NBA Tournament Thoughts with ShipMyMoney

Tonight on FantasyDraft, we have a $7,500 Pick and Roll with a reasonable $25 entry fee and a 9-entry limit, so we will not see the field overrun by anyone one player with deep pockets.  There are 8 games on the slate, starting at 7:30 EST, so here are some of the players I am eyeing for my tournament lineups.

Guard

 

Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers, $17,000

Lillard faces a Steph Curry-less Warriors team tonight in what should be a fast-paced, and competitive, game.  Lillard has turned it on of late, averaging 51.9 FantasyDraft points per game and 1.46 FantasyDraft points per minute over his last ten games.  He has had just one game during that span with a usage rate below 30 percent (29.4) and he is averaging a 36.4 percent usage rate over those games.

Jonathan Simmons, Orlando Magic, $9,100

There is a lot of talk about Mario Hezonja today with Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon sidelined for tonight’s game.  That is fine, as Hezonja is a very strong play.  Simmons, however, is a bit more expensive and should come at lower ownership, which presents us with an opportunity to leverage against Hezonja in GPPs.  If Simmons explodes for a big game, it is more likely that Hezonja is decent than that he is great.  Both players should be expected to play around 35 minutes tonight.

Hezonja has played 472 minutes without any of Gordon, Fournier or Payton on the floor this season.  He has a 22.6 percent usage percentage and 8.9 assist percentage while averaging 0.91 FantasyDraft points per minute.  Simmons has played 336 minutes without that trio on the floor with a 29.3 percent usage percentage and 18.1 assist percentage while averaging 0.84 FantasyDraft points per minute.

While Hezonja has been the more productive player in this samples, it is reasonable to conclude that Simmons has the higher ceiling due to his higher usage and assist percentages.  Both players are very strong plays, but all of the buzz around Hezonja makes me prefer Simmons if I am only going to play one of them in tournaments.

Forward

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, $16,200

Durant is going to be very popular tonight and he deserves it.  There are no obvious pivots around him that can offer what he can, however.  In 741 minutes without Curry on the floor this season, Durant has a 34.3 usage percentage and 27.6 assist percentage while averaging 1.46 FantasyDraft points per minute.  He should play 35-plus minutes tonight against Portland.  Plug him into your lineups and enjoy the free rake when he is less than 90 percent owned.

Larry Nance, Cleveland Cavaliers, $13,100

Nance is another chalky play, but he has been phenomenal since being inserted into the starting lineup for Tristan Thompson.  We knew from Nance’s days with the Lakers that he just needed an opportunity to play big minutes and he is finally getting it with the Cavaliers.  Nance played 31.9 minutes against the Pistons in his first start, losing 4:42 to a blowout, and then played 37.1 minutes against the Nuggets.

While he has another tough matchup tonight against a much bigger DeAndre Jordan, but his athleticism should allow him to run circles around Jordan and he has not had trouble with Andre Drummond or Nikola Jokic.  Nance has played 156 minutes alongside LeBron so far, producing 1.09 FantasyDraft points per minute.

Center

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, $17,600

Jokic got it together against Cleveland in his last game, after being benched for the fourth quarter in the game before that.  It was good to see Jokic perform well alongside Millsap, as he had struggled since Millsap’s return and they struggled a bit earlier in the season as well.  For the season, Jokic has a 19.7 usage percentage, 25.6 assist percentage, 19.5 rebounding percentage and 1.21 FantasyDraft points per minute average in 429 minutes alongside Millsap.

Tonight’s matchup against the Lakers is phenomenal, as Brook Lopez is not interested in rebounding the basketball and the pace at which the Lakers play should allow for plenty of scoring and playmaking from Jokic.

Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers, $10,100

Let’s be clear: there is a risk in this play.  Harrell’s minutes fluctuate greatly from game to game depending on his performance and the matchup.  Some of the recent games that we saw Harrell play extended minutes were also blowouts.  In his last game, against the Pelicans, he played more minutes than DeAndre Jordan.  Harrell was very productive in that game and the Pelicans closed with a small lineup that had Anthony Davis at center.

The Cavaliers will start and, presumably close, with Larry Nance at center.  Nance is a center in a power forward’s body- much like Montrezl Harrell.  It would not be surprising at all to see Doc Rivers utilize his small lineup down the stretch of this game and see extended minutes from Harrell once again.  He is a very productive fantasy performer when he gets the minutes and this profiles as a game where he is likely to see a lot of them.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is a contributor at www.FireDFS.com. You can find him on FantasyDraft as smithma3 and on Twitter @msmithwc

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