Trends in the NBA are a daily occurrence and if you fail to recognize those trends, you’ll be behind the curve when it comes to DFS. With that in mind, we’ve decided to post a weekly write-up of all the trends that are in-play or about to happen in the NBA. This article will post each Monday, so make sure you give it a read before posting your daily lineup.
We have a situation:
San Antonio: LaMarcus Aldridge missed the Spurs most recent game on Saturday and with Kawhi Leonard already out, there’s actually some fantasy relevance in San Antonio...as long as Aldridge misses more time that is. Here’s what we have currently. Pau Gasol($6,400) is a beast when both aforementioned players are out and he’s healthy as well. Gasol nearly missed the game this past Saturday himself, but he managed to suit up and he posted a monster line. Dejounte Murray($6,400) was on a roll heading into Saturday, but he fell someone flat with both superstars out. Don’t expect that to carry over however has Murray has shown enough to convince Pop that he belongs as one of the leaders on the team. Patty Mills($3,500) has upped his game recently as well and he’s still priced on the lower-tier, so he should provide plenty of value this week.
Denver: Paul Millsap($6,500) is back and he’s already making an impact on the court. Millsap has tallied 23-27 minutes in his first three games back, but you can expect that to slowly creep up as the Nuggets make a push for the playoffs. Millsap isn’t a fantasy consideration just yet, but his impact is being felt throughout the rest of the lineup. For starters, Trey Lyles($4,500), who showed promise this season, is all but buried on the bench now. As for the starters, Nikola Jokic($10,900) has taken the biggest hit as he was on a roll prior to Millsap’s return, but he’s stumbled through the past three games.
Memphis: The Grizzlies aren’t the most exciting team, but flair isn’t a fantasy category yet, so it really doesn’t matter. Memphis is the site of some fantasy opportunity this week as replacement starter Andrew Harrison is out through at least Monday’s game and Marc Gasol is questionable. If both are out, we’ll get a repeat of the situation we had entering Saturday’s game. In that game, Jarell Martin($4200), JaMychal Green($5600) and Ben McLemore($3100) all stepped up and posted big numbers. Martin has shown a lot lately, so he’s certainly safe to deploy going forward. Green is safe as well, as long as he’s healthy and that’s never a guarantee, so be careful there. McLemore has not proven to be trustworthy at all this season, but if his salary stays just above the minimum, he’s worth another shot on Monday.
Monday - DET @ CLE: Remember when the Cavs was terrible on defense, and they weren’t? Well they are again, which means until they figure it out, it’s time again to target players that are facing the Cavs. In this case, look for Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin and Reggie Bullock to post big lines As for the Cavs, well I think you know who to target. One benefit to the poor defense of the Cavs is that it forces LeBron James to play extended minutes to give his team a change to win. On the flip side, we now have to worry about the Cavs being on the wrong end of a blowout if they are facing stiff competition. That shouldn’t be an issue here as the Pistons aren’t really a threat to come into Cleveland right now and blow out the Cavs.
Tuesday - NOP @ LAC: The Pelicans are always fantasy gold and generally the team they are facing sees a boost as well, and this game is no exception. With almost everyone healthy and Blake Griffin out of the picture, the Clippers have become one of the better teams to target for fantasy purposes. The Clippers have allowed 100 or more points in eight consecutive games and the opposition has scored 117 or more in four of the Clippers past six games. In other words, they are the Cavs of the West right now. With that in mind, the usual suspects will get a boost for New Orleans, but I might even take a long look at E'twaun Moore and Darius Miller as well. The Pelicans won’t be the only ones having fun though as Lou Williams and Austin Rivers should feast on the weak backcourt defense of New Orleans.
Sunday - PHX @ CHA: You’ll want to target both players on the Suns and those on the opposing team down the stretch as the Suns are playing better of late, which means more points for the starters. The Suns went through a terrible stretch where they were getting blown out night-in and night-out, which killed most of the fantasy value for everyone involved, but lately, they’ve managed to hang in the games longer, which has resulted in some big fantasy games. Charlotte is not usually a good fantasy source, but against his opponent, you can expect Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum and Dwight Howard to post big lines. As for the Suns, no one is hotter right now than Devin Booker, but there’s plenty of points to go around as Elfrid Payton has become a consistent force and TJ Warren is always a breakout candidate.
Nikola Jokic($10,900): As mentioned previously, Paul Millsap’s return has put a major dent into Jokic’s production and a major price adjustment appears to be imminent. Until that price adjustment is made, you simply can’t spend up for Jokic right now unless you get word that Millsap is out for rest or something to that effect.
Bradley Beal($9,300): Beal just hasn’t taken off in the absence of John Wall like we expected and as such, he’s priced too high right now. At $9,300, Beal has failed to hit the 5x level in five consecutive games and eight of his past 10 games. Oddly enough, his upside has been limited as well as he’s only topped 60 points just once in his past ten games. It may seem like I am asking too much of Beal, but he was an absolute beast last year when Wall went out and that hasn’t been the case this season.
Dwight Howard($8200): Hopefully by the time Sunday rolls around, Howard’s price will be lower, because I’d love to take him against Phoenix, but it will be hard at his current price. Howard hasn’t been a consistent fantasy force for quite a while, but he’s been closer to peak Howard this year than at any point in the past five seasons. With that said, he’s hit a rut lately as he’s failed to hit the 5x level in seven of his past ten games. At his current price, he just doesn’t have enough upside, I’d feel much better about him at $7,500 or lower.
Nikola Vucevic($7,600): Vucevic just hasn’t been the same since his return from injury and while we don’t know if it’s him or if it’s the team that changed while he was out, the bottom line is, he’s not the force he was early in the season. Vucevic has been a high-20s/low-30-point guy since his return, which means he’s an absolute no-go at this price. If his price comes down into the $6k range, then I’ll have to reassess.
Devin Booker($9,000): This space is generally reserved for lower-priced guys, but at $9k, Booker is still a bargain, so here he is. Yes, he posted a dud on Sunday, but that should only serve to keep his salary in-check early this week. Prior to Sunday’s game, Booker was on a tear, topping 50 Fanball points on a nightly basis. Part of that is Booker himself and part is the pace of play coupled with a general lack of readiness from the opposition. When teams see Phoenix on the scheduled, they know it’s going to be a fun game and defense doesn’t come into play until the fourth quarter.
Larry Nance Jr.($5100): Word broke late Sunday that Cavs center Tristan Thompson will be out for at least a few games, which means someone in the front court will need to step up. Nance Jr. looks like the most obvious option, but even if he doesn’t replace Thompson in the starting lineup, Nance Jr. will certainly see an increase in minutes. Nance Jr. has been hovering around 20 Fanball points per night off the bench, but an increase in minutes should push him into mid to high-20s range, which, at this price, puts him above a 5x level.
David Nwaba($5,000): Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Nwaba has taken off. Nwaba has topped 25 Fanball points in four of his past five games and twice he scored 39 or more Fanball points. There’s no reason to think Nwaba is headed for a minutes reduction, so at $5k, he’s a big-time value play right now.
Greg Vara (@gregvara) is an employee of SportsHub Technologies, Fanball’s parent company. As such, he is ineligible to compete in public Fanball contests though he may play in private, Fanball-sponsored contests similar to those contests he offers advice on. Any advice or strategies provided by Aaron or other SportsHub employees represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Technologies and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups.