Welcome back to another edition of Seeking Value in the FantasyDraft Locker Room. I am excited that the NBA is back in action, and although I wish this was a larger slate, I’ll take six games over what Thursday nights used to be in the league.
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.
I cannot stress enough: today could be the most volatile day of the league year as the trade deadline in winding down. This article is being written around 11 PM EST on Wednesday night, so a lot can happen between now and the 3PM deadline tomorrow. Pay close attention to news blurbs.
With six games, I’ll throw out four value plays that I will be using in my lineups tonight.
Tim Frazier – PG – New Orleans Pelicans – $6,400
Unless you were sleeping under a rock after the All-Star Game, you’ll know that DeMarcus Cousins is now a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, forming the league’s best front court duo with Anthony Davis. This is really exciting stuff, especially in fantasy circles, as Boogie and AD are currently the 4th and 5th highest scoring fantasy players in the league.
Who did New Orleans give up to do that? Nothing major, but they did ship Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield and Langston Galloway over to the Kings, as well as a pick.
That’s close to 70 guard minutes being sent to the Kings. They got 0 guard minutes in return.
Here are the active guards for the Pelicans: Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore and Tim Frazier.
That’s three players to essentially split 96 minutes. Perhaps Solomon Hill could slide to play some guard minutes and the Pelicans could play big ball [is that a thing?]. I think the more realistic situation is that Jrue Holiday is going to come close to 40 minutes in what Vegas sees as a high scoring  and reasonably close [-3.5 Houston] game.
I would pencil Frazier in for 25-30 minutes, with the majority coming on the second unit. When Holiday was out earlier this year, Frazier was a monster. He even amassed a triple double OFF THE BENCH!?! I mean, it’s tough to fathom that he had a triple double, let alone one off the bench.
While I don’t see him having that monster upside here, I think he’s fully capable of anything between a 20-30 point outing. At his price, that’s a great value, and he’s going to really open up cap space for you.
Jusuf Nurkic – C – Portland Trail Blazers – $8,500
Nikola Jokic is having the season I think a lot of people expected Nurkic to have after some big games relative to minutes played in the 2015-16 season, as well as the strong preseason. I don’t think anyone expect Nurk to have triple doubles, but the point is we thought his role was going to expand significantly.
Thankfully for him, he was traded, and it’s not too late for him to finish strong.
In his first game as a Blazer, he put up 29.25 fantasy points in just 21 minutes on the floor. It’s worth mentioning that it was against Utah, who is the most defensively stingy team in the league.
Another good thing is that the guys around him at the position are not very good. Ed Davis can be a force at times, but his inconsistency has kept him from being a star in Memphis, and Toronto and with the Lakers, and, well, you get the point. Meyers Leonard has not always had the opportunity, but he’s been with the team for quite some time and has not been able to forge a solid role. Noah Vonleh, well, he’s Noah Vonleh.
Nikola Vucevic is with the Magic because he’s an offensive force. His defense is not there, which is why the Magic are ranked 7th on the year at defending the position, and 5th over the last month.
If Nurkic is able to come in around 25 minutes, I would set his floor at 25 and his ceiling at 35. He can accumulate stats fast, and I think he has the potential to bully around Vucevic tonight.
Willie Cauley Stein – SF – Sacramento Kings – $7,100
I fought with myself quite a bit on whether I wanted to write up Evans or Willie Cauley-Stein for the Kings, and I felt that on a short slate it wasn’t a good idea to do both.
What it came down to for me was who I could see having the bigger game. And then I changed my mind.
While I think Tyreke Evans could have a good game for his price, he’s stymied at the 27 minute mark. If you look at his track record with the Pelicans this year, even that wasn’t happening consistently. This is a new team so it could occur more, but I’m still of the opinion that he’s not going to be seeing that a ton.
We talked above about the fact that it was three guards that came over, and though Evans could play some small forward, I don’t think that is his best suit here.
What Sacramento did send away was their best big man, and Omri Casspi, who would spend some time at the four in addition to small forward. Cousins leaving opened up a ton of minutes, and WCS is going to have to fill a good portion of those.
I think he’s a pretty safe bet to crack 20 points. If we are using a 3x method, he needs 21.3, something he should be able to do rather easily. I don’t see many scenarios where he doesn’t hit the 3x mark, so I think he’s a great building block play so you can fit an extra stud in your lineup tonight.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – SG – Detroit Pistons – $9,700
KCP barely makes it on to this list because of price, and the fact that he was poor going into the break. It was a really tough choice for me, but there are a few reasons I went with him over Terrence Ross.
First, who knows what is going to happen with Ross in Orlando. Is he going to start? Will he be the sixth man? 7th? 8th? 30 minutes a game? 20? I don’t think it’s out of the question to throw him in a tournament lineup, because if his shot is falling, he can rack up points quick.
Second, perhaps no one else on this list has 50 point upside. Pope has done that on a few nights this year, and also has cleared 40 points a good amount of times too.
Sure, we haven’t seen that from him in recent games. I get it. The Charlotte Hornets are a 8th worst defending the position lately, and they have been the 5th worst at defending the position on the year.
There are several reasons I wouldn’t consider him. I don’t want to waste a guard spot on a guy who isn’t a point guard or James Harden. He’s more expensive than I would like. He’s been bad lately, and worse, his overall production has been on a downward spiral for weeks.
But I keep coming back to him. When you look at that list and see the names around him, not many have the upside he does.
Typically, I’d be saying KCP in cash games all day, but I am going to reverse course and say that he’s someone I’m only considering in tournaments for the upside he does possess.
I hope you enjoyed today’s value plays. We’ll see you again soon!