NBA Starting 5: Tuesday, March 22nd
Today we’ll take a closer look at our Defense vs Position Tool since basketball is a fluid sport that is heavily dependent on matchups, scheduling and injuries, at this time of the year I like to be cognizant of as many variable as possible. Particularly on a thin four game slate such as we have at hand tonight. We will be utilizing the DraftKings scoring and pricing as our baseline reference point.
Point Guard: Ray McCallum – MEM at LAL – $3,200
This is an intriguing play from many angles. Most importantly is that the Lakers have allowed the second most fantasy points this season to the point guard position. Even though over their last nine games they are allowing the tenth most fantasy points, it is just a mere 5% improvement. The Memphis Grizzlies have been beset by injuries and while they do have a few players back, they are using recycled point guards. Ray McCallum has bounced around the league, but at this incredibly low price point and with 25-30 minutes within his grasp, he should be a relatively safe piece for tonight’s puzzle.
Shooting Guard: Josh Richardson – MIA at NOR – $4,300
For most of the season the New Orleans Pelicans have been in the bottom five for most points allowed to opposing shooting guards and over their last 11 games that is holding true as they have allowed the sixth most fantasy points. They have lost their best players are nearly every position to injury and it looks like they will be scuffling for the remainder of the season as they play out the string. The Heat are nearly double digit road favorites and you have to think that they will rest Dwyane Wade if they can race out to an early lead. Richardson has supplanted Gerald Green in the Miami rotation and over his last five games he has been very solid with 28.7mpg, 16.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.8apg, 2.3 combined blocks/steals and 3.2 made three-pointers which are worth an extra half point bonus on DraftKings.
Small Forward: Tony Allen – MEM at LAL – $4,700
Allen is seeing minutes at small forward and shooting guard as the Grizzlies are cobbling together their rotation with duct tape and baling wire. The Lakers are not a good defensive team in general and though they are allowing the eighth most fantasy points to the small forward position over their last nine games, it is actually at a higher rate than their season long futile efforts which have them giving up the second most points to the position in the league. They are just bad by all measures. This is a young team and they are prone to turnovers and silly mistakes. Something that a veteran defensive specialist like Tony Allen can turn into fantasy gold.
Power Forward: Luol Deng – MIA at NO – $6,100
Yes, I know that he does not qualify as a power forward on most sites, however, that is the role he has been filling for the Heat ever since Chris Bosh went out with recurring blood clots in his leg. Outside of the 12.3 fantasy point dud against Cleveland when the Heat had a commanding lead and Deng only had to play 23 minutes, he has been stellar averaging 34.7mpg, 17.8ppg, 9.1rpg, 2.3apg, 1.5spg and 1.1 made three-pointers for 36.9 DraftKings points. Over their last eleven games, New Orleans has given up the third most fantasy points to opposing power forwards and they will be without Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson. Don’t worry about the technical position that Luol Deng is listed under, just get him in your lineups.
Center: Enes Kanter – OKC vs HOU – $5,200
Houston has been in the bottom five all season against opposing power forward, due to their quick pace, general lack of team defense and the ineffectiveness of Dwight Howard as a rim protector. Over their last nine games they are giving up the fifth most fantasy points and it is actually at a rate that would be the worst in the league when compared to the season long benchmark. Enes Kanter is an excellent option as he is a 20/10 threat anytime he gets more than 25 minutes in high paced games and he has had two successful outings against the Rockets already this season averaging 33.8 DraftKings points in 24.1 minutes of court time.