Thursday, February 27, 2014

Daily Fantasy Basketball (Feb. 27th): FanDuel Bargains

If you play daily fantasy sports (and who doesn't these days?!), you know that one of the keys to success is uncovering undervalued players to allow you to load up on studs elsewhere.

In case you've never played daily fantasy basketball, every player has a salary and your roster cannot exceed the game's salary-cap maximum.

For FanDuel leagues, rosters consist of nine players and the salary cap is $60,000, which averages to roughly $6,667 per player. To give you an idea of the range for Thursday's games, Heat SF LeBron James ($11,400) has the contest's highest salary while many are tied for the lowest at the game-minimum salary ($3,500).

There are a number of benefits compared to traditional full-season re-draft leagues, such as:
  • you don't have to worry about being saddled by players sidelined by injury;
  • having a late pick doesn't rule out owning studs like Kevin Durant or LeBron James;
  • you get the instant gratification of winning your league(s) that night.
And you know that enthusiasm you have after drafting your fantasy team(s)? Well, you get to experience that feeling on a nightly basis with daily fantasy basketball.

OK, with the preliminary stuff out of the way, here are some value plays to consider for Thursday (Feb. 27th) FanDuel leagues:

PG - Aaron Brooks, Denver Nuggets (vs. BKN), $4,200: With only a four-game slate tonight, there aren't a ton of bargains and that is especially true with point guards. If Ty Lawson (ribs) misses another game, and it's possible he returns tonight, I'd consider Brooks as the Nets have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing point guards over the past 15 days.

* Note: The Nuggets tip off late (10:30 PM ET), which means Lawson's status may not be known by the contest start time (7:00 PM).

SG - Marcus Thornton, Brooklyn Nets (at DEN), $3,600: After missing a couple of games with food poisoning, Thornton made his debut with the Nets and played 27 minutes scoring only nine points with two rebounds and one assist. Thornton and the Nets' shooting guards have a nice matchup against the Nuggets, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position over the past 15 days.

SG - O.J. Mayo, Milwaukee Bucks (at IND), $3,900: While he doesn't have a great matchup against the league's best overall defensive team, Mayo is coming off a 25-point performance (31.7 fantasy points) in 35 minutes against the 76ers on Monday. He had played only 23 and 17 minutes, respectively, in his previous two games.

SG - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (at IND), $4,400: Not a great matchup, as I noted with Mayo, but the rookie from Greece has 29-plus fantasy points in three of his past four games. Of course, the lone exception was the matchup against the Pacers (17.7 fantasy points).

SF - Jeff Adrien, Milwaukee Bucks (at IND), $3,700: Not that you should load up on Bucks, but Adrien has a salary barely above the game minimum and has posted back-to-back games with double-digit boards. In each of of those games, he has posted 22-plus fantasy points.

PF - David West, Indiana Pacers (vs. MIL), $6,800: Considering that only Carmelo Anthony ($10,800) has a higher salary at the position, West is not necessarily a bargain but his salary is only slightly above the starter average ($6,667). West has had strong outings in back-to-back games including 30 points, seven boards and five assists against the Bucks on Saturday. In the past two games, he has averaged 42.4 fantasy points.

PF - Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors (vs. WAS), $4,900: Consistent but not spectacular in his past five games, Johnson has scored a minimum of 22.2 points in each of those games. Tonight, Johnson and the Raptors face a Wizards' front court that will be without Nene Hilario and possibly Kevin Seraphin.

C - Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards (at TOR), $6,700: Miami's Chris Bosh is the most expensive center tonight at $7,300. As productive as Bosh has been over his past three games (24.67 PPG, 40.53 Fantasy PPG), Bosh and the Heat face the Knicks, who have defended the position well.

The Polish Hammer is slightly less expensive option and he's been productive and consistent (five consecutive double-doubles). During that five-game stretch, Gortat has averaged 16. 4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game and he has scored in a minimum of 30.9 fantasy points each game. Over the past 15 days, the Raptors have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing centers.

C - Timofey Mozgov, Denver Nuggets (vs. BKN), $4,300: If at first you don't succeed ... Getting the start against the Blazers, Mozgov had a decent line (14 points, six boards, two blocks and an assist) while J.J. Hickson, who went to the bench, blew up with a 16/25 night. That said, I wouldn't bank on Hickson having another monster night off the bench and I think Mozgov has a better night this time around. (Hickson's salary is $5,900, fourth-most at center tonight.)

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