NBA Daily Fantasy: Hottest Players to Watch on Each Eastern Conference Team Relative to Salary
Amazingly, there are only three-and-a-half weeks left in the NBA regular season. At this point, whether a team is gearing up for the playoffs, making a push for the postseason or tanking, most franchises won’t change their rotation unless an injury is involved. Essentially, it’s a great time to analyze who is playing well and if that person is getting good minutes. But we’ll keep salary in perspective too.
(All salaries via DraftKings)
Boston: Avery Bradley – Bradley has been back from injury for over a week now, but he’s finally getting his normal playing time, which is 37.3 minutes the last three games. He dropped 28 points vs. Brooklyn on 19 FGA and scored 21 points against the Heat. It’s also important to note that Boston is only using one guard off the bench in the Celtics rotation. Jerryd Bayless is usually that guy, but if Rajon Rondo rests and Bayless starts, it’s Phil Pressey, who usually doesn’t do much anyways. Granted Bradley doesn’t provide a lot in other statistical categories, but as someone who usually has a salary around $4,500, he’s great value.
Brooklyn: Joe Johnson – The Nets have won 11 of their last 13. Johnson is a main reason for that. In March, Johnson is posting 17.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Those are all monthly highs, even though his 31.9 minutes are slightly below his 32.8 season average. With Andrei Kirilenko also getting hurt Sunday night, there may even be a chance for a slight bump in minutes for Johnson at SF too. Johnson is also $5,900 tonight against the Pelicans.
New York: Amare Stoudemire – Why doesn’t DraftKings update Stoudemire’s salary? Your guess is as good as mine. March stats – 27.2 minutes, 18 points, 6.6 rebounds. This is someone who should be around $5,500 and not $4,500. Plus, the Knicks have won eight of their last nine. His playing time should remain steady, especially since Kenyon Martin still has no timetable for his return.
Philadelphia: Henry Sims – We’ve been waiting for a while to see if someone other than Michael Carter Williams and Thad Young would become a legit fantasy threat. Sims might finally be that guy. He’s posted back-to-back double-doubles of 16-13 and 18-15 vs. the Knicks and Bulls, which are two very good front courts to do it against. By playing 26.2 minutes in March, he doesn’t correlate highly to DvP and that he’s only $4,400 right now means he’s a great play.
Toronto: Amir Johnson – Johnson’s recent surge can mostly be credited to the absence of Patrick Patterson. He’s playing 34.3 minutes compared to his season average of 29.6. This has allowed him to average 15.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 blocks and 0.9 steals in March. Johnson still doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but his consistency is much greater with the increased minutes. He should be considered every night of 50/50 formats until his salary goes over $6,000.
Chicago: D.J. Augustin – This is somewhat old news, but the Bulls’ rotation has been the same since the Luol Deng trade (barring injuries). It’s quite simple though. If the Bulls play a weak opponent, the bench gets more playing time, and Augustin is the primary scorer and distributor. He has solid upside and is great value given the matchup for someone at $4,600.
Cleveland: Matthew Dellavedova – I know, why not Jarrett Jack or Dion Waiters? It’s true, Jack and Waiters are both solid plays with Kyrie Irving out. But don’t overlook Dellavedova. With Irving and C.J. Miles out, Dellavedova is the only guard coming off the bench. He’s logged an average of 32 minutes his past three games and blowouts have not been the reason. He had double-doubles in two of those games (vs. the Rockets and Thunder) with six and four rebounds. He’s minimum salary. As long as he’s the only guard coming off the bench, he’s near a must-play.
Detroit: Andre Drummond – I could easily go with someone else here, but Andre Drummond is $6,900 right now. For whatever reason, when a player who isn’t quite a star has a short-term injury, a player’s salary takes a bigger hit than it should. Take advantage starting tonight against the Utah Jazz.
Indiana: Lance Stephenson – I’m really stretching with this one. Quite frankly, everyone on Indiana is priced fairly or overpriced. Stephenson at $6,700 could be slightly undervalued if the Pacers have the right matchup since he’s a triple-double threat. David West at $6,300 falls under this roof too.
Milwaukee: Khris Middleton – Middleton can obviously bust at times (like last night), but here’s the simple version. As long as the Bucks aren’t blown out, Middleton is a good value play at $4,400. In March, he’s putting up 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.2 steals in 32.7 minutes. Obviously he isn’t good from a FPTS per minute perspective, but for the price in the right matchup, he’s pretty good.
Atlanta: Pero Antic – We could go with a number of people and we don’t know how long Kyle Korver is going to be out. Antic is only $4,000 though and has double-double potential each night, despite only averaging 24.6 minutes.
Charlotte: Al Jefferson – No real changes recently with Charlotte. Jefferson is $9,000 right now and is capable of going over 50 FPTS any night. He’s one of the most underrated big men in the league and deserves a ton of credit for being the main force in likely getting the Bobcats to the playoffs. Charlotte’s next two games are against Houston and Brooklyn, but then it has a lot of favorable matchups against centers.
Miami: Dwyane Wade – Wade’s salary is always a moving target since he’s always taking nights off for rest, but it’s $6,700 tonight. Usually it’s around $7,500. This is obviously something to take advantage of. Outside of the big three, there’s never anyone to play unless one of the big three is resting.
Orlando: Kyle O’Quinn – While Victor Oladipo has been playing well as of late, he’s been starting for the injured Jameer Nelson, who should return in the somewhat near future. O’Quinn is obviously the permanent starter at PF, but he’s getting 22.2 minutes in March, which has led to an average of 9.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1.6 assists and 0.9 blocks. That’s superb efficiency. He’s usually in the mid-to-low $4,000 range, so give him a play against a weaker opponent and weaker frontcourt.
Washington: Drew Gooden – The Wizards finally found their answer as a backup PF without Nene. He’s only averaging 10.6 points and 5.6 rebound since joining the team. However, three of those games he barely played when he first joined, which hurts those numbers significantly. If you take out those contests, he’s recording 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds. At near-minimum salary, he’s a great value play.
Western Conference teams will be posted later this week.
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