NBA Top Plays 03/09/20

Updated: Mar 11

THE CORE

1) Eric Bledsoe, Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel: $6,200, PG DraftKings: $5,700, PG Yahoo: $20, PG FantasyDraft: $11,300, G

2) Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel: $7,000, SG DraftKings: $7,600, SF Yahoo: $29, SF FantasyDraft: $13,900, G

Giannis Antetokounmpo is out again for tonight’s game, which means that these two guys are going to be great plays just like they have been every other time this season when Giannis sat. And while we do have two drawbacks that are at least worth discussion, the price tags on these two guys make it so that it won’t matter anyways.

The first of those is that the matchup is one of the worst a team can get. While Denver’s defense (15th in defensive rating; 10th in overall team defensive efficiency) isn’t as good as it was last year, they still play slower than just about anybody (that anybody would be Charlotte, as their 96.43 pace slightly ‘beats’ the 97.52 pace of the Nuggets). And while there is no over/under on this game at the time I am writing, I am guessing Milwaukee’s team total will be drastically lower than their season average (118.8) as a result of this matchup. The fact that Giannis is out will only accentuate that.

The other negative is that they just played yesterday. The 35 minutes for Bledsoe were the second most minutes he has played in a game this season. The 35 minutes for Middleton were the eighth most minutes he has played in a game this season.

Of course, that is about where the bad news ends. If these guys had gotten appropriate price hikes, perhaps it’d be a different discussion. But they didn’t, so it’s not.

CourtIQ is a good place to start, as we have significant sample sizes of these two guys on the court without Giannis. In 470 minutes, Bledsoe has gotten 1.39 FD / 1.44 DK points per minute. In 666 minutes, Middleton has gotten 1.35 FD / 1.43 DK points per minute.

Another thing I also like pointing out is that each guy will also see some court time without the other on it, which means even more per-minute production in those brief stints (yesterday, the duo was on the court together for 27 minutes). In 170 minutes this season without Middleton and Giannis, Bledsoe is at 1.56 FD / 1.62 DK points per minute. In 366 minutes this season without Bledsoe and Giannis, Middleton is at 1.62 FD / 1.70 DK (!!!) points per minute.

You can be conservative here on per-minute production (i.e. bring them down a bit due to matchup and second night of a B2B) and minutes (keep them at low 30’s instead of 34-35), and it is plain to see that the price tags are still just too cheap. I don’t envision a scenario in which I even consider fading them in cash games, especially on this puny three-game slate.

(Tournament pivot: My tournament pivot at point guard will be Terry Rozier, and he really stands out at the $5,900 price tag on FD. Ownership will probably be a little higher on him there, but it’s tough to overlook how great the matchup against Atlanta is. I will go to DK for my Middleton pivot, and man, small forward does not have much (so just think how high his ownership is going to be on a three-game slate). You could look to Bojan Bogdanovic as an option for $6,100 and just hope he comes close to matching Middleton’s production for the $1,500 in savings. But don’t forget, because of multi-positional eligibility, DK is way more about comparing players in the same price range regardless of position. So I think pivoting to Donovan Mitchell at the exact same price as Middleton makes the most sense. The matchup is bad on paper against Toronto, but my guess is that keeps his ownership down (relatively speaking) on this slate. You want to be targeting good players in tournaments when you are paying these kinds of price tags, and Mitchell actually has one of the higher ceilings on the slate believe it or not.)

FANDUEL-SPECIFIC PLAY

Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

FanDuel: $7,900, SF DraftKings: $8,700, PF Yahoo: $37, PF FantasyDraft: $15,600, F/C

Listing Siakam here on FD has way more to do with the position and slate than it does with him being a “great play”.

Consider that on FD, after you plug in Bledsoe and Middleton, you still have $6,686 of average salary remaining per player. On top of that, there is no player on the slate that is priced above $10,000. Furthermore, we know we are forced to roster two small forwards, and it’s not like we have any other plays jumping off the page here at this position.

For the season, Siakam has gotten 1.16 FD points per minute on a 28.5% usage rate, 16.6% assist rate, and 11.1% rebound rate. With how many games this season that the Raptors have been missing key pieces, there is obviously a decent amount of fluctuation in those rates. The irony of it all is that, if you take FVV OFF in CourtIQ, Siakam is still right at 1.16 FD points per minute. (FYI, this tweet insinuates that FVV should be considered doubtful for tonight.)

The minutes should certainly be there for Siakam, even after considering that he played 38.5 last night against the Kings. A minutes projection of mid 30’s has him a bit too cheap for this FD price tag, even in a matchup against the Jazz. As such, he will almost certainly be manning one of my small forward slots for cash games on FD.

(Tournament pivot: Your hope at small forward in tournaments on FD is that Siakam just does ‘okay’ and that your combination of these other mid tier and/or cheap options, combined with the upgrades they allow you at other positions, catapults you past Siakam lineups. So at that point, I really just want to find the best ceiling I can at the least amount of Projected Ownership. The latter remains up in the air, but I know I would feel pretty good about that Miles Bridges, Will Barton, OG Anunoby group. And OG might even offer you a bit of leverage off of his teammate, if Siakam does indeed become chalky on FD due to the nature of the slate.)

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