FanDuel NBA Week In Review (Thu. 2/20/2014 – Wed. 2/26/2014)
by Owen O’Brien (follow Owen on Twitter @0wen0Brien)
A lot can happen in one week of fantasy NBA action on FanDuel. One of the most powerful weapons in a FanDuel user’s arsenal is hindsight, and it’s important to use it to take stock of recent trends to help inform your lineup decisions for upcoming contests. With that in mind here’s a look back at the top performers, best values, and biggest busts of the week that was in the NBA starting with a whisper on Thursday February 20th and ending with a shower of prize money on Super Wednesday February 26th.
Top Performers (Most Fantasy Points Per Game)
All data covers games played between 2/20/2014 – 2/26/2014. Player prices shown are as of 2/27/2014.
1. Kevin Love – MIN, PF ($11,600) – 57.2 fantasy points per game
2. Carmelo Anthony – NYK, PF ($10,800) – 55.1 fantasy points per game
3. Kevin Durant – OKC, SF ($12,000) – 51.4 fantasy points per game
4. Thaddeus Young – PHI, PF ($7,800) – 50.1 fantasy points per game
5. Dwyane Wade – MIA, SG ($8,000) – 49.5 fantasy points per game
6. LeBron James – MIA, SF ($11,400) – 45.9 fantasy points per game
7. Chris Paul – LAC, PG ($8,900) – 43.8 fantasy points per game
8. James Harden – HOU, SG ($9,200) – 43.7 fantasy points per game
9. Paul George – IND, SF (8,700) – 43.5 fantasy points per game
10. Joakim Noah – CHI, C (9,100) – 43.0 fantasy points per game
All you need is Love in FanDuel NBA lineups these days, particularly over the last week that saw the main man in Minnesota put up scores of 67.4 and 63.1 fantasy points bookending a relatively quiet 41 fantasy point game against Portland. Even in that “bad” game Love still scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, so it’s not like he took the night off. Only Kevin Durant has put up more fantasy points per game this season and Love has bettered him by a full fantasy point per game in the last month. No player in the NBA besides Love, Durant, and LeBron can say they’ve delivered more than 50 fantasy points per game over the last 30 days.
Carmelo Anthony has also come on strong of late leading the crumbling Knicks as they flee in terror from the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Knicks are 2-8 in their last 10 games and lost all three of their winnable games last week despite Carmelo delivering outings of 63.2 and 58.8 fantasy points and even putting up 43.3 in a down game against Atlanta. Melo’s counting numbers suffer when the Knicks play to win and prioritize ball movement, but it appears they don’t care to do that in what seems like a doomed season for New York. That should give Anthony a chance to stay near the top of the league in fantasy scoring and earn him a few more raises on FanDuel this year.
Best Values (Most Fantasy Points Per Game Per $1,000 in Salary)
1. Jordan Hamilton – HOU, SF ($3,500) – 24.8 fantasy points per game
2. Ishmael Smith – PHO, PG ($3,700) – 26.2 fantasy points per game
3. Kent Bazemore – LAL, SG ($3,600) – 25.2 fantasy points per game
4. Jermaine O’Neal – GSW, C ($4,000) – 26.7 fantasy points per game
5. Thaddeus Young – PHI, PF ($7,800) – 50.1 fantasy points per game
6. Alexis Ajinca – NOR, C ($3,600) – 22.9 fantasy points per game
7. David West – IND, PF ($6,800) – 42.4 fantasy points per game
8. Jeff Teague – ATL, PG (5,800) – 36.0 fantasy points per game
9. Arron Afflalo – ORL, SG (6,300) – 39.1 fantasy points per game
10. Kelly Olynyk – BOS, C ($3,700) – 22.9 fantasy points per game
Jordan Hamilton didn’t wait long to make a good impression with his new team in Houston after being acquired from Denver in a trade. He’s now the best player the Rockets have to backup both James Harden and Chandler Parsons, which should mean plenty of minutes in Kevin McHale’s rotation. He’s hit six threes and played solid defense on his way to scores of 24 and 25.6 fantasy points in his first two games with his new team. There’s been a bit of a logjam of low-priced bargains at the SF position lately, but they come and go quickly as the players they replaced recover from injury or step up their production. That makes Hamilton a guy that should be top of mind for all FanDuel users entering contests in the upcoming week as long as he continues to get more run than Omri Casspi and Francisco Garcia.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch Kent Bazemore play yet, you might be wondering if his numbers last week were a fluke. He’s definitely taken advantage of the absence of Nick Young and the struggles of Ryan Kelly, but Bazemore looks like a real player when he’s on the court and the energy and explosion in his step should make him a fixture in Mike D’Antoni’s rotation for the foreseeable future. He’s a good shooter that can also drive to the basket and complements his offensive game with effort and results on the defensive end as well. Out of the volatile array of cheap options on FanDuel, Bazemore is one of the most likely to maintain his level of production and offer tremendous value as long as his salary remains depressed.
Biggest Busts (Fewest Fantasy Points Per Game Per $1,000 in Salary)
Only includes players priced at or above $5,500 and with at least 2 games played last week.
1. Steve Blake – GSW, SG ($6,200) – 10.5 fantasy points per game
2. Gerald Henderson – CHA, SG ($5,700) – 12.9 fantasy points per game
3. Kendall Marshall – LAL, PG ($6,500) – 15.1 fantasy points per game
4. Brandon Jennings – DET, PG ($7,900) – 19.2 fantasy points per game
5. Terrence Jones – HOU, PF ($6,100) – 15.2 fantasy points per game
6. Andrew Bogut – GSW, C ($6,900) – 17.3 fantasy points per game
7. Reggie Jackson – OKC, PG ($6,000) – 15.4 fantasy points per game
8. Tim Duncan – SAS, PF (8,400) – 24.2 fantasy points per game
9. Mike Conley – MEM, PG (7,400) – 22.2 fantasy points per game
10. Al Jefferson – CHA, C ($10,100) – 31.4 fantasy points per game
Steve Blake’s role is just not the same in Golden State that it was prior to being traded by the Lakers. His minutes are way down playing behind two iron horses in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and even worse his usage and productivity are way down even when he’s on the court. That’s no surprise for a role player going from a terrible team to a great one, but it’s a shame for a long-time veteran like Blake who was having a career year in Los Angeles. His value for the rest of this season is basically torpedoed and it will take a long time for his price to sink to the depths where his value is hovering today.
Aside from Blake, the players on this list haven’t necessarily lost their jobs or their potential for fantasy usefulness going forward. In fact, because many FanDuel users will be avoiding these players due to their current cold stretch and low projected value, they actually make great dark horse options in tournament play as any or all of them could return to productivity as soon as this week. Guys like Al Jefferson and Tim Duncan in particular are the type of standout reliable big men that should have no issue hopping right back onto the value train this time around.
Big Winner Spotlight – Bignub drubs the Super Slam, turns $25 into $13,000
Super Wednesday night on FanDuel is the primetime of daily NBA fantasy and the biggest prize in the pool is first place in the $120K Super Slam, a tournament that every FanDuel user should take a serious look at entering every week. Bignub did just that on February 26th and dropped a score of 355.3 fantasy points, good enough to turn a $25 entry fee into a cool $13,000 in prize money in one night. Here’s a look at the high-scoring team:
Kyrie Irving ($7,800) has remained at top speed since winning the All-Star Game MVP award and put together his best game since the break on Wednesday as he led the sharpshooting Cavaliers to a surprisingly dominant win over the Thunder. He dropped nine dimes for the third time in his last four games to go along with five rebounds, four steals, four threes, and only three turnovers in a fantastic multi-category effort. With the tough matchup and a couple of duds on his game log all but 4.5% of FanDuel users were deterred from rostering the most dangerous scorer Cleveland has seen since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.
Ishmael Smith ($3,700) has been playing a lot of minutes lately in Phoenix and has offered plus value in three of his last four games including a start in place of Goran Dragic on Wednesday. The news was out fairly early that Dragic was unlikely to play, but with the final confirmations coming in a bit late the obvious bargain was only included in 28.9% of lineups in the Super Slam. That’s a high ownership percentage for a player of Smith’s caliber, but pretty low for a player priced below $4,000 that’s been thrust into major minutes. He ended up playing 35 of them last night on his way to delivering epic value at 9.2 fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary. For comparison, if Kevin Durant put up that same value ratio at $12,000 in salary he would have scored 110.6 fantasy points.
Monta Ellis ($6,700) has been really inconsistent of late with bad outings sprinkled liberally across his game log. That said, he’s scored more than 30 fantasy points in three straight and found his consistency just in time to deliver a great game against New Orleans on Wednesday. The main issue with Ellis is turnovers, something he was able to keep to a minimum with only two last night. He’s left a bad taste in the mouths of many FanDuel users with disappointing performances even in great matchups, which helps explain why the potent scorer appeared in only 7.7% of lineups in the Super Slam.
Elton Brand ($4,600) took his time machine to Boston on Wednesday in the latest episode of his value revival for a Hawks team decimated by frontcourt injuries. Coming off playing almost 42 minutes the night before against Chicago, the ageless one played 34 more against the Celtics and his effort was not diminished with three offensive rebounds, five blocks, and a steal. Despite his recent run of relevance he was not a super popular play at just 10.1% ownership in the Super Slam, primarily due to the slew of value big men available last night with three or four strong options in the Hawks-Celtics game alone. Brand ended up the best of them and should continue to see significant time and be a mid-range option in the games to come if he can stay healthy.
Nikola Vucevic ($7,000) continues to be one of the most lethal double-double threats in the league as he’s averaging 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds on the season. The one knock against him has been his seemingly capped upside around 40 fantasy points due to his lack of explosive scoring and only average defensive contributions. Vucevic finally broke through that ceiling on Wednesday by scoring 21 points and blocking three shots with a steal for good measure. The boosts in those areas combined well with his 13 rebounds to deliver on high expectations against a terrible Philadelphia defense for the 46.6% of users that rolled with the Swiss giant in the Super Slam.
Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo ($6,800), Jeff Green ($6,500), Kevin Durant ($12,000), and Brandon Bass ($4,500) all put up solid if not spectacular value for their salary to round out this powerhouse lineup. Bignub put together the right combination of reliable studs, risky veterans, and rising value picks and ended up on top of the Super Slam, finishing 5.5 points ahead of himself as one of Bignub’s other lineups also landed in second place at 349.8 points. Between those two lineups Bignub turned $50 in entry fees into $21,000 overnight in the Super Slam.
Make sure to visit FanDuel tomorrow to enter the $80K Fri Bomb tournament if you want to take your shot at another big prize ($9,000 for first place). And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next $120K Wed Super Slam tournament that takes place on Super Wednesday March 5th for your next chance to win the $13,000 first place prize.
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