NBA Value Plays 12/13 by @
If you guys don’t know me, my name is Nick Mensio. I’m a full-time NFL writer over at Rotoworld and wrapping up my fifth season over there. I used to write a piece called “Mind of Mensio” for DFS Bootcamp, but that site has since been shut down in the past year. I’d do it for NBA, MLB, and NFL. With the NFL season winding down, Ben Jammin was gracious enough to offer me a spot to bring my NBA stuff over here for the remainder of the season. I’ll be writing up my favorite sub-$5K players some days, and diving into my favorite overall plays at other times. For tonight, I’m taking a look at sub-$5K guys who I think have a chance to at least 5X their salary. Thanks for reading.
PG Toney Douglas at Cavaliers ($4,000)
Douglas was signed by the Grizzlies eight days ago. He played a total of 14 minutes in his first two games with the team, but Douglas has averaged 25 minutes over the past two and helped close out the Blazers back on December 8. He’s averaged just 16.65 FanDuel points in the past two games, but Douglas is playing a healthy amount of minutes and gets a great matchup against a Cleveland team that struggles to defend guards. No matter where he’s played, Douglas has never been afraid to jack up shots. He’s attempted a total of 15 shots over the past two, and with Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons still sidelined, on top of Marc Gasol now resting on Tuesday on the front end of a back-to-back, there are plenty of shots open in Memphis. Douglas should see time at both point guard and shooting guard tonight. Cleveland is 27th in defensive efficiency against point guards, and 28th against shooting guards. Memphis is also up in pace as the 28th-paced team taking on a Cavaliers team that is 13th in pace. At $4,200, fellow Grizzlies PG Andrew Harrison is also in play here, but his shot hasn’t been falling at all.
SG Courtney Lee at Suns ($4,000)
I really don’t enjoy playing two-guards like Lee. He’s a guy who starts, but basically just stands in the corner and waits for the ball to come to him so he can shoot a three. Lee’s 13.9 usage rate is extremely low and 12th-best on the Knicks team. He’s easily the No. 4 option in New York’s starting five behind Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Derrick Rose. But there’s some positivity to see in this matchup. He’s on the court a ton. Since returning from a two-game absence, Lee has averaged over 32 minutes over the past four games. In that span, Lee has averaged 19.65 FanDuel points. Ideally, I’m looking for players who have the ability to 5-6X their salary. If Lee can hit 20, that’s 5X at his $4,000 price. The Suns are 29th against shooting guards and allow the highest three-point percentage to the position. The Knicks-Suns total of 219.5 points is the second-highest on this six-game slate. And the 2.5-point spread suggests it will be close. New York will also be considerably up in pace, as the Suns are currently No. 2 in pace behind Brooklyn.
SF Maurice Harkless vs. Thunder ($4,900)
Small forward is actually pretty loaded tonight, especially for a six-game slate. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, and Andrew Wiggins are all in action. Coming down to Harkless probably won’t be necessary on the main slate. Harkless has been bad in his two games back from a one-game ankle injury, attempting a total of 14 shots, making just six, and not even attempting a free throw. However, both of those spots have been tough against Paul George on Saturday and the Clippers’ No. 2-ranked defense on Monday. Harkless still averaged 31.5 minutes in those two games. In his previous eight games, Harkless never scored fewer than 25.6 FanDuel points and averaged 28.4 in that span. The Blazers have been craving for a third scorer behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and Harkless appears to have emerged as that guy. With the Thunder coming to town, the Blazers are going to need to put up points. Both clubs are top-eight in pace, so this figures to be an up-and-down affair that we’re going to want exposure to in our lineups. As of writing this, Thunder-Blazers has a 218-point total as a pick’em. If Victor Oladipo (wrist) misses this one, look for Andre Roberson to guard McCollum. Anthony Morrow and/or Jerami Grant, far lesser defenders, could draw Harkless.
SF Andre Roberson at Blazers ($4,000)
Roberson is much like Courtney Lee, mentioned above, as someone who has an extremely low usage rate, but Roberson at least gets peripheral stats. He doesn’t need to score real-life points to accumulate fantasy points, as Roberson gets rebounds, blocks, and steals. He plays a boatload of minutes, averaging over 31 per game with upside for 37-38. Roberson has managed to score over 20 FanDuel points 10 times this season, with five of those coming in the past nine games. With this game expected to be competitive, Roberson’s minutes should be bankable, and with both teams being top-eight in pace, there are going to be a ton of possessions on both sides. More possessions means more chances for fantasy production. Roberson will have more opportunities for rebounds, assists, and steals. The Blazers are 25th in defensive rebounding and dead last in defensive efficiency. Attacking them from a fantasy standpoint is a smart move. And if Victor Oladipo (wrist) happens to sit, it could open a bit more for Roberson.
SF Andre Iguodala at Pelicans ($3,800)
Iguodala is the slightly cheaper version of Andre Roberson, who plays fewer minutes. But with Zaza Pachulia (wrist) listed doubtful to play against New Orleans, and the Pelicans already a team that likes to play smaller with Anthony Davis at center, Iguodala could be looking at a slight uptick in playing time. Pachulia missed last game, and Iggy saw 29 minutes. He averages 24.8 minutes per game on the year. The Warriors could play Draymond Green at the five, move Kevin Durant down to the four, and slide in Iguodala at the three alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. There’s no question that Iguodala is the Warriors’ top bench guy. The Pelicans are one of the worst teams in the league, and both of these clubs are top-11 in pace. The 226-point total is the highest on the board, but that comes with serious blowout potential with the Warriors as 11-point favorites. Iguodala, as a bench guy, can be blowout-proof to a stretch. He’ll play minutes, even if the Warriors are up by 20-30 points, though he likely won’t be in there late in the fourth quarter if it’s a monster blowout. As mentioned, Iguodala doesn’t have to score real points to get fantasy stats. He’s not going to create his own shot, but Iguodala can get rebounds and steals to start fast breaks the other way and is also third on the Warriors in three-point tendency. New Orleans is also near the bottom of the league in shooting percentage and offensive efficiency, leading to opposing players racking up defensive stats and big-time rebounding numbers.
PF Jarell Martin at Cavaliers ($3,600)
Marc Gasol (rest) has been ruled out for Tuesday on the front end of a back-to-back. Zach Randolph and JaMychal Green should be the biggest beneficiaries, but Martin figures to jump up the depth chart as the No. 3 big man against a Cavaliers team that doesn’t play a ton of small-ball with Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love in the front court. In Randolph’s seven-game absence from 11/25 through 12/05, Martin averaged 21 minutes and over 15.6 FanDuel points as the No. 3 big behind Gasol and Green. The Grizzlies are dealing with a ton of injuries and minutes are wide open. The Cavaliers defend opposing big men really well, but Martin’s dirt-cheap price and solid 18.1 usage rate put him squarely on the radar in this spot. We can probably pencil Martin in for roughly 24 minutes with upside for more. The early look at the power forward position tonight has it looking pretty rough. It’s a spot where we can stomach a min-priced punt.
C Tristan Thompson vs. Grizzlies ($5,000)
Thompson gets a big boost with Marc Gasol (rest) sitting out. Gasol is one of the best defenders and rebounders at the center spot. The Grizzlies come into Tuesday No. 8 in defensive rebounding and No. 1 in defensive efficiency. A big part of that is Gasol. Thompson is already a bit undersized at 6-foot-9 for a center, and now he won’t have to deal with the 7-foot-1 Gasol. The three Memphis bigs on Tuesday will be Zach Randolph (6’9”), JaMychal Green (6’9”), and Jarell Martin (6’10”), so Thompson will be on more even ground. Thompson comes into this one top-five in offensive rebounding and top-20 in defensive rebounding. His price has come up some in recent weeks, but Thompson is always a threat for a double-double and could pull in 15-plus rebounds any night he’s on the floor. With Gasol off it, Thompson is a fine play.
Thanks a lot for reading! If you have any questions feel free to contact me on twitter.
Nick Mensio @