping the mark just five times in 67 games overall. He already has NINE 20+ point games this season, including 32 point gems against the Pacers and again last night at Denver.

This scoring run isn’t likely to continue over the full season, but hold Butler unless you get someone willing to overpay because there’s a lot to like his across the board production, especially considering the major minutes he’s played so far (12/13 games he has played MORE than 35 minutes!).

He’s probably not going to be a perennial All Star type player, but Chandler Parsons and Eric Bledsoe showed you don’t need an All Star birth to land a massive deal in today’s NBA climate. Butler’s fantasy strength in the past was his elite steals and strong FT%, but this year he’s also made everyone forget his sub-40% field goal shooting last year by knocking down shots at a blistering 50% from the field. He’s not likely to keep that up, because he simply isn’t that good a shooter, but his seven attempts per game at the stripe at 82% looks like a solid bet to hold up due to his cutting ability paired with the amazing passing bigs the Bulls have with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah.

Butler is feasting on opposition swingmen to the tune of 21.6 points per game – more than double his career average of 9.7 – so you should expect it to drop slightly as teams adjust, but this should still hover around 16-18 points per.

Jeff Green

Another tweener, another high scorer and another player who went way too late in most drafts (average draft position 95!).

While Green has shown more than Butler in terms of career fantasy production, his stats this year will likely have a much steeper drop because his team isn’t in the running for a playoff spot, let alone contending like the Bulls are – which means one thing:

Jeff Green will be traded this season.

The Knicks have their Knickspiring contracts and the Clippers have a need as do the Raptors, but there will be many more teams wanting some scoring punch and defense from a guy who won’t rock the boat wherever he lands.

A trade would mean his role will likely diminish as he won’t be the first option on offense anymore, like he (sort of) is on the Celtics. His field goal percentage is a bit lower than you’d like from a top 4o-level SF/PF at just 43%, but his elite free throw percentage of 84% coupled with his above average shooting from beyond the arc (1.5 per, but just 27% on the season), make him an ideal roster filler.

Take another look at his recent play and you’ll note he actually hasn’t been that good. Just one double-double on the season, only three games over 20 points and only three games shooting above 50% from the floor. What he does seem to be doing really well is being ‘good’ consistently – at least 11 points in every game so far, with just two games of 3+ turnovers and a steal or a block in 9/12 games so far.

Green’s a guy I’d sell high on to try and land a player with a more certain role (i.e not likely to be dealt), someone with lower value at the moment but better long-term projections like Nicolas Batum or even try and get Andre Drummond or Al Horford if they’re out there.

Mario Chalmers

Check out Almario Vernard Chalmers’ last five games:

Wow. Those are basically Mike Conley or Goran Dragic (2013-14) numbers for a guy who couldn’t even beat out Norris Friggin Cole for the starting PG spot on the Miami Heat.

With Dwyane Wade side-lined (stop me if you’ve heard this before), Chalmers has stepped right in and not only punched above his weight, he’s thrown in a top 20 performance over the last 10 days.

He’s typically always been last to the dinner table, despite coming in as a starter in his rookie season and never playing off the bench from 2011 – 2014 (214 games, all starts).

Of particular note for Chalmers’ recent strong stretch of play is how often he’s getting to the line – nearly 7 attempts per game over his last seven games, while he’s converting them at 85%. That’s a meteoric rise to average 5.4 FTA when your career average is just 1.8 per, which suggests that the rate won’t hold up over a full season.

He’s always been adept at steals (career 1.5 per game) and chips in enough rebounds at both the PG and SG spot to be a positive, so if he’s still available stop trying to make sense of this nonsensical article and go add him now!

Louis Williams

Sweet Lou is officially back.

Last year for the Hawks he had some solid outings, but he never looked like the bona fide bench scorer that he was during his most successful stint in Philly. Finally with a defined role again, not to mention a healthy pair of legs to play under, Lou’s hit his straps for the severely underrated Toronto Raptors.

Playing alongside a pass-first ‘big’ point guard in Greivis Vasquez, he’s been given free reign to do what he does best – slashing, driving and shooting his way to quick points. He isn’t playing starter’s minutes – yet – but don’t be surprised to see Lou take more and more of Terrence Ross’ minutes as the season goes along, because he’s a seasoned vet with nearly 40 games of playoff experience – more than anyone on the team other than Tyler Hansborough.

Williams is scoring at a crazy clip, 13.6 points in 19.8 minutes, which converts to 24.8 points per-36 minutes – a mark good for fifth in the NBA among those who qualify.

He likely isn’t available in any league you’re in, having averaged 22.0 points per game in just 23 minutes over his last four outings, shooting 49% from the field and an absurd 96% (24/25) from the line with 3.0 threes per.

Layups

Bradley Beal

Brad Beal is officially back and I for one, couldn’t be happier.

I’ve always tried having him on my teams – it’s not just the allure of the three point shot, but Beal’s tantalizing skillset which has already seen him up his per-36 stats in assists, steals and points, along with a big rise in FG% as he now sits at 46% through four games. Last year he shot the ball at a disappointing 41.9% from the floor, a mark barely higher than his three point percentage of 40.2%. Beal’s still coming off the bench, but it won’t be for much longer as the Wizards look to build on their promising start to the season.

Perhaps nothing motivates Beal (and John Wall for that matter) like getting cut from the eventual gold medal winning FIBA team; it’s no surprise to see nearly every player who was a part of that camp, excelling in the NBA regular season and Beal will go close to topping 20 points a night this year.

Mirza Teletovic

Few players in today’s NBA can truly call themselves a legit stretch big.

Teletovic is one of the new wave of trendy types stretch fours, one who can open the paint for penetration by dragging the interior defenders out from the paint, thus stretching the defense for easier baskets inside.

Granted, he’s only started one game this season, lighting the Spurs up for 22 points, 8 rebounds, 57% shooting from the field and four threes made, but his value doesn’t seem to be affected by whether he starts or comes off the bench this season.

He’s not going to start many games unless KG’s rocking chair gives way or Brook Lopez stands on a tic tac the wrong way, but hold onto Teletovic because if he gets 30+ mins regularly he’s going to be a legit top 50 player in the Ryan Anderson mould.

Over his last three games he’s averaging 16.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 block, 2.0 threes and 50/78 shooting splits – not bad at all for your back-up big man who qualifies at either forward spot, especially one who isn’t even starting yet.

Derrick Favors

Contrasting with the stretch four is the banging power forward, of which Derrick Favors most definitely fits the mould. Marked for stardom ever since being drafted second overall – then being shipped off in the ridiculous Deron Williams trade – Favors has still yet to really deliver a great fantasy season.

Quite impressively, Favors has increased his points, rebounds and assists for the fourth straight season, currently sitting at 16.0, 8.9 and 1.5 per game respectively. The FT% is a burden at just 67% on the season, which coupled with his 4.2 attempts per game makes him slightly difficult to hide in your line-up.

Last year he really proved his worth on the defensive end, notching up 1.0 steal and 1.5 blocks per game, one of just eight players to do so.

Favors needs to prove he’s a consistent scorer and avoid foul trouble to really show top 30 value – which is something he’s definitely capable of at just 23 years old.

As always we welcome your feedback, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@macetasticand I’ll do my best to reply to any comments.

2014 Fantasy Basketball Daily Fix, November 25th

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Game Breakdowns:

This article is a collaboration between Joshua Lewis and Joshua Kay , the NBA Daily Fantasy experts for the Fantasy Fix.

Atlanta Hawks @ Washington Wizards – Start Time 7:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Atlanta ranks 27th in rebounding rate ( 47.9 )
  • Atlanta ranks 3rd in assist percentage ( 64.4 )
  • Washington ranks 4th in assist percentage ( 64.3 )

SPIN ( ATL ):  The Hawks are usually unattractive fantasy options, and a road matchup with a Wizards team that currently ranks 5th in the NBA in defensive efficiency is certainly not a matchup that is going to turn any heads.  Paul Millsap ( $9,400 ) is completely out of play due to his recent jump in price.  Jeff Teague ( $7,000 ) has a high ceiling, but he’s inconsistent, and the Wizards rank 3rd against opposing point guards.  He’s a GPP only play, and I would severely limit my exposure as it seems unlikely he has a big game in this matchup.   DeMarre Carroll ( $5,100 ) seems to consistently settle between 20-30 fantasy points and makes for a solid cash game target.  He’s not a preferred target for GPPs due to his lack of upside.  Other Hawks can safely be ignored.

SPIN ( WAS ): John Wall ( $9,800 )  is a strong play tomorrow at home.  He has significant home/road splits, and is currently averaging just over 50 fantasy points per game at home.  Atlanta defends point guards well, but Wall is a legitimate stud and can be targeted in both cash games and GPPs assuming you’re not making significant sacrifices to fit him in.  Bradley Beal ( $6,000 ) played 34 minutes last game, and should enter the starting lineup in the very near future.  He’s an excellent play at this low price.  Atlanta is ranked 28th against opposing shooting guards.

Nene Hilario is almost certain to miss tonight’s game.  Kris Humphries ( $4,800 ) will likely step into the starting lineup, and makes for a strong play tonight.  Paying $4,800 for Humphries might feel a bit dirty, but given his solid production in limited minute, and the plus matchup with an Atlanta team that is allergic to rebounding, he should easily pay off his price tag.  Marcin Gortat ( $6,200 ) gets a bump as well, and is a very attractive play at his price.  Both Kevin Seraphin ( $3,000 ) and Drew Gooden ( $3,000 ) are minimum priced and should be the two bigs to play off the bench.  Washington typically plays a 4 man rotation with regard to their power forwards and centers, and both make for good GPP plays as both are able to put up a solid fantasy score in limited court time.

Summary:

All Games:  John Wall – PG, Bradley Beal – SG, Kris Humphries – PF ( if he starts ), Marcin Gortat – C, DeMarre Carroll – SF

GPP Only:  Jeff Teague – PG, Kevin Seraphin – PF, Drew Gooden – PF (if he starts he can be used in cash too)

Golden State Warriors @ Miami Heat – Start Time 7:30 PM

Notable stats:

  • Miami is 2nd in the NBA in 3-point FG% , Golden State is 6th
  • Golden State allows the 4th fewest 3-point FG made per 100 possessions
  • Golden State allows the 2nd lowest jump shot FG% per 100 possessions

SPIN (MIA): Dwayne Wade has been ruled out and Point Guard Norris Cole ( $4,000 ) is “on track to return” from a dislocated finger tonight. If he goes, he will start at the point, with Mario Chalmers ( $6,400 ) drawing the start at the two. Chalmers is the only guy I am interested in for cash games, as he’ll play big minutes regardless. A finger injury for Norris Cole makes things interesting, because even if he plays big minutes, you can’t help but wonder how often he’ll have the ball in his hand — because dribbling/shooting may still be a bit painful. Cole is fine for GPPs, but i’d use DJ Augustin ( $3,900 ) – who we touched on earlier — over Cole 101 times out of 100, but you can use both in the same lineup. I’m fading Chris Bosh ( $8,500 ) tonight due to the Andrew Bogut factor. The Warriors are the sixth best in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing centers.

SPIN ( GS): Klay Thompson ( $7,100 ) is the #1 shooting guard tonight and it’s really not all that close — although Bradley Beal and Jimmy Butler might push him for that. Thompson is as close to an auto-play as there is for 7,100, especially if Shannon Brown starts (who Thompson will absolutely destroy). The only concern here is the blowout factor — which is very real by the way. That doesn’t scare me off Thompson in cash games, particularly because as a three-point shooter he always has the chance to hit “value” in the first half alone. In GPPs, a contrarian blowout fade in some spots makes sense, though. Stephen Curry ( $9,500 ) will likely be very good but again, the blowout factor is a very real issue here. I’d stay away from Curry in cash, especially since Klay has such a significantly better matchup. I’m staying away from the forwards in this game for the most part since Luol Deng, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Shawne Williams are all very solid defenders that match up, size wise, very well with each other, but Small Forward is a weak position, so I don’t mind Draymond.

Summary:

All Games: Klay Thompson – SG, Mario Chalmers – PG, Draymond Green – SF

GPP Only: Norris Cole – PG, Stephen Curry – PG, Andrew Bogut – C, Marreese Speights – PF

Detroit Pistons @ Milwaukee Bucks – Start Time 8:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Detroit ranks 23rd in pace ( 93.47 )
  • Detroit ranks 28th in offensive efficiency ( 97.4 )
  • Detroit ranks 29th in assist percentage ( 51.8 )
  • Milwaukee ranks 8th in defensive efficiency ( 100.7 )

SPIN ( DET ):  Detroit is an inefficient team that assists on a very low percentage of their field goals.  Facing a Bucks team that is tough defensively, it’s hard to see the upside in rostering many Pistsons tonight.  Brandon Jennings has been ruled out, which makes DJ Augustin ( $3,900 ) an across the board automatic play tonight.  He has produced high fantasy scores in both a bench role and as a starter, and is simply too cheap fade.  Josh Smith ( $6,500 ) makes for an interesting GPP play given his reduced price.  He sees a significant boost when Andre Drummond ( $7,100 ) gets into foul trouble.  The typical result is Greg Monroe ( $7,000 ) moving to center, and Smith moving to power forward, a position he is much better suited for.  However, the Bucks team seems unlikely to get Drummond into foul trouble.  It’s also important to note that with Augustin on the court, Monroe gets a bump in usage while Smith sees a drop.  The exact opposite is true with Jennings on the court.  Monroe is also in play as a GPP target.

SPIN ( MIL ):  The Bucks are no fun to use.  They’re all subject to the rotational whims of head coach Jason Kidd.  He has them playing a solid defensive game, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t help us in daily fantasy.  Brandon Knight ( $7,100 ) is the only consistent Buck, and he can be targeted in both cash games and GPPs.  Larry Sanders ( $3,900 ) is approaching minimum salary, and it is absolutely justified.  He is supposedly healthy, but can’t seem to stay on the court long enough to be relevant.  However, the Pistons are dead last against opposing centers.  If he’s able to get off to a quick start, Jason Kidd may reward with him a few extra minutes.  He’s likely not going to be a good play, but there’s a chance he could do really well when absolutely nobody is on him.  The rest of the Bucks are a mess and can safely be avoided.

Summary:

All Games:  DJ Augustin – PG, Brandon Knight – PG

GPP Only: Josh Smith – SF, Greg Monroe – PF, Larry Sanders – C

Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – Start Time 8:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Referee Eric Lewis has the 11th highest ROAD team foul percentage, and his total points per game refereed is 204.2
  • Referee Kevin Scott has the 8th highest ROAD team foul percentage and his total points per game is 203.8
  • Referee Danny Crawford has a total points per game of 207
  • Demarcus Cousins has a 36.9%  usage rate and a 18.9 defensive rebound rate with Rudy Gay ( who is OUT ) off the court.
  • The Kings and Pelicans allow the 3rd and 4th highest opp FG% on Dunks.

SPIN (SAC): We laid out all of the reasons for potentially fading Demarcus Cousins ( $10,400 ), with basically all of them involving potential foul trouble. Is it enough to ignore the incredible upside in such a matchup with Gay out? Additionally, Omer Asik the opposing center, is questionable but he WAS a partial participant in practice Monday. If Asik plays I’d really consider fading Cousins in cash games if you can’t optimize your lineup perfectly with him in (maybe use Norris Cole and DJ Augustin?). The issue is if you need to use multiple value plays that are “praying that he reaches value” types, a 45 point or lower performance from Cousins will absolutely destroy your lineup.  The reason getting Cousins right tonight is so incredibly important is that if you use him you won’t be able to use all four, or probably even three of “Beal / Klay Thompson / Pau Gasol / Jimmy Butler”, all of whom are fabulous plays, so Cousins absolutely can’t dud. Before you slot him into your lineup, you have to assess your personal risk tolerance. I’m likely fading him in cash ( unless some great value play like Nikola Mirotic emerges — Noah is questionable) and praying he gets into foul touble.

Some sites will be pumping Omri Casspi ( $3,500 ) if he starts, as a good potentially value play so that you can fit Cousins into your lineup. This once again, is likely a mistake. The last three games Derrick Williams ( $3,300 ) has received 5 minutes, 22 minutes and 30 minutes respectively — ranging from least recent to most recent. Casspi’s minutes have gone in the other direction at 28 minutes, 17 minutes, 12 minutes. So even if he starts Casspi is absolutely not guaranteed 30+ minutes, and to make matters worse for Casspi, the Pelicans are #1 in the NBA in lowest opp FG% allowed on jump shots — which is all Casspi takes. Don’t fall for this trap. Casspi is one of those “pray he reaches value” guys.

Starting Point Guard Darren Collison ( $7,000 ) is questionable with a quad ailment, and backup point guard Ramon Sessions ( $3,000 ) has been upgraded to “probable” with a knee ailment. Both of these guys (regardless of who starts ) will draw bulldog defender Jrue Holiday. Collison is priced too highly to be interesting if he starts, and Sessions has been horrendous in his relief role of late. If Sessions starts, I still kind of hate using him in order to force Cousins in.

If it sounds like I’m terrified of using the Kings, its because I am. If Asik plays for New Orleans, this game is likely going to turn into an absolute blowout.

SPIN (NO): The same argument that we used for Cousins is applicable to Anthony Davis ( $11,500 ), minus the foul trouble. You will see a lot of stars and scrubs strategy tonight, and that just doesn’t seem like the best route. Pau Gasol at 7,300 against Denver can easily put up 85% of what Davis can produce at almost 40% less cost. Jrue Holiday ( $7,500 ) and Ryan Anderson ( $6,100 ) are always GPP plays — with the latter being my favorite tonight. If Omer Asik ( $4,300 ) returns, he’s probably the best play at center price wise. Not to mention, if Asik does play, this means that the first rotation for the Pelicans will likely be Ryan Anderson in for the terrible Darius Miller at the 3….. This is why I’m terrified to use Kings:

PG- Jrue Holiday, SG- Tyreke Evans, SF – Ryan Anderson – PF – Anthony Davis and C – Omer Asik could easily be the most used lineup for the Pelicans tonight. This lineup is pretty damn good against any team, let alone a team like the Kings with a “Stars/Scrubs” roster that will be minus a star tonight.

The sneakiest value play without question is Austin Rivers ( $3,600 ) at point guard (again all of this mostly hinges on Asik playing). With a potential big time blowout looming, Rivers will see a ton of run ( he might even see extra run regardless if they decide to play Rivers at SG some since Eric Gordon is out). Both Sessions and Collison are woeful defensively.

Summary: 

All Games: Omer Asik – C (if he starts), Demarcus Cousins – C (recommended in cash only if amazing value plays emerge), Anthony Davis – PF (same criteria as Cousins)

GPP Only: Jrue Holiday – PG, Austin Rivers – PG, Ramon Sessions – PG (only if Collison is out), Derrick Williams – SF, Ryan Anderson – PF

Chicago Bulls @ Denver Nuggets – Start Time 9:00 PM

Notable stats

  • Denver ranks 4th in pace ( 98.64 )
  • Denver ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency ( 105.1 )
  • Chicago ranks 9th in assist percentage ( 60.4 )

SPIN ( CHI ):  Both Pau Gasol ( $7,200 ) and Derrick Rose ( $6,500 ) are probable, so expect both to be in the starting lineup.  Denver is extremely weak against power fowards.  The matchup combined with Gasol’s consistency, high floor, and high ceiling make him one of the top plays of the day.  He should absolutely dominate.  Rose only played 25 minutes in a close game last night.  He’ll likely be limited again, and is off limits because of this.  Jimmy Butler ( $7,300 ) continues to be underpriced and should be in all lineups tonight.  He gets it done every night, and will benefit greatly from Denver’s fast pace of play.  Nikola Mirotic ( $4,300 ) played 28 minutes last night, and he should see the same run tonight.  While he didn’t have a great game from a fantasy perspective, the upside is there.  Joakim Noah suffered an eye injury last night, but it doesn’t sound serious and he should play tonight.  If he is declared out, lock and load Mirotic in all lineups.

SPIN ( DEN ):  While Denver is a fun team to target with opposing players, trying to take Denver players themselves feels like torture.  Ty Lawson ( $8,700 ) should have a nice game tonight, but he’s very expensive.  Trey Burke lit the bulls up last night, so Lawson could be in for a big night as well.  Due to price, he’s a GPP only option.  Wilson Chandler ( $5,900 ) has been playing well and may be worth a look in the hopes that he doesn’t draw Butler much defensively, but he’s not a recommended play.  Javale McGee has been ruled out, which should solidify the role of Timofey Mozgov ( $5,600 ).  The Bulls are ranked 29th v Centers.  Mozgov is still an inconsistent option that should be avoided in cash games, but he’s a fine GPP play.

Summary:

All Games:  Jimmy Butler – SG, Pau Gasol – PF

GPP Only:  Nikola Mirotic – PF, Ty Lawson – PG, Timofey Mozgov – C, Wilson Chandler – SF

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Weekly Leaders — Who’s Hot?

lillard land

Damian Lillard
Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America

In this article we will be going over the top 10 players in each major statistical category (excluding percentages). We will list and review each category to give you the best analysis for your fantasy basketball league. This is everything you need to know about the hottest players of the week.

Points
1. Kevin Martin, MIN 35.5
2. Kobe Bryant, LAL 29.5
3. Anthony Davis, NO 25.7
4. Monta Ellis, DAL 25.5
5. Carmelo Anthony, NYK 24.7
6. Damian Lillard, POR 24.3
7. DeMarcus Cousins, SAC 23.7
8. LeBron James, CLE 22.8
9. 3 tied Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, Marc Gasol 21.5

Biggest Surprise
Kevin Martin being on top of this list is a surprise. However, it was a bit of a small sample size because he broke his wrist this week.

Who’s For Real?
It looks like Kobe is for real. Although if you have him he is likely killing you with his shooting percentage.

Who’s A Fraud?
Jimmy Butler is a fraud. He doesn’t have the offensive capabilities to stay on this list with any consistency. He certainly does get the minutes though.

Who’s Missing?
James Harden is a regular on this list who did not make the cut. He will be back on this list sooner-than-later.

Further Analysis:
We are starting to see the same familiar faces on this list on a weekly basis. The two players that really standout on this list are Damian Lillard and Monte Ellis. Lillard is really coming in to his own as an emerging superstar and Ellis has made leaps in developing his game since leaving Golden State. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Basketball Daily Fix, November 24th

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Game Breakdowns

This article was a collaborative effort between Joshua Lewis and Joshua Kay.

Orlando Magic @ Cleveland Cavaliers: Start Time – 7:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Nikola Vucevic usage rate with Tobias Harris off: 31.6%
  • Cleveland is 21st in defensive rebounding per 100 possessions

SPIN (ORL): Small Forward Tobias Harris is questionable for tonight’s game with a calf strain. The former Tennessee product missed morning shoot-around so the prospects of him playing are not good. This is big for the production level of Center Nikola Vucevic ( $8,700 ). If Harris is out, “Vuc” is the top play at center. The rest of this team is somewhat uninteresting, although Victor Oladipo ( $6,300 ) draws Kyrie Irving and his non-existent defense. Oladipo is a GPP only type of play though, as his production levels are wildly inconsistent.

SPIN (CLE): This is a tough situation for the Cavaliers, DFS wise. On one hand, if Tobias Harris is out then Cleveland should blow Orlando out. However, the Cavs only have one blowout win all year — against Atlanta. The real issue obviously for the Magic defensively, is who guards Lebron if Tobias misses? Willie Green? Evan Fournier? Moe Harkless? All those options are laughter inducing. The real issue though is that Lebron James ( $11,300 ) is wildly overpriced. He’s priced at Anthony Davis levels, and Lebron has achieved only two “huge” games DFS wise. With all the cooks in the kitchen in Cleveland capping each other’s upside, it’s hard to justify even paying for Kyrie in cash games. He’s a great GPP play though, and as always Kevin Love ( $8,500 ) isn’t in play in GPP’s since he has broken 40 points just twice this year.

Summary:

All Games: Nikola Vucevic – C

GPP Only: Lebron James – SF (only if good value plays emerge), Kyrie Irving – PG, Victor Oladipo – SG, Evan Fournier – SG

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2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Waiver Wire Fix — Week 4

Photo Credit: David Butler II - USA Today Sports

Photo Credit: David Butler II – USA Today Sports

Welcome to the week four Waiver Wire Fix. Be sure to check back here every weekend for the duration of the fantasy hoops season for more wire targets. I’ve begun breaking the column down according to player types. This should help you find the player that fits your teams specific needs best. There will be different categories every week, so I hope you enjoy the new format. If you’re not sure if you should drop a certain player from your team for one of these targets then shoot me a tweet and I’ll give my two cents.

I only discuss players that are owned in less that 51% of ESPN leagues. I also won’t repeat players that I’ve mentioned in a previous column unless it’s absolutely needed because they’ve leaped into an even better opportunity. This all said, if any of these players are available in your league you should grab/consider them: David West (owned in 68% of ESPN leagues), Giannis Antetokounmpo (60%), Courtney Lee (53%), Kelly Olynyk (52%), Iman Shumpert (50%), DeMarre Carroll (30%), George Hill (30%), Solomon Hill (18%) and Mo Williams (10%).

Now, let’s get to this week’s targets.

Must Add:

Jose Calderon (37%) - After missing the first 13 games of the season, it appears that Mr. Calderon is healthy enough to make his Knicks regular season debut this weekend. I preached him from the rooftops this offseason and there’s nothing more I can add that I didn’t already say when I wrote about Calderon in the preseason. This is really just a break for all of you who missed on him or steered away in your drafts to now steal the veteran point guard for nothing. We’re talking about a top-75 player here that is going to help your fantasy team as well as the Knicks in a big way. Ignore your mind telling you he’s old and unsexy, just add him.

Get to the Point:

Trey Burke (47%) - I was admittedly low on Burke coming into the season as I didn’t believe he’d be much more than a streaky scorer with a steal and some threes. Early on I felt that was pretty accurate but recently the University of Michigan star has changed it up, making better passes than normal. While his shooting has been off all season, he’s made up for it of late by racking up dimes and he’s averaging more than eight assists over the past five games. That is more than double the amount of assists he averaged over the first seven games of the season and two more than last season. If you can handle Trey’s brutal shooting from the field (33% on nearly 12 attempts) and are in dire need of assists, think about giving Burke a look. The three and steal a game is a slight bonus here.

Jarrett Jack (17%) - Quietly the journeyman point guard has upped his play recently and is looking like the reliable off the bench guard he was while playing behind Stephen Curry in Golden State. After a rough first seven games of the year, Jack has really been stellar over the past five games. In those five games JJ has erupted for 17 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists while shooting 58% from the field (on 11 FGA) and 82% from the charity stripe (on 4.6 FTA). On the season Jack has also pitched in more than a steal per game, so if he’s able to keep his impressive play up to the happy medium of 15ppg – 3rpg – 3apg – 1 spg with good percentages, that’s a player who needs to be rostered in all 12-team leagues.

Just in Case:

Nikola Mirotic (1.7%) - At the start of the week Pau Gasol was listed at “probable” by the Bulls but ultimately was ruled out. Then, he sat out Thursday and Friday as well and now we’re wondering if the injury may be worse than originally anticipated. Friday night, Taj Gibson left the game with an ankle injury that at least appeared pretty bad. In that game Mirotic went off on the Blazers playing 33 minutes and stuffing the stat sheet with 24 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and four trifectas on 7/13 shooting from the field. If Pau, Taj or both miss extended time, Mirotic will see a nice bump in minutes and with his size and jumper he can do some legit damage for your fantasy squad. Look for points, boards, threes and some block potential if he were to play over 25 minutes. If you have a player that’s an easy cut or a stream spot you may want to snag Mirotic just in case this all plays out to his benefit.

Stop, Thief:

Corey Brewer (7%) - It’s been an odd week for the veteran wing, no question. Earlier this week it sounded as if Brewer being traded (to Cleveland or Houston) in the coming days was imminent but a few days later and here he still sits. Coach Flip Saunders even came out and told the media that Brewer is tough to sell because he does so much. A day later, Kevin Martin was diagnosed with a fractured wrist and ruled out indefinitely which catapults Brewer right into the starting lineup and a higher usage rate.

Brewer is mostly a steals specialist with 20 swipes over the last seven games, but he’s more than capable of scoring a fair amount when needed. In the past seven contests, CBrew has averaged 13.1 points per game while shooting an impressive 51.7% from the floor. It would feel a lot better rostering Brewer if he pitched in a three ball but that’s just not in his arsenal, shooting just ten on the season only knocking down two of those. Brewer also isn’t a great free throw shooter at 68% on 3.5 FTA but that’s not bad enough to do too much damage. Basically, if you’re in a roto league and need to make a jump in steals, Brewer is a fantastic target and should pitch in more points while Martin is sidelined.

One Injury Away:

Dennis Schröder (1.2%) - The 21-year-old German point guard entered his sophomore season in the NBA with an improved role from his rookie year. The Hawks got rid of Lou Williams leaving the backup PG duties to the young gun Schroder and he’s making the most of it. Jeff Teague is off to a great start to this season and will not give up any minutes beyond just standard breaks. Even in just 16 minutes a night, Schroder is making his presence felt and getting rave reviews from the Hawks coaching staff. He may only be 21 but Schroder is a very speedy and strong kid with great ability taking the ball to the hoop and finishing and/or drawing the foul.

Right now there’s no need for anyone to roster him except in the deepest of leagues, but all it takes in one unfortunate injury to Teague and this kid could become a fantasy gem. Using his numbers from this season, Schroders’ PER-36 line would be 17.2 points, 4.1 boards, six assists, 2.4 steals and great percentages. Now, would he do exactly that, likely not, but he could at least sniff that kind of a line as a starter and would be a huge benefit to whoever adds him. So, while you don’t ever wish an injury upon a player, just remember that if you see any Teague injury news, swoop Schroder immediately.

For more fantasy hoops analysis and to have any questions you may have answered, follow Zack on Twitter @BigZack44

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 4 Buy/Sell

Photo credit: Erik Drost

Photo credit: Erik Drost

Welcome to the Week 4 Buy Low, Sell High report. We are nearly finished with the first month of the 2014-15 NBA season and boy has time flew by so far. There have been notable breakout seasons from players like Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, and DeAndre Jordan who are all supplying top-15 value. On the flip side, consensus early-round selections like Carmelo Anthony, Chandler Parsons, and Kobe Bryant are all outside the top-50. While fantasy values are never set in stone, we are reaching the point of the season where small sample sizes don’t play as big of a role when evaluating whether statistics for said players are sustainable. The point of this column is to bring some clarity for owners looking to identify some of the best targets and sells in fantasy basketball to this point of the season.

The number listed directly to the right of each players name indicates their Yahoo 9-cat values. Without further ado, let’s get started. You can follow me on Twitter @MattMoczy for more basketball musings.

Buy Low

Kevin Love – (34) 16.7 PTS-10.4 REB-2.6 AST-2.0 3PM-0.7 ST-0.3 BLK-38.9% FG-83.3% FT

While Love is still the 34th-ranked player in 9-cat formats, fantasy owners likely paid a first-round pick for his services and the early results haven’t been promising. Entering this season owning a career 43.9% field goal percentage, Love has been drastically less efficient this year as his 38.9% mark from the field would attest. The 26-year-old is definitely experiencing some growing pains playing alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and he admitted after the Cavaliers lost to the Spurs he’s still trying to get comfortable in his role. Take a gander at the table below to see the noticeable drop-offs in Love’s stats compared to last season.

Year/Cat

MPG

FGA

FG%

3PM

FT%

REB

AST

TO

ST

BLK

PTS

2013

36.3

18.5

45.7

2.5

82.1

12.5

4.4

2.5

0.8

0.5

26.1

2014

36.8

13.1

38.9

2.0

83.3

10.4

2.6

1.3

0.7

0.3

16.7

While regression in points and assists was to be expected, it’s rather shocking Love is almost averaging 10 less points per game than with the Timberwolves in 2013. His horrid field goal percentage is obviously a big factor in his decreased scoring and when he straightens his shot out he should be good for 18-20 PPG. It’s worth pointing out his 13.1 FGA would be his lowest mark since 2009 and it’s evident he’s being cast as the third option on offense a la Chris Bosh. Part of the reason why his field goal percentage is lagging is due to the fact he is being used as more of a perimeter threat than post-up presence on offense as the following shot charts indicate.

Love 2013 Shotchart

Love 2014 Shotchart

You can see he is having trouble finishing at the rim and according to NBA.com/stats, Love is shooting 45.5% on shots within 5 feet this season after hitting those shots at a 63.6% clip in 2013. The Cavs would be wise to start feeding Love down in the post more to get him going on the offensive end as he’s really excelled down on the block in his career. It’s also been mildly surprising that Love is averaging 2.1 less rebounds per game this year as he owns a career average of 12.5 boards per game and can likely be somewhat attributed to his newfound role operating further away from the basket on offense. It’s been well documented Love has a great knack for reading shots off the rim and has been one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA throughout his career. He averaged 3.7 OREB in his six prior seasons, but is currently only averaging 1.9 OREB per this year. Additionally, after posting a 28.4 usage rate in 2013, he only owns a 20.5 usage rate this season. It’s called the LeBron effect.

Look, almost all the negatives have been laid out for you and he is still the 34th-ranked player in 9-cat Yahoo leagues. It’s inevitable he’ll become more comfortable in the offense as the season progresses and his efficiency will undoubtedly improve as well. Love is still a walking double-double who is hitting 2.0 3PM with an 83.3% mark from the charity stripe and his turnovers have practically been cut in half. The 3x NBA All-Star and 2x All-NBA Second Team player is simply too talented to be held down for long. He’ll right the ship sooner rather than later and shrewd owners should be looking to deal for the versatile big man at his current discounted price.

Serge Ibaka – (58) 15.5 PTS-7.8 REB-1.2 AST-1.8 3PM-0.2 ST-1.7 BLK-46.4% FG-73.3% FT

Ibaka came into the 2014 season as a universal late-first or early-second round selection due to his stellar production in the past combined with the unfortunate foot injury Kevin Durant suffered in the preseason. Add in the fact Russell Westbrook broke his hand on a fluky play in the second game of the year for the Thunder and owners had to be feeling pretty, pretty good about drafting Ibaka. Fast forward to where we’re at now and it’s safe to say the artist known as “Iblaka” has been a mild disappointment so far for owners. While the 25-year-old native of Congo has seen his FGA rise (12.1 to 13.9) due to an increased offensive role with the Thunder’s two best players out the lineup, it’s translated to less points (15.5 >15.1) to go along with a major drop in efficiency (53.6% FG > 46.4%). Considering Ibaka owned a 54.6% mark from the field in his five prior NBA seasons, it’s become evident he relies on the playmaking ability of Durant and Westbrook to open up easy shots as he’s still not great at creating shots for himself.

He’s drifting further away from the basket on offense now as his career-high prior to this season in 3PM was 0.3 but he’s become a weapon behind the arc this year as he’s hitting 1.8 3PM while launching 4.5 3PA per game. He’s even hitting from deep at a 39% mark. While the three-pointers are the cherry on top for owners, most would likely admit they would take a few less threes in exchange for an improved FG%. Somehow, Ibaka is only averaging 7.7 rebounds after he pulled down 8.8 boards per game a season ago with KD and Westy on the court and it’s simply inexcusable he hasn’t crashed the boards harder so far. Since Nov. 4, Ibaka has only recorded two double-digit rebounding performances. Additionally, the 6’10 center has always been a great shot blocker but after averaging 2.7 last year and 2.6 blocks for his career, he’s only swatting 1.7 shots this year. So why in the hell is he listed under the buy low column you may ask? Because the returns of KD and Westbrook will help, not hurt him like conventional wisdom would suggest.

The Thunder superstars are both set to return within the next three weeks and when they do operating on the offensive end is going to become much easier for Ibaka due to less defensive attention. Unlike Reggie Jackson who will be discussed later on in the column, Ibaka doesn’t need the ball in his hands too much to be effective fantasy-wise. His usage rate has jumped from 19.6 in 2013 to a 22.8 usage rate this year, but it’s important to remember that increased opportunity doesn’t always mean an increase in fantasy value. With that being said, Ibaka remains one of the best buy low options in the game right now as his value will skyrocket with increased efficiency and more blocks due to the looming returns of KD and Westy as he can concentrate more on rebounding and protecting the paint rather than scoring.

Joakim Noah – (74) 8.4 PTS-10.3 REB-4.7 AST-0.5 ST-1.3 BLK-46.2% FG-60% FT

Concerns over his durability will be lingering for all Noah owners out there should be taken seriously considering his injury-prone ways combined with offseason knee surgery, but he’s been delivering his typical well-rounded lines as of late. While points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and percentages are all down due to the presence of Derrick Rose/Pau Gasol in addition to his minutes being reduced to keep him healthy, he’s still the 74th-ranked 9-cat value after finishing 19th a season ago. While his per-game averages are lower in many categories, the only major regressions have been in free throw percentage, steals, and points. We all know Noah scoring isn’t his forte so that’s not too big of an issue in regards to his fantasy value. Perhaps most surprisingly, the 29-year-old Florida alum is still racking up the assists as he’s recorded six assists in six consecutive games. This can largely be attributed due to Rose (hamstring) and Gasol (calf) dealing with injuries the last few games, but Noah is an extremely adept passer for a center so don’t expect too much regression in that area.

After averaging 35.9 MPG the last two seasons, Noah is currently only averaging 32.1 MPG this year in order to keep him fresh as alluded to earlier. You can bet as the season progresses head coach Tom Thibodeau, notorious for riding his players into the ground, will unleash him in due time. While Noah’s form on his free throws has earned his shot being nicknamed “The Tornado” due to the unusual rotation when he shoots, he’s not as bad as his 60% mark from the charity stripe would suggest, although watching his form would indicate otherwise. Noah is a career 72.7% free throw shooter so owners can expect him to pick it up sooner rather than later. He will likely return top-40 value when it’s all said and done due to his versatility in the box score and now remains as good of a time as ever to try to trade for him.

Sell High

Roy Hibbert – (36) 14.0 PTS-8.3 REB-1.8 AST-0.2 ST-3.0 BLK-47.3% FT-81.5% FT

While Hibbert has certainly provided a tidy profit for owners thus far based on his 84.3 ADP compared to his current 9-cat ranking, there’s reason to be skeptical he can keep up this pace all year. David West returned to practice today and is likely looking at a return sometime shortly after Thanskgiving and while George Hill isn’t too close to returning, he will eventually make it back into lineup. Their returns will likely cause Hibbert to see a slight dip in points, rebounds, and assists since he won’t be the focal point of the offense anymore. Paul George being absent will definitely help keep his average up in points, but his career-high is 12.9 PPG so it’s foolhardy to expect Hibbert to completely keep up the pace. Even though he stands 7’2, Hibbert has always been a mediocre rebounder for his size and he’ll likely average under eight boards with the return of West. Furthermore, he’s yet to shoot 50 percent or better from the field in his six-year career and while his 47.3% mark from the field is an improvement over last year, it’s nothing special for a center.

If you drafted Hibbert to be on your squad it’s likely due to his elite shot blocking and free throw shooting for a big so the aforementioned issues may not be as big of an issue to you. It would be much easier to trust Hibbert for the whole year if he didn’t also get off to a fast start last year only to fizzle down the stretch. It will be awfully hard for the 27-year-old Georgetown alum to keep this ranking all year due to his lack of upside. If you can trade him for the likes of Al Horford, Derrick Favors, Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler,  Jared Sullinger, Marcin Gortat, or Tim Duncan, you should take advantage of the opportunity.

Reggie Jackson – (63) 19.8 PTS-4.9 REB-7.7 AST-1.4 3PM-0.8 ST-40% FG-87.3% FT

While Jackson has been dynamite on the floor this year for the Thunder, the looming returns of Durant and Westbrook within the next few weeks will obviously be a huge detriment to his fantasy value. If you exclude his 3.3 turnovers per game, he would be a second-round value in 9-cat formats so you can see how valuable he’s been. This makes for the perfect time for owners to sell-high on him since he’ll likely return to a sixth man role when the Thunder get a bevy of players back from the injury list. With an 99 ADP, owners have certainly reaped the early benefits so far so cashing in would be the wise move. While his usage rate has skyrocketed from 22.7 in 2013 to 26.6 this season, it’s come at the expense of efficiency. After shooting 44.9% the last two years, his field goal percentage has plummeted to 40 percent on a career-high 17 FGA per game, obliterating his previous career-high of 11.5 FGA he established last year. He’s been especially bad from the field in his last three games as he’s shot 12-44 (27.3%).

R-Jax may be drilling a career-best 1.4 3PM on a career-high 5.2 3PA, but he’s only pouring it in at a 26.9% clip from deep. Operating as the main ball-handler/playmaker for the Thunder at the moment, the Boston College product is dishing out an impressive 7.7 assists. While this is as well and good, he’ll likely see his average fall below five once Westbrook returns to his ball-dominant ways. The return of the two perennial All-Stars should help Jackson in regards to his efficiency, but his popcorn stats will undoubtedly regress to the mean. He will likely settle in as a top-75 player capable of averaging something similar to a 15-4-5 line with a superb free throw percentage so be sure not to sell yourself too short if you decide to trade him.

Thanks for reading and thanks to BasketballMonster.com, Yahoo, and NBA.com/stats for providing the statistical information. Be sure to comment below with any questions or remarks you have concerning the article. You can follow me on Twitter @MattMoczy and I’m more than willing to answer any questions.

2014 Fantasy Basketball Daily Fix, November 21st 2014

DailyFixDKFeaturedImage

Game Breakdowns:

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This article was a collaborative effort between myself (Joshua Kay) and Joshua Lewis (known as crackmonkey83 in DFS circles)

Orlando Magic @ Charlotte Hornets – Start Time – 7:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Charlotte ranks 3rd lowest in offensive efficiency ( points per 100 possessions )  at 97.5
  • Charlotte ranks 23rd in pace ( number of possessions per 48 minutes ) at 93.53
  • Orlando ranks 12th in pace at 95.93

SPIN ( CHA ):  The Hornets are a team you can reliably fade on most nights.  They play slow, and they further diminish their fantasy value with their inefficiencies on offense.  There is nothing about this matchup with Orlando that makes any one Hornet jump out as an amazing play.  Al Jefferson ( $7,900 ) is seeing a usage rate of 31.9, which is incredibly high, but his rebounding rate has taken such a dive this season ( he has reached double digit rebounds only once ) that he isn’t worth rostering except in premium matchups.  Kemba Walker ( $6,800 ) has dropped to a price point where he makes for an acceptable GPP target, but isn’t worth targeting heavily.  The best play here is Gary Neal ( $3,000 ).  Neal has dropped to minimum salary, and makes for an excellent target in both cash games and GPPs.  He’s the primary option on the second unit, and should see plenty of run with PJ Hairston and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist already ruled out.

SPIN ( ORL ):  With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist injured, opposing small forwards have been abusing the Hornets.  This sets up an excellent scenario for Tobias Harris ( $7,400 ).  Harris is thriving with Victor Oladipo ( $6,500 ) on the court, and he has incredible upside in this matchup.  He’s a great cash and GPP play.  Nikola Vucevic ( $8,600 ) has taken great strides offensively this season, and should thrive against a Hornets team that is ranked 22nd in offensive rebounding percentage.  Al Jefferson is not a good defender, as evidenced by Charlotte’s poor ranking against opposing centers.  Vucevic’s high floor, high ceiling, and consistency make him a very attractive target, even at his elevated price.  Starting shooting guard Evan Fournier ( $5,000 ) missed last game with a sore heel.  Maurice Harkless ( $3,000 ) saw extra minutes and predictably did nothing with them. 

Summary:

All Games:  Gary Neal – SG, Tobias Harris – SF, Nikola Vucevic – C

GPP Only:  Kemba Walker – PG

Phoenix Suns @ Philadelphia 76ers – Start Time – 7:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Philadelphia ranks 2nd in pace at 100.8
  • Phoenix ranks 4th in pace at 98.9
  • Philadephia ranks 30th in offensive efficiency at 88.3
  • Phoenix and Philadelphia are ranked 17th and 18th, respectively, in defensive efficiency at 103.4 and 103.7
  • Philadelphia turns the ball over an average of 19 times per game, which is 2nd worst in the league.
  • Philadelphia ranks 30th in rebounding with a rate of 46.2

SPIN ( PHX ): The 76ers are a popular team to target with opposing players, but they aren’t quite as terrible defensively as most people think.  Opposing players get a boost from their fast pace and propensity to turn the ball over, but they are not giving up points at quite the rate they did last season.  That said, targeting them is still a good play, but don’t expect every member of the Suns to go bananas.  Goran Dragic ( $7,100 ) is a nice play here as he has excelled in up tempo matchups this season.  If you take a look at his game log, his good performances occur against the faster paced teams, and his poor performances occur against slower teams.  Of the three guards, Dragic’s minutes are the safest.  Eric Bledsoe ( $7,500 ) will be the more popular target, but Dragic is just as strong of a play, and is safer of the two options.  Markieff Morris ( $6,900 ) is in play as well.  but his inconsistencies make him a GPP only target.  Gerald Green ( $5,000 ) has seen a price jump, but given his 40 point upside, he’s in play in GPPs as well.  Isaiah Thomas ( $5,600 ) has been producing in limited minutes, and makes for an interesting GPP play that could pay off big if Bledsoe struggles and finds himself the odd man out for the evening.  Overall, Phoenix is a very tough team to predict, especially given Jeff Hornacek’s propensity to ride the hot hand on any given night.  There will be very good plays, but it’s difficult to know who they will be.

SPIN ( PHI ):  Philadelphia’s offensive efficiency rating says it all.  They are scoring a full 7 points less per 100 possessions than the 2nd worst team in the league, Oklahoma City.  They take horrible shots and they turn the ball over way too much.  Due to his absurd usage rate, Tony Wroten ( $5,600 ) is the only usable player from the Sixers.  Wroten’s usage rate last game was 38.9.  To put that in context, in the 05-06 season, Kobe Bryant set the record for highest usage rate over the course of a season.  His usage rate was 38.74.  Despite coming off the bench and not playing starter minutes, Wroten is a terrific play because he piles up fantasy points at a rate fast enough to more than pay off his modest price tag.  Michael Carter-Williams ( $7,300 ) is in play in GPPs because he can post a very high score if he can manage to shoot the ball well.  His inefficiencies and turnover problems make him a complete avoid in cash games.

Summary:

All Games: Goran Dragic – PG, Tony Wroten – PG

GPP Only: Eric Bledsoe – SG, Markieff Morris – PF, Gerald Green – SG, Isaiah Thomas – PG, Michael Carter-Williams – PG

Detroit Pistons @ Atlanta Hawks – Start Time – 7:30 PM

Notable stats

  • Atlanta ranks 27th in rebounding with a rate of 47.6
  • Detroit ranks 11th in rebounding with a rate of 50.6
  • Detroit ranks 25th in pace at 93.5
  • Atlanta ranks 16th in pace at 95.6

SPIN ( DET ): Detroit’s major advantage in this matchup will be on the glass.  If Andre Drummond ( $6,700 ) could manage to stay out of foul trouble, the Pistons would rank even higher in terms of rebounding rate.  That said, Drummond led the league in offensive rebounds last season, and it wasn’t even close.  Drummond had 440, and runner-up DeAndre Jordan had 331.  Drummond is an elite rebounder matched up with a team that is terrible at rebounding the basketball.  Given the Hawks don’t attack the rim much, preferring to settle for mid-range jumpers, Drummond is in a great spot to not only soak up a bunch of rebounds, but also stay out of foul trouble.   If he can keep his hands to himself, we may finally see one of those monster games we routinely saw last season.  His fouling issues keep him out of cash game lineups, but he’s a very nice GPP target with expected low ownership tomorrow.  Greg Monroe ( $7,200 ) is a great option for both cash and GPP lineups.  Millsap is a bad defender, and he won’t be able to stop Monroe from attacking the rim.  Monroe will also benefit from Atlanta’s poor rebounding.  Other Pistons can safely be faded, including Josh Smith ( $6,500 ) who, despite having a revenge game, loses significant value playing the 3 instead of the 4, and doesn’t have a good matchup against a returning DeMarre Carroll.

SPIN ( ATL ): With the aforementioned DeMarre Carroll ( $5,100 ) returning, the rest of the Hawks become very poor values. Paul Millsap ( $9,300 ) is priced out, but both he and Al Horford ( $7,000 ) take a hit in rebounding rate with Carroll on the court.  Horford isn’t rebounding anyway, so despite Detroit’s dead last ranking against centers, Horford isn’t very intriguing.  Jeff Teague ( $6,900 ) has come down in a price a bit, and even though Detroit’s #3 ranking against point guards is extremely suspect, he’s nothing more than a low exposure GPP target.

Summary:

All Games: Greg Monroe – PF

GPP Only: Andre Drummond – C, Jeff Teague – PG

Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors – Start Time – 7:30 PM

Notable stats:

  • Toronto is third worst in defensive rebounding per 100 possessions
  • Toronto sports the leagues best turnover rate with just 11.6 turnovers per 100 possessions.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks are 4th in the NBA in steals per 100 poss.

SPIN (MIL): The Raptors are giving up the 10th highest opp FG% in the paint, and are in the top half of the league in terms of highest opp FG% at the rim. While it’s still somewhat of a fluid situation due to Head Coach Jason Kidd’s rotations, Zaza Pachulia ( $4,000 ) has seen the lion’s share of the minutes lately, with Larry Sanders quickly falling out of favor. If Zaza starts, he is a good play against the poor defense of Toronto center Jonas Valenciunas. Other than him, it’s very hard to trust any Milwaukee Buck in cash games, and if they won’t be getting many steals due to Toronto’s strong possession abilities, they really are just not that interesting.

SPIN (TOR): With Brandon Knight hounding Kyle Lowry ( $7,800 ) all night, it’s reasonable to suggest that Shooting Guard Demar Derozan ( $7,200 ) might find himself holding the ball more often than normal. Derozan is a strong play in any format due to his consistency. Demar has only recorded fewer than 29 Draft Kings points twice in his last ten games, one of which was a matchup against Chicago Bull elite defender Jimmy Butler. The only thing that ever prevents me from using Derozan on a given night is the way that salary shakes out at other positions — sometimes there is very good value at shooting guard.

Summary:

All Games: Demar Derozan – SG

GPP Only: Zaza Pachulia – C (only if deemed to be starting)

Brooklyn Nets @ Oklahoma City Thunder – Start Time – 8:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Brooklyn ranks 22nd in pace at 94.76
  • Oklahoma City ranks 27th in pace at 92.68
  • Oklahoma City ranks 29th in offensive efficiency at 95.2
  • Brooklyn and Oklahoma City rank 25th and 26th in assists per game, respectively, at 19.6 and 19.1.

SPIN ( BKN ):  The Nets are a team that rarely offer any good daily fantasy plays, and tonight is no exception.  Tonight’s matchup with Oklahoma City is expected to be low-scoring, which is no surprise given the pace of both teams.  Considering how low Brooklyn ranks in terms of assists, it’s very difficult to target Nets when those valuable assist points are hard to come by.  Fading Brooklyn is a smart move tonight.

SPIN: ( OKC ):  Oklahoma City is easy to figure out on any given night.  With Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant injured, Reggie Jackson ( $7,700 ) has become their do-everything player.  He’s been extremely consistent, and his usage and ability to grab rebounds and dish out assists has turned him into a high floor, high ceiling player that should be targeted aggressively in both cash games and GPPs.  Jeremy Lamb ( $4,900 ) makes for an interesting GPP target.  He has high upside relative to his price if he is knocking down shots.  The rest of Oklahoma City can safely be ignored.

Summary:

All Games:  Reggie Jackson – PG

GPP Only:  Jeremy Lamb – SG

Boston Celtics @ Memphis Grizzlies: Start Time – 8:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Boston attempts the second fewest free throws per 100 possessions
  • Boston is 1st in FG% in the paint, and 5th in FG% at the rim.
  • Memphis is holding teams to the 5th lowest opp FG% in the paint, and 5th lowest opp FG% at the rim.
  • Memphis attempts the 2nd most field goals in the paint

SPIN (BOS): It’s quite difficult to recommended any Celtics in this game other than Jeff Green ( $6,600 ). With Quincy Pondexter doubtful for Memphis, and Tony Allen having left shootaround early (questionable) to play tonight, that would theoretically leave just Tayshaun Prince, Vince Carter and Courtney Lee as their healthy wings. It’s easy to see Green having a good game if Allen were to miss.

SPIN (MEM): The Memphis side of things is much more attractive since they will be playing up in pace a bit. Zach Randolph ( $7,800 ) leads the NBA in rebound chances per game with 19.8 and playing up in pace should really benefit his game. Shooting Guard Courtney Le( $4,200 ) has a revenge game, and is nicely priced. The only concern with him is health, since he is just a couple days removed from missing an entire game due to illness. He’s not a guy I’m looking to plug into a ton of lineups, but if he is symptom free, he could put on a show.

*IMPORTANT NOTE*

The Grizzlies enjoy being nonsensical with their rotations, allowing their big three to get more rest than other teams do. With Jon Leuer – PF, Kosta Koufus – C, and Beno Udrih - PG questionable for tonight, Mike Conley ( $7,600 ), Marc Gasol ( 8,200 ), and Randolph all see an enormous boosts in stock, and become extremely strong plays

**********

Summary:

All Games: Zach Randolph PF.      Mike Conley – PG, and Marc Gasol – C, if the above Grizzlies are out.

GPP Only: Jeff Green – SF

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards – Start Time – 8:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Cleveland is allowing the highest mid-range shooting percentage in the NBA
  • Cleveland is allowing the 7th highest opp FG% in the paint
  • Cleveland is allowing the 4th highest opp FG% from mid range
  • Cleveland is bad at defense
  • Washington is allowing the 4th highest opp FG% on above the break 3-pt shots
  • Cleveland has the highest above the break 3-pt shot FG%.

SPIN (CLE): For some reason, Lebron James ( $11,000 ) is much more aggressive on the road, than at home. Perhaps due to a higher burden —  knowing that he has to lead his team in more adverse situations — James is averaging 39.5 minutes per game on the road (37.3 at home) and has taken 105 shots in five road games (compared to 87 in five home games). Expect him to carry a huge burden tonight.

SPIN (WAS): Washington is a lot more interesting to dissect because they are all mostly reasonably priced. John Wall ( $9,400 ) could go absolutely nuts thanks to being guarded by poor defender Kyrie Irving, and Nene ( $5,000 ) is reasonably priced, and being guarded by Kevin Love. Lastly, Marcin Gortat ( $6,100 ) is a very good play.

Summary: 

All games: Nene – PF, John Wall – PG, Marcin Gortat – C, Lebron James – SF

GPP Only: Kyrie Irving – PG, Bradley Beal – SG

San Antonio Spurs @ Minnesota Timberwolves – Start Time – 8:00 PM

Notable stats:

  • Kevin Martin will be out indefinitely. Also, Minnesota has a bad defense.

SPIN (SA): This one is pretty easy: Stay away from the Spurs in cash games cause this one can get ugly in quite a hurry. With Matt Bonner expected to miss tonight’s contest for the Spurs, Aron Baynes ( $3,000 ) becomes a very intriguing “eh, what the heck” GPP play that could return some pretty significant extra value since he should see a ton of minutes in a blowout. Plus, and we don’t know just yet, but it’s possible he could start.

SPIN (MIN): The Timberwolves can be described in this game as a collection of semi-interesting slightly overpriced value plays. With Kevin Martin out indefinitely with a wrist injury, run for Corey Brewer ( $5,200 ) and Andrew Wiggins ( $4,500 ) will significantly increase (especially Brewer since reports are that he is being showcased for possible trades). Shabazz Muhammad ( $4,100 ) and Anthony Bennett ( $4,000 ) are interesting options at the forward flex spot, but their run tonight will be a bit unpredictable since we saw Bennett lose minutes to Robbie Hummel of all people last time out against the Knicks. To answer your questions, no… Hummel is not in play. Gorgui Dieng ( $6,500 ) is interesting, but again, somewhat overpriced, as is Mo Williams ( $4,600 ). 

Summary: 

All games: Corey Brewer – SF

GPP Only: Andrew Wiggins – SF, Mo Williams – PG, Aron Baynes – C, Gorgui Dieng – C, Anthony Bennett – F, Shabazz Muhammad – F

Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks – Start Time – 8:30 PM

Notable stats:

  • Los Angeles is league worst in defensive efficiency at 113.4
  • Dallas is league best in offensive efficiency at 114.9.
  • Los Angeles is 7th in pace at 97.57
  • Dallas is 17th in pace at 95.54

SPIN ( LAL ): Kobe Bryant ( $8.900 ) is simply underpriced relative to what we can reasonably expect from him on a game-to-game basis.  He’s going to shoot, and he’s going to shoot a lot.  He will likely draw the “defense” of Monta Ellis, which puts him in a fantastic spot to put up a huge scoring total as he attempts to keep the Lakers in the game.  He’s an excellent play in both cash games and GPPs.  The return of Nick Young ( $3,600 ) should continue to give the Lakers a boost.  He provides scoring off the bench that they desperately need.  He’s a bit risky in cash games as he mainly just scores, but he’s certainly in play in GPPs as he can give you an excellent return on a minor investment.  Other Lakers aren’t particularly intriguing and can be avoided.

SPIN ( DAL ): Dallas is going to score a lot of points tonight, but it’s going to be difficult to predict where they come from.  They are very balanced in terms of scoring, and at first glance, everyone feels overpriced.  Some of these guys are going to turn into good plays, so Chandler Parsons ( $7,100 ), Monta Ellis ( $8,000 ), and Dirk Nowitzki ( $7,300 ) are all in play.  I wouldn’t stack them, as it seems unlikely they all turn into great plays, but mixing up exposure to all of them seems very prudent.  Tyson Chandler ( $6,300 ) is the favored target.  Despite turning in a consistent string of terrific performance, his price hasn’t moved.  He will be very active on the glass, and is a near lock for a double-double tonight.  He should be targeted aggressively in cash games and GPPs.

Summary:

All Games:  Kobe Bryant – SG, Chandler Parsons – SF, Monta Ellis, SG, Dirk Nowitzki – PF, Tyson Chander – C

GPP Only:  Nick Young – SG

Cash Game Rankings:

*Note* these rankings are price adjusted

UPDATE: Kirk Hinrich, Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol ARE OUT.

Point Guard:

  1. Aaron Brooks – $3,800
  2. Reggie Jackson – $7,700
  3. Tony Wroten – $5,600
  4. John Wall – $9,400
  5. Mike Conley – $7,600 (if Beno Udrih is out)

Shooting Guard:

  1. Kobe Bryant – $8,900
  2. Jimmy Butler – $7,200
  3. Gary Neal – $3,000
  4. Demar Derozan – $7,200

Small Forward:

  1. Tobias Harris – $7,400
  2. Lebron James – $11,000
  3. Corey Brewer – $5,200
  4. Tyreke Evans – $7,400

Power Forward:

  1. Anthony Davis – $11,300
  2. Greg Monroe – $7,200
  3. Zach Randolph – $7,800
  4. Taj Gibson – $5,900
  5. Nene – $5,000

Center:

  1. Tyson Chandler – $6,300
  2. Andrew Bogut – $6,200
  3. Nikola Vucevic – $8,600
  4. Marcin Gortat – $6,100

Viable GPP Salary Super Savers:

These players are only recommended to fill out lineups you make that you find leave you with virtually nothing left. You are at the point where you really don’t want to rework your lineup, so you plug in one of the following guys to make it work.

  1. J.J. Barea – $3,300 – DAL – PG
  2. Gary Neal – $3,000 – CHA – SG — Would be willing to use him in all games
  3. J.J. Hickson – $3,000 – DEN – C
  4. Aron Baynes – $3,000 – SA – C

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 3 Trend or Mirage?

 

Arron Afflalo  – TREND

The buzz on Afflalo is that he was somewhat of a late bloomer in terms of getting it together on the offensive end of the court.

He was drafted as a potential 3 and D guy by the Pistons, but didn’t really get a chance to shine until his second season in Denver. Having gone through Denver to Orlando and now landing back in Denver, Spell Check has gotten it going over his last four games to the tune of 17.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 3.3 threes, just 0.8 turnovers and a very useful 50% from the floor on 13.5 field goal attempts. While his defensive stats are continually poor, he doesn’t turn the ball over and he’ll generally hit his free throws at a high clip, making him a useful player to pair with someone like Rajon Rondo, who is strong in the counting stats but abhorrent in terms of shooting the ball.

Even if Afflalo is dealt to a contender (quite likely) – you can expect him to stay strong at what he’s good at, as he’s comfortable in his role and he doesn’t try to do things he simply can’t.

Terrence RossMIRAGE

It’s not that Ross’ good start is a mirage, it’s that I can’t see him carving out a rosterable (made up word, I know) spot on competitive fantasy teams. Sure, he’s a safe plug for deep, i.e. 14+ team leagues where you’re choosing between adding Vince Carter, C.J Miles or stashing Jodie Meeks (don’t, he’s likely out at least another month), but he’s not going to help you in more than 2-3 categories.

The 51 point explosion last year was an aberration. To put it in perspective he’d scored 48 TOTAL points in the six games leading up to it, while it took him the five games after it to total more than 51.

This is a streaky player, and not the James Johnson or Corey Brewer type who can block 4 shots one game or grab 6 steals in another – threes are everywhere. For every good 6-11 performance he has, there’s a 1-5 or 2-7 outing soon after it.

Courtney LeeTREND

Courtney Lee is another SG who has bounced around the league, as this current Grizz unit is his fifth team in just six seasons.

He’s a rock solid defender, better than advertised athlete and he’s a very capable outside shooter. Basically he’s the perfect SG to compliment the grounded Grizzlies beef up front and grit in the form of Tony Allen. Coming into the season not many picked Lee to start for the Grizz, even fewer likely thought he’d be nine games into the season and shooting 57% from the field, 92% at the line and knocked down two threes at a league leading 62.1% clip! He’s doing it, the Grizz are winning a lot of games, and this is most definitely a trend considering his career stats when he has gotten minutes. In 228 career starts, Lee’s stats are mirroring what he’s currently doing: around 12 points, a couple of rebounds and assists and over one steal and one three per game with 85% at the line and 45% from the field. As long as he’s healthy and the team is rolling, there is no reason to suspect he’s going to drop off too much (I say too much, because he can’t possibly sustain those video game shooting percentages).

Dion WaitersTREND

Yes, a trend can be both good and awful.

The problem for Waiters is, what he’s good at, isn’t needed on this star-studded Cavs team. He isn’t a good or even really an average defender, nor is he particularly adept at knocking down the outside shot or creating for team-mates, but he can score in bunches. Don’t be surprised if Waiters is moved for more veteran pieces as the Cavs look to fill the holes currently littering their roster, at which point you can re-evaluate him for fantasy purposes in case he lands in the ideal spot to produce (the 76ers?).

He’s actually shown some signs of life over his last three games, averaging 11.7 points, 4.0 assists, a crazy 2.7 steals, 1.0 three as well as just 1.0 turnover per game.

There’s upside there especially in PTS/3s/STL, but he’s surrounded by superior talent on the Cavaliers.

Kentavious Caldwell-PopeMIRAGE

I’m still hanging on desperately to the back of the KCP bandwagon – the talent is there with this kid and so is the opportunity with Jodie Meeks still on the shelf.

He’s getting plenty of minutes manning the SG spot but he’s done little other than knock down some threes, cause SVG to pull more hair out, and make fantasy owners question every ‘expert’ who picked KCP as a sleeper! He’s a good defender, was a former lottery pick, has a structurally sound jump-shot and his coach seems to like him – all recipes for success in theory, but KCP has to put these traits into practice.

Still, as a 21 year old on a rather ‘unbalanced’ team, KCP could be doing a lot worse than 11.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 threes per game – just don’t look at his percentages or any other statistic or you’ll see he’s been hanging out with Josh Smith too much.

As always we welcome your feedback, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@macetasticand I’ll do my best to reply to any comments.

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing – Reggie Jackson: Mr November

Reggie Jackson

Everyone knew Reggie Jackson as Russell Westbrook’s back-up who had some potential as a scoring combo guard, particularly excelling in last year’s playoffs while starting alongside Westbrook against the Spurs in their last two games (sure, both losses!). With a plague of Thunder injuries – including a minor one to the man himself – Jackson has been thrust into the starting point guard spot, thriving from a fantasy perspective.

He’s easily topping his career highs in every major statistic, with only his field goal and three point percentages and turnovers suffering – the mark of a player unaccustomed to shouldering such a massive load. It didn’t take him long to hit his strides, as he started with 23 points at Brooklyn and he hasn’t looked back, scoring at least 20 points in six of his nine games. The counting stats are also extremely satisfying for a player with an ADP of 91 in ESPN leagues, as he’s had four assists in every game of the season, while averaging 4.7 rebounds per night – good for 12th among guard eligible players.

Like most young point guards, the 3.6 turnovers aren’t great, in fact they’re a big issue – but when the rotation irons itself out a bit more Jackson will find he won’t have to force the issue as much. Even when the aforementioned Westbrook returns towards the end of the month (touch wood), Jackson’s going to hold value as the second option OKC needs to keep the boat afloat until the MVP returns ready to challenge Anthony Davis for interstellar fantasy domination.

Giannis Antetokounmpo
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2014 Fantasy Basketball Daily Fix, November 19th

DailyFixDKFeaturedImage

Daily News for November 19th

Bradley Beal returns for the Washington Wizards. He will come off the bench. This renders Rasual Butler, whom while usually useless in fantasy, has actually been receiving more minutes and was creeping onto the punt play radar. Alas, that brief window is gone so fast we hardly knew ye’ Rasual.

P.J. Hairston is out today for the Charlotte Hornets, making Gerald Henderson the only healthy wing options besides Gary Neal and Lance Stephenson. 

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