Mark Deeks is back with another fantasy preview for tonight’s NBA contests. Make sure to take note before picking your teams.
Point guard – Raul Neto, Utah Jazz: $6.2 million
One-time starter Neto has taken a back seat over the past year and a bit, but is currently in one of the better mini-stretches of his NBA career. Back in the rotation due to the usual myriad of injuries elsewhere, Neto has posted fantasy point outings of 20, 26.9 and 32.1 in his last four games, all for essentially the minimum price. The fourth game was a complete goose egg of a 1.5 outing, but notwithstanding the risk of that happening again, Neto has value.
Point guard – Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors: $6.3 million
We picked VanVleet in this list yesterday with the explicit caveat that, despite his increased recent role and consistent production, he was not the type of player that would ever return a big night. He then immediately went and had one, recording 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals on his way to 37 fantasy points. We therefore stand by the suggestion tonight as well.
Point guard – Jarrett Jack, New York Knicks: $6.9 million
It is weird how Jack’s game has transformed at the end of his career, as he now almost never looks to score, doing so only when the rest of the possession demanded that he try. Nevertheless, even if he is now a pass-first player, Jack has embraced the role. Passing for 14 assists in last night’s game, Jack recorded 33.8 fantasy points overall, boosting his average over the last four games to a healthy 24. He is a something of a steal now.
Point guard – Frank Mason, Sacramento Kings: $6.5 million
Amidst the turmoil of the Kings’s season and the constant flux of its rotation has been the slow emergence of Mason, the rookie point guard that isn’t DeAaron Fox. Back to back performances of 11 points/6 assists/3 rebounds and 11 points/7 assists/5 rebounds have seen a 25 fantasy point average, and while one mini bad stretch could return him to the deeper parts of the bench given the Kings’ constant tinkering, he is of fantasy value to us here until it happens.
Shooting guard – Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers: $8.2 million
While never known for his consistency, Stephenson has now recorded 20+ fantasy point nights in five out of his last six games. He is helped in this regard by the fact that the new scoring criteria do not penalise turnovers too heavily, and do not penalise scoring inefficiency at all. Nevertheless, however he does it, Stephenson is putting up the fantasy numbers for a price at which many others are not.
Small forward – Darius Miller, New Orleans Pelicans: $6.2 million
Miller has continued his new-found shooting aggression with five double figure scoring efforts in the last six games, flanked by some rebounds and assists. After beginning the season as entirely a fantasy non-factor, Miller now has three 20+ fantasy points outings on the bounce, as well as four in his last six games overall, useful contributions for both his team and fantasy players at a tiny cost. And thankfully, for now at least, his price still represents those early season struggles, making him a steal.
Power forward – Noah Vonleh, Portland Trail Blazers: $7.6 million
It appears that Al-Farouq Aminu is still not quite ready to return, and if he does not, Vonleh will continue to start, just as he has done over the last three games. Included in that span have been rebounding performances of 18 and 11, as Vonleh continues to do what he does best. With season averages of 4.6 points and 7.6 rebounds, the quirky Vonleh has continued his slow progression into a rebounding specialist, and contributes little outside of that. But he contributes enough of that to be relevant as a value pick here.
Power forward – Jonas Jerebko, Utah Jazz: $6.5 million
The starter of six games in a row, Jerebko has three 20+ fantasy point outings in that time, and none below 11. And while this stretch yields an average of only 18.3, it is consistent production for a near-minimum price that could fill out the power forward spot for you if needs be.
Centre – Thon Maker Milwaukee Bucks: $6.6 million
We picked Maker in the past on account of his steady and improving fantasy stat lines from the bench, but getting a starting spot last time out helped further. In the absence of John Henson, Maker recorded 16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 35.1 fantasy points, a very good return for such a tiny price. Listed as ‘probable’ at the time of writing, Henson might return tonight, which would diminish Maker’s fantasy value a touch. But there is some there anyway.
Centre – Kyle O’Quinn, New York Knicks: $10.5 million
O’Quinn is always quite productive, a useful two-way role player who blocks shots, rebounds on the defensive end, passes very well out of the pick-and-roll, and sticks just enough re-feed mid-range jump shots to justify his taking of them. He would play more if he fouled a bit less and if more minutes were available. But more minutes, it seems, might now be – O’Quinn has played ahead of prospect Willy Hernnagomez all year as the primary backup to starter Enes Kanter, and when Kanter missed last night’s game, O’Quinn got the start. If Kanter is out again, consider O’Quinn here.
DO NOT PICK DUE TO INJURY/ABSENCE/SUSPENSION: Luke Babbitt, Mike Muscala, Isaiah Taylor (Atlanta), Gordon Hayward, Shane Larkin, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris (Boston), Julyan Stone, Nic Batum (Charlotte), Seth Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh McRoberts (Dallas), Chris Boucher, Kevin Durant (Golden State), Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon (Houston), Victor Oladipo, Edmond Sumner, Glenn Robinson III (Indiana), Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley (L.A. Clippers), Matthew Dellavedova, Jabari Parker, Mirza Teletovic (Milwaukee), Alexis Ajinca, Solomon Hill, Frank Jackson (New Orleans), Enes Kanter, Joakim Noah (New York), Jonathan Isaac, Adreian Payne (Orlando), Ben Simmons, Nik Stauskas, Justin Anderson, Markelle Fultz (Philadelphia), Al-Farouq Aminu, C.J. Wilcox, Wade Baldwin (Portland). Harry Giles (Sacramento), Kawhi Leonard, Derrick White, Tony Parker (San Antonio), C.J Miles, Malcolm Miller, Delon Wright (Toronto), Dante Exum, Joe Johnson, Rudy Gobert (Utah), John Wall, Sheldon Mac (Washington)