by Ray Kuhn
Daily fantasy basketball is a roller coaster ride. You have to have a short memory but also learn from both your successes and failures. If you are new to this feature then welcome aboard, and if not, then welcome back.
Let’s take a look at six players (two at each position) you should be looking at as you set your lineup for tonight. All of information referenced is based on game play at Fantasy Score (USA Today’s DFS engine). If you do play on other sites in the industry the same logic and thought process is applicable.
- Jeremy Lamb, G, Oklahoma City, $2,200. It is not often that you get a starting caliber player for the minimum price, but that is currently the case with Lamb. Whether or not Lamb actually starts is still up for debate along with how many minutes he will play, but 20-25 would not shock me in his season debut. Monitor this situation as we get closer to game time to ensure that Lamb will be playing, but if he takes the court the guard will be a large part of the Thunder’s offensive plans with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant sidelined. Not to belabor the point, but finding values like Lamb is what you need to do in DFS. He is priced at the minimum due to an injury and his perceived role at the start of the season.
- Gordon Hayward, G, Utah Jazz, $5,600. Remember, it doesn’t matter what position Hayward plays for the Jazz, only where he is eligible in fantasy. Utah’s newly minted max player is emerging as a go to scorer for the Jazz after scoring just eight points in his season debut. On the season Hayward is averaging 19.2 points per game, but he has emerged as a well rounded threat with 6.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
- Chris Copeland, F, Indiana Pacers, $3,700. The general problem with Copeland from a fantasy perspective is that he doesn’t do much other than score. However this season with Indiana’s lack of options Copeland is getting a chance to play averaging 30.6 minutes per game. In that time he is averaging 17.2 points per game to go along with 6.2 rebounds. He did put up 40 fantasy points in his last game with a double double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, but I wouldn’t bank on that every game. However, I would take Copeland’s average of 28.6 fantasy points per game. So far his price has not caught up to his role.
- Brandon Davies, F, Philadelphia 76ers, $2,200. Davies is the perfect example of a player who has come out of nowhere to start the season and his price has not been adjusted accordingly. The 76ers and their lack of veterans have opened the door for young players like Davies to emerge as contributors. At this point it appears that he is entrenched at the starting power forward spot and with Nerlens Noel slated to miss Friday’s game that means even more opportunities for Davies. In his last three games the forward has played 24, 24, and 29 minutes respectively while totaling 51 points and 11 rebounds. I’m not sure how long I would expect this offensive outburst to last, but it is worth capitalizing on while it lasts.
- Greg Monroe, C, Detroit Pistons, $5,000. I will concede there is nothing really exciting about this pick, but Monroe is the 10th highest priced center tonight. On a site that doesn’t penalize for missed free throws, I’ll take that value. After serving a suspension to start the season, Monroe appears to be back in the starting lineup. Even if he does come off the bench as he did against the Nets a few nights ago, he will play at least 30 minutes a night, so the production will be there as he started the season scoring 18 points to go with 11 rebounds before going for 23 and 18 against the Knicks. The Bucks have shot blockers, but they do not have any big interior presences that will slow Monroe and Andre Drummond.
- Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic, $6,900. Of course the easy answer at center is to go to the top of list with a stud like DeMarcus Cousins, but is that really necessary? You can save $2,500 and go with another option like Vucevic. He may not have the upside of Cousins, but on average he is only averaging 2.4 points per game less than Cousins. After averaging 14.2 points per game last season, Vucevic is up to 17.8 this season as the Magic look for other sources of offense.