Welcome to the first edition of my contribution to the FantasyDraft Locker Room, Seeking Value. This weekly article will deal with searching for value on slates a few times a week, usually when there are eight or more games.
I’m using a 3x value structure to base what I’m expecting the players to achieve when discussing expected points. The mentality would be that 3x every thousand spent will achieve a 300-point lineup, which will cash on most nights. These plays will not normally exceed $10,000, unless there is a very clear pricing error that bears being mentioned.
Let’s get this started with what could be the most popular value option tonight.
Juancho Hernangomez – PF – Denver Nuggets – $9,100
While Juancho isn’t at the same price he was at before going off for a career game against the Golden State Warriors, he still finds himself priced very nicely. At this salary, he needs about 27 fantasy points to be a worthwhile play tonight. He will likely be very popular.
Oh, for what it’s worth, he’s only hit 27 or more points once in his career – the above-mentioned game against the Warriors.
This isn’t a condemnation of the pick; after all, it is only going to be a popular pick if Wilson Chandler is ruled out. We already know that Mason Plumlee will be active, and should see some time, but it is very unlikely it will be significant considering he’s only been with the team for a few days.
I would suspect that if Wilson Chandler is out, he could still see close to 30 minutes, and I think that he could very well end up producing near the point per minute clip. His scoring was heavily dependent on hitting the three-point shot and grabbing some boards.
The opposing team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, just gave up an eerily similar stat line to Channing Frye last night. They seemed fully incapable of keeping track of Frye, and you’d think Mike Malone will plan accordingly. On top of that, the Nuggets have an amazing ball handler in Nikola Jokic [and Jameer Nelson isn’t too shabby himself], that could certainly bait the Wolves into some bad defensive decision making.
If Wilson Chandler doesn’t play, it’s going to be tough to look anywhere else tonight.
Channing Frye – PF – Cleveland Cavaliers – $9,800
Frye barely comes in underneath our stated ceiling for value tonight, but he should be a very worthwhile option. His shot was falling last night, as he put up 21 points and 10 boards in 33 minutes – something he could be seeing on a regular basis with Kevin Love out.
Thaddeus Young has already been ruled out for this game, leaving Lavoy Allen [if he is cleared] and Kevin Seraphin to deal with him. I think one of the ways to get to the Pacers is through spacing the floor, and that is what Frye was brought into do last year with great success.
While we cannot expect that we’ll see another almost 40-point outing, I do think it is feasible that he will be able to come close to 30 fantasy points, and the flexibility he gives you with his price will allow you to load up your lineups elsewhere. Indiana is only a middle of the road defensive team, and the Cavs should have no issues dealing with them tonight at home.
Jamal Murray – SG – Denver Nuggets – $7,700
Already, we are back in Denver. This team is so ravaged with injuries right now, that basically whoever starts is worth looking at in what should be a high scoring and close game.
Jamal Murray has been super solid at this price range. In his last ten games, against a variety of opponents, Murray has been floating around the 19.75 – 25-point range, with one outlier where he finished with under 6 points. If you are telling me that there is about a 90% chance that he’ll hit that 3x value, and he will be low owned as well, and he’s this cheap, I’m going to buy all day.
Much like some of the other options on the Nuggets, this pick is really only in play if Emmanuel Mudiay remains sidelined. I don’t see him playing in this game, but I have no inside information so who knows what Mike Malone will elect to do.
What I do know is that this game has two top 11 teams in terms of offensive efficiency, as well as two bottom 8 defensive efficiency teams, so it should be high scoring. This game screams game stack to me, and even though there are some expensive options, there are enough value options in it to make it possible.
Nik Stauskas – SG – Philadelphia 76ers – $7,700
Suace Castillo might be the greatest accident that ever happened.
Wait, that might have sounded bad. I’m sure his parents planned on having him. Well, no, wait. I can’t guarantee that either. I just mean that his nickname is an accident. Yeah, that’s what I meant.
Even though he is routinely so cheap, he is seeing no ownership. His game has little flash. His minutes are everywhere, mostly because Brett Brown tries his hardest to run the largest rotations this side of Kenny Atkinson. When he is on the floor, he is producing, and that’s all that matters.
The Sixers are a good bad team. They aren’t really getting blown out, and it’s been pretty exciting to see Sam Hinkie’s visions starting to materialize. The Celtics are routinely involved in some of the highest scoring games, and even on a 14-game slate, they are expected to be amongst the highest scoring games.
Boston is an excellent offensive team, but they rank in the bottom 10 in defensive efficiency, lower than, surprisingly, the Sixers themselves. For what it’s worth, though, the Sixers are the worst in terms of offensive efficiency in the league.
Do I think Sauce is going to drop a 40-point fantasy game on the Celtics? Definitely not. Do I think he’ll justify his price tag and grab you 20-25 fantasy points tonight and let you load up the big guns? Yes, yes I do.
Dewayne Dedmon – C – San Antonio Spurs – $9,100
I don’t think Dedmon will see a ton of suitors at this price. For the most part, I just don’t think there is a lot of buzz surrounding him, but he’s proved to be a capable replacement for the injured Pau Gasol.
What I like about this matchup is the opponent: The Orlando Magic. Frank Vogel seems to ensure that one of his centers is always on the floor, which means that Dedmon should be a good bet to see closer to the higher end of his normal minutes.
We’ve seen what Dedmon can do with time. Just a few games ago, Dedmon handed it to the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons also like to run either Drummond or Baynes out all the time. I’m not saying that he’s going to rip off another 40-point game, but he could certainly cross the 30-point mark.
Nikola Vucevic is legendary for his lack of defensive capabilities. I’ve even seen him go on record to say the same thing. He admitted it prior to the game where he was coming off the bench for the first time. He’s there for the offense, which he does well, but he’s a liability.
Dedmon is a big, strong guy, and I could certainly see him having some success battling with the Magic and their two big men.
Hopefully this helps to give you some insight into some value plays tonight. Between the time this is posted and the time lineups lock, I’m sure we’ll even see some more emerge.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you again after the All-Star break!
Nicholas is the owner of ResearchFantasy and contributes a variety of content to the site on a daily basis. He has been playing fantasy sports for 20 years in season long formats and 5 years in daily format. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter @researchandwin.