Daily Fantasy Basketball: Value Buy Candidates
This DFS piece was assembled by Sam Macey, the newest member of the Fix hoops team.
DraftKings Salary: $5,200
Something has to change for the Sacramento Kings. For all his shortcomings and brainfarts on the court, DeMarcus Cousins is a legit 25-10 threat every night, so he’s not going anywhere. First year head coach Mike Malone has already publicly voiced his displeasure at the Kings’ struggles, leaning towards wholesale line-up changes sooner rather than later. Enter Isaiah Thomas.
The diminutive southpaw has had a rock solid start to the season as the first guard off the bench, contributing in the scoring department and playmaking to the tune of 18 points and 4.5 assists per game. He’s averaged just over 27 minutes a night while putting those stats up, but it’s not simple as to extrapolate the data and multiply his current stats to fit a ‘per-36’ output for example. Defenses will figure him out, adjust, and his big scoring outbursts will dry up a little as he won’t be scoring against reserves anymore.
Thomas has shined in the past as a starter, so the added responsibility will not affect him, nor should it affect how you value him. He makes his shots from the field at a respectable clip, hits enough threes and makes enough steals to be a positive contributor, and perhaps most importantly he is money at the line. Thomas is the little engine that could, so climb aboard before he exits the station in all his sub 6 foot fury.
DraftKings Salary: $3,000
Steven Adams is one of the rare foreign big men who has lived up to his draft hype and been better than advertised in his rookie season. Many talked about him going straight to the NBA D-League for a large portion of the year as he was simply too raw and unpolished, but how wrong could they be. The big Kiwi pivot-man hasn’t rested on his laurels and accepted 10-15 minutes off the bench as the back-up to Kendrick Perkins; instead he has thoroughly outplayed him. Perkins has never been a good fantasy option, he simply doesn’t do anything well apart from occupy space as a large mass of muscle under the hoop.
Unfortunately for Perkins, last time I checked there isn’t a league that counts being disgruntled, frowning at opposing players, referees and team-mates alike, and throwing errant passes to nobody. Adams, however, is a tenacious and active 7 footer who is always in motion; he has big, quick hands which cause deflections and tap-outs ideal for starting a break and he has a wingspan ideal for blocking shots.
He had a monster game against the Pistons and their superstar in the making Andre Drummond, as his motor kicked into high gear to the tune of 17 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in an impressive 30 minutes of action. Adams is not going to double-double every night, but you could do a lot worse when rounding off your bench or if you’ve only got to plug a hole in the C spot.
DraftKings Salary: $6,100
The elder twin of the ‘Morrii’ has been used exclusively off the bench to provide scoring and rebounding for the Suns, and he hasn’t disappointed. He has a big bag of tricks which lend themselves to a fantasy squad, as his 8 or 9 cat friendly skill-set has improved on the strong finish to last season. Morris worked tirelessly on his low post game this off-season with Suns Assistant Coach Mark West, as too often he would attempt to go inside early, get turned around, then wander back to the perimeter and launch long twos or ill-advised threes.
The shots behind the arc have been cut right back to just one attempt per game while the scoring on the block has increased, and Morris’ all-round game is now in full effect as he has simply been too quick for opposing power forwards. Sure, he’s still behind Channing Frye on the Suns’ PF depth chart, but he’s been given the green light on offense and Jeff Hornacek has faith in him being the 6th man and offensive leader of the bench mob.
What makes Morris valuable? He’s a cheap 14-16 point, 5-7 rebound per game player and the perfect filler type for your fantasy team because he contributes across the board and he won’t hurt you with turnovers or missed free throws. More proof? He was named Western Conference Player of the Week this past week, leading the Suns to a 3-1 record while shooting nearly 70% from the field and putting up 22.8pts, 8 rebounds and 2 steals a night.
DraftKings Salary: $4,400
I’ve never been particularly fond of Blake in fantasy NBA circles; he’s essentially always been ‘half a Steve Nash’, putting up 7-9 points and 4-5 assists per night with sporadic outbursts of three point bombing. He’s on his seventh team in 10 years, so he’s no spring chicken and he’s a true NBA journeyman – though he may have found a home ironically playing next to Steve Nash – whenever his back allows him to actually play.
Blake’s a curious case; the casual fan wouldn’t know he actually shares the NBA record for most assists in a quarter (14, with John Lucas…not the Jazz John Lucas, his old man). Perhaps most important to note when considering Blake for your line-ups, is that Nash has basically been shut down for the next two weeks due to nerve stress in his back. I don’t know about you, but if I was a 40yr old with thousands of NBA minutes and a plethora of injuries to my already fragile frame, I’d seriously consider dribbling a ball off into the sunset as soon as I heard ‘back’ and ‘nerve’ in the same sentence.
Nash is a proud NBA warrior – constantly playing through pain and injuries in his Suns days – but the Lakers are going to come to a fork in the road once Kobe returns and they’re going to have to consider how Nash with Kobe went last season, and whether it’s worth trying to make two square pegs fit into a round hole.
The Lakers are a mess being run by Mike D’Antoni, but Blake is like an NBA cockroach – and that’s meant as a compliment. He always finds a way to contribute in the minutes he gets, despite whatever D’Antoni nuclear bomb is thrown at him – this year will be no different. He’ll get 28-30mins as the starting guard for the next few weeks and he should produce 10-11pts along with 4-5 assists and close to a couple of threes per game while giving you the odd steal and nice free throw percentage.
DraftKings Salary: $5,000
Crawford was a player who was famous before he even made the NBA, as ‘that high school player’ that dunked on LeBron James at a Nike basketball camp. He’s never been able to continue that hype, despite being given ample chances to produce either as a starter or as a 6th man, predominantly for the Washington Wizards. He has produced in patches, topping 20 points multiple times and proving he can be a solid fantasy option when given minutes but never enough to warrant staying in your active line-up with any security.
With a rookie coach in Brad Stevens wanting to find the right combination for his young Celtics, Crawford has emerged as a legit starting option at point guard, at least until Rajon Rondo is healthy. Avery Bradley showed as much playmaking ability as the stapler on my desk, but with more turnovers than an English bakery. Bradley is a nice defender who can get hot at times – but he has no business creating for his team-mates, and Stevens knows it.
Crawford seems to be more under control this season, cutting his turnovers down as illustrated by his latest 16 point 10 assist performance with zero turnovers in just over 32 minutes against Orlando. He has more upside than most cheapies on the market and he qualifies at both PG and SG, so there’s definitely value waiting there to be picked up.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that when Rondo returns (if he returns for Boston), that Crawford remains the starter at shooting guard, as the Celtics need spacing for Rondo to operate.