Starting 5: Ceiling and Consistency, Friday, February 20th
The Starting 5 Series will provide Grinders with a quick look at the day’s top positional plays, analyzed through the lens of our Daily Research Tools.
For today’s Starting 5, we’ll take a closer look at the Ceiling and Consistency tool. I’ll sort by the last three weeks and the season to see which players have some high ceilings for your tournament games tonight, and also to see which players are relatively consistent for your cash games.
POINT GUARD – George Hill ($5,500 on FanDuel, at Sixers)
George Hill checks all the boxes as your perfect ceiling play tonight in tournament contests. His minutes restriction is slowly being lifted with his return from injury, and he is the best playmaker the Pacers have on offense. When you throw in the fact that he has a matchup tonight against a fast-paced Sixers team that doesn’t play much defense, you have the perfect recipe for success. Hill has met 6x his price tag on FanDuel in 50% of the Pacers’ games over the last three weeks, and with that price still at $5,500, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do it again with the Sixers on tap.
SHOOTING GUARD – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($6,700 on FanDuel, vs. Nuggets)
If a safe cash game play is what you are looking for, look no further than Giannis Antetokounmpo. His steady rise over the course of the season has been extremely fun to watch, and he will be asked to do even more tonight. Brandon Knight has been traded to Phoenix, and it is unlikely that the Bucks will have newly acquired Michael Carter-Williams available for this game. This should all add up to an uptick in usage for the Greek Freak, and he has hit 5x value 71% of the time over the last three weeks. The matchup against defensively-challenged Denver only adds to his appeal tonight.
SMALL FORWARD – Trevor Ariza ($5,600 on FanDuel, at Mavericks)
Trevor Ariza is never a sexy option. He’s never a guy you see plastered in articles or discussed as a “must play” in the forums. He just quietly goes about his business while putting up generally steady numbers. Despite the lack of shiny appeal, Ariza gets the job done. Over the course of the season, he has hit a steady 4x salary 66% of the time on FanDuel, and that number has risen to 86% over the last three weeks as Dwight Howard has been sidelined. He has also hit 5x salary 57% of the time over those last three weeks. Give him a look tonight in what should be a high-scoring contest against Dallas.
POWER FORWARD – Josh Smith ($6,500 on FanDuel, at Mavericks)
Perhaps you want a player from the Rockets with more upside than Ariza. In that case, you would be wise to give Josh Smith a look. Despite his well-traveled nature, his game hasn’t changed. He remains a boom-or-bust fantasy option on most nights. With Dwight Howard still out and Terrence Jones having trouble getting fully healthy, Smith should remain a candidate for 32-34 minutes per game despite a bench role. It’s one that he has been thriving in of late, reaching 5x value in 71% of Houston’s contests over the last three weeks. Smith is definitely not as safe as Ariza, but he makes a nice high upside tournament option on this Friday.
CENTER – Tyson Chandler ($6,500 on FanDuel, vs. Rockets)
Our final play will hone in on another relatively consistent player in Tyson Chandler. Over the course of the season, he has hit 4x salary in a very solid 68% of his games. That is tied for the highest mark in the whole league, and it says a lot about Chandler’s appeal in cash games. He is always available at a reasonable mid-range price, and he is a great target in the right matchups. Tonight would qualify, as Dallas will be motivated after last night’s lackluster performance in Oklahoma City. They are back at home, and they will be facing a Houston team that struggles on the glass without Dwight Howard. Chandler should be a rock-solid pick tonight.