NBA Preview 7th December

Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets during their game at Barclays Center on October 25

Mark Deeks give his thoughts on who should be in your daily fantasy line-up tonight.


Point guard – Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets: $14.3 million

In his last nine games, Dinwiddie has not had a single game of less than 25.9 fantasy points. Averaging 34.2 over that span, Dinwiddie is still outperforming his fantasy salary even when his fantasy salary continues to increase. He is outperforming Lonzo Ball and costs $3 million less. So even if you like Ball more, you must consider Dinwiddie here.


Point guard – Tyler Ulis, Phoenix Suns: $9.7 million

Ulis, now a starter, is particularly streaky. Measuring his fantasy points totals only, Ulis’s last ten games have read, in order: 29.1, 13.8, 26.9, 25.0, 8.2, 30.7, 22.4, 10.0, 30.2 and 10.7.

Six of those are very good value, and four of those aren’t. Which in a sense makes for a greater than 50% chance of Ulis being a steal of a pick at this price. And Ulis also never seems to post two bad games in a row, which, having had something of a bad game last time out, bodes well here.

To win the Super Game qualifier, with nearly 200 players competing in it each night for only three spots, you will need to score big. Therefore, picks with a wide variance ought to be the way forward. Ulis is one such pick. And if he posts only 10 fantasy points again, I apologise.


Shooting guard – Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets: $12.2 million

After struggling to score as a starter, LeVert was moved to the bench, whereupon his play improved. His season averages of 10.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists indicate an across-the-board impact on the court, and from a fantasy point of view, his scoring inefficiency from all areas are ignored altogether, while his high turnover numbers are marginalised.

Over the last seven games, LeVert has averaged 26.8 fantasy points, an increase in his production that coincides with a move to becoming the reserve point guard. This move has increased his assist totals, which increases his overall production and thus his fantasy value. He is therefore worthy of your consideration as a mid-range pick.


Shooting guard – Alec Burks, Utah Jazz: $8.7 million

Burks’s excellent stretch of play cooled off slightly with a 2-9 shooting, 19.9 fantasy point outing. Nevertheless, for that to represent a relatively poor outing speaks to both how good he has been lately and how good of fantasy value he remains. Even a 19.9 fantasy point average would be good at only $8.7 million, and for that to be the low end of Burks’s range currently means he must very much be considered still.


Small forward – Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns: $9.3 million

Jackson has been incredibly streaky to begin the season, in terms of both his minutes and his output. Some nights he shows the potential that got him drafted so highly, and some nights he offers nothing. In his last ten games, Jackson has four games of more than 20 fantasy points, and three of less than 10, with nothing ever proving predictable.

Nevertheless, what works in his favour tonight is that star wing Devin Booker will miss the next two weeks due to injury. This is not to say for sure that Jackson will automatically inherit many of his minutes and his shots. However, in what is yet another rebuilding year, the Suns would surely yield greater benefits from giving them to him than, say, Troy Daniels. So, consider picking Jackson as well, and, as with Ulis, apologies if he is a dud tonight.


Small forward – Kelly Oubre Jr, Washington Wizards: $11.5 million

There is a significant variance to Oubre’s output, too, just as there is with most wing players who handle the ball little and need offensive creation around them. Nevertheless, cherry-picking Oubre’s recent performances leads to a 26.7 fantasy point average over the last six games.

This cherry-picked sample size is not a coincidence. Those are the six games John Wall has missed, and while Oubre is not a primary or secondary offensive creator, he is getting better at being a tertiary one, and is getting more scoring opportunities with this temporary promotion. He thus has fantasy value.


Power forward – Larry Nance Jr, L.A. Lakers: $13.8 million

Since returning from injury, Nance has barely missed a beat. In his three games hence, he has averaged 31.7 fantasy points. This coming despite going scoreless entirely in one game; the 5 assists,  rebounds, 4 steals and a block he returned in that game still gave him a 27.3 fantasy point performance.

Therein lies the value of Nance – he always does something, and normally the higher value stuff. And if ever he can have a blocks-and-steals heavy night at the same time he scores 20 points, he could return a massive fantasy point haul.


Centre – Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets: $7.8 million

Allen is looking more lively and confident on the court. Over his last three games, he has averaged 9.6 real points and 21.7 fantasy points, while providing the defensive versatility and athleticism at the centre spot that no one else on the roster can. Receiving consistent minutes, Allen is starting to grow into his role, and while he offensively is still somewhat limited to the powerful finish at his stage, there is some evidence of growth there, too. He even hit a corner three-pointer last game.


Centre – Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder: $16.9 million

Over the last three games, Adams has shot 28/34 from the floor, a remarkable 82.4% field goal shooting. His Thunder team have won those three games and seem to be beginning to figure it out after a slow start, especially in fourth quarter situations.

It would appear that the new-look Thunder are learning how and when to exploit the defensive shifts that their star wing power opens up, because Adams, alone in the paint, is getting free much more often, and they are finding him. Should this continue, the Thunder could get back into contention in the West; unless it stops, Adams has fantasy value even at this price.


DO NOT PICK DUE TO INJURY/ABSENCE/SUSPENSION: Yakuba Ouattara, D’Angelo Russell, Jeremy Lin (Brooklyn), Zhou Qi, Troy Williams, Nene (Houston), Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, T.J. McConnell, Justin Anderson (Philadelphia), Devin Booker, Brandon Knight, Alan Williams, Davon Reed (Phoenix), Joe Johnson, Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, Raul Neto (Utah), John Wall, Sheldon Mac (Washington)


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