Mark Deeks give his thoughts on who should be in your daily fantasy line-up tonight.
Point guard – Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies: $6.6 million
While Tyreke Evans (see below) has taken on the main point guard responsibilities, ahead even of Mario Chalmers, Harrison is still finding a good chunk of rotation minutes alongside him amidst the Grizzlies’s lengthy guard injuries. He does not do a whole bunch in that time – his field goal attempts are mostly three-pointers, on which he shoots poorly, and he has far less in the way of ball-handling and playmaking responsibilities than a de facto point guard normally would. But by defending reasonably well and making few errors, he gets a good number of minutes, and minutes mean fantasy points. Specifically, they mean a 19.2 fantasy point average over the past four games, which is a good return at this price.
Shooting guard – Patrick McCaw, Golden State Warriors: $6.2 million
Steph Curry is to miss the new two weeks with injury, and Shaun Livingston is to miss tonight’s game due to a suspension. This means McCaw figures to feature more heavily as the team’s third point guard option.
McCaw, then, figures to feature more heavily as the team’s third point guard option. While he is not exactly a point guard at the NBA level, he did enough playmaking in his time at UNLV to be able to carry out the whole, helped out considerably by having such excellent ball handling and playmaking forwards alongside him in Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
Bear in mind, though, that McCaw himself is listed as a game-time decision due to a “nose contusion”. How a nose contusion can lead to missing an NBA game, I’m not sure, but let’s hope it doesn’t. Monitor the situation until the deadline, and, if he can play, strongly consider picking him.
(If he does not play, some combination of Andre Iguodala, Nick Young and Quinn Cook will cover the minutes. But given the uncertainty of the situation, I would not recommend any of them as picks.)
Shooting guard – Lou Williams, L.A. Clippers: $16.4 million
Amidst the struggles of the Clippers’ season, Lou Williams is still getting his. The roster is in all kind of flux, with minutes and occasional starts for the C.J. Williams and Jamil Wilson types that should be at the end of the bench, and there is a dire need for experienced NBA players to try and keep the whole thing afloat. Williams is that, and the career year he was already having is being further enhanced by the greater responsibilities he now has in both scoring and creating for others. He is expensive, but performing above his slot.
Shooting guard – Tyreke Evans, Memphis Grizzlies: $16.4 million
Shooting guard – Ben McLemore, Memphis Grizzlies: $6.9 million
Evans is now the main half-court creator for the Grizzlies, and gets better month on month. Having averaged an extremely healthy 20.5 points and 4.3 assists in 13 November games, Evans has averages of 16.7 points and 8.3 assists per game thus far in December. From a fantasy perspective, we should be particularly interested in the assists (which count for 1.5 fantasy points each), as well as the block and the steal per game he is also getting (worth 3 fantasy points each). Tyreke is being asked to do a lot of everything, and he is responding.
Evans taking up this role has allowed McLemore to start alongside him. Starting the last four games when once he was out of the rotation, McLemore has averaged 16.2 fantasy points over his last six games, all by playing the role of opportunity scorer alongside Tyreke’s ball dominance. As with Harrison above, it is not a huge output, but as with Harrison above, it comes from a decent and consistent number of minutes which, barring excess foul trouble, will not change tonight.
Small forward – DeAndre Bembry, Atlanta Hawks: $6.4 million
Having missed almost all the first two months due to injury, Bembry is back in the rotation and looking better each game. He is spry, active and aggressive on the court, looking to get to the basket wherever possible and anticipating well defensively, making for quite the active wing duo when paired with Kent Bazemore with the added advantage of being considerably cheaper in both real life and fantasy. It matters not from a fantasy perspective that he is taking a lot of shots to get his points – from this perspective, what matters is his 19.6 fantasy point average over the last four games, at a position with far less value picks than it used to have.
Power forward – Trey Lyles, Denver Nuggets: $6.4 million
Power forward – Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets: $8.6 million
The above two have both enjoyed big spikes in minutes since the injury to Paul Millsap, as well as big spikes in their outputs. Lyles has averaged 17.6 fantasy points over his last seven games, while Faried has averaged 26.6 over his last four. And with Nikola Jokic also out again tonight, both stand to benefit further, for they are the only real backup centre options now behind Mason Plumlee.
Centre – Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $6.9 million
With Hassan Whiteside once again out, Adebayo is once again a relevant fantasy pick. With a 22.2 fantasy point average over the past four games, Adebayo represents some of the best value on this list. Buy it now before he goes back to the bench and has absolutely none again.
Centre – Miles Plumlee, Atlanta Hawks: $6.0 million
All three players ahead of him in the Hawks’ post player rotation – Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins and Mike Muscala – will again miss out, leaving Plumlee as the starter by default. Over the last two games, both starts, Plumlee has recorded 41 minutes, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 assists and 3 blocks. In listing his performances that way, we conveniently ignore his much less solid totals of 7 points and 7 turnovers in that span. Nevertheless, from a fantasy point perspective, that is a 17.4 per game average. If he can make one more layup and drop one less pass per game, that would be a healthy 20 available for the minimum. Therefore, do consider him tonight, regardless of his limitations.
DO NOT PICK DUE TO INJURY/ABSENCE/SUSPENSION: Mike Muscala, Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins (Atlanta), Gordon Hayward (Boston), Zach LaVine, Nikola Mirotic, Cameron Payne (Chicago), Isaiah Thomas, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose (Cleveland), Josh McRoberts, Seth Curry, Nerlens Noel, Dorian Finney-Smith (Dallas), Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap (Denver), Jon Leuer (Detroit), Chris Boucher, Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia (Golden State), Cory Joseph, Edmond Sumner, Glenn Robinson III (Indiana), Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, Patrick Beverley (L.A. Clippers), Brandan Wright, Mike Conley, Wayne Selden (Memphis), Hassan Whiteside, Okaro White, Rodney McGruder (Miami), Jabari Parker, Matthew Dellavedova, Mirza Teletovic, Jason Terry (Milwaukee), Nemanja Bjelica, Justin Patton (Minnesota), Anthony Davis, Alexis Ajinca, Solomon Hill, Frank Jackson (New Orleans), Tim Hardaway Jr (New York), Adreian Payne, Terrence Ross, Jonathan Isaac (Orlando), Harry Giles, Willie Cauley-Stein (Sacramento), Kyle Anderson, Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio)