Read our NBA expert Mark Deeks before picking your daily fantasy line up for tonight.
Point guard – Tyus Jones, Minnesota Timberwolves: $6.7 million
It has been one of the surprises of the season to see how well Tyus Jones has done in his short starting stint. In the four Jeff Teague-less games, Jones is averaging a staggering 38.9 fantasy points, doing so with a full stat sheet including many high value defensive statistics, something he is not previously known for.
Teague is listed as “questionable” and “day to day” at the time of writing, so he might play, but his injury is of the type that only truly heals with an extended period of rest. With Jones playing like this, there is no reason for Teague to rush back.
Shooting guard – Alec Burks, Utah Jazz: $7.0 million
Burks was going to make this list even before last night’s performance. An important piece of the rotation again as the always-injured Jazz struggle again with myriad injuries – and with Burks, finally, not being one of them – he had posted three consecutive 20+ fantasy nights, and five in his last seven, becoming the sixth man in the absence of Rodney Hood. But last night, he took that to extremes with a career best performance – 28 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 53.9 fantasy points. A huge return for a tiny price, and while it was obviously anonymous, Burks is performing above his tiny salary slot regularly and should be strongly considered.
Shooting guard – Tyreke Evans, Memphis Grizzlies: $16.0 million
Evans’s price continues to increase, as does his importance to the team. In the absences of both Mike Conley and Mario Chalmers, Evans moved up from the sixth man role and received the start at the point guard spot ahead of Aaron Harrison, on account of how much offensive responsibility runs through him now. With a 31.6 fantasy point average since Conley went down, Evans outperforms his similarly-priced peers and is still good value even at this high-point price.
Small forward – Kelly Oubre Jr, Washington Wizards: $10.2 million
The streaky Oubre is on a hot streak. With two consecutive 30+ fantasy point performances and a 27.0 average over the last five, he has shouldered some of the huge offensive burden someone needs to shoulder in the absence of John Wall, picking up the high value defensive statistics on the way. Oubre’s offensive skill level with and without the ball has clearly developed since last year, too, making this growth sustainable.
Power forward – Jonas Jerebko, Utah Jazz: $6.6 million
From the deep bench to a key cog, Jerebko puts up consistent low-end production as a starter, and appears to be in no danger of losing the spot until either Rudy Gobert or Joe Johnson return from injury. One anomalous 7.0 fantasy point game aside, Jerebko has averaged 18.6 fantasy points over the last nine starts, and has done so with a relative consistency that accords with his career numbers. It can therefore be expected to continue.
Power forward – JaMychal Green, Memphis Grizzlies: $11.1 million
Since returning from injury, Green has put up a reliable mid-20s fantasy point performance each night, with a remarkably tight range of six games between 21.4 and 26.1. It is this kind of stoic consistency that has been the foundation of his NBA career, that got him to stick around in the league after initially being very much on the fringes, and which won him a starting spot ahead of Zach Randolph et al.
However, even though it is not anything new to him personally, Green continues to be underpriced in fantasy, relative to his peers. By way of comparison, Green is not only marginally cheaper than Frank Kaminsky ($11.3 million), but also out-averages him, and is considerably more consistent. And thus while he is no flashy pick, Green is a solid one with value.
Power forward – Domas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers: $12.5 million
Centre – Al Jefferson, Indiana Pacers: $8.7 million
There was a time earlier in the season that we picked Sabonis every night. Coming off a disappointing rookie season and expecting to be on the bench, Sabonis was available for a very cheap price – however, with Myles Turner missing the start of the season, Sabonis got the starts at centre and was excellent in them. As his price continued to increase, Turner returned and Sabonis went to the bench, decreasing his output and diminishing his value. Yet Turner is still struggling with injury and is expected (albeit not confirmed) to miss tonight’s game, and maybe more. Sabonis, then, is now fantasy relevant again.
If Turner does not play, then Jefferson becomes the backup centre and also becomes fantasy relevant again. When in the rotation before, Jefferson averaged 15 fantasy points in his limited role, enough for some low-end value. This should happen again if Turner cannot play.
Centre – Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $6.4 million
The story here is pretty much the same as above. Regular starter Hassan Whiteside has had a gimpy knee for a while, finally diagnosed with a bone bruise that will keep him out 1-2 weeks. When this happens, third string centre Adebayo, otherwise out of the rotation altogether, gets the start. And when he starts, he produces. Adebayo averages 8.0 points and 7.3 rebounds as a starter, and averaged 26.1 fantasy points in this weeks two Whiteside-free games, He should be strongly considered here.
DO NOT PICK DUE TO INJURY/ABSENCE/SUSPENSION: Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb (Charlotte), Zach LaVine, Nikola Mirotic, Cameron Payne (Chicago), Jon Leuer (Detroit), Chris Boucher, Klay Thompson (Golden State), Myles Turner, Edmond Sumner, Glenn Robinson III (Indiana), Mike Conley, Wayne Selden, Chandler Parsons, Brandan Wright, Mario Chalmers (Memphis), Rodney McGruder, Okaro White (Miami), Hassan Whiteside (Miami), Matthew Dellavedova, Jabari Parker, Mirza Teletovic (Milwaukee), Jeff Teague, Justin Patton, Nemanja Bjelica (Minnesota), Alexis Ajinca, Solomon Hill, Frank Jackson (New Orleans), Jonathan Isaac, Terrence Ross, Adreian Payne (Orlando), Harry Giles (Sacramento), Kawhi Leonard, Derrick White (San Antonio), Lucas Nogueira, Delon Wright (Toronto), Rodney Hood, Raul Neto, Dante Exum, Joe Johnson, Rudy Gobert (Utah), John Wall, Sheldon Mac (Washington)