Check out Thad’s NBA Pre-Pandemic Superlatives for players most likely to succeed among other DFS awards based on their pre-suspension play!
What’s up y’all? I hope this article finds everyone safe, happy and most importantly, at home. Another week without the NBA has gone by and, to be quite honest, it seems like it’s been another month. While there’s still hope that league play resumes at some point, there is no definitive timetable as to when this could happen. I’ve heard all sorts of ideas as to how the league could salvage the season, but for now, the only thing we can do is wait. As long as there’s a chance for the league to come back, I’ll have NBA DFS on the brain. In an attempt to keep everyone preoccupied, I came up with a list of pre-pandemic superlatives (i.e., most likely to succeed, etc.). The winners of these awards are my own personal selections, however, I would love to hear some of yours.
NBA Pre-Pandemic Superlatives (Guards)
Most likely to end up in my cash game lineup:
Luka Doncic (DAL): When Doncic and teammate Krystaps Porzingis (DAL) are both in the Dallas Mavericks lineup, the algorithm is quite simple. Play Luka in cash games and consider Kristaps in tournaments. Doncic averages 52.61 FanDuel points/55.33 DraftKings points per game this season and is as good as it gets when it comes to having a high floor and high ceiling. Even when we start the day starved for value, we somehow end up with more than enough cheap plays to make the “studs and scrubs” approach a popular method of lineup construction. More often than not, Doncic ends up being the top guard you build your team around.
Trae Young (ATL): My boy Trae made this choice a tough one, however, just like last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year Award, I’m gonna have to give it to Luka. Young is having a very special season in his own right (averaging 47.51 FanDuel points/50.63 DraftKings points this season), however, seeing as how the Atlanta Hawks rank 26 in overall offensive efficiency this season, I’ll give the nod to Luka (Dallas ranks first in overall offensive efficiency this season).
Most likely to end up in my tournament lineup:
James Harden (HOU): Love him or hate him, Harden is going to be the guy I turn to in tournaments, more often than not. The presence of Russell Westbrook (HOU) can occasionally take away from the usual “shine” we’ve seen from Harden in previous years, however, on any given night you will find him as the highest projected scoring player, regardless of position. He’s always ranked within the top four, as far as ceilings go, even on a full slate. He’s scored more than 60 fantasy points 24 times this season (more than 70 fantasy points 12 times). Even at an expensive price tag, Harden always has the potential to give you a lot more bang for your buck.
Russell Westbrook (HOU): Westbrook might not be churning out triple-doubles every game as he did in Oklahoma City, however, his ability to produce at a high level in the new environment his paid dividends for any DFS’er willing to roster him in tournaments (averaging 49.10 FanDuel points/50.25 DraftKings points per game). He’s scored more than 60 fantasy points 12 times this season and has been my “go-to” pivot off of Harden on nights where “The Bearded One” is expected to be a popular choice.
Most likely to ruin my lineup:
Marcus Smart (BOS): Just when I think it’s safe for me to roster Smart again, he drops a stinker and sinks my lineup to the depths of the Atlantic. I’m sure it doesn’t happen nearly as much as I think it does, however, I’ll side with my recency bias on this one. There’s a “Marcus Smart flow chart” out there (if you don’t believe me just Google it). I should probably print it out and tape it to my computer screen.
Aaron Holiday (IND): Rostering Holiday never ends well but I always seem to do it anyway. On nights where Malcolm Brogdon (IND) and Victor Oladipo (IND) are out, he seems like an obvious choice to crush value, right? Not so fast. In the last 10 games he’s started, Holiday has put up more than 20 fantasy points only three times. That’s not exactly what you’re looking for from a guy who ends up seeing over 34 minutes of action.
Most likely to make me regret not rostering him:
Ja Morant (MEM): In daily fantasy sports, most of us have what is known as “that guy.” You know, the guy that you just can’t seem to roster when he goes off, however, when he’s in your lineup he ends up crapping the bed. For me, that guy is Morant. Sure, his fantasy point production is respectable (32.55 FanDuel points/33.58 DraftKings points per game), however, consistency isn’t one of his strong points. Not yet. He’s a rookie and he can ball, so I’ll definitely cut him some slack. He hasn’t been kind to me in DFS this season, only because I end up missing out on his 40+ fantasy point games and rostering him when he throws up a 24.0 point fantasy clunker.
Bradley Beal (WSH): Beal is the best fantasy option on the Washington Wizards, and it isn’t even close (averaging 46.09 FanDuel points/47.90 DraftKings points per game). He’s carried this team all season. I know it. He knows it. We all know it. That being said, he inevitably ends up missing the cut when it comes to my lineups. Why is that? Your guess is as good as mine. The guy has scored 50 or more fantasy points in 25 games this season. Let that sink in.
Most likely to excel once league play resumes:
Steph Curry (GSW): I know Curry only saw 27 minutes of action in recent play against the Toronto Raptors, however, he did put up 39.7 fantasy points. More importantly, he looked good doing it. The way he was dishing out assists and draining long-range three-pointers, he’s back to his usual self, as far as I’m concerned. The Golden State Warriors don’t have much to play for, but don’t expect Curry to take his foot off the gas pedal when play resumes.
Ricky Rubio (PHO): I don’t know if anyone’s picked up on this yet, but Rubio is pretty good at basketball. You know who’s even better at basketball? A healthy, well-rested Rubio. After using the All-Star break to rest his legs, Rubio had been on fire up until the league decided to suspend play. He’s scored 65 fantasy points or more in two of his last eight games and should continue to produce at a high level.
Most likely to disappoint once league play resumes:
Kemba Walker (BOS): First of all, let me just say, I am a huge Kemba fan. He’s one of the best basketball players I’ve ever seen play in person. Unfortunately, a move from the Charlotte Hornets to the Boston Celtics has seen his fantasy production take a hit (averaging 35.57 FanDuel points/37.07 DraftKings points per game this season, compared to averaging 41.93 FanDuel points/43.45 DraftKings points per game last season). A combination of injuries and sharing the court with All-Star caliber teammates tends to do that. I expect more of the same when league play resumes, so temper your expectations accordingly.
Donovan Mitchell (BOS): Don’t get me wrong, Mitchell has had some fine performances this season and his overall fantasy production has been similar to last year (averaging 37.62 FanDuel points/38.63 DraftKings points per game last year, as compared to 36.68 FanDuel points/38.30 DraftKings points per game this season), however, his floor has been shockingly low for a player of his caliber. His ability to end up with fantasy production in the low 20s on any given night can be rather scary.
NBA All COVID-19 Team Update (Guards)
Donovan Mitchell (UTA): Mitchell was officially cleared of COVID-19, 15 days after initially testing positive.
Marcus Smart (BOS): Smart has been cleared of COVID-19 by the Massachusetts Department of Health.
Thad previously wrote an NBA Post COVID-19 Report on the state of guards for DFS. See it here!