NBA Starting 5 (GPP): Monday, February 12th
The Starting 5 Series will provide Grinders a quick look at the day’s top positional plays, as analyzed by one of our daily fantasy sports experts.
Monday, February 12th
Point Guard: Elfrid Payton – $7,100 on DraftKings – Phoenix Suns
With Devin Booker out again, I will have no issues loading up Elfrid Payton. Payton went from a situation in Orlando where they would bench him when the first thing went wrong (most of the time it wasn’t even his fault) to the Suns, where the only other active PG is Josh Gray, who is on a second 10-day contract. Payton is locked into low 30s minutes in a super fast-paced game against the Warriors. The downside here is that Phoenix has a lot of players that can contribute, so the frequency he hits his ceiling might not be ideal, but I feel solid about his floor here nonetheless.
Other Options: Speaking of the Magic, D.J. Augustin ($5,300) and Shelvin Mack ($4,800) are left to man the Orlando point situation against the Bulls, and it’s a great matchup. The only issue here is that unless you have access to Frank Vogel’s Magic 8-ball he uses for rotations, good luck knowing how many minutes each guy will play; still, they both have a nice GPP ceiling. Spencer Dinwiddie ($6,400) has been playing well while LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson have been out, and at this price, he provides nice value when he gets to 40 DK points. Speaking of the Nets, people might dismiss D’Angelo Russell’s minutes because the game went to double OT and will assume that’s why he got an extra 10 minutes, but he actually only played three minutes of the extra period, which means he got 28 minutes in regulation. That kind of court time of Russell for $5,600 is more than fair.
Shooting Guard: Stephen Curry – $9,900 – Golden State Warriors
Steph Curry at SG? Yes, I agree it feels like a cheat code, but he absolutely plays a bunch of minutes at SG in the Warriors’ system. The Suns give up 48.43 fantasy points per game to point guards (28th in the NBA) and 46.51 to shooting guards (30th in the NBA), which makes this a great spot. With Draymond Green inactive, we see via CourtIQ that Curry gets a 3.3% usage bump and a nice 2.5% fantasy point per minute boost. Oh, did I mention he was playing the super fast Suns yet? Using him at SG gives you an edge on the field because you are playing him at a spot with weaker players, and for some reason, most people use him at PG, so you differentiate your lineup a little bit there too.
Other Options: Lou Williams ($7,600) has Austin Rivers and Milos Teodosic back in the mix, which will lower his usage a little bit, but the matchup against a depleted Brooklyn gives him upside. Zach LaVine ($6,900) is back against a porous Magic defense and he’s now playing over 30 minutes a game. Allen Crabbe ($4,900) has been on fire and is a good option, but if you are looking for someone super sneaky with a ceiling, Joe Harris ($4,400) can steal Crabbe’s minutes when he gets hot, and he has a massive ceiling.
Small Forward: Royce O’Neale – $3,900 – Utah Jazz
This pick might come back to bite me, as it’s a three-in-four and back-to-back spot for the Jazz, but I’m honestly such a fan of the player that I’m willing to ignore it. Assuming Ricky Rubio is out, Royce O’Neale will most likely draw the start again. This is a guy that had been seeing more minutes and producing well, even before Rubio got injured. O’Neale isn’t a guy that’s going to get 10-12 shots, so he will need to be decently efficient to get you real life points, but he is a great peripheral player, picking up five or more rebounds in the last five games he’s seen 20 or more minutes (four in the game he saw 15). Also, he’s really active on the defensive end and can pick up blocks/steals as well. I know this write-up seems pessimistic, but I really like the player, and the best part is he’s $3.K at a weak position; he should see 29-35 minutes for under $4K, which always gets you on my list. If Rubio returns, it’s probably a situation you have to stay away from, but keep your eye out for spots to use him the rest of the way.
Other Options: Jae Crowder ($4,100) played his first game for the Jazz last night and took 11 shots in 29 minutes. Jerebko was in foul trouble the whole night so that probably played a factor, but he put up 27 DK points. Having not played the first game on Friday night, Crowder should also be more rested up than his teammates. I guess since I’ve mentioned the whole wing core for the Jazz, I should mention Joe Ingles ($5,200), who is coming off two strong games. The usage rate in these games has been way up, but as we’ve seen throughout Ingles’ career, it typically doesn’t last. Still, if he stays this active, $5.2K is a bargain.
Power Forward: Davis Bertans – $4,300 – San Antonio Spurs
People have been using Bertans a ton lately, as he’s been starting over Pau Gasol, but the good news is that Aldridge being out is actually the ideal time to use him. Again using CourtIQ, we can see with Bertans and LMA on with no Pau (and taking out Kawhi/Gay), Bertans has a 17.1% usage rate and is averaging 0.65 fantasy points per minute. Now, if we put Bertans on with Pau Gasol and LMA off the floor, the change is drastic. Bertans has a 20% usage rate and is averaging .79 fantasy points per minute. Hopefully, people will be scared off by all the low usage lately and forget how much better a play Bertans is when LMA is the one sitting instead of Gasol.
Other Options: Kevin Durant ($9,800) is playing a fast-paced Suns team with no Draymond, so he has a nice floor/ceiling combination. Lauri Markkanen ($6,500) will have a massive height advantage over Mario Hezonja, and if they start Mo Speights, we know what his defensive ability is like.
Center: Pau Gasol – $4,800 – San Antonio Spurs
Speaking of guys who get a massive usage bump with no LMA, Pau Gasol gets a 1.7% usage bump and averages 1.18 fantasy points per minute with LMA off the floor this season. Yes, his minutes have been super low of late, but that’s because he’s been coming off the bench. Look for him to be freed today and play 25-28 minutes (it’s Pop, so I guess we never know, but this feels like the likely outcome), which would make him a great bargain versus the Jazz, who are on a back-to-back.
Other Options: Dragan Bender ($4,700) played an incredible game for the Suns last time out while starting for Tyson Chandler. His PnR with Payton was awesome, he was confident shooting, was confident in the post, and honestly, it’s what Suns fans have wanted to see since taking him with the fourth pick two years ago. A smart coach would leave him in there and notice that the minutes have made him more confident, and it gives his team good spacing with no Devin Booker. However, Tyson Chandler is probable for this game and I would suspect he would start. We saw on Saturday with Chriss what can happen when you go from starting to coming off the bench. I don’t feel good about the Gray/Bender PnR like the Payton PnR, and I worry he’ll fall back into his old passive ways. That being said, I REALLY believe the light is coming on for this player, so I will probably have GPP exposure anyways. Joel Embiid ($10,200) has an amazing matchup versus the Knicks, and hopefully he gets ruled in right before lock again so we can get him super low owned.
I took some questions on Twitter and wanted to answer a few of them here as well!
I simply can’t play guys on a team that played 12 guys on Sunday and is facing elite rim protection in Joel Embiid. Those Mudiay floaters and layups he got Sunday will be swatted in his face if he tries them again today.
Thoughts on Cheick Diallo?
Until the Pelicans commit to playing him 25-27 minutes as the third big off the bench, he really isn’t DFS viable, but the Pelicans aren’t winning a title this year, so they would be wise to try this the rest of the way.
Is Ben Simmons viable in DFS tonight?
Viable? Absolutely, but not a guy I’m ever super in love with. That said, the Knicks have no rim protection, so this is the type of spot I’d look to Simmons. And if Embiid were to sit, he would become a core play quickly.
Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment below with your thoughts/questions and I’ll see you next week!