Ahead of another NBA SuperGame Qualifier read whoMark Deeks wants in his daily fantasy line up tonight.
Point guard – Jarrett Jack, New York Knicks: $9.3 million
A player is generally producing above fantasy value if their fantasy point average per game is at double the fantasy cost per minimum, e.g. a $10.0 million player averaging 20 fantasy points per game. Jack’s recent average was roughly triple his cost, but his price has increased to reflect this production, tempering his value slightly. Nevertheless, he still abides by Deeks’s Theorem. and he should definitely be considered.
Point guard – Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs: $10.0 million
Let me immediately contradict my own logic above, and suggest Tony Parker to you.
The very long absence has dwindled Parker’s fantasy value to this low price, a price better suited to ninth or tenth men. Yet Parker is already back and starting. He may be on a minute restriction, and he may be older and not what he was, but he is still certainly not a mere $10.0 million fantasy player.
In his five games back so far, he has averaged 17.3 fantasy points, an amount that is increasing all the time. This violates Deeks’s First Rule of Fantasy, but consider his entire body of work to date, and how he is getting back to that. The price will start to increase to match, but has not yet, so while the 35 minutes per game Finals MVP Parker is not coming back, fantasy value Parker will. It has already begun.
Shooting guard – Jonathan Simmons, Orlando Magic: $11.2 million
After a bit of a downswing, Simmons is heating back up, buoyed somewhat by the absence due to injury to Terrence Ross. Simmons has averaged 26.9 fantasy points over the last four games, finding more offensive responsibility and shooting opportunities, leading to more points scored, leading to more fantasy points scored. We will ignore how inefficient he has been in the process (taking 61 shots to score 64 points), and instead just enjoy the benefits borne out of this scoring volume. It’s a lot of points for a $10.6 million player. Further helping his cause is that primary scoring wing Evan Fournier is struggling with injury and in-and-out of the line-up. If he is out, Simmons gets even more to do.
Small forward – DeAndre’ Bembry, Atlanta Hawks: $6.8 million
We picked Bembry on account of how, upon returning from injury, he has looked spry on the court and been productive in the box score. This has continued. In his five games of true rotation minutes, Bembry has averaged 19.4 fantasy points, a solid amount for a near-minimum price, and not something any other near-minimum wing player is doing on tonight’s or any night’s slate.
Small forward – Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns: $9.5 million
Before Thursday’s game, we speculated that Josh Jackson would be the main beneficiary in terms of minutes and on-court opportunity in the absence through injury of Devin Booker. And he was, getting the start and scoring 10 points and 17.1 fantasy points. Jackson should continue to start, because getting acclimated on the court and developing his skills and experience is rather the point of this season. And this gives him fantasy value.
Power forward – Tyler Cavanaugh, Atlanta Hawks: $7.0 million
Due to the frontcourt injuries ahead of him, former DNP-CD recipient Cavanaugh has been receiving minutes of late, and responding. Cavanaugh plays at the centre spot behind Miles Plumlee, but Plumlee himself is limited and a token starter, thus leaving plenty of time available for Cavanaugh when he delivers. And he has done, to the tune of a 17.7 fantasy point average over his last three games. Limited athletically, Cavanaugh gets by on guile and skill, which means decent yields of three-point shots and assist numbers. Big numbers will not be forthcoming. But if he can keep that up at that price, he has fantasy value going forward while the injuries persist.
Power forward – Davis Bertans, San Antonio Spurs: $6.0 million
Three games ago, due to a combination of injuries and scheduled rest, Bertans played the majority of a game in which the Spurs basically played their reserves only. And he was good, too, scoring 16 points to go along with 4 blocks and 4 rebounds in almost 30 minutes.
He was suitably good that he played significantly in the next game as well, another 15 minutes in the rotation in a close game. And he was good then, too, scoring 11 points to go along with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. And then he completed the hat trick with a third game in which he recorded numbers in every recorded statistical point of view.
In total, that is 69.5 fantasy points over three games, an average of 23.2 from a player who previously never normally played more than 5 minutes. It is likely not a streak that will continue for much longer, yet the upside to what is merely a minimum salary fantasy pick might be worth a punt.
Power forward – Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic: $18.0 million
Gordon is on a tear. Over his last four games, he has averaged 44.1 fantasy points, flanking his scoring with plenty of contributions elsewhere. He is emerging as a star this season, and improving throughout the year. He therefore continues to be good fantasy value.
Centre – Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic: $19.0 million
Just like his frontcourt mate Gordon, Vucevic is also on a tear lately. Included in his last ten games is a mere 17.4 fantasy point performance, and yet even with that outing, he has an average over that span of 40.5 fantasy points. Vucevic is not doing it through dominant offensive performances (one 34 point night excepted), but through filling up the stat sheet, including the blocked shots column, where he is averaging a career high this season. It is still not much, only 1.0 per game, yet that represents three fantasy points a game, which, when flanked with his offensive numbers and rebounding totals, makes for a good value pick even when expensive.
DO NOT PICK DUE TO INJURY/ABSENCE/SUSPENSION: Mike Muscala, Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins (Atlanta), Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller (Charlotte), Zach LaVine, Cameron Payne, Nikola Mirotic (Chicago), Isaiah Thomas, Tristan Thompson, Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert (Cleveland), Zhou Qi, Nene, Troy Williams (Houston), Brandan Wright, Mike Conley, Wayne Selden (Memphis), Rodney McGruder, Hassan Whiteside, Okaro White (Miami), Jabari Parker, Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova, Jason Terry (Milwaukee), Tim Hardaway Jr (New York), Paul George, Jerami Grant (Oklahoma City), Jonathan Isaac, Adreian Payne, Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier (Orlando), Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, Justin Anderson (Philadelphia), Devin Booker, Davon Reed, Alan Williams, Brandon Knight (Phoenix), Wade Baldwin, C.J. Wilcox, Mo Harkless, Jusuf Nurkic (Portland), Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Anderson, Joffrey Lauvergne, Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), Dante Exum, Joe Johnson, Rodney Hood (Utah)