Well, if that didn’t feel like anything short of an eternity then I’m not quite sure what else would, besides binging a CSPAN marathon.
Now that NBA is back from the week-long All-Star Game break (and endearing a new format in honor of Kobe & Gianna Bryant in the process), we can resume where we left off in the realm of Daily Fantasy Basketball: with some interesting trade landing spots just established by a number of players, along with the Playoff picture beginning to take shape as dark horse teams begin to take flight.
With a very consumable six-game slate to welcome us all back to the fray, there are some intriguing player price points this Thursday and plenty of opportunities to cash out (along with some tournaments from the past reappearing in the lobby for today’s slate, such as the $3 Sharpshooter 20-max entry GPP). Let’s take a look at a number of studs and value plays worth considering in your rosters.
Ja Morant, MEM ($7,000)
Just prior to the All-Star break, rookie phenom Ja Morant was heating up on the stat sheet, which translated into 40.75 and 62.50 DraftKings Fantasy Points in his last two games played. He’s averaging a 26.1% Usage rate over his past ten games played, along with 30.2 minutes per game in that span. And seeing Morant finally achieving over his usual 34-ish DKFP per game season average makes for newfound hope.
While he’s facing a Sacramento Kings team ranked 25th in Pace (98.66), Morant’s Grizzlies run at a top-five pace in the league (103.5) and 11th overall in Points Per Game (113.0 PPG). The Kings also make for a welcoming opponent to the point guard position, allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards (58.40 DKFP/G).
Josh Richardson, PHI ($4,200)
I’m not quite sure if the latest DraftKings pricing on Josh Richardson is based on his gradual return from injury, but after seeing his last performance back at full workload, this salary cost is borderline criminal. Scoring 21 raw points, 5 REB, 1 AST, and 2 BLK accumulating a 33.75 DKFP performance against the Los Angeles Clippers just before the break, Richardson has proven his health is no longer a concern and priced about $1,000 too cheap as the Sixers face a weakened Brooklyn Nets team at home in Philly.
Is Richardson a gamble? Of course; spotting his inconsistency on paper doesn’t require a stat guru. But there’s no ignoring a clear-cut value on paper either: when a starter is getting over 30 minutes and a 21.4% Usage rate in his three games since his return from injury (and ironically, also the same exact usage rate on the season), being priced anywhere in this vicinity is egregious. Josh Richardson makes for roster versatility while providing realistic buoyancy to your lineups given his potential.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11,100)
Somehow, for once I’m able to look at a five-digit fantasy player salary and actually see value. But I suppose when you consider that the Milwaukee Bucks are a 13.5-point road favorite heading into Detroit to take on the disastrous Pistons, coupled with his teammate of usual value in Khris Middleton priced up to less than $3K beneath him, Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t seem like that bad of a bargain given his ceiling for fantasy production.
Averaging a dominant 37.76% Usage rate, 29.8 raw points, 18 rebounds, and 67.7 DraftKings Fantasy Points per game over his last five games played makes for plenty of argument enough to consider the Greek Freak a roster priority on a shorter six-game slate. Then, you sprinkle the additional bonus of a Detroit Pistons opponent on top.
The Pistons have gone from dreadful to somewhere wedged beneath that label, especially since trading away star center Andre Drummond for the sake of dumping a bad contract (which you can’t really blame them for). They were already a bottom-five team against the Power Forward position (and as a team entirely), and now are whittled down to Thon Maker and Christian Wood in the post, which makes for the world of difference for Giannis’ ceiling here.
With James Harden, Trae Young, and Russell Westbrook on the same slate all above five digits in salary cost, Giannis Antetokounmpo factors in to be one of my top owned players among the group of luxury players for Thursday.
Robert Covington, HOU ($5,500)
Among the players sent to new homes before the NBA trade deadline, Robert Covington has been thriving in his relocation to the Houston Rockets, though his price seems to be caught at a low-point in his recent fluctuation (as high as $6,100).
Scoring nearly 40 DKFP in two of his four performances since being traded to the Rockets (39.25 and 38.50 DKFP respectively), Covington has been finding success through his rebounding despite a lower usage percentage (17.22% with HOU).
Facing a Golden State Warriors team that’s 23rd in rebounding all season and ranking in the bottom five teams against power forwards over the past thirty days, Robert Covington’s opportunity to pay off his price tag seems more likely than not.
Harry Giles III, SAC ($3,400)
Can’t even believe I’m typing the bolded name itself, but just as I pleaded for the case of Josh Richardson, the very same theory applies to the likes of Harry Giles ever since assuming the starting center position for the Sacramento Kings.
While he isn’t exactly averaging 30 minutes per game, beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to a price tag $400 above the bare minimum and still achieving close to 20 DKFP per game over his last six games played. In the Kings’ last game Coach Luke Walton decided to start with a small lineup and opted for Cory Joseph over Giles to begin the game, so this play is in part contingent on his starting status and should be monitored leading up to slate lock.
With that being said, Harry Giles proves to be a much better Cash Game play than GPP since his ceiling isn’t where you’d necessarily desire but the dirt cheap cost makes it hard to argue when you can fit so much other priced-up talent around him at the price.