NBA Tournament Thoughts with ShipMyMoney

Tonight on FantasyDraft, we have a $6,000 Pick and Roll with a reasonable $25 entry fee and an 8-entry limit, so we will not see the field swamped by anyone one player with a big bankroll.  There are 6 games on the slate tipping off at 7:00 pm ET, so here are some of the players I am eyeing for my tournament lineups.

Guard

Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers, $14,100

Anyone who listens to FanVice regularly or who follows me on Twitter knows that I am higher than most people on Ball’s future and that I usually have plenty of interest in him in tournaments.  That does not change tonight despite a difficult matchup against the Miami Heat.  Miami is 15th in pace and 11th in defensive rating since the All-Star break, so there is not much to be excited about there.  What I do like, however, is the price tag and Ball’s proximity to other guards who are likely to attract much more ownership despite playing less minutes and producing similarly to Ball.

Ball has played at least 37 minutes in four of his last five games and we should expect similar playing time tonight as Luke Walton’s rotation has become much tighter of late.  Over those five games, Ball is averaging 0.98 FantasyDraft points per minute.  While that production would make him a solid play at his price point anyway, he looks even better when we consider his shooting during that stretch.  Ball has shot just 30.7 percent from the field and 19 percent from three.  For the season, Ball has shot 36.1 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from three.

Even without discussing Ball’s improvements over the last two months compared to the first two months of the season, we can see that he is shooting much worse than we should expect yet he is still outproducing his price tag.  Terry Rozier and DeMar DeRozan are likely to garner a lot of ownership at this price point, but Ball can easily be the highest scorer of the group.

Lou Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder, $13,900

Williams is on the second half of a back-to-back and he has disappointed four games in a row.  Still, I like him for many of the same reasons that I like Ball.  He is in the same price range as Ball, DeRozan, and Rozier and I expect him to be the third or fourth highest owned of the group because of regency bias.

While Williams is averaging just 0.84 FantasyDraft points per minute in four games since joining the starting lineup, there are positives that we can look to.  He has played 41, 34, 34 and 36 minutes in the four starts, so the playing time is certainly there.  He has also averaged a 28.8 percent usage rate over those four games.  The main issue has been a shooting slump.  He has taken at least 15 shots in all four games, but he is shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from three.  For the season, Williams has shot 43.7 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from three.

Clearly, we should expect Williams to increase his production sooner rather than later.  Williams’ price tag was $14,800 when he first joined the starting lineup and it was up to $15,500 the next game.  It has dropped to $13,900 despite nothing changing except for poor shooting.  It would not be too surprising to see Williams head back to the bench soon, but he is a strong play at this price either way as his minutes do not change much and he gets plenty of usage regardless.

Though I do like Rozier and DeRozan at their prices (especially DeRozan) but I expect them to be higher owned than Williams and Ball despite all four players having similar projections and upside.

Forward

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, $21,500

Durant’s price tag has quickly increased without Steph Curry in the lineup, but there is still plenty of upside tonight against the Kings (assuming Durant plays- he is currently questionable).  Durant has played 852 minutes without Steph Curry on the floor this season, recording a 34.8 percent usage percentage, 27.6 assist percentage and 1.47 FantasyDraft points per minute.  He has played 266 minutes without either of Curry or Klay Thompson, recording a 39 percent usage percentage, 31.2 assist percentage and 1.6 FantasyDraft points per minute.

The Kings rank 29th in pace since the All-Star break and have been a slow team all season, but they also rank 25th in defensive rating since the break and they do not have anyone that can be expected to slow down Durant.

Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets, $8,900

Allen was able to practice yesterday, and it appears that he will be good to go tonight against the Sixers.  The matchup is difficult, but his price tag is inexpensive, and the Nets will need him on the floor to attempt to control Joel Embiid.  There is almost no chance that Allen succeeds in containing Embiid, but he will try.  He struggled against Embiid on Sunday, playing just 15.7 minutes in a blowout, so there is certainly a risk.

There is also upside, however, as he is averaging 0.94 FantasyDraft points per minute this season and could see 25-26 minutes if all goes well.  Bam Adebayo is likely to draw most of the ownership in this range and, while Adebayo is a strong play in his own right, Allen is more than capable of outproducing him at a lower price tag and lower ownership.

Center

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers, $17,500

Embiid is a little riskier than normal tonight as he is on the second half of a back-to-back and people have been concerned about him being fatigued for a while.  He is also banged up a little bit and had his hand heavily taped last night.  Still, this price point is too low for a matchup against a Brooklyn team that has been atrocious against opposing bigs this season.

Embiid has faced Brooklyn twice, averaging 1.46 FantasyDraft points per minute and averaging 25 points and 11 rebounds in 31.2 minutes per game.  Be sure to keep an eye on news to make sure that Philadelphia does not decide to rest him on the second half of a back-to-back.

Al Horford, Boston Celtics, $13,200

Horford is expected to play for a depleted Celtics team tonight, while Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart are all sidelined.  Although he is a frontcourt player, Horford is one of the best facilitators on the Celtics and the benefits when Kyrie Irving is not on the floor.  Horford has played 514 minutes without Irving this season, recording a 23.4 percent usage percentage, 25.7 assist percentage and 1.07 FantasyDraft points per minute.  He has played 209 minutes without either of Irving or Smart, recording a 25.4 percent usage percentage, 31.6 assist percentage and 1.23 FantasyDraft points per minute.

Horford has played just 60 minutes without Irving, Smart or Brown, but he has a 32.3 usage percentage and 32.3 assist percentage while averaging 1.21 FantasyDraft points per minute.  While those sample sizes are too small to conclude exact numbers, we can clearly see that Horford is much more involved as a scorer and passer than normal.  He is priced for his normal role and that makes him one of the better values on the slate despite a mid-range price tag.

Adam Scherer

Adam Scherer

Adam Scherer (aka ShipMyMoney) has been playing full time DFS for the last two years since taking a “sabbatical” from law school. He specializes in MLB and NBA and has a couple live finals appearance under his belt along with a couple high five figure victories in tournaments. Adam likes to dig into the analytics as well as use the “eye test” particularly for his pitcher analysis and understanding NBA game flow and coaching strategies. You can find his work on FanVice.com for both articles as well as the Deeper Dive live video show airing regularly at 5pm ET or on Twitter @ShipMyMoneyDFS

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